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Finally. The news is coming out that efforts, although small ones, are being made by Jews to break away from the Democrat party. Most of those activities are happening within the Orthodox Jewish community, but they are vocal and excited, wearing MAGA hats and celebrating Donald Trump.
One of those organizations is the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) . The organization has existed since the early 20th century:
Today, the National Council of Young Israel provides professional advice and cost-saving initiatives to 135 Young Israel synagogues (and beyond), advocates for the interests and views of our 25,000 member families, trains aspiring rabbis, supports rabbis in the field with bi-weekly question and answer sessions, aides communities with rabbinic searches and relations, and coordinates informative conference calls for gabbaim [financial managers].
On March 31, 2019, the organization held a New York City gala. The purpose of the organization resonates with the young and the old:
Iris Maidenbaum, 60, is not a member of a local Young Israel congregation, but appreciates the group’s vocal support of Israel.‘We’re not signed up because of any particular political affiliation, but we’re in agreement with many of the policies, at this point probably most of the policies, on Israel and on other things,’ she said. ‘But particularly, our concern is the security and the advancement of the State of Israel.’
For others, the bond between Orthodox Judaism and Trump hit home. Zachary Silver, 25, a conservative activist who managed the contingent of about 125 young professionals at the dinner, believes that Jews who become more traditionally observant will gravitate toward the Republican Party.
‘The Republican Party right now and the conservatives are the most pro-God movement of my life, honestly,’ said Silver, who also wore a Trump kippah. ‘The liberal party, the leftist party, the Democrats, especially here and in Israel, they’re socialist, they’re anti-God, they don’t have true values.’
Trump has attracted Orthodox Jews after selecting a man who has supported Israeli settlements as the U.S. Ambassador to Israel; he has also moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, removed the U.S. from the Iranian deal, and most recently supported Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
There is another conservative Jewish group that has emerged. President Trump referred to it in a tweet, claiming that “Jewish people are leaving the Democratic Party.” Although the Jexodus website appears to have been taken down, The Daily Wire provides background about the group. The founder, Jeff Ballabon, has been involved in Republican politics for a long time, and attacked Ilhan Omar:
‘I’m going to say it, she is filth,’ Ballabon said. ‘She has no place in Congress, she has no place in the Foreign Affairs committee.’
Whether his extreme language will be helpful or not, time will tell. One colleague, such as Elizabeth Pipko, makes a good case for leaving the Democrat Party after Ilhan Omar’s latest remarks:
I mean, the scariest part obviously was not the original anti-Semitism. It was the lack of leadership coming into play when they were supposed to come into play and condemn what happened and they failed, so not only did the anti-Semitism that started with Ilhan Omar get worse and worse … but when the leadership fails to condemn that, it shows they are a party of anti-Semitism.
Finally, there is an organization that works more in the background: the Republican Jewish Coalition founded in 1985. It has offices all over the country and lobbies on Capitol Hill. “On every level, the Republican Jewish Coalition is committed to building a strong, effective, and respected Jewish Republican voice in Washington and across the country.” The energy created by all these groups and activities can make a difference. Still, changing the minds of Progressive Jews will be difficult:
While Republicans have made significant inroads in the Jewish community in recent years, Jews continue to vote overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates in presidential elections. Hillary Clinton received 71% of the Jewish vote in 2016, and 79% of Jews voted for Democrats in the 2018 midterms.
If the Democrats continue to allow anti-Semitism to be voiced without objections, they will be designing their own dark future.
I’m hoping that at least some Jews will finally take notice.