My whole life I have identified myself as both "American" and "Jewish," but not until recently did I give much thought to how the two relate to one another. Though not practicing strictly in a religious sense, I've grown up surrounded by Judaism. Looking back, I can see that many of the values I hold today I inherited from my experiences within the Jewish community — to respect and be mindful of people's differences and struggles; to cherish the environment and treat it with care; to practice humility; and to actively care for others — especially those less privileged. As I was taught in places like Hebrew School and summer camp, these are the characteristics that make someone a "mensch."
As an American figuring out my own political beliefs, I've found this is really the quality I look for in those who represent me. I support President Obama because I see in him as someone who embodies those values— first as candidate in 2008, and now as President. President Obama has fought actively for greater equality, tolerance and social justice: He repealed "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" and signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act. He made access to health care for every individual, regardless of circumstance, a national priority when he signed the Affordable Care Act. And he has focused our economic recovery on the middle and working class, improving public education across the country, and making access to a college education more and more affordable. In his approach to foreign policy, he has recognized that America can and should be a responsible world power, lending aid to developing countries and offering resources and manpower to the victims of natural disaster. President Obama's policy agenda has never been about special interests or personal political gain, but rather an interest in the well- being and prosperity of every citizen. In other words, Obama is a "mensch."
As an undergraduate at Northwestern University, nearing the end of my senior year, I decided to volunteer for President Obama's 2012 campaign so that the world I find myself entering after graduation closer reflects the values that I have grown to cherish. If you believe that these values are crucial to the leadership of this country, then show your support for President Obama. Sign up with Jewish Americans for Obama today and see what you can do to help our President win this election.