A Look Inside Lichtenstein’s Hillary Fundraiser

PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS


Hillary Clinton has the attributes that a leader of the free world should have, which is compassion, empathy, and a sense of right, David Lichtenstein, Chairman and CEO of The Lightstone Group, said on Saturday.

On Thursday, Lichtenstein hosted a fundraiser in support of the Democratic presidential front-runner at a private residence in Manhattan. As reported in our Daily Kickoff on Friday, the event was sold out and many people were turned away.

Like in the past, Lichtenstein got criticized in local Orthodox blogs for hosting the event. During his weekly radio program, Headlines: Halachic Debates of Current Events, on Talkline Communications Saturday night, Lichtenstein said he had received several letters on the matter. “How could you support such a lady to become president of this country and people waste their hard-earned money on somebody so corrupt and dishonest?” Lichtenstein read on air an excerpt of one letter sent by Yechiel Eberbach.

Responding to the criticism, Lichtenstein said he would rely on statements given by OU’s Rabbi Menachem Genack, who attended the event. “He says, ‘I know the Clintons for 25 years. They have nothing but the nicest things to say about our brethren,'” Lichtenstein stated. “[Bill Clinton] was considered one of the greatest supporters of Israel in our lifetime. They have a son-in-law who’s Jewish, many of their friends are Jewish, some of their very best friends, and there is no reason to believe that she would be any different.”

“Additionally, we as tzibur (community) have to recognize that there is a reasonable chance that she will be president and for us to have not any friends who support her is not the brightest position as a community that we could take,” he stressed.

Lichtenstein gave an inside look at the event. “I can tell you that it was sold out and that it was jam-packed. We were turning people away… I think many people told me it was a ‘Kiddush Hashem’ (sanctification of G-d’s name).” He also repeated his introduction of Hillary, which reflected on the weekly Torah portion. In his remarks, Lichtenstein drew a parallel between the acts of Moses and  Batya, the daughter of Pharaoh, to the values the Democratic presidential hopeful embodies. For Moses, he said, it was “standing up for the disadvantaged, the outcast, the deprived, the weak, putting his life at risk,” as he experiences two incidents of Jews being beaten up. In the case of Batya, it was the courage and the compassion she demonstrated when she saved Moses as a baby floating in a little casket on the Nile river. “What do we know about the leader? A leader of the world has compassion, empathy, a sense of right, a sense of fearness.”

“As I said, we elect a leader of the free world. That’s really what we are looking for and I think that she really is,” said Lichtenstein. Adding, “People told me that she was smiling and nodding and agreed with the Dvar Torah.”

Lichtenstein said he closed off by saying: “The leading Republican candidate, who so many people are inspired with, this is a quote from him. He said, ‘Greed is good. You can’t be too greedy. You can’t own enough. Take everything you can.’ Here’s a quote from Clinton that she said when she was 14. She heard it from her teacher. She said it changed her life and this is the quote: ‘Do all the good you can to whomever you can, in as many was as you can, however you can for as long, ever, as you can.’ Which one exemplifies our value system best?”


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