Progressive Zionists of California organizers Matthew Finkelstein and Susan George of Vallejo.
Progressive Zionists of California organizers Matthew Finkelstein and Susan George of Vallejo.

New Jewish Democratic club launched in Solano County

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About 30 people in cities including Vallejo, Fairfield and Benicia have formed the Jewish Democratic Club of Solano County, a political group working its way toward official recognition.

Matthew Finkelstein, Susan George and Brigette Hunley launched the club before the High Holidays. Its purpose is to advocate for increased Jewish representation in local, regional and state politics, raise funds for candidates endorsed by the Democratic Party, and support Jewish values and Israel representation locally, Finkelstein said.

Once it’s official, the club will get a seat on the county’s Democratic Central Committee. Established in 1850, the DCC supports “the goals and objectives of the Democratic Party of the U.S. and California,” according to its mission statement, and also elects people to serve as delegates to state Democratic Party conventions.

“This means they vote on official state party business, such as candidate and legislative endorsements, resolutions and party platforms,” George said. “They can also submit legislation, resolutions and platform planks for the state party to consider.”

Finkelstein and George, of Vallejo, already are Joe Biden delegates and founders of Progressive Zionists of California. Hunley, of Fairfield, chairs the California Democratic Party’s internet and computer caucus.

The group is in the process of seeking official state recognition, Finkelstein said. It kicked off recently on Zoom after two in-person meetings held early in 2020.

“Our first question was, ‘What took us so long?” Finkelstein said. “When we had our first meeting, the first thing we realized is that there are many Jews in Solano County that are involved in many different political projects, and that it was long past due to get us all in the same room and moving” together.

“It’s important that Jews have a strong voice wherever they are. Because the last thing we want is for non-Jews to decide for us what is and is not important for the sake of Jewish well-being.”

The group can be reached via email at [email protected].

Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

Rachel Raskin-Zrihen is a longtime Bay Area journalist and co-author of the book "Jewish Community of Solano County." She is a wife and mother of two grown sons and grandmother of three.