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John Kerry Has Jewish Roots-- Who Knew?
Jewish Telegraphic Agency ^ | 2/03/03 | PETER EPHROSS

Posted on 01/22/2004 3:35:10 PM PST by Lady GOP

NEW YORK -- First it was then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Next it was Gen. Wesley Clark, the supreme allied commander of NATO during the war in Kosovo.

Now it's Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry whose Jewish roots are being reported.

Kerry? The Massachusetts senator, the quintessential WASP-y looking politician with an Irish-sounding name?

Yup.

Two of Kerry's grandparents were Jewish, it turns out.

Kerry, who is a practicing Catholic, said he has known for 15 years that his paternal grandmother was Jewish, but had unsuccessfully searched for news of his paternal grandfather's roots.

However, a genealogist hired by the Boston Globe found that Kerry's grandfather was born to a Jewish family in a small town in the Czech Republic.

"This is incredible stuff," Kerry told the Globe. "I think it is more than interesting. It is a revelation."

The records show that his grandfather, Frederick Kerry, was born as Fritz Kohn. He changed his name to Kerry in 1902, immigrated to the United States in 1905 -- and committed suicide in a Boston hotel in 1921.

Frederick Kerry's story highlights the Jewish experience of earlier generations, Brandeis University professor Jonathan Sarna said.

"What we are realizing is how significant was the trend toward conversion and abandonment of Judaism, for the sake of upward mobility, in an earlier era of America," said Sarna, the Braun professor of American Jewish history at

the school in Waltham, Mass. "Given the quite significant anti-Semitism of the early 20th century and the evident obstacles that stood in the path to success, people simply changed their names and sloughed off their Judaism."

But that path wasn't always successful, Sarna said.

Kerry's grandfather's suicide apparently stemmed from financial troubles. But one could wonder if, by changing his name and identity, the man had cut himself off from any sense of community, Sarna said.

The Kerry story also might hold lessons for the present and future makeup of American Jewry, Sarna said. According to current statistics, millions of Americans like Kerry may have Jewish roots but don't consider themselves Jewish.

Of course, several people contact the American Jewish Historical Society every year asking for help in their search for Jewish roots.

The e-mails usually run along the lines of, "My name is Kelly Smith, but my grandmother's name was Sara Goldstein," said Michael Feldberg, the executive director of the historical society, which is based in New York.

Kerry said he had asked cousins and searched on the Internet, but had found only bits of information on his family history.

The news does not appear to have major political ramifications.

There was an initial hubbub when Albright, secretary of state in the Clinton administration, learned in 1997 that three of her four grandparents were Jewish.

The next time she was in Prague, Albright visited the Pinkas Synagogue, where the names of her paternal grandparents are inscribed on a wall among thousands of Czech Jews who died in the Holocaust.

Observers say the revelation about Kerry is unlikely to affect the 2004 presidential race.

"There's no question there's a lot of pride in a Jewish candidate and pride in family Jewish connections, but the American Jewish community is fairly mature in its political behavior," said Ira Forman, the executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council.

As far as non-Jews go, "had it come out in 1953 instead of 2003, it would have been fatal to his presidential ambitions," Feldberg said, but not in today's world.

Kerry's revelation adds another Jewish flavor to the 2004 race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), who declared last month that he will seek the nomination, is an observant Jew.

Another contender, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, is married to a Jewish woman and is raising his children as Jews.

JTA correspondent Matthew E. Berger in Washington contributed to this report.


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: 2004; elections; kerry
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Retread but interesting.
1 posted on 01/22/2004 3:35:11 PM PST by Lady GOP
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To: Lady GOP
He's also French - not Austrian.
The aforementioned suicidal grandfather is French.
I would vote for Al Sharpton before I would vote for the filthy Frency.
2 posted on 01/22/2004 3:38:03 PM PST by mabelkitty
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To: Lady GOP
Who knew? Who cares!

On the other hand his Vietnam Vets Against the War activities, his false testimony to congress about atrocities and his collaboration with East German communists are not mentioned in anyone's campaign.

How odd.

3 posted on 01/22/2004 3:38:18 PM PST by pfflier
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To: Lady GOP
What a coinkeedinkee! Hildabeast "discovered" her own Jewish roots when she was trying to win her Senate race. Seems like dems really do want to butter up the Jewish population during election years. Now all John Kerry needs to do is find his black and hispanic ancestors to sew up the election.
4 posted on 01/22/2004 3:43:51 PM PST by passionfruit (passionate about my politics, and from the land of fruits and nuts)
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To: Lady GOP
Good thing he managed to get Jewish grandparents in time for the New York and Florida primaries.

By the way... if his paternal grandmother was Jewish, then so was his father, by definition, at least at birth. If this is a genuine story, why is there no mention of his father being Jewish?

Call me cynical, but I smell a political ploy.
5 posted on 01/22/2004 3:44:44 PM PST by thoughtomator ("I will do whatever the Americans want because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid"-Qadafi)
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To: passionfruit
Not much talk about this. Hadnt heard he was French either.
6 posted on 01/22/2004 3:46:40 PM PST by Lady GOP
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To: thoughtomator
Good thing he managed to get Jewish grandparents in time for the New York and Florida primaries.

Nah if anything hed be trying to downplay it. This may well cost him votes.

7 posted on 01/22/2004 3:49:02 PM PST by Lady GOP
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To: Lady GOP
But, we ALL know that he IS a Viet Nam veteran war hero!
8 posted on 01/22/2004 3:50:41 PM PST by Howie66 ("America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people.")
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: passionfruit
I wonder if Kerry and Hitlery are cousins?
10 posted on 01/22/2004 3:51:33 PM PST by TommyDale
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To: Lady GOP
In addition to having "discovered" his Jewish roots, I think I recall Senator Kerry mentioning that he served in Viet Nam. I could be wrong on this, however.
11 posted on 01/22/2004 3:51:53 PM PST by southernnorthcarolina (How 'bout those CAROLINA PANTHERS!)
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To: pfflier
Well as an Irish American, it is interesting that his name does not match his real roots.
12 posted on 01/22/2004 3:52:53 PM PST by WOSG (I don't want the GOP to become a circular firing squad and the Socialist Democrats a majority.)
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To: Lady GOP
I can't understand why Madeline and Kerry have lied about their ancestors. Having Jewish ancestors is certainly noting to be ashamed of.

What did Clark lie about?

13 posted on 01/22/2004 3:53:02 PM PST by Dante3
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To: southernnorthcarolina
Gee youre really up on things, huh?
14 posted on 01/22/2004 3:53:17 PM PST by Lady GOP
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To: Lady GOP
I doubt it this will cost him a single vote, in the net, and will probably gain him a few thousand in key states, which IMHO is the whole point of this (likely fabricated) exercise.
15 posted on 01/22/2004 3:53:40 PM PST by thoughtomator ("I will do whatever the Americans want because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid"-Qadafi)
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To: thoughtomator
" By the way... if his paternal grandmother was Jewish, then so was his father, by definition, at least at birth. If this is a genuine story, why is there no mention of his father being Jewish? "

I'm with you. How hard would it have been for Master John to say, " Father,if we're Irish,how come we don't celebrate St Patrick's Day and why does Grandmother speak Yiddish ? " Either Kerry is extremely thick or he tried to hide his background. This doesn't pass the smell test.
16 posted on 01/22/2004 3:54:20 PM PST by Wild Irish Rogue
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To: TommyDale
I wonder if Kerry and Hitlery are cousins?

Holy cow, does that make our Vietnam Vet an FJB? Aggghh, the horror...

17 posted on 01/22/2004 3:55:30 PM PST by glock rocks (molon labe)
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To: mabelkitty
The next thing you know, we'll be informed that he served in Vietnam or something like that. I heard somewhere that he served.
18 posted on 01/22/2004 3:55:42 PM PST by GOPyouth (De Oppresso Liber! The Tyrant is captured!)
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To: Lady GOP
Kerry, who is a practicing Catholic....

Bullocks.

19 posted on 01/22/2004 3:55:50 PM PST by Petronski (I'm *NOT* always *CRANKY.*)
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To: Lady GOP
paternal grandmother was Jewish,

Tell the Goy that Jewishness is not handed down through your fathers side, it is handed down through your mothers side.
20 posted on 01/22/2004 3:57:25 PM PST by johnb838 (Write-In Tancredo in your Republican Primary)
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To: Petronski
Kerry, who is a practicing Catholic....

Lemme guess another proabortion Catholic

21 posted on 01/22/2004 3:57:44 PM PST by Lady GOP
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To: Wild Irish Rogue
So, cut the boy some slack... what's he to know kreplach from cabbage, eh? besides, he looks so french. or equine. or something.
22 posted on 01/22/2004 3:59:04 PM PST by glock rocks (molon labe)
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To: glock rocks
or equine. or something.

Yes that certain anatomically correct part of the horse.

23 posted on 01/22/2004 4:01:03 PM PST by Lady GOP
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To: Lady GOP
LOL!

well that and the long face :o)
24 posted on 01/22/2004 4:01:38 PM PST by glock rocks (molon labe)
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Comment #25 Removed by Moderator

Comment #26 Removed by Moderator

To: Lady GOP
I think he served in the armed services too - I may be wrong ---
27 posted on 01/22/2004 4:09:16 PM PST by Republicus2001
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To: johnb838
"Jewishness is not handed down through your fathers side"

Then perhaps he should instead claim that his grandfather was black and co-opt another minority. Or maybe gay would be better. How about a black gay Jew?

28 posted on 01/22/2004 4:10:40 PM PST by bayourod ( Dean's anti-terrorism plan: "treat people with respect and they will treat you with respect"12/1/03)
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To: Lady GOP
We expect lies and misrepresentations from the left. It's their coda.
29 posted on 01/22/2004 4:24:27 PM PST by OldFriend (Always understand, even if you remain among the few)
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To: Lady GOP
"...but the American Jewish community is fairly mature in its political behavior,"

Not if it votes demonrat!
30 posted on 01/22/2004 4:30:01 PM PST by SwinneySwitch (Freedom isn't Free! Support those who ensure it.)
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To: SwinneySwitch
For general, a quick change in battle plans Kerry, Edwards seen as new foes By Joanna Weiss, Globe Staff, 1/22/2004

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- As much as retired Army General Wesley K. Clark might want to avoid the issue, it confronts him at every turn: For him, this has turned into a race between the general and the lieutenant-turned-senator.

After Monday night's surprising Iowa caucus returns, Clark and his aides had to prepare for a scenario they hadn't anticipated: The old putative front-runner, non-veteran Howard Dean, had been replaced by a new one, veteran John F. Kerry.

While Senator John Edwards languished low in the New Hampshire polls for months, his second-place Iowa finish makes him, too, a Granite State factor.

So now, buried between the lines of Clark's stump speeches and appearances, comes a new message: He embodies Kerry's national security credibility and Edwards's Southern background.

"I'm that package all in one vote," Clark said at a press conference in Portsmouth. "I'm a veteran. I've worked in leadership at the highest levels of government . . . I'm from the South, my mother was a secretary." Clark invited the Kerry comparison in a series of veterans-related events yesterday that his aides said had been planned long in advance.

He attended a "Veterans for Clark" press conference in Portsmouth in the early afternoon and held a town hall-style meeting at an American Legion post in Rochester in the evening.

Last night at another such event, Brian Hardy, a VFW post commander from Littleton, N.H., while introducing Clark, harshly criticized Kerry, saying the senator had had "an extreme makeover" from a life of "privilege and wealth to being a man of the people."

Hardy, a former Dean supporter, called Kerry "one of a long line of presidential pretenders from New England who ran and failed."

Clark campaign officials quickly distanced themselves from Hardy's attack. Matt Bennett, Clark's communications director, said: "We did not know he was going to say that, and if we knew we would have asked him not to." Clark himself told the crowd he disagreed with Hardy's statement and considered Kerry "a distinguished senator."

In every encounter with the press this week, Clark has been asked to compare himself with Kerry. Asked about Kerry's military rank at a press conference at his Manchester headquarters later that night, Clark said, "It's one thing to be a hero as a junior officer. He's done that, and I respect him for that. He's been a good senator. But I've had the military leadership at the top as well as the bottom."In less strained moments, Clark tries to shift the subject to the specific experience he gained as he rose through the military. "I'm not trying to draw a distinction between my rank and Senator Kerry's," Clark said in Portsmouth. "We were both young officers in Vietnam. We both pursued different paths of public service."

Instead, he emphasized his experience helping to negotiate the Dayton Accords in Bosnia and leading NATO's war in Kosovo.

"We need a leader who's been on the front lines of battle and in the backrooms of diplomacy," he said in a speech about Iraq at the University of New Hampshire.

Still, for several veterans who declared their loyalty to Clark yesterday, his perceived electability was his most important asset.

"John Kerry cannot win below the Mason-Dixon Line. Clark can conceivably take Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, and West Virginia," said Gene A. Friedman, 87, a World War II veteran. "John Kerry has great credentials, and he has good military credentials, but he's a Massachusetts liberal."

Joanna Weiss can be reached at weiss@globe.com.

Just pulled this off Drudge

31 posted on 01/22/2004 4:40:10 PM PST by Lady GOP
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To: Lady GOP
I thought he had grey roots.
32 posted on 01/22/2004 6:30:13 PM PST by Paleo Conservative (Do not remove this tag under penalty of law.)
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To: Lady GOP
John Kerry Has Jewish Roots-- Who Knew?

Why should I care? It's freaking embarrassing to me, as a Jew, that self-proclaimed "Jewish" news sources like JTA and the old-timey bolshevik "The Forward" think this is something important.

33 posted on 01/22/2004 6:33:51 PM PST by Alouette (I chose to NOT have an abortion -- 9 times.)
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To: Lady GOP
Oddly, most Jews who change their names in the entertainment business change them to Irish names.
34 posted on 01/22/2004 6:35:53 PM PST by AppyPappy (If You're Not A Part Of The Solution, There's Good Money To Be Made In Prolonging The Problem.)
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To: passionfruit
"Now all John Kerry needs to do is find his black and hispanic ancestors to sew up the election."

His blonde wife probably has black roots.
35 posted on 01/22/2004 6:36:23 PM PST by billhilly (If you're lurking here from DU, I trust this post will make you sick)
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To: Lady GOP
Reminds me of that story two weeks ago, where Wes Clark whispered to someone 'I'm half Jewish' as if it was some kind of secret, or something that should be on the 'QT.' Strange.
36 posted on 01/22/2004 6:37:32 PM PST by HitmanLV (I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.)
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To: AppyPappy
"Oddly, most Jews who change their names in the entertainment business change them to Irish names"

Like Sammy Davis, Jr.
37 posted on 01/22/2004 6:42:12 PM PST by billhilly (If you're lurking here from DU, I trust this post will make you sick)
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To: Paleo Conservative
On the debate the only one that seems to be likable is Lieberman and sadly hes starting to resemble a drunken clown.
38 posted on 01/22/2004 6:48:35 PM PST by Lady GOP
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To: bayourod
How about a black gay jew

Sammy Davis Jr.?

p.s. I know he wasn't gay
39 posted on 01/23/2004 6:49:40 AM PST by johnb838 (Write-In Tancredo in your Republican Primary)
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To: johnb838
"How about a black gay jew

Sammy Davis Jr.?

p.s. I know he wasn't gay"

What about his brother, Bruce?

40 posted on 01/23/2004 6:54:12 AM PST by exile (Exile - Helen Thomas tried to lure me into her Gingerbread House.)
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To: Dante3
I can't understand why Madeline and Kerry have lied about their ancestors.

I don't buy for a minute that Albright and Kerry discovered late in life that they were Jewish. I am positive they knew it from the get-go. Notice how Kerry claimed that he found out his grandmother was Jewish 15 years ago (actually it was probably from childhood) yet his ex-wife says their kids only learned recently about their Jewish roots after the newspaper story about it last year. Also didn't Kerry's father have the LEAST BIT OF CURIOUSITY about why his last name was Kerry yet his parents spoke in distinctly NON-IRISH accents? Believe me, John F-ing Kerry knew about his roots for at least the past 50 years.

41 posted on 01/23/2004 6:23:22 PM PST by PJ-Comix (Saddam Hussein was only 537 Florida votes away from still being in power)
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To: Wild Irish Rogue
I'm with you. How hard would it have been for Master John to say, " Father,if we're Irish,how come we don't celebrate St Patrick's Day and why does Grandmother speak Yiddish ? " Either Kerry is extremely thick or he tried to hide his background. This doesn't pass the smell test.

BINGO!

42 posted on 01/23/2004 6:27:35 PM PST by PJ-Comix (Saddam Hussein was only 537 Florida votes away from still being in power)
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To: Lady GOP
Having descended from Adam and Eve don't we all have Jewish roots? Or were Adam and Eve Christian and nudists as the cat proposed on another thread not too long ago?
43 posted on 01/23/2004 6:29:18 PM PST by Revolting cat! ("In the end, nothing explains anything!")
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To: AppyPappy
Oddly, most Jews who change their names in the entertainment business change them to Irish names.

Like Whoopi Goldberg!

44 posted on 01/23/2004 6:31:04 PM PST by Revolting cat! ("In the end, nothing explains anything!")
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To: PJ-Comix
Kerry is such a liar. Just like the medals he threw away turned out to belong to someone else. At the debate he reminded me of the Grim Reaper. He and Clark are creepy.
45 posted on 01/23/2004 6:42:56 PM PST by Dante3
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To: Dante3
One other element in all this. When Ketchup Boy was at Yale, you had to be a Blueblood (WASP) to be member of the elite Skull & Bones (at least back then). If they had known that Kerry was Jewish on his father's side, NO Skull & Bones. As a matter of fact, back then Kerry would have been excluded from a lot of other organizations and schools such as his exclusive boarding schools because of his background. I can can absolutely guarantee you that Ketchup Boy DID know about his REAL background from his early youth but hid it in order to keep his affiliation with the elite organizations and his lofty place in society.

Hmmm....Let's see---Your last name is Kerry in heavily Irish (and ethnocentric) Boston yet your Dad (who remembers his parents speaking in distinctly non-Irish accents) tells you that you're NOT Irish. So we are to believe that Kerry (a snob) had absolutely NO CURIOUSITY about his background? I mean hardly a week would go by in Boston that somebody wouldn't hear his last name and say something like, "Oh, you're Irish?" So what did Kerry reply? "No, I'm not." To which the NATURAL response would be, "So what are you doing with an Irish last name?" And in ALL that time, we are to believe that Kerry didn't have the least bit of curiousity about how he had an Irish last name but was not Irish? I mean the obvious thought to even somebody who isn't a snob would be "Okay, I have an Irish name but I'm not Irish. So WHAT am I and how did I get the Irish moniker?"


46 posted on 02/02/2004 4:58:07 AM PST by PJ-Comix (Saddam Hussein was only 537 Florida votes away from still being in power)
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To: Lady GOP
Not a very smart man Kerry. Should have kept this news under cover. Hopefully it will cost him some votes, but not much since Jews are a numerical minority.
47 posted on 02/02/2004 5:19:10 AM PST by labolarueda ("It is as it was")
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To: Lady GOP
Obviously trying to get the Jewish vote. Next week, he'll probably have a black aunt and uncle. The following week he'll have a hispanic great grandparent. Next he'll have gay nieces and nephews. Well that should cover it!
48 posted on 02/02/2004 5:21:11 AM PST by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: passionfruit
What a coinkeedinkee! Hildabeast "discovered" her own Jewish roots when she was trying to win her Senate race.

Precisely what I was thinking ... She's about as Jewish as a sauerkraut.
49 posted on 02/02/2004 5:22:26 AM PST by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: nmh
I think you're missing the point. Kerry didn't want it known that he was Jewish on his father's side but it came out because he attracted closer scrutiny due to his presidential bid. Kerry claims that he knew his grandmother was Jewish for the past 15 years but had absolutely no idea about his grandfather (Ketchup Boy wants us to believe he was too stupid to connect the OBVIOUS dots). Also Ketchup Boy's first rich wife said she was surprised to learn that her kids with Kerry were of Jewish background only AFTER the info about Kerry's Kohn grandpa were revealed last year. So, despite the fact that Kerry knew about his grandmother being Jewish (and I'm sure he knew all about his grandpa as well from early youth) he NEVER informed his own children about this, despite his claim about knowing of her background for 15 years. Could we call this Kerry's Kosher Koverup?
50 posted on 02/02/2004 5:48:20 AM PST by PJ-Comix (Saddam Hussein was only 537 Florida votes away from still being in power)
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