FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 19, 2019

CONTACT: Daria Carmon, 


 NEW YORK CITY – The Jewish Vote, a grassroots progressive Jewish organization, is proud to be the first major Jewish organization to endorse the inspiring candidacy of Jamaal Bowman, who is challenging Rep. Elliot Engel in NY-16. The Jewish Vote was founded in 2018 as the sister organization to Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, the largest participatory grassroots Jewish organization in New York State.

“Upon the recommendation of our members in the Bronx and Westchester, we’re proud to endorse Jamaal Bowman because this district deserves a Democrat who reflects the realities and values of the district. Jamaal sees clearly the crisis, in this district and beyond, of underfunded and unequal schools and healthcare, militarized borders and streets,” said Audrey Sasson, Executive Director of The Jewish Vote. “NY-16 is a district with segregated schools, a racist criminal legal system, immigrants fearful of ICE raids, residents suffering from inadequate health insurance, tenants facing displacement, and children who see a future defined by climate-driven crises. That’s why Jewish residents are joining with our neighbors – in the streets and in the voting booth – in demanding healthcare for all, real action to confront climate change, and an end to deportations, detention and mass incarceration. This district deserves a Democrat who represents our progressive values. Together, we’re transforming New York State and Washington to make a progressive future possible.

Jamaal Bowman has been an educator and an advocate for public schools for over 20 years. He founded a public middle school in the Bronx, the Cornerstone Academy for Social Action (CASA), and serves as its principal. As an educator and public school principal, Jamaal serves children and families who struggle every day with issues that our politicians haven’t had the courage to solve. He’s seen firsthand how neglected communities are being locked out of opportunity by a system that benefits wealthy campaign donors and large corporations every step of the way.

“I am grateful to be endorsed by The Jewish Vote, who have done such important work in our district to expand health care, fight for tenants, and defeat the rogue IDC,” says Jamaal Bowman. “While Trump wants to divide and conquer America, this campaign is going to be about bringing people together across our beautiful differences and fighting for a common purpose. I am incredibly proud to work with The Jewish Vote to take on anti-Semitism, racism, and corporate greed by creating a Democratic Party that reflects our communities and fights back.”

The Jewish Vote played a decisive role in Alessandra Biaggi’s defeat of State Senator Jeff Klein in 2018 by organizing Jewish progressive residents in Riverdale who were high propensity primary voters. It will mobilize this key voter base as part of the broader coalition it will take for Bowman to win. To support Bowman’s candidacy The Jewish Vote will organize weekly canvasses and phone banks, produce and distribute creative social media content, and outreach to the press. Jewish voters are inspired by candidates who speak to core needs and values— healthcare, housing, education, real community safety through investing in a thriving pluralistic multiracial democracy. Bowman earned the endorsement of The Jewish Vote because he is the candidate best positioned to fight for these things in Washington.

 The incumbent, Eliot Engel, has been in office for over 30 years. In that time, he’s voted for an unjust war in Iraq, deregulating Wall Street, school privatization, and mass incarceration. He’s out of touch with the needs of the district, with young people, with people of color, and with the energized, organized movements that have shifted what is possible. While Eliot Engel is raising money from corporate PACs, lobbyists, real estate, and Wall Street, Jamaal is accepting absolutely no corporate PAC or lobbyist money. 

When elected, Jamaal will be the only former school principal in Congress and he will show the same dedication to every student in the 16th Congressional District that he has given to his students at CASA Middle School.

“I grew up attending Scarsdale Public Schools, and I had little to no awareness as a kid that there were public schools  in my district that received drastically less funding and whose student body barely overlapped with mine racially,” said Melanie Flaxer, TJV member from Westchester. “Every year we learned about segregation during Black History month, and we were taught that it definitively ended at Little Rock. That whole time, I was attending a school made up of almost exclusively white students, with schools made up of almost exclusively Black and Latino students just miles away. Ten years after having graduated Scarsdale High School, it is astounding to me that so little has changed. How is it possible that New York State still has the most segregated schools in the country, and that we are letting this problem persist right here in our community? We need a representative in Congress like Jamaal Bowman who deeply understands the root and harm of educational disparities, and more importantly, has actively and successfully tackled this problem in his career.” 

“We in District 16 need a change from the 30-year incumbent,” said Bill Schleicher, TJV member from Riverdale. “He is entrenched in the old-boys network from outside this district that gave us Wall Street deregulation, school privatization, mass incarceration and the unjust war in Iraq – spending on bombs and bullets, but never enough for good schools and good jobs. Jamaal Bowman stands for a better future for our communities, our seniors and our grandchildren.”

“Jamaal is running on a platform to make sure every child has the right to a great public education from universal pre-K to free college, affordable housing and rent control, fixing our criminal justice system, Medicare for All, and a Green New Deal. We know when Jamaal goes to Washington, he will be a true progressive leader for all of us. We are endorsing him because at The Jewish Vote, we believe in putting our electoral power behind candidates that serve the interests of the people, not the donor class, and fight for progressive reforms alongside activists, advocates and impacted community members. We are thrilled that our first endorsement of the 2020 electoral cycle is for Jamaal as the next progressive leader of NY-16. We’re excited to turn out the Jewish vote for his inspiring candidacy,” said Carlyn Cowen, steering committee member of The Jewish Vote. 


About The Jewish Vote

The Jewish Vote is a home for New York Jews seeking to secure a pluralistic city that works for all of us through the power of the Jewish vote. We are intellectuals, day school kids, bubbes, queers, geeks, resistance moms, carpenters, bartenders, lawyers, nurses, farmers  — deeply rooted cosmopolitans and proud members of the diaspora. We are Black and Brown, Latinx and Asian, Mizrahi, Ashkenazi and Sephardi, immigrant and US-born. In 2018, our Jewish votes and voices helped elect a new generation of reformers and radicals, Jews and non-Jews like Biaggi and Salazar and Myrie and Williams. In 2020, we will defeat Trump and elect another cohort of visionary leaders to represent us at every level of government. Together we will build a future with Medicare for All, universal rent control, a Green New Deal, publicly funded elections, fair wages and working conditions for all workers, and an end to mass incarceration and criminalization of people of color. The Jewish Vote will be at the forefront of efforts to hold accountable both the Democratic Party and the Jewish establishment, who too often serve the interests of the donor class at the expense of the rest of us. The Jewish Vote endorses candidates who will fight alongside us to achieve all of this and more. 

The Jewish vote is powerful. We are The Jewish Vote.

The Jewish Vote is a sister organization to Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ), the largest grassroots participatory Jewish organization in New York State. With over 20,000 supporters, 3,000 active members, and three decades of organizing experience, JFREJ is one of New York’s most dynamic and high-impact grassroots organizations, and is a leader in battles to protect the rights of workers, expand the social safety net, hold the police accountable, and combat Islamophobia and antisemitism. JFREJ is also a leading voice in the Jewish Left, both nationally and internationally.

The Jewish Vote is a 501c4 and a project of Tides Advocacy Fund. 

The Jewish Vote is thrilled to announce this endorsement leading up to our flagship event of the year, The Mazals 2019 Awards Gala, hosted with sister organization Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ) this Thursday, December 19th at El Museo del Barrio in East Harlem featuring headliner Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who will join remotely via video due to the Congressional vote schedule. The Mazals will honor pioneering Queens DA candidate Tiffany Cabán, restorative justice and prison abolition activist Mariame Kaba, and powerful community organization Make the Road NY. The 2009 JFREJ Board of Directors will also be honored with The Member Bedrock Leader Award.

Previous honorees have included: Alicia Garza, the co-founders of Black Lives Matter; Civil Rights icon Ruby Sales; journalist and activist Jose Antonio Vargas; poets Allen Ginsberg (z”l) and Adrienne Rich (z”l), journalist Amy Goodman; Rabbis Sharon Kleinbaum and Ellen Lippmann; and playwright Tony Kushner, amongst many others.

Learn more about JFREJ and The Jewish Vote here.

Join us at The Mazals, donate to JFREJ or the Jewish Vote here