The Substitute Storyline: What a Trump Victory Means for American Jewry

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph. D. on November 9, 2016

Photo by Gage Skidmore via WikiMedia CommonsDays ago I had prepared an article examining Hillary Clinton’s impending victory! Indeed, the polls projected her as the likely winner, just as commentators were outlining her roadmap to the Presidency. None of that would in fact occur. This election has fundamentally shocked mainstream voters. So what happened to generate this historic, unexpected outcome? Probably many factors will be listed as part of a fundamental misreading of the American electorate in 2016….read more

Election Blog #26: Emerging Trends Among 2016 Jewish Voters

Written By Steven Windmueller, Ph. D. on October 12, 2016

Vote 2016As the campaign moves to the finish line, with less than a month left, one finds a number of significant new developments emerging among Jewish voters: Non-Voting Jews: For the first time in contemporary American politics a significant number of American Jews are likely not to cast their ballots for President. Who are these non-voters? Two groups of voters comprise this nonvoting element: Millennials who were “Bernie’s kids” and remain unhappy with their electoral choices; and disaffected Republicans, uncomfortable with their party’s nominee, yet unable or unwilling to support Hilary Clinton. As both candidates have high “unfavorables” some of this push back may result in a fall-off of voter participation within the general electorate. As high as 10% of eligible Jewish voters may elect to sit out the presidential campaign.…read more

At This Season of Our Renewal: Rosh Hashanah 5777

Written By Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on September 30, 2016

rosh-hashanah_5777Our country appears to be at a transformational moment in its history. Civility has left the stage, replaced by a culture of violence and a pattern of social disrespect. Our politics reflects our flawed status as a nation, caught up as we are in a profound battle over how we ought to define this our American story. We will need to reaffirm our sense of national pride, repelling those who seek to tear down the ideals that have defined this society.…read more

2016 Election Blog #25: Moving to the Home Stretch! Where Debates, Money, and Votes Will Determine the Outcome

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on September 25, 2016

emptydebatestageThere are a number of key factors related to the closing of an election campaign. This year there are no exceptions!
The Non Voter: Of particular concern is the presence of a significant part of the electorate, who will either opt out of this election or choose to support a third party option, as a statement of their unhappiness with the nominees of the two primary political parties. It is possible that 8-10% of all Jewish voters are considering “sitting this one out”. This is represents a fundamentally new phenomenon within the Jewish community, as Jews historically have represented the highest levels of voter participation among America’s ethnic and religious communities.…read more

Federations and their Legacy Tradition: How the “Greatest Generation” Impacted American Jewish Life

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. and George T. Caplan on August 25, 2016

July 4In Los Angeles the names were Farber, Feingood, Field, Goldsmith, Goren, Hochman, Singer, and Weinberg among many others. They represented the best of a generation of leaders and institution builders. Indeed, they were emblematic of Tom Brokaw’s “The Greatest Generation.” In every Jewish community during the second half of the Twentieth Century an exceptional generation of American Jews would emerge to provide a level of visionary leadership that would benefit our federations, national agencies, and synagogues….read more

2016 Election Blog #24: The Trump Effect: Stephen Bannon and the Alt Right Message

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on June 19, 2016

Steve BannonAs this 2016 Presidential campaign struggles to move toward its November resolution, the process seems never to be without certain unexpected twists and turns. Whether it is the on-going saga of Hilary Clinton’s emails or the emergence of the Libertarian Party’s rise to national prominence, now polling near 10% of the American electorate, yet when it is all considered, no other campaign seems to capture on a daily basis more of the media’s heightened attention than the Trump candidacy.…read more

Misreading Anti-Semitism: Rethinking Jewish Strategies and Assumptions

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on August 15, 2016

shutterstock_110509442-e1470618004585Whether it is the recent anti-Israel platform of Black Lives Matter, the statements of key members of the British Labor Party directed against the State of Israel, the attack on French Jewish individuals and institutions by Muslims, or the rise of the Alt Right within the United States, anti-Semitism remains a threat to Jews across the world. Rather than understanding this threat as being in decline, it appears to be on the ascendency. Why is this the case?…read more

2016 Election Blog #23: Political Conventions and Beyond

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on July 29, 2016

DNC 2016The ritual of party conventions has once again come and gone. Indeed, these events have evolved into political theatre as we rarely see these four-day extravaganzas as nothing more than “crowning” and “branding” each party’s nominee. Long gone is the intensity of convention floor fights or the presence of party hacks creating backroom deals. These are scripted affairs, with every key theme and message carefully introduced to American audiences. The “selling” of American political ideas and candidates has been in play for decades, and 2016 was no exception.…read more

2016 Election Blog #22: Trump’s Acceptance Speech: Implications for America and its Jewish Community

Written by Steven Windmueller on July, 22, 2016

RNC Cleveland Convention LogoThe Trump address at the Republican National Convention was one of the most unique performances by an American public figure. It would represent a distinctive combination of a populist spokesperson filtered with a mix of traditional Republicanism. His remarks would reflect the same type of social appeal that would mark Andrew Jackson’s campaign 1828, while it included elements of Wendell Willkie’s 1940 Republican campaign.…read more

Is the American Dream Coming Apart? The Rise of Anti-Jewish Rhetoric and Hate

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on July 20, 2016

Is this America?As one moves around the country one encounters an array of uncomfortable conversations rarely heard in previous times. Jews in particular are sharing their growing concerns about the state of American society, and more directly the condition of race relations, ethnic prejudice and most certainly the growing presence of anti-Semitism within the country.…read more

Recreating America’s Story: The Jewish Response

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on July 4, 2016

July 4As we are about to celebrate our nation’s 240th birthday, America is experiencing a fundamental transformation of its very identity and character. There are profound political and social transitions underway within our society and beyond. All of these changes have direct implications for American Jewry and its future role within this democracy.…read more

Global Jewish Communities: Examining Contemporary Challenges, Predicting an Uncertain Future

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on June 27, 2016

Jewish YouthSmaller Jewish communities across the globe are experiencing an extraordinary set of organizational challenges. Young Jews are sharing stories of intimidation, isolation and ridicule as they seek to build meaningful and inclusive communities. In my work this past week with scores of millennial Jewish leaders from across the world, one finds a disturbing story of generational wars and institutional rivalries.…read more

The 21st Century and the Remaking of American Jewry

Written By Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on May 29, 2016

Transformation ButterflyThe American Jewish community is undergoing a major demographic transformation, driven by the imprint of the millennial generation and influenced by a collection of economic and cultural forces. This new Jewish paradigm encompasses a number of operating principles.…read more

The Democratic Party and its Jewish Problem

Written on May 12, 2016 by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on May 12, 2016

In a report released May 5 on “American Views toward Israel and Palestinians,” the Pew Research Center noted the growing partisan political divide on the question of Israel:

“The partisan gap remains wide. Three-quarters of Republicans (75%) say they sympathize more with Israel (just 7% say they sympathize more with the Palestinians). And though a larger share of Democrats sympathize more with Israel than with the Palestinians, that margin is much narrower (43% vs. 29%). By 52% to 19%, independents express more sympathy for Israel than the Palestinians.”…read more

The Disquieting Divide: Liberal American Jews and their Israel Dilemma

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on May 11, 2016

Israel QuestionsAs we observe Israel’s 68th anniversary of statehood, one finds a deepening divide on the part of younger Jews toward Israel. The internecine warfare around Israel that today seems to dominate the American Jewish political landscape has led some Jews to jettison their involvement with Israel and its politics or at times to adopt positions hostile to the Jewish State.…read more

2016 Election Blog #18: Ten Facts on American Politics and the 2016 Campaign

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on May 4, 2016

Money and Politics2016 Campaign Will Be the Most Expensive Ever: The 2012 Campaign (Romney-Obama) cost an estimated $2.6 billion; the 2016 numbers are expected to exceed $5 billion. Since the Citizens United court case (2010), corporations and unions are unrestricted in terms of the amounts and types of support they may provide to political candidates, in turn accelerating the amount of funds available to those seeking public office…read more

2016 Election Blog #16: Technology and Politics: Identifying Trends and Monitoring Outcomes, The Coming Revolution in American Politics

Written By Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on April 13, 2016

Voter VaultSo, you thought your vote was anonymous! Not quite so. In fact since the early years of this decade, a new electoral science has emerged that allows politicians and their advisors to know exactly how you are likely to vote. As early as 2006 Democratic operatives would establish a data-oriented operation known as Catalist in order to focus on liberal voters, labor unions, and other progressive-based organizations, identifying their political passions and orientation.…read more

The New American Realities: What Funders and Activists Need to Understand about America and its Jews

Written By Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on April 4, 2014

JFN2016As key funders gather this week in San Diego to assess the Jewish and American landscape, a number of key factors are emerging that will generate a profound and sustaining impact on the “state” of our nation and its Jewish community. For those who help to set the financial agenda and institutional priorities of the American Jewish enterprise, indeed there are some sobering and challenging new realities associated with our society and its future.…read more

Strategies for Engagement: How do we Embrace Millennial Jews?

Written By Steven Windmueller,Ph.D. on March 29, 2016

Millennial CoupleIn my work with congregations and organizations, invariably the most pressing issue involves the issue of outreach. Namely, how do we retrieve folks who have left the community or who have yet to enter institutional life? The fastest growing sector in Jewish life is represented by the Religious “Nones,” folks who have “dropped out” from formerly affiliating with the community.1…read more

2016 Election Blog #14: Random Thoughts About Monday at AIPAC

Written By Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on March 23, 2016

American-Israel PoliticsThe AIPAC Policy Conference is truly a unique American Jewish happening! And if one combines the forthcoming elections with this annual AIPAC ritual, it adds an additional level of intensity.
The magnificent “Foursome” were with us! Clinton, Kasich, Trump and Cruz would all make their appearance. Only Sanders elected to stay away, preferring to deliver his “pro-Israel” address in Utah rather than in Washington.
…read more

2016 Election Blog #13: Jews for Trump and Beyond

Written By Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on March 14, 2016

Trump Rally in Tampa This election contains a little (or in some cases) a lot of everything! There have been Bernie’s caravan of young people and Ted Cruz’s evangelical supporters. Then, of course, there is the phenomenon of Donald Trump! (Earlier commentaries in this series, in particular blog numbers 7 and 12 addressed the “Trump candidacy” while others, in a more generic manner, dealt with his impact on this campaign.)…read more

2016 Elections Blog #12: Trump and the Jews

Written By Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on March 3, 2016

No-TrumpAs it begins to take form, the Republican Party’s nominee may well be Donald Trump. What will happen to the Republican Jewish vote in November? For some, it may represent a second “Yom Kippur” where some in the Jewish Republican camp will “abstain” this year by simply “fasting”, electing not to cast a vote. Sitting this one out maybe a form of “teshuvah,” repentance for failing to mobilize early enough to have denied the nomination to “the Donald”!…read more

Advocating for the State of Israel: Two Case Studies: How the Pro-Israel Community Built its Political Organization

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on February 18, 2016

Cloudy Israel FlagAs this nation prepares for the 2016 Presidential campaign, this country is once again on political overload, as candidate commercials begin to interrupt sitcoms, political party debates dominate office conversations, and as well as blogs and twitter accounts flood our computer screens with messages offered by these candidates. At the same instance, American audiences are being asked to consider such policy questions as containing ISIS, battling international terrorism, and managing the Syrian refugee crisis while creating a coherent immigration policy. These international concerns are joined together with an array of domestic and family value issues to complete the political landscape.…read more

What Do We Need to Know About Los Angeles Jewry

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on February 17, 2016

Los Angeles SkylineOur community conducted its last population study in 1997. We learned a good deal from it about our community, in particular vital information about those in need of community services, many of whom were living at or below the poverty line. The study pointed to the doubling of Los Angeles’ Jewish senior population within a 20-year period. In a city as dynamic and changing as Los Angeles, don’t we need to know more about our community today?…read more

2016 Election Blog #10: The Justice Scalia Factor and the Presidential Campaign

Written By: Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on February 14, 2016

U.S. Supreme Court BuildingWith the announcement over the weekend of the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (79), a new dimension has been added to the already topsy-turvy Presidential campaign. The conservative justice represented the intellectual and ideological base of conservative political thought not only on the bench but also within the Republican Party. His ideas were crafted on the basis of defining the “origin intent” or construction of the Constitution….…read more

2016 Election Blog #9: Jews and Their Politics

Written By: Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on February 8, 2016

2016 Election—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]

2016 Election Blog #8: The “Jewish” Bernie Sanders: Examining the Rise of a Democratic Socialist

Written By: Steven Windmueller, Ph. D. on February 1, 2016

Bernie SandersOne 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]

Dollars on the Move: The Changing Dimensions to the Jewish Economy

Written By: Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on January 12, 2016

Dollara on the movePossibly 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

Israel’s Shift from West to East and
its Implications for American Jewry

Written By: Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on January 11, 2016

Philadelphia 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

Unpacking The Disney Story: Examining its Operational Principles

Written By: Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on January 5, 2016

Disney-Star-warsCan 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

2016 Election Blog #7: The Trump Phenomenon and the Jews Trouble on the Campaign Trail

Written by: Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on January 4, 2016

Donald trumpWhile 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

Angry Jews and their Political Wars

Written by: Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. on December 15, 2015

Angry votersCivility 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

Jewish Political Conservatism: The Emergence of Republican Jews

Written By: Steven Windmueller, Ph. D. on November 24, 2015

The Wind Report 2016 Elections - Blog Post FiveJewish 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

  • The Quest for Power
  • In This Time and In This Place
  • Speaking Engagements
  • 2016 Election Tour