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American Dream in Lakewood

Shimmy Blum

Mitt Romney gets out his message in New Jersey’s most prominent Orthodox community

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

“Are you looking for the wedding or the fundraiser?” asked the Lakewood police officer patrolling the perimeter of the Lake Terrace Hall, the popular glatt kosher wedding hall that hosted the man who would like to occupy the White House on January 20th, 2013.

It is difficult to tell whose pictures were snapped more that day — the chassan and kallah or Mitt Romney, who stopped by Lakewood, New Jersey for a campaign fundraiser during a major northeastern swing aimed at bolstering his campaign coffers, just a few days before naming Paul Ryan as his running mate and two short weeks before the major parties’ conventions.

With a $1,000 reception entrance fee, $10,000 VIP photo op fee and a $25,000 fee for attending a private roundtable with the presidential nominee, the crowd was largely dominated by well-dressed, middle-aged businessmen, party activists and current and former elected officials from the region, many with their spouses and children enthusiastically in tow.

Though the majority of fundraiser participants were not members of Lakewood’s Jewish community, the Orthodox community’s presence was not lost in the shuffle.

“Romney was clearly speaking as if speaking to a crowd with frum people,” said Lakewood Mayor Menashe Miller, who was tabbed with the honor of opening the reception.

Miller noted that being welcomed in the heart of one of America’s most prominent Orthodox communities has become a campaign tradition. Lakewood has welcomed several previous White House occupants, including former President and First Lady George H. W. and Barbara Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynn, and former First Lady Laura Bush. The Republicans’ 2008 presidential nominee, John McCain, also held a fundraiser in the same venue four years ago.

Dr. Richard H. Roberts, the noted Orthodox Lakewood businessman and philanthropist who co-hosted a Romney fundraiser in Manhattan mainly for the Wall Street crowd several months ago, told Mishpacha that he was particularly impressed with the mood in his home community. “The crowd was very warm and friendly, with a tremendous sense of unity.”



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