Jewish Candidates Skip New York Mayor's Race, But Crowd Vies in Los Angeles

Rare No-Jew Race in Gotham as Trio Aims for History in Calif.


By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published February 19, 2013, issue of February 22, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 4 of 4)

Appealing to New York’s Jews means reaching out to ultra-Orthodox leaders in Brooklyn and to secular liberals on the Upper West Side, to pick two of the scores of Jewish subcommunities throughout the city.

In past electoral cycles, Jewish leaders have worried that demographic shifts within the Jewish community, particularly the growth of the community’s conservative Russian-speaking and ultra-Orthodox segments, is breaking up that Jewish bloc. That hasn’t yet happened, at least in mayoral races. Jews have largely voted together in all recent mayoral elections but the 2001 race, when the community split between Republican Michael Bloomberg and Democrat Mark Green, both of whom are Jewish.

“Jews want to be viewed as a bloc, even when they don’t like each other,” said Ester Fuchs, director of the Urban and Social Policy Program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Seeking access to needed services, Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jews look to support front-runners in local elections and eschew ideological concerns. That often brings them in line with secular Jewish liberals, who favor candidates pushing social programs. “Consequently, when you look at local elections, the ideological differences among Jewish voters are not as significant as they would be in a national election,” Fuchs said.

The lower and middle ranks of city politics are full of ambitious young Jewish officials, like Julie Menin, a candidate for Manhattan Borough President, and City Councilman Brad Lander. It’s clear that the current dearth of Jewish mayoral wannabes is not a long-term condition.

In L.A., however, despite the current bumper crop of Jewish mayoral candidates, the trend is actually moving in the opposite direction. The number of Jews in city offices there is actually declining.

“While three major candidates have connections to the Jewish community, it’s actually in the context of declining Jewish representation in the assembly, the state Senate, the city council,” Sonenshein said. He noted that the number of Jews representing L.A. in those bodies is “well below the high-water marks of 20 years ago.”

Contact Josh Nathan-Kazis at nathankazis@forward.com or on Twitter @joshnathankazis.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.