Bloomberg Endorsed Blind Rabbi
Posted by Brett Lieberman, October 28, 2008Dennis Shulman, the blind psychologist rabbi running for Congress in New Jersey, picked up a high-profile endorsement this morning from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“I’m impressed by his pragmatic, sensible approach to the tough issues, including how we strengthen the economy and how we keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals,” said Bloomberg said in a statement. “We need more leaders in Congress willing to reach across the aisle and focus on problem solving, not ideology.”
Shulman, a Democrat, is challenging Republican Congressman Scott Garrett in New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District.
Bloomberg blamed ideology for too often blocking progress on critical issues.
Jewish Challengers seen gaining in house races
Posted by Brett Lieberman, October 23, 2008
New ratings from the Cook Political Report reflect improved chances for a couple of Jewish challengers in tough congressional races.
The non-partisan group changed the contest between incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Rogers and Democrat Josh Segall in Alabama’s 3rd Congressional District to likely Republican from solid Republican.
Likewise, Florida’s 18th Congressional District seat held by incumbent Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has been downgraded from solid Republican to likely Republican. One recent poll showed Jewish Latina businesswoman Annette Taddeo trailing by 7 percent.
Neither incumbent Republican Rep. Mark Kirk or Democratic challenger Dan Seals is Jewish, but Illinois’ 10th Congressional District has garnered attention because of its large Jewish population. That race is now rated a toss up.
Rabbis Get the Call From McCain
Posted by Brett Lieberman, October 18, 2008
Republican presidential nominee John McCain plans to host a conference call with Jewish leaders across the country Sunday morning.
The so-called tele-town hall meeting with Jewish leaders, McCain’s second such call since August, will include the participation of U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman. The independent Democrat who has been campaigning for the Republican ticket in battleground states, will introduce McCain, a longtime friend.
Issues important to the Jewish community such as Israel and national security are expected to be discussed as well as the economy. Participants are expected to be able to ask questions.
The 10:30 a.m. call is expected to include representatives from groups like Chabad-Lubavitch, Agudath Israel, Orthodox Union, Young Israel, in addition to Orthodox, Conservative and Reform rabbis, according to McCain’s campaign.
Jewish leaders representing groups under the umbrella of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations will also participate.
The call will allow Senator McCain to have a dialogue with Jewish leaders and discuss issues critical to the Jewish community such as Israel, national security and the economy. In traditional town-hall fashion, there will be a question-and-answer session with Senator McCain.
McCain held a similar call with Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis from 47 states in late August.
McCain, Obama Allies Hope to Reassure Jewish Buckeyes
Posted by Brett Lieberman, October 13, 2008
Ohio’s Jewish community is getting lots of love from presidential surrogates this Columbus Day weekend.
U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the independent Connecticut Democrat and 2000 vice presidential nominee, is meeting with Jewish communal leaders over breakfast this morning outside of Cleveland to emphasize his belief that Republican John McCain is the bettered prepared candidate to be president.
Lieberman addressed about 200 McCain volunteers at a campaign call center northeast of Cleveland on Sunday.
Not far away at the Landerhaven banquet hall, which Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher called the epicenter of Ohio Jewish politics and at least for a short while the presidential campaign, former Middle East peace negotiator Dennis Ross was joined by Sen. Carl Levin, Rep. Jane Harman and Alan Solow, a prominent member of Chicago’s Jewish community, to reassure Jewish voters that Democrat Barack Obama is a strong friend of Israel and the Jewish community.
While Ross, Levin and Harman emphasized Obama’s commitment and understanding of the importance of Israel and nominating good candidates to the Supreme Court, it was Solow, chairman of Jewish Community Centers Association of North America but the least known of the group, who offered the best line of the night: “I like to say he’s going to be the first Jewish president of the United States.”
Solow, who met Obama in 2003 and traveled with the Illinois senator to Israel in 2006, said that Obama “gets (Israel) in his bones. He has it in his kishkes,” he said, using the Yiddish word for guts.
RNC Criticizes Obama Grant to Rabbi/Relative
Posted by Brett Lieberman, October 7, 2008
The latest Republican attack line on Barack Obama involves a rabbi.
The Republican National Committee is circulating a news release this morning calling the Democratic presidential nominee to task for awarding $75,000 in grants to a social service agency lead by his wife’s cousin, Rabbi Capers Funnye.
The grants — $50,000 for adult literacy and counseling services and $25,000 for youth services — went to a group called Blue Gargoyle in 1999 and 2000, when Obama was an Illinois state senator, the Associated Press reports.
Funnye, Michelle Obama’s first cousin once removed, denied Obama or the group acted improperly in securing the grants. [For more on Funnye, read this earlier Forward article HERE]
“State Sen. Obama joined other legislators in securing funding for a well-established social services agency in his district that provided job training, employment counseling, and alternative education programs to approximately 1,200 Chicago residents each year,” campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt told AP.
But under the headline, “Obama’s Friends & Family Plan,” the RNC asked, “Why Does Barack Obama Decry The Politics Of Special Interest, But Show No Shame In Doing Favors For Friends & Family?”
All of these highly-revealing posts can be found at: http://www.forward.com/blogs/campaign-confidential/