Written By: Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on February 8, 2016
—Twelve principles of American Jewish political practice are introduced here as a way to provide a roadmap to understand the nature and character of the Jewish community in this election year.
—Jews provide significant financial support to both political parties and to many candidates. Some analysts project that as much as 50% of all monies raised by Democratic presidential candidates are from Jewish funders; similarly, 25% of the Republican donor base is comprised today of major Jewish contributors.
—Jewish voters enter the political fray with a broad range of interests. An AJC study of the major concerns of American Jews conducted in August 2015 found the “U.S.-Israel Relationship” scored fifth among the primary contending political and economic issues, noted by 7% of respondents.[…read more]
Written By: Steven Windmueller, Ph. D. on February 1, 2016
One of the most frequent questions I receive on the lecture circuit involves the “Jewish” credentials of Senator Bernie Sanders. Last October, the Senator did an interview with The Forward focusing on his Jewish upbringing, but that piece would only provide certain basic information on his early life1. Much remains to be both asked and assessed when one examines the Senator’s Jewish story!
How has Sanders Jewish upbringing informed his politics? In what ways does Sanders appeal to the Jewish electorate? And finally, is his candidacy “good for the Jews”?[…read more]
Written By: Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on January 12, 2016
Possibly the most significant social and structural transition taking place within the Jewish institutional world is the departure of a significant part of the “middle sector” of Jewish families and singles from the communal system,in favor of alternative models of participation and engagement. This pattern of disaffiliation is accompanied by the rise of the Millennials and that generation’s disconnect from established institutional loyalties.[…read more]
Written By: Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on January 11, 2016
Last week, the media carried what on the surface appeared to be an insignificant story on the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s announcement of plans to shut down its Philadelphia consulate, along with four other closings involving embassy and consulate services in the Caribbean and Europe.[/caption]Last week, the media carried what on the surface appeared to be an insignificant story on the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s announcement of plans to shut down its Philadelphia consulate, along with four other closings involving embassy and consulate services in the Caribbean and Europe.[…read more]
Written By: Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on January 5, 2016
Can Jewish institutions, such as federations and national agencies, carry forward a consistency of message that allows its brand to be understood and embraced?
When the film “The Force Awakens” opened this past month, we were reminded that Disney had once again reasserted its position as a premier film maker, accompanied as well by its supporting theme parks, merchandise, publishing, and television holdings. There is much that Disney does “right” that can provide to the nonprofit sector, and more directly to the Jewish community, some particularly valuable leadership tools and operational insights:[…read more]
Written by: Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on January 4, 2016
While there will be Jewish supporters of Donald Trump, his rise in the polls, his unsettling language, his controversial messages, and even his disconcerting comments made recently before a Jewish audience have left many Jews unsettled and possibly even alarmed. Yet, why has he been so successful in reflecting the concerns of American voters? Why is his campaign creating concerns for many within our community?[…read more]
Written by: Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on December 15, 2015
Civility and consensus have given way to name-calling and political separation.
Americans are angry. Many feel that their government doesn’t work, while others believe that the country is heading in the wrong direction. For some their anger is about feeling marginalized in their own society, as immigrants and others are seen as threats to this nation’s values and its character.[…read more]
Written By: Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on December 7, 2015
This is a second article as part of a series that Dr. Windmueller is preparing on Jews and American politics; the initial story, Jewish Political Conservatism: The Emergence of Republican Jews, appeared on these pages on November 24, 2015.)[…read more]
Written By: Steven Windmueller, Ph. D. on November 24, 2015
Jewish conservative thought has deep roots in the American political tradition. In more recent times particular emphasis has been given to the presence and growth of Jewish Republicans, sparking a renewed discussion of the place of conservative political ideas within contemporary Jewish life and within American society. Today, Jews who are Republicans must be seen as an active component of the Jewish communal story.[…read more]
Written By: Steven Widnmueller, Ph. D. on November 4, 2015
The rise of Orthodox Judaism in America must be viewed as a modern phenomenon. Unlike the majority of the American Jewish community with its more liberal-focus, secular orientation, and aging population base, the Orthodox community in this country reflects a fundamentally different demographic image, social culture, and political orientation. Today, some analysts believe, “it is increasingly the most powerful denomination in Judaism.” In the 1980’s sociologist Charles Liebman offered the following observation about modern Orthodoxy, ”a strength and a will to live that will yet nourish the whole Jewish world.”[…read more]
Written By: Steven Widnmueller, Ph. D. on October 21, 2015
As America approaches its “political season” advocacy groups and lobbying organizations see this as an opportunity to advance their agendas. In this survey, twelve political principles are introduced. These specific action steps demonstrate how policy organizations, in this case the pro-Israel community, play an essential role in political campaigns, permitting these advocacy institutions an opportunity to pursue their core interests:[…read more]
Written By: Steven Widnmueller, Ph. D. on September 28, 2015
The impact of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States may take years to fully assess. Will his intensive five-day East Coast trip re-energize American Catholics? Are his various social messages likely to alter the thinking of government and world leaders? Will the lives of those who attended events at which he spoke or participated be forever altered? What will be the impact of his message on inter-religious relations? What might American Jews learn from this unique and historic encounter?[…read more]
Written By: Steven Windmueller, Ph. D. on September 25, 2015
A growing number of individuals are declaring themselves as religious “Nones.” These are individuals who self-identify as atheists or agnostics or who indicate that they are disconnected from any formal affiliation with a religious community. The typical “None” in this society is male, young, white. In the 1990’s this group could be identified within the single digits. By 2007 some 16% of Americans described themselves as “Nones;” eight years later, that figure has increased to 21%, as an additional 7.5 million Americans have joined these ranks. Today, 33 million Americans have no formal religious affiliation. During this same period, the number of Christians in America has dropped from 78% of the population to 71% [read more]