Nicole Bailey

The notoriously vile Virginia gubernatorial election to be decided tomorrow just got even dirtier. Democrats seized email addresses from at least two synagogue directories in order to campaign to all practicing Jews in those areas.

The organization behind the Jewish email blasts is called Jews for Democratic Candidates. Although they are within their constitutional rights to campaign for McAuliffe more generally, it is shocking and disturbing that they would abuse contact information available in a house of worship to further their own political agenda. These Jews wanted to campaign for Terry McAuliffe so badly that they abused their own religious center to harass fellow members of their faith.

Townhall has obtained one of the emails that was sent to about 350 Northern Virginia synagogue goers, copied below. (The image on this post was part of the same email's attachment.) The email proves that the Jewish emails were not abused by a fringe group, but rather as a conscious effort on the part of the Democratic Coordinated Campaign.

From: "Jonah Scharf"
Date: Nov 3, 2013 6:39 PM
Subject: Jews for Democratic Candidates

Dear Members of the Northern Virginia Jewish Community,

My name is Jonah Scharf, and I am a member of Northern Virginia's Jewish Community as well as an intern with the Democratic Coordinated Campaign. I am just emailing you all as members of the Community to an event we are having tomorrow, November 4th at 6:30 P.M. in our Fairfax Office (11180 Lee Highway Fairfax City, VA). This Jews for Democratic Candidates event will kicked off by Rabbi Jack Moline, the newlly named excecutive Director of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC). He will be getting us fired up for the election! We hope to see you there! If you wish to attend, please respond to this email. If you decide last minute please feel free to drop in!

Thank you so much,

Jonah Scharf

Intern, Democratic Coordinated Campaign

It is unclear exactly how broadly these emails were circulated - it was only the fact that all the congregants' email addresses were visible in the email's "To:" field that made it obvious this one email's list was obtained from the synagogue directory.

The Jewish community of Northern Virginia deserves an apology not only from the Democratic Coordinated Campaign, Jews for Democratic Candidates, and Rabbi Jack Moline of the National Jewish Democratic Council, but also from Terry McAuliffe himself. If honest American citizens cannot freely practice their religion without being hounded by irreverent activists during McAuliffe's campaign, one can only imagine how things will be under his governorship.

UPDATE - The Gesher Jewish Day School directory was also compromised in a separate mass email blast. The school's principal, Dr Zvi Schoenburg, has apologized and reiterated that the directory is only to be used for personal contacts related to the school. He did not authorize the campaign email. With regards to the first email provided above, Scharf himself issued a weak apology in response to complaints. A source speaking under confidentiality revealed to Townhall that Scharf tried to partially defend his actions by writing, "No one else has access to this list, your email is safe." This statement is obviously untrue, as evidenced by the fact that the original message left hundreds of email addresses displayed on the thread.

UPDATE II - No apology yet from Rabbi Jack Moline or Terry McAuliffe or the Democratic Party establishment aside from the intern.

UPDATE III - A formal apology came from the intern via email, but still no word from his supervisors. Full blame is falling on the interns, and it is unclear whether they were directed to obtain the emails from a higher official in the campaign. Townhall has obtained the apology:

I apologize for inviting you to the event this evening. No Jewish community organization gave me access to their mailing list. I and other interns for the campaign happen to be members of roughly every Jewish organization in the area and so we obtained the email addresses through our own accords. We did not give your email addresses to the Democratic Party or any other organization. We have now deleted all email addresses from our hard drives and sincerely apologize for the misuse of the synagogue directory. I understand my intern mistake and hope that you can forgive me for emailing you yesterday.

S'licha,

Jonah

CORRECTION - This article originally stated that the Gesher Jewish Day School was the source for the contacts in the above email. However, the Gesher Jewish Day School was a separate instance of the email campaign.


Nicole Bailey

Nicole Bailey is a Townhall editorial intern.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography