Judaism — it’s a big religion; America — it’s an even bigger place.
But one man — one brave, self-sacrificing man — has taken upon himself the weight and burden of serving both constituencies, of being just the Jew that this country needs, of being: America’s Rabbi.
I’m sorry, did I say “one man”? I meant “five men.”
There are five American men (and yes of course they’re men) currently laying claim to the title of “America’s Rabbi.” Five, can you believe it? Why, that’s as many books as we have in the Torah! We’re going to have to add a chapter to our Holy Scriptures, or at the very least create a field guide, to sort them all out.
So allow me to present to you:
A Field Guide to “Rabbis, America’s”
1. Shmuley Boteach.
As news outlets reminded us earlier this week, America’s Rabbi is Rabbi Shmuley, he of the piercing blue eyes and bendy social values — hip enough to talk about sex, but not so hip as to think he shouldn’t tell women what we really want. Hip enough to want to play within America’s political arena, but not so hip as to think maybe he shouldn’t hitch his wagon to someone as manifestly crooked as Chris Christie. Hip enough to think he’s the Jew America needs (and if you doubt his bona fides, check out his About Shmuley page. You can even see his beeper!) but not so hip as to worry about the fact that an Orthodox rabbi doesn’t actually represent America’s actual Jews especially well. Now, Shumley Boteach sure is a whiz at public relations (he wants to “help educate and evolve with the masses,” as long as he gets the credit), but even though the front page of his website declares his singular status, Boteach is not, in fact, America’s only America’s Rabbi.
2. Also America’s Rabbi? Daniel Lapin.
According to his website, Lapin (“known world-wide as America’s Rabbi”) has an uncanny ability “to extract life principles from the Bible and transmit them in an entertaining manner” and in so doing, bring “countless numbers of Jews and Christians closer to their respective faiths.” Need to “reprogram the software of your soul”? Seeking a “system of regular spiritual injections?” Lapin’s got books! But note particularly the rabbi’s contributions to America’s search for a padded bank account. One video answers the perennial question “How can America’s Rabbi help me create wealth when I work full time?” At Lapin’s other website, called I’m-not-kidding-this-is-really-the-name Ancient Hebrew Wisdom, one finds the answer to this head-scratcher: “Why Would This 8th Generation Rabbi Defy Convention, Revealing Ancient Jewish Money Principles?”
To learn more about the men who would be America’s Rabbi, click here!