When President Barack Obama visited Stamford on Friday, he didn’t see Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., a resident and native of the city.
Lieberman, who is Jewish, did not attend the fundraiser for U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., because he was celebrating the Shabbos at his Strawberry Hill Avenue home, his spokeswoman said.
“While he’s delighted the president is coming to Stamford, because of the Sabbath, he won’t be able to attend,” spokeswoman Erika Masonhall said.
Obama spoke at Friday evening’s fundraising dinner for Connecticut’s embattled senior senator at the Hilton Stamford hotel.
While Dodd faces a challenging campaign for re-election in 2010, Masonhall said Lieberman has loudly endorsed him so he can “continue (his) work for the state and the nation.”
The Advocate reported that in the past, Lieberman’s staff has said juggling his political ambitions and religious obligations is a balancing act, but one that has always been a part of his 30-year career in public service.
As an Orthodox Jew, Lieberman observes Shabbos by avoiding activities such as driving, working, spending money and cooking from sundown Friday until after sundown Saturday.
He has maintained this throughout his life, though it has been more apparent to the public during campaign season.
During Lieberman’s vice presidential bid in 2000, presidential campaign in 2004 and Senate re-election race in recent years, many events were rescheduled to accommodate his beliefs, and he willingly missed others to observe Shabbos.
“There are some political events that I’m going to miss on Friday night and Saturday — I already have,” Lieberman told the Associated Press in 2003.
“But I made a decision early on in my life what my priorities are, and I just hope and believe that people will respect that.”