web analytics
April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



The Jewish Vote: Same Old, Same Old

Front-Page-112312

Share Button

* * * * *

That engenders the third reason why Jews remain tenacious Democratic voters. The fact is, few Jewish Democrats vote with Israel as their main concern, or even as a major concern. There are also Jews who, by reasonable standards, can be construed as anti-Israel. They make common cause with Israel’s enemies, support boycott of and divestment from Israel, oppose Jewish settlement in the heartland of Israel and favor the establishment of another Palestinian state, and/or are openly hostile to Israel exercising its right of self-defense – ever, under any circumstances. Some Jews even oppose the Jewish national idea, and think Israel itself is illegitimate.

The one common denominator is that all those Jews vote for the Democratic Party. They are not the only Jews who vote for the Democrat, but all such Jews do vote for the Democrat.

Thus, the fourth reason why most Jews are Democrats – since Israel’s fate is of tangential interest to many – is that they are more aroused by the social agenda than by any other concern, including Israel. Many Jews are obsessed with abortion rights, and see it as a sacrament – an iconic act of freedom and self-expression. They are fanatics about individual rights and freedoms and loathe any constraints on personal behavior. Jews, in fact, seem uniquely intimidated by the so-called threats to these newfound freedoms. And they are in the forefront of transforming traditional society – supporting same-sex marriage, alternative lifestyles, and the abolition of any notion of objective morality. Strange, one might think, because Jews introduced to the world the concept of objective moral norms transmitted to us by the Creator of the universe.

But most Jews are widely estranged from their faith – fifth reason – and do not perceive their Judaism as shaping or influencing their world view, except insofar as they distort the Torah’s values and ideas and assume they correspond to The New York Times editorial page. Most can speak of Jewish values only in the most amorphous terms – and perceive as uniquely Jewish the platitudes (“be a good person”) that are common to every religion. Most have limited exposure to Torah. That is why the Orthodox voting patterns are almost the complete opposite of the non-Orthodox. The closer one is to tradition, the more one will gravitate to conservative ideals. That there are exceptions, of course, only proves the rule.

A sixth reason bores into the credibility of the statistics and raises the great enigma of Jewish life today: How many Jews actually live in the United States? The survey questions are asked with trepidation, because a large percentage of American “Jews” are not Jews according to Jewish law. As we know, a Jew is defined according to tradition as a person born of a Jewish mother or converted according to halacha, Jewish law.

With intermarriage in the non-Orthodox world hovering around 70 percent, how many of the “Jews” counted in these surveys are in fact Jews? For example, the children of non-Jewish mothers are not Jews according to Jewish law, even if they feel Jewish and were bar-mitzvahed. Likewise, the children of Jewish mothers who intermarry are Jews – but are they really representative of Jews in terms of ascertaining a “Jewish” vote – especially since most intermarried children by far are not raised as Jews or educated as Jews?

It might very well be that if we exclude hundreds of thousands of halachic non-Jews from our count as Jews, the differences in voting patterns between Jews and other mainstream groups as revealed by the polls might not be as dramatic. Since it is difficult to count Jews in America, the surveys themselves are suspect. It would explain, though, why support for Israel has dwindled as a major issue for Jewish Democrats.

* * * * *

Finally, most Jews today are committed secularists who are uncomfortable with any expression of faith in the public domain. The Democratic Party is therefore their natural home, even if American history and politics have been informed by faith from the very founding of the country. The Democrats have moved on from that premise, and in their desire to transform the United States, have disconnected it from those roots.

Share Button

About the Author: Rabbi Steven Pruzansky is the spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun of Teaneck, New Jersey, and the author most recently of “Judges for Our Time: Contemporary Lessons from the Book of Shoftim” (Gefen Publishing House, Jerusalem, 2009). His writings and lectures can be found at www.Rabbipruzansky.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “The Jewish Vote: Same Old, Same Old”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
FBI Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden
Pakistan Library Renamed to Honor bin Laden
Latest Indepth Stories
matza

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

Masked Palestinian Authority Arabs hurl blocks at Israel Police during and after "worship" at Temple Mount mosque. (archive photo)

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

Haredim riot after draft-dodger is arrested.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

Bitton-041814

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

More Articles from Rabbi Steven Pruzansky
A modern-day Jewish warrior in the tradition of Abraham, Moses, Joshua and David.

One can’t only take; one must give as well. Giving – not taking – is the essence of the righteous person.

Rabbi Samson Rephael Hirsch

Much of what we know about 19th century Orthodoxy is false, including the provenance of the term Orthodox.

A president who today used the language of FDR or JFK would be derided. If he were a candidate, the media elites would bury his chances of winning the election. He would be a laughing stock to the aimless young people whose uninformed opinions on public affairs seem to matter more than they should.

With the constant drumbeat of articles about “Orthodox” female rabbis appearing in the media almost weekly – essentially the same articles making the same points to the same eager audience, all to make the phenomenon of such “rabbis” seem commonplace – it is important to take a step back and examine how we arrived at this destination.

The Wall Street Journal last month featured a front-page article titled “After These Jewish Prayer Services, Things Come ‘To Life’ at Open Bar,” with the sub-heading, “To Woo Worshippers, Synagogues Compete with Food and Booze.”

In the wake of the presidential election, American Jews must once again ask a fundamental question that seems to defy both societal trends and a clear resolution: why do Jews overwhelmingly support the Democratic candidate, year after year, election after election?

The notion of the “Reagan Democrat” is one cliché that should be permanently retired.

The forthcoming debate over an updated Tal Law – the parameters for service by haredim in the Israel Defense Forces – is liable to become heated and nasty. Mutual accusations will be hurled, with one group asserting that mandatory military service is part of an ill-disguised war against Torah and the other side seeking an equal sharing of the defense burdens that fall on most other Israelis.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/the-jewish-vote-same-old-same-old/2012/11/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: