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Sen. Edward M. Kennedy Dies At 77

kennedy.jpgSen. Edward M. Kennedy, the liberal lion of the Senate and haunted bearer of the Camelot torch after two of his brothers fell to assassins’ bullets, has died at his home in Hyannis Port after battling a brain tumor. He was 77.

For nearly a half-century in the Senate, Kennedy was a steadfast champion of the working class and the poor, a powerful voice on health care, civil rights, and war and peace. To the American public, though, he was best known as the last surviving son of America’s most glamorous political family, the eulogist of a clan shattered again and again by tragedy.

His family announced his death in a brief statement released early Wednesday.

“We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever,” the statement said. “We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness and opportunity for all.”

A statement from the White House said President Obama and First Lady Michelle were “heartbroken” to learn that Kennedy had died.

“For five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts,” read the statement from President Obama. “I valued his wise counsel in the Senate, where, regardless of the swirl of events, he always had time for a new colleague.”

Kennedy was elected to the Senate in 1962, when his brother John was president, and served longer than all but two senators in history. Over the decades, he put his imprint on every major piece of social legislation to clear the Congress.

His own hopes of reaching the White House were damaged – perhaps doomed – in 1969 by the scandal that came to be known as Chappaquiddick, an auto accident that left a young woman dead.

Kennedy – known to family, friends and foes simply as Ted – ended his quest for the presidency in 1980 with a stirring valedictory that echoed across the decades: “For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die.”

Kennedy learned he had a malignant tumor called a glioma after suffering a seizure on May 17, 2008, at his home in Hyannis Port. The prognosis was grim: Median survival for the worst form of gliomas is 12 to 15 months, although the time depends on the type of glioma.

His death late Tuesday comes just weeks after that of his sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver on Aug. 11.

In recent weeks, Kennedy had spent most of his time at his Hyannis Port home with his family, appearing frail during his brief public appearances. He was too ill to attend the funeral of his sister. Nor could he make the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony when President Obama awarded him the country’s highest civilian honor.

The famed orator made only a handful of public statements since he was first stricken, including a surprise speech in August to the Democratic National Convention, a December address at his alma mater, Harvard University and brief remarks at the White House health care conference in March.

In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Kennedy’s son Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., said his father had defied the predictions of doctors by surviving more than a year with his fight against brain cancer.

The younger Kennedy said that gave family members a surprise blessing, as they were able to spend more time with the senator and to tell him how much he had meant to their lives.

The younger Kennedy said his father’s legacy was built largely in the Senate.

“He has authored more pieces of major legislation than any other United States senator,” Patrick Kennedy said in the interview. “He is the penultimate senator. I don’t need to exaggerate when I talk about my father. That’s the amazing thing. He breaks all the records himself.”

(Source: CBS News)

27 Responses

  1. There have been many different rumors over the years that the Senator seeked out Brochos from G’dolim after his close family members suffered Misos Meshunos one after another. Apparently he seems to be the one and only Kennedy to get sick & die K’derech Hateva. If anyone can validate such rumors with fact (who, when, what, etc.) I would be interested in hearing about it.

  2. Does anyone know if the mother is still alive
    It is known that she was cursed by some gadol to see all her children dead while she’s still alive

  3. Kein yovdu kol sonei yisroel. Though he may have been an outspoken Senator, Kennedy grew up in a family of well known anti-semites, primarily his father. Being a liberal lion does not exactly sit well with the frum community as their issues and positions have run counter to our best interests as well as our religious beliefs. America seems to have a short memory, although I’m sure there will be plenty of obits that will mention Kennedy’s handling of the Kopechne fiasco, if not plain murder. I don’t know if the Rav Aharon Kotler Ztzl story with Joseph Kennedy ym’s and the famous curse was true but this family sure has had more than its share of tragedies.

  4. Grandma Rose is long gone. If JFK would be alive today, he’d be 101, so his mother would be kind of off the charts. If I remembre correctly she died in the 90s, when she was like 104 or something like that.

  5. He was a nice guy and always friendly to us. He could have enjoyed life without doing anything constructive, and chose instead to be gainfully employed, which is much to his credit. In all fairness, he got a lot more done than any of his brothers.

  6. shalom, Kennedy murdered an innocent women by drunkenly driving her into a lake, and leaving the scene to let her drown to death while he sobered up.

  7. No, #12 your the disgrace not joseph. sen kennedy was an anti Semitic bigot theres nothing wrong for calling it like it is. and no he was not a patriot he hated america and its values just like all the liberals do.

  8. It would be nice if people who make comments would first get the information correctly and then comment. Edward,the one who just died was very helpful to Jews and Israel and to disabled people. He helped us get Medicaid and Medicare benefits . Yes,he was an ultra-liberal and not agreeing with halocho. He was not an anti-Semite like his father was. He will not be ‘mourned’,but,let’s not rejoice at his death. He was part of G-d’s plan to govern the USA. We must trust in HKB”H, not in politicians.

  9. #6, it is ironic that you speak of short memory in your post. If you would remember (or investigate, in case you are too young to remember), the civil rights movement gave Yidden many rights that we enjoy and take for granted today. The movement was headed by, believe it or not, liberals. So far from their issue running “counter to our own best interests”, we actually have benefitted tremendously from liberals and no doubt owe them hakaras hatov. Nowadays, their agenda is heinous and disgusting, and we should not support their attempts. But just don’t talk about short memory here.

    As far as Senator Ted, the man was probably a murderer and what’s more – Joseph is probably giving him too much benefit of the doubt. Good riddance is my take here, too.

  10. All the people defending Kennedy: Look, I agree with you that comments should be properly respectful of the dead and mindful of our place in the world as Yidden. But, at the same time, it is appalling that some are bending over so far backward with praise of Mr. Kennedy. As far as our Jewish values go, generally speaking, he did not lead a very honorable personal life, nor was he a good politician in terms of what he stood for. He was a leading advocate for toeva, for abortion and for a number of other social policies that have wrought great destruction to the quality of life and morality in America.

    I remember very well how he treated Robert Bork, one of America’s most distinguished legal scholars, a brilliant man who stood for the decency that is embodied in the founding documents of this country. It was a despicable display of character assassination based on vicious lies. Not only was this performance disgusting as a personal and political act, but it deprived the nation of a Supreme Court Justice who would have maintained a very high standard of justice and loyalty to the good values of America when it was, by comparison with all the other nations of the world, a beacon of freedom, justice, good character and morality.

    With sympathy and respect for those who mourn Mr. Kennedy, I cannot say he deserves to be eulogized as either a great man or a great public servant.

  11. #22 – Your words “the movement was headed by, believe it or not, liberals” – are incorrect to a point. The civil rights movement was headed largely by the Republican Party, not the Liberal Democrat Party as they would have you believe. Democrats, for the most part, were staunchly against the Civil rights movement – but with historical revisionism today, hardly anyone knows that…

  12. On the curse, I’ve heard it was the Satmar Rav, and I even from one person that it was Rav Soloveitchik! On the other hand, the story about Rav Kotler’s bracha for mobster Joe Bonnano who aided in Holocaust rescue, seems more credible. Oddly, Bonnano was a competitor to bootlegger Joe Kennedy- and the mobster turns up in JFK conspiracy theories….

  13. #25 – I said liberals. I did not mention party. Let’s not get into a historical discussion – it sounds like your education comes from talk radio.

  14. #24 – I really appreciate the rational and respectful way that you have dealt with Senator Kennedy’s legacy. I am, as always appalled by the majority of the posters to this web site who are blinded by a hatred that is totally inappropriate for frum jews. These same people who who express their revulsion in such offensive terms are probably the same ones who revile their fellow jews for not meeting their religious “standards”. How will we ever see Moshiach when “sinas chinam” still runs rampant

  15. 22 squeak,

    You are bad at history. If not for the Republicans the Civil Rights Bill would have died. The Dems were VERY MUCH AGAINST the bill! Too bad the Republicans, the party that believes in the person, isn’t getting the proper CREDIT for it. Instead its the Democratic Party which only cares about how big it can get and has no belief in the ability of people – only govt – getting the credit. If not for the libs in this country holding down the blacks, they would be much better off!

  16. I like the way the libs are trying to push govt healthcare in his memory. That is an insult to his memory and nothing else. He didnt use govt healthcare and wouldnt have used it anyway being the elitist he was. ObamaCare would have wished him dead a year ago when he was first diagnosed. Instead he showed THE WILL TO LIVE and seek treatments from drs who would treat him. He could have dropped dead earlier and “taken one for ObamaCare” but he chose to live, which is something ObamaCare wont allow you to do!

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