The news surrounding Elena Kagan’s nomination has focused on more than her legal qualifications — her looks have caused a lot of buzz, too. Michael Savage, talk show commentator, said that Kagan “looks like she belongs in a kosher deli.” Another writer questioned, “Why do Janet Napolitano, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan all look like linebackers for the New York Jets?” JInsider wanted to get a Torah perspective on the relative importance of physical appearance from one of our favorite and most thoughtful rabbis, Rabbi Naomi Levy (www.nashuva.com).
Her background surfaces even as Jewish groups mostly silent on wider nomination battle.
James D. Besser
A Jewish community divided over key constitutional questions is watching closely but mostly silently as a hyper-partisan Senate debates President Barack Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to succeed the retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens — and as hints that the nominee’s Jewishness is being used against her surface.
Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is scoring points for grace with her witty comeback during confirmation hearings to South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham's oddly non-sequitur question "Where were you last Christmas?"
To her credit, the solicitor general defused the situation by saying she was likely eating at a Chinese restaurant, to which Graham answered "Great answer."
She has also had to contend with questions that stress her Upper West Side origins and her admiration of an Israeli jurist.
(JTA) — Jewish Democrats launched a petition calling on a columnist syndicate to drop Pat Buchanan.
The National Jewish Democratic Council said a recent column by the three-time presidential candidate questioning President Obama’s pick of Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court was intolerant because it made an issue of her Jewish faith.
Elena Kagan was Lincoln Square’s first bat mitzvah.
Elena Kagan, President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, wanted a bat mitzvah when she turned 12. But that simply was not done in May 1973 at Lincoln Square Synagogue, the Orthodox congregation to which the Kagan family belonged.
“I remember she was very definite,” recalled Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the congregation’s spiritual leader. “She came to me and very much wanted it; she was very strong about it. She wanted to recite a Haftorah like the boys, and she wanted her bat mitzvah on a Saturday morning.”
Religion not seen as key dividing line in country.
James D. Besser
The argument that anti-Semitism still stifles Jewish achievement in modern America will be a little harder to make if President Barack Obama’s second Supreme Court nomination passes muster with the Senate.