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December 19, 2003     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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December 19, 2003

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PAGE 14 HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 19, 20~ Haydee's Kitchen Catering Kosher & Non-Kosher Telefax 407-344-0270 Cellular 407-301-0127 email Winter Park Farmers Market Saturdays 7 to 1 HANDYMAN SERVICE Handy man and General Maintenance Air Conditioning Electrical Plumbing Carpentry Formerly handled maintenance at JCC References available- STEVE'S SERVICES Call Steve Doyle at (386) 668-8960 rituals APOTHECARY salon Full Service Salon & Beauty Supply Mention this ad to receive 10% off uour in-store purchase! 221 W. Fairbanks Ave Winter Park 407.539.1785 By Matthew E. Berger MANCHESTER, N.H. (JTA)--In an empty room where a small party for the New Hampshire Civil Liber- ties Union is about to be held, Hilda Fleisher stands out. It may be her bright pink turtleneck sweater, or the fact that the 72-year-old is wear- ing braces on her lower teeth. Or it may be the small pin that reads "Dean for America" on the collar of her fleece vest. When asked why she is sup- porting Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor, Fleisher's remark stands out, too. "I just sorta oozed into it," she says. Fleisher, a lawyer and art collector in Manchester, says she did not choose to support Dean because he spent a night at her house, although he did. "He cleaned the bathroom," Fleisher recalls of her houseguest. "He made his bed." The reason she chose Dean, the front-runner in New Hampshire polls, is because she thinks he can defeat Presi- dent Bush next year, and that's her top priority. Tough words from a former Republican. New Hampshire Jews look very different in real life than they do on paper. While the Jewish community of New Hampshire makes up propor- tionately one of the largest Jewish factions of registered Republicans in the country, the Jews here actually tend to vote Democratic in national races. And this trend appears likely to intensify this election sea- Your Landscaping Maintenance Source mauricelawncare @ hot Art Jewelry Judaica Contemporary Crafts son. There is a large number of Jews herewho, like Fieisher, are frustrated with President Bush and are seeking new lead- ership. People in this state under- stand the influence they have over the national agenda by hosting the country's first pri- mary, which this election sea- son is set for Jan. 27, 2004. Like their non-Jewish neighbors, many Jews here reach out to the candidates, inviting them to forums and seeking face time with them in order to lend their support and boost their voting num- bers. Many of them remain unde- cided, uninterested in the nine Democratic hopefuls who make frequent stops to their schools, synagogues, shopping centers and neighbors' homes, even as they express a strong desire to replace Bush. The only Democratic can- didate who seems to have sparked any interest among Jews here is Dean. That's in keepingwith polls of voters up and down the state. According to the latest state polls, conducted last month by the American Research Group, Dean has 38 percent support in New Hampshire, with Sen. John Kerry (D- Mass.) secondwith 17 percent. No other candidate breaks double digits. Twenty-one per- cent of those surveyed said they were undecided. Many in the Jewish com- munity here say that Jews do not vote as a bloc and do not participate in campaign events and forums specifically as members of the Jewish com- munity. Instead, they say, the Jews here, numbering 10,000, less than 1 percent of the state's total population of 1.2 mil- lion, are committed to their role as voters in the nation's first primary. For many, the first step will be changing their registration. David Stahl, a Manchester political observer who has been active in the Jewish commu- nity, says Jews in New Hamp- shire traditionally have regis- tered as Republicans in order to have greater influence on elections for state and national offices. "Obviously, Jews have al- ways tried to be close to seats of power," says Stahl, drink- ing coffee in a small pizza shop in Manchester, as campaign ads flickered on the television over his shoulder. "The voting habits are largely Democratic, the regis- trations are largely Republi- can." Stahl, 77, changed his own registration last month to independent so he could participate in the Democratic primary. In New Hampshire, registered independents can vote in either primary. It was only the second time in his life that he had moved from the Republican Party. The firstwas to support a friend running for the Democratic nomination for an open seat in the House of Representa- tives. Still, there are some Repub- licans who intend to stickwith their party. Mark Gilman, president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Manchester, describes his politics onthe Middle East as "somewhere to the right of Ariel Sharon." He says that he is seeing more young New Hampshire Jews embrace the photo b~ Hilda Fleisher, right, talks to New Hampshire Civil Lieberties Union. Fleisher, a support# of former Vermont governor of Howard Dean, used to be Republican. photo by Matthew E Leaders of Dartmouth University's AIPAC Adam Michaelson, Ilya Feoktistov Tarmy, working to register pro-Israel students so the~ New Hampshire Democratic primary. Republican Party and Bush's stance on Israel. "A lot of my social peers applaud his guts to try and do what he's doing," said Gilman, 44. He said these younger, more conservative Jews may be less known to the community be- cause they are likely trans- plants who came to New Hampshire in recent years because of the growth of the technology industry, and many of them are unaffiliated with a synagogue and may have intermarried. Gilman said many of the Jewish Democrats backing candidates either are ambiva- lent on Israel or believe their candidate will take a more pro- Israel stand later on in the campaign season. But not all Israel support- ers are voting Republican. Up north in Hanover, home of Dartmouth University, lead- ers of the Dartmouth Israel Public Awareness Committee are working to register stu- dents in New Hampshire to elect a Democratic nominee who is pro-Israel. They will hold a voter regis- tration drive Jan. 7 so that students from other states can become New Hampshire citi- zens and vote. Adam Michaelson, a sopho- more from Oceanside, N.Y and his peers say that the in- terest in politics on campus has multiplied exponentially in this primary season, and that their campus group is working to collaborate with supporters of various cam- paigns to encourage a pro-Is- rael message. "The campaigns have helped the pro-Israel cause," he says, sitting in a small classroom inside Dartmouth's student center. "It's an issue cam- paigns have to talk about and those individuals in campaigns have to be knowledgeable on." Michaelson and other leaders of the Israel campus group are supporting Dean. They say that his Middle East policy is im- portant, but not the deciding factor. "It's a requirement that they have a good stance on Israel, but most of them do, so the other stuff makes the differ ence," says Henry Tarmy, sophomore from Putney, At Temple Adath YeshurU in Manchester, Robert Fei , a physician from nearby Bedford, waits for his child to be let out of Hebrew school. His criteria for a Democratic candidate is simple: the mai thing is it's not Bush. "The Democrats could nominate Bozo the ClownJt and they probably will--andl! will vote for him," Feins say I Another parent, Susan] Grodman, who is a consultad| in Manchester, says many i are praising Bush s pro-IsraelI sentiments, but that the presi'] dent stands for the ODDOsitq of everything else I belie" v'e in,'[ Still, she says, None of thq Democratic candidates haffl jumped out at me ,as one 11 want to vote for. MarC1! Donham, a 30-year-old moth i of two in Bedford, saysI didn't even know that Sea'] Joseph Lieberman (D-Contl.d'l was on the ballot. But wh l she learned, she says, go for the Jewish person." ] think there should be a Jewi ' ! , person, Donham says as h ] child played, on the floor in i synagogue s foyer. "Thetq never has been, and I thinkil vould be a wonderful thing t0| have someone of our faith president." But Bob Shane,'l c;7:u shire, concedes that Donha I is a rarity. ,(I Shane says that I Lieberman were against war in Iraq, Jews "would 100 percent behind him." 13011 his support of the war has | his support among Jews in ! Northeast. ] Shane agrees with the co! ] sensus that many in the lqe ! Hampshire Jewish commuOZL | are backing Dean i ,ft Fleisher says she s supPO .1 ing Dean, mostly because ] doesn't like Kerry and is r0 '] at Lieberman. ! "He brought religion it," she says of Lieberman.' hll~ and state and her is one our own