In an attempt to bring my new book (The Jewish Vote: Obama vs. Romney / A Jewish Voter’s Guide) to the attention of more readers before it’s too late – the book is more relevant now, when the votes are not yet cast in the Obama-Romney battle – I wrote an article for The Jewish Forward. You can read it all here, but if you want to first know what it’s about, here’s an appetizer:
It is we — the Jews — who need the Jewish vote much more than the candidates and the pollsters and the pundits and the political hacks. We need it as one among not many means of proof that we exist as a community, as a living societal organ, as a group. We need it to make us feel different and, at the same time, to make us not seem too different, too separate.
We need it because in this modern world of Jewish acceptability and social blending, not much is left to define us as a group. Yes, we celebrate the same holidays, but that is a religious identity, not exactly a communal one. And we — well, most of us — worry about other Jews in Israel and elsewhere. But this worry, if executed properly, connects us to a larger group of world Jewry, and not to a local community of Jews. Of course we don’t all agree on the specifics of political agendas, but being part of a vibrant, shifting, chaotic “vote” forces us into a group that is markedly Jewish and markedly American and markedly ethnic. And we need it, because we don’t want to be Jews just religiously or to be ethnically defined only in relation to the distant Jews of Israel or Argentina or France.