With the presidential election campaign beginning to hit its stride come autumn, it might be time for the Orthodox Jewish community to put its money where its mouth is, as they say, and pitch in to support Mr. Trump’s reelection campaign financially.
I have heard from folks inside the White House that the president on occasion asks about his support in a community like ours, which is close to both the Jewish people and the State of Israel. President Trump is a New Yorker and has more than just a few Jewish community leaders in his inner circle. He might better understand the fact that despite his closeness to Israel and the Jewish community, a significant majority of American Jews are still going to vote for his Democratic opponent in 2020 no matter who that person is.
That might not make any sense to many, but that is how the U.S. electorate works, and that is the collective mindset of the diverse mosaic that is the American Jewish community.
How any American Jew who claims to be a supporter of Israel can vote for anyone other than Mr. Trump is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery. To effectively grasp this dynamic, you have to understand what it means to be a Jew and a supporter of Israel. It is not as simple as it would seem on the surface.
Bernie Sanders is Jewish and he claims, by virtue of his Jewishness, to be a natural and automatic supporter of Israel. That is all fine and good, but the reality is that if Sanders were a serious candidate for president he would be a terrible nightmare for Israel.
So Trump and his associates and reelection campaign operatives understand that there are many American Jews who share Senator Sanders’ ideas about what it means to be both a Jew and supporter of the Jewish state. And there are other prominent Jewish personalities who use their Jewishness in order to deceive and delude us into believing that they side with the cause of a secure Israel.
But that does not mean that those who are more religiously observant, politically conservative, or have a close familial connection to Israel are somehow off the hook. Take Yechezkel Moskowitz, who has been politically active at the highest level of government for decades.
Moskowitz, a grandson of Cherna and the late Irving Moskowitz, ob’m, says his family has donated several million dollars to the president’s 2020 reelection campaign. “President Trump has been truly phenomenal to the Jewish community as a president, specifically to the Five Towns. He nominated an ambassador from our community, he’s moved the capital of Israel to Jerusalem, and recognized Israeli control of the Golan Heights. He’s done so much for us, how can we not come out and show our admiration and appreciation for him and our ambassador?” Moskowitz said.
Moskowitz resides in the Five Towns with his wife and children. He has studied in our schools and his children attend our local yeshivas. His goal going forward is to raise a significant amount of money for the Trump reelection campaign.
“I believe that it will be a great kiddush Hashem if our community can raise that kind of money and the president spends an evening with us here in the Five Towns,” Yechezkel says. He is excited by the possibility of what he describes as a “presidential event” this fall with a room filled with yarmulkes and other obvious members of the frum community expressing support for Mr. Trump.
Moskowitz is a frequent visitor to Washington and is welcome in the White House and Congress. He advocates and advises lawmakers on issues important to the Five Towns community and Israel.
President Trump has been Israel’s best friend in the White House by a long stretch. We do not have to enumerate the details, which include moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and marginalizing the Palestinian Authority that has chosen to play nothing but a role as an obstacle to possible future and beneficial peace.
So where is the frum community when it comes to our obligation to stand up and demonstrate our support for the president as a matter of reciprocity and hakaras ha’tov? This is not your usual president. Donald Trump is a New Yorker who has done business with Orthodox Jews for decades. He understands and even appreciates the uniqueness of our community. Taking that into consideration, the president and those around him may be wondering what role we as a community will be playing in his reelection.
From the outside, the Five Towns is viewed by many as one communal unit, but the reality is that the Five Towns is a compilation of communities that more diverse than they were years ago. And indeed there is a range of opinion on the president. The details aside on those matters, his heart and mind are in the right place when it comes to his unmitigated and absolute support of Israel.
The Moskowitz family has played a vital role in the purchase of real estate and the development of institutions in parts of the Old City of Jerusalem, changing the face of Israel’s capital city in a dramatic fashion.
Yechezkel Moskowitz is involved in the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC). He says he is often asked about the Orthodox Jewish community’s support for President Trump. Considering that his family has already donated several million dollars to the reelection effort, he is viewed as somewhat of an expert on the subject.
“They know that Orthodox Jewish life is more costly than other lifestyles.” He added that he explains to leaders about yeshiva tuitions and support of shuls and other communal institutions which are a staple of observant Jewish life. However, he adds that the folks in Washington know that the resources exist within the community to demonstrate real and palpable support for President Trump’s reelection.
In the next two weeks, meetings are scheduled in the Five Towns to express our gratitude to the president with more than just declarations and words of support. We have a unique opportunity here and it is incumbent upon us to seize it.