The Schmooze

Mosque Debate Focuses Attention on Bloomberg’s Judaism

Leave it to a debate over a mosque to refocus attention on Michael Bloomberg’s Judaism.

New York City’s mayor has returned to the national spotlight in recent weeks, as controversy has escalated over the so-called “Ground Zero mosque,” the proposed Islamic cultural center that would be built two blocks from the former site of the World Trade Center. Bloomberg, raised in a kosher home in Medford, Mass., has prominently defended the project, declaring in an August 24 speech that “[t]here is nowhere in the five boroughs of New York City that is off limits to any religion.”

While Bloomberg’s religious background isn’t exactly a secret, his outspoken support for the center has renewed interest in his beliefs. An August 28 article in the Wall Street Journal examined the mayor’s upbringing and observance in adult life, noting his childhood Hebrew school attendance but reporting that Bloomberg is now “more likely to show up in church” for a political event “than be spotted at Temple Emanu-El, the Upper East Side reform synagogue to which he belongs.”

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Mosque Debate Focuses Attention on Bloomberg’s Judaism

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