From The Forward:
When Israel launches its 60th anniversary celebrations across America, the Los Angeles ceremony will be led not by one of this city’s many boldface-named Jews but by its Mexican-American mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa.
The choice is unsurprising to those familiar with the 55-year-old politician, who enjoys an unusually strong connection to Jews and Jewish life. He speaks often about growing up in the once-Jewish neighborhood of Boyle Heights, has elevated a number of Jewish staffers to highly-placed positions and — most quirkily — has even made a habit of dropping by synagogue services. Indeed, according to some local Jewish leaders, Villaraigosa has become something of an honorary member of the tribe.
“He’s basically treated as if he’s a Sephardic Jew,” said Jack Weiss, an L.A. City Council member who represents parts of the heavily Jewish San Fernando Valley and West L.A.
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