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Behind the Aegis

(54,078 posts)
Tue May 14, 2024, 08:55 PM Tuesday

(Jewish Group) This Jewish Gen-Z-er wants to be the next progressive pro-Israel congressman

At least twice while campaigning in the small towns of the western stretch of Maryland’s 6th District, Joe Vogel headed to Shabbat services.

Synagogues in Cumberland and Frederick were only too happy to accommodate when his campaign called ahead and said the Jewish candidate wanted to stop by on a Saturday morning. In fact, the Frederick congregation had a favor to ask of the young elected official: Could he lift up a Torah scroll?

“It’s a slightly older congregation and they needed someone that could do the hagbah,” recalled Vogel, 27, referring to the delicate-yet-daunting act of lifting the Torah scroll by its poles and displaying it to the congregation. “I had not done that since my Bar Mitzvah. I was a little nervous to drop the Torah in front of, you know, a few dozen folks.”

Under Jewish tradition, dropping the Torah could require fasting. For Vogel, who won his seat in the state house in 2022 at age 25, making him the youngest delegate ever elected, an accident could cost votes, too. But the Jewish day school graduate pulled the feat off, continuing his campaign without incident.

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