Wow. This is epic. This is like the U.S. of China. Or Alien plus Predator… or the merging of Home Depot and Wal-Mart. Or the lovey part of “Westside Story,” if Tony was Jewish, or whatever.
In today's issue of the Jewish Journal, Jonah Lowenfeld declares a modern, journalistically verified alliance between Jews and Latinos in Los Angeles, growing stronger every day. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?
And what a union it'll be.
Overall, according to the Internet, over 620,000 Jews live in the City of Angels. (Fast fact: That's more than Jerusalem!) Latinos need no introduction, either, sweeping the U.S. Census this year for an undisputed California win: Their under-18 crowd is now at 51 percent of the state's population. Boo ya.
With the exception of two black members, the 15-body L.A. City Council is almost entirely Jewish and Latino. Paul Koretz, Dennis Zine, Tony Cardenas, Ed Reyes, Richard Alarcon… you get the picture. Then, of course, there's Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Latino-est of them all, despite his newly acquired taste for personal border fences.
So — how Jewtino is Los Angeles? So Jewtino.
In October 2010, the AJC's six-year-old Latino and Latin American Institute presented the third annual Gesher Award to L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Gesher is Hebrew for bridge; the award honors Latino leaders who work to build bridges between the Jewish and Latino communities.
The Latino-Jewish roundtable, an initiative of the local office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), was founded in 1992. The roundtable has held 13 separate events in the past two years, including a 2009 seder focusing on immigrant experiences and a celebration of Sukkot and other autumnal festivals in 2010. Most recently, in January 2011, 25 members of the roundtable participated in a daylong trip to the U.S.-Mexico border.
The study in cultural fusion continues with mashups like Fiesta Shalom, a Spanish-language interview with Israeli ambassador Michael Oren on Univision and the following anecdote from State Senator Alex Padilla:
Padilla emphasized the power of informal connections to foster mutual understanding. He recounted an experience from his childhood in a San Fernando Valley public school. He offered a friend half of his sandwich, but the friend, who was Jewish, said he could not accept. That's how Padilla learned about keeping kosher.
Then again, Padilla added, “The first seder I got invited to was when I got into office.”
And the cross-pollination doesn't stop there. But for all the scary stuff about Israel and immigration — please just read the story. We're not about to poke this all-new, all-powerful monster majority in its toddler stage.