Ted Cruz arrived at a matzoh bakery in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn on Thursday afternoon where he was met with cheers of “Jews for Cruz.” There he rolled out some unleavened bread dough with kids from the Hasidic Jewish community and, as if that weren’t enough, joined in a rendition of the Passover song “Dayenu.”
Ted Cruz was offered a “matzo-making hat,” which he declined. This is the second silly hat Cruz has refused to wear this week. Cruz did, however, wear a yarmulke (pictured above), a much more subtle head topping.
What’s at stake here are 95 New York delegates, 81 of which are awarded based on results from congressional districts. A few of these have significant numbers of Orthodox Jews.
I know what you’re thinking: How is a Southern Baptist evangelical Christian going to appeal to a bunch of Brooklyn Orthodox Jews? But how does Ted Cruz appeal to anyone. And anyway, there’s some political overlap between the two groups, as Katie Glueck notes in her piece for Politico:
“Orthodox Jews tend to be more conservative than their predominantly liberal, more secular co-religionists, and are more likely to appreciate Cruz’s conservative message on social issues and, in particular, on religious freedom.
There’s also common ground on national security, particularly when it comes to Israel. Cruz first came onto the Orthodox radar in a significant way in 2014, when attendees at a Middle Eastern Christian conference, at which he was speaking, began to boo Israel. “If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you,” he said, remarks that went viral in the Orthodox world.”
Most Orthodox Jews in New York are registered Democrats, according to community leaders. But Cruz needs all the help he can get in New York, where polls put him in third place with only 17 percent of the Republican vote. The senator recently received blowback from New Yorkers after calling Trump out on account of his “New York values.”
It’s unclear whether Cruz’s bid for the Brooklyn Republican Orthodox Jewish vote will help him make up any ground. After Cruz’s visit to the bakery, the youth program director Leah Winner was asked if the presidential hopeful appeared familiar with Jewish traditions.
“Somewhat,” Winner replied. “I’m not going to lie. Somewhat.”