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Poster: Jessica Rechtschaffer <jsrechts@email.unc.edu>

> They are both Jewish and due to their beliefs can not bow to any king.
>When they were called into court to receive their AoAs,

This is one of those customs that's subject to debate.  The notion that it
is forbidden to bow comes from the Book of Esther.  Haman (the King's
right-hand man) was an arrogant sort and demanded that people grovel and
bow to him whenever he passed by.   Mordecai (Esther's father) refused to
bow to Haman and said he, as a Jew will only bow to God.  Mordecai had
another reason to dislike Haman.  Haman was a descendent of the tribe of
Amalek from the ancient enemies of the Israelites.   Haman interpreted
Mordecai's refusal to bow  as treason, arrested Mordecai and ordered all
the Jews in the city to be killed on the pretext that they didn't
recognize the King's authority.

One time, at Torah study session, we discussed this story. Essentially,
this wasn't about a commandment that "Jews can't bow to any other human
being," Instead,  Mordecai was putting Haman down by not giving him the
brown-nosing he demanded.  

The pledge to the flag is one of those sticky situations that can go
either way.  On one hand, it can be viewed as forbidden because it is
venerating a piece of fabric. On the otherhand, the flag is simply a symbol of the
country and one is not really worshipping the flag itself.  There is
actually a very nice prayer for well being and good guidance for the US
that is said in some synagogues.

Of course, lots depends on how one interprets Jewish law.

Hey Yaakov, I bet you have some interesting things to say on this one.


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