Daily Kickoff: Hillary asked about Rabbi Simcha Bunim’s two pockets | Trump, Rubio & Mort Klein question POTUS Mosque visit | Non-Dairy Ben & Jerry’s

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HEARD LAST NIGHT — Rabbi Jonathan Spira-Savett of Temple Beth Abraham in Nashua, NH, asked Hillary Clinton at CNN’s Democratic Town Hall: “Another rabbi, Rabbi Simcha Bunem taught that every person has to have two pockets and in each pocket they have to carry a different note. And the note in one pocket says the universe was created for me. And in the other pocket the note says I am just dust and ashes. And I want you to take a moment and think about what you would tell us about your two pockets. How do you cultivate the ego, the ego that we all know you must have, a person must have to be the leader of the free world, and also the humility to recognize that we know that you can’t be expected to be wise about all the things that the president has to be responsible for?”

Hillary’s answer: “Another absolutely wonderful question. Thank you, Rabbi. I think about this a lot. Um, I feel very fortunate that I am a person of faith, that I was raised in my church and that I have had to deal and struggle with a lot of these issues about ambition and humility, about service and self-gratification, all of the human questions that all of us deal with, but when you put yourself out into the public arena, I think it’s incumbent upon you to be as self-conscious as possible. This is hard for me. You know, I never thought I’d be standing on a stage here asking people to vote for me for president. I always wanted to be of service…”

“I have friends who are rabbis who send me notes, give me readings that are going to be discussed in services. So I really appreciate all that incoming… And the final thing I would say, because again, it’s not anything I’ve ever talked about this much publicly, everybody knows I — I have lived a very public life for the last 25 or so years. And so I’ve had to be in public dealing with some very difficult issues and personal issues, political, public issues. And I read a, um, a treatment of the prodigal son parable by the Jesuit Henri Nouwen, who I think is a magnificent writer of spiritual and theological concerns. And I — I read that parable and there was a line in it that became just a lifeline for me. And it basically is practice the discipline of gratitude.”

“So regardless of how hard the days are, how difficult the decisions are, be grateful. Be grateful for being a human being, being part of the universe. Be grateful for your limitations. Know that you have to reach out to have more people be with you, to support you, to advise you, listen to your critics, answer the questions. But at the end, be grateful. Practice the discipline of gratitude..”

And later in the town hall, Hillary added: “I am so fortunate that I still have my friends from grade school and every other phase of my life. And they keep me grounded, they keep me honest, they deflate my head, they deal with the universe in one pocket and the dust and ashes in the other. (laughter)”

HOW IT PLAYED: “Hillary Clinton’s most reflective answer of the CNN town hall forum in New Hampshire on Wednesday night came in answer to a question from a rabbi.” [WashPost] • “Hillary Clinton answers rabbi question about humility” [BusinessInsider] • “Clinton and Sanders Open up About Spirituality” [ABCNews] • “Sanders discusses faith, Clinton grapples with rabbinical question on humility” [JTA• “Clinton Drops Script to Give New Hampshire a Glimpse Inside” [Bloomberg

TOP TWEETS: Paul Begala — “Hillary Clinton has been my friend for 25 years. Her response to that rabbi is the Hillary I’ve seen in private: reflective, spiritual.” [Twitter] • CNBC’s John Harwood — “Terrific questions from voters at this CNN town hall. Rabbi’s on ego/humility balance so apt/smart” [Twitter] • Bloomberg View’s Jonathan Bernstein — “Can’t believe that rabbi asked Hillary about shiksa appeal” [Twitter] • Politico’s Roger Simon — “That rabbi came from central casting.” [Twitter• Daily Beast’s Noah Shachtman — “As a dedicated and proud Jew, let me say: this rabbi’s tie is an affront to the Lord.” [Twitter] • Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin — “On Wednesday, the rabbi asked about pockets.” [Twitter] • Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere — “The kiddush after the CNN town hall will be served in the multipurpose room” [Twitter]

At the end of the town hall, as Hillary was exiting the stage, she was heard saying “I want to meet the Rabbi!” [Twitter]

OU’s Nathan Diament provides link to background info on Rabbi’s question… [TwitterWikipedia]

Anderson Cooper to Bernie Sanders: “You’re Jewish, but you’ve said that you’re not actively involved with organized religion. What do you say to a voter out there who says — and that who sees faith as a guiding principle in their lives, and wants it to be a guiding principle for this country?”

Sanders responded: “It’s a guiding principle in my life, absolutely, it is. You know, everybody practices religion in a different way. To me, I would not be here tonight, I would not be running for president of the United States if I did not have very strong religious and spiritual feelings… my spirituality is that we are all in this together and that when children go hungry, when veterans sleep out on the street, it impacts me. That’s my very strong spiritual feeling.”

Peter Beinart: “By fighting Hillary Clinton to a virtual draw this week in Iowa, Bernie Sanders became the most successful Jewish presidential candidate in American history. But that’s largely beside the point. Sanders’ real cultural significance isn’t that he’s Jewish; it’s that he’s secular… Sanders also typifies what is happening in a large swath of Jewish America. Twenty percent of self-described American Jews now say they have no religion. Among American Jews born after 1980 that rises to almost one in three. Politically, these secular Jews have much less in common with Orthodox Jews than with other secularists. Sanders has now replaced Jon Stewart as their most prominent symbol.” [Haaretz]

Wolf Blitzer asks Bernie Sanders on CNN: “You, of course, are Jewish. Do you think that potentially could be a problem, working with the Muslim world out there and trying to get help – for example – in the war against ISIS?” Blitzer asked Sanders during a live interview on CNN. “No, I don’t,” Sanders responded.” [JewishInsider]

WATCH LIVE: 2016 National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton [CSPAN]

HEARD YESTERDAY: “Obama, in Mosque Visit, Denounces Anti-Muslim Bias” by Gardiner Harris: “In a visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore, his first to a mosque in the United States as president, Mr. Obama recited phrases from the Quran and praised American Muslims as a crucial part of America’s history and vital to the nation’s future… But Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, one of the country’s oldest and largest pro-Israel organizations, denounced Mr. Obama for visiting a mosque whose leaders, Mr. Klein said, have among other issues criticized Israeli military actions. “Going to such a mosque only encourages radical Muslims to harm Americans,” Mr. Klein said.” [NYTimes]

From President Obama’s speech: “Often, we focus on our outward differences and we forget how much we share. Christians, Jews, Muslims — we’re all, under our faiths, descendants of Abraham. So mere tolerance of different religions is not enough. Our faiths summon us to embrace our common humanity.. Faith leaders, including Muslims, must speak out when Christians are persecuted around the world or when anti-Semitism is on the rise — because the fact is, is that there are Christians who are targeted now in the Middle East, despite having been there for centuries, and there are Jews who’ve lived in places like France for centuries who now feel obliged to leave because they feel themselves under assault — sometimes by Muslims. We have to be consistent in condemning hateful rhetoric and violence against everyone.” [CSPAN]

OU official: Obama mosque visit sends message of standing for religious diversity: “George W. Bush went to a mosque a few days after 9-11 to send the message the United States should stand by principles of religious diversity and religious freedom for all faiths,” Nathan Diament, the umbrella body’s Washington director, told JTA in an interview. “It’s appropriate for President Obama to send a similar message just as he sends to synagogues and churches.” [JTA]

“Trump and Rubio question President Obama’s visit to a mosque” by Jenna Johnson and Sean Sullivan: “Trump, who has long slyly suggested that Obama is not a Christian, said on Fox News on Wednesday night that Obama might have visited the mosque because “maybe he feels comfortable there.” Meanwhile, Rubio said at a town hall at a pub in New Hampshire that Obama’s decision to give a speech at a mosque is yet another example of him dividing the country.”

“I’m tired of being divided against each other for political reasons like this president’s done,” Rubio said. “Always pitting people against each other. Always.” “Look at today – he gave a speech at a mosque,” Rubio continued. “Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims. Of course there’s going to be discrimination in America of every kind. But the bigger issue is radical Islam. And by the way, radical Islam poses a threat to Muslims themselves.” [WashPost]

ADELSON PRIMARY: “Adelson’s Israel Hayom: ‘Rubio – Biggest Winner’ in Iowa” by Jacob Kornbluh: “The big winner was Marco Rubio, who leapt above expectations with 23%,” the cover’s sub-line read. In a spread over the 3rd page, Boaz Bismuth, the paper’s foreign editor and columnist wrote, “Rubio is suddenly being portrayed as the party’s savior, the man who can win not only his party primaries at the Republican convention in Ohio in June but also the general election in November.” [JewishInsider]

“Kasich defends Israel’s settlement policy” by Jacob Kornbluh: “If you don’t like what Israel is doing with some apartments, then go and tell them – if that’s what you don’t like. But don’t tell them in front of a bunch of cameras. You see, if I want to correct my children, I don’t do it in front of other people. And if I ever get close to that, they make it clear they don’t like it. [The same should apply] with the Israelis: you got a problem, you can tell them but tell them in private.”

“Are there things that maybe they could do better, somehow? Probably. But I am not going to do this stuff in the open. If I have a problem with Netanyahu, I will talk to him privately,” he added. But Kasich seemed to defend Israel’s settlement activity. “Why are they building more apartments? Because it’s land; it’s security,” he explained. Vowing, “I would never, ever, ever jeopardize the security of that country. Never.” [JewishInsider] • Video of Kasich’s remarks [CSPAN]

Politico’s Katie Glueck tweets: “Someone holding big Israeli flag is at Cruz Nashua event. Cruz nods his direction as he promises to move embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem” [Twitter]

Chemi Shalev: “Most Jews Will Refuse Cruz, Despite His Warm Embrace of Israel: The Texas senator’s constituency is limited to single-issue Israel voters and those Orthodox Jews who share his contempt for ‘New York values.’ [Haaretz]

“Why Mike Bloomberg Can Win” by Doug Schoen: “As the results from the Iowa caucuses rolled in Monday, it became more clear than ever: If former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ran for president as an independent, he would be a serious contender for the White House. I work for Mr. Bloomberg as a pollster, and as this campaign has unfolded I have been struck by the gap between voters’ concerns and how the media has portrayed them.” [WSJ]

Ari Shavit writes… “World Jewry Needs an AIPAC-style Lobby in Jerusalem” [Haaretz]

“After Israel row, Ban to pray at New York synagogue” by Herb Keinon: “UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to attend a service on Shabbat at a New York Orthodox synagogue to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, at the end of a week of sharp tension with Israel over his criticism that Jerusalem interpreted as giving a “tailwind” to terrorism. Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon will accompany Ban to the Park East Synagogue for the service and an address by the UN secretary-general.” [JPost]

**Good Thursday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI].  Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email editor@jewishinsider.com**

BUSINESS BRIEFS: “With Sumner Redstone Out at CBS, Viacom Girds for a Tricky Transition” [DealBook] • “Shari Redstone Ignites War With Philippe Dauman Over Viacom’s Future” [Variety] • “The Nakash family behind the Jordache jeans empire is buying the Hotel Lincoln in Chicago for over $70M” [Crains] • “Ziff Family Transfer Marks Record Real Estate Sale” [VineyardGazette• “At $780 million, potential subsidy for Las Vegas stadium at front of the pack” [ReviewJournal]

Robert Kraft to Keynote YU Commencement: “Having already won four Vince Lombardi Trophies, Robert K. Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, will add another honor to his collection. Yeshiva University will confer upon Kraft, founder, chairman and CEO of The Kraft Group, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at its 85th Commencement on Wednesday, May 25, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.” [YUNews]

FIRST PERSON: “Iranian Spies Tried to Entrap Me in a Pret A Manger” by Azadeh Moaveniazadeh Moaveni: “Many Iranians, including the intelligence agents I dealt with in Iran, believe the Western media functions like the press under authoritarian regimes, with coverage formally dictated straight from the top. On many occasions, in both Tehran and in later years, authorities and others close to them have asked me who ordered up stories they didn’t like, assuming there was a chain of command you could map out, leading straight back to some official in Washington. The mechanics of this interested the authorities deeply, because in their eyes, it helped determine which journalists were spies.” [ForeignPolicy]

DOCUMENTARY PROFILE: “From working her way up the ranks in the Israeli army to being crowned Israel’s first Black beauty queen, Yityish (also known as Titi) gets candid about her personal style and touches on an important issue facing the Ethiopian-Israeli community.” [Essence]

SPORTS BLINK: “Denver, Charlotte Rabbis Make Super Bowl 50 Bet: Rabbi Judith Schindler of Charlotte’s Temple Beth El and Rabbi Joe Black of Denver’s Temple Emanuel devise wager will see both communities donate to charity, no matter if Carolina Panthers or Denver Broncos emerge victorious.”[JTA]

DESSERT: “The Best Kosher Corridor Restaurants, According to MexiKosher Chef Katsuji Tanabe” by Besha Rodell: “Katsuji Tanabe is already a great example of the rich cultural jumble we call home. The half-Mexican, half-Japanese chef runs MexiKosher, which is exactly what it sounds like: a Mexican restaurant that’s also kosher. Its location is no coincidence — this stretch of Pico Boulevard, as well as the area from Beverly Drive on the west to La Cienega on the east, has long been known as the Kosher Corridor, an area home to a large portion of the city’s Orthodox Jewish community. He also has a lot of opinions on what to eat in L.A.’s Kosher Corridor. So many, in fact, we thought he might share them with us. Here are nine of his neighborhood favorites.” [LAWeekly]

“Ben & Jerry’s Is Rolling Out Non-Dairy Flavors For The First Time” by Zoe Bain: “After all that testing (and tasting!) the company is finally ready to launch its non-dairy line. The flavors are: Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Chunky Monkey, Coffee Caramel Fudge, Coffee with Fudge Chunks & Caramel Swirl, and P.B. & Cookies. All four are vegan certified and will be available on store shelves and in Scoop Shops starting mid to late February.” [Refinery29] • @BenAndJerrys tweeted: “They are certified kosher DE. Thanks for asking.” [Twitter]

BIRTHDAYS: Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti turns 45… Abby Cable, AIPAC’s assistant Director of Policy and Gov’t Affairs… Patrick Leek… Actor Jerry Adler, “Hesh” on the Sopranos, turns 87…

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