It was a December day in New Jersey, and Ted Cruz was keeping the rabbi waiting.
Cruz was tardy, Rabbi Zev Reichman would later learn, because he was finishing a meal with bacon, and he didn’t want to bring the treyf into the rabbi’s car for a ride to a fundraiser with pro-Israel donors.
The gesture impressed Reichman, an influential rabbi at an Orthodox synagogue in Englewood, New Jersey, he recalled in an interview this week. And the demonstration of respect to dietary law paid off: The rabbi, who is also a program director at Manhattan’s Yeshiva University, is now helping to spearhead Cruz’s outreach to Orthodox Republican Jews in New York.
Cruz — who visited a matzo bakery in Brooklyn on Thursday afternoon, rolling out the unleavened bread and joining in singing the Passover song “Dayenu” — has been wooing the Orthodox Jewish community since well before he ran for president. And as the Republican primary comes to New York on April 19, Cruz is hoping he can turn long-cultivated support into the race’s scarcest resource: delegates.
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