PAC this in

Caleb Pultman

Ellen Futterman, Editor

PAC this in

On Monday, a ridiculously impressive and incredibly likable teenager, Caleb Pultman, came to my office and told me about the super PAC he created called Path Forward USA. In order to fully understand, I needed a quick refresher in American Politics 101, and 17-year-old Caleb was more than happy to oblige.

As he explains it, he woke up after Election Day greatly troubled by the outcome. Mind you, he wasn’t old enough to vote, but he felt old enough to do something “about the awful feeling I had in the pit of my stomach.”

“I recently learned about super PACs in my (advanced placement) government class so I decided to look into it more,” said Caleb, a senior at MICDS and president of USY at Congregation B’nai Amoona. “I realized there is no age limit to create one. So I officially filed with the Federal Election Commission and then the Missouri Ethics Commission at the beginning of this year.”

But, he says, he had been working on the development of the idea along with its website design — “and all things (associated with it) before the legal paperwork was filed” — since Nov. 9.  

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“All these teachers and rabbinic leaders say you have the ability to make change,” Caleb said. “I thought the best way to put my ideas into action and make a difference was within the already created system in place of raising awareness for issues, collecting donations and helping to elect citizens who care about the issues I am passionate about.”

Caleb set up Path Forward USA, an independent expenditure committee that collects donations and uses them to help elect progressive candidates. As he explains it, rather than donating to a specific candidate, people can donate to Path Forward USA and in doing so support six causes that the super PAC has aligned itself with — gun regulation, LGBT equality, environmental protection, equal opportunity, workers’ rights and women’s reproductive health. The website, pathforwardusa.org, where people can make donations and learn more about these issues, was launched a week ago. 

Caleb hopes that as word spreads through social media (on Facebook and Twitter @PathForwardUSA) and other outlets, more donations will follow. Ultimately, Path Forward USA will use money collected to promote and advertise midterm candidates in 2018 who support its platform and policy views.

Recently, Caleb brought on two “forward–thinking” friends who also are very involved with politics, John Hastings and Ethan Shuchart, both of whom are Jewish, as Path Forward USA’s communications director and policy director, respectively. John, who is 18, attends St. Louis Priory School and Central Reform Congregation. Ethan, 17, is a senior at Ladue Horton Watkins High School.

“So far, we’ve really had a great response. Everyone has been very positive,” said Caleb, who plans to attend American University in the fall. “Everyone has commended the integrity about what it is and what it stands for and that we are actively doing something.

“It’s very easy in our political landscape to sit back and tweet or sit back and post, or ‘like’ a post, but it’s very difficult to take action. A lot of people have seen that action and are willing to get on board and be part of it.”

 

Hot diggity dog!

Kohn’s Kosher Meat & Deli is expanding its ballpark empire to Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals. Lenny Kohn, owner of Kohn’s deli, explained the new kosher food stand in K.C. will work much like the original one at Busch Stadium, which actually has two different carts. At Kauffman, one cart will serve strictly kosher food as certified by theVaad HaKashruth of Kansas City, and the other for when games are played on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays. The kosher cart has Kohn’s signage. The non-kosher cart has “Coney Island Deli” signage.

“It’s essentially the same food and menu but the Coney Island cart is not certified kosher by the Vaad,” said Kohn, adding that Royals fans will soon be able to dig into Kohn’s killer pastrami, corned beef, knishes and stadium dogs when the team plays its home opener April 10.

“We wanted to expand into more ballparks and Kansas City made sense because it’s the closest to St. Louis. In case of an emergency, I can get to Kansas City in a reasonable amount of time,” said Kohn. “The team also has very good average attendance.”

Kohn said if the kosher stand at Kauffman takes off, he would consider opening additional ones at ballparks in Chicago and Denver, though details haven’t yet been worked out.

Kohn opened his first kosher stand under supervision of the Vaad Hoeir of St. Louis at Busch Stadium in 2013. That stand is located outside of Section 147. He opened a second stand, which serves the same food but is not under local Vaad supervision, outside section 440 at the start of baseball season last year.

The Kansas City stand will be located in the ballpark’s main level.

“The St. Louis carts have been awesome,” said Kohn. “Fans seem to love the food.”

 

Kosher on campus

Speaking of kosher, two restaurants in Champaign-Urbana, home of the University of Illinois, will receive kosher certification from the Vaad Hoeir of St. Louis this spring and summer thanks to a kashering initiative led by Illini Hillel and the Orthodox Union Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus. 

The restaurants are Cold Stone Creamery in Champaign and the Dancing Dog in Urbana, a vegan cafe, with another local vegetarian restaurant hoping to start the process as well.

Bari Goldman of Illini Hillel said the initiative hopes to strengthen the accessibility of kosher food in the state of Illinois outside of Chicago. “Having more kosher establishments in town will make it easier for students to keep to their religious practices,” University of Illinois senior Solomon Lowenstein said. “Keeping kosher is an aspect of Judaism that is important to many students, and the increase of kosher options in the neighborhood makes us feel more connected to the community.”

Goldman said that roughly 3,500 students among the 30,000 at University of Illinois are Jewish.

“We have a kosher dorm on campus and a kosher café at Hillel, but basically those are the options,” said Goldman. “Some students who keep kosher go to Chicago to get their food.”

Jeanne Snodgrass, executive director of Hillel at the University of Missouri, said there are no kosher restaurants in Columbia or regular kosher meal options on campus. “We have a building project and one of the things we are discussing is getting a kosher deli, or some kind of kosher option.”

She said members of the Jewish Student Organization are working with members of the Muslim Student Organization and Mizzou student government leaders to have a dining hall dedicated to vegan options. This would be in addition to vegetarian options, which are already offered.

“Hillel and Chabad on Campus have commercials kitchens that we keep kosher but they are not Vaad certified,” she said. “Both places do provide meals for Shabbat and the Jewish holidays.”

About 800 of Mizzou’s 30,000 undergraduates are Jewish, Snodgrass added.