I’m talking to my daughter’s preschool class about Passover tomorrow, and in preparation I’ve been looking for appropriate Youtube videos to show them. This one didn’t make the cut for the particular occasion, but it’s my favorite Passover Youtube video (and one of a series of very clever Passover videos from Aish.com). A must if you are a “Queen” fan.
Archive for the ‘Jewish Culture’ Category
My father, Yefim Somin, recently participated in a panel on memoirs of immigration at Cary Memorial Libary in Lexington, MA. The video is available here.
As my father mentioned in the talk, his account of his immigration experience is available in this recent book of Russian Jewish immigrant memoirs published by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. Other contributors include well-known novelist Gary Shteyngart and artist Marc Klionsky. I have an essay in in it as well. I blogged about an earlier version of it here.
For readers who may be interested, my father, Yefim Somin, will be speaking on his experience of immigration from the Soviet Union to the United States at Cary Memorial Library in Lexington, MA on February 28 at 7 PM. His talk will be part of a panel on the experiences of immigrants who have settled in Lexington. The other speakers will be Brandeis Professor Mitra Shavarini (Iran), and Weidong Wang (China). The address and other details of this event are available here.
My father’s account of his immigration experience is available in this recent book of Russian Jewish immigrant memoirs published by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which you can purchase either online or at the Cary event itself. Other contributors to the volume include well-known novelist Gary Shteyngart and artist Marc Klionsky. I have an essay in volume as well, an earlier version of which I blogged about here.
Copies of Prof. Shavarini’s memoir will also be on sale at the Cary Library event.
From the Times of Israel comes the inspiring story of Judy Feld Carr: “For nearly three decades, Feld Carr [a musicologist and mother of six] single-handedly arranged the smuggling of more than 3,000 Jews out of Damascus, Aleppo and Qamishli to safety in Israel and America.”
UPDATE: I wonder if this article might be exaggerating Feld-Carr’s role in saving Syrian Jewry somewhat, given that in 1992 several thousand Syrian Jews left with the permission of the Assad government, on the condition that they go to the U.S. and not Israel. This is not consistent with the article’s data stating that there were 4,600 Jews in Syria in the early 70s, and she rescued over 3,000 of them. Even if so, her story is a remarkable one.
Ha’aretz has the details. Reading this and other accounts of this and other studies, it now seems well-established that:
(1) The mainstream Ashkenazic and Mizrahi (“Eastern”) Jewish communities share a genetic heritage tracing back about 2,500 years.
(2) These communities maintained sufficient separation from the local non-Jewish populations that despite vast geographic distances, to this day they have greater genetic similarity with each other than with the non-Jewish population among whom they lived.
(3) The idea that Ashkenazic Jews are primarily descended from converted Khazars, most recently propounded by charlatan Shlomo Sand, is nonsense, and only continues to persist against all scientific evidence because it serves the ideological agendas of anti-Semites and anti-Zionists.
(4) Some isolated Jewish communities, like the Ethiopians, either never had, or eventually lost, their genetic connection to the rest of the Jewish people.
(5) Contrary to popular myth, the group that Jews most resemble genetically is not Palestinian Arabs, but the Druze. Geneticists, in fact, put Jews and Druze into one grouping, and Palestinians, Bedouin, and other Arab populations into another.
As I’ve said before, I don’t think such genetic studies bear any true relevance to modern political controversies (nor would they if they had different results)–since “peoplehood’ is purely a social construct anyway, I don’t see why it matters whether Palestinians or Jews “really” are peoples who have long dwelled in the Land of Israel/Palestine, or just think of themselves that way. The studies are nevertheless interesting on their own terms.
But there are those, like Sand, who spend a good deal of time and energy trying to prove the lack of common Jewish genetic heritage, promoting the Khazar myth, and so on, for political reasons, and go so far as to dismiss contrary genetic evidence as Zionist propaganda. To them, the classic response is appropriate: you’re entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.
Here’s a very interesting report from “The Solomon Project.” The main conclusion is that based on election year exit polls, Jewish support for Democrats and liberalism has remained pretty constant since 1972.
If one digs a bit deeper into the report, one learns that current trends suggest that the American Jewish electorate will grow less Democratic in the future. First, unlike the rest of the electorate young Jews
were less likely to vote for Obama in 2008 than were older Jews have been less likely to vote for Democratic presidential candidates over the least three elections. Indeed, about 75% Jews under 30 voted for Obama the Democrat (compared to about 85% of the over-60 crowd)* [by the way, this renders the premise behind Sarah Silverman's "Great Schlep" rather ridiculous, no? Maybe the alter kockers in Boca should be going up to Pennsylvania and Ohio to persuade their grandchildren to vote Democrat, rather than vice versa] , not that much higher than the 66% of the general under-30 electorate that voted for Obama (the study tabulates the last three elections together for age]. Second, more religiously observant Jews are significantly more likely to vote Republican and not identify themselves as liberals. A rapidly increasing proportion of the American Jewish population is religiously observant thanks to high birth rates among the Orthodox, low birth rates and intermarriage among the non-Orthodox, and the fact that the generation of at least nominally Orthodox Eastern European immigrants whose children were not Orthodox has almost entirely died out, so for likely the first time in American history Orthodoxy is concentrated among the young.
One other interesting data point I can draw from the study is that Orthodox Jews (and possibly other observant or “religious” Jews) are substantially underrepresented in exit polls, or at least recent exit polls, relative to the rest of the Jewish population. The 2004 results are based on interviews with over 1,500 Jews, and the 2008 results on interviews with over 1,000 Jews. Yet, the report notes that under 50 respondents each year said that they attend synagogue at least weekly.
The majority, I suspect a great majority, of Orthodox Jewish men attend synagogue weekly or more often (women are exempt from the requirement of public prayer but some attend anyway). Given that Orthodox Jews are 10-15% of the American Jewish adult population, and that some Reform, Conservative, and other Jews also attend synagogue weekly, you have to wonder about the accuracy of these samples in reflecting the American Jewish population–surely way more than 50 American Jews per 1,500 attend synagogue at least weekly.
UPDATE: The most recent statistics estimate that 14% of American Jews attend synagogue at least weekly, or at least 5 times the percentage reflected in 2004 exit polls, and at least 3 times the percentage reflected in 2008 exit polls. Given that religiously observant Jews are significantly more likely than their secular peers to vote Republican–indeed, the Solomon Project study cites other studies concluding that most Orthodox Jews vote Republican in presidential elections–it seems fair to assume that the exit polls overestimate the vote for Democrats by several percentage points.
Peter Beinart has written a scathing indictment of organized American Jewry’s “conservative” views on Israel. He claims that “right-wing” Israeli policies, combined with American Jewish groups’ unflinching support for Israel, are alienating young American Jews, and reducing their attachment to Israel.
Beinart’s essay has received a remarkable amount of attention, especially considering that its underlying premise is simply false.
The data didn’t support him then, and I pointed out that the data were even less likely to do so in the future, given Birthright and the Internet. (Beinart parlayed the fame achieved from his essay into a book that from all indications has been a commercial flop despite much publicity.)
Now a new study by eminent sociologist Steven Cohen, the same author whose data Beinart previously misinterpreted, finds, as reported in the Forward:
Young Jews are now more attached to Israel than the previous generation, almost reaching the level of interest of their elders, a new poll reveals.
While Jews 45 and older were rated as having a 40-44 level of attachment to Israel, those between 35 and 45 only scored a 24. Those under 35 got a 39 out of 100, according to the poll carried out by the Workmen’s Circle.
The poll looked only at Jews who are not Orthodox and do not attend Jewish day school, thus reflecting the broader Jewish population and particularly the segment of the population that attends such programs as Birthright. It is these trips to Israel, and not a connection to Jewish life, which are being credited with the recent increase is Israel interest.
Given (a) that the older generation has always been more attached to Israel (b) the systematic anti-Israel campaign conducted on America’s campuses in the last decade and (c) predictions of doom like Beinart’s, this is intriguing news indeed. Moreover, given that an increasing percentage of America’s Jewish population is Orthodox, the data in question actually underestimates the relative attachment of young American Jews to Israel.
As I suggested two years ago, Beinart’s mistaken views on this reflected “the professional liberal Jewish intellectual elite–bloggers like Glenn Greenwald, Matthew Yglesias and Ezra Klein, journalists like Joe Klein and Beinart himself, sundry New York Review of Book essayists like Tony Judt,” and not mainstream Jewish opinion. This, of course, has nothing to do with whether Beinart is right in his substantive negative views about Israeli policy. But one would hope that he’ll take the opportunity to acknowledge that the premise that won him so much attention, that young Jews are increasingly alienated from Israel, was wrong at the time given the existing data, and that even more evidence of its wrongness has now been collected.
UPDATE: As I wrote in the comments section of a previous post:
What Beinart is really mourning is the death of American left-wing Zionist activism among the young, but even in its heyday this never had the loyalty of more than a small fraction of the Jewish community, including a rather small fraction of its core constituency of left-wing secular Jews, who were far more likely (like my maternal grandfather’s family) to be involved in Communism, socialism, labor activism, etc., and often quite hostile to Zionism.
As sociologist Cohen would predict, this part of my family produced only a very few Jewish descendants within a couple of generations [and some of those Jewish descendants, like me, are not left-wing], so just from a purely demographic point of view the core constituency from which American labor/left Zionism grew has largely died out, while the Modern Orthodox constituency for “right-wing” Zionism has grown tremendously. And for the part of the former leftist constituency that still exists, hostility to Israel is now such a core position on the far left that it’s hardly surprising that few secular Jewish leftists are willing to buck their peers and be accused of being “PEP” [Progressive Except Palestine], even if they were so inclined.
A new study of the American Jewish population in the New York metro area contains this stunning statistic: sixty-one percent of all Jewish children in the area live in Orthodox households.
This is a remarkable statistic. It’s probably NEVER been the case in American history that such a high percentage of young Jews in New York identified as Orthodox. Contrary to popular myth, a significant percentage of the Jews who immigrated to the U.S. from Europe had already abandoned religious orthodoxy before they arrived. It was rebellious young people who were most likely to leave their family for what the pious called the “treife medinah” (unkosher land). Another significant group abandoned religious orthodoxy soon after they arrived in America, though many kept vestiges of religious observance such as kashrut out of cultural habit (my maternal grandparents never went to synagogue and were atheists, but they only bought kosher food), leading their descendants to remember them as more “religious” than they really were.
Meanwhile, the same study reports that among non-Orthodox Jews the intermarriage rate in the New York area, which in the past was a stronghold of endogamy, is around fifty percent.
New York is the center of American orthodoxy, but given that New York area Jews comprise approximately 25% of the total American Jewish population, and Orthodox Judaism is growing elsewhere in the U.S. as well, the short-term implications (it’s a fools errand to try to predict long-term demographic trends) seem pretty clear. “Identified” American Jews (as opposed to “Americans with Jewish ancestry”) are going to become an increasingly Orthodox group. Orthodox Jews are significantly more “right-wing” (but are probably actually less “libertarian”), especially on cultural issues, than are other Jews, are, as a rule, far more closely attached to Israel, and, especially outside modern Orthodox circles, have a very high poverty rate–a result of an educational system that focuses on Talmud and subcultures that often discourage secular higher education.
For what it’s worth, I’ve noticed that modern Orthodox Jews, who pursue secular education as vigorously as anyone and don’t share the haredi (ultra-orthodox) preference for insularity, have become increasingly visible in the Federalist Society.
Also, the relevant study show that half of New York area Jews between ages 18 and 34 have attended Jewish day school at some point. The figure is undoubtedly higher among the younger cohort, given the Orthodox commitment to day schools. American Jewish organizations have traditionally been among the strongest supporters of public schools, and the strongest opponents of any sort of public funding of religious schools. That will almost certainly change.
An interesting article by Steve Horwitz, written for laypeople, on the Schechter Poultry case.
The New York Times has an interesting article on the political attitudes of New York City’s Russian immigrant community. Unlike most New Yorkers and especially most New York Jews (the Russian immigrant community is overwhelmingly Jewish), they tend to support the GOP over the Democrats:
To many Russian and Ukrainian immigrants, the cornucopia in the shops along Brighton Beach Avenue — pyramids of oranges, heaps of Kirby cucumbers, bushels of tomatoes with their vines still attached and a variety of fish, sausages and pastries — seems like an exuberant rebuke of the meager produce that was available to them when they lived in the Soviet Union.
This contrast helps explain a striking political anomaly: immigrants from the former Soviet Union are far more apt to vote for Republicans than are most New Yorkers, who often drink in Democratic Party allegiance with their mothers’ milk and are four times as likely to register as Democrats than as Republicans....
One reason these voters tend to support Republicans is that they see them as more ardent warriors against the kind of big-government, business-stifling programs that soured their lives in the Soviet Union. Their conservative stances on issues like taxes and Israel seem to outweigh their more liberal views on social issues like abortion.
Tatiana Varzar came to the United States in 1979, at age 21, from the Ukrainian seaport of Odessa. She worked as a manicurist and then opened a small restaurant on the boardwalk that grew into Tatiana Restaurant, a spacious magnet for foodies who like a whiff of salt air and a sea view with their pirogen.....
“I am what I am because of capitalism,” Ms. Varzar said, “and Republicans are more capitalistic.”
Obviously, this article is not the first to point out the stark contrast between Russian Jewish political attitudes and those of most native-born Jews. I blogged about the phenomenon here, here, and here, including links to previous commentary on the issue by others.
The Times article does, however, provide a good summary of the major reasons why Russian Jewish voters support the GOP: a combination of a preference for free markets and a relatively hawkish foreign policy. The Times is also correct to point out that Russian Jewish immigrants tend to vote for the GOP despite the fact that most of them are socially liberal (they tend to be highly secular, pro-choice, and generally left of center on most social issues, with the important exception of gay rights, where many immigrants brought with them the homophobia that is rampant in Russia itself). For most Russian immigrants, social issues are not as salient as economics and foreign policy. In many of these respects, as the Times notes, Russian immigrants’ political preferences are similar to those of immigrants from other communist and former communist nations, such as Cuba and Vietnam.
Obviously, as with voters from other groups, Russian immigrants’ attitudes are affected by political ignorance. Many may be unaware of the massive extent to which the GOP has sometimes deviated from support for free markets, especially in the Bush years. At least in my experience, many of them also overestimate the dovishness of the Democratic Party (though I hasten to add that I haven’t seen scientific polling data on this). That said, there is little doubt that, at least in New York – which has one of the most economically liberal Democratic parties in the nation – the GOP is significantly less economically statist than the Democrats.
Because New York is so overwhelmingly Democratic, the GOP leanings of Russian voters make little difference in statewide elections. They do, however, as the Times points out, sometimes make the difference in local and congressional races, which are more closely contested.
For now, the political clout of the Russian Jewish community is severely limited by its small numbers and by its concentration in areas (Boston, New York, Silicon Valley) that are overwhelmingly Democratic. Most Russian immigrants also lack the wealth and political connections that are more common among native-born Jews (though there are some striking exceptions, such as Google founder Sergey Brin). However, as Russian Jews continue to grow as a proportion of the total Jewish population and continue to increase their income and influence, they could have an effect on internal Jewish community politics. There are now some 700,000 Russian Jewish immigrants in the US, about 12% of the total Jewish population. And that percentage may well grow, if only because Russian immigration is continuing (though at a reduced rate), while the native-born Jewish population has a low birth rate.
Russian Jews have also begun to have an impact in the academic and intellectual worlds. Harvard economist Andrei Shleifer and the VC’s own Eugene Volokh are among the best known of a growing contingent of Russian Jewish immigrant academics who have had a significant impact on their fields. In sharp contrast to most other academics, Russian immigrant scholars in the humanities and social sciences are overwhelmingly conservative or libertarian (more commonly the latter), perhaps to an even greater extent than the community as a whole.
UPDATE: I suppose I should add that I do not mean to suggest that most Russian Jewish immigrants are consistent economic libertarians. Very few voters are rigorously consistent adherents to any ideology, and Russian Jews are no exception. They are, however, on average more sympathetic to free markets than the average voter – especially in liberal areas such as New York City.
UPDATE #2: Neither the article nor I distinguish rigorously between former Soviet Jews from Ukraine and those from Russia, although obviously these are now two different countries, and Ukrainian nationalists are not fond of Russia. Most Ukrainian Jewish immigrants are Russian-speakers and identify far more with Russian language and culture than Ukrainian. However, it’s worth noting that non-Jewish Ukrainian immigrants (like my wife’s mother’s family) who arrived since the rise of communism also tend towards the political right.
The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society has just published a book of thirty immigration memoirs by Soviet Jewish immigrants, which is available for sale here. My father, Yefim Somin, and I are among the contributors. There are also several well-known contributors such as novelist Gary Shteyngart and artist Marc Klionsky.
I blogged about my contribution here.
This Sunday from 3 to 5 PM, I will be at an event sponsored by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in New York City, for the launch of a book of memoirs of immigration by Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union.
The book includes contributions by thirty different immigrants, including a short version of my own immigration memoir. Among the speakers at the event are several authors of chapters in the book, and Gal Beckerman, author of an important recent work on Jewish emigration from the USSR that I commented on here. The location is the Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16 Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues) New York, NY 10011. You can get tickets at the door or here.
Eric Alterman has a bizarre column in The Nation on billionaire Gingrich-backer Sheldon Adelson. The column purports to be a celebration of the fact that “no one” is using a combination of Adelson’s Jewishness, money, somewhat shady reputation, and hawkishly pro-Israel views for anti-Semitic purposes. The column, however
, really seems to be starts off with what reads like a passive-aggressive attempt by Alterman to goad his readers into loathing Adelson precisely for being a rich, somewhat shady, Jewish businessman with hawkishly pro-Israel views [while concluding that the absence of anti-Semitic attacks on Adelson shows is evidence of the "near-complete disappearance" of anti-Semitism. I think it would help if I quoted the very first line of the column: "If a Jew-hater somewhere, inspired perhaps by The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, sought to invent an individual who symbolizes almost all the anti-Semitic clichés that have dogged the Jewish people throughout history, he could hardly come up with a character more perfect than Sheldon Adelson."].
The disingenuousness of the column became obvious when I reached this line: “Nobody has noted—at least not in public—that [Adelson's] agenda happens to be the one to which Jews accused of ‘dual loyalty’ or of being ‘Israel-firsters’ are alleged to have dedicated themselves.”
Even though I (unlike, I think it’s safe too assume, Alterman) don’t regularly frequent websites that traffic in attacking people for being hawkishly pro-Israel (much less for being rich or Jewish), I’ve seen plenty of attacks on Adelson on precisely the grounds that Alterman claims “nobody” is mentioning. As confirmation, a Google search for Adelson Gingrich Israel-firster brings up 527 pages [and checking the first dozen-plus, it's all attacks on Adelson of the sort "nobody" is making, including one in Time magazine]; assumedly there are a lot more of a similar ilk that don’t use the relatively obscure “Israel-firster” language.
UPDATE: Alterman is not, of course, making the blatantly anti-Semitic suggestion that Nation readers should loathe Adelson because he’s a Jew. Rather, he’s suggesting that Adelson is the kind of Jew Nation readers should loathe. It’s perhaps akin to when Clarence Thomas’s critics accuse him of being an “Uncle Tom” or use similar race-tinged insults; they’re not arguing that one should loathe Thomas because he’s Black, but because of the kind of Black he is. It’s certainly not KKK-style racism, and indeed those who engage in such slurs typically think of themselves as champions of anti-racism (as I’m sure Alterman, as an observant Jew, does with regard to anti-Semitism) but it’s ugly nevertheless.
FURTHER UPDATE: I’m not completely content with the “Uncle Tom” analogy, which is more like a Jew calling a fellow Jew “self-hating” (which is also ugly rhetoric).
A more precise analogy to Alterman’s column is suggested by a commentor: A conservative black columnist writes a column about a shady, black hip-hop artist/producer giving tons of money to a liberal presidential candidate, purportedly to promote an agenda of affirmative action. The columnist suggests that that the producer’s flaws are of exactly the type that racists traditionally associate with black people, which he then enumerates. The columnist adds that he is “thrilled” that criticism of the rapper never invokes racist themes–even though, in fact, such criticism sometimes invoked the very themes the columnist suggested would be signs of racism, generally among the columnist’s own ideological bedfellows–and suggests that racism has nearly disappeared, and groups like the NAACP should stop raising it in debates on the subject.
Of course, racism is more prevalent and more virulent in the U.S. than is anti-Semitism, but the point is that sheer disingenuousness of a column criticizing a controversial black person in racial (albeit not racist) terms, as the embodiment of the worst stereotypes racists have about Blacks, and then editorializing that thank god my ideological allies and others aren’t criticizing this person in those terms–even though sometimes they are!–and that this shows that racism is just a left-wing bogeyman that groups like the NAACP should stop invoking, would be obvious.
Tags: Eric Alterman
Greenwald has another post on the “Israel Firster” controversy. It’s easy to miss this in Greenwald’s typical avalanche of verbiage, but he (finally) acknowledges that the term was originally coined by anti-Semites, and is “gratuitously inflammatory.” He analogizes it to using the word “fascist” to describe contemporary politics or making comparisons to Nazis.
This, however, is just a side point in a screed that among other things takes to task Jeffrey Goldberg and others for “smears.” The accusation that Goldberg is accusing Greenwald and others of being anti-Semitic and anti-Israel as a way of attempting to silence them. Goldberg can speak for himself, as he has previously in response to Greenwald. [UPDATE: VC Commentor Eyeysay notes that Greenwald was far from precise in characterizing Goldberg's comments.]
But what I find remarkable is that in a post devoted to “smears,” “silencing,” “trite attacks,” and the misuse of language for political purposes, Greenwald refers to Goldberg as a “neocon,” even though, to my knowledge, Goldberg’s political views are centrist leaning a bit to the left, and Goldberg has no obvious associations with the Commentary crowd or other centers of neocon thought.
More within my direct sphere of knowledge, Greenwald links to one of my posts while putting me in the category of “neocons like Goldberg.” I’ve written about neoconservatism a fair amount, and when I’ve provided a normative opinion, I am always very critical (for example, here and here; there are other examples, but the VC’s move to a new host seems to have ruined the links, at least for now.)
Really, the only relevant things Jeffrey Goldberg and I–a moderate and a libertarian, respectively–have in common, and therefore the only reason to refer to us as “neocons,” is that we are both Jews who are far more favorably inclined toward Israel than is Greenwald.
Most of Greenwald’s readers undoubtedly have no real clue as to what neoconservatism is, beyond that it is associated somehow with conservatism, with Israel, the war in Iraq, and with Jews, and, from their left-wing Salonish perspective, is somewhat sinister. Assumedly, however, Greenwald knows better, and is simply using “neocon” as a slur, a way of relying on his readers’ prejudices against anything associated with the word “neocon” to discredit his intellectual adversaries, in exactly the same way he claims that the “neocons” are using slurs to discredit him and his allies. In fact, the only reason to associate “neocons” exclusively with Jews and Israel is to try to silence the other side with a slur.
So, if Greenwald wants to have an honest, intelligent debate on Israel and related matters, he can start by acknowledging that neither Goldberg nor I are “neocons,” apologize for suggesting otherwise, and promise to blog more responsibly in the future.
In this recent column, conservative writer David Frum points out that Margaret Thatcher represented a heavily Jewish constituency, had numerous Jewish advisers and cabinet members, and won the Jewish vote in her electoral campaigns as leader of the Conservative Party.
These are not new revelations. As I pointed out in this post, which cites Thatcher’s success with British Jews along with other examples, the US pattern of Jewish voters overwhelmingly supporting the political left is unusual relative to other English-speaking democracies. In Britain, Canada, and Australia, Jews either disproportionately vote for right of center parties or at least do so at roughly the same rate as the gentile population. Some of the conservative politicians supported by Jews in these countries are not as far to the right on economic and foreign policy issues as the US Republican Party. But that certainly wasn’t true of Thatcher, or some of the others. These patterns undermine claims that there is some sort of general Jewish affinity for the left. Even in the United States, Russian immigrant Jews (about 12% of the Jewish population), vote overwhelmingly Republican.
As I explained in this series of posts, native-born American Jews’ unusual voting patterns are in large part the result of the link between the Republicans and the Religious Right, which many Jews see as anti-Semitic, and as seeking to establish Christianity as a quasi-official religion. Many Jews also dislike that movement’s extreme social conservatism. Jewish opinion doesn’t differ much from the national average on economic policy, but Jews are much more socially liberal than gentiles. Conservative parties elsewhere in the English-speaking world have fewer Religious Right connections than the Republicans and are less socially conservative than they are.
Absent the Religious Right, American Jews would not suddenly all become loyal Republicans. But they would probably divide their votes between the parties much more evenly than is the case today.
UPDATE: As I noted in my very first post on the subject, I am well aware that Jews disproportionately voted Democratic even before the rise of the Religious Right. But that does not explain why they continue to be overwhelmingly Democratic today, even as many other groups that were part of the New Deal Democratic coalition have become much more evenly divided:
I should note that in my view the Religious Right factor is what explains the overwhelming dominance of liberalism among American Jews today. It does not explain their support for the Democratic Party in earlier periods (e.g. – from the 1930s to the 1950s), when the political situation was very different and Jews themselves were much poorer then they became later. Many other groups were overwhelmingly Democratic at the high point of the New Deal coalition (e.g. – Catholics, “white ethnics,” etc.) but became far less so as they became more affluent and the political landscape changed. Strikingly, the Jews did not change similarly, and I believe that the Religious Right factor is a crucial reason why they didn’t.