Marine, Jew and Republican Senator?

September 17, 2011 9:14 pm 7 comments

Josh Mandel

Living and working inside the Washington beltway affords me the opportunity to meet a broad mix of interesting people. A few weeks ago I was invited to attend a meet-and-greet for Josh Mandel, a Republican hopeful for the Ohio Senate seat. To my pleasant surprise, the event was not another run-of-the-mill DC fundraiser, but rather an opportunity for Mandel, a Jewish Republican, to meet some of the more active Jewish Republicans in the DC area.

When I first met Josh, I thought I was looking at a Congressional Intern, as he is 33 years old and looks considerably younger. However, Josh’s youthful façade belies an incredibly compelling and a surprisingly expansive professional and personal story, one that is deeply rooted in his Jewish identity and his passion to serve his state and his country.

In Josh’s subsequent phone interview with The Algemeiner we discussed his motivation for his US Senate bid, his experience as a Jewish combat veteran, and why he would be a better Senator than the incumbent, Sherrod Brown, among other issues.

Josh’s grandparents were Holocaust survivors, who lost most of their loved ones at the hands of the Nazis. On the other side of his family, his grandfather was born and raised in America and instilled a respect for military service in Josh. In addition, his grandmother and her three siblings were hidden in Torino, Italy during the Holocaust by a Christian family. This is, in part, why Josh believes the pro-Israel population should actively welcome the Christian community’s robust support.

His family history inspired him to enlist in the Marine Corps where he served two tours of duty in Iraq. When President Bush announced the Surge campaign in 2007, Josh volunteered to return to Iraq, hoping to help rescue Operation Iraqi Freedom from possible failure. His unit was sent to the Iraqi/Syrian border where they worked to stop the flow of Syrian troops and arms into Iraq. To say Josh Mandel is aware of the security and cultural environment in the Middle East would be a vast understatement. In fact, he and his wife were married in Jerusalem under the cross-swords of US Marines.

Throughout our discussion, Josh continually stressed his lifelong commitment to serve the people of his home state of Ohio and how proud he is of his Midwestern roots. His commitment to service is reflected not only in his military service but also through his elected positions in Ohio state government.  At 33 years old Josh has already held the positions of City Councilman, State Legislature and State Treasurer.

We also discussed the nature of the Jewish voter in the United States. It is clear Josh feels his Democratic opponent is not a strong friend of Israel and does not deserve the support of voters who care about this issue. He referenced the backing Sherrod Brown has given to J-Street, even after most members of Congress began to distance themselves from the controversial organization. In fact, if one were to visit the J-Street website, one would see a formal endorsement of Senator Brown.  For those not familiar with J Street, it is an organization dedicated to changing the US/Israel relationship to make it more “balanced” and less pro-Israel.

I found myself encouraged listening to Josh, and I saw perhaps a glimmer of hope. Josh Mandel is no long shot. He has already raised more money than the incumbent Senator and is now being exposed to the entire state of Ohio and the broader Republican world. His fundraising efforts will only improve and his current 10+ point deficit will likely shrink fast. However, it is a long way until November 2012 and Josh will need all the support he can muster to knock off a Senator who is well known throughout the state. Nevertheless, with an anti-incumbent mood permeating the nation, Josh may very well pull it off.

7 Comments

  • charlie johnson

    He has all the qualifications that deem vital to represent the people of the USA. If he gets elected he will be sent among a large crowd of people who have a desire to get rich and conspire to enslave the people of our nation.Namely the kind he served with in battle. The politicians will consider him an outcast that does not play well with others. He put his life on the line for our country more than his obligations required.

  • Antonia Blake

    Josh Mandel has been endorsed by Conservative, Senator Jim DeMint. He is not just a “pretty face”, he is doing an outstanding job as State Treasurer, with the complete mess left behind by the Strickland Administration.
    His drive for seeking the office of U.S. Senator is generated from his deeply committed values to love, honor and uphold liberty and freedom. He has met the “tip of the sword” in battle and has not reliquished those treasured values, but gave every ounce,keeping the mission before himself at all times. We are very happy here in Ohio to have the opportunity to elect this brave, good and principled man to the U. S Sentate. As an Officer in the U. S. Army Nurse Corps. I am confident that his intentions are honorable and true. Ohio has a chance now, finally, to have a principled, conservative, one who will lead in our struggle to save our country in these difficult times.

  • J Street is partialy financed and influenced by the Saudis.http://israelmatzav.blogspot.com/2009/12/j-streets-saudi-connection.html .

  • The article is nice but Mr. Mandel has yet to take a firm stance in support of Israel. You may have gotten a “nice” impression of him but there is still a shadow surrounding his run. Mr. Gregory, Rusty Bliss, an airline captain and maybe even black sheep state senator Kevin Coughlin stand a better chance. All of the candidates will take aim at Mandel’s shady campaign ethics and it’s no lock, especially when his camp has stated that even a “loss to Brown” sets him up nicely down the road. NOT real nice.

  • warrencountyvoter

    Me and many voters in Warren county feel Josh Mandel is using the people of our great state as a stepping stone for his personal gain. Fundraising does not mean everything and the person with the most money does not always get elected. All of Josh Mandel’s endorsements are from people jumping on his fundraising band wagon. All his fundraising comes from his families contacts not because he is great. I have seen him speak and he did not impress me at all he seemed like just another republican pawn. I recently had a chance to hear Republican Eric LaMont Gregory also running for US Senate for the state of Ohio in 2012 speak and this man was impressive. He studied in Israel and speaks hebrew along with three other languages other than english. Look into him http://www.theoxfordscientist.com you will be very impressed. Let’s make sure we get the best man for the job not just the man with the most money!

    • Morgan Muchnick

      Thank you for the note and for taking the time to post a comment. Mr. Gregory does seem to be an impressive individual, regardless of his Hebrew skills. Whether good or bad, fundraising is a measure of political viability, which is why I discussed the issue in my piece. I would be happy to talk to Mr. Gregory as well if he is so inclined. I personally feel Josh has a very interesting story and as a writer, I enjoy telling interesting stories. Please feel free to have Mr. Gregory reach out to me at this site.

      Thanks again for your interest!

  • This is another superb article from Morgan Muchnick.
    He invariably gives the reader a fresh insight.
    Many thanks, Jack Segal

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Music US & Canada Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’ (VIDEO)

    Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’ (VIDEO)

    Pop superstar Lady Gaga on Thursday accepted an award from Jewish human rights group the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on behalf of her Born This Way Foundation, which strives to combat bullying among young people. “Your philosophies are so in line with ours,” she said of the ADL upon accepting the Making a Difference Award in a videotaped message, which was shown at a ceremony in New York City. “We want to help young people know that their feelings and who they are on [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities At 80, Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots ‘Very Much Intact’

    At 80, Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots ‘Very Much Intact’

    JNS.org – Eighty years young, Leonard Cohen fits many descriptions—singer, songwriter, poet, novelist, monk. From his Jewish upbringing in Canada to the present day, Cohen has always explored his spiritual side. This month, the singer-songwriter released the CD (May 12) and iTunes (on May 8 of this year) formats of his latest album, Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour, which features live recordings from his world tours in 2012 and 2013. Last year, Cohen’s Popular Problems was voted by Rolling Stone [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports FIFA Head Says Israel Should Not be Booted From World Soccer Association

    FIFA Head Says Israel Should Not be Booted From World Soccer Association

    JNS.org – Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) head Sepp Blatter said during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that contrary to Palestinian complaints, Israel has not violated any FIFA statutes and should not be suspended from international soccer’s governing body. “We should not come to one federation saying we will exclude them,” said Blatter, the Jerusalem Post reported. “If the national association is fulfilling its obligations then there is no need to intervene,” he said. “I’m on a [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Middle East Sports Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) said on Tuesday it was “appalled” by a Palestinian Football Association initiative to suspend Israel from FIFA, calling it another “front waged in the context of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign.” “We are appalled at the temerity of the Palestinan Football Association (PFA) demand that FIFA suspend Israel at your forthcoming Congress in Zurich,” wrote the group’s international relations director, Dr. Shimon Samuels, in a letter to FIFA President Joseph [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Star of Auschwitz Thriller Says ‘God Was Holding the Hand of Every Jew in the Gas Chamber’ (VIDEO)

    Star of Auschwitz Thriller Says ‘God Was Holding the Hand of Every Jew in the Gas Chamber’ (VIDEO)

    The lead actor in Son of Saul, an Auschwitz thriller featured at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, told the UK’s The Guardian that he believes God was “holding the hand” of each Jew who died in the Nazi gas chambers during the Holocaust. “I do not for one nanosecond like to pretend that God is off the hook. He could and should have stopped it at a much earlier stage,” Géza Röhrig, 48, said. ”But I would not be able to get [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Backstreet Boys Singer Howie D Gushes Over Masada During Israel Trip

    Backstreet Boys Singer Howie D Gushes Over Masada During Israel Trip

    Backstreet Boys singer Howie Dorough took to Instagram on Tuesday to marvel about climbing the famed Masada fortress with his band during their visit to Israel, where they will perform this week for the first time. The group’s second day of sightseeing in the Jewish state included the Masada hike, and taking a mud bath at the Dead Sea. A picture from the band’s official Twitter page shows the five singers covered in mud. While relaxing in the Dead Sea, [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews US & Canada ‘Arms and the Dudes:’ New Book, Film Detail How Ex-Orthodox Yeshiva Guys Became Top Suppliers for Afghan Army

    ‘Arms and the Dudes:’ New Book, Film Detail How Ex-Orthodox Yeshiva Guys Became Top Suppliers for Afghan Army

    A new book and its upcoming film adaptation tell the true story of how three former yeshiva students who habitually smoked marijuana scored a $300 million contract from the U.S. government to supply weapons for the Afghan Army, the New York Daily News reported on Sunday. Arms and the Dudes details how the Miami Beach potheads became “the most unlikely gunrunners in history,” according to the book’s author, investigative reporter Guy Lawson. The tale begins with Efraim Diveroli, nephew of [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater Natalie Portman: Israel-Themed ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness’ Not Political

    Natalie Portman: Israel-Themed ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness’ Not Political

    JNS.org – Natalie Portman, who directs and stars in the new Hebrew-language film adaptation of author Amos Oz’s A Tale of Love and Darkness, says that despite Oz’s record as a vocal left-wing critic of Israel, her film is not political. Like the book on which it is based, Portman’s film is about a young boy at the time of the founding of the state of Israel. “I think the movie is very much about this very particular, specific family story. Of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.