The Torah-Tues class topic for Nov 4, 2014 is “Heaven, Hell and the Afterlife: What Jews believe and why it matters.” It’s not something talked about much, but believe it or not, we get questions about it more often than you’d think, so we’re doing this class to explore classic Jewish texts on this topic as well as discussion.

The big buzz out there this November 4th is the midterm election. It seems that control of both the US and NYS Senate seems to be up for grabs, the President’s popularity and luster has fallen, and there’s more passion and interest in this election than in most midterm cycles. So what’s the connection with Heaven, Hell and the Afterlife?

How about this line from the pre-WWII Senator William Borah from Idaho, as quoted by Senator Patrick Moynihan in the Congressional Record for June 14, 1994:

Some Members of the Senate may not be familiar with the role that Senator Borah played in securing the release of Rabbi Joseph Schneerson from a Soviet prison and the emigration of his entire immediate family, including the current rebbe, from Stalin’s Russia. The intervention of Senator William Borah of Idaho on behalf of this beleaguered Chassidic family stands as a noble example of courageous moral leadership.

All of us in public life would do well to ponder Senator Borah’s oft-repeated explanation as to his “motive” in leading an international campaign to save an apparently obscure religious leader in a faraway land: “I like to do things that get me votes in the next election in Idaho but every so often I do something that assures me of votes in that final election will we will all have to stand for someday.”