Forward Thinking

Obama Rolls Out His Rabbis

By Nathan Guttman

  • Print
  • Share Share

Obama’s reelection campaign launched its list of Rabbis for Obama, which includes some 600 rabbis of all denominations pledging their support for the president.

The campaign takes pride in the number of rabbis on the list. In 2008 only 300 rabbis signed on, now the number has doubled. “Their ringing endorsement of President Obama speaks volumes about the President’s deep commitment to the security of the state of Israel and his dedication to a policy agenda that represents the values of the overwhelming majority of the American Jewish community,” said Ira Forman, the Obama campaign Jewish Outreach Director in a press release issued Tuesday.

In an effort to avoid any potential legal pitfalls, the campaign stressed that all rabbis represent only themselves and not their synagogue or organization. The campaign website lists only their place of residence, not the synagogue’s name. Any official with a nonprofit organization could endanger that institutes tax exempt status by endorsing a political candidate.

What will the rabbis for Obama be doing from now and until November?

Not much. A campaign insider explained that by signing on to the list, rabbis did not commit to speaking out on behalf of Obama’s campaign or attending events. Many rabbis, however, already expressed their willingness to play an active role.

The list of 600 rabbis includes several Orthodox clergymen, an achievement for the Obama campaign given poll numbers that indicate Orthodox Jews lean heavily toward the Republican side. It also has representatives from 40 states (even Utah and Wyoming) and is heavy on the swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

How significant are these rabbis in their communities?

JTA’s Capital J blog compared the list to the most recent Newsweek list of America’s top 50 rabbis and came up with only 10 matches.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Jewish Vote, Election 2012, Barack Obama

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.