Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 24, 2014

Mazel Tov to Absent Rabbi

As Rep. Bill Pascrell learned he defeated fellow Rep. Steven Rothman in New Jersey’s Democratic primary Tuesday night, his November challenger was probably dancing the Horah and singing “Hava Nagila.”

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a heavily bearded Orthodox Jew, won the Republican primary in the 9th district. He wasn’t there, though, instead opting to be halfway around the world for his sister-in-law’s wedding in Israel.

Boteach is famed for his retired TLC reality TV show “Shalom in the Home,” in which he counseled families on facilitating kosher relationships and behavior. He has also written more than two dozen books, the most popular of which is probably “Kosher Sex.” Others include “An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Judaism,” “Dating Secrets of the Ten Commandments” and “Kosher Adultery: Seduce and Sin With Your Spouse.” His non-campaign website sells bobblehead toys of himself, too.

On Wednesday morning, the Rabbi tweeted about meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Boteach previously met Netanyahu at Oxford University in England when Boteach served as its rabbi.

After some light schmoozing, the two got down to business.

“We discussed whether Israel could absorb some of the Arab refugees from Syria,” Boteach said in a statement. “[Netanyahu] shared the enormous challenges a small country like Israel already faces in its existing obligations in taking in refugees from dangerous spots all over the world.”

With him, Boteach brought his daughter, Chana, who’s a soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces. According to the release, Netanyahu said to him, “Tell them your daughter is not only fighting to protect Israel. She’s fighting to protect America.”

The 9th district encompasses much of Bergen County — which has a significant Jewish population, but of the Reform, liberal type. Roll Call predicts Boteach doesn’t stand much of a chance against Pascrell.

— Rebecca Shabad

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