The Essentials: Taking Another Look at the American Jewish Voter
Jews Vote! But there are many other critical ingredients that define the American Jewish electorate that maybe as important. We are One, But we are Many: American Jewish voters are overall more liberal than other white groups, yet we represent a very diverse voting constituency. From Libertarians to Independents, from Conservatives to Progressives, as with other voters, Jews today cover the political roadmap of political thinking and behavior. Jewish liberalism, as an example, should be seen as a moveable feast of choices and ideas, based on specific elections and particular emerging concerns. Within the past few days, as an example, we have garnered additional data on Orthodox Jewish voting patterns.
Jews and their Politics: Taking Another Look at the “Jewish Vote”
As the impeachment proceedings wind down and as the election season begins anew, once again we are introduced to questions about the Jewish vote. Why are Jews liberal? What distinguishes Jewish voters? Are Jews Libertarians? What changes are politically redefining Jews? Jews are seen as high-profile political actors reflected in their strong voting record, financial support for candidates, causes, and their political activism as candidates and commentators. In the 1970’s Milton Himmelfarb noted “Jews earn like Episcopalians, but vote like Puerto Ricans.” Part of the dilemma in understanding the unique political characteristics of Jewish Americans is bound up in part, by how one defines Jews.
The Election Season is Upon Us! What Can We Expect in 2020
As this nation prepares for the 2020 election, it is important to explore the major trends, issues and practices that will shape this nation’s political culture. Here are a few observations: The 2020 Presidential campaign will be amongst the most historically significant and politically divisive. This will possibly be also the most expensive presidential campaign in American history. The 2012 presidential election (Obama vs. Romney) cost nearly $3 billion. As the impact of technology continues to expand, much of the 2020 campaign will be managed on social media, making it the first election to employ all of the various media options.
When Anti-Semitism Arises: A Study in Jewish Communal Behavior
As incidents of anti-Semitic behavior occur on a daily basis, it may be important to examine the new strains of violence that we are experiencing and to revisit Jewish communal responses in fighting such hate. In this disruptive political environment, there appears to be a new license given to those who are committed to attacking Jews, Judaism and the State of Israel. When anti-Semitism is playing out in its full fury, one finds specific Jewish communal behavior patterns emerge against this backdrop of hate and violence. How are Jewish institutions and individual leaders responding to the rise of anti-Semitism?
Impeachment, Anti-Semitism, the Election: The Trump Presidency & U.S. Jews
The Times of Israel
For America’s Jews, the 2020 election will be all about Donald J. Trump! In a deeply divided electorate, you find voters who are solid supporters of this President, just as one identifies other Jewish constituencies opposed to 45! As we approach the impeachment process, the intensity levels in connection with the President will be ratcheting up. American Jews can be found to be both anxious and angry when talking about this President. His supporters are angry, believing that the President has been maligned and misrepresented, while his opponents might be described as anxious in connection with his actions and messages, concerned as well about his conduct in office. The depth of passion and politics might best convey how divisive this election will play out inside the Jewish community.
The New American Reality and What It Means for Jews
As Jewish leaders gather in Chicago this week for the URJ Biennial, a new American story is emerging that will have profound implications for the Reform Movement and America’s Jews collectively! The demographic character of America is being recreated. The political culture of this society is experiencing new and significant stresses and threats. The American economic story is transitioning in significant and challenging ways. The role and place of religion in the United States is undergoing profound change.
Possibly no other social reality is more defining of the American condition than the issue of loneliness! A recently completed Cigna study indicated “high levels of loneliness,” revealing that nearly half of Americans always or sometimes feel alone (46%) or left out (47%). Fully 54% said they always or sometimes feel that no one knows them well. But this pattern is not unique to the United States, a BBC survey of British citizens reported that nearly one-half of Britons over 65 consider “television or a pet their main source of company”. There are today in Japan a half a million folks under the age of 40 “who haven’t left their house or interacted with anyone for at least six months”. In Canada, the share of solo households is now 28%, and across the European Union that number is 34%.
This political moment: what lies ahead in the American-Israel relationship?
The Times of Israel
With the announcement earlier today in Israel of the intention of the Attorney General to pursue charges against Benjamin Netanyahu for “bribery, fraud and breach of trust,” one sees an interesting, if not uncomfortable, parallel between the political fortunes of both the Israeli Prime Minister and President Donald Trump. As the House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee pursues evidence of the President’s efforts to use US military support for the Ukraine to advance his own political interests, what will be the outcome of such an inquiry on the future of the Trump Presidency? In the case of the Prime Minister, how will his political future be impacted by such legal actions?
Experiencing Thanksgiving: Some Jewish Reflections
There exists a Jewish backstory to Thanksgiving! In connection with this holiday, we can observe the alignment of national customs with Jewish values and practice, a pattern that marks the distinctiveness of American Jewish behavior. Unlike other holiday observances, Thanksgiving provides an opportunity for Jews to express their Americanism in consort with their Judaism. Over time this has taken different forms of expression.
Encounter in Moscow: One Moment in the Soviet Jewry Saga
Thirty years ago this month the Berlin Wall fell, and with it we would see the demise of the Soviet Union. During my tenure as the director of Los Angeles JCRC (Jewish Community Relations Committee), the human rights campaign for Soviet Jewry represented a Jewish community priority. The JCRC’s Commission on Soviet Jewry regularly sent small groups to Russia to meet with Refuseniks involving those Jews who had requested the right to leave the Soviet Union but whose petitions had been denied. The cornerstone of this effort was built around religious freedom and the right of an individual to be free to emigrate.