Campaign Confidential

Could Jersey Send a Rabbi to Congress?

By Jennifer Siegel

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Rabbi Dennis Shulman of Demarest is sure hoping so. Shulman, a longtime clinical psychologist who was ordained in 2003, has a pretty incredible biography (he became blind late in childhood) and is hoping to use it against Republican incumbent Scott Garrett in New Jersey’s fifth congressional district.

Shulman’s not the only Democrat in the race thus far – civil rights Camille Abate is also in – nor is he the only Jew to take on Garrett in recent years: Paul Aronsohn lost to Garrett by 11 points in 2006. But he definitely brings a unique story to one of the country’s most expensive media markets, and time will tell if it is enough to help him break through.

After the jump, take a look at Shulman’s campaign bio, which is also posted up at Act Blue. It definitely shows a lot of skill in boiling a campaign down to a few key, compelling themes.

I am Dennis Shulman.

And for over thirty years, I have been a psychologist. Because of this, I know the importance of truth seeking and truth speaking.

And for the last five years, I have been a rabbi. Because of this I know that what we do matters, and the importance of taking responsibility for the intended and unintended consequences of our choices.

Since childhood, I have been blind. My vision deteriorated gradually, so that by the time I went off to college and graduate school, I could only see light. Because of my blindness, I have learned what it means to struggle. Because of my blindness, I have learned to respect other people’s struggles. Because of my experience as a blind person, I know how important community and government support can be for people who are struggling.

I have lived all my life in America. As a proud American, heartbroken and troubled by our recent direction as a nation, I remind us all that the gravest sin for an American is to forget what we represent.

In sixteen months, District Five will have a congressman:

Who seeks and speaks the truth; Who takes responsibility for his political choices; And knows about what it means to struggle, and what can help. A congressman who will not forget what America represents, Who will not forget what our state and nation can be—at its best.

I am Dennis Shulman; and I am running for congress.


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