- The Washington Times - Friday, October 2, 2009

Remember the Sabbath

The Iowa caucuses are scheduled for Jan. 23, a Saturday, and because that is the Sabbath, 18 Jewish organizations have appealed to the state Democratic and Republican party chairmen to revise the “ill-conceived” calendar.

Republican Chairman Matt Strawn and his Democratic counterpart, Michael Kiernan, have said holding caucuses on weeknights makes it difficult for parents and working people to vote.

In a letter to the chairmen, the Jewish groups made a similar complaint about holding caucuses on the Sabbath. They also said voting should not be an either/or proposition - either participate in the democratic process or observe their religious faith.

“Voting and participation in the electoral process is a cornerstone of any democracy. It is the highest civic duty most people ever undertake. Saturday caucuses will force members of the Iowa Jewish community to choose between their faith and their civic duties,” the letter says.

“Given the important role Iowa has in our nation’s electoral contests and their leadership position in serving as a role model to other states, we respectfully ask … the Democratic and Republican parties to reverse this ill-considered this move,” it continued.

The letter was endorsed by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith International, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Hadassah: The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Jewish Labor Committee, Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, Jewish War Veterans, National Council of Jewish Women, National Jewish Democratic Council, ORT America, Orthodox Union, Rabbinical Assembly, Republican Jewish Coalition, Union for Reform Judaism and United Synagogues of Conservative Judaism.


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