Jackson pal, Rabbi Shmuley, to run for House

April 30, 2012 at 12:30 PM
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ENGLEWOOD, N.J., April 30 (UPI) -- A rabbi who was a spiritual adviser to pop star Michael Jackson said he will seek the Republican nomination for the 9th Congressional District in New Jersey.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, author of "Kosher Jesus" and "Kosher Sex," acknowledged it was unusual for a rabbi to run for Congress, the New York Post reported Monday.

But he said, "The problems we face as a nation are the erosion of values. We need a spiritual revival."

The Orthodox rabbi said Jackson's death in 2009 offered the best example of why he is seeking public office. He told the Post he had tried get Jackson to quit taking drugs.

"Michael is the all-American tragedy. Michael was perceived as one of the most wholesome celebrities until he was perceived as the most damaged celebrity. It's unbelievable you could have a change of that caliber," Boteach said. "Michael lost his values. He no longer had the faith-support structure that kept him humble."

Boteach, who calls himself "America's Rabbi," grew up in Los Angeles and Miami and lived in England, Israel and Australia before settling in Englewood, N.J., 10 years ago, the Post said. He often travels to Washington to study Jewish teachings with GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, who is Jewish.

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