DJOP is proud to announce the establishment of Jewish Students for Shapiro, an initiative we will continue to support through election day November 8

by Josh Portney, Penn State Student

Only 51.4% of registered voters in the 18-24 age bracket voted in the 2020 Presidential Election, which makes them the lowest turnout demographic by age. If we want to win in 2022, this needs to change. As a senior at Penn State, I am leading a new campus organizing effort called “Jewish Students for Shapiro” to do just that.

In the past few years, we’ve had our fair share of elections deemed by many as “the most important of our lifetimes.” From 2016 when a neofascist suggested that we jail his political opponent ahead of the election, to “true believers” running for congressional seats across the nation, to election deniers vying to get into office so they can rig future elections, it is clear that we are in a constant battle to save the future of our fragile republican system of government. But, in my years in politics – and I started at a young age – and based on my studies of political science and history, I have never witnessed a race so consequential than the gubernatorial one right here in PA.

The Republican candidate for governor has built his campaign on hate. From his engagement with the anti-Semitic internet platform that gave an audience to a domestic terrorist that killed eleven innocent Jewish worshippers, to claiming that Roe v. Wade is worse than the Holocaust, to his participation in the January 6th assault on democracy, to a slew of other race-baiting and hate-filled comments that have scored him points for his campaign, this man must be stopped. We need to beat him at the ballot box, and in such a decisive manner that his disgusting brand of politics takes a significant hit.

In contrast, Josh Shapiro, a candidate with real integrity and a passion for principled public service, has made his own Jewish faith a cornerstone of his campaign. And for Jewish college students, he will be the first Jewish candidate for governor for whom they will be able to vote. There’s something very special about that.

Pennsylvania has long been a battleground state and there is no failsafe path to statewide victory here. However, students, as noted above, have historically not voted in large enough numbers to help turn the tide. Let’s change that this year.

How can you help? If you are reading this, the odds are good that you have a Jewish child, grandchild, niece, nephew, or relative that is currently attending a college or university in PA. If this is the case, please tell them to go to and fill out the form for “Jewish Students for Shapiro” so they can get involved in this new effort.

Even if they only join for one hour of text-banking or 30 minutes of phone calling, it is still helping to move the needle. This year, we all need to do our part to help move the needle to get Josh over the finish line in a triumphant way.


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