House Speaker John Boehner grew up in Cincinnatti and has been a politician in Ohio, which has a fairly substantial Jewish population, since 1985. But he says he never set foot inside a synagogue before Monday, when he popped in for a meet-and-greet with Jewish military chaplains gathered at The Shul of Bal Harbor, Fla. (That's the name of the place.)
The invitation was extended by Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Chabad's man in Washington and president of American Friends of Chabad,
There's a detailed account here. Brooklyn's own Rabbi Jacob Goldstein called to tell us about the meeting (that's him to Boehner's left with the white beard), including the perennially suntanned Catholic pol's statement about his lack of shul experience, although Boehner noted that he has attended many Jewish events in the past and has been to Israel. In a some-of-my-best friends-are-Jewish reference he said he was glad to have House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on his team.
Photos of the event show him munching on kosher pastries and speaking from the bima while wearing a knitted kippa with American and Israeli flags, which is very popular among the Modern Orthodox.
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