Friday, October 24, 2008

Post-Party Recap!

We are thrilled to report that approximately 1300 people across the U.S. came out to our Debate Watch parties on Tuesday night, October 7th for the town hall style presidential debate. Thank YOU to everyone who showed up and shared your enthusiasm for the upcoming election with your peers! Among the many highlights, it was clear that civic passion hung thick in the air at each party space as the rooms buzzed with election talk, voter registration, specialty drinks (like the Roshatini), and the views of engaging speakers, then got quiet as the candidates faced the nation and the questions of undecided voters. Please see below for just a few photos and insider scoops from some of the cities – and check back later for more stories and photos, coming soon!

Where Were You?


Elana Kieffer says:
Boston's Debate Watching Party in the heart of Harvard Square was a smashing success. We had well over 250 young adults filling the private floor of Tommy Doyle's bar and watching the debate on 20 TV screens. Amid photographs of past presidents and blue and red streamers, we schmoozed, ate, talked politics, and cheered and jeered for our candidates. We talked about pressing MA ballot initiatives and provided ample opportunities for attendees to remain active in the political scene. We played election trivia and gave out "VOTE" soap to the winner. The highlight of the evening was playing debate bingo, marking off terms like "across the aisle" and "Main Street". All in all, we had a fun and informative evening and just wished that we were having a similar event on November 4th!

Jill Lofchie adds:
Though political engagement varied among the quests, all seemed to highly enjoy the event. I know some of the candidates' comments agitated the guests and spurred conversation at the event, which will hopefully lead to increased knowledge and political activism among the attendees.

Mingling at Tommy Doyle's


Hollen Reischer writes:
Over 100 young Jewish Chicagoans came together on October 7th to watch Obama and McCain square off on the issues. The bustling group braved an awful downpour for the opportunity to squash into a private room at Ginger's Ale House. Our numbers were so strong that we spilled out of our space, claiming nearly every seat at the sprawling bar. After inspiring introductions by Righteous Indignation Project party-organizer-extraordinaire Julia Leis and representatives Jane Ramsey and Sam Finkelstein from the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, the crowd enjoyed conversation over delicious drinks and scrumptious snacks. Party attendees were respectful, engaged, and enthusiastic about coming together in the name of civic engagement. A fantastic time was had by all; it was wonderful to see such a strong and diverse group present for the significant evening.


Photos by Joanie LaPorte

Debate onscreen at the Red Derby

Map for attendees to meet other voters in their district

Overflow crowd watching outside the bar

Los Angeles

Lisa Warshaw writes:
Progressive minds merged to savor the flavor of Mama’s Hot Tamales and digest a dose of debate in Los Angeles. Saucy questions were served with salsa dripped over hand rolled tamales as both presidential candidates debated the future America craves. As candidates discussed economics and foreign policy, more than 125 people packed into Mama’s Hot Tamales Cafe enjoying empanadas. Mama’s is a locale that represents the true spirit of American society. This restaurant serves as a business training facility that not only offers independent food vendors a co-op like kitchen for safe food preparation, but is also a neighborhood revitalization program for low-to-moderate income immigrant populations in Central Los Angeles—the perfect location to celebrate the culture of LA’s own economy and cross-cultural contexts. The event boasted a vibrant setting where engaged Angelinos discussed upcoming local ballot measures, including Proposition 8 – the marriage equality act, and who ‘won’ the town-hall style debate.

New York

Photos by Miriam Fogelson

Shira Levine reports:
It was cool to see the enthusiasm everyone shared in wanting to witness historic dialogue and debate in a public forum rather than in the comforts of their homes with a select few friends or
alone with the remote, volume and rewind button control and DVR.

The crowd at Galapagos Art Space

"But it wasn't simply a get together to watch the debates," said Randi Greenberg, a web editor at Metropolis. "The panel that preceded the debate consisted of well-chosen experts who explained what would be the main points of discussion in the televised debate."

The issue debriefing was a favorite for many. "The pre-debate panelists were super informative," said Shirley Politzer, a Jewish educator. "It was very helpful to hear their insight right before the debate began."

L to R: Panelists Sara Horowitz (Freelancers Union), Anya Kamentz (Yahoo! Finance/Fast Company magazine), and Daniel Kurtz Phelan (Foreign Affairs magazine) discuss the issues with moderator Jonathan Tepperman (Newsweek International)

For Greenberg it was different. "It's nice to watch the debates with like-minded peers and it was a good time for me to discover other causes too."

Many people didn't think 300 people watching the debates together would work. But a room full of opinionated global citizens is also a pack of conscientious folk who for the most part knew when to shut-up. Bingo also went over well. People were psyched to keep track of McCain and Obama's overused rhetoric. So did the side screen of questions guests hypothetically created for the candidates. In all, Debate Watch ended up a nice marriage of different organizations collaborating on ideas and ideals.

To see more NY photos by Miriam Fogelson, please click here. To see photos by Anna Schwartz, please click here.

San Francisco

Photos by Michael Hauser

Gathering at Jillian's

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Where Will You Be?

Head to the Debate Watch Party in your city on October 7th!


If you have not yet registered, there will be walk-in registration at the door at each party.

On October 7, 2008 millions of viewers will tune into the second U.S. Presidential Debate. Where will you be? Join us as we come together 1,000-strong across the nation to hear Democracy roar on the big screen. Watch history in the making and show solidarity with others committed to making change in the coming year.

Boston, 7:30pm, Tommy Doyle’s Harvard Square Details here

Chicago, 7pm, Ginger's Ale House Details here

Los Angeles, 6pm, Mama’s Hot Tamales Details here

New York, 7pm, Galapagos Art Space Details here

San Francisco, 6pm, Jillian’s at the Metreon Details here

Washington, D.C., 7pm, The Red Derby Details here

Events will include a combination of speakers, election trivia, local social justice opportunities, voter registration tables, and more!

Hosted by the AJWS-AVODAH Partnership and our regional partners:

Boston: Gesher City, Moishe/Kavod House, Jewish Alliance for Law & Social Action. Chicago: Righteous Indignation Project. DC: Moishe House DC & SS, Jews United for Justice. LA: Progressive Jewish Alliance. NY: BYFI - Bronfman Youth Fellowships, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice. SF: Progressive Jewish Alliance, The Hub at JCCSF, Congregation Emanu-El Young Adult Community.

Co-sponsored by: National: BYFI - Bronfman Youth Fellowships, Hazon, JDub Records, Jewish Funds for Justice, Panim, Professional Leaders Project. Boston: Charles River Beit Midrash, Harvard & MIT Hillel, Hebrew College, Jewish Organizing Initiative, Keshet, Workman’s Circle. Chicago: JCUA Associate Division, Moishe House Chicago, and Sidney N. Shure Kehilla Program. DC: EntryPointDC Gesher City, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society Young Leaders. LA: IKAR, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Temple Israel of Hollywood Chailights, Jewish World Watch, Jewish Federation's New Leaders Project, 30 Years After, Birthright Israel NEXT, Temple Isaiah, Silverlake Independent JCC. NY: Brooklyn Jews, Congregation B'nai Jeshurun, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society Young Leaders, New Israel Fund’s New Generations, Uri L'Tzedek, Village GAP: Jewish Grads And young Professionals at NYU. SF: LGBT Alliance of the Jewish Community Federation, Young Adults Division of the Jewish Community Federation, 510: Calling All East Bay Jews, and Jewish Community Relations Council.

AJWS and AVODAH are tax-exempt organizations under the Internal Revenue Code and as such they do not engage in propaganda, influence legislation, or participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office. This is a non-political, and thus non-partisan, event that promotes AJWS and AVODAH's mission of advancing social justice.