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Kasich discusses the Bible, Jewish traditions during Borough Park visit

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich on Tuesday took a pre-Passover learning tour in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, ahead of the April 19 presidential primary.

Accompanied by Ezra Friedlander, a Democratic strategist, and CEO of The Friedlander Group, Kasich visited Eichler’s Judaica in Borough Park, where he was shown a silver-plated Seder tray, a matzah cover, and a Haggadah.

Kasich was amused to learn about the afikoman. As Friedlander described how the children “steal” the middle matzah and ask for a reward for its return, Kasich walked away astonished and mumbled, “pass-over.”

When asked by Jewish Insider if he ever attended a Seder, Kasich replied: “Yes.”

The Ohio Governor and Friedlander also got into a debate over who is the most admired person in the Torah. “I would say, Moses,” Friedlander said. “What about Abraham? What happened to Abraham?” Kasich asked. TO which Friedlander explained that the story of the Jewish people accepting the Torah from G-d started when they left Egypt led by Moses. “What are you talking about? Get outta here,” Kasich dismissed the explanation. “The story of the people are Abraham – when God made a covenant with Abraham, not Moses.”

“Yeah, but you know what? In our prayers, we do mention Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — “Yeah, like they were important,” Kasich interrupted — but we refer to the laws as the laws of Moses and Israel,” Friedlander tried his luck once again. “So, Moses is up there.”

“Yeah, I believe it,” Kasich replied. “So is Isaac and..”

Kasich also bumped into a group of local Yeshivah students, who learn overseas. “What are you studying?” he asked. “Talmud,” one student replied. “Okay, but what are you learning now?” Kasich pressed. “Shabbat laws,” they said. “Do you know who I like? Joseph,” Kasich started lecturing them. “You study Joseph? What do you think about Joseph? Did you hear what was the most important thing Joseph said to his brothers? ‘My brothers, you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.’ Did you know that? He may have been a little bit of a bragger. A little bit. Maybe. But they threw him in that ditch, they saved him and then sold him to slavery. And that’s how the Jews got to Egypt. Did you know that?”

“Yes,” they responded politely.

“It is a great story – one of my favorites because I can’t figure out what Joseph ever did wrong,” Kasich said.

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