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Eric Cantor on the Upper West Side

Did you know his kids went on Birthright?

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(Rep. Eric Cantor Oct. 4. (Alex Wong/Getty Images))

The loveliest moment of Sunday night’s panel discussion on American (Jewish) values came toward the end, when Rep. Eric Cantor—who had spent most of the evening talking politics, criticizing Obama’s jobs plan, etc.—told Birthright founder and outspoken philanthropist Michael Steinhardt that his two eldest children participated in Birthright trips and “both came home seeking more.” If Birthright’s goal (as Steinhardt had asserted) is to create deeply knowledgeable Jewish youths, Cantor added, “you’ve hit a homerun with my two.”

Birthright shout-outs, panelist love, and baseball metaphors? It was a movingly unguarded moment during the largely formulaic event, which was moderated by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and brought the conservative House Majority Leader to that bastion of liberal, urban Jewry, the Upper West Side. Though there was some early politically-charged raucousness from the crowded sanctuary of the West Side Institutional Synagogue, which Boteach quickly silenced, the event was mostly free from controversy, save for a “Fox News” comment yelled by an audience member when Cantor later said the media was “self-professedly to the left.”

The real surprise for some came when Cantor first spoke, revealing an unmistakably Southern accent that ricocheted through the speakers and reminded the crowd that, unlike the Brooklyn-born Steinhardt, this panelist was hardly a local. But there Cantor was, far from D.C. on a Sunday night, explaining his political positions to a crowd that while veering conservative (judging by the excited applause when he referenced the recent NY-9 Republican upset) is far from his usual supporter base. It begs the question (again) of just what Cantor’s political plans might be.

Related: The Gentleman From Virginia
Earlier: Eric Cantor Thinks Big
What Makes Cantor Run?

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Bill Pearlman says:

Come on Stephanie, other than the four assholes in the center area it was a great event.

Quite a bit different from a Tea Party reception!

Sounds like it was a real hoedown.

I suppose he sent them because it had “right” in the title. Too bad it wasn’t birth – far – right.

Sharon says:

He is a Shonda for America and the Jewish people. He is a red neck Southerner in Jewish clothing. He holds no traditional Jewish values-those of caring for the less fortunate, for Justice for all, for any iota of kindness and good will. He is a horrible human being.

Linda Jason says:

Surprised that Eric Cantor, the committed Zionist, needs to have Israel and the Jewish community pay for Cantor’s kids’ first visit to Israel. Wonder how many times they have been to Europe on their father’s dime? How Republican of him.

Judith says:

It sickens me to hear a powerful American Jew with absolutely no regard for the less fortunate and a seemingly unbounded commitment to protect the interests of the rich. I just don’t get it–where are his Jewish values? Where are his human values?

Morris Katz says:

I would have asked America’s Rabbi about his “charity” in which during 2009, collected $700,000 in donations, disbursed $70,000, and used the remaining $630,000 for “expenses,” of which more than $200,000 was his salary.

As for Cantor, I would have asked him if deliberately stonewalling and sabotaging the budget ceiling talks, which led to S & P downgrading the US credit rating, and investors downgrading the Dow-Jones Industrial Average by 20% at its worst, was in the best interests of the Jews, and for that matter, everyone else.

Rep. Cantor accurately represents us center-Right traditional/Orthodox Jews outside of the New York metro area. If demographic trends continue, there will be more of us than those panting in the comments.

Voting Democratic, abortions for all and spending other people’s money on hare brained ‘social’ programs are not Jewish values.

Morris Katz says:

Bill, the woman to the left of Cantor looks like Judy Steinhardt. She is the antithesis of an asshole.

Samuel Cooper says:

I remember reading in the NY Times that Jews should not be Republicans. They pointed out that we are people who take care of the less fortunate, that we are generous and liberal. We also believe in equal justice for all. The Republicans have always taken care of themselves and the rich and have ignored the less fortunate. They are far from generous always trying to defeat anything that would cost them money. They believe in more justice for rich white folks. Now more than ever, the Eric Cantors are out to help the greedy and deny everyone else. Don’t give this man a pass just because he is Jewish. In fact he should be held to a higher standard because he is Jewish and should have learned exactly why Jews shouldn’t be Republicans. His leadership to cut everything to the neediest in favor of the rich is absolutely 180 degrees from what it should be.

Cynthia Cohen says:

It’s hard to believe that he read from or listened to the same Torah that I did on Yom Kippur, which urged us to care for and protect the poor, the widow and the disenfranchised. He has no regard for the oppressed, poverty-stricken, and unemployed. And he will continue to be the opposite of a mensch.

Michal says:

Hey Cynthia,

Did you also listen to the Torah reading during minchah of Yom Kippur?

neal sturman says:

spending to oblivion even for the needy doesn’t make you a smart or caring person, just plain dumb.

Morris Katz says:

Linda, I’m no fan of Cantor, but why should Cantor’s kids have to pay for a Birthright trip when nobody else’s kids do?

Cantor does not seem to possess deep Jewish values. We believe that those in need must be helped while he believes that those who do not need help should be our first priority. In time he’ll know what is meant by the line that “those who lay down with dogs wake up with fleas.” An undermined and weak US will be unable to help our fellow poor and elderly Americans as well as our fellow Israelis. He doesn’t deserve our respect.

Charles says:

Iyt is amazing to me how wrongheaded many of my fellow Jews are about the thesis of the Republican agenda and what I believe our place is in it.

Yes, we are to be quite concerned about the less fortunate and ,of course, to make the world a better place. I believe it is up to us, invidually and collectively to do that. Tzudakah and community involvement are the methodology to improve the lives of people where we can. Not the goverment.

MY BELIEF IS THAT the goverment has and will always do a incredibly poor job at this. Why should we believe the the goverment is the answer here? Look at history….look at the welfare state and point to its “successes”.

No, Eric Cantor is not a “shonda for the Yeeden”….he is a politically leader who is unafraid and unapologetic about his support for our Jewish homeland in Israel.
He speaks against the insiduous and creeping anti-semitism couched as anti-Zionism in the UN.

I do not trust Obama and I do not believe he ever had or ever will have Israel’s back. So I will vote for Romney and pray for a Republican majority in both houses.

Samuel Cooper says:

The government has done a poor job? If it weren’t for Harry Truman and the US government there would not have been a Jewish state created in 1948. If it were for the government of the US and the aid to Israel the state would be gone today. Obama has surrounded himself with Jewish advisors and some of his biggest contributors are Jewish. His wife’s cousin is the Rabbi of the largest African American Jewish congregation in the US. Do you really think he is going to go against the wishes of these people. I think not. Israel does not have to worry about our support. What Obama is doing is trying to find a reasonable solution that will actually work. There are risks in a two state plan, but it may be the only solution that will mover forward to peace. The greater threat to the world is the rapid growth of the Muslim population throughout the world, especially in Europe. They will take control by population in the next 30 years. We will face the same problem at a later date. This is the long range problem to solve. Our economic problems also need a long range solution to short term fixes that don’t work. The growth of the debt starting with Reagan and going crazy with Bush 2 is the history behind our problem. Combine that with greed and here we are. The Republicans put us in this hole and Obama now has an underfunded government and cannot solve the problems without money. More taxes on your rich Republican friends is the first move to solving the situation. Cantor is the poster boy in the House for this greed to continue, which therefore means no programs for the neediest Americans. He panders to the American Jewish population and their ideas of what position Israel should occupy, which isn’t necessarily good for Israel. Putting that aside, Eric Cantor has proposed nothing that won’t further destroy the economy. He is ill prepared for his job and represents the Tea Party and the malcontent haters and racist in this country.

Charles says:

Regurgitating MS NBC plotlines is not what we are discussing…..although George Soros appreciates your support. (Don’t forget the throw the racist card in there as much as you can…always seems to justify any left wing argument—although your comments on Muslims over-running the world sound overtly racist to me).

Unfortunately, 90% of Israeli’s do not share your lofty opinions of Obama and his fundamental awareness of the existential crisis they face. Wonder why Obama is the most unpopular US leader in Israel’s opinion polls since the state was founded? (including Carter the antisemite).You may be assuaged with his assembling a team of cronies that includes a few deluded Jews, but clearly our brethren (whose lives depend on it) are not as comfortable with his leadership.And yes, with children who sleep under the range of nearby missiles at night, they have more of an interest in a just 2 state solution then you could ever contemplate.

More Jews agree with me every day. Come election day you’ll see the end of the Obama administration and a sigh of relief from the broad majority of Israeli’s.

tantelaeh says:

Eric Cantor needs a Birthright program for adult so he can learn what a Jew is placed on earth for. Tikkun Olam which he does none of. His specialty is damage.

Why don’t a group of Jewish Elders take him aside and give this goyish Yid a good talking to.

I’d should test with you here. Which is not one thing I usually do! I take pleasure in reading a post that may make people think. Additionally, thanks for allowing me to remark!

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Eric Cantor on the Upper West Side

Did you know his kids went on Birthright?

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