Jewish Population by Congressional District

Joshua Comenetz has broken down the American Jewish population by Congressional district.

Here are the local numbers:

District Representative Jews %
PA1 Robert Brady (D) 17,000 2.41%
PA2 Chaka Fattah (D) 36,000 5.10%
PA6 Jim Gerlach (R) 19,000 2.69%
PA7 Pat Meehan 36,000 5.10%
PA8 Mike Fitzpatrick (R) 44,000 6.24%
PA13 Allyson Schwartz (D) 63,000 8.93%
NJ1 Robert Andrews (D) 35,000 4.78%
DE John C. Carney, Jr. 15,100 1.68%

The estimate of the Jewish population in all Congressional Districts is 6,735,830, approximately 2.18% of the total U.S. population. This estimate is consistent with the 6.7 million Jewish persons reported in the 2013 Pew Research Center Portrait of Jewish Americans….

The American Jewish population is simultaneously more densely clustered geographically than the overall American population and very geographically diverse — at least a few Jews live in every one of the 436 CDs. Half of all American Jews live in just 37 CDs, and 93 CDs contain three-quarters of all Jews. In contrast, the 266 districts with the fewest Jews collectively have only 10% of the Jewish population. The most-Jewish district, New York’s 10th, has as many Jews (197,000) as the 170 least-Jewish CDs combined.

There are 13 CDs with 100,000 or more Jews, nine in New York and two each in California and Florida — the three states with the highest total Jewish populations. In general, the most-Jewish CDs are in the northeastern states, California, Florida, and a few other large urban areas such as Chicago and Atlanta. The least-Jewish CDs are mostly in the rural parts of southern states.

Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District has the most Jews in the state and is ranked 24th nationally while the 3rd, 5th and 9th District have only 1000 Jews.

Where is the Jewish vote the most decisive?

There are 27 Congressional Districts in which the Jewish population exceeded the margin of victory in the 2012 Congressional election. Heading the list is:

  • Illinois’ 10th Congressional District whose 76,500 Jews (10.73% of the population) is about 23 times the 3,326 vote margin by which Democratic challenger Brad Schneider defeated Republican incumbent Robert Dold.
  • Florida’s 32th Congressional District whose 32,000 Jews (4.60% of the population) is about 17 times the 1,904 vote margin by which Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy defeated Republican incumbent Allen West.
  • New York’s 11th Congressional District whose 129,000 Jews (17.97% of the population) is about 12 times the 10,688 vote margin by which Republican incumbent Michael Grimm defeated Democratic challenger Mark Murphy.

Runners up are NY-9 (6.95x), AZ-2 (6.93x), MA-6 (6.12x), NY-18 (5.19x), CA-52 (5.08x), NY-3 (3.45x), CT-5 (3.35x), CO-6 (3.29x), UT-4 (3.26x), CA-26 (3.03x), NY-1 (2.95x), FL-22 (2.73x), NY-6 (2.03x) and IL-13 (2.00x).

Maine becomes 13th State to vote to overturn Citizens United

On Monday, Maine joined West Virginia, Colorado, Montana, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, Rhode Island, Maryland, Vermont, New Mexico and Hawaii in calling for an amendment to the United States Constitution on campaign finance. Maine’s State House voted 111-33 with strong bipartisan support in favor of the measure while the Senate voted 25-9.

Polls indicate that 73% of Democrats and 71% of Republicans disagree with the Supreme Court’s Citizen United ruling and want to keep corporate spending out of political campaigns.

To take effect, an amendment must gain the support of two-thirds of the House and the Senate and be ratified by 38 states.

$27 Million Raised at FIDF National Gala Dinner

— by Jen Glantz

$27 million was raised Tuesday night at the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) National NY Gala Dinner where over 1,400 prominent business and philanthropic leaders from across the country gathered at the historic Waldorf-Astoria Hotel to demonstrate their love and support for the soldiers of Israel. FIDF Chairman Emeritus Arthur Stark was the chair of the Gala, and author and nationally syndicated radio host Dr. Monica Crowley served as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.

A special delegation from the FIDF Pennsylvania & Southern New Jersey Region participated in the Gala event. Among the delegation members was the Executive Director of the FIDF Pennsylvania & Southern New Jersey Region, Tzvia Wexler.

More after the jump.
Among the distinguished guests in attendance were FIDF National Chairman, Nily Falic; FIDF National President, Julian Josephson; FIDF National Director and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon; Former IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. (Res.) Gabi Ashkenazi; Founder and President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein; Israeli-American luxury fashion designer, Elie Tahari; President of the New York Yankees, Randy Levine and his wife, Mindy; American real estate tycoon and media proprietor, Mort Zuckerman; and American sex therapist, media personality, and author, Dr. Ruth Westheimer.


Left to right: Former IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. (Res.) Gabi Ashkenazi, Executive Director of the FIDF Pennsylvania & Southern New Jersey Region, Tzvia Wexler, Ambassador Ron Prosor

One of the evening’s outstanding guests was Cpt. Ziv Shilon, a 25-year-old commander of the Givati Brigade, who just a couple of months ago was badly injured in a Hamas attack near the Gaza security fence, when an explosive device went off. Cpt. Shilon was also joined at the Gala by more than 30 soldiers and officers from various IDF units as well as soldiers from the United States Armed Forces, including Maj. Justin Constantine, a wounded U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

Notable among the donations were $5 million pledged by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein; $1 million pledged by the Genesis Philanthropy Group; $130,000 pledged by Elie Tahari; $100,000 pledged by Mort Zuckerman; $1.08 million pledged by FIDF National Board Member, Harry Gross; and $1.3 million pledged by National Board Member and Young Leadership Chairman Tony Felzen on behalf of FIDF NY Young Leadership. The Major League Baseball and the Yankee Foundation purchased dinner sponsorships.

The evening culminated with the heartfelt words shared by bereaved mother, Nelly Barak, who tragically lost her son, Hanan Barak Z”L, who was a tank commander, in 2006. Hanan and another soldier were killed when a group of terrorists fired an RPG at his tank and then abducted his soldier, Gilad Shalit, that was released last October after five years of captivity by Hamas in Gaza.

The funds raised during the evening will provide services like academic scholarships to former combat soldiers, financial support for soldiers in-need and Lone Soldiers from around the world, weeks of rest and recreation for entire IDF units, as well as educational, cultural, and recreational facilities. The evening was an opportunity to pay tribute to the State of Israel and to send a message of love and support to the brave men and women in uniform.

Christie And King Angry Over Lack Of Aid For Sandy Victims


More after the jump.
Last Wednesday, New Jersey governor Chris Christie held a press conference and charged the House of Representatives for not voting on the $60 billion disaster relief package for his state and the other ones hit by Hurricane Sandy:

There’s only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocence victims: The House Majority and their Speaker, John Boehner.

This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. National disasters happen in red states and blue states, and states with Democratic Governors and Republican Governors.

We respond to innocent victims of natural disasters not as Republicans or Democrats but as Americans. Or at least we did until last night.

Last night, politics was placed before our oaths to serve our citizens. For me, it was disappointing and disgusting to watch.

In an interview for Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom”, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) also slammed his own party members:

All we’re saying is treat us the same everybody else has been treated. And why the Republican party has this bias against New York, bias against New Jersey, bias against the northeast? They wonder why they’re becoming a minority party? Why we’ll be the party of the permanent minority? What they did last night was so immoral, so disgraceful, so irresponsible. We’re supposed to be the party of family values, and you have families starving, families suffering, families spread all over living in substandard housing. This was a disgrace.

We Don’t Paint with the Ashes of Our Dead


— by Rabbi Goldie Milgram, Judaism Editor

Old wounds were opened for Holocaust survivors and those who care about them when art gallery owner, Martin Bryer, placed on show a painting made of ashes of the Holocaust victims’ murdered at Majdanek extermination camp. He initially claimed his decision to have “no moral flaws” but ultimately succumbed to world-wide pressure to withdraw the painting from exhibition. This is the letter that I sent to him:

Dear Mr. Bryer:

In the 1980’s in Vineland, a New Jersey Holocaust survivor went back to Auschwitz on a pilgrimage to visit the ashes of her entire family and reflect upon her experience. While sitting, her hand stroking some loose earth, she came upon a significant piece of jawbone. Distressed to the extreme, she put it into her pocketbook. Back in the states, she came into my office, when I was serving as a Jewish Federation executive, saying she’d not meant to remove it from the site, but in her distress had done so. She placed it on my desk asking what to do now.

Letter continued after the jump.

Our community had the jawbone checked to find out if it was a human or animal remains. Human. I then invited the local Holocaust survivors in for meetings to discuss what to do. We decided to hold a ritual for “the unknown survivor” in the Jewish cemetery and to create a grave for the bone and a monument to be placed there.

I will never forget the initial meeting and our profound weeping – for some it could have been a family member’s jawbone, for others it was the purest of all symbols of those lost in the Shoah — often family whom they remember every day. Did they speak of their own suffering in the camps as we sat there? No. They remembered their children and siblings, parents, grandparents and friends in life.

A process began to unfold. Those attending the ritual planning meeting took assignments to contemplate which prayers to say, to consider who might make a casing to hold the bone for a burial with dignity, who to invite to the ritual, how to word the invitation. Our process was the opposite of yours, Mr. Bryer. Had you witnessed our survivors opening up, many for the first time – only one of the Holocaust oral history archives existed at this time, then maybe you would possibly understand and begin to appreciate how healing and holiness happen. The historic Alliance Cemetery in rural southern New Jersey overflowed on the day of that ritual.

If you, Mr. Bryer, and the artist Mr. von Hausswolff, who is quoted as saying, “The ash has followed me, always been there…  as if the ash contains energies or memories or souls of people… people tortured, tormented and murdered by other people.” wish to speak with me after reading this article, I’d like to gently help the artist work through his dilemma — the pain he’s carried that now is surely amplified through his decisions and those of the gallery owner. And, with his permission, a proper ritual for interring the work can be created so that healing can be renewed.

First though, kindly donate the painting to Jewish community in Lund, Sweden for interment. We Jews neither exhibit, nor sell our dead — with our love and prayers we return any and all bodily remains to the earth from which we all came.”

Aid From Israel!.. to NY and NJ

Israel Flying Aid, the Israeli global humanitarian organization, which was first to land in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake, has been distributing large supplies of gas to hospitals, food, batteries and generators to Hurricane Sandy victims.

“We have many years of disaster relief experience,” said Israel Flying Aid North American Operations Manager Moti Kahana.  “Israel Flying Aid, in having Israelis on the ground here in New York and New Jersey, have made Israel the only foreign nation to provide humanitarian assistance to the US during this disaster.  We are working in coordination with FEMA, local police, the American Red Cross and Jewish communities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.”

More after the jump.
Passover Food Box Distribution in Lod 2012Kahana said that most of the efforts had been donated by Israelis living in the US, and this enabled gas to be distributed to hospitals in New York and New Jersey.

Joel Leyden, an Israel Flying Aid Operations Specialist who was with the IFA in Haiti, has been working with the Greater Hartford Jewish Community to distribute both food and generators on Long Island.

“We had a convoy of food and generators move out of the Greater Hartford area early yesterday morning,” said Leyden.  “The food had been donated by Panera Bread and Dunkin Donuts in the Hartford, Manchester Connecticut area.  This food was distributed to hurricane victims on the south shore of Long Island, the Nassau County Police, the Free-port Fire Department and the Red Cross Shelter which is set up at Nassau Community College.”

Leyden said that when they spotted hundreds of people lined up at gas stations to pour gas into their containers, they would get out of their cars and feed these people as they waited.  The donuts and bread created smiles and positive moods which replaced the trauma of suffering in the dark and cold, he said.

“We are so very proud to see you, to welcome you to New York,” said Dr. Jason Mallin, who normally practices neurology at North Shore University Hospital but was now volunteering with the Nassau County Department of Health.  “We read about Israel and the great work you did in Haiti.  We have thousands here that need you.  It’s awesome that you are here!”

Michael Duarte, a Red Cross volunteer from California who was supervising the Long Island shelter, hugged the Israel Flying Aid team as they arrived.

“We had some bad press as a result of misunderstandings,” said Duarte.  People in Staten Island, New York were looking for us but due to a New York State law, we could not start operations until after three days.  We are now operating at full capacity throughout New York City and this Red Cross shelter at Nassau Community College with over 900 clients.  These people have lost their homes.  Lost everything.  We are here for them and so very pleased to receive your good help.”

Duarte, who hadn’t slept in three days, had coordinated a first class shelter and his staff could not have been more professional.  Sleeping cots, Red Cross blankets, a cafeteria and even a play area for children had been carefully put into place. The fresh food from Israel Flying Aid was served as dinner that evening.

Super storm Hurricane Sandy, which was also referred to as Frankenstorm as it became one huge storm from three separate systems, slammed New York, New Jersey and the southern Connecticut shore with 100 mph winds.  The devastation was historic as over 100 people perished, thousands of homes were destroyed and millions were left without electricity.

“As Israelis, we know how to react to such disasters,” said Kahana.   “We are trained in the military to be prepared and ready at a moment’s notice.  This edge is what enables us to go places where others don’t and get the job done with little or no bureaucracy.  We are proud to help the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut communities, people who have provided assistance to Israel throughout the years.  What we critically need now is donations for our staff and volunteers to continue their life saving efforts as temperatures drop and people critically need generators and fuel for heat.”

Israel Flying Aid, which is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that assists global communities after earthquakes and other natural and man made disasters, have saved lives in Japan, Haiti, Iraq, Turkey, South Sudan and the US after Hurricane Katrina.

Displaced NJ Voters Can Vote Anywhere in NJ or By Fax or By Email

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie issued a directive today to allow people displaced by Hurricane Sandy to vote at any polling place in the state through the use of a provisional ballot. This will allow them to vote for President and Vice-President, United States Senator and any statewide question. Votes for various local offices will be counted if this is a vote for which the voter is otherwise eligible to vote. (That is, if you vote in a different legislative district than the one in which you live, your vote for the state legislator will not be counted.)

On Tuesday, polls will be open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. in New Jersey. You can also vote today and tomorrow (Sunday and Monday) at  your county clerk’s office. Text 877877 or log onto www.elections.nj.gov to find your specific location.

The Governor also declared that displaced persons can vote by fax or email as if they were “oversea voters.”

Details follow the jump.

Any voter who has been displaced from their primary residence because of Hurricane Sandy is hereby designated as an “overseas voter” for purposes of the Overseas Residents Absentee Voting Law, N.J.S.A. 19:59-1, et seq., consistent with the following procedures:

A. These displaced voters may submit a mail-in ballot application to the County Clerk of the county in which they live.  These voters may submit that application by email or fax.  The contact information for the applicable Clerk is available at the applicable county’s website or at the New Jersey Division of Elections website, www.elections.nj.gov.  Further information is available by calling the following  toll-free number: 1-877-NJVOTER (1-877-658-6837).

B. Upon receipt of the application, the County Clerk shall determine if the applicant is a qualified voter.  If so, the County Clerk shall electronically send the ballot and
the waiver of secrecy form to the voter by the method chosen by the voter (email/fax).

C. The County Clerk shall accept such electronic applications through 5 p.m. on November 6, 2012.

D. The voter must transmit the signed waiver of secrecy along with the voted ballot by fax or email for receipt by the applicable county board of election no later than November 6, 2012 at 8 p.m. 2. The statutory deadline for the receipt of mail-in ballots will be extended to November 19, 2012 for any ballot postmarked on
or before November 5, 2012.

Pres. Obama & Gov. Christie Survey Hurricane Damage

Remarks at Brigantine Marina after surveying damage from Hurricane Sandy

GOVERNOR CHRISTIE:  Good afternoon, everybody.  And thank you all for coming today.  I want to thank the members who are here as well.  And obviously, I want to thank the President.

We spent a significant afternoon together surveying the damage up and down the New Jersey coastline; we were on Marine One together to be able to show the President that personally.  I had an opportunity to see it, and we had an opportunity to discuss it at length.  And then, going over to the shelter here, being able to meet with folks to have them see the President and his concern, and the concern that all of us have for making sure that things get back to normal as quickly as possible.

We have lots of challenges.  One of our challenges now is to get back to normalcy.  And so the things we need to do is to make sure that we get power restored as quickly as possible; make sure that people have clean drinking water, and waste water treatment plants are working; hospitals are taken care of the way they need to; and that we get kids back to school.

And so, I discussed all those issues today with the President, and I’m pleased to report that he has sprung into action immediately to help get us those things while we were in the car riding together.  So I want to thank him for that.  He has worked incredibly closely with me since before the storm hit.  I think this is our sixth conversation since the weekend, and it’s been a great working relationship to make sure that we’re doing the jobs that people elected us to do.  And I cannot thank the President enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state and for the people of our state.  And I heard it on the phone conversations with him, and I was able to witness it today personally.

And so we’re going to continue to work.  The state government is here.  We’re doing what we need to do.  We’re coordinating with FEMA, and I want to thank Administrator Fugate for being here and for the input he’s already had in helping to make our operation even better.  And we will move on from here.

What I said yesterday I really mean.  I know there has got to be sorrow, and you see that and the President has seen that today in the eyes — the faces of a lot of the folks he’s met.  And that sorrow is appropriate; we’ve suffered some loss.  Luckily, we haven’t suffered that much loss of life and we thank God for that.  But we have suffered losses, and this is the worst storm that I’ve seen in my lifetime in this state.  But we cannot permit that sorrow to replace the resilience that I know all New Jerseyans have.  And so we will get up and we’ll get this thing rebuilt, and we’ll put things back together, because that’s what this state is all about and always has been all about.

And so for all of you who are here — and I met a bunch of you today at Brigantine who disregarded my admonition — (laughter) — to get the hell out of here — you’re forgiven this time.  You are forgiven this time, but not for much longer.  We’ve got to make sure when all of you look around and you see all this destruction, that’s fine — but you know what, all that stuff can be replaced.  You look to your right and to your left, to your husband or wife, your son or your daughter — those are the things that can’t be replaced.  So I’m glad that we don’t have that kind of loss of life to have to deal with.

So I want to thank him for being here today, for bringing his personal attention to it.  And it’s my honor to introduce to all of you the President of the United States.  (Applause.)

Transcript of President’s remarks follow the jump.
President Barack Obama: Thank you, everybody.  Let me just make sure that I acknowledge the folks who are here, because they’ve played an important role in this.

First of all, your congressional delegation — Senator Bob Menendez, Senator Frank Lautenberg, Congressman Frank LoBiondo, Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson, and Brigantine Mayor Philip Guenther.

Obviously, this is a federal, state, and local effort.  And the first thing I want to do is just to thank everybody who has been involved in the entire rescue and recovery process.  At the top of my list, I have to say that Governor Christie throughout this process has been responsive; he has been aggressive in making sure that the state got out in front of this incredible storm.  And I think the people of New Jersey recognize that he has put his heart and soul into making sure that the people of New Jersey bounce back even stronger than before.  So I just want to thank him for his extraordinary leadership and partnership.

I want to thank the congressional delegation because part of the reason we’re going to be able to respond quickly to all this is because they helped to make sure that FEMA financing was in place, and we’re very appreciative of those efforts.  And I want to thank Craig Fugate; sometimes people just think FEMA and they don’t think the people behind them, but Craig lives and breathes this stuff, making sure that we’re providing the help that people so desperately need in these situations.

I want to thank all the first responders who have been involved in this process — the linesmen, the firefighters, the folks who were in here shuttling out people who were supposed to “get the hell out” and didn’t.  You’ve helped to save a lot of lives and a lot of property.  And one of the things that you learn in these tragedies is, the first responders — keep in mind their homes usually are underwater too, or their families have been affected in some way, and yet they make those personal sacrifices to help other people.  So we really appreciate them.

I’m just going to make a couple of comments.  Number one, and most important, our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones.  It’s true that because of some good preparation, the loss of life was kept lower than it might have been, but for those individual families, obviously their world has been torn apart.  And we need to make sure that everybody who has lost a loved one knows they’re in our thoughts and prayers — and I speak for the whole country there.

For those like the people I just had the chance to meet on this block and throughout New Jersey and throughout the region whose lives have been upended, my second message is we are here for you, and we will not forget; we will follow up to make sure that you get all the help that you need until you’ve rebuilt.

At this point, our main focus is on the states of New Jersey, which got hit harder than anybody; the state of New York, particularly lower Manhattan and Long Island.  We are very concerned about some situations in Connecticut as well, and we’re still monitoring West Virginia where there are heavy snows in some inaccessible areas.  But for the most part, those four states are really bearing the brunt of this incredible storm.

What we’ve been able to do is to pre-position and stage commodities — water, power generators, ambulances in some cases, food, medical supplies, emergency supplies — and we have over 2,000 FEMA personnel that are on the ground right now.  Their job, now that we’re moving out of the search-and-rescue phase, is to make sure that they are going out and talking to individual communities so that people know exactly how they can get the help that they need.

We expedited our emergency declarations for the state of New Jersey and local counties that have been affected.  What that means is, is that people can immediately start registering for emergency assistance.  And one of the things I want to emphasize to the people of New Jersey and throughout the region:  Now that you’re safe, your family is safe, but you’re trying to figure out where you’re going to stay for the next couple of days, et cetera, it’s very important that you know that there is help available to you right now, for example, to find rental housing or to be able to pay for some groceries.  Over at the community center we saw a young woman who had a newborn, or I guess probably an eight-month old, still needs diapers and formula, and has run out.  Those are the kinds of basic supplies and help that we can provide.

If you call 800-621-FEMA — 800-621-FEMA — or DisasterAssistance.gov — if you’ve got access to the Internet, you can go to DisasterAssistance.gov.  What that allows you to do is to register right now so that you can immediately start receiving help.  We want to make sure that you get everything that you need.

Just a couple of final points.  Obviously, our biggest priority right now is getting power turned back on.  We were very pleased that Newark got power yesterday; Jersey City is getting power we believe today.  But there are still big chunks of the community, including this community right here, that don’t have power.  And so it’s hard enough cleaning up debris and dealing with boats that have been upended and roads that are blocked; when people don’t have power, though, obviously they’re disabled in all sorts of ways and it’s hard to get back to normal.

So yesterday, I had a chance to speak to the CEOs of the utilities from all across the country.  And a lot of the states that were spared, that were not hard hit, or some states as far away as California, they have pledged to start getting equipment crews, et cetera, here into New Jersey and New York and Connecticut as quickly as possible.

And one of the things that we’ve been able to do — just to give you a sense of how this is an all-hands-deck approach — we’re able to get C-17s and C-130s, military transport planes, potentially, to move assets, personnel to speed up the process of getting power up and running as soon as possible.

Our first priority is water filtration plants and some other critical infrastructure in the state; for that, we’ve got emergency generators.  We’ve got a Navy ship that has some helicopters that can help to move assets around the state as well.  And so we’re going to be working with Governor Christie’s office and local officials to identify what are those critical infrastructure, how can we get what’s needed as quickly as possible.

Just a couple of other things that we’re concerned about — one is, as power starts coming back on, we want to make sure that people can also get to work.  Obviously, there are a lot of folks in Jersey who work in New York, in the city, and in other places where transportation may be hobbled.  One of the things I mentioned to the Governor is the possibility of us using federal assets, military assets, as well as taking inventory of assets from around the country that can be brought in so that we can help people get to their work.

And Governor Christie also mentioned the importance of schools.  The sooner we can get our kids back into school, the sooner they’re back into a routine; that obviously helps the families and helps the kids as well.

So we’re going to have a lot of work to do.  I don’t want anybody to feel that somehow this is all going to get cleaned up overnight.  We want to make sure that people have realistic expectations.

But what I can promise you is that the federal government will be working as closely as possible with the state and local officials, and we will not quit until this is done.  And the directive that I have given — and I said this yesterday, but I will repeat; and I think Craig and others who are working with me right now know I mean it — we are not going to tolerate red tape.  We’re not going to tolerate bureaucracy.  And I’ve instituted a 15-minute rule, essentially, on my team:  You return everybody’s phone calls in 15 minutes, whether it’s the mayors’, the governors’, county officials’.  If they need something, we figure out a way to say yes.

As I was just gathering around, I had a chance to talk to some of the young people here who have been volunteering, going up and down the block cleaning up debris.  And when we were over at the community center, there was a restaurant owner who, for the last 18 hours, had been cooking meals, just as his contribution to the recovery process.  And some of the folks were saying the food was better than they got at home.  (Laughter.)  You had a 15-year-old young man whose mother was disabled, and he was making sure that she was okay, and taking on extraordinary responsibilities for himself but also for his mom.

And when you see folks like that respond with strength and resilience, when you see neighbors helping neighbors, then you’re reminded about what America is all about.  We go through tough times, but we bounce back.  And the reason we bounce back is because we look out for one another and we don’t leave anybody behind.

And so my commitment to the people on this block, the people in this community, and the people of this state is that that same spirit will carry over all the way through until our work is done.  All right?

Thank you very much, everybody.  (Applause.)    

The Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City

KD Lang, Tony Bennett, Jerry Seinfeld, and the Temptations

Philadelphia has a vibrant music, cultural, and arts scene and we are fortunate to have the Wilma Theatre, The Walnut, InterAct, the Suzanne Roberts Theatre and avante garde companies like the Pig Iron.  Broad Street is a culture maven’s paradise.

More after the jump.  
Labor Day marks beginnings and endings:  the end of summer, the beginning of school, the end of blueberries, the beginning of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.   Only an hour drive from Philadelphia, you can still take a walk on the Atlantic City boardwalk and take in a show at the Borgata Hotel.   The fall season at the Borgata Music Box and Event Center is filled with big names like Art Garfunkel, Tony Bennett, and The Temptations.

On Friday, August 17, Canadian pop and country singer-songwriter KD Lang performed a 90 minute set at the intimate Borgata Music Box Theatre.  She transported her devoted fans with standards like “Constant Craving” and “Miss Chatelaine.”   Lang’s version of Leonard’s Cohen “Hallelujah” was by far the most moving song in a vast and varied repertoire.  Lang closed the evening by paying homage to her “mentor” and duet partner, Tony Bennett.  

Lang is not just a singer, but a grand performer.   She fills the stage with her diva presence; she dances, jokes and banters with the audience: “They’ll be no hate’in here tonight” she said, with a smile on her face. Lang, 50, is best known for her 1992 hit “Constant Craving,” which won her a Grammy for best pop vocal performance. In 1989, she shared a Grammy with Roy Orbison for their collaboration on “Crying” and won for best female country vocal performance for her album “Absolute Torch and Twang.” In 2003, she and Tony Bennett won the Grammy for best traditional pop vocal for their standards CD, “A Wonderful World.”

“The Siss Boom Bang – they bring an extra-special zest to the record, performing it live in the studio,” she said in a video interview for Australia’s Art Nation. “The collaborative energy of having six people involved is really important. Plus, the songwriting process was really, really fun and superfast, so the momentum of the record seemed to gather steam and never peter out. It all happened very fast. We went into the studio with a session booked. The second we started recording, it was obvious there was something special about the group of people. After three days, we recorded eight songs. The band was integral to the sound of the record, so I just thought in all fairness it was k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang because they were so much a part of the record.”

So even though on this rainy Labor Day we feel summer slipping away, only a hour’s ride away is the ocean, the boardwalk, and the Borgata Hotel with a fabulous line-up of cultural events this season.

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
One Borgata Way
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
General Information: 1 609 317 1000
[email protected]