I am old enough to remember having briefly met then-senator from Massachusetts, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, at a synagogue breakfast in my hometown – a suburb of Boston. He had donned a skull cap, and shook hands with my parents as well as with me. I talked little in those days, which is a testament to how young I was. I could stand unaided, and the senator shook hands with me.
Years later, his was one of the first presidential elections I tried to follow. People were very worried that he was Catholic. In our neighborhood, anybody I knew who was not Jewish seemed to be Catholic. It had never bothered me. I remember seeing on television some news-reporting-human asked him about his need to be obedient on the Pope, being a Catholic and all, and how that could limit his ability to serve. He gave what I thought then was a good answer, about not being obliged to do anything the Pope happened to say, but saying his service to the people of the United States came first. I had thought that a good answer at the time.
My parents had all kinds of concerns, as did many Jews of their generation, even though they habitually voted Democrat. Read more on Whose Beliefs Do You Follow? Your Own!…