What began as a customary greeting to a public official in the audience, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann by Rabbi Michael Siegel of Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago during Yon Kippur ended up as with a group of enraged congregants, that prompting some to walk out and for one of them to start a campaign of his own in support of Bachmann’s opponent in the race for her congressional seat, Jim Graves.
The holiness of the room and the holiness of the evening was greatly diminished for me, if not completely destroyed,” said Gary Sircus, who stormed out of the synagogue where he has observed the High Holidays for 25 years. “Our congregation values and embodies tolerance, compassion, respect for individual rights, intelligence, science — all of the things that I think Michele Bachmann stands against.”
Later that night, he composed an email to Graves’ campaign and sent it to others, urging them to donate. His words have since gone viral.
“I felt that the best way to ‘honor’ Ms. Bachmann’s visit was to make a contribution to your campaign,” Sircus wrote. “Even though I do not vote in Minnesota, please do everything in your power to take away this evil woman’s soapbox.”
The Graves campaign saw a 400 percent uptick in donations from the Chicago area last week after Bachmann’s visit to the state according to Adam Graves, the candidate’s son and campaign manager.