On April 2, 2018, the NJ Jewish News posted an OpEd that I wrote addressing the extremist views, in the name of religion, that caused me concern about my safety when I go to synagogue. I have often thought about how easy it is to enter a house of worship, which is supposed to be a sacred and hallowed place for all to come together. An angry or mentally ill individual could easily enter and commit heinous crimes against innocent souls. I was in tears on Saturday, while driving to my son’s soccer game, as the tragic story from Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue was being reported. The members of L’Simcha Synagogue went to shul to pray. In Judaism, we pray for love, for health and always for PEACE.
As a Jew, the Holocaust and the history of constant persecution of Jews for hundreds of years has been part of our education. Jews make up two percent of the US population. When I hear people speak about minority status, I always think, “Gee, I’m a minority.” Well, you wouldn’t assume that by the way I look, but we know that race goes much deeper than skin color. My college sociology professor explained that race was about biological differences and religion was a belief system. Not too dissimilar from political party affiliation. Many people identify their ethnicity by country of origin… but Jewish people in America often define themselves as being ethnically Jewish. I often say that I am culturally Jewish, as the scientist in me is often challenged by facts and my spirituality is quite personal.
Recently, I received my 23 and Me test results and was surprised to find out that Ashkenazi Jewish was a classification for ancestry. I had not heard of anyone getting test results saying they were Catholic or Muslim. I thought I was Russian and Polish. I’m 99.9% Ashkenazi and 0.1% African. I guess the Jewish people really did migrate through Egypt, and the DNA doesn’t lie.
I have felt that anti-semitism has been on the rise, and in the last 24 hours, plenty of experts have provided that data in the media. As part of the two percent, I do understand what it is like to be a minority. Have I been on the receiving end of anti-semitic comments? You betcha. Someone recently told me there is no way in hell that I can win this Congressional race because I was Jewish. Wow. I could not believe I heard that in 2018 from someone who lives in my town.
When thinking about who you want to represent you in the House of Representatives, do you want someone who is empathic and understands your needs, or a bully? If you watched the two public forums from News 12 NJ and the Asbury Park Press, that is exactly what you saw. Not polite civil discourse, no new ideas and plenty of explanations by two men about their respective pasts that leave much of the true “facts” up to interpretation. It was a display of partisan political behavior that we have come to despise.
Here is what I am bringing to the table: someone who has lived amongst you and really understands the needs of the community. Leadership that is non-partisan, warm, inviting, genuine, hard-working, compassionate, and collaborative. When I spoke at the League of Women Voters CD4 Candidate Forum about the inequality of wages for women, I said, “I get it” because it’s happened to me. When speaking about a woman’s right to reproductive rights and healthcare, again, as the only woman on the ballot, I get it. My great grandparents and grandparents were immigrants, I get it. As an entrepreneur and single parent who has to pay for their own health insurance, I get it. We use the term separation of “church and state”, I get that too because everyone does not go to a church, we go to synagogues, temples, shuls, and mosques.
Want to send a message to Washington this year? Say “no” to partisan politics. It is destroying the very framework by which this country was founded. Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different outcome. He was a Jewish immigrant, too. In 2008 he was inducted in the NJ Hall of Fame. Say “yes” to change. Remember that 45% of our Congressional district are unaffiliated voters. This is the majority. Who you choose should not be about who raised the most money. Democracy is not for sale. You have seven options on the ballot this year; five are not in the column for Democrat or Republican.
Healthcare is the number one concern for people in this country because health is the foundation for everything. If you don’t have your health, you have nothing. Remember, both parties have not solved our healthcare problem. Want to see a solution that works? Then vote for me. There are 21 committees in Congress and seven of which have oversight for nutrition and health. There is not one nutrition professional in Congress and very few health care professionals – period.
The areas where I bring personal and professional experience to the table are in health, small business, education, the environment, and family law. These are issues that are of primary concern to people in New Jersey and in our district. Is anyone else addressing what is important to YOU? When it comes to our Veterans, they need improved healthcare. We all need it. We don’t need anyone else representing our district who cares more about foreign affairs. We need someone who has lived and worked in this community, to help the people in NJ’s 4th Congressional District. A strong economy is the best national defense.
As The Inclusion Candidate, I am for term limits, tort reform, affordable health care for all, school vouchers, sensible gun laws, the reduction of all violence, the environment, family law reform, and the federal decriminalization of marijuana. Most importantly, I believe in the Golden Rule: “treat others the way you want to be treated.” Let’s stop with the hateful vitriol and find a way to love one another; live in peace and harmony in the best country in the world!