Originally posted on National Post | News:
Brooklyn, N.Y. — On June 6, Paul Ryan had a visitor in his House of Representatives’ office in Washington, D.C. Mr. Ryan was not yet the vice-presidential nominee, but was already a rising star in the Republican Party and well known in America’s capital as author of the fiscally conservative “Ryan Budget.”
Ezra Friedlander knew he had the ear of somebody important. As a non-partisan political consultant and Orthodox Jew, he wanted the Wisconsin politician to know not everyone who accepts entitlements are moochers or “professional schnorrers,” as he put it in Yiddish during an interview at his Brooklyn brownstone. Some Orthodox Jews, he explained, rely on food stamps because they spend thousands of dollars sending their five, six or seven children to religious schools rather than taxpayer-funded ones.
But Mr. Ryan would have known he had the ear of somebody important, too. Mr. Friedlander is a community leader in New York’s Borough Park, home to one of the largest Orthodox Jewish populations outside Israel. And that socially conservative sect of the Jewish population, Republican strategists believe, marks the party’s best chance at making inroads into a demographic that overwhelmingly votes for — and financially supports — the Democrat Party.