This article was originally published on Jewish Insider.
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Republican presidential candidate John Kasich took his campaign to a Long Island synagogue on Saturday, talking about faith and hope, according to local media reports.
Kasich delivered a personal address about life and faith to a crowd of hundreds of Orthodox Jewish congregants at The Great Neck Synagogue on Long Island following Shabbos morning services, according to Newsday.
“The opportunity that I was given today to be in this great synagogue, be given an opportunity to speak to the congregation, will go down as one of the great moments in my lifetime,” Kasich told reporters outside the synagogue. “What a privilege.”
The Republican presidential hopeful also explained why he chose to focus on faith rather than pitch his candidacy and discuss policy issues. “I really didn’t know what I am going to say when I got here. This is my speech; I wrote it five minutes before I got here,” he said as he held up a yellow note with six lines of handwritten talking points. “Not out of disrespect to the people I was going to speak to, but I had a lot of things that I wanted to say, and I didn’t want to make a political talk. You go into a synagogue you talk about faith, I think. I felt that I had to follow my instincts.”
“Life is more important than a political campaign. We’re here and then we’re gone. That’s why I think it’s so important we live a life beyond ourselves,” Kasich added.
Kasich also addressed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “I am not a neutral broker when it comes to Israel,” Kasich stressed. “The one thing I said was that the Israelites have entered the promised land, and they will always be in the promised land, forever – until the end of human history; they will be there. I am not neutral when it comes to Israel. I consider them to be one of the greatest allies. The only democracy in the Middle East under constant attack – both above the ground and beneath the ground. With people walking in and trying to kill Jews just because they happen to live in Israel. We would all love to see a two-state solution, but that’s up to the parties. I am not going to tell the Israelis how to run their security and how to run all their foreign policy. If I have something to tell them, I will tell them without any cameras being around. But they are undergoing tremendous pressure today because of the stabbings that have occurred, and its just seems that it’s one thing after another. But I stand with them.”
“I am not a neutral party when it comes to Israel. You count me four-square in their corner,” he added.
When asked to specify his policy on the peace process, Kasich said that the U.S. can always serve as a mediator, “But you have to have willing partners. And right now, I don’t think the Israelis have a willing partner for peace.”
Kasich also addressed anti-Semitism on college campuses. “What I also am concerned about is the rise of anti-Semitism in this world,” Kasich said. “And I will tell you this, it will not be tolerated on our college campuses.”
Recent polls show Kasich in second place, trailing Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump by more than 30 points in the April 19 New York primary.
Kasich’s day didn’t end with schmaltz and kichel. He later tackled a bowl of chicken soup with kreplach, three pickles, and apple strudel, according to The New York Times.
“I’m currently working on a secret plan to delay the primary so I can spend more time eating in New York,” Kasich quipped.