I reported after the 2006 November election that the number of Jews in Congress had reached an all-time high: 30 members in the House and a whopping 13 in the Senate.
“Jews are just political animals,” said Steven Windmueller, dean of the Los Angeles campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
“Politics sort of is the Jewish religion,” he added. “There is just such a passion for being in the game, in the process. Jewish life thrives in societies where democracies work, and that is why there is such a heavy buy-in into the American political process.”
Now, Haaretz‘s Shmuel Rosner writes that Jewish representation could climb even higher this fall.
It is a silly question, I know that. Only fellow obsessive-Jew-counters will understand the temptation to try and predict whether the 2008 Congress will break the record number of Jewish legislators that was established in the 2006 election cycle.
But here we are, doing exactly that.
Rosner reports that American voters continue to be uninterested in marginalizing Jews, to the point that Alaska might actually send a Jew to Congress, which would make Michael Chabon’s great book The Yiddish Policemen’s Union at least a little bit prophetic. And you can count on Rosner to dig up information of interest only to obsessive Jews and web-based neo-Nazis, including the fact that Congressman Tom Udall, who is not Jewish, is nevertheless a longtime member of Temple Beth Shalom of Santa Fe, New Mexico, on account of his Jewish wife.
Contrast this picture of Jewish enfranchisement with the troubling notion that it is a “smear” to allege that a certain presidential candidate might be a Muslim, and you get the sense that we’re not so terribly marginal, at least when compared to the Muslims Daniel Pipes worries about.