‘Closeted’ Liberal Jews Who Voted for Trump Say ‘Friends Sat Shiva’ for Them

BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 25: Participants wearing a kippah during a "wear a kippah" gathering to protest against anti-Semitism in front of the Jewish Community House on April 25, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. The Jewish community made a public appeal for Jews and non-Jews to attend the event and wear …
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Liberal Jews who are “closet” supporters of President Donald Trump paid a high price for revealing their loyalties, a hawkish New York-basked Jewish newspaper reported on election day, saying they lost decades-old friendships and were told they would be mourned as if they were dead.

The Jewish Week cited Bonita Nathan Sussman, a 67-year-old from Staten Island, NY, as saying that when she announced she would be voting for Trump, her Facebook friends responded they would hold a virtual shiva, the weeklong Jewish mourning ritual, for her.

“Oh my gosh, have I lost friends,” Nathan Sussman told the paper about her decision to “come out of the closet” as a Trump-supporter.

“I’ve been called a racist, a homophobe, anything you can name under the sun,” she said.

“If you know me,” she continued, “you know those things aren’t true. But people who I’ve had relationships with for over 20 years don’t want anything to do with me anymore.”

She added that “lots of liberal Jews have crossed over the line,” and are quietly pledging allegiance to the incumbent.

“They whisper about it. They’re afraid to lose jobs, friends, family members. If you support Trump in liberal Jewish circles, you become a pariah. You simply can’t say you’re pro-Trump without inviting some kind of a backlash,” she said.

According to the latest poll, Joe Biden has a 75-22 advantage over Trump among American Jewish voters.

Other interviewees declined to give their names to the newspaper for a variety of reasons including: inciting a “family civil war”; putting a current living arrangement in peril; becoming estranged from a daughter; losing a job or incurring damage to a personal business, and being permanently exiled from their synagogue or intimate social circles.

Many of them said they were still leaning left on social issues, but agree with much of the president’s policies, especially regarding his treatment of Israel, Iran and the antisemitism emerging from the new left as well as his handling of calls to defund the police after the riots that plagued the country in May.

According to Barbara Braun, a 71-year-old philanthropist from Long Island, her liberal values are not in conflict with her support of the president. “I find it objectionable that people assume there is a conflict.”“There’s a tremendous amount of preconceived notions about what a liberal Jewish person is supposed to think and feel. We live liberal values, we live tzedakah,” she said, using the Hebrew word for charity. “I can’t understand how all that has been called into question over this election.”


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