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Sen. Lieberman Walks to Work on Shabbat

Trudges through snow for vote on health care

by
Allison Hoffman
December 07, 2009
Sen. Lieberman at a committee meeting in November.(Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images)

Sen. Lieberman at a committee meeting in November.(Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images)

Everyone knows that Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) is an Orthodox Jew, and everyone knows that observant Jews don’t do work on Shabbat. But we also know that for every rule there is an exception, and this weekend Lieberman exercised one—literally—in order to be present for the Senate debate on the health-care reform bill. On Saturday, the Connecticut senator walked nearly five miles, from his Georgetown synagogue to the Capitol, and once there cast a nay vote on a Republican amendment on Medicare spending cuts. His dedication to both his religion and his job is all the more notable because Saturday marked not just the Jewish day of rest but also the first snowfall in Washington, D.C., this winter. Lieberman told The Hill newspaper that it is okay to bend the rules when the good of the community is at stake. But “good of the community” is in the eye of the beholder: today, and despite his vote Saturday (which found Lieberman joining with Democrats), a progressive group launched a new television ad attacking Lieberman for his continued opposition to a government-backed insurance system. Shavuah tov, senator!

Allison Hoffman is a senior editor at Tablet Magazine. Her Twitter feed is @allisont_dc.

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