By COLlive reporter
Photos by Carlos Chattah / The Shul
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today attended (and in a first for him) spoke at The SHUL in Bal Harbour, Florida, an affiliate of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement and one of America’s largest and most beautiful Jewish houses of worship and study.
In introducing the Speaker, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Executive Vice President of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) in Washington, DC, which helped coordinate the visit, referenced this week’s Torah reading when he spoke of the central value of a strong legislative body, which upholds civic and civilized life within society.
Drawing on his own life story, Speaker Boehner, who is Catholic, related how he became involved in the Ohio State Legislature, then the US Congress. While still a State legislator, a colleague invited him to Israel, where he developed a love for Holy Land and the Jewish people. He has been back many times since.
The Speaker, who shared his strongly supportive views regarding the US-Israel relationship, pledged to ensure that under his watch the trust between Israel and America is maintained to the benefit of our mutual defense. He additionally spoke on the importance of education in society (he was Chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee) andnoted how he is proud to have on his team the highest ranking Jewish official in US history, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).
The event was superbly hosted by Rabbi Shalom B. Lipskar, the dynamic spiritual leader of The SHUL and founder of the Aleph Institute, a premier provider of important services to thousands of Jewish men and women serving in the US Armed Forces, as well as those in the Jewish community who are in the prison system and their families.
“It’s a very special opportunity to welcome such a prestigious guest into our community, and to recognize his staunch support of Israel and our community’s values, particularly a concentrated focus on education,” said Rabbi Lipskar.
The Aleph Institute was holding its annual leadership conference this weekend, with many senior military personnel participating, and Speaker Boehner was particularly delighted to meet the Jewish military officers and servicemen and women, along with other leaders of the community, who were honored to be greeted by America’s third highest official.
The 10th Annual Aleph Auction will be held Monday night, February 13 at 7 PM at the Shul. Proceeds directly benefit Aleph’s military programs. Tickets may be purchased all day Monday until 10 pm at AlephAuction.org