Temple Emanu-El's current President Cliff Halevi and temple congregant Jared Yurow want Hawaii's Jewish community to be informed voters, and they are taking action to be sure this comes to fruition. Social Justice and Action are two major tenets of modern Judaism, and an election year is definitely chock full of opportunities for both.
Halevi and Yurow, together with a bevy of temple volunteers, have planned a series of candidate forums, and want the public to be there. Especially Honolulu's Jews.
Cliff calls the upcoming events "Da Beit Knesset," a twist on local pidgin, the Hebrew phrase for synagogue, and a play on the word debate. "Maybe that's TOO clever!" Cliff admits, in any case, he and Jared have the candidates where they want them - answering the Jewish community's questions on a whole host of topics, right at the synagogue itself, Temple Emanu-El in Nu'uanu.
Gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie has agreed to the first "Meet the Candidates" event scheduled for Saturday night, August 21st, at 6:30. The event will be moderated by Hawaii Public Radio's Beth-Ann Kozlovich, a Temple Emanu-El congregant. Hawaii Reporter's Malia Zimmerman will also be on hand for some of the upcoming townhall style events.
Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who will be running against fellow Democrat Abercrombie in the Primaries, will make his appearance on the following Saturday, August 28th at 6:00 pm. And as for other candidates? "We have word in to Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona," Yurow said, "and I'm sure we'll hear from him very soon!"
"Meet the Candidates" will also feature candidates for the Mayoral and Congressional races. As Temple President Cliff Halevi expressed to me, "Especially since the congressional races are likely to be the ones that might attract the most interest."