Who needs Robo-Calls when you have Rabbi-Calls? I guess people who don't have a bunch of rabbis from across denominations sitting at a phone bank calling undecided Jewish voters. In other words, not the Obama campaign.According to an email from the Obama campaign's Jewish Outreach program (firstname.lastname@example.org), 20+ rabbis gathered in New York City (real America!) to make calls to Pennsylvania for getting out the vote — a special subset of the campaign's "Neighbor to Neighbor" Jewish Peer-to-Peer calling drive that has pinged undecideds in battleground states like PA, Virginia, Colorado, Ohio and — yes — Florida in an effort to convince waffling Jews that Barack Obama is their friend, despite the various mailings, calls and viral emails they've received. Here's what Rabbi Adam Mintz, Orthodox rabbi and fomer president of the New York Board of Rabbis, had to say about it, per the email:
"This morning I had the privilege of participating in a Rabbi's Phone-Bank on behalf of Senator Obama. Over twenty rabbis from all the different denominations gathered together in the spirit of unity to volunteer for Barack Obama's campaign. As we sat around the dining room table and in various locations throughout a magnificent apartment overlooking Central Park, we laughed and shared experiences from our many phone calls. Personally, I was very encouraged by the enthusiasm that was expressed by the people whom we called. Many were not only voting for Senator Obama; ...some volunteered for the campaign to assist in last minute efforts to get out the vote. ...Finally, and most exciting for our group of Rabbis, was the appreciation that many people expressed for the fact that Rabbis had taken time out of our busy schedules to volunteer for Senator Obama. If we could do it so could they! I'm already looking for my next phonebank to attend."
Apartment overlooking Central Park? Obviously the home of some East-Coast liberal elite.
But seriously — try the veal! — this post was not just an excuse to make that Robo-Call/Rabbi-Call joke, although mostly it was. It's yet another indication of how on the ball the Obama campaign is about reaching out to its constituencies, and continuously tailoring those outreach programs for maximum effectiveness. I will say that as someone with some level of immersion in American Jewry (even though I'm Canadian), I have heard plenty of "Jews for Obama" campaigns and programs, but I have heard very little about anything coming out of the McCain campaign (there are both a "Jews For Obama" and "Jews For McCain" on blogspot.com, though).
Of particular note is that these calls and continued outreach have been going on just as this kerfuffle over Rashid Khalidi is starting to swirl. It's nice to see that recent fearmongering about the scary Palestinian has not affected that support. It's also especially telling, and indicates that such support is based in a strong, sturdy base.
Who knows if the Rabbi-Calls will help much — never mind in Pennsylvania, but there's still Florida, Florida, Florida (as Tim Russert would say). We'll all know by the end of the day next Tuesday (or, one hopes, by sometime on Wednesday), but in these final few days it once again shows how organized and disciplined the Obama team is — and shows that they're not taking any chances.