Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bernard Avishai on Obama's Jews in Harper's

Obama's Jews—By Bernard Avishai (Harper's Magazine)

"Obama’s campaign is an implicit opportunity for a new leadership to emerge, a contemporary equivalent of Rabbi Heschel locking arms with Dr. King. The campaign has given the Jewish majority a new way to focus their political energies, which looks much like their former way—organized work toward a tolerant commonwealth. Today, over 35 percent of Jews earn more than $100,000; at least 40 percent contribute to political campaigns, amounting to a staggering one fifth of Democratic donors. Not coincidentally, the Obama campaign has sponsored a dozen Jewish outreach committees in major cities. Obama’s agenda, interracial symbolism, grass-roots organization, and vast fund-raising network have all the trappings of a movement. The new movement, like the old one, stands for integration—not just in American society but on a global scale. Who if not American Jews have had that dream?"

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