It’s Election Day as I write this. I have already voted, and I thought it would be appropriate to explore some political history from the Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History. I did, and I found an interesting story about the U.S. Senate.
It was reported in the Nov. 13, 1992, issue of the JN that Sen. Carl Levin could finally participate in a Senate minyan. That year, after the election, Americans had voted 10 Jews into office as U.S. senators. This is a very impressive number considering that the Jewish population in America that year was slightly more than 5.8 million, or about 2 percent of the population. Today, there are still 10 Jewish senators.
Doing a bit of research, I found several other facts. One, there have been 35 Jewish senators in American history. The first was David Levy Yulee from Florida. Indeed, he was one of the state’s first two senators, serving from 1845-1851. Finally, in 1992, there was also another interesting victory for both women and Jews. California elected two Jewish women to the Senate: Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein.
So, 1992 was a pretty good year for Jewish politicians.
Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.
By Mike Smith, Detroit Jewish News Foundation Archivist