You've got to love this Alan Solow quote:
Alan Solow, a longtime friend of the president from Chicago who recently served as chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, took a more personal tack in selling “the first Jewish president of the United States.” “At the risk of stereotyping us, he thinks like a Jew,” he said, likening Obama’s decision-making process to a Talmudic scholar. “I knew it before he was the president, and I’ve seen it every day since he’s been the president.” He added: “Barack Obama has a Jewish soul. He has neshama.”
I'd be even happier if Alan could give me some guidelines on this Jewish soul thing. How does one identify a Jewish soul? How is it different from a non-Jewish soul? Does Obama have only a Jewish soul, or does he have other types of souls as well (to know this, I'd have to know if Jewish souls are exclusive or could live harmoniously with other souls in the same person)? Can I also get a Jewish soul, or buy one? Can a Republican have a Jewish soul? Could Romney get one, or buy one? Final point: It is true that the Talmud has a unique "decision making process", but Solow should know that in most cases the Talmud is good on the process and is pretty bad at reaching a decision.
Speaking of Talmudic processes, here's what Rabbi David Wolpe, slated to deliver an invocation as the Democratic convention, has to say:
[W]hile the 54-year-old rabbi said he’s privileged to participate at the DNC - it will be his first political convention - he insists he’s not taking sides in the election by doing so. “I actually think that it is a mistake for a rabbi to endorse one candidate or another,” said Wolpe. “I really see my role as apolitical.” He notes that his congregation, Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, is ideologically diverse and that he has a responsibility to ensure that none of them feel disenfranchised by his convictions.
He definitely has a Jewish soul.
Nathan Guttman does the math for you:
The Jewish vote, Democrats now estimate, could make a difference between victory and defeat for the president. If support for Obama among Jewish voters drops from the estimated 74% he got in 2008 to 68%, as tracking polls now show, the change in key states could be enough to swing the election. If Obama loses 10% of Jewish votes he won in 2008, that would translate to 85,000 votes in Florida, 41,500 in Pennsylvania and 19,000 in Ohio. Nevada, Colorado and Virginia are also key swing states in which there are significant numbers of Jewish voters.
But why would anyone assume that Obama is going to lost 10% of the Jewish vote? If he got 74% last time, he'd have to get 64% this time for it to be a 10% loss. The polls already put him at 68% - as Guttman reports, but they only put Romney at 25%. This leaves 7% of undecided voters, and even if these are split evenly between Obama and Romney, it will help the president cross the 70% line. In other words, unless we get new polls with new numbers testifying differently, Obama is more likely to lose 2%-4% than 10%. Now do the math: It can still tip the vote in Florida if it is extremely close, but unlikely to tip it in other states.
We forgot to inform you last week that our House Jewish Projection has been updated. The two Jewish candidates of the Arizona 09 race were eliminated following the victory of Kyrsten Sinema. She is now one step closer to being able to deliver on her pledge to be "a strong voice for Israel in Congress". And we get closer to setting the number of projected Jewish House members at 21 (instead of the current 22).