Jews For George
Rabbi Bunny Freedman gives the invocation at local Bush rally.
abbi E.B. "Bunny" Freedman may not have had a full house dur-
ing his invocation before President George W. Bush's speech on
Oct. 6, but he was left with a memory that will last forever.
About one hour before the president appeared at a rally on the Orchard
Ridge Campus of Oakland Community College in Farmington Hills,
Rabbi Freedman of Oak Park gave the invocation.
"We Americans are called upon once again to make sacrifices to lead
the world against tyranny and terrorism," Rabbi Freedman said.
'Almighty God, bless us as we sacrifice and invest so much to keep free-
dom and liberty on the march."
He asked God to bless our soldiers "entering battle — into harm's way
— to procect innocent men, women and children who they do not
know," and to bless the people of Afghanistan and Iraq 'as they, too,
choose to have the privilege of holding free and democratic elections."
He concluded, "God, in these historic times, bestow upon our presi-
dent the historic blessing given to leaders from biblical times of old until
today. Sustain him, protect him, put in his heart and the heart of all his
officers and counselors the compassion to act with goodness and kindness
for the sake of us here in Michigan."
Amid thousands of cheering supporters who held authorized signs pro-
claiming "Viva Bush," "Farmers for Bush," "Law Enforcement for Bush"
and unauthorized signs like "Jews for George," the president accused
Democratic challenger Sen. John F Kerry of flip flopping, being a tax-
and-spend liberal, and being weak on national security.
The rabbi, who sat behind the president, also had a brief encounter
with him after the speech. "I told him, 'While you were flying over
Pennsylvania, I was giving the invocation,'" he said. "I said, 'We're praying
you do well in the debate on Friday night' [Oct. 8]. He said, 'While
you're at it, will you pray that the press likes it, too?'"
The president signed Rabbi Freedman's speech, and the rabbi gave him
a "Jews for George" button. "We got a call back from the White House
the next day," said Rabbi Freedman. "When the president brought the
button back, everyone got a big kick out of it, and all the Jewish people in
the White House wanted 25 more buttons."
The "Jews for George" slogan was the brainchild of Rabbi Freedman's
son, Moe, who serves as communications director of a Michigan group by
the same name.
According to the organization's Web site, the group is "a grassroots
political movement of Michigan Jews, comprised of Republicans,
Democrats and Independents, dedicated to securing the Jewish vote in
our state." They believe "the president's record on Israel, homeland securi-
ty and the war on terror demands the full support of Michigan's Jewish
Linda Stulberg of Farmington Hills, who, along with four other local
Jewish women, gives a testimonial on the Jews for George site, said she
was thrilled to see not only the president, but also Rabbi Freedman on
stage. "It was particularly moving and inspiring and thrilling to see a rabbi
from our community give the invocation and especially that he quoted
the Bible and spoke in Hebrew," she said.
Top to bottom: Rabbi Freedman, in a striped tie to the right of President
Bush, takes in the view from the stage.
Ephraim Britvan of Southfield shows his support on his back.
Jews for George" signage
Staff photos by Harry Kirsbaurn