An accurate count shows that the number of Jewish senators has risen from 11 to 13, with the addition of two former representatives Benjamin Cardin (Maryland-D) and Bernard Sanders (Vermont-I) who were successfully elected to the Senate.
Sander's and Cardin's departure from the House didn't lower the number of Jews there – on the contrary. The number of Jewish representatives elected to the House of Representatives also grew.
They now number 30 thanks to six new faces: Gabrielle Giffords (Arizona), Ronald Klein (Florida), John Yarmuth (Kentucky), Paul Hodes (New Hampshire), Stephen Cohen (Tennessee), and Steve Kagen (Wisconsin). They are all Democrats.
'Time for US to see a moderate Muslim voice'At the same time, a new precedent was set with the election of the first Muslim to Capitol Hill. Keith Ellison (Minnesota) was elected to the House of Representatives on the Democratic ticket. Ellison's election is also unprecedented in that he is the first African American to be elected to Congress from Minnesota.
During his campaign tour, Ellison, 43, decidedly didn't refer to either of these issues – the color of his skin, or the religion that he adopted at the age of 20.
He campaigned mainly on social and economic issues for advancing the middle class, and upgrading education. He was emphatic about not running as "the Muslim candidate," but as the American who wants to improve the conditions in his country.
However, he said that he knows that his election will send a clear message to the American public and to the legislators on Capitol Hill.
“I think it’s time for the United States to see a moderate Muslim voice, to see a face of Islam that is just like everybody else’s face,” Ellison said. “Perhaps it would be good for somebody who is Muslim to be in Congress, so that Muslims would feel like they are part of the body politic and that other Americans would know that we’re here to make a contribution to this country.”