The following was posted on the Rabbinic List Serve RAVKAV for the Reform Rabbinate by Rabbi Fred Davidow who gave me permission to post it here.
This story illustrates why Joe Biden is so beloved and respected and why Joementum happened across the country on Super Tuesday since Joe’s remarkable win in South Carolina.
Though I posted an endorsement for Mike Bloomberg a few weeks ago (I did it because Joe was sinking and I thought Bloomberg was the only candidate that could beat Trump – no longer), I have always loved Joe. I am so pleased that he has now catapulted to be the hoped-for winner of the Democratic nomination for President. He has my full support going forward and I hope that Mike Bloomberg decides to suspend his campaign and give his support to Biden and support down-ballot races to keep the House and win the Senate.
Here is that posting.
“S’iz an emese mayse.”
About 16 years ago Rabbi Michael Beals, rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom in Wilmington, DE, led a shiva minyan for a woman named Mrs. Greenhouse. She had not been a person of means and lived in rent-controlled housing in a tall-rise building in the Wilmington area. Her apartment was too small for the minyan so the ten elders assembled in the communal laundry room in the basement of the high-rise. It was the most humble of places.
Toward the end of the service, a door at the back of the laundry room opened, and in walked Senator Joe Biden, his head lowered, all by himself. I nearly dropped my prayer book in shock. Senator Biden stood quietly in the back of the room for the duration of the service.
After the Kaddish Rabbi Beals walked over to him and asked the same question that was on everyone else’s mind: “Senator Biden, what are you doing here?”
And he said to me: “Listen, back in 1972, when I first ran for the Senate, Mrs. Greenhouse gave $18 to my first campaign. Because that’s what she could afford. And every six years, when I’d run for reelection, she’d give another $18. She did it her whole life. I’m here to show my respect and gratitude.”
No reporters, no photographers, no dignitaries were there. Just ten elders in a basement laundry room. Joe Biden didn’t come to that service for political gain. He came because he has character. He came because he’s a mensch. We need a mensch as the leader of our country.
Rabbi Beals tells as many people who will listen that Biden is that mensch.