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Shmuley Boteach invites congressional foe to Shabbat dinner

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Rabbi Shmuley Boteach invited his opponent in a New Jersey congressional race to Shabbat dinner. 

Boteach, the Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in northern New Jersey’s 9th District, made an open invitation to Rep. Bill Pascrell, a Democrat, asking the veteran lawmaker to join in “the weekly Jewish tradition of a Shabbat meal.”

“Every Friday night at our Sabbath table my wife and I host all kinds of people," Boteach said in his letter, which was published in The Jewish Press. "We love having guests and it would be my honor for us to host you and your family either this coming Friday night or whenever it may suit you, although sooner would be better than later.”

Pascrell’s chief of staff, Ben Rich, told The Hill congressional newspaper that his boss “would gladly accept an invitation to Shabbat dinner.”

The campaign leading to the November election is expected to include a focus on Israel in the predominantly Jewish district.

Pascrell easily defeated Rep. Steve Rothman in a Democratic primary this month pitting two pro-Israel candidates. Rothman, who had changed districts, was seen as an important pro-Israel player because of his position on the armed services subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee.

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