Thirty community Rabbis, representing a large portion of the Florida orthodox spectrum gathered today for a discussion of issues and an exchange of ideas in Ft. Lauderdale with Florida United States Senatorial candidate Marco Rubio.
Rubio, the Republican candidate, endorsed by the Miami Herald and leading in the poles, expressed his appreciation to the community leaders, educators, and Rabbis for their openness and support. He was accompanied by the Majority leader of the Florida House of Representatives, Adam Hasner. Adam stated that in his years in public service he was extremely impressed that these rabbis who represent over 30,000 Jews were all there .
In his remarks, he addressed many of the concerns of the Jewish voters including his position on Israel and issues faced by many communities in South Florida.
Funding for faith based organizations and security funding for schools were high on the agenda of the yeshiva principals in attendance who represented thousands of children in their schools, including the Lubavitch Education Center, Yeshiva Toras Emes, and the Weinbaum Yeshiva High School.
Joining the more than 20 Chabad Rabbis, were representatives of Agudah and the OU from Washington, D.C., local Rabbis of Young Israel congregations, the Sefardic community, Roshei Yeshiva of many schools and NCSY and a representative. of Chesed of South Florida and rabbis representing the Russian Jewish community
The issue of school vouchers and job creation were discussed as they represent a high priority in Jewish community life.
Rabbi Yehuda Kaploun, of North Miami Beach presented Rubio with a Mezuzah and on behalf of the gathered community leaders looked forward to placing the Mezuzah on the doorpost of his new office in the United States Senate building in Washington D.C. Rubio stated it would be his pleasure to have the rabbis join him in his office to affix it .
In his remarks, Kaploun related the story in the Talmud (Avodah Zara) of the Rabbi who received a large diamond as a gift and had given a Mezuzah as a gift in return. The recipient questioned the value of the small hand written parchment in relation to the diamond. The Rabbi’s response clarified the issue by saying that the diamond requires protection, whereas the Mezuzah provides protection for those inside the home.
Rubio himself a religious man, has remained consistent in his positions and expressed his understanding of faith and the freedom this country provides to every individual to practice their religious beliefs. He concluded his remarks by thanking the entire group and made a commitment to remain a friend of the Jewish community and Israel and continue to address local concerns in his position as the new senator from Florida.