Jack Kemp was my teenage dream of a politician in the early 1980s but then he never blossomed. He never accomplished anything. He just went flat. He was a complete bust as Bob Dole’s running mate in 1996.
He grew up in the Wilshire area of Los Angeles, then a predominantly Jewish area of the city and felt a deep personal kinship with the American Jewish community. He was not only a friend to the Jewish community – he was a true brother for us. Many politicians, both Democrat and Republican, give lip service in support of Israel in order to attract Jewish voters. Jack Kemp, however, was totally committed to Israel and Zionism, and the State of Israel never had a better friend in Congress than Jack Kemp.
In fact, Jack had such an extensive knowledge of Judaism and Jewish history that he often quoted Rabbi Moses Maimonides in his speeches. Rabbi Maimonides was also known as the Rambam, an acronym of his Hebrew name, Rabbi Moshe ben (son of) Maimon. The Rambam, who lived in 12th century Spain, Morocco, and Egypt, was one of the truly outstanding personages of Jewish history – he was perhaps the most outstanding rabbi in history, as well as being the greatest physician in the world in his time, and a world renowned philosopher as well. His book, the Guide for the Perplexed is one of the most influential and widely read books in the history of philosophy. In fact, there is a famous Jewish saying that "from Moses (in the Bible) to Moses (Maimonides), there was none greater."