Non-Jewish U.S. reps form Caucus for Advancement of Torah Values with help of Canadian rabbi

Non-Jewish+U.S.+reps+form+Caucus+for+Advancement+of+Torah+Values+with+help+of+Canadian+rabbi

(JTA) — Two non-Jewish members of Congress announced the formation of the Congressional Caucus for the Advancement of Torah Values Wednesday in an effort to “to pledge our friendship to our Jewish friends,” according to a statement by Republican Don Bacon, who is co-chairing the caucus.

“This Caucus is going to be so important in a bipartisan way.  We have to be able to have the strength so we know what’s good, what’s bad, what’s moral and what’s not moral,” Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat and co-chair of the caucus, said in a statement.

Cuellar, one of the more conservative Democrats in Congress, appeared to be the only member of his party present at the meeting. A photo from the meeting showed Republicans Kat Cammack, Dan Meuser, and Brian Fitzpatrick in attendance in addition to Bacon and Cuellar.

(Coincidentally, Cuellar’s home was searched by the FBI Wednesday in a “court-authorized law enforcement activity” according to an FBI statement provided to news outlets.)

None of the 37 Jewish members of the current Congress appeared to be participating in the new caucus.

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The meeting was also attended by Rabbi David Hofstedter, the Canadian founder of an Israel-based organization called Dirshu whose mission is to support the study of Torah. The aim of the organization, founded in Toronto in 1997 but now based in Jerusalem, is to encourage the study of Torah.

Speaking to the group at the opening session, Hofstedter claimed that “Torah values” were the “foundation of the USA” and mentioned freedom of religion repeatedly as one of those “Torah values.”

He also spoke about antisemitism and criticized the closure of synagogues and yeshivas in New York during the height of the COVID lockdowns, and called those closures “uneven-handed” and “inconsistent with city and state policy.”


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