October 15, 2008
Which way will we vote? The Jewish community is split as campaign tactics intensify division
(Page 3 - Previous Page)About 150 liberal-minded Jews were standing in the backyard of a massive house located just down the street from the mayor's official residence in Windsor Square. Projected onto the side of the house was the world premiere of a pro-Obama video readymade for YouTube that its producers hoped, and likely everyone knew, would soon go viral.
"If you knew that visiting your grandparents could change the world, would you?" Silverman asked in the opening of the video. "Of course you would."
In the four-minute short, Silverman goes on to argue that young Jews have more power to rock the vote in Florida by convincing their grandparents to vote for Obama than by staying home and simply voting for Obama in a blue state like California or New York. And so, she says, they should remember Al Gore's fate in Florida and join The Great Schlep, an effort organized by JewsVote.
Characteristic of the tit-for-tat actions of Republican and Democratic Jews this year, the RJC responded with a two-minute video from Jackie Mason, a Jewish comedian from a very different generation and caste.
Mason took issue with Silverman's insinuation that every Jew who doesn't vote for Obama is a racist -- in the video she uses her characteristic wry humor to explore how much elderly Jews and young black men have in common: they love track suits, Cadillacs, their grandkids and bling, and "all their friends are dying" -- her claim that elderly Jews don't like Obama "because his name sounds scary; it sounds Muslim, which he is obviously not."
To which Mason replied: "You're not a bigot and don't let her convince ya you are. She's a sick yenta for mentioning it."
The schleppers aren't the only Jews heading to battleground states in hopes of making a difference as Nov. 4 gets closer.
Writer Sharon Rosen Leib will head with her friend, Karen Gross, both 45, to West Palm Beach for the final days before the election. With their husbands in charge of their kids back home, they'll be staying at a friend's house and spending every waking minute promoting Obama.
On Election Day, Leib said, they plan to use their rental car as a voting booth shuttle for those who can't or don't want to drive. After all, the election could hinge on Florida, which could swing on the smallest margin of votes, and Leib needs to know she did all she can for her candidate.
"There is just too much at stake this election," Leib said, "and I felt powerless sitting at my computer, watching all the e-mails go back and forth."
Indeed, there seems to be an even greater awareness of what Berenbaum, the adjunct professor of theology, told The Journal in January:
"The last four years of the Bush administration have been disastrous. If we don't get ourselves squared away, it could be the end of the American Century and the end of the way the American Jewish community has been American in this era."
"We are voting as if our lives and futures depend upon it," he continued. "Not because we fear someone is going to come out and kill us, but because we fear that if we don't get this right, our children and their children will not enjoy the privileges this generation has enjoyed as Americans -- the economic opportunity, the prosperity, the education, all of those elements that have characterized our existence and our flourishing.
"After Florida in 2000, everybody knows that every vote absolutely counts."