Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Jewish Voters and Barack Obama

From the Times letter column
Published: May 27, 2008

To the Editor:

Obama Asks Jewish Voters to Judge Him on His Policies (May 23, 2008) Re “As Obama Heads to Florida, Many of Its Jews Have Doubts” (front page, May 22):

As a 60-plus Jewish resident of Boca Raton, Fla., who is deeply committed to Israel, I refuse to be identified and pigeonholed with all the people who fit my demographic profile and whom you quoted in your article about Jewish voters in Florida.

Contrary to what your readers might gather from your article, we are not a homogeneous bloc. This presidential campaign has been exciting and has energized so many people, not only because we are fed up with the mess created by the Bush administration, but also because it has shown that intelligence and leadership ability transcend race and gender.

It is high time that the media stop contributing to all the negative stereotypes. There are so many of us who care profoundly about Israel and just as much about America. We want to see the United States restored to a position of leadership and respect worldwide.

Myriam Weinstein
Boca Raton, Fla., May 22, 2008

To the Editor:

The distinction between older Jews and younger Jews, in terms of their views of Barack Obama, tells only half of the story.

As a 55-year-old Jewish woman, I support Mr. Obama, and have given little thought to his race (or Hillary Rodham Clinton’s gender). The fact is that baby boomer Jews — and younger — have had a great deal of experience working with and socializing with African-American professionals, an experience that older Jews may not have shared.

Truth be told, many of us baby boomers do not notice race or gender — what we notice is class. We are comfortable with Mr. Obama because he went to good schools, because he is an intellectual, because, despite humble beginnings, like many Jews of our generation, he is now part of the professional class, living the American Dream, sending his children to the best schools, camp, lessons and so on.

In this important way, we recognize him — he is like us. Does that mean that we all support him? Not necessarily, but if not, it is not because of his race.

Ellyn S. Roth
New York, May 22, 2008

To the Editor:

The community of older Jewish voters who were alive during World War II should understand better than any other group of voters the danger of choosing leaders based on ethnic origin and skin color, instead of the qualifications and policies of the candidates.

Noel E. Hanf
Guilford, Conn., May 22, 2008

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