There is an old Jewish saying that if you change your place, you change your luck. The organizers of the 21st annual Israel Film Festival are putting it to the test.
Last week I was driving to a family celebration at Leisure World in Laguna Hills when I noticed something very odd about the weather: Fall was in the air.
Exploring the Pico-Robertson neighborhood, where Republicans once were the smallest of minorities, I happened upon a nest of recall supporters who were also great admirers of President Bush. Talking to them, I got a sense of the changing politics of Los Angeles' Jewish community, where votes can no longer be taken for granted.
They were students of Netan Eli High School, seated around a table in the lunch-room, talking politics. I'd happened on the school the previous afternoon while looking for people to interview about the Oct. 7 election. I introduced myself to Rabbi Sholom D. Weil, the principal, and general studies principal Avi Erblich, and they were nice enough to set up a meeting with students.
The current war with Iraq marks a defining moment in the lives of American Jews and their lives in this country. For generations, Jews have lived, for the most part, on the left-wing edge of the American commonwealth.
They have been -- in Hollywood, in the political world, academia and the media -- generally hostile to the idea of the projection of American power and the idea of a new American empire.
This may soon be changing. Although initially somewhat less supportive of the Iraq invasion than other Americans, Jews are far more behind the projection of American power, arguably, than at any time since World War II. Over half of Jews strongly supported the Bush policy before the outbreak of hostility, according to the Pew Research Center; that percentage has likely increased more recently, as has occurred in the rest of the population.
The stunning change in the U.S. Senate triggered by Sen. James Jeffords' switch from GOP to independent status means a seismic shift in the war over a host of domestic issues, including the church-state skirmishes that have preoccupied Jewish groups.