Democrats gear up with new Jewish group | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Democrats gear up with new Jewish group

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin has approved the creation of an official Jewish group within the party, the first-ever Jewish Caucus of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. 

“I’m really proud that the Democratic Party voted unanimously to support the caucus’s formation,” said Benjamin Wikler, chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and a member of the Jewish community.  

“We are now up and running, and I’m very excited,” said Linda Frank, a local author and activist. She wrote the application herself to create the group within the party. 

The Jewish Caucus of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin is an official entity of the party and will have a seat on its Administrative Committee. It joins other caucuses in the Wisconsin party, like the Black Caucus, the LGBTQ+ Caucus and the Asian American Pacific Islander caucus.  The Administrative Committee is moving its meetings from Saturdays to Sundays, out of respect for Shabbat and Jewish participation, Frank said. 

There already was a Wisconsin Jewish Democratic group, called the Wisconsin Jewish Democrats, but it was more informal and did not have an official role within the state party. The Wisconsin Jewish Democrats is “evolving” and being absorbed into the Jewish Caucus of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Frank said. 

“This has been a purely positive and uniting development for the Democratic Party, and it has inspired other folks,” Wikler said. “There’s conversations among Muslim members of the state party about forming a Muslim caucus within the party as well.” 

The group elected its first officers on March 3 – Frank, who is the chair; Megan Miller as vice chair, and John Paul Croake as secretary/treasurer. At least 180 people signed up to join the caucus so far as members; all of them are also members of the Wisconsin Democratic Party. Some are not Jewish, but they signed up to show support post-Oct. 7, Frank said. “I have had some really lovely communications,” she said. 

Frank has participated in a nationwide association of Jewish groups in the Democratic Party, called the Jewish Battleground Coalition, and it’s her understanding that having a Jewish group as an official caucus is rare, she said.  

Miller, the vice chair, is a member of the Beloit School Board. She said she loves Wisconsin and treasures her Beloit community. “Wisconsin’s a very purple state, and I want to be part of bringing what’s really good and working in the Democratic Party, into communities in a way that’s relevant,” she said.  

Croake is a Madison attorney. The founding secretary/treasurer said he was drawn to serve because he has always been connected with his Jewish community and because one of his favorite concepts in Judaism is tikkun olam, the drive to repair the world.  

The group also has several committee chairs, including Program Chair Debbie Zemel, Membership Chair Maggie Gorchoff and Advocacy Policy Chair Andrew Berger. Other members of the new group’s executive committee are Alex Lasry, serving as a Democratic National Committee liaison and state Rep. Lisa Subeck, serving as a legislative liaison. 

“I’m very proud of it. It’s been a lot of work. It’s going to be a lot of work,” Frank said. “This is very gratifying because the future is really important.”

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For more on politics, click here “Jewish GOP group reports ground game.”