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From Temple Israel bema, teen decries "bullying" of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, decries tactics of Mitt Romney congregant

In the back-and-forth between Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Mitt Romney's Miami-Dade co-chair, Stanley Tate, over an Israel speech, we haven't heard from one person who was deeply affected: Lauren Trushin, the 16-year-old girl who was confirmed Friday night and was looking forward to having the congresswoman speak.

But Wasserman Schultz was uninvited after, according to a close reading of Lauren's speech, Tate made a fuss -- not the congresswoman. Tate's allies say the congresswoman was the fit-pitcher.

"What I learned from the member who made the threats is that... people who engage in bullying get their way when people don’t stand up to them," Lauren said in her speech.

"I have learned some hard lessons recently, and I can’t help but be disappointed that I was not able to hear Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz speak tonight. I find it upsetting that anyone would take a stand against a prominent Jewish politician making a speech about the State of Israel, and make threats and misstatements."

The incident underscores the strong emotions in the fight for the Jewish vote -- even at liberal-leaning synagogues like Temple Israel. President Obama's campaign, incidentally, is advertising on a Temple Israel's UStream channel that features, among other things, a recording of the Shabbat service in question.

Lauren's family had approved of Wasserman Schultz speaking at the Shabbat service, in part because the Broward Congresswoman is a hero of Lauren's. She wrote a 7th grade book report about the Democrat and her mother went to the University of Florida with Wasserman Schultz.

Here's Lauren's take, in her own words in the part of her speech about how Jews should stick together:

"These bouts of resentment within Judaism have even occurred within Temple Israel recently. Debbie Wasserman-Shultz who is a Jewish U.S Congresswoman, was invited to speak here tonight about Israel.

"What could be a more relevant topic for a speech at Temple Israel? Congresswomen Wasserman-Shultz not only serves as a proud Jewish political force in the world, but also as a personal inspiration to me, as she proves that being a Jewish woman doesn’t hinder one’s ability to become an important political figure, something that I hope to possibly achieve someday. I was so excited to have the honor of sharing the bema with the congresswoman on the night of my confirmation.

"But Debbie Wasserman-Shultz is not here tonight to speak about Israel, and I was told it was for security reasons. But the truth is she was un-invited by Temple Israel yesterday, simply because of the fact that a few members of Temple Israel don’t agree with her personal politics. One of these members even threatened to get up and speak on the bema without having been invited, in order to give an opposing viewpoint. I do not understand how a member of this temple could be so disrespectful to the Rabbi, to the other members of this temple, and to a U.S. congresswoman who has been invited to speak to us. As Jews, don’t we all agree that it is very important to maintain a strong U.S.-Israeli relationship, no matter what our personal political beliefs are? What I learned from the member who made the threats is that some people consider personal political beliefs about how this country is run to be more important than the State of Israel, and that people who engage in bullying get their way when people don’t stand up to them.
"When I first heard about the opposition from certain temple members and specifically the threat to storm the bema, one of the first things I thought about, and something I believe we should all consider tonight, is the fourth commandment, which states “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” Today is the Sabbath, the day of rest, which God tells us to respect and keep holy. In the midst of the fierce arguments and disagreements that have taken place recently over who speaks and what they speak about, not only have relationships been hurt and people left appalled by the behavior of others, but we have also forgotten where we are and what this event is about……

"I have learned some hard lessons recently, and I can’t help but be disappointed that I was not able to hear Congresswoman Wasserman-Schultz speak tonight. I find it upsetting that anyone would take a stand against a prominent Jewish politician making a speech about the State of Israel, and make threats and misstatements. In the Ten Commandments, God tells us “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” I interpret this to mean that you shouldn’t fight against those on your side, whether it is by giving false testimony against them, or by denouncing them because of their beliefs concerning issues not having to do with Judaism."

 


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