Mar 7 2016
Even among the early expansive field of Republican presidential candidates, Donald Trump has always been the most closely connected to the Jewish people.
Naturally, this won’t make a bit of difference to leftist/liberal Jews, about 70% of the Jewish population in America, many of whom are not supporters of Israel either.
Forward Trump is from New York, works in professions saturated with Jews and long has been a vocal supporter of Israel. His daughter and two grandchildren are Jewish, the executive vice president of his organization is Jewish — and Trump certainly has chutzpah.
Given his myriad Jewish associations, Trump is not an unfamiliar face in Jewish circles. He has served as a grand marshal at New York’s annual Salute to Israel Parade. After Hurricane Katrina, he was among a group of celebrities who decorated Jewish federation tzedakah boxes to be auctioned off to support hurricane disaster relief. And in February, he was honored with an award at the annual gala for the Algemeiner, a Jewish news organization.
Before the 2013 Israeli election, Trump recorded a video message endorsing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. What’s more, Trump has made clear he believes President Barack Obama is bad for Israel and has questioned how American Jews could support the president.
Trump’s closest Jewish association is with his daughter Ivanka’s family. Ivanka Trump, a fashion designer and celebrity in her own right, converted to Judaism before marrying Jared Kushner, the son of New York Jewish real estate developer Charles Kushner. She studied for her Orthodox conversion with Rabbi Haskel Lookstein of Manhattan’s Kehilath Jeshurun synagogue and the Ramaz School, and Lookstein officiated at her wedding. Trump and Kushner are members of Lookstein’s Orthodox synagogue and are Shabbat observant. They have two children with a third on the way.