7 Jews To Watch at the Republican National Convention (Where Jews Are Scarce)

Sure, there was a rabbi delivering the opening invocation, an activists selling a variety of Trump kippas outside the arena, and a handful of activists roaming the hallways, but Jewish Republicans are somewhat hard to find at the RNC convention in Cleveland.

Still, there some big names no one wants to miss. Here are 7 of them:

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner - the most famous Jewish member of the Trump family is scheduled to speak Thursday, on the most dramatic night of the convention when her father will pick up the formal Republican nomination. Ivanka would likely want her rabbi, Haskel Lookstein, to be there with her, but he cancelled his planned appearance after hearing from former students and congregants that were less than pleased with the idea of their rabbi giving his blessing to Donald Trump. Her husband, Jared Kushner, is said to be a key adviser to Donald Trump. He also runs the Observer newspaper.

Elliott Broidy and Lew Eisenberg - these two Jewish fundraisers will be working behind the scenes to help sure up Donald Trump’s campaign finances during the convention. Conventions are traditionally viewed as a great opportunity to reach out to party bigwigs, provide them with some face time with top campaign officials, and collect checks for use in the final stretch of the campaign. Eisenberg and Broidy have been working with Trump fort months now and have been faced with a tough time getting donors on board and establishing the financial back needed to run a $1 billion campaign.

Matt Brooks - the tireless head of the Republican Jewish Coalition will be holding daily events and meetings on the sidelines of the convention, all behind closed doors. For Brooks, who had worked throughout the years to increase the Jewish vote for Republican candidates, this is a tough year - some of his group’s key donors are sitting out the convention and others are reluctant to open their checkbook for the Trump campaign.

Rabbi Ari Wolf - the Cleveland police chaplain called to fill in for Lockstein at the last minute, won immediate stardom as he took to the stage in the opening moments of the convention. But delivering a Jewish invocation also brought out some anti-Semites who were quick to blast the convention’s YouTube channel.

Sheldon Adelson - rolled into town on Tuesday. Adelson is still expected to be Trump’s biggest single donor, but he seems to be slow with pouring the cash needed to fund the campaign. A last minute plea from convention organizers asking Adelson to close their funding hole also did little to improve relations with the Jewish mega donor.


Nathan Guttman

Nathan Guttman

Nathan Guttman staff writer, is the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Ha’aretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Contact Nathan at guttman@forward.com, or follow him on Twitter @nathanguttman

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7 Jews To Watch at the Republican National Convention (Where Jews Are Scarce)

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