A Father Thanks a Political Rival for Nominating His Son to West Point

If I run for Congress in New Jersey’s Ninth district, I will be squaring off against either Congressman Steve Rothman or Congressman Bill Pascrell, who have been squeezed into the same district and who are competing against each other for their party’s nomination.

BY: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach


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But that did not stop him from rewarding my son’s application with the nomination to West Point. Rothman’s decision to put merit before political consideration showed character and integrity and I salute it. It also demonstrated a willingness to populate our officer corps with deserving men and women, whatever the political consequences. Having been nominated, Mendy may join his elder sister Chana who has now volunteered for two years of army service in Israel – training male soldiers for combat – to help an embattled democracy survive against brutal enemies. Mendy is now down to 4000 applicants from which 1500 will be chosen as cadets for the West Point Class of 2016.

He faces an uphill battle. Mendy has to be incredibly physically fit, even though his Yeshiva in Frankfurt has no gym facilities and he therefore has to daily improvise for all his physical activities, and this while having a grueling daily regimen of Torah study that begins at 7am, ends at 10pm, and is only interrupted for hours of spiritual work with the community. Still, he wants to serve his country and is convinced that the greatest force for good in today’s world is the US military consisting of the bravest men and women who are prepared to fight for the freedom and rights of total strangers the world over. For recognizing Mendy’s commitment and character, I am taking the opportunity to thank Congressman Rothman in writing. Even if Rothman and I end up later doing battle in the fall, it will never be as dangerous as any of the battles that our service men and women fight daily in hellish warzones against evil terrorists like the Taliban in Afghanistan.

I pray to G-d for the safety of all our service men and women, especially my children, who may be placed in harm’s way. And I thank G-d for the opportunity they have been afforded to serve, and for the people through whom such service comes about.

Shmuley Boteach, whom Newsweek calls 'the most famous Rabbi in America,' is an award-winning national TV and radio host and international best-selling author of 27 books. He has just published Kosher Jesus. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

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