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Jewish Vote Chart - History

Jewish Vote Chart - History

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The History of the Jewish Vote

As a Jewish American, I have always taken special pride in the tendency of my demographic to support liberal candidates in presidential elections. This is not a recent trend either, for as the following data shows, Jews have gravitated toward left-wing politicians for as long as Jewish voting patterns have been recorded.

The statistics below encompass Jewish voting results in every presidential election from 1916 (where the first data regarding the Jewish vote exists) to the present. There are several noteworthy statistics from this chart that I feel are worth expounding upon:

1) The Jewish vote did not become reliably Democratic until the election of 1928, when the nominee was an outspoken progressive from New York City, Governor Alfred E. Smith. Although the Democratic party had been dependably "liberal" (by the modern definition of the term) since William Jennings Bryan's nomination 1896, it wasn't until Smith was tapped thirty-two years later that the party's left-wing ideology adopted a flavor that was especially appealing to the urban culture with which Jews throughout modern history have been strongly associated. This explains why, prior to 1928, there were such noteworthy phenomena as Socialist Eugene Debs receiving only 3% of the national vote but 38% of the Jewish vote (whereas Harding received 60% of the national vote and only 43% of the Jewish vote and his Democratic opponent received 38% of the national vote but only 19% of the Jewish vote). Jews in the past two hundred years of Western history have tended to strongly associate with a distinctly cosmopolitan brand of progressivism, and it was the Democratic party's adoption of that ideology in 1928, with the nomination of Alfred "Al" Smith, that officially brought them into the fold. Indeed, one could safely assert that Al Smith was to Jewish voters and the Democratic party the same thing that Barry Goldwater was to Southern voters and the Republican party, or what Franklin Roosevelt was to African-American voters and the Democratic party - i.e, the candidate directly responsible for making them into a dependable voting bloc and integral part of that political organization's coalition.

2) With one exception, no fewer three out of every five voting Jews (60%) have voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in every election since Alfred Smith's nomination in 1928. Indeed, this number is almost always much larger, with Democrats being able to depend upon anywhere from 70% to 79% of the Jewish vote in normal elections, and as much as 80% to 90% of the Jewish vote in elections where either the Democratic candidate was unusually popular among Jews (Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, Bill Clinton) or the Republican adversary was uniquely disliked by Jews (Barry Goldwater). The number has only hovered between 60% and 69% (which is still considered a large enough figure for a group to be considered a "bloc" for a given party) when the Democratic candidate is either unusually unpopular with the general public and thus has residual effects on Jewish voting patterns (George McGovern in 1972, Michael Dukakis in 1988) or when the Republican candidate is popular with the general public to a transcendant degree (Adlai Stevenson against Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956, Walter Mondale against Ronald Reagan in 1984), with likewise residual effects among Jews.

Most noteworthy of all about Jewish voting patterns in 1980, though, was the fact that once the allegedly anti-Jewish candidate (Jimmy Carter) was off the Democratic ticket - as occurred in the subsequent election in 1984 - Jews gravitated back to their traditional home in the Democratic party. Indeed, the very fact that Mondale - who fared much worse with the general public in 1984 then Carter did in 1980 - managed to significantly out-perform Carter among Jewish voters further demonstrates the nature in which Jews' temporary defection from the Democratic party in 1980 was due to specific animus against Jimmy Carter, rather than any deep-rooted alteration of partisan allegiance.

3) It is worth noting that Israel does not play nearly the pivotal role in determining Jewish voting patterns as many pundits assert. In 1948, the year President Truman recognized the State of Israel, he received only 75% of the Jewish, down 15% from the amount received by Democrats in the previous two elections and the lowest number received by any Democrat in twenty years (although still high enough to count as a bloc). That said, this didn't happen because of any mass defection to the Republican ticket Truman's opponent, Thomas Dewey, only received 10% of the vote, the exact same percentage Republican presidential candidates had received in the previous two elections.

The common thread in all three of these elections (1916, 1964, and 2000) was the Jewish preference for liberalism irrespective of any additional ethnic identification. The Democratic and Republican candidates in 1916 (Wilson and Hughes respectively) were both well-known liberals, the Republican in 1964 was unusually conservative even for his own party, and the Democrat in 2000 was a standard liberal running against a Republican who was a standard conservative. Hence the Jewish community was essentially split in 1916, unusually forceful in its opposition to the Republican in 1964, and as dependably Democratic (without being uniquely more so or less so) in 2000 as ever before - all without regard to the issue of Jewish self-identification.

5) Third-party candidates that are extremely conservative either fail to receive any Jewish votes (such as segregationist Strom Thurmond in 1948 or any of the fascist parties) or a significantly smaller percentage than from the mainstream (segregationist George Wallace received 14% of the general vote in 1968, but only 2% of the Jewish vote).

Finally, third-party candidates who are essentially non-ideological in nature (namely Ross Perot) tend to do less well among Jewish voters than among the general public, although they do not crash and burn to the same degree that extremely conservative third-party candidates do.

6) Of the fourteen presidents who were elected between 1928 and 2008, the most popular (when incorporating both averages and statistical modes) among Jewish voters was Franklin Roosevelt, and the least popular (using the same method) was George W. Bush. The distinction of most popular Democrat among Jewish voters is actually a tie between Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, while the least popular Democrat was Jimmy Carter. Meanwhile, the most popular Republican among Jewish voters was Dwight Eisenhower, while the least popular Republicans were (in a three-way tie) Wendell Willkie, Thomas Dewey, and Barry Goldwater. That said, the Jewish preference for Democrats over Republicans is so noteworthy that even the least popular Democrat (Jimmy Carter) still received more Jewish votes than the most popular Republican (Dwight Eisenhower). Just as interesting: Socialist Eugene Debs received more Jewish votes in his 1920 campaign (38%) than all but three Republicans in the entire ninety-two year period in which Jewish votes have been counted (he was surpassed by Warren Harding in 1920, Dwight Eisenhower in 1956, and Ronald Reagan in 1980).

Warren Harding (Republican): 43% of Jewish vote, 60% of total vote
James Cox (Democrat): 19% of Jewish vote, 38% of total vote
Eugene Debs (Socialist): 38% of Jewish vote, 3% of total vote

Calvin Coolidge (Republican): 27% of Jewish vote, 54% of total vote
John Davis (Democrat): 51% of Jewish vote, 29% of total vote
Robert La Follette (Progressive): 22% of Jewish vote, 17% of total vote

Here are the Jewish voting patterns since 1928, in what can rightly be referred to as the modern history of the Jewish electorate:

Herbert Hoover (Republican): 28% of Jewish vote, 58% of total vote
Alfred Smith (Democrat): 72% of Jewish vote, 41% of total vote

Franklin Roosevelt (Democrat): 82% of Jewish vote, 57% of popular vote
Herbert Hoover (Republican): 18% of Jewish vote, 40% of popular vote

Franklin Roosevelt (Democrat): 85% of Jewish vote, 61% of popular vote
Alfred Landon (Republican): 15% of Jewish vote, 37% of popular vote

Franklin Roosevelt (Democrat): 90% of Jewish vote, 55% of popular vote
Wendell Willkie (Republican): 10% of Jewish vote, 45% of popular vote

Franklin Roosevelt (Democrat): 90% of Jewish vote, 53% of popular vote
Thomas Dewey (Republican): 10% of Jewish vote, 46% of popular vote

Harry Truman (Democrat): 75% of Jewish vote, 50% of popular vote
Thomas Dewey (Republican): 10% of Jewish vote, 45% of popular vote
Henry Wallace (Progressive): 15% of Jewish vote, 2% of popular vote

Strom Thurmond (Dixiecrat): 0% of Jewish vote, 2% of popular vote

Dwight Eisenhower (Republican): 36% of Jewish vote, 55% of popular vote
Adlai Stevenson (Democrat): 64% of Jewish vote, 44% of popular vote

Dwight Eisenhower (Republican): 40% of Jewish vote, 57% of popular vote
Adlai Stevenson (Democrat): 60% of Jewish vote, 42% of popular vote

John Kennedy (Democrat): 82% of Jewish vote, 50% of popular vote
Richard Nixon (Republican): 18% of Jewish vote, 50% of popular vote

Lyndon Johnson (Democrat): 90% of Jewish vote, 61% of popular vote
Barry Goldwater (Republican): 10% of Jewish vote, 39% of popular vote

Richard Nixon (Republican): 17% of Jewish vote, 43% of popular vote
Hubert Humphrey (Democrat): 81% of Jewish vote, 43% of popular vote
George Wallace (Independent): 2% of Jewish vote, 14% of popular vote

Richard Nixon (Republican): 35% of Jewish vote, 61% of total vote
George McGovern (Democrat): 65% of Jewish vote, 38% of total vote

Jimmy Carter (Democrat): 71% of Jewish vote, 50% of total vote
Gerald Ford (Republican): 27% of Jewish vote, 48% of total vote
Eugene McCarthy (Independent): 2% of Jewish vote, 1% of total vote

Ronald Reagan (Republican): 39% of Jewish vote, 51% of total vote
Jimmy Carter (Democrat): 45% of Jewish vote, 41% of total vote
John Anderson (Independent): 14% of Jewish vote, 7% of total vote

Ronald Reagan (Republican): 31% of Jewish vote, 59% of total vote
Walter Mondale (Democrat): 67% of Jewish vote, 41% of total vote

George H. W. Bush (Republican): 36% of Jewish vote, 53% of total vote
Michael Dukakis (Democrat): 64% of Jewish vote, 46% of total vote

William Clinton (Democrat): 80% of Jewish vote, 43% of total vote
George H. W. Bush (Republican): 11% of Jewish vote, 38% of total vote
Ross Perot (Independent): 9% of Jewish vote, 19% of total vote

William Clinton (Democrat): 78% of Jewish vote, 49% of total vote
Robert Dole (Republican): 16% of Jewish vote, 41% of total vote
Ross Perot (Independent): 3% of Jewish, 8% of total vote

George W. Bush (Republican): 19% of Jewish vote, 48% of total vote
Albert Gore (Democrat): 79% of Jewish vote, 48% of total vote
Ralph Nader (Green): 1% of Jewish vote, 3% of total vote

George W. Bush (Republican): 25% of Jewish vote, 51% of total vote
John Kerry (Democrat): 74% of Jewish vote, 48% of total vote

Barack Obama (Democrat): 78% of Jewish vote, 53% of total vote
John McCain (Republican): 21% of Jewish vote, 46% of total vote

Jewish Support for Major Presidential Candidates (1928-Present)*:
1) Franklin Roosevelt (Democrat-1940) - 90%

A Voting History of American Jews From 1916 to Today

Ronald L. Feinman is the author of &ldquoAssassinations, Threats, and the American Presidency: From Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama&rdquo (Rowman Littlefield Publishers, 2015). A paperback edition is now available.

Last week, Donald Trump said that American Jews who vote Democratic show &ldquoeither a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.&rdquo The statement has incited the vast majority of the American Jewish community. Many Jewish organizations combined forces to criticize Trump&rsquos Tweets. AIPAC (America-Israel Public Affairs Committee), a strongly pro-Israel lobbying group, even joined with J Street, a competing organization often critical of Israel&rsquos government, to criticize Trump&rsquos language. To many, the assertion that Jews had an obligation to support Israel echoed the &ldquodual loyalty&rdquo trope that Nazi Germany, Czarist and Stalinist Russia, and other nations in earlier times utilized to promote anti-Semitism.

The historical record shows that American Jews have a long history of supporting Democrats since statistics began to be kept in 1916. The Jewish population primarily migrated to Northern and Midwestern cities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many found the Democratic party political machines to be receptive to their needs, beginning with New York Governor Alfred E. Smith, who ran for President in 1928. Once Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal came along in the 1930s, the alliance of American Jews and the Democratic Party was sealed.

Many Jews became engaged in state and local Democratic politics, worked in Congress, and even served as advisers to Democratic Presidents. The Republicans largely did not work to gain the support of the Jewish community, and fewer Jews participated in Republican Party causes, which tended to be much more conservative, and opposed to the New Deal and the later Great Society initiatives under President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Historically, Democratic presidential candidates have received a majority of the Jewish vote. Woodrow Wilson received 55% of the Jewish vote in 1916 after he promoted the appointment of Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice. In 1920, Socialist Eugene Debs won 38 percent of the Jewish vote. Democrat James Cox received 19 percent of the Jewish vote which combined showed that a minority of Jews voted for Republican nominee and future President Warren G. Harding. In 1924, Democrat John W. Davis won 51 percent of the Jewish vote, Progressive Robert La Follette Sr. won 22 percent, and Republican President Calvin Coolidge only won 27 percent of the vote.

After 1924, Democrats won wide percentages of the Jewish vote. Alfred E. Smith won 72 percent in 1928. Franklin D. Roosevelt won 82, 85, 90 and 90 percent of the Jewish vote in 1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944, respectively. In 1948, Harry Truman won 75 percent and Progressive Henry A Wallace won 15 percent, leaving Republican nominee Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York only 10 percent of the Jewish vote. Even against popular war hero Dwight D. Eisenhower, Democrat Adlai Stevenson won 64 and 60 percent of the Jewish vote in 1952 and 1956, respectively. John F. Kennedy won 82 percent, Lyndon B. Johnson 90 percent, Hubert Humphrey 81 percent, George McGovern 65 percent, and Jimmy Carter 76% of the Jewish vote in the elections of 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, and 1976, respectively.

In 1980, Carter only received 45 percent of the Jewish vote as many felt he had been too critical of Israel&rsquos policies regarding the Palestinians. Nevertheless, when combined with Independent John Anderson&rsquos 15 percent of the Jewish vote, Republican nominee and future President Ronald Reagan still received only 39 percent of the Jewish-American vote. In 1984, Walter Mondale, Carter&rsquos former Vice President, received 57 percent against Reagan&rsquos 31 percent. After that, a vast majority of Jewish Americans voted for the Democratic presidential nominee: Michael Dukakis (64 percent) Bill Clinton (80 and 78 percent) Al Gore (79 percent) John Kerry (76 percent) Barack Obama (78 and 69 percent) and Hillary Clinton (71 percent) between 1988 and 2016.

It is clear that Trump&rsquos attack on the Jewish vote will backfire, and that the Democratic nominee for President, no matter who it is in 2020, will likely gain at least 80 percent of the American Jewish vote especially considering that in the Midterm Congressional elections of 2018, 79 percent of American Jews voted for Democrats. Nothing is likely to change the dedication of the American Jewish community to the Democratic Party, continuing the long loyalty and commitment they have with the party that has promoted their basic social and economic views.

Hillary Has Jewish Roots

In New York, where one of every eight voters is Jewish, it certainly won't hurt that First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton can note the Jewish branch on her family tree.

Mrs. Clinton, who is Methodist, "has very fond childhood memories" of the second husband of her grandmother, Max Rosenberg, a Russian-born Jew, said Howard Wolfson, a spokesman for the first lady's Senate exploratory committee.

Wolfson said Thursday that he doesn't "expect it will have an electoral impact, and we don't see it in that context."

Mrs. Clinton's maternal grandmother, Della, married Rosenberg in 1933, seven years after she and Mrs. Clinton's grandfather, Edwin Howell, divorced, according to a weekly Jewish newspaper, The Forward.

They had filed a petition for Max to adopt Della's children, including Mrs. Clinton's mother, Dorothy, but the attempt failed. Max Rosenberg died in Los Angeles in 1984.

Mrs. Clinton angered potential Jewish voters last year by voicing support for a Palestinian state, but has recently told Jewish leaders she considers Jerusalem "the eternal and indivisible capital" of Israel.

Trending News

She has also said she favors moving the U.S. Embassy for Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The United States has never recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

First published on August 6, 1999 / 10:59 AM

© 1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Jewish Vote Chart - History

Jews have been viewed in the United States as a hot political property. During the twentieth century, political parties and the political establishment have sought to be responsive to the Jewish community and its agenda. Jews, in turn, perceive themselves as political activists, engaged in advocacy, policy development, and the electoral process. In order to understand the basis of this engagement with politics, it is essential to focus on several key elements in Jewish history and tradition, political thought, and, most directly, the American experience.

In revisiting the contours of Jewish history, Jews over the centuries have been both the victims of political systems and in turn have been able to influence political and social ideas. In experiencing these counter forces, Jews came to understand the necessity of engaging political elites and monitoring the secular "state" regarding their physical, social, and economic well-being.

Jews were historically invested in their own governance. In crafting communal infrastructures, they were able to manage and govern their internal affairs while engaging the political establishment, often negotiating their physical and material security. This phenomenon of internal governance has been one of the Jewish community's abiding strengths in the course of its march through history.

More recently, Michael Walzer has begun to edit a series of texts reflecting the evolution of this Jewish political tradition. His emerging work, along with the writings of Daniel Elazar, Alan Mittleman, David Biale, Jonathan Woocher, David Novak, and others, has created a body of literature on Jewish political thought and behavior. This material for the most part seeks to join together Jewish ideas with historical experience.

Uniqueness of the American Jewish Story

From the moment of their arrival in New Amsterdam one can document the unfolding of this unique connection between the North American continent and the Jewish people. Peter Stuyvesant, the then-governor of New Amsterdam, petitioned the Dutch West India Company, requesting the right to bar this community of Jews from settling in the colony. The company's response laid out the first core principle that has come to define the Jewish "contract" with America, directing Stuyvesant to permit Jews to remain and in turn charged that Jews would be responsible for "caring of their own." Creating the infrastructure of communities, social and human services, and synagogues and cemeteries represented an age-old Jewish imperative, but in the American context the meaning of this event would come to symbolize more than a level of toleration. It would reflect the partnership between the public and private sectors in meeting core communal religious and social concerns.

America never promoted a culture of state-sponsored or state-supported anti-Semitism. This represented a significant break from the European model where such practices were the norm. The Virginia Declaration on Religious Freedom, crafted by Thomas Jefferson, affirmed the principle of separation of church from state, a standard embodied in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, thereby removing from the American political culture any direct alignment between the state and its religious elements. Similarly, an environment of personal toleration and acceptance was established in the constitution's central text, where no religious tests were to be established, permitting the full participation of citizens in the public sector.

When President George Washington was elected to his first term, a number of congregations sent the new president congratulatory letters. In the context of answering these messages, Washington responded to the Jewish community of Newport, Rhode Island, affirming the notion of religious liberty while guaranteeing the legal and physical well being of the community. This principle was challenged in 1862 when General Ulysses Grant issued Order No. 11, directing that all Jews conducting business as peddlers or merchants in the Tennessee River Valley be removed from that area. This order represented the first and only occasion where a specific government action was directed against the Jewish community. By the early part of January 1863, following the petition of Jews from across the Union, President Lincoln demanded that this order be rescinded, referencing it as an abomination against the United States. The White House understood that this proposed action was against the principles that the nation sought to represent, and it came to symbolize for Jews the value of political advocacy and communal vigilance.

The American Jewish community has so embraced this model of representative democracy as to create its own "federalist" system of communal governance, creating networks of national, regional, and local structures where authority and function were designated and separated along the lines of the American political system. Even the selection of terminology describing or identifying institutions emulated this nation's political structure. Terms such as "union," as represented in the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (recently renamed the Union for Reform Judaism) the idea of "federated" as identified with the local Jewish communal federation system or the introduction of the concept of a "congress" as adopted and employed originally by the American Jewish Congress - all are extracted from the American political process. Furthermore, the Jewish communal infrastructure reflects the notion of a "separation of powers," where tasks and functions are divided among different institutional entities, i.e., religious, cultural, social, and humanitarian. American Jewry totally embraced the federalist model and its system of governance, demonstrating another element in the connection between Jews and American politics.

The high percentage of registered voters within the community is another significant characteristic of the American Jewish political tradition, with Jewish voting participation levels being among the highest of all ethnic groups and religious communities in the nation. This degree of civic engagement reflects a passion for politics, in part a reaction to Jewish historical experience where the opportunity for participation was often denied or limited. American Jews, in turn, have developed a type of civic culture that suggests that a citizen of the society has an obligation to be engaged in its political process.

Early Jewish Voting Trends

From 1860 until the election of Franklin Roosevelt, American Jews voted overwhelmingly Republican. Just as Lincoln was perceived as a hero of the Jewish people through his leadership in overturning Grant's Order No. 11 and in leading the fight against slavery while seeking to preserve the Union, Roosevelt would fulfill a similar role for Jews beginning with his efforts to build a new coalition of political power to transform the economy and later to mobilize the nation against Nazism.

While Jews have not always been Democrats, they have had a long and engaged history with progressive ideas. These values and core notions were a critical element in the ideology of the Republican Party during the later half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Theodore Roosevelt was the last Republican to receive significant Jewish support his fierce independence and support of specific Jewish concerns made him a hero to many within this community. Democrat Woodrow Wilson would capture the attention of many American Jews with his internationalist vision and, more directly, his ideas pertaining to the creation of a League of Nations. In addition, Wilson's nomination of Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court, his endorsement of the Balfour Declaration and later Zionist claims in Palestine, and his condemnation of anti-Semitism both domestic and foreign would begin the repositioning of Jewish political loyalties and voting patterns.

While the leadership of the Jewish community remained staunchly Republican, including such personalities as Louis Marshall, the leader of the American Jewish Committee, and a host of other key players of that era, the bulk of the community was to shift party allegiance as a result of changes within the community and in American society. As the new wave of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe in the first decade of the twentieth century assumed a level of involvement and acculturation with their "new homeland," they began to explore their own political identity. American Jews caught up in the growth of the trade union movement began to address the "progressive" agenda including the rights of labor, along with issues related to how cities ought to be governed. It would be the Depression, however, that would formalize the community's special relationship with the Democratic Party.

The last Republican presidential candidate to win a plurality of the Jewish vote was Warren Harding in 1920 (when Socialist candidate Eugene V. Debs took an estimated 38 percent to Harding's 43 percent and Democrat James Cox's 19 percent). Between 1928 and 1948, Democrats Al Smith, Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry Truman won at least 75 percent of the Jewish vote, at times gaining as much as 90 percent of the Jewish vote.

Reflections on Jewish Liberalism

Jewish scholars and activists have written extensively on "why" Jews are generally identified as "liberal," beginning with the application of religious and prophetic principles of social justice in helping to frame a liberal political agenda. For others, the "universal" values and ideas of liberalism resonated with the messianic principles of Judaism. The optimistic belief in a world moving from authoritarian rule to democratic and universal ideals was seen as aligned with progressive political interests.

The Jewish historical experience provides another perspective. Since Jews had lived under regimes that were defined as autocratic, it was natural for this community of immigrants to embrace liberal political values and to even experiment with socialist ideas. As a result, the Democratic Party and other liberal and even left-oriented political expressions became the avenue of affiliation for many of these new Americans.

Over time it became "politically chic," according to some writers, to be seen as part of the left by embracing causes of liberalism and advocate for those who were not able to articulate their own interests. Others have suggested that Jewish political behavior was tied to the pull of assimilation. Jews desiring to identify with the mainstream of America were to be found in the ranks of the Democratic Party, which was seen in the 1930s as the ascending political force in American politics. Jews seeking to blend in with the social norms of the society related to the political shifts within the society. Jews affiliated with the Republican Party and its conservative viewpoint have offered a similar explanation for their own more recent engagement.

Finally, there are those who see the advocacy institutions within the Jewish community as naturally aligned with the liberal institutions of the general society. As a result, there was shared linkage between liberal causes that were nurtured and developed inside the Jewish community, and the labor movement, women's organizations, or other social activist endeavors.

Jewish voting patterns after World War II reflected sustained engagement with the Democratic Party. In summarizing voting studies of the past forty years, 50 percent of American Jews identify with the Democratic Party. Another 30-35 percent are Independents, while some 13-17 percent define themselves as Republicans.

Where once the Democratic Party could count on a 90 percent Jewish turnout for its candidates, these numbers are now generally 60-75 percent, depending upon particular elections and specific candidates. Historically, Jews have voted overwhelmingly Democratic in congressional races. Over the last several decades, Jewish support for Democratic congressional candidates peaked at 82 percent in 1982, according to the New York Times. By contrast, the high point for Republicans was 32 percent of the Jewish vote garnered in House races in 1988. During the 1990s, Democrats secured at least 73 percent of the Jewish vote in House of Representatives races.

Only Ronald Reagan among Republican presidential candidates was able to break this pattern when he received nearly 38 percent of the Jewish vote in 1980. Traditionally, Republican candidates for the White House receive around 18 percent of the national Jewish vote.

According to data collected over the past several years, an overwhelming majority of Jews - 73 percent - describe themselves as moderate or liberal 23 percent label themselves as conservative. By contrast, 42 percent of American Protestants and 34 percent of Catholics identify themselves as conservative.

There are a number of indicators today that may impact on future elections. For example, there is some evidence that younger Jews do not hold the same degree of loyalty to the Democratic Party and, as a result, are more likely to register as Independent or Republican. Thus, the Republican Party may have a better chance of picking up the Jewish vote in the towns inhabited by young professionals in northern New Jersey than in the retirement communities of southern Florida. While these numbers do not indicate a definitive generational trend, it does appear that both Orthodox Jews and Jews who are from more secular backgrounds tend to vote Republican more frequently than do other Jewish constituencies, clearly for different ideological, political, and cultural reasons.

Jewish voting patterns are also distinctively different in state and local elections. In larger metropolitan areas with significant Jewish populations, such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia, one finds Jewish voting patterns in local and statewide campaigns driven by self-interest with respect to financial, security, and specific public policy concerns. Similarly, the attractiveness of particular candidates may contribute to altered voting patterns. Centrist Republicans in local and state elections are often able to attract significant Jewish support.

Two cohort groups within the Jewish community show particularly significant voting patterns. The growing Orthodox communities in the New York metropolitan area and elsewhere are distinctively Republican, and are contributing to the reshaping of political outcomes in some local and state elections. Correspondingly, Jews raised in households with a non-Jewish parent and who identify nominally with Judaism also tend to vote Republican, according to data extracted from various Jewish surveys.

The election outcome shifted during the final weeks of the 2002 campaign, according to polling data available ten days prior to the November 5th election. Five percent of those voting, according to both the Gallup Poll and the CBS/New York Times Poll, made or altered their electoral choices within the closing days of the campaign, changing the final outcome, permitting the Republicans to retain control of both houses of Congress and to secure a majority of governorships.

The impact of 9/11 was most directly tied to the New York governor's race. A Marist Poll conducted one month before the November 2002 campaign placed New York's Republican governor, George Pataki, in a dead heat with his Democratic challenger, Carl McCall, among Jewish voters. Republican candidates in mayoral elections in the 1990s, especially in New York and Los Angeles, did especially well among Jewish voters. Here again, the unique convergence of personality and circumstance may have been more significant factors in voter preference than party affiliation.

During the 2002 New York governor's race, people were asked: "If the elections were held today, in New York State, and George W. Bush were a candidate in this state, would you support him?" 47 percent of Jewish voters polled indicated they would consider supporting George W. Bush, a figure significantly higher than the 19 percent he received in the 2000 election.

Jewish candidates continued to be elected at all levels of government and in all parts of the nation. In the current Congress are eleven Jewish Senators and twenty-four Jewish members of the House. Two Jewish governors, Edward Randell (Democrat) of Pennsylvania and Linda Lingle, the first Republican and first woman to be elected governor of Hawaii, were also elected in 2002.

The Schwarzenegger Factor and the Jewish Question

In November 2002, California's nearly one million Jews overwhelmingly supported the return of Grey Davis to Sacramento as governor, despite significant criticism directed against his campaign and his lackluster leadership and performance. In that election and again during the recall election held on October 7, 2003, Davis received 69 percent of the Jewish vote, a percentage exceeded only by the African-American community's 80 percent support for Davis.

The Los Angeles Times Exit Poll indicated that 31 percent of Jewish voters supported Arnold Schwarzenegger to be the state's next governor. Together with the relatively strong 10 percent showing that Republican conservative State Senator Tom McClintock garnered from the Jewish community, the two leading Republican candidates attracted 40 percent of the Jewish vote. However, the Schwarzenegger candidacy was unique, built around his name recognition and Hollywood image. He must be seen as an anomaly among California Republicans, due in part to his positions on abortion, gay rights, and a host of other social and economic issues that place him outside the conservative focus of many within that party.

It is noteworthy that California's Democratic Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante received 52 percent of the Jewish vote, as compared with 46 percent from his own Latino community.

While it is difficult to identify the extent of Jewish support for the other 130 candidates on the California ballot, in 2002, many Jews supported Green Party candidate Peter Camejo, according to a Los Angeles Times poll. The party that year captured over 5 percent of the vote in several key statewide contests, and elected 171 candidates in state and municipal elections.

Clear divisions could be seen in the voting patterns of Northern and Southern Californians. More liberal Bay Area voters, including Jews, tended to support the Davis-Bustamante campaigns, overwhelmingly rejecting the Schwarzenegger option. In Los Angeles County, the Westside Jewish vote continued to reflect its traditional liberal bent by also endorsing the Democratic candidates, whereas San Fernando Valley Jews, often identified as being more conservative, appeared to embrace the two primary Republican candidates. Similarly, based on media interviews, it would appear that more traditional Jews tended to embrace the Schwarzenegger or McClintock campaigns.

In relative terms, the impact of American Jewish voting clout continues to decline, as can be noted in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, and California. Even in Los Angeles County, where Jews account for around 4 percent of the electorate (the same percentage as the Jewish vote nationally), the Jewish "leverage factor" in several close state and county races appears to have been minimal.

A Luntz Research Poll in April 2003 showed that 48 percent of Jews surveyed said they would consider voting for President Bush in 2004. The poll also found that Bush's performance moved 27 percent of Jewish voters to say they were more likely to vote for Republicans for other offices as well.

According to one scenario, the Jewish vote might still be significant in determining the 2004 presidential election. Four key states with significant Jewish populations account for 128 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win: California (55), New York (31), Florida (27), and New Jersey (15). Adding the next five states with large Jewish populations brings 84 additional electoral votes: Illinois (21), Pennsylvania (21), Ohio (20), Massachusetts (12), and Maryland (10). Thus, the "Jewish vote" could have a major impact on the outcome of 212 electoral votes or 78 percent of the total needed to secure the White House.

Core Issues and the Jewish Vote

Several core issues have served as political barometers for Jewish voting attitudes. The key Jewish issue remains support for Israel. The pro-Israel position of candidates and party platforms have represented a powerful measure by which Jews defined political allies and identified enemies. Historically, Democrats were seen as the party more sensitive and committed to the interests of the Jewish state, but over time, and especially since the Bush presidency, this label may hold less value. Politicians are judged by their votes, statements, legislative and political initiatives, and relationships to Israel and its advocates.

Historically, the Jewish community endorsed efforts to preserve the separation of church and state. Today, however, significant numbers of Orthodox Jews aligned with other sectors of the Jewish community have embraced state and federal support for parochial education and the school voucher initiative. Jewish Republicans are similarly comfortable with the goals of charitable choice, the introduction of religious practices in the public square, opposition to abortion, and concerns about the moral basis of society.

Since the events of 9/11 and over three years of terrorist attacks on Israeli citizens, a number of alarming trends may be identified that could impact on Jewish political consciousness and even voting patterns. The rise of anti-Semitism across the globe and in the U.S. represents a major concern for many Jews and may have implications for how they view candidates and define issues. According to the most recent studies, there has been a drop in favorable attitudes about Jews by non-Jews in the U.S. over the last eight years.

Will these external factors change the political modality of Jewish voting? In contrast to these disturbing patterns, the current Republican administration is consciously seeking through its statements and actions pertaining to international terrorism and the case for Israel to align itself with rising Jewish communal concerns in these areas. The Jewish voter, along with all Americans, faces new political challenges. These issues might ultimately be reflected in new voting patterns. What occurs on the streets of Baghdad and Tel Aviv will no doubt shape the thinking of America's Jews. Similarly, the impact of the new forms of European anti-Semitism will also influence Jewish political thinking. Economic realities at home, which have been a key factor in determining voter choices in the past, may be counterbalanced by the continuous reality and threat of international terrorism that will also define voting outcomes.

Jewish voting patterns may undergo significant change at those times in which Jews sense that their self-interests are being challenged, and that it is essential for them to evaluate their political position within the society. This occurred at the time of Lincoln, during the Wilson era, and as a result of the Great Depression. Whether in fact Jewish voting patterns shift significantly in seventy-year cycles remains to be seen.

Dr. Steven Windmueller is a Fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and Director of the School of Jewish Communal Service, Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles.

The Jerusalem Letter and Jerusalem Letter/Viewpoints are published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 13 Tel-Hai St., Jerusalem, Israel Tel. 972-2-5619281, Fax. 972-2-5619112, Internet: [email protected] In U.S.A.: Center for Jewish Community Studies, 5800 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215 USA, Tel. (410) 664-5222 Fax. (410) 664-1228. © Copyright. All rights reserved. ISSN: 0792-7304.

The opinions expressed by the authors of Viewpoints do not necessarily reflect those of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

History Crash Course #68: Timeline: From Abraham to the State of Israel

We have now reached the conclusion of this series and before we wrap up it is fitting for us to put into perspective the ground that we have covered.

Note that we are following the Jewish calendar for these events (and not the Gregorian calendar which is at times 150 years at odds with Jewish computations). For more on this issue see Part 21.

Crash Course in Jewish History -- The Book

See below for info on the Crash Course in Jewish History book - fully sourced and annotated with timelines, maps, charts and bibliography. If you enjoyed the course online, you'll love the book!

Article 68 of 68 in the series Jewish History

History Crash Course #36: Timeline: From Abraham to Destruction of the Temple

History Crash Course #4: Abraham's Journey

History Crash Course #65: The State of Israel

History Crash Course #1: Why Study History

Five Ways to Inject Some Life into Your Judaism

My Masseuse Thinks Jews Don’t Pay Taxes

Hollywood Insider Who's Defending Israel

Lessons Learned from 30 Years of Marriage

Rabbi Ken Spiro, originally from New Rochelle, NY, graduated from Vassar College with a BA in Russian Language and Literature and did graduate studies at the Pushkin Institute in Moscow. He has rabbinic ordination from Aish Jerusalem and a Master&rsquos Degree in History from The Vermont College of Norwich University. Rabbi Spiro is also a licensed tour guide by the Israel Ministry of Tourism. He has appeared on numerous radio and TV programs such as BBC, National Geographic Channel and The History Channel. A father of five children, he currently lives in Jerusalem, where he works as a senior lecturer for Aish Jerusalem, a tour guide and an author.

Comments (57)

(55) Moses Musinguzi, September 13, 2018 7:35 AM

I had read, online, the entire crash course. I have learnt a lot about the beloved Jews, and their God-given land, Israel. I therefore thank you for availing this knowledge. I am a born again Christian in Uganda. However, I will always be a blessing to the Jews when opportunity arises, because, for the truth YOU are a chosen people. Shalom

(54) Danny Fuentebella, June 9, 2018 12:01 PM

God is truly amazing!

I am very interested in learning Jewish History

(53) Anonymous, December 27, 2017 4:57 AM

Excellent work, so interesting and enlightening!

Your work is filling large gaps in my awareness of the history of my people. It is so much appreciated!

(52) Rodney, April 24, 2017 12:38 AM

(51) Hanna, May 26, 2015 2:53 AM

A Must Read!

I just finished reading the last Crush Histoty Course no. 68. I loved every one of the courses and I highly recommend it to everyone. Thank Aish and Rabbi Spiro. By the way --- I was sorry that the courses ended.

(50) Werner Feyt, March 23, 2015 8:19 AM

Keep up the GOOD WORK. May G-d bless you.

(49) Lynda Crawford, May 26, 2014 11:02 AM

Awesome information. Makes everything that has happened throughout Israel's history very clear. Thankyou Looking for the day when The whole House of Israel is reunited again .

(48) Alain, July 3, 2012 4:54 PM

Thank you for this important teaching of the Bible and true history of Israel.Shalom

(47) Peter Bayliss, May 1, 2012 9:01 PM

allow me to be on your mailing list.

As a Christian I have always felt that we owe so much to your nation, for it was through you that God spoke and still speaks today. We love His own people and the nation. I hope that my stance as a Christian who weeps at the history of the many so-called christians who treated the Jewish nation so badly and so seeks your forgiveness, that you will allow me to be on your mailing list.

Leonard Gorsky, May 30, 2012 8:50 PM

in your opinion, why have the jews been so persecuted over the years, and why are we still today? there are only 16[?] million of us and 1 billion of both christians and moslems. i have been jewish since birth and i never hated anyone, christian, moslem, black or white.

aj C, July 26, 2014 2:13 AM

hate wears many hats

Its a pride thing. you got them better last time but don't ask me to define who "you" and "them" are because just like politics, the lines are blurred and messy.

(46) Kai Kona Miller, April 21, 2012 6:36 PM

Born in Kona Hawaii and moved to Jonstown Colorado.

Very good timeline it shows a lot.

(45) Anonymous, November 6, 2011 5:22 PM

(44) Nydia Grube, May 15, 2011 12:53 AM

I loved your timeline I can study the bible form it.

Thank you for your wisdom!

(43) Jorge Amaro, March 30, 2011 1:59 PM

Muchas gracias excelentísimo!

WOW! A miracle indeed. Jorge

(42) sari, July 20, 2010 9:52 AM

hebrew dates

Is it possible to fine hone the time line by adding in the equivalent hebrew year? I think it wd be greaty appreciated by many. thanks.

(41) Anonymous, September 28, 2009 1:53 PM

A most useful and inspiring history, wonderfully clear and easy to follow.

(40) Magdalena, March 11, 2009 1:47 PM

Needed information on judaism history

This is a good web site on the Judaism information. i have look at many web site and not enough information on this subject and i will let others know about this web site. the reason for the information i am in a religion class at the University of Phoenix and writing about a time line for Abraham to the present. thanks, mags

(39) Anonymous, February 1, 2009 12:37 AM

Thank you muchly!

I spent two hours trying to find information about what happened in Egypt before Moses and i finally found this website. And in half an hour i had everything i needed, and more. THANK YOU SO MUCH for the info. it was comprehensive and easy to understand even for me. plus it was really interesting so i read more than i actually had to. so thank you :D

(38) Anonymous, October 24, 2008 12:00 PM

thanks for the great timeline kk ^_^

(37) Niki, October 7, 2008 7:18 PM

This timeline just helped me so much with my Judaism test. Thank you so much!!

(36) tazeen, August 11, 2008 9:46 PM


I am a Muslim and reading jewish history since last year as an ameteur but let me admit this is the most informative history written with open minds. especially i have seen that u have mentioned jews condition in Muslim world with honesty. None such article i found written by a jew. Bravo for such detailed information.

(35) Grace Fishenfeld, April 8, 2008 5:02 PM

No ending for me

You mentioned that we have come to the end of this series. Please continue to write about Jewish History. I have not come close to learning enough. I hope we can return to many of the chapters. I depend upon the information you have so generously provided. I thank you Rabbi Spiro, for your excellent work. It is such a pleasure to read and think about the Jewish past which has a great effect on our future.I love reading the comments from the many different people and I thank them also.

(34) Joey, April 4, 2008 11:30 AM

Thanks to the Rabbi for all the great lessons, and God bless!

(33) Mike, April 3, 2008 6:14 AM

Great course!

Really enjoyed thecourse and found it easy to read and very instructive.

(32) Anonymous, April 1, 2008 2:26 PM

I agree with Edward Prato!

(31) Menashe Kaltmann, April 1, 2008 1:01 AM

Fantastic diagram

Great diagram showing the timeline of Jewish history an aid to all educators. Thank you and R. Spiro yet again for this series!

(30) Ori, November 9, 2007 10:26 AM

I work at a Jewish day school and have begun using this timeline as part of a lesson. Please tell me the sourses used to compile the information given.
Thank you!

(29) Jeanne Whisenant, July 18, 2007 5:46 PM

wonderfully detailed history!

For a Gentile with little Jewish history knowledge, this site is a wonderful place to see the entire Jewish history in a neatly done timeline. Thank you for the work.

(28) Anonymous, June 5, 2007 1:46 AM

What a pity that the histories have come to an end with number 68! It has been such a pleasure receiving them and
reading them. I have downloaded them and now intend to begin again and read
them more carefully.

I congratulate you on writing so well and informatively. The series
of 68 give an excellent insight into Jewish history and I am sure that
other readers are also inspired to go further.

Many, many thanks from a very contended and grateful recipient in
Melbourne, Australia.

(27) Anonymous, February 1, 2007 12:36 PM

I have never read or seen any piece so brilliantly summarized in such distinct
detail.This was before my time but left me in tears!

(26) Anonymous, February 11, 2006 12:00 AM

After my trip to Greece, I wanted to understand what was happening in Jewish hstory at the time of the ancient Greeks. You've broadened my experience of the ancient world.

(25) milena-anna, July 11, 2004 12:00 AM

the title of this article looks just like the topis of my studies and work to get the masters degree, thanks for the summary:)If there is anyone who has materials on the subject, I'd be grateful. I am jewish but I live in Poland. It is hard to get anything about our history.

(24) Johnny A., March 27, 2004 12:00 AM

Thanks for the historical clarification!

This timeline is an excellent tool to understand the history of the Jewish people! I always had many misconceptions about the events surrounding the establishment of the State of Israel, and was very pleased to have the historical facts presented to me in such a clear and concise manner. I'm very impressed, and plan to pass on this website to others who may be interested. Thanks!

(23) Erica, February 15, 2004 12:00 AM

Thank you so much for having this wonderful reasearch. It helped me so much on my Religion project. I'm glad I learned more about my religion!

(22) Rex S. Rambo, December 1, 2003 12:00 AM

Greatest historial writings I have ever read.

I have a profound insight into Jewish history and the great Jewish religion that is awesome to me. Thank you

(21) noelle stills, December 1, 2003 12:00 AM

The information is excellent . Thank you for your insight, I have enjoyed all the articles.

Thank you for the information.

(20) Kaustav Chakrabarti, December 1, 2003 12:00 AM

Many thanks for a wonderful journey through Jewish history. I have enjoyed it thoroughly.May I use your articles for research?

(19) joey, August 15, 2003 12:00 AM

made me read it a second time!

(18) Justin Amler, April 18, 2002 12:00 AM

What a truly amazing piece of writing. I have read heaps of history before but the way its displayed is so refreshing and informative its forced me to think so much about my heritage and my place in the world.

Is there anyway we can email you Rabbi directly?

(17) Hyman Novak, April 17, 2002 12:00 AM

Your web sites are very informativ. Mazeltov

I enjoy receiving mail from you, beause even at my ripe old age of 75, I am never to old to learn, and your page, I do learn something new.
Keep them coming and above all keep well

(16) L Martin, April 10, 2002 12:00 AM

Thank you Thank you Thank you

(15) Ed Prato, April 4, 2002 12:00 AM

Thankyou for making available this informative description of Jewish history. I am a non-Jew and, I must say, an "areligeous" person. However I think that it is essential that, before once can make an informed opinion about the current Arab-Israeli conflict, one must be exposed to all sides of the dispute. I have swallowed as much Palestinian and Arab rhetoric as I can and I have concluded that most of their opinions are mindless and uninspiring. Unfortunately, much of the world is coming down on the side of Palestinian terrorists citing that Israel must stop occupying Palestinian lands. An informed opinion (from whom was the land taken to begin with?) makes the argument stronger for the inverse relationship. Israel is, has been, and should be the homeland of the Jews. I believe that and I support Israel's right to defend their sovereignty. It is clear that Arabs are in general mislead and completely misinformed by their media. It is also my firm belief that opinions should only be considered when they are based on accurate information. Towards this end, the distribution of information, I appreciate your efforts. Please continue , I will visit again.
Edward A. Prato

(14) Kay Smith, April 4, 2002 12:00 AM

In an effort to better understand the on-going struggle in the Holy Land, I have been searching for an understandable history of Israel. What a gold-mine of information you have provided in this series. Once people learn about the struggle of the Jewish people for their homeland, they must realize that we must step up our efforts to support Israel.

(13) TRISH WELLS, April 2, 2002 12:00 AM


(12) robert griese, March 30, 2002 12:00 AM

This is a wonderful short history.

Everyone,in the US and the world, would have a much better understanding and I would hope positive feeling for the Jewish people, and themselves if they read this history.

(11) Linda Schaeffer, March 28, 2002 12:00 AM

Absolutely Superb

Thank you so much for the absolutely superb Jewish History series. I learned much about our Jewish Heritage and have enjoyed reading each series. It was so well written that I am going to read it and study it more in depth. Again, thank you and please continue to write more about Jewish History.

(10) Irving Tessel, March 27, 2002 12:00 AM

Fantastic Overview of Jewish History

Thank you for writing this series. I have downloaded the series and have had them bound in a book format.

(9) Paul Kaplan, March 26, 2002 12:00 AM

Thank you for doing The Jewish History Series

It is wonderful to be reminded of where we came from and what we have been through, and to be reminded that we will continue, in spite of constant challenges to our existence.

(8) Ida Whitstein, March 20, 2002 12:00 AM


I have learned so very much from your articles. Thank you for what you are doing to educate people!

(7) Norma Wollard, March 19, 2002 12:00 AM

An Enlightening course, which every Jew and non-Jew alike should read, digest, and take to heart. I, a Roman Catholic and a teacher, fully enjoyed learning your history,and even more about my own. It has cleared away some of the shadows, cob-webs and fallices of my churches teachings, (mostly by the omissions) .Certainly,I have gained more understanding.

I am going to take this course again. It is far from boring, I appreciate the humor too. Thank you.

(6) Kenneth Handschuh, March 18, 2002 12:00 AM

I have saved each chapter and read them as time permits. I have found the series to be very informative and will serve as a valuable reference.

(5) Stella Carabajal, March 18, 2002 12:00 AM

I have found this Jewish crash course in helping me to understand my Jewish Roots It was awesome. I did not start from the beginning of this courses. I started at the middle of the courses. I would like to receive from the first to number 29., If at all possible. I have made copies for myself to have on hand and have forward them to other friends. I thank you for being able to present them to whomsoever would want to know the history of our fathers.

(4) Chayka B, March 18, 2002 12:00 AM

Thank you for your series. While I consider myself fairly knowledgable in Jewish history - the way you presented and explaned it taught me a lot. I look forward to reading more from you.

(3) Jerry Bell, March 18, 2002 12:00 AM

Thank you very much for the Jewish History series. Although, some of this history I knew there was much I didn't know or remember. I enjoyed each and every chapter.

(2) Michal Meyer, March 18, 2002 12:00 AM


it was very interesting, Thanks!

(1) Jeffrey Stevenson, March 17, 2002 12:00 AM

Thank's for the Jewish History Series

Thank you so much for the Jewish History series I have not missed one series. The series has helped me greatly to understand much about the history and difficult times in a very skillful presentation.
Much Thanks

Jewish Voters Bring Historic Trends and Concerns

Dave Schechter is a veteran journalist whose career includes writing and producing reports from Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East.

American Jews take their civic duties seriously. Scholars estimate that Jewish turnout in president elections hovers around 80 percent or greater, far greater than the nation in general. It has been said that when it comes to the ballot box, Jews — just 2.1 percent of the population — punch over their weight.

With rare exceptions, over the past century the majority of the Jewish vote has gone to the Democratic presidential nominee. Based on exit polls after the 2016 election, Democrat Hillary Clinton received an estimated 71 percent of that vote to 25 percent for Republican Donald Trump.

Polling in advance of the 2020 election suggests that the overall trend will continue, with Democratic challenger Joe Biden netting about two-thirds of the Jewish vote and now-incumbent Republican President Donald Trump possibly improving on his 2016 share.

There are four important “battleground states” — Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan — where the Jewish vote could be particularly consequential, and potentially tip the balance in the presidential race, according to “The Jewish Vote 2020: More Empowered Than Powerful,” published by the Ruderman Family Foundation and authored by McGill University professor Gil Troy.

A survey of 1,000 American Jews, conducted online in February for the Jewish Electorate Institute by a professional polling firm, found that 66 percent identified as Democrats and 26 percent as Republicans. When the same pollster conducted another survey for JEI Sept. 2-7 of 810 self-identified Jewish likely voters, 67 percent said they would vote for Biden, 30 percent for Trump, and 3 percent undecided. Biden had the backing of 57 percent of male respondents and 75 percent of women.

When asked to rate 11 issues, economy/jobs was ranked as “one of the most important” or a “very important” issue by 92 percent of the likely Jewish voters, followed by health care at 91 percent, the coronavirus at 90 percent, and Medicare-Social Security at 89 percent. Though 88 percent described themselves as “generally pro-Israel,” Israel was the lowest ranked issue, at 64 percent.

The September survey was conducted before the death of Supreme Court associate justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to fill that seat on the nine-person high court. Coming six weeks before the election, the nomination of a SCOTUS justice instantly became a priority issue.

In reviewing data from studies conducted from 2017-19, the Pew Research Center found a noteworthy tendency among Jewish voters, that “nearly half (47%) of Jewish voters who attend religious services at least a few times a month identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, compared with a much smaller share (22%) of those who attend services less often.”

Trump fares better with the Orthodox community, which makes up 10 to 12 percent of American Jewry, and for whom Israel ranks as a higher priority issue than for their co-religionists. A post-2016 election survey conducted by the American Jewish Committee determined that 54 percent of Orthodox Jews voted for Trump, compared with 24 percent of Conservative Jews, 10 percent of Reform, 8 percent of Reconstructionist, and 14 percent who identified as “just Jews.”

Israel is Trump’s primary calling card to Jewish voters, even when he suggests that his 2017 order recognizing Jerusalem as its capital of Israel was “for the evangelicals.” His supporters point to the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear weapons deal, relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the U.S. role in Israel’s improved diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and Trump’s personal relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Trump’s supporters call him the most pro-Israel president ever, while also citing his support of conservative policies that support their beliefs on such domestic issues as same-sex marriage, nomination of judges to the federal bench, government support for private education, and a law-and-order appeal that resonates with Orthodox Jews, whose communities have been victims of physical assaults.

Back in August 2019, Trump said, “I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat – it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” the latter referring to Israel. Critics complained that Trump was dabbling in an anti-Semitic trope, that Jewish citizens of the United States have dual loyalties. The reaction was the same last month when Trump told a pre-Rosh Hashanah call with American Jews, “We really appreciate you. We love your country also, and thank you very much.”

According to academic reviews, the trend of majority Jewish support for Democrats began with unsuccessful candidates John W. Davis in 1924 (51 percent) and Al Smith in 1928 (72 percent), but became most pronounced in the four electoral victories of Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (beginning with 82 percent in 1932).

Polls show that the issues espoused by Democrats — among them health care, Medicare/Social Security, public education and race relations — rank as being of greatest importance to the majority of American Jews. Additionally, surveys by the American Jewish Committee have found that a majority of American Jews support a negotiated two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians believe that as part of a peace agreement Israel should give up some or all of the housing settlements built in the West Bank (also known as Judea and Samaria) and want the government to pay more than lip service to issues of religious pluralism in Israel.

From the mid-1860s until 1920, Jewish voters favored Republicans, seen in those years as the more progressive of the two major parties, though more in the post-Civil War North than in the formerly Confederate South. The 1920 election also was the last time Jewish voters favored the Republican nominee, that year Warren Harding, with 43 percent.

Roosevelt received 90 percent of the Jewish vote in winning re-election in 1940 and 1944, a figure matched only by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

The last Democrat to receive less than half the Jewish vote was Georgia’s own Jimmy Carter, with 45 percent in 1980 (after receiving 64 percent in his 1976 win). Republican challenger Ronald Reagan, who won the election, garnered 39 percent. No Republican has received that much of the Jewish vote since.

Bill Clinton received 80 percent of the Jewish vote in 1992 when he defeated Republican incumbent George H.W. Bush and 78 percent four years later when he won re-election against Republican Bob Dole.

Barack Obama received 78 percent of the Jewish vote in defeating Republican John McCain in 2008 and 69 percent in winning re-election in 2012 against Republican Mitt Romney.

Every entry on the timeline is a hot-spot that pops a balloon with an image, further reading and useful links (Wikipedia & more). In addition, you may freely download and print a high resolution version of the Odyeda Jewish Timeline in PDF format in white or parchment backgrounds.

For a short summary of the subjects that appear on the timeline click here. or simply scroll down. For our main sources & recommended reading click here.

Click on any of the following titles to expand its contents:

Jewish History


In the beginning God created the world and everything in it in six days. Man was created, only after everything else was ready, on the sixth day. Jewish years begin with the creation of the first man. The year 2012 CE corresponds to the Hebrew year 5772. Therefore Genesis, that is dated to the Hebrew year 0, is dated to the year 3761 BCE in the Gregorian Calendar.

The Flood (Noah's Ark)

On account of man's wickedness, God resolved to destroy all mankind and animals by a flood. For his righteousness, only Noah and his family were excepted together with pairs of every living species.

Tower of Babel

As mankind tried to “reach the sky“ God scattered it abroad upon the face of all the earth. The place where this took place in was named “Babel,“ meaning “confusion” in Hebrew, since there God confounded the language of the earth.

God's Covenant with Abraham

God appeared to Abraham with a promise of offspring and their subsequent inheritance of the Land of Israel - between the river of Egypt and the Euphrates.

Binding of Isaac

The greatest trial of the patriarch's life came when God bade him offer up his only son as a burnt offering. Eventually, an angel of the Lord restrained him, once more delivering the prophecy that the patriarch's seed should be “as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore,“ and that in them all the nations of the earth should be blessed.

Journey to Egypt

When the famine grew severe in Canaan, Jacob sent his sons into Egypt to buy corn, Later he went to Egypt with his eleven sons and their children, numbering altogether sixty-six, Joseph meeting him in Goshen.

Exodus from Egypt

The departure, under the leadership of Moses, of the Israelites from the land of Egypt. The Torah was given shortly after at Mount Sinai, by God revealing to all the Israelites, and not to a single prophet, as the case usually is in other religions.

1st Temple built

David, desired to build a temple for God, but was not permitted to do so because he was engaged in wars. His son, King Solomon, built the First Temple.

The Division of the Kingdom Israel & Judah

King Solomon's death led to the division of the kingdom into two: Judah and Israel (also named Samaria). The division led to political and spiritual deterioration. Wars and assimilation became common.

Exile of the 10 Tribes by Assyria

Around two hundred years after the division of the kingdom, the Assyrian Empire conquered the kingdom of Israel. The remaining population of the ten tribes of Israel either fled to Judah or were exiled to Assyria.

Destruction of the 1st Temple by Babylon

Babylonian conquest brings terrible devastation, destruction and exile. Those who remain are poor and incompetent. The day the Temple was burned, Tisha B'Av, was set to be a fast day.

Assassination of Gedalia and the Babylonian destructive response

Assassination of Gedalia, governor of Palestine. The Babylonian response was destructive. A fast day was set to commemorate the terrible event and its consequences.

Return to Zion following Cyrus's decree

Cyrus of Persia allows Jews to return to Eretz Yisrael. About 50,000 return led by Zerubbabel. Ezra and Nehemiah lead other Alyia waves and spiritual revival.

Purim – the Jews are saved from a planned massacre

The event, told in the Book of Esther, is the source of Fast of Esther Day and Purim, celebrated since then on the fourteenth of Adar (and Shushan Purim on the 15th of Adar).

2nd Temple built

The Jews that returned to Zion finally succeeded in building the 2nd Temple on the ruins of the previous one. In the process they had to overcome many difficulties including violent opposition from the neighboring tribes.

Re-dedication of the Temple thanks to the Maccabean Revolt

Maccabbean Revolt rose against the Greek Empire, as its king Antiochus outlawed Jewish traditions and ordered a pagan altar to be set up in the Temple at Jerusalem. The revolt succeeded and the temple was dedicated. Hanukkah, celebrated during eight days from the twenty-fifth day of Kislew (December), chiefly as a festival of lights, was instituted by Judas Maccabeus, to be celebrated annually with mirth and joy as a memorial of the dedication of the altar.

Destruction of the 2nd Temple by Rome

Roman army led by Titus to suppress the Jewish Big Revolt did so brutally. The suffering in Jerusalem was terrible. According to Josephus, even before the siege was ended, 600,000 bodies had been thrown out of the gates. On the 17th of Tamuz the Romans entered Jerusalem. On the 9th of Av they destroyed the Temple. Both days were set to be fast days ever since. Many of the inhabitants were killed or carried off and sold as slaves in the Roman markets.

Bar Kokhva rebellion suppressed

Roman anti-Jewish laws lead to the Bar-Kokhva Revolt. Although successful at first, the revolt was firmly suppressed after three years. As many as 580,000 Jews fell in battle, not including those who succumbed to hunger and pestilence. It was then when the Romans gave the name “Palestine” to the land of Israel so that the Jewish connection to the land would vanish. For the same reason Jews were not allowed into Jerusalem and Jewish traditions were outlawed.

Dome of the Rock built on the Temple's ruins

Caliph Abd al-Malik completes the construction of the shrine “Dome of the Rock” on the Jewish Temple's ruins in Jerusalem.

Khazar converts to Judaism

The Chazars' King felt that God appeared to him in a dream and promised him might and glory. The King questioned the Mohammedans, the Christians and the Jews about their religions. Following his research he decided to adopt Judaism. Rabbi Yehuda Halevi uses this story as a platform to explain the Jewish Philosophy in his book the “Kuzari”.

The Crusaders conquer Israel and massacre its Jewish inhabitants

The crusades were expeditions from western Europe to bring Jerusalem and the holy places back to the hands of Christians. The mobs accompanying the first three Crusades attacked the Jews in Europe and Israel, and put many of them to death. The Jews of Jerusalem, as in other places in Israel, were slaughtered as the first crusade conquered it in 1099.

Expulsions from England and France

Most countries in Central and Western Europe expelled their Jews between the 12th and the 15th centuries. England did so in 1290. The expulsions were generally accompanied by robbing their belongings and nationalizing their houses. Occasionally the Jews were allowed to come back and then robbed and expelled again after several years.

Jews blamed and persecuted for the Black Plague

The Black-Death was a violent pestilence which ravaged Europe between 1348, and 1351, and is said to have carried off nearly half the population. A myth arose, especially in Germany, that the spread of the disease was due to a plot of the Jews to destroy Christians by poisoning the wells from which they obtained. All over Europe mobs against Jews arose and thousands of them were slain over these false accusations.

Poland grants rights to Jews

Casimir The Great, King of Poland grants rights to the Jews. Poland therefore attracts Jewish immigration from Germany and Russia and as a result becomes the most important Jewish center of Europe.

Expulsion from Spain (Spanish Inquisition)

An edict of expulsion was issued against the Jews of Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella (March 31, 1492). It ordered all Jews and Jewesses of whatever age to leave the kingdom in 4 months, leaving their houses, gold, silver, and money. Approximately 200 thousand fled Spain, 50,000 converted, and dozens of thousands were killed or died from diseases on the journey.

Maharal establishes academy

Moreinu ha-Rav Loew, the Maharal, establishes his academy in Prague and thus contributes to Jewish education and evolvement.

The Ukrainian massacre

Led by Chmielnicki the Ukrainians slain between 100,000 to 300,000 Jews in less than 2 years. Terrible massacres spread over the course of the next ten years to Poland, Russia and Lithuania killing dozens to hundreds of thousands Jews.

Establishment of the Hasidic & Misnagdim movements

Hasidism movement arose among the Polish Jews and won over nearly half of the Jewish masses there. It was founded by the Ba'al Shem Tov. His teachings assign the first place in religion not to religious dogma and ritual, but to the sentiment and the emotion of faith. This change gave rise to an opposition movement called the “Mitnagdim” led by the Vilna Ga'on, that most valued man's Talmudic learning and traditional rituals and prayers.

Napoleon's proclamation to the Jews

Napoleon has published a proclamation in which he invites all the Jews of Asia and Africa to gather under his flag in order to re-establish the ancient Jerusalem.

Emancipation and the emergence of the Jewish Enlightenment, Reform and Orthodox movements

Big changes in European society influenced its Jewish world. Emancipation, enlightenment, assimilation and the appearance of the Reform and the Orthodox movements are some of the main results.

Damascus affair

Accusation of ritual murder brought against the Jews of Damascus in 1840. The affair shook the Jewish world.

Dreyfus affair

Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army was falsely accused of spying, as an indirect result of antisemitism. The novelist Emile Zola published under the title “J'Accuse,“ an open letter to the president of the republic, an eloquent philippic against the enemies “of truth and justice.“

1st Zionist Congress

The First Zionist Congress was held in Basel with the initiative and leadership of Herzl. The Congress was a Zionist parliament with Jews represented from all over the world. It was initiated in order to discuss and make decisions regarding the Jewish nation and the ways to achieve Jewish sovereignty and national aspirations.

Kishinev pogrom

Wave of pogroms in Russia, including the most known Kishinev pogrom, began in 1881 and continued for over 40 years. Dozens of thousands were murdered. The pogroms had great impact on migrations (more than - 2 million Jews migrated mainly to America) and the development of Zionism.

The Holocaust

The Nazi criminals and their collaborators murdered 6 million Jews systematically and cold blooded, as they intended to perish the existence of Israel. In memory of the Holocaust victims, the State of Israel set a national memorial day on the 27th of Nisan.

The State of Israel established

The State of Israel was established on May 14, 1948 with the declaration of independence made by the Jewish People's Council, led by David Ben Gurion.

Jewish Demography - Population and Immigration

Jewish Demography - Entering Egypt

Jacob and his sons were 70 people as they descended to Egypt, apart from their wives. We can assume that Jacob's house-hold members also joined. It is told that Abraham had 318 men. Therefore, we can assume that Jacob and his sons also had several hundred “Household Members“ - men, women and children.

Jewish Demography - Exodus

After the exodus, in the year 1313 BCE the Israelites counted more than 600 thousand men over the age of 20. Therefore, having a population of around 2.5 million.

Jewish Demography - Era of the Judges

Around the year 1000 BCE, just before the monarchy began, Israel's population is estimated to have been approximately 3.4 million.

Jewish Demography - David's Kingdom

Around the year 960 BCE, Israel's population is estimated to have been approximately 5 million. This comes from King David's census that counted a total 1.3 million adult males, indicating a total population of about 5 million people.

Jewish Demography - Israel and Judah post-division and pre-exile

Around the year 720 BCE Israel's population is estimated to have been approximately 1.3 million. The big drop in population was caused by wars and assimilation that came as a result of the kingdom's split to Judah and Israel after King Solomon passed away.

Jewish Demography - Deportation of the 10 Tribes

Around the year 700 BCE Israel's population is estimated to have been approximately 0.8 million. The drop in population was caused by the Assyrian conquest and exile of Israel's 10 tribes.

Jewish Demography - Babylonian Exile

Around the year 585 BCE, Israel's population is estimated to have been approximately 0.3 million, most of which lived outside the land of Israel, as a result of the Babylonian conquest and exile.

Jewish Demography - Return to Zion

Around the year 515 BCE, the total Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 0.3 million. Approximately half lived in Israel after the Return to Zion was allowed by the Persian Empire.

Jewish Demography - 2nd Temple – renewed Jewish sovereignty

Around the year 65 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 4.35 million. Approximately half living in the Land of Israel, and the other half outside of Israel, in its surrounding countries.

Jewish Demography - The destruction of the 2nd Temple

Around the year 70 CE, after the great revolt was brutally suppressed, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 2 million. The Romans killed many, and took many others as slaves. This gave birth to the European diaspora.

Jewish Demography - Suppression of the Bar Kokhva Rebellion

Around the year 135 CE, after the Bar-Kochva revolt was brutally suppressed, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 1.5 million. It was estimated that 580,000 Jews were killed during that war.

Jewish Demography - The Crusaders

Around the year 1100 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 1.0 million. Crusaders killed Jews on their way to the Land of Israel and in it.

Jewish Demography - Black Death persecutions

Around the year 1351 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 1.0 million. Thousands of Jews were murdered as christians in Europe blamed them for causing the black plague.

Jewish Demography - Spanish Inquisition

Around the year 1500 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 1.0 million. That was a few years after the expulsion from Spain, which deported about 100,000 Jews to the Ottoman Empire, Asia and Africa. About 50,000 Jews were converted. Presumably, some tens of thousands were killed.

Jewish Demography - The Ukrainian massacre

Around the year 1650 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 1.0 million. As more than 100,000 Jews were slaughtered in Poland and Lithuania.

Jewish Demography - Pogroms

Around the year 1882 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 7.8 million. Fast natural growth in European population. Pogroms in eastern Europe lead to casualties and immigration waves to America.

Jewish Demography - Pre-Holocaust increase in western Jewish population

In the year 1939 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 16.6 million. Fast natural growth in Europe and America.

Jewish Demography - The Holocaust

In the year 1945 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 11.4 million. The Nazi criminals and their collaborators murdered 6 million Jews systematically and cold blooded, in an attempt to demenish the existence of Israel.

Jewish Demography - Present Jewish demography

In the year 2010 CE, the Jewish population is estimated to have been approximately 13.5 million. Today the State of Israel is the largest Jewish center in the world, with approximately 6 million Jews. It had less than a tenth of that number of Jews only 64 years ago when it was established.

Control Over The Land of Israel

Rule over the Land of Israel - Egypt & Canaanites

During the Bronze Era, prior to the conquest of Israel by the Israelites, the Land of Israel was occupied by a number of small nations called the Canaanites. The Canaanites lived most of this period under Egyptian hegemony. Edited from Wikipedia.

Rule over the Land of Israel - Israel

After wondering 40 years in the desert, following the Exodus from Egypt, the people of Israel occupied the land of Israel under the leadership of Joshua (appointed by Moses before his death). The occupation was gradual and the Israeli tribes frequently suffered from wars with neighboring nations. Prosperity began as the tribes united to form the monarchy. Prosperity and peace peaked during the reigning of King Solomon. This enabled him to build the First Temple in Jerusalem. With his death the kingdom split.

Rule over the Land of Israel - Israel & Judah

After the death of Solomon, all the Israelite tribes except for Judah and Benjamin refused to accept Rehoboam, the son and successor of Solomon, as their king. The rebellion against Rehoboam arose after he refused to lighten the burden of taxation that his father had imposed on his subjects. Rehoboam fled to Jerusalem and Jeroboam was proclaimed king over all Israel at Shechem. The northern kingdom continued to be called the Kingdom of Israel or Israel, while the southern kingdom was called the kingdom of Judah. The split of the kingdom weakened both sides and led to internal and external wars as well as assimilation.

Rule over the Land of Israel - Judah & Assyria

Assyria conquered Israel but not Judah. The remaining population of the ten conquered tribes either fled to Judah or were exiled.

Rule over the Land of Israel - Babylon

Babylon conquered the Assyrian Empire and Judah. Doing so they exiled the Jews and destroyed the first Temple.

Rule over the Land of Israel - Persia

The Persian Empire conquered Babylon and replaced it as the region's ruler and the world's greatest empire yet. Cyrus the Great, the Persian king, permitted the Jews that were exiled by Babylon to return to their land and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.

Rule over the Land of Israel - Greece

Greece, under the leadership of Alexander the Great, conquered Persia and took its place as the region's empire. The relationships with the Jews were good at first but deteriorated after Alexander's death.

Rule over the Land of Israel - Hasmoneans

Antiochus Epiphanes, King of the Greek-Seleucid Empire, outlawed the Jewish religious practices and desecrated the holy sites. These actions led to a national revolt led by the Maccabees. The revolt succeeded and the temple was dedicated. Hanukkah, was instituted by Judas Maccabeus, to be celebrated annually with mirth and joy as a memorial of the dedication of the altar. The Maccabees succeeded in gaining full independence a few years later, and that is how the Hasmonean State was born.

Rule over the Land of Israel - The Roman Empire

The Roman Empire easily swallowed the Hasmonean State. This huge empire was one of the cruelest and most devastating for the Jewish people. It destructed the Second Temple, and later on firmly suppressed the Bar-Kochva revolt. In each war the Romans massacred hundreds of thousands of Jews, exiled and enslaved many others. It was then when the Romans gave the name “Palestine” to the land of Israel so that the Jewish connection to the land would vanish. For the same reason Jews were not allowed into Jerusalem and Jewish traditions were outlawed.

Rule over the Land of Israel - Byzantine

The Roman Empire was split into Western Rome and Eastern Rome, which was later named Byzantine.

Rule over the Land of Israel - Arabs

The Arabs fought Byzantine for a couple of years before they eventually won and took its place in the land of Israel and Syria.

Rule over the Land of Israel - Crusaders

The first Crusade started its journey to Israel in 1096. Its goal was to gain Christian rule over Jerusalem. Three years later it succeeded. The mobs accompanying the Crusades attacked the Jews in Europe and Israel, and put many of them to death. The Jews of Jerusalem, as in other places in Israel, were slaughtered as the first crusade conquered it in 1099. This was the end of a stable large Jewish community in Israel until the modern era.

Rule over the Land of Israel - Mamlukes

The Mamluks were non-Arab Muslims, who were first slaves and later took over Egypt. As Egypt's leaders they led a war and defeated the Mongolians and thus secured rule over Israel and Syria.

Rule over the Land of Israel - Ottoman Empire

The Sultan Selim I led the Ottoman Empire to the east. In the year 1516 he defeated the Mamluk Sultanate and took over its dependencies including the land of Israel.

Rule over the Land of Israel - Great Britain

The Land of Israel was conquered during the First World War by Great Britain. A few years later, the League of Nations passed an instrument granting Britain a mandate over the area. The purpose of the Mandate, as defined by the League of Nations, was to prepare a national home for the Jewish people on that territory. The territory included the land that is occupied today by Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. The British did not follow the Mandate they were given. Less than twenty years later Europe's Jews (that did not have their own homeland) were killed by the Nazi criminals and their supporters.

Rule over the Land of Israel - Israel

The State of Israel was established on May 14, 1948 with the declaration of independence made by the Jewish People's Council, led by David Ben Gurion. It is today the largest Jewish center in the world, with approximately 6 million Jews. It had less than a tenth of that number of Jews only 64 years ago when it was established.

Rabbinical Era

Era - Patriarchs

The period between Abraham and Moses.

Era - Judges

The period from the entrance of the Israelite tribes to the Land of Israel after the Exodus until the coronation of King Saul.

Era - Kings & Prophets

The period from the coronation of King Saul to Ezra the Scribe.

Era - Knesset HaGdolah

The period from Ezra the Scribe to the first Zugot.

Era - Zugot

The Zugot (couples in Hebrew) were the couples that stood at the head of the Sanhedrin. One as president and the other as father of the court. Jose ben Joezer, and Jose ben Johanan were the first couple (during the time of the Maccabees). Hillel and Shammai were the last and probably most known couple.

Era - Tannaim

The Tannaim were the Rabbinic sages that came after Hillel and Shammai. Their main work and legacy was the Mishna, that was compiled by the last Ta'na Rabbi Judah HaNasi. His death signs the end of the Tannaim period.

Era - Amoraim

The term Amora was applied to the teachers that flourished during a period of about three hundred years, from the time of the death of the patriarch R. Judah I. (about 210) to the completion of the Babylonian Talmud (about 500). The activity of the teachers during this period was devoted principally to expounding the Mishnah — the compilation of the patriarch R. Judah — which became the authoritative code of the oral law. This activity was developed as well in the academies of Tiberias, Sepphoris, Cæsarea, and others in Palestine, as in those of Nehardea, Sura, and later of Pumbedita, and in some other seats of learning in Babylonia. In these academies the main object of the lectures and discussions was to interpret the often very brief and concise expression of the Mishnah, to investigate its reasons and sources, to reconcile seeming contradictions, to compare its canons with those of the Baraitot, and to apply its decisions to, and establish principles for, new cases, both real and fictitious, not already provided for in the Mishnah. The Amoraim's work finally became embodied in the Gemara (the Talmud). Credit note: the passage was taken from the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia.

Era - Savoraim

The principals and scholars of the Babylonian academies in the period immediately following that of the Amoraim. According to an old statement found in a gloss on a curious passage in the Talmud, Rabina, the principal of the Academy of Sura, was regarded as the “end of the hora'ah,“ i.e., as the last Amora. The activity displayed by the Saboraim is described by Sherira, in the following terms: “Afterward [i.e., after Rabina] there was probably no hora'ah [i.e., no independent decision], but there were scholars called Saboraim, who, rendered decisions similar to the hora'ah [i.e. the Talmud as left by the Amoraim], and who gave clear explanations of everything that had been left unsettled.“ Credit note: the passage was taken from the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia.

Era - Geonim

The title of “Gaon“ was given to the heads of the academies of Sura, Pumbedita and Israel. For while the Amoraim, through their interpretation of the Mishnah, gave rise to the Talmud, and while the Saboraim definitively edited it, the Geonim's task was to interpret it for them it became the subject of study and instruction, and they gave religio-legal decisions in agreement with its teachings. The last gaon was Hai Gaon, who died in 1038.

Era - Rishonim

Rishonim are the Rabbinical authorities and scholars that came after the last Gaon (Hai Gaon) and before the period of the Spanish Inquisition and the compilation of the Shulchan Aruch. Amongst the most known Rishonim are Rashi, the Rambam and Ramban.

Era - Acharonim

Achronim are the Rabbinical scholars from the time of the Spanish Inquisition to our days. During this period, the Shulchan Aruch was written, which still serves today as the main source for learning Halachic Laws.

World History - Main Events

Agricultural revolution – vine domestication

The Neolithic Revolution transformed the small and mobile groups of hunter-gatherers that had hitherto dominated human history into sedentary societies based in built-up villages and towns, which radically modified their natural environment These developments provided the basis for high population density settlements, specialized and complex labor diversification, trading economies, the development of non-portable art, architecture, and culture, centralized administrations and political structures, hierarchical ideologies, and depersonalized systems of knowledge (e.g., property regimes and writing). The first full-blown manifestation of the entire Neolithic complex is seen in the Middle Eastern Sumerian cities (ca. 3,500 BC), whose emergence also inaugurates the end of the prehistoric Neolithic period and the beginning of human society as we know it. Source: edited from Wikipedia (link below).

The first kingdom: Egypt

The coalescing of Egyptian civilization around 3100 BC under the first pharaoh has a great significance as it was the first bureaucracy to control, tax and unite under a single ruler hundreds of thousands of individuals. This proves the existence of a sophisticated and professional bureaucracy that had the ability to take notes and manage huge and organized archives and data-bases.

True-Writing invented

True writing systems developed from neolithic writing in the Early Bronze Age. The Sumerian archaic writing and the Egyptian hieroglyphs are generally considered the earliest true writing systems, both emerging out of their ancestral proto-literate symbol systems from 3400–3200 BC with earliest coherent texts from about 2600 BC. (Source: Wikipedia). Its significance comes from the ability to write down anything that can be expressed, which was impossible before that, since the written symbols was limited to numerous specific words.

Code of Hammurabi

The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserved Babylonian law code, dating back to about 1772 BC. It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world. The sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, enacted the code, and partial copies exist on a human-sized stone stele and various clay tablets. The Code consists of 282 laws, with scaled punishments, adjusting “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth“ (lex talionis)[1] as graded depending on social status, of slave versus free man. (Source: Wikipedia)

Trojan War

In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Greeks afterParis of Troy took Helen from her husband king of Sparta. The war is one of the most important events in Greek mythology and has been narrated through many works of Greek literature. The end of the war came with one final plan. Odysseus devised a giant hollow wooden horse, an animal that was sacred to the Trojans. The hollow horse was filled with soldiers. When the Trojans discovered that the Greeks were gone, believing the war was over, they “joyfully dragged the horse inside the city“. The soldiers from inside the horse emerged and killed the Trojan guards and opened the gates. The Greeks entered the city and killed the sleeping population. (Source of this passage: Wikipedia)

Currency invented

The first known coin was invented in the region of Turkey. Its value was set by the weight and value of the metals that composed it. It had the same value melted or in a different form since its value was the value of its materials. Today money has no material value and most of it is completely virtual on computers. Its value comes only from peoples belief in it.

Buddha (founder of Buddhism) is born

Gautama Buddha was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. His work was focused on decreasing human suffering through self help.

China Unifies (40 million) & builds the Great Wall

Chinese Monarchy, under the Qin dynasty, was the largest in population ever in history up-until then. The form of monarchy survived more than two-thousand years until the establishment of the Chinese Republic in 1912.

Jesus is born

Christians hold Jesus to be the awaited Messiah of the Old Testament. Most Christians believe that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, performed miracles, founded the Church, died sacrificially by crucifixion to achieve atonement, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven, from which he will return. The majority of Christians worship Jesus as the incarnation of God the Son, and the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Today, Christianity is the largest religion in the world. (Source of this passage: Wikipedia)

Rome adopts Christianity

Before the end of the 1st century, the Roman authorities recognized Christianity as a separate religion from Judaism. The distinction was given official status by the emperor Nerva around the year 98 by granting Christians exemption from paying the humiliating tax imposed by Rome only upon Jews. At first, Christians were persecuted for their belief and refusal to worship the Roman gods or to pay homage to the emperor as divine. Only in 313, Emperor Constantine granted Christians and others “the right of open and free observance of their worship“. By the end of that century Emperor Theodosius I established the Christianity as the official state religion, reserving for its followers the title of Catholic Christians and declaring that those who did not follow were to be called heretics. Pagan worship became formally forbidden. (Source: Wikipedia)

Muhammad (founder of Islam) is born

Muhammad was a religious, political, and military leader from Mecca, who unified Arabia into a single religious polity under Islam. He is believed by Muslims to be a messenger and prophet of God and, by most Muslims, the last and most important prophet sent by God for mankind. Islam is the second largest religion after Christianity.

Arabic Numerals invented

Arabic numerals are the ten digits (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9). They are descended from the Indian numeral system developed by Indian mathematicians. They were transmitted to Europe in the Middle Ages. The use of Arabic numerals spread around the world through European trade, books and colonialism. The system was revolutionary by including a zero and positional notation. It is considered an important milestone in the development of mathematics. Today they are the most common symbolic representation of numbers in the world. (Source of the passage: Wikipedia)

First book printed (China)

Printing was invented in China around the year 200 using wood blocks. The first printed book found in the world was printed in China around the year 868. The technology was brought to Europe but the fast global spread of the printing press began with the invention of movable type printing press by Gutenberg in Germany in the 15th century. This revolutionary invention had great effect on humanity as it led to the scientific and industrial revolutions.

100 Years' War

The Hundred Years' War was a series of conflicts waged from 1337 to 1453 between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of France and their various allies for control of the French throne. The war gave impetus to ideas of French and English nationalism. The first standing armies in Western Europe since the time of the Western Roman Empire were introduced for the war, thus changing the role of the peasantry. In France, civil wars, deadly epidemics, famines and bandit free companies of mercenaries reduced the population by about one-half. (Source: Wikipedia)

Black Plague

The Black Plague reduce Europe's population by about one-third. Christians blamed the Jews for causing the plague (a common rumor was that the Jews poisoned water sources) and thus persecuted them. This led the Jews to flee Western Europe towards the East.

Columbus, Imperialism

Europe discovered America and opened new frontiers and opportunities. From that point on European imperialism was to search, find, conquer and exploit most of the world.

Scientific & Industrial Revolutions

The Scientific and Industrial Revolutions occurred in Europe and led to its meteoric development. These revolutions eventually enabled this small and insignificant (at that moment) continent to spread out and eventually take over the whole world.

U.S. Independence

The colonies of North America united and rebelled against Britain. They declared independence in Philadelphia in 1776. Today, the USA is the world's only super power.

French Revolution

The French Revolution (1789–1799), was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France that had a lasting impact on French history and more broadly throughout the world. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed within three years. French society underwent an epic transformation, as feudal, aristocratic and religious privileges evaporated under a sustained assault from radical left-wing political groups, masses on the streets, and peasants in the countryside. Old ideas about tradition and hierarchy–of monarchy, aristocracy, and religious authority–were abruptly overthrown by new Enlightenment principles of equality, citizenship and inalienable rights. Since then, in France the Bastille Day, 14th of July, is a public holiday. (Source: Wikipedia)

The largest and most lethal war the world has seen up to that point. More than 18 millions killed as technological development led to more lethal weapons. The war changed completely the former global order.

The largest and most lethal war the world has ever seen. Around 60 million people killed. The atomic bomb was both developed and deployed during that war. Under the war's circumstances the Nazi criminals and their supporters led the Holocaust, in which they systematically murdered around 6 million Jews.

Jewish Historical Figures

Adam & Eve

According to Jewish tradition, Adam and Eve were the first human beings to be created.

Noah was a righteous man in the generation of the big Flood. Thanks to his righteousness he was chosen by God to save humanity and animals. Therefore, all humanity today originates from him.

Abraham and Sarah

Abraham and Sarah are the first patriarch and matriarch of the Jewish nation. Parents of Isaac. Abraham is considered to be the founder of monotheism.

Isaac & Rebekah

Isaac and Rebekah are the second generation of Israel's patriarchs and matriarchs. Parents of Jacob.

Jacob, Leah and Rachel

Jacob, Lea and Rachel are the third generation of Israel's patriarchs and matriarchs. Jacob was named Israel. Jacob is the father of the Tribes of Israel.

Sons of Jacob – the Tribes of Israel

Each one of Jacob's 12 sons became a Tribe of Israel, except for Joseph, that got to be the father of 2 tribes through his Sons: Ephraim and Mannasse. There were thus 13 Tribes of Israel. The land of Israel was divided to only 12 of the tribes since Levi did not get land as its work to serve god and take care of religious duties did not require land.

Moses and Aaron

Moses is the greatest prophet of all times. He led Bnei Israel out of Egypt towards the Land of Israel. He was the one who formed the Israeli Nation. He received the Torah from God on Mount Sinai. His brother Aaron was by his side for aid. He was also the first to serve as a Cohen and the father of all Cohanim.


Joshua was Moses’s apprentice and successor. As such he led Am Israel into the Land of Israel and conducted its occupation.


Deborah was a prophetess, the fourth Judge-Leader of pre-monarchic Israel, counselor and warrior.


Shimshon Ha'gibor (Samason the hero) was a Nazir and the third-to-last Judge of pre-monarchic Israel. He was granted superpowers by God and became a hero warrior fighting Israel's enemies.

Ruth Ha'moavia (of Moab) is known for her great devotion to Am Israel and its God. As such she was granted to be the great grand mother of King David.


Samuel (Shmuel) was the last of the Hebrew Judges and the first of the major prophets who began to prophesy inside the Land of Israel. He was thus at the cusp between two eras. He also anointed the first two kings of the Kingdom of Israel: Saul and David. (Source: Wikipedia)

King Saul

King David

The second King of Israel, as he replaced King Saul. Father of the dynasty that ruled the United Kingdom and then Judah until the destruction of the 1st Temple and the Babylonian exile.

King Solomon

King Solomon, son of King David and Bat-Sheva, is known for his wisdom. Built the 1st Temple in Jerusalem. During his time, the United Kingdom of Israel prospered economically and politically.


Elijah was a famous prophet and a wonder-worker in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of King Ahab. He fought against worshiping pagan gods (the “Ba'al”). He raised the dead, brought fire down from the sky, and was taken up in a whirlwind of flame (thus never died). Elijah's return is prophesied “before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.“


Jeremiah was one of the great prophets. He was active around the time of the destruction of the 1st Temple. As such he played an important role in keeping the nation together after the terrible destruction and exile. He authored the Book of Lamentations, that is recited on the 9th of Av (the day when the Temple was destructed).


Ezekiel was one of the great prophets. He active around the time of the destruction of the 1st Temple. One of his most known prophecies is the Vision of Valley of Dry Bones, where he sees the dead rise again.

Esther & Mordechai

Esther and Mordechai saved the Jewish people from the genocide that was planned by a Senior minister of the Persian Empire, Haman.

Ezra & Nehemiah

Ezra and Nehemiah led waves of immigrations of exiled Jews from Babylon back to the Land of Israel. Ezra the Scribe enforced observance of the Torah and fought against mixed marriages. His work has great influence on Jewish life even today.

Judah the Hammer

Yehuda Ha'Macabee (Judah the Hammer) was the head of the Jewish army that fought in the revolt against the Greeks and won.


Herod was a Roman client king of Judea. His epithet of “the Great“ is widely disputed as he is described as “a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis.“ He is also known for his colossal building projects in Jerusalem and elsewhere, including his expansion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and the construction of Caesarea. (Source: Wikipedia)

Hillel & Shammai

Hillel and Shammai were two leading rabbis of the early 1st century CE who founded opposing schools of Jewish thought, known as the House of Hillel and House of Shammai. The debate between these schools on matters of ritual practice, ethics, and theology was critical for the shaping of the Oral Law and Judaism as it is today. (Source: Wikipedia)


Philo of Alexandria, also called Philo Judaeus, was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria, Egypt during the Roman Empire. He attempted to fuse and harmonize Greek philosophy with Jewish philosophy.


Jewish historian that lived through and documented Judah's Great Revolt and its devastating suppression by the Roman Empire.

Johanan ben Zakai

Yohanan ben Zakai was one of the tannaim, and a primary contributor to the core text of Rabbinical Judaism, the Mishnah. During the suppression of the Great Revolt he asked the Roman commander to save Yavne and its sages. There he founded his school that functioned as a re-establishment of the Sanhedrin so that Judaism could survive the destruction and adopt to the new situation.

Rabbi Akiva

One of the greatest rabbinical figures of all times. Rabbi Akiva supported the Bar-Kokhba Revolt against the Romans and suffered martyrdom upon his opposition to Hadrian's edicts against the Jewish religion.

Bar Kokhba

Led the revolt against the Romans. Many thought he was the Messiah at his time that was sent to save Israel. The revolt was brutally suppressed and resulted in deaths of more than half a million people, destruction, exile and cruel edicts. It was then when the Romans gave the name “Palestine” to the land of Israel so that the Jewish connection to the land would be forgotten. For the same reason Jews were not allowed into Jerusalem and Jewish traditions were outlawed. These edicts still affect the Jewish nation today, almost 2,000 years later.


Bruriah was a clever sage. She was highly valued due to her wisdom, her sharpness and the scope of her knowledge. It is said about her that she studied 300 laws in one day.

Judah the Prince

Judah the Prince, also known as Rabbi, was a 2nd-century rabbi and chief redactor and editor of the Mishnah. He was a key leader of the Jewish community during the Roman occupation of Judea.

Rabbi Yochanan

Rabbi Yochanan was considered as the greatest rabbi of his generation. He started a school in Tiberias, and let anyone who wanted to learn in, a controversial move at the time. He laid the foundations for the Yerushalmi Talmud.

Rav Ashi

Rav Ashi was a Babylonian Amoraic sage, who reestablished the Academy at Sura and was first editor of the Babylonian Talmud.

Saadia Gaon

A prominent rabbi, Jewish philosopher, and exegete of the Geonic period. The first important rabbinic figure to write extensively in Arabic, he is considered the founder of Judeo-Arabic literature. Known for his works on Hebrew linguistics, Halakha, and Jewish philosophy. In this capacity, his philosophical work Emunoth ve-Deoth represents the first systematic attempt to integrate Jewish theology with components of Greek philosophy. Saadia was also very active in opposition to Karaism, in defense of rabbinic Judaism.

Rabbeinu Gershom

Leader of the Ashkenazi Jews in the 11th century. Amongst his halachic rulings are prohibitions on: polygamy, deportation of a woman against her will and opening a letter addressed to another person.


Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki) is considered to be the greatest commentator of all times. His commentary on the Tanach (the Bible) and the Talmud is characterized by it conciseness. He was born in France in 1040.

Yehuda Halevi

Rabbi Yehuda Halevi was one of the greatest Jewish poets and thinkers. Amongst his works is the book “The Kuzari,“ in which he lays out and explains Jewish philosophy. Born and raised in Spain. Fulfilled his spiritual aspiration to live in the Land of Israel. He was assassinated in Jerusalem by an Arab. Among his famous songs “My heart is in the East, tho' in the West I live”, describing his longing to Israel. In addition to his spiritual work, he worked as a physician.

The Rambam, Maimonides

RAbbi Moshe Ben Maimon (RaMBaM, also known as Maimonides) was born in Spain in 1135. One of the greatest Jewish leaders and philosophers. A popular saying states, “From Mosheh (Moses) to Mosheh (Rambam) there was none like Mosheh. He became the head of the Jewish community in Egypt. In addition to his rabbinical and philosophical skills and works he was a scientist and worked as a physician. The Rambam emphasized the importance of work.

Ramban, Nahmanides

Ramban (Rabbi Moshe ben Naḥman), was a leading medieval Jewish scholar, philosopher, physician, kabbalist, and biblical commentator. He was raised and lived for most of his life in Spain. Following his longing to the Land of Israel he managed to live in Jerusalem during his last years. One of his works that I especially like and recommend is “Iggeret ha-Musar“, which is a letter addressed to his son, giving him day to day tips for life.

Rabbi Yosef Karo

Joseph ben Ephraim Karo, was author of the last great codification of Jewish law, the Shulchan Aruch, which is still authoritative for all Jews pertaining to their respective communities. To this end he is often referred to as HaMechaber (“The Author“) and as Maran (“Our Master“). (Source: Wikipedia)

Baal Shem Tov

Rabbi Israel Ben Eliezer, often called Baal Shem Tov or Besht, was a Jewish, mystical rabbi. He founded the Hasidic Judaism and movement.

The Vilna Gaon

Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman Kremer, known as the Vilna Gaon, or by his Hebrew acronym Gra (“Gaon Rabbenu Eliyahu“), was a Talmudist, halachist, kabbalist, and the foremost leader of non-hasidic Jewry of the past few centuries. Through his annotations and emendations of Talmudic and other texts he became one of the most familiar and influential names in rabbinic study since the Middle Ages, counted by many among the sages known as the Acharonim, and ranked by some with the even more revered Rishonim of the Middle Ages. He held great scientific knowledge. He led the opposition to the Hasidut movement. (Source: Wikipedia)

The Chasam Sofer

One of the leading rabbis and poskim of recent generations. One of the major designers of Orthodox view. Coined the term “new forbidden by the Torah,“ meaning that there should be no change in Jewish customs and religious traditions. This view was clearly in contrary to the Reforms' view. He supported secular-studies in addition to religious studies. Encouraged and worked to settle the Land of Israel.

The Chofetz Chaim

Yisrael Meir (Kagan) Poupko, known popularly as The Chofetz Chaim, was an influential Lithuanian Jewish rabbi of the Musar movement, a Halakhist, posek, and ethicist whose works continue to be widely influential in Jewish life. Amongst his works are: Chafetz Chayim (“Desirer of Life“), his first book, that deals with the laws of gossip and slander Sh'mirat HaLashon (“Guarding of the Tongue“), is a discussion of the philosophy behind the Jewish concepts of power of speech and guarding one's speech Mishna Berura (“Clarified teachings“) is an important commentary, on a section of the Shulchan Aruch. (Source: Wikipedia)


Austria-Hungarian Jew. Journalist and political activist. “Visionary of the State of Israel“. Initiator and leader of the Zionist Congress and the World Zionist Organization.

Donald Trump and the Jews: He's exactly why most of us vote for Democrats

By Matthew Rozsa
Published August 24, 2019 12:00PM (EDT)

Donald Trump at the Western Wall (Getty/Ronen Zvulun)


If President Trump doesn't understand why a large majority of American Jews are Democrats, maybe he should take a look in the mirror.

In case you need a quick refresher, Trump sparked an enormous furor on Tuesday when he said, "I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty." He added that "five years ago, the concept of even talking about this . . . of cutting off aid to Israel because of two people that hate Israel and hate Jewish people — I can't believe we're even having this conversation. Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they're defending these two people over the State of Israel?"

The "two people" Trump referred to are clearly Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. I'm not aware that either of them, or anyone else in the Democratic Party, has proposed "cutting off aid to Israel."

The next day the president doubled down, retweeting a bizarre claim that Israelis "love him like he is the second coming of God" and telling reporters outside of the White House that "if you vote for a Democrat, you're being disloyal to Jewish people, and you're being very disloyal to Israel. Only weak people would say anything other than that." Trump also quoted conservative radio host Wayne Allyn Root, who disparaged American Jews for disliking him: "They don’t even know what they’re doing or saying anymore. It makes no sense!"

Actually it makes perfect sense that American Jews oppose Trump and lean Democratic. It made sense even before Trump took to Twitter and "coincidentally" decided to express admiration for Henry Ford, one of America's most notorious anti-Semites and an inspiration to Adolf Hitler. It made sense even before Trump made anti-Semitic remarks before the Republican Jewish Coalition in 2015. (When I called him out on this, neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin attacked me online.)

For that matter, the fact that most Jews are Democrats made plenty of sense long before Trump became a player on the political scene.

In fact, for as long as American Jewish voting patterns have been reliably recorded, Jews have clearly taken the position that political movements which stand for oppression anywhere are unsafe for Jews everywhere.

"American Jews have tended to vote Democratic since 1928, mostly because they perceived that their values and interests aligned more with the Democratic Party, especially on issues like immigration, civil rights, church-state separation and Israel," Jonathan Sarna, professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University, told me by email:

Every Democratic candidate since FDR, with the exception of Jimmy Carter in his second term, has won more than 50 percent of the Jewish vote. The shift away from Carter [in 1980], whom many Jews perceived as anti-Israel, demonstrates that Jewish voters have been willing to punish candidates whom they perceive as anti-Israel, but it is important to note that many Jews voted for the third-party candidate, John Anderson, rather than moving into the ranks of the Republican Party.

Indeed, a look at American Jewish voting patterns since 1916 (the first year when precise data became available) reveals that there has only been one presidential election in that entire period where a Republican won the Jewish vote. That was the election of 1920, in which Warren G. Harding won 43 percent of the Jewish vote — in a landslide victory where he got 60 percent of the national vote overall. Notably, however, Socialist Party candidate Eugene Debs won 38 percent of the Jewish vote — and only 3 percent of the national vote.

Sarna cites the election of 1928 because that was when the Democratic Party took a notable turn toward more liberal, cosmopolitan politics — and, not coincidentally, picked the first Roman Catholic major-party nominee, New York Gov. Al Smith. Ever since then, Jews became a reliable Democratic voting bloc.

Hasia Diner, a professor of American Jewish history at New York University, agreed that Jews have voted for Democrats "in national, state, and local elections since the late 1920s." She offered a succinct summary of why, also by email:

They have done so for the most part because they have accepted the basic premises of the party: calls for state responsibility for the welfare of its citizens, a state that is active for those who find themselves in need, and efforts, like civil rights broadly understood, which envision an society in which access to resources are not tied to race, religion or national origin. This formula appealed to most of them throughout this period because it worked for them and helped strengthen their own place in America as it also worked for others.

"These were, however, not Jewish issues explicitly," Diner continued, stressing that it's mistaken to view Jews as single-issue voters, when it comes to Israel or anything else:

They have not since 1948 voted for candidates in the United States on the basis of either Israel as an issue or the explicit or implicit directions from Israel. This does not hold for all Jews, but in the last few elections the numbers run about 25 percent for the Republicans and 75 percent for the Democrats, reflecting the general coincidence between the Democratic Party's larger message, as I sketched out above, and the majority of American Jews' sense that it was a message that fit their own visions of a good, or even better, America.

Sarna echoes this view, suggesting that Trump appears to believe he can turn Jewish voters against the Democratic Party by appealing to their presumed tendency to vote entirely based on the perceived interests of the State of Israel.

Across the world, in England, Canada, Australia and elsewhere, Jews have turned away from liberal parties that had once been their favorite home if those parties abandoned support for Israel. President Trump is hoping that he can help effect a similar shift in the US by painting the Democratic Party as anti-Israel and akin to the Corbyn Labour Party in England [which has been accused of harboring anti-Semites]. Whether that indeed happens remains to be seen.

At least for now, American Jews overwhelmingly tend to vote Democratic, and generally hold liberal views. Nearly all the Jewish members of Congress are Democrats — one who technically isn't would be Sen. Bernie Sanders — and all three of the Jewish justices on the Supreme Court (Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan) are regarded as reliable liberal votes. For many Jewish people, although certainly not all, there is a strong historical connection between the oppressive mentality that led to the election of President Trump and the mentality of anti-Semitism.

I'm not saying all Republicans share Trump's bigoted views. That's emphatically not the case. But there is a strong undercurrent of bigotry in the modern Republican Party, one that caused Trump to be nominated in the first place and that is visible in the persecution of other marginalized groups.

In many ways, Trump symbolizes everything that makes Jews lean Democratic. While Trump has made anti-Semitic comments for years, he largely avoided those during the 2016 campaign, which focused on stigmatizing Muslim and Latino immigrants, along with African Americans and women. When Trump added the notoriously homophobic Mike Pence as his running mate, one could safely add the LGBT community to that list. Yet it was inevitable that Trump would eventually turn his animus against the Jews because bigoted mentalities are rarely confined to a single group of people.

While the the modern Democratic Party has an imperfect record on bigotry — and until the early 1960s was allied with Southern segregationists — it has at least held out the governing ideal of resisting or overturning racism and discrimination. Gradually, Democrats came to support civil rights, women's rights and LGBT equality, even if all those areas remain contentious today.

The Republican Party, by contrast, blamed the poor for their suffering during the Great Depression, and turned sharply against civil rights during the 1960s, with the losing campaign of Barry Goldwater and then the election of Richard Nixon, driven by the "Southern strategy" of dog-whistle racism. At least in effect, Republican ideology has been closely allied with preserving the power of white, straight men and resisting equality for people of color, women and LGBT people.

Many Republicans strongly support Israel, or at least claim to. For many American Jews, that's practically irrelevant at this point. Conservatives may support Israel for theological reasons or purely strategic ones — because they hate and fear Islam — but that hardly equals a genuine sympathy for a historically marginalized and oppressed group. It's an alliance of convenience, at best.

Last year I interviewed Charlotte Pence, the vice president's daughter. She was promoting a book about her father and happened to mention a trip to Mount of Olives, a mountain ridge in East Jerusalem where some Christians believe Jesus will return to earth. When I asked her whether she thought Jews would go to hell when that happened, she avoided the question. As with so many evangelical Christians, her supposed affection for Jews struck me as anti-Semitic — because it does not actually reflect respect for Jewish people, Jewish culture or the Jewish faith.

Donald Trump isn't religious, but his attitudes toward Jews are driven by similar impulses. He views us not as distinct individuals worthy of respect in a diverse, pluralistic society, but as a collective who only matter insofar as we affirm or threaten the prevailing power structure. If we support Trump and the current Republican Party, they're willing to give us what they think we want, which is military and financial support for the State of Israel. If we dare to think for ourselves, we'll be reminded of what they think our place truly is in society.

Trump didn't create this mentality, but he is without question a product of it. As such, he offers a textbook example of why American Jews vote Democratic — and why we will continue to do so into the foreseeable future.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.


With the influx of Jews from Central and Eastern Europe many members of the Jewish community were attracted to labor and socialist movements and numerous Jewish newspapers such as Forwerts and Morgen Freiheit had a socialist or communist orientation. Left wing organizations such as the Arbeter Ring and the Jewish People's Fraternal Order played an important part in Jewish community life until World War II.

Liberal Jewish Americans were not just involved in nearly every important social movement, but in the forefront of promoting such issues as workers rights, civil rights, woman's rights, gay rights, freedom of religion, freedom from religion, peace movements, and various other progressive causes.

Although American Jews generally leaned Republican in the second half of the 19th century, the majority has voted Democratic or leftist since at least 1916, when they voted 55% for Woodrow Wilson. [3] In 1940 and 1944, 90% of American Jews voted for Franklin D. Roosevelt, and 75% voted for Harry S. Truman in 1948, [3] despite both party platforms supporting the creation of a Jewish state in the latter two elections. [4] During the 1952 and 1956 elections, they voted 60% or more for Adlai Stevenson, while General Eisenhower garnered 40% for his reelection the best showing to date for the Republicans since Harding's 43% in 1920. [3] In 1960, 83% voted for Democrat John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic, versus Richard Nixon, and in 1964, 90% of American Jews voted for Lyndon Johnson his Republican opponent, arch-conservative Barry Goldwater, was a Protestant with a Jewish father. [5] Hubert Humphrey garnered 81% of the Jewish vote in the 1968 elections, in his losing bid for president against Richard Nixon. [3]

During the Nixon re-election campaign of 1972, Jewish voters were apprehensive about George McGovern, and only favored the Democrat by 65%, while Nixon more than doubled Jewish support for Republicans to 35%. In the election of 1976, Jewish voters supported Democrat Jimmy Carter by 71% over incumbent president Gerald Ford's 27%, but during the Carter re-election campaign of 1980, Jewish voters greatly abandoned the Democrat, with only 45% support, while Republican winner, Ronald Reagan, garnered 39%, and 14% went to independent John Anderson. [3] [6]

During the Reagan re-election campaign of 1984, the Republican retained 31% of the Jewish vote, while 67% voted for Democrat Walter Mondale. The 1988 election saw Jewish voters favor Democrat Michael Dukakis by 64%, while George Bush Sr. polled a respectable 35%, but during his re-election in 1992, Jewish support dropped to just 11%, with 80%, voting for Bill Clinton and 9% going to independent Ross Perot. Clinton's re-election campaign in 1996 maintained high Jewish support at 78%, with 16% supporting Robert Dole and 3% for Perot. [3] [6]

The elections of 2000 and 2004 saw continued Jewish support for Democrats Al Gore and John Kerry, another Catholic candidate, remain in the high- to mid-70% range, while Republican George W Bush's re-election in 2004 saw Jewish support rise from 19% to 24%. [6] [7] In the 2000 presidential election, Joe Lieberman became the first Jewish American to run for national office on a major party ticket when he was chosen as Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore's vice-presidential nominee.

In the 2008 presidential election, 78% of Jews voted for Barack Obama, who became the first African-American to be elected president. [8] Polls indicate during this election, 83% of white Jews voted for Obama compared to just 34% of white Protestants and 47% of white Catholics, though 67% of white people identifying with another religion and 71% identifying with no religion also voted Obama. [9] In the 2012 presidential election, 68% of Jews voted for Barack Obama. In the 2016 Election, 71% of Jews voted for Hillary Clinton. [10]

As of 2018, 71% of American Jews disapproved of Donald Trump's job as president, with only 26% approving—the lowest approval rating among all religious groups surveyed. [11]

Of the 2016 and 2020 presidential candidates, many front runners were either married to Jews, had children who were married to Jews, or were Jews themselves. Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders, Michael Bloomberg, and Marianne Williamson are Jewish. Michael Bennet's mother is Jewish. Beto O'Rourke and Kamala Harris are married to Jews. Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism and married Jewish real estate developer Jared Kushner. Both have been active in Trump's administration. Bill and Hillary Clinton's daughter Chelsea Clinton married Jewish investor Marc Mezvinsky, the son of U.S. Representative and felon Edward Mezvinsky. Lastly all three of Joe Biden's children who lived into adulthood married Jews. [12]

For Congressional and Senate races, since 1968, American Jews have voted about 70–80% for Democrats [13] this support increased to 87% for Democratic House candidates during the 2006 elections. [14] Currently, there are 10 Jews among 100 U.S. Senators: 9 Democrats (Michael Bennet, Richard Blumenthal, Ben Cardin, Dianne Feinstein, Brian Schatz, Chuck Schumer, Ron Wyden, Jacky Rosen and Jon Ossoff), and one of the Senate's two independents, (Bernie Sanders, who caucuses with the Democrats).

There are 26 Jews among the 435 U.S. Representatives, [15] all of whom are currently Democrats, except for Lee Zeldin of New York and David Kustoff of Tennessee. [16] [17]

During the American Civil War, Jews were divided in their views of slavery and abolition. Prior to 1861, there were virtually no rabbinical sermons on slavery. The silence on this issue was probably a result of fear that the controversy would create conflict within the Jewish community. Jews were pivotal in ending slavery. Some Jews owned slaves or traded them, and the livelihoods of many in the Jewish community of both the North and South were tied to the slave system. Most southern Jews supported slavery, and some, like Judah P. Benjamin, advocated its expansion. The abolitionist Ben Wade, who knew Benjamin in the U.S. Senate, described him as "an Israelite with Egyptian principles". Northern Jews sympathized with the South, and very few were abolitionists, seeking peace and remaining silent on the subject of slavery. America's largest Jewish community, New York's Jews, were "overwhelmingly pro-southern, pro-slavery, and anti-Lincoln in the early years of the war". However, eventually, they began to lean politically toward "Father Abraham", his Republican party, and emancipation. [18]

Since the beginning of the 20th century, many American Jews have been very active in fighting prejudice and discrimination, and have historically been active participants in movements for civil rights, including active support of and participation in the Civil Rights Movement, active support of and participation in the labor rights movement, and active support of and participation in the women's rights movement.

Seymour Siegel suggests that the historic struggle against prejudice faced by Jews led to a natural sympathy for any people confronting discrimination. Joachim Prinz, president of the American Jewish Congress, stated the following when he spoke from the podium at the Lincoln Memorial during the famous March on Washington on August 28, 1963: "As Jews, we bring to this great demonstration, in which thousands of us proudly participate, a twofold experience - one of the spirit and one of our history . From our Jewish historic experience of three and a half thousand years, we say: Our ancient history began with slavery and the yearning for freedom. During the Middle Ages, my people lived for a thousand years in the ghettos of Europe . It is for these reasons that it is not merely sympathy and compassion for the black people of America that motivates us. It is, above all and beyond all such sympathies and emotions, a sense of complete identification and solidarity born of our own painful historic experience." [19] [20]

American Jews (and Jews worldwide) began taking a special interest in international affairs in the early twentieth century, especially regarding their co-religionists persecution during pogroms in Imperial Russia, and later, regarding increasing restrictions on immigration in the 1920s. This period is also synchronous with the development of political Zionism, as well as the Balfour Declaration, which gave Zionism its first official recognition.

During the 1930s, large-scale boycotts of German merchandise were organized this period was synchronous with the rise of Fascism in Europe. Franklin D. Roosevelt's leftist domestic policies received strong Jewish support in the 1930s and 1940s, as did his foreign policies and the subsequent founding of the United Nations. Support for political Zionism in this period, although growing in influence, remained a distinctly minority opinion. The founding of Israel in 1948 made the Middle East a center of attention the immediate recognition of Israel by the American government was an indication of both its intrinsic support and the influence of political Zionism.

This attention initially was based on a natural and religious affinity toward, and support for, Israel and world Jewry. The attention is also because of the ensuing and unresolved conflicts regarding the founding Israel and Zionism itself. A lively internal debate commenced, following the Six-Day War. The American Jewish community was divided over whether or not they agreed with the Israeli response the great majority came to accept the war as necessary. A tension existed especially for leftist Jews, between their liberal ideology and (rightist) Zionist backing in the midst of this conflict. This deliberation about the Six-Day War showed the depth and complexity of Jewish responses to the varied events of the 1960s. [21] Similar tensions were aroused by the 1977 election of Begin and the rise of revisionist policies, the 1982 Lebanon War, and the continuing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. [22] Disagreement over Israel's 1993 acceptance of the Oslo Accords caused a further split among American Jews [23] This mirrored a similar split among Israelis, and led to a parallel rift within the pro-Israel lobby. [24] [25]

A 2004 poll indicated that a majority of Jewish Americans favored the creation of an independent Palestinian state and believed that Israel should remove some or all of its settlements from the West Bank. [26] Even though some felt that Israeli security was among the motivations for American intervention in Iraq, Jews were less supportive of the Iraq War than Americans as a whole. [27] At the beginning of the conflict, Arab Americans were more supportive of the Iraq War than American Jews were (although both groups were less supportive of it than the general population).

Because of the emotional connection many Jews have for Israel, the issue has generated strong passions among both left-wing and right-wing Jews. There is a significant Jewish presence in the disparate political movement known as the "liberal hawks" or the pro-war Left, which, while strongly committed to liberal or leftist social domestic policy, also supports a liberal interventionist, hawkish or right-wing pro-Israel foreign policy for the United States. (Examples include Joe Lieberman, Christopher Hitchens, many of the contributors to Dissent magazine, and many of the signatories of the Euston Manifesto.) At the same time, there is a significant Jewish presence in the pro-Palestinian movement, including Norman Finkelstein, Noam Chomsky, and Judith Butler. [28]

The "Israel lobby" is the diverse coalition of groups and individuals seeking to influence the foreign policy of the United States in support of Zionism, Israel or the specific policies of its elected government. [29] [30] These organizations have included political, secular, and religious groups of Jewish-Americans, as well as non-Jewish organizations of political, secular, and religious Christian Americans. These groups have reportedly increased in size and influence over the years. The term itself has been subject to debate and criticism over the years, concerning its clarity and exact definition.

Jews are divided in their opinion of Trump's handling of the Israel Palestine conflict. [31]

Today, American Jews are a distinctive and influential group in the nation's politics. Jeffrey S. Helmreich writes that the ability of American Jews to affect this through political or financial clout is overestimated, [32] and that the primary influence lies in the group's voting patterns. [6]

According to a 2017 survey, fifty-four percent of Orthodox Jews say they voted for Trump, according to a new survey by the American Jewish Committee, or AJC. That was well above 24 percent of Conservative Jews, 10 percent of Reform Jews, 8 percent of Reconstructionist Jews and 14 percent of respondents who identify themselves as “just Jewish.”

"Jews have devoted themselves to politics with almost religious fervor", writes Mitchell Bard, who adds that Jews have the highest percentage voter turnout of any ethnic group. While 2–2.5% of the United States population is Jewish, 94% live in 13 key electoral college states, which combined have enough electors to elect the president. [33] [34] Though the majority (60–70%) of the country's Jews identify as Democratic, Jews span the political spectrum, and Helmreich describes them as "a uniquely swayable bloc" as a result of Republican stances on Israel. [6] [34] [35] A paper by Dr. Eric Uslaner of the University of Maryland disagrees, at least with regard to the 2004 election: "Only 15% of Jews said that Israel was a key voting issue. Among those voters, 55% voted for Kerry (compared to 83% of Jewish voters not concerned with Israel)." The paper goes on to point out that negative views of Evangelical Christians had a distinctly negative impact for Republicans among Jewish voters, while Orthodox Jews, traditionally more conservative in outlook as to social issues, favored the Republican Party. [36] A New York Times article suggests that the Jewish movement to the Republican party is focused heavily on faith-based issues, similar to the Catholic vote, which is credited for helping President Bush taking Florida in 2004. [37]

Though critics have charged that Jewish interests were partially responsible for the push to war with Iraq, Jewish Americans were actually more strongly opposed to the Iraq War than any other major religious group or even most Americans. As noted above, they were even more opposed than Arab Americans. The greater opposition to the war is not simply a result of high Democratic identification among U.S. Jews, as Jews of all political persuasions are more likely to oppose the war than non-Jews who share the same political leanings. The widespread Jewish opposition to the war in Iraq is also not simply a matter of the majority of Americans now also opposing the war because the majority of Jews already opposed the war in 2003 and 2004 when most Americans did not. [38] [39]

Owing to high Democratic identification in the 2008 United States presidential election, 78% of Jews voted for Democrat Barack Obama, versus 21% for Republican John McCain, despite Republican attempts to connect Obama to Muslim and pro-Palestinian causes. [40] It has been suggested that running mate Sarah Palin's conservative views on social issues may have nudged Jews away from the McCain-Palin ticket. [6] [40] Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, is Jewish, as is his former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. [41]

American Jews are largely supportive of gay rights, though a split exists within the group by observance. Reform and Reconstructionist Jews are far more supportive on issues like gay marriage than Orthodox Jews are. [42] A 2007 survey of Conservative Jewish leaders and activists showed that an overwhelming majority now supports gay rabbinical ordination and same-sex marriage. [43] Accordingly, 78% percent of Jewish voters rejected Proposition 8, the bill which banned gay marriage in California. No other ethnic or religious group voted as strongly against it. [44]

Jews in America also overwhelmingly oppose current United States marijuana policy. 86% of Jewish Americans opposed arresting non-violent marijuana smokers, compared to 61% for the population at large and 68% of all Democrats. Additionally, 85% of Jews in the United States opposed using federal law enforcement to close patient cooperatives for medical marijuana in states where medical marijuana is legal, compared to 67% of the population at large and 73% of Democrats. [45]

In the 2012 presidential election, support for Democrats fell by 9 percentage, while support for Republicans increased by the same percentage. The American Jewish vote for President Barack Obama fell from 78 percent to 69 percent in 2012. Obama's opponent in 2008, John McCain, received the support of 21 percent of Jewish, whereas Mitt Romney increased that share to 30 percent in 2012. [46]

Israelis favored Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney over Barack Obama in the 2012 United States presidential election by a 57 percent to 22 percent margin. [47]

Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire Democratic primary on February 9, 2016, by 22.4% of the vote (60.4% to Hillary Clinton's 38.0%). "Sanders, a self-identified democratic socialist, has repeatedly described himself as a secular Jew. . " (Barry Goldwater, the 1964 Republican presidential nominee, was the first winner of Jewish heritage, but was a Christian).

In the 2018 midterms, Jews were again the most Democratic group as designated by religious identity, with 79% voting for the Democrats while 17% voted for the Republicans. [48]

  1. ^ abHasia Diner, The Jews of the United States. 1654 to 2000 (2004), ch 5
  2. ^"". . Retrieved 2013-09-12 .
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  4. "Jewish Vote In Presidential Elections". American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise . Retrieved 2008-10-28 .
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  6. "Abba Hillel Silver". 2013-01-16. Archived from the original on 2012-08-04 . Retrieved 2013-09-12 .
  7. ^ Mark R. Levy and Michael S. Kramer, The Ethnic Factor (1973) p. 103
  8. ^ abcdef
  10. ^ .2004 exit polls at CNN
  11. ^OP-ED: Why Jews voted for Obama by Marc Stanley, Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), November 5, 2008 (retrieved on December 6, 2008).
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  13. "CNN Exit Poll". . Retrieved 2013-09-12 .
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  15. "About Barak Hussein Obama". What is USA News. 17 May 2013 . Retrieved 2012-11-22 .
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  17. ^
  18. "A Jewish guide to the 2020 presidential challengers". 2019-03-06.
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  20. F. Weisberg, Herbert (2012). "Reconsidering Jewish Presidential Voting Statistics". Contemporary Jewry. 32 (3): 215–236. doi:10.1007/s12397-012-9093-z.
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  22. "2006 exit polls at". . Retrieved 2013-09-12 .
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  24. "See Ynet News at". 1995-06-20 . Retrieved 2013-09-12 .
  25. ^What is the future for Republican Jews? by Eric Fingerhut, Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), November 25, 2008.
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  27. "Faith on the Hill, article on religion in 112th congress". 2011-01-05 . Retrieved 2013-09-12 .
  28. ^Jews Mostly Supported Slavery — Or Kept Silent — During Civil War The Jewish Daily Forward, 5 July 2013
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  30. "Joachim Prinz March on Washington Speech". . Retrieved 2013-09-12 .
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  32. "Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement - March on Washington". 1963-08-28 . Retrieved 2013-09-12 .
  33. ^ Staub (2004)
  34. ^ Roberta Strauss Feuerlicht. "The Fate of the Jews, A people torn between Israeli Power and Jewish Ethics". Times Books, 1983. 0-8129-1060-5
  35. ^ Danny Ben-Moshe, Zohar Segev, Israel, the Diaspora, and Jewish Identity, Published by Sussex Academic Press, 2007, 1-84519-189-7, Chapter 7, The Changing Identity of American Jews, Israel and the Peace Process, by Ofira Seliktar, p. 126 [2].

The 1993 Oslo Agreement made this split in the Jewish community official. Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin's handshake with Yasir Arafat during the 13 September White House ceremony elicited dramatically opposed reactions among American Jews. To the liberal universalists, the accord was highly welcome news. As one commentator put it, after a year of tension between Israel and the United States, "there was an audible sigh of relief from American and Jewish liberals. Once again, they could support Israel as good Jews, committed liberals, and loyal Americans." The community "could embrace the Jewish state, without compromising either its liberalism or its patriotism". Hidden deeper in this collective sense of relief was the hope that, following the peace with the Palestinians, Israel would transform itself into a Western-style liberal democracy, featuring a full separation between the state and religion. Not accidentally, many of the leading advocates of Oslo, including Yossi Beilin, the then-Deputy Foreign Minister, cherish the belief that a "normalized" Israel would become less Jewish and more democratic. However, to the hard-core Zionists - the Orthodox community and right-wing Jews - the peace treaty amounted to what some dubbed the "handshake earthquake". From the perspective of the Orthodox, Oslo was not just an affront to the sanctity of Eretz Yisrael, but also a personal threat to the Orthodox settlers - often kin or former congregants - in the West Bank and Gaza. For Jewish nationalists such as Morton Klein, the president of the Zionist organization of America, and Norman Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary, the peace treaty amounted to an appeasement of Palestinian terrorism. They and others repeatedly warned that the newly established Palestinian Authority (PA) would pose a serious security threat to Israel.</blockqoute>

Abandoning any pretense of unity, both segments began to develop separate advocacy and lobbying organizations. The liberal supporters of the Oslo Accord worked through Americans for Peace Now (APN), Israel Policy Forum (IPF), and other groups friendly to the Labour government in Israel. They tried to assure Congress that American Jewry was behind the Accord, and defended the efforts of the administration to help the fledgling Palestinian authority (PA), including promises of financial aid. In a battle for public opinion, IPF commissioned a number of polls showing widespread support for Oslo among the community.

Working on the other side of the fence, a host of Orthodox groups, such as ZOA, Americans For a Safe Israel (AFSI), and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), launched a major public opinion campaign against Oslo. On 10 October 1993, the opponents of the Palestinian-Israeli accord, organized at the American Leadership Conference for a Safe Israel, where they warned that Israel was prostrating itself before a "an armed thug", and predicted that the "thirteenth of September is a date that will live in infamy". Hard-core Zionists also criticized, often in harsh language, Prime Minister Rabin and Shimon Peres, his foreign minister and chief architect of the peace accord. With the community so strongly divided, AIPAC and the Presidents Conference, which was tasked with representing the national Jewish consensus, struggled to keep the increasingly shrill discourse civil. Reflecting these tensions, Abraham Foxman from the Jewish Anti-Defamation League was forced by the conference to apologize for bad mouthing ZOA's Klein. The Conference, which under its organizational guidelines was in charge of moderating communal discourse, reluctantly censured some Orthodox spokespeople for attacking Colette Avital, the labor-appointed Israel Council General in New York and an ardent supporter of the peace process.

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