In October, I endorsed Aarika Rhodes, an exciting young candidate for Congress in California’s 32nd District, and now, two weeks before the June 7 primary election, I hope that those of you who live in CA32 will vote for her, or if you live elsewhere and know people who live in this district, ask them to vote for Aarika.

California’s 32nd congressional district covers communities in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles and parts of Simi Valley including Toluca Lake, Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Encino, Tarzana, Woodland Hills, Chatsworth, Northridge, Porter Ranch, Reseda, Canoga Park, and Pacific Palisades.

Aarika’s policy concerns include promoting education reform, parental leave, and foster care reform; addressing the socioeconomic conditions that give rise to poverty, hunger, and homelessness; promoting universal basic income, climate change, immigration, and criminal justice reform; expanding Medicare and a host of other issues (see website link below).

Aarika believes in working together with everyone (left, right, and center on the political spectrum) and bringing people of different backgrounds (racial, ethnic, national, and religious) together to find common ground and get important things done. By nature, she is a people-person, moderate in temperament, without guile, smart, curious, and well-spoken, energetic, and politically savvy. She hopes to be a model of honest and inspirational leadership for people of all ages, especially children and young people who she believes need positive role models to inspire them to engage in politics and public service.

Aarika is an award-winning elementary school teacher in math and science and not only loves children, but children love her.

As a woman of color (Aarika’s father is African-American and her mother is Chinese-American), I wanted especially to know her positions on Israel and peace with the Palestinians. She told me (without knowing my background as an American Progressive Zionist Rabbinic leader) that she strongly supports Israel’s security, is for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, justice for the Palestinian people, and had she been in Congress she would have voted for the $1 billion Iron Dome bill for Israel after the last Hamas-Israel war.

I have spent many hours one-one-one with Aarika discussing the issues she cares most about. I am comfortable with her and her views, and once I was persuaded that she would be a fresh dynamic and intelligent voice in Congress representing my own district (CA-32), I offered to advise her on Israel and Middle East affairs. She welcomed my help whole-heartedly.

Aarika Rhodes is challenging Congressman Brad Sherman in the June primary election. Her goal is to win one of the top two spots to qualify her for the run-off in the 2022 general election. She is the most serious challenger to Sherman among four other candidates.

Why am I supporting Aarika against Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman?

  • I agree with her on 85-90% of the issues.
  • I am a progressive American Zionist and Sherman’s positions vis a vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are to the right of my own.
  • It is time for a change in the congressional leadership of CA-32. Aarika Rhodes represents a new generation of young, dynamic, smart, able, compassionate, and can-do leaders who cares about people, equality, and justice, is humble, and wants to serve. She feels an affinity with the Jewish community and would be an important ally in Congress on issues domestic and foreign that the liberal American Jewish community supports.

I include below the link to Aarika’s website and a few short campaign videos so you can get a feel for her dynamism, political concerns, and positions (check her policy positions most especially).

Aarika Rhode’s Website –

Aarika’s Campaign Videos