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Two Jews, One District

Sherman and Berman vie for Sherman (Oaks)

Marc Tracy
August 31, 2011
A Jewish Journal cartoon about the nascent race.(Steve GreenbergJewish Journal)
A Jewish Journal cartoon about the nascent race.(Steve GreenbergJewish Journal)

California redistricting has placed Democratic Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman in a single district in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley (better known as, y’know, the Valley), including the in this case hilariously named town of Sherman Oaks. And so far, it looks as though both are prepared to run for re-election next November, and theoretically in an earlier primary. As Jewish Journal explains, the way they will split donor money and votes and general momentum is not, as they say, good for the Jews (even if it is for their party: the new district is solidly Democratic, and the other new district, in the East Valley, is overwhelmingly Latino and also Democratic).

So who is The Scroll’s official candidate? Normally, when deciding such matters, we just figure out who the Jew is and root for him or her. If there is more than one Jew, we root for whichever one has a name that comes closest to ending in -erman. So you can see how this could be a hard one.

That said, it is telling that while Sherman has proudly announced several low- and mid-level endorsements thus far, Berman has essentially kept quiet, while enjoying the endorsement of his fellow L.A. Jewish Democratic congressman Henry Waxman. The fact is, Berman has been in Congress longer, and in addition, as former chairman and now ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, has been unusually influential—particularly on matters related to Israel, of which he is a staunch supporter. Of course, Sherman is pro-Israel as well (although he recently met with the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” group J Street, which could represent among other things the correct political calculation that he could never match up to Berman in sheer pro-Israel bona fides). And if Sherman’s eight years in office are no match for Berman’s 18, well, he’s younger.

Really, it’s a lot like the Mideast impasse: a tragic tale of two people who both possess legitimate claims to one land between the river and the sea. The only difference being that the Jordan, unlike the L.A., actually has water in it.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.