Thursday, January 13, 2011

Giffords Jewish roots

Congress woman who was shot today and first Jewish congresswoman. She wrote this in 2006:

Arizona Jewish Post > GABRIELLE GIFFORDS 10.27.06

My grandfather, Akiba Hornstein, was the son of a Lithuanian rabbi. My
grandfather changed his name to Giff Giffords for reasons of anti-Semitism
and moved to Southern Arizona from New York more than a half century ago. In
the 1940s, he founded my family’s tire and automotive business, El Campo
Tire, which grew into a successful and thriving business for 50 years, which
I ran for several years before serving in the Arizona Legislature.

Growing up, my family’s Jewish roots and tradition played an important role
in shaping my values. The women in my family served as strong role models
for me as a girl. In my family, if you want to get something done, you take
it to the women relatives! Like my grandmother, I am a lifetime member of
Hadassah and now a member of Congregation Chaverim.

When I served in the State Senate in Arizona, I had the opportunity to visit
Jerusalem. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I had
the opportunity to meet with the then-mayor of Jeru salem, Ehud Olmert, and
I got to see firsthand the sacrifices that Israelis make in the name of
security because of the dangerous state of affairs there.

I will always be a strong supporter of Israel. As the only functioning
democracy in the Middle East, Israel is a vital strategic ally of the United
States. I believe the United States must do everything possible to secure
Israel’s long-term security and achieve a lasting peace in the region. The
failure of the current administration to continue the peace process has been
a loss to America and Israel. That is why we need a new direction in

Peace between Israel and her neighbors can only be achieved by direct talks
between the parties. Until the Palestinian leadership and other hostile
regimes are willing to accept Israel’s right to exist, it will be impossible
to achieve peace. I believe that the United States can help by providing a
mediator who can be trusted by both sides, like former President Bill
Clinton. It’s an approach that worked in achieving a peaceful settlement to
the violence in Northern Ireland. People in the Middle East need to know
that the U.S. is serious about the peace process.

We cannot forget our past. I have worked to protect the rights of Holocaust
survivors in our state. In 2002, I sponsored legislation that was signed
into law by Governor Jane Hull, and unanimously approved by the Senate, to
allow victims of the Holocaust, or their heirs, to collect insurance claims
(HB 2541). It re-opened the statute of limitations for these claims. My
opponent, Randy Graf, was one of only 13 legislators to oppose this bill.

As a woman and as a Jew, I will always work to insure that the United States
stands with Israel to jointly ensure our mutual safety, security, and
prosperity. I invite you to visit

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