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Presidential Campaign

Don't announce anything today!

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Don't announce anything today!

Timing is everything and if you are planning to launch a new product on today (June 15) or make a major announcement, I would reconsider. In launching a product, announcing an event or otherwise trying to make news in a time when reporters are working on multiple stories at once, while posting to their social media feeds, timing is everything.

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We Have The Responsibility to Watch Out For Each Other, Don’t we?

By Daniel Cherrin*This article originally appeared in the October 6, 2011 issue of The Detroit Jewish News.  

With the 2012 Presidential campaign well underway, and the field of candidates becoming a bit more clearer in the new Congressional and legislative districts, it is now your opportunity to get to know the candidates. In fact, with new districts, now is the perfect time to reach out and introduce yourself to them.

Just Ask! In campaigns, candidates want to raise money to advertise and get-out-the-vote, as much as they want to meet with voters and establish a connection with them.  Elections are therefore your chance to talk to candidates directly about your concerns and solutions. So engage them in a discussion. In fact, invite them into your home, plant, store or office to see first hand what you do. Our elected officials are approachable and they should take the time to meet with you one-on-one – All you have to do is ask.

How do you vote? With no single issue galvanizing our community, other than Israel, it is difficult to rely on the Jewish Community as a voting block. In fact, our community is getting more and more divided as Democrats and Republicans, which actually strengthens are importance as a voter. Just look at the recent special election in Brooklyn as an example, where a Republican beat a Democrat for the first time in decades, on the issue of Israel alone.

Yet there are still some that know nothing about the candidates on the election ballot, but if there name sounds Jewish or they look presidential, they will vote for them.  In an election as important as the one next year will be, it is important to know the issues that are important to you and what the candidates tell you about this issues. So take the time now to react to what you read in the paper and see if there is something there that will turn you into an advocate for that issue or cause and have something to talk to candidates about.

Reflection and finding the way forward

With the High Holidays now upon us, now, more than ever, is the perfect time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the next. In synagogues and temples across this country, we will hear about Tikun Olam (repairing the world), Tzedakah (charity) and Klal yisrael (all of Israel).

As we reflect on the past year, we really need to take a deeper look at our community and its role in serving the larger community, throughout history. Our service to the public is and was not by choice, it is an obligation -- A Jewish obligation rich with tradition.  All Jews are responsible for one another. On Yom Kippur, for example, we do not ask G-D for our forgiveness, we ask G-D to forgive everyone. Whether we know them or not, whether we like them or don’t, agree with them or not, we have an obligation to look out for each other, to support our neighbor and to be involved in our community.

Yet lately, we have become comfortable in our own community and with our lives.  We as a community do not venture far beyond our home. We rarely stand shoulder-to-shoulder with others for the common good anymore and it is rare still that we have an open door to our elected representatives.

Today, it is vital that we keep that tradition of community engagement and political involvement as pillars of our community. Today, it is even more important that we get engaged, become more vocal, become visible and demand accountability for the principles and values we, as a community stand for. It is time that we re-establish relationships with the candidates running for office and those that are elected, to be a trusted resource to them, as should be to us.

Know what you believe in Before you become involved, however, first, you have to know who you are, what you believe in, and where you stand. Do you agree more with the Republicans, Democrats, or Tea Party, or are you truly independent.

Once we know who we are and what we stand for, we as a community and individually need to take the time to meet the candidates and our newly elected officials, invite them into our homes and share with them our suggestions for creating a stronger future, not just for the Jewish community, but the larger community as well.

The Jewish people have an obligation to make this world a better place.  We can start right here in our community and in Southeastern Michigan. Contact the candidates and meet with them, attend their events such as town hall meetings or fundraisers. Share with them your interests, issues, concerns and solutions. Most importantly, take the time to figure out who they are, what they have accomplished and where they want to take us as our representatives. I hope you will stand with me, get to know the candidates and your elected leaders and become a voice for the issues you believe in.

Daniel Cherrin, a father of three students at Hillel Day School, is an attorney, mediator, public relations executive and lobbyist with Fraser Trebilcock in Detroit and Lansing. 

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