The former Florida representative, known in Congress for active role in foreign policy and combating antisemitism, finally changes careers; Jewish students from South Florida react to his departure
Ted Deutch officially resigned from Congress to start leading the American Jewish Committee, according to a statement on Monday from the organization. He will be taking the place of David Harris, who served as CEO of the influential Jewish advocacy group for over three decades.
Deutch’s decision to assume leadership of AJC was long-anticipated — he first announced his resignation last February in a press release citing his desire to combat antisemitism on a “global scale.”
Since first entering Congress in 2010, Deutch has been twice redistricted. He most recently served Florida’s 22nd district, which includes Boca Raton and part of Fort Lauderdale, from 2017 up to his resignation.
Ohio University’s Jewish student life coordinator Jared Stern, a former intern for Deutch who got to know UMD after staffing one of its Birthright trips, is excited to see how the former congressman will change the organization.
“AJC’s going to see a drastic change because they’ve had the same leader for 35 years, something like that,” he said. “Whenever someone new comes in, there’s gonna be a little bit of a shakeup.”
Eli Greene, a sophomore studying animal science, grew up in Florida’s 22nd district and has gone many times to see Deutch at her synagogue in Boca Raton. She has mixed feelings on his resignation from Congress.
“I don’t think it’s good and I don’t think it’s bad,” she said. “It’s good he’s going to AJC and helping in areas where he thinks he’s needed and has the skill set for, but I think he was helpful for Congress and the community of South Florida.”
In addition to his strong support of Israel, Deutch has been an outspoken advocate for gun violence prevention, especially in the wake of the 2018 Parkland shooting.
“He was the face of [the aftermath] as well, he helped the families when the governor and the president didn’t want to do anything,” Stern said.
Deutch is known in Florida for being well-liked by the Jewish community, regardless of political affiliation.
“What’s interesting about Boca is that you have people that are diehard conservatives and diehard liberals, but they both like Ted Deutch,” Greene said.
While Stern maintains that Deutch doesn’t enjoy the political support of most conservatives in his district, he still has their respect.
“He is more liked by Republicans than almost any other Democrat I know,” Stern said.
Senior theater major Max Abramovitz, reminisced on the few times he met Deutch, both in Washington, D.C. and his hometown of Boca Raton.
“He’s very warm,” Abramovitz said. “He’s very down-to-earth, and treats you with respect but still kind of has an air of authority about him.”
Although he isn’t angered by his decision, Abramovitz is sad to see Deutch resign.
“[Deutch is] someone who generally has a lot of the same opinions as me, and is very outwardly Jewish and is from where I’m from — so it was a nice bit of representation,” he said. “It’s gonna be sad to see that go.”