Friday, June 01, 2007

Shabbat Shalom 15 Sivan 5767

Peter Roskam the Real Deal
Illinois freshmen congressman addresses RJC

Last year at this time I was disgusted with the Republican Party. Bigger government, out of control spending and dropping the ball on social security and education reform. However, there was one GOP candidate running for congress in Illinois I was excited about. Then state senator Peter Roskam.

After a hotly contested race for the seat vacated by Henry Hyde (R), Roskam defeated the Democratic Machine picked and funded candidate, Tammy Duckworth. The grueling campaign took it's toll on Roskam and his family. His wife Elizabeth and he decided that a family getaway was in order. Congressman-elect Roskam took his family to Israel.

Last night, Peter and Elizabeth discussed their trip to the Jewish State with a 100+ members of Republican Jewish Coalition, in suburban Chicago. "Before my most recent trip I was pro-Israel," said Roskam. "After returning from our trip last fall, I am very...very pro-Israel."

Mrs. Roskam began the conversation by reading from a trip journal her 12 year old son had done for school. It was obvious as she read from the booklet how proud she was of her son and the words he had written. At first she told the crowd, she wouldn't read the journal verbatim. However, a mother's love and pride took over. She at times read the journal word for word.

The booklet expressed great joy of seeing so many sites that have biblical significance. Their son would make comments about the bible and then talk about the site they visited as it related to their Christian faith. He talked about wearing a "Yamaka" when praying at the Western Wall and the history of the holy site. Their son ended his school assignment by saying he would "highly...highly...highly...highly recommend a trip to Israel."

When the congressman began speaking about their trip, he talked about the great respect the Israeli's had for other faiths and their holy sites being Christian or Muslim. The family had a Thanksgiving day lunch in a shop that a few months earlier was being bombarded with Katushka rockets fired from Lebanon.

The congressman and his wife shined with pride as they continued discussing their trip. As a Jew I was glad they were comfortable speaking in the context of their Christian faith. It was obvious they knew they were in the company of friends who respected them and their faith, even if it was different than everyone else in the room.

The Roskam's spoke about their trip for about 30 minutes. Afterwards they took questions for another 45 minutes. One of the most memorable moments for your brilliant blogger was when an audience member asked a question regarding Christian holy sites now being under the Palestinian Authority. Mrs. Roskam answered this question and while doing so, sadness and concern could be seen in her face and heard in her voice.

She talked about going to the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth in Bethlehem, which is in the Palestinian controlled West Bank. What should be the highlight of any Christian going to the Holy Land, was undoubtedly a let down for the Roskam's. What was once a vibrant Arab-Christian community is now mostly Muslim and the Christians are not treated well. It was apparent that this sad reality hurt Mrs. Roskam. She told the crowd that they visited the Church of the Nativity, stopped in the gift shop and made their way back to Jerusalem. Apparently their wasn't anything else for Christian tourists to do in the PA controlled holy site.

Audience questions eventually f0cussed on other issues , such as immigration and Iraq. The congressman despises the current immigration bill and believes winning in Iraq is crucial to the security of the United States.

My wife and I enjoyed listening to the Roskam's talk about Israel and are grateful they took the time to speak with the RJC. The congressman is the real deal. Genuine, honest and able to point out the flaws in government as well as in his own Party. His candor was refreshing and appreciated. Thank you Congressman Peter Roskam for supporting the Jewish state and recognizing the importance of wining the war on terrorism.

Paulies Point Retraction
An apology to Tribune Writer James Kimberly

In Thursday's posting, "Father Pfleger calls for human being to be murdered," I expressed my discontent for an article written by James Kimberly in the Chicago Tribune. Even though I do believe the story was greatly flawed for not addressing dangerous comments made by Pastor Michael Pfleger, I referred to the story as a "blatant pro-gun control piece." Upon further review, I believe that I allowed emotion to cloud my judgement. By no means was this a "blatant pro-gun control piece," and for that I do apologize to Mr. Kimberly.

I also had an email exchange with the Chicago tribune reporter, who was gracious enough to explain a few journalism realities that I have forgotten since my previous life with CNN and WGN Radio. Mr. Kimberly sent me a very detailed email about the event and his opinions, which even though I may not agree with, I do believe he wrote the story in good faith and with the utmost professionalism.

On a personal note to Mr. Kimberly: I know as well as anyone that working on a holiday weekend sucks!


Note to my readers: Expect a big upcoming week of Paulies Point.


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