The handful of Orthodox Jews on Capitol Hill has now added another member to its ranks. And he’s a rabbi, too.
Yosef Abrahamson, a young post-ordination yeshivah student originally from the small but growing Orthodox Jewish community of Omaha, Nebraska, is at home in the halls of power as he is in yeshivah study halls.
Both a graduate of Brooklyn’s Jewish Technical Vocational School (JTVS) and a product of the GOP political machine of Nebraska, where he grew up (in more ways than one), Abrahamson is equally the veteran volunteer of numerous political campaigns and reliably well-versed in Shulchan Aruch, having receiving rabbinical ordination from Rabbi Moshe Stern of Montreal, Canada.
Abrahamson also boasts a business degree from New York’s Bramson ORT College.
As of January 3, 2013, however, Abrahamson has been interning at the legislative offices of long-time Nebraska Congressman and personal mentor Lee Terry, in whose campaigns he served as a local volunteer while still living in the Cornhusker State.
While Capitol Hill has always had at least a token Orthodox Jewish presence, primarily consisting of private-sector advocates and political activists, information on the precise number of Orthodox Jewish interns working in the Capitol—at least not in the Republican Party—was not readily available from either the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) or the Orthodox Union’s Institute for Public Affairs (IPA), which had placed Orthodox interns on the Hill in the past.
For Mr. Abrahamson, a self-described social and fiscal conservative who attended the past four Presidential inaugurations, it’s still a first, however.
Abrahamson now spends his days leading Capitol building tours, fielding policy phone calls, sorting mail and occasionally turning heads due to his yarmulke, short beard and dark complexion. The latter, he confesses, prompts the most questions from passersby, followed closely by questions about kosher food or his religious headgear.
“I’m learning as much as I can from all these amazing people,” he says of his current job duties—experiences he hopes to one day parlay into a public-service run.