Tuesday, December 07, 2010

My Ugandan National Parliament Endorsement

As a rabbi, I'm hesitant to publicly endorse any political candidates. First, I try to keep my politics private; and second, I don't want to jeopardize the tax-exempt status of any non-profit organizations which I represent. However, I'm going to go out on a limb here and endorse my friend and rabbinic colleague for Uganda's National Parliament.

Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, who was recently ordained at the American Jewish University, is running for National Parliament of Uganda. When Gershom is elected, he'll be the first Jew ever elected to any national office in Uganda. What's more is that he will be the first rabbi to be seated in nationally elected government outside of Israel. Very impressive!

The Be'chol Lashon website quotes Gershom explaining that his political mission is directly connected to his religious vision. He says, "It is important that local and national government officials be tolerant and foster a climate of understanding between religious groups." Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, of Be'chol Lashon, explains that "his vision of religious tolerance runs counter to the discrimination he experienced growing up during the rule of Idi Amin Dada. Under Amin, Judaism was banned and the native Jewish community, called the Abayudaya, was persecuted."

I first met Gershom Sizomu when he came with J.J. Keki on a speaking tour to the U.S. I found him to be a mensch who is only concerned with the best interests of his people. I hope that the Ugandan people will vote for Rabbi Gershom Sizoum in the February 18, 2011 National Parliament elections.

1 comment:

Rabbi Charles Arian said...

I bet that if Gershom Sizomu is elected, he won't be the first rabbi ever elected to national office outside of Israel. Agudath Israel ran as a party for the Polish parliament between the two world wars; remember pre-war Poland was 10% Jewish. They probably had rabbis in parliament though I am too lazy to do the research.

Also, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is a member of the House of Lords as was his predecessor. This isn't an elective office of course but technically he is a member of Parliament.