Self-proclaimed “America’s Rabbi” Shmuely Boteach has decided “to throw his yarmulke in the ring” and run for Congress – depending on backing.
He has filed a “”letter of intent” to run as a Republican in the re-designed ninth district in New Jersey against one of two Democratic party incumbents, Steve Rothman or Bill Pascall, who will be running against each other in the Democratic party primaries this summer.
Rabbi Boteach told the New Jersey Jewish Standard that he filed to beat the deadline but that leaving his name on the ballot depends on how much money he can raise for an election campaign.
He is a “celebrity” rabbi with a regular JPost column whose writing has appeared on Arutz Sheva, and he is highly controversial, having written Kosher Sex: A Recipe for Passion and Intimacy in 1999. His recent book “Kosher Jesus” recently was denounced as “heretical” by prominent Canadian Rabbi Emanuel Schochet, who ruled that “it is forbidden for anyone to buy or read this book,” which he charged it encourages a missionary message.
Rabbi Boteach defended his book as one that shows Jesus as "a Torah-observant Jew whose mission it was to restore Jewish observance fully among his Jewish brethren and fight Roman persecution." He added that his book "is the ultimate argument against Christian missionaries" because it offers "significant information to argue convincingly against any Christian attempt to evangelize Jews."
He said he wants to be in Congress in order to demonstrate Jewish values on popular issues, such as abortion and rights of homosexuals, and work to bring down the divorce rate in the United States by making marital counseling a tax deductible expense.