Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Mayor Katie Rosenberg isn’t Jewish but anti-Semites don’t seem to care

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Katie Rosenberg likely would have made headlines in any case for being elected mayor of Wausau, a small city in central Wisconsin. She’s 36, for one thing, young for an executive, and she’s a Democrat who ousted a GOP incumbent in what turned out to be a surprising blue wave election.

But it was her tweet upon learning April 13 that she won the April 7 contest, with 52% of the vote, that landed her on many people’s radar for the first time:

Despite her last name, Rosenberg isn’t Jewish — we asked her about it.

“Any Jewish heritage I might have was lost a looooong time ago, before my family left Europe,” she said in a private exchange with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Twitter. “I don’t know the story, unfortunately.”

But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t had some quintessentially Jewish experiences, which she explained in a manner that was consistent with the in-your-face attitude in her victory tweet.

“A lot of people assume I am Jewish and I don’t see any reason to correct them because a lot of it comes in the form of anti-Semitism,” she said.

Rosenberg had plenty of examples.

“The majority of it is online via Twitter or Facebook. It’s usually name-calling (I am sure you know all the anti-Semitic names) and I block or delete them,” she said in a Twitter direct message exchange. “Last summer I had some guy (obviously drunk) come up to me and tell me that I was trying to ‘Jew’ him.”

The experience was not new to her family.

“Growing up my dad was on our local city council and we received tons of mail addressed to ‘Jimmy RosenJew.’ I only received one letter like that,” she said, attaching a photo of a pile of hate and hoax mail her father got.

And an uncle, John Rosenberg, is a retired Lutheran pastor who led a congregation in Vancouver, Washington. At least half a dozen times, he was awakened late at night with phone calls that broadcast Hitler’s speeches.

Rosenberg’s reaction to her family’s experience with anti-Semitism, and her own, was fairly typical of any American Jew: “These people are nuts and kind of scary.”

Rosenberg criticized those who were responding to her election with hate speech in an April 16 tweet, writing, “Lol @ misogyny and anti-Semitism. It’s been millennia. Find some new material.” That post has gotten 45 “likes,” compared to the 21,000 that her election response has drawn.

“I usually call this stuff out because I know that this goes on behind my back,” Rosenberg said. “If I can get through to people who might be friends with people who say things like this, maybe they will find it in them to call it out.”

The post Katie Rosenberg, the new mayor of Wausau, Wisconsin, isn’t Jewish. But anti-Semites don’t seem to care. appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.