A Day at the White House

By DCJCC Preschool Teachers Xani Pollakoff, Kara Korengold and Tammy Schwartz

The helicopter was heard before we saw it. All the kids covered their little ears and their mouths dropped open. And suddenly, in the last weeks of school, our year came full circle.

To understand the power of the day we have to bring you on a journey from the third week of school to today.

If anyone had asked the teachers in the preschool’s youngest class if we would be talking about President Obama on a daily basis we would have laughed out loud. But during our first adventure outside the Center walls we saw a helicopter overhead (such is life in our nation’s capital)! One of the teachers shouted “Obama” at the helicopter and all the friends were hooked. Every time we saw a helicopter, all the friends would look up and shout, in unison “Obama”! During intentional play friends would call Helicopter Obama on their pretend phones. Many friends would draw helicopters, and some would event point to helicopters in transportation books and call it “Obama”.

To our friends, helicopters and President Obama were one and the same.

We spent months discussing the President, and through story telling, photographs and art projects the Etzim began to understand that “Obama” was a person with a dog named Bo who lived in a white house. (The concept of THE White House is still a little hard to grasp.)

On August 1, eight months after seeing that helicopter in the sky on our first venture to the park, the Etzim walked through the gates of the White House, hung out with Bo and got to watch President Obama board Marine One! The wind was strong. The noise was loud. But there he was and the Etzim blew kisses, yelled “Obama” and had an once in a lifetime experience.

But the day didn’t end there. Stay tuned to hear more about our adventure in the vegetable garden with Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses…

Shabbat Surfing: The Jewish Vote and Obama

Image from USA TODAY

While the four remaining GOP hopefuls are rallying supporters in South Carolina, President Obama and his supporters are ramping up his re-election campaign. Yesterday the Obama campaign ran its first television ad in six states, including swing states with significant Jewish voting populations. These voters in swing states are important to both Democrats and Republicans because Jews have historically voted at a higher rate than the general public and they are concentrated in states with a high number of electoral votes. As national voting trends shift and change, it leaves one to wonder: what about the Jewish voter? (“Jewish voter” being a monolithic entity and painted with broad brush strokes, of course).

In September Gallup released an analysis which concluded that “although Obama’s approval rating among Jewish Americans has been declining, it has generally declined no more than it has among all Americans.” Yesterday, news broke that some staffers at the Center for American Progress, a think tank closely associated with the White House, publicly used language that could be construed as anti-Israel or even anti-Semitic…potentially complicating the president’s reelection outreach to some Jewish voters. But, wait! President Obama traveled down the East Coast yesterday to announce executive orders to boost international tourism in Florida and the up the East Coast to attend some fundraisers, the first of which was with “about 100 Jewish supporters.”  Not so fast! Shmuel Rosner includes some great graphs and interesting explanations to unpack the question of  whether or not Jews are “trending Republican” in his post on Wednesday.

Is there anyone out there who can explain how Jewish voters feel about Obama and/or predict the group’s voting patterns in 2012? Maybe this post by Brent E. Sasley will clear things up.

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