Conversations (1)

Hi Rebbetzin.

The new Pew survey on Jews in America found that 70% are Democratic or lean Democratic, while only 19% identify as politically conservative. Among the Orthodox however, the results are very different. 57% of Orthodox Jews are Republican or lean Republican, 54% identify as conservative, and a mere 36% are Democratic or lean Democratic.

I know when I was more immersed in the Orthodox world, it was made clear in various circles that they felt it important that Orthodox Jews needed to vote GOP. Aside from "liberal values" constantly being blasted in the yeshivas, I recall when Yated -- "the Torah newspaper for our times" - decided to reverse its previous practice of not endorsing any candidates and went for McCain.

But as black and white as the Orthodox world may seem to some outside, it is anything but. I recall when your husband worked at the haredi-run shul here, your family was openly politically liberal, which I think is fascinating, so I wanted to ask you about that experience.

Let's start at the beginning, childhood. I recall a conversation with a rabbi I'm friendly with had where he told me when he was a kid in Monsey, the teacher asked the class whose parents were voting for Reagan and who for Mondale. Only one kid raised his hand for Mondale and the rabbi remembered thinking to himself: What Jews vote for Democrats? Weird.

Was your experience similar? Were all the kids from GOP families? If you feel comfortable sharing your parents' affiliation, were they liberal?
So your childhood experience is basically the exact opposite of that of the rabbi I mentioned! So perhaps views were more heterogeneous back then, but Haredi Orthodoxy has since been developing in a more right-wing direction.

So at the time you were a Reagan "voter." I'm sure some of our readers now are thinking, oy vavoy, nebuch, to leave the emes of the Golden Age of Reagan's conservatism, what could have gone wrong?

When did you, the erstwhile Reagan supporter, become mugged by a different reality than the one movement conservatives were given? In other words, when did you develop a more liberal politics?