FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 16, 2022

Media Contact: Sophie Ellman-Golan | | 501-621-4483

The Jewish Vote Endorses Brittany Ramos DeBarros & Rana Abdelhamid for U.S. Congress Representing Districts NY-11 & NY-12

The electoral arm of Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ) kicks off first insurgent congressional endorsements of the 2022 cycle, backing two progressive women of color running visionary campaigns.

New York, NY — The Jewish Vote, the electoral arm of Jews for Racial & Economic Justice Action (JFREJ) proudly endorses Brittany Ramos DeBarros for U.S. Congress to represent NY-11, and Rana Abdelhamid for U.S. Congress to represent NY-12.

“We are thrilled to throw The Jewish Vote’s electoral power and JFREJ’s organizing power behind Brittany Ramos DeBarros and Rana Abdelhamid,” said Audrey Sasson, Executive Director of JFREJ. “More than ever, we need bold leaders in Congress who are not afraid to challenge patriarchy, corporate power, and white nationalism. These two women of color aren’t just courageous; they share our vision of a New York, a country, and a world that values care over militarism. They both know what true safety looks like, and are experienced at securing it. The Jewish Vote is proud to back them, and will be even prouder to have them representing New Yorkers in Congress.”

“Across the country, we are facing a moral crisis created by those seeking to divide us by stoking the fires of antisemitism, xenophobia, racism, and Islamophobia,“ Brittany Ramos DeBarros said. “The Jewish Vote has done powerful, transformational work in New York City and I am so honored to receive their endorsement in this race. Together, we are building a diverse coalition unified by a politics of radical love that can flip New York’s 11th Congressional District, and pave the way to a brighter future for all of us.”

“I could not be prouder to receive the support of The Jewish Vote,” said Rana Abdelhamid. “As someone who grew up in a working-class family and who has personally experienced hate-based violence, addressing racial and economic justice is one of my top priorities when I arrive in Congress. I am beyond excited to now have the partnership and guidance of one of the largest Jewish organizations in New York, The Jewish Vote to continue to amplify the importance of addressing these issues.”

“We are ready to come together from Park Slope to Bay Ridge to Staten Island and send a true progressive to Congress: Brittany Ramos DeBarros, an anti-war veteran whose sharp understanding of safety and caring for the most vulnerable among us will make her a vital voice in Congress. I was just redistricted into NY-11, and I can’t wait to tell my neighbors to vote for this progressive woman of color whose commitments to protecting our flooding streets from the climate crisis and building multiracial democracy from the workplace to the ballot box are clear in everything she does,” said Rabbi Barat Ellman, a JFREJ member who lives in District 11.

“Rana Abdelhamid is exactly the kind of compassionate, in-touch, and inspiring leader I want representing me in Congress,” said Jeri Essagof, a JFREJ member who lives in District 12. “From her international human rights background to her community organizing experience teaching women self-defense in the face of hate violence, Rana has both big-picture policy knowledge and a locally-rooted understanding of what we need in NY-12 to live full, healthy, and safe lives as exactly who we are. Jewish or Muslim, queer or straight, Black or brown or white — Rana has our backs.”

In 2020, the Jewish Vote helped propel insurgent challenger Jamaal Bowman to primary and general election victory in NY-16. The group recently endorsed Rep. Bowman for reelection in 2022, as well as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14). In 2021, The Jewish Vote’s candidates won 18 out of the 28 City Council and citywide races in which the group endorsed, with all but one winning in the 2021 general election. The continued success of JFREJ’s electoral program — now in its fourth cycle — has made The Jewish Vote a formidable figure in New York City politics, and the ascendent electoral Left nationwide.

In addition to endorsing Abdelhamid, Bowman, Ocasio-Cortez, and Ramos DeBarros, The Jewish Vote is also backing candidates for New York State Senate and New York Assembly. All endorsements can be found at


Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ) is the largest grassroots Jewish organization in New York City. JFREJ’s 6,000 members organize with our neighbors and allies to transform New York from a playground for the wealthy few into a real democracy for all of us, free from all forms of racist violence. The Jewish Vote is JFREJ’s electoral arm.

The Forward: Jewish progressive group endorses candidates in key NY congressional races

By Jacob Kornbluh | February 16, 2022

A New York Jewish progressive group on Wednesday will endorse candidates in two Congressional districts which include significant Jewish constituencies and where incumbents could be vulnerable.

The Jewish Vote is backing Democrats Brittany Ramos DeBarros, a former army officer, for the 11th Congressional District, and Rana Abdelhamid, a community organizer, for the 12th, the group told the Forward. Both candidates are also members of Democratic Socialists of America.

The newly redrawn 11th, which includes Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, is now represented by Nicole Malliotakis, a first-term Republican. The 12th, which includes large swaths of Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan, has been represented by Carolyn Maloney, who was first elected to Congress two decades ago and has faced tough primaries in recent years. Candidates seeking the group’s endorsement filled out a questionnaire and answered questions from its steering committee.

The Jewish Vote, formed in 2018 by leaders of Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ), has already endorsed two New York incumbents, Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman.

Audrey Sasson, JFREJ’s executive director, described DeBarros and Abdelhamid as “bold leaders in Congress who are not afraid to challenge patriarchy, corporate power, and white nationalism.”

The Democratic primary is on June 28. Election Day is Nov. 8.

Challenging the establishment

DeBarros, 32, is a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan and who is now an anti-war activist.

She is running in the Democratic primary against Max Rose, also an army veteran, who is seeking to reclaim the seat he lost in the 2020 election. State Democrats recently redrew the district to include the more progressive neighborhoods of Park Slope and Sunset Park and exclude more conservative neighborhoods in Southern Brooklyn that are likely to favor incumbent Malliotakis. The district is also home to a large Muslim-American community.

In an interview, DeBarros said she is “honored” by the endorsement and is excited to work with JFREJ members who are from the parts of Brooklyn recently added to the district.

Bill de Blasio, the former mayor of New York City, who is progressive, considered running against Rose, a moderate Democrat, but opted out on Tuesday.

Katie Unger, a member of the Jewish Vote’s steering committee who lives in the district, said DeBarros more than other candidates clearly embraced a progressive approach to community safety. Staten Island was where, in 2014, police killed Eric Garner, a Black man, after putting him in a chokehold. The district also includes many police officers.

She “uniquely understands how to strike the balance NY-11’s representative needs to advocate for all the district’s constituents and defend civil rights and Black lives,” Unger said.

During their interviews with The Jewish Vote, candidates also spoke about teshuvah, reflecting on their past, Unger added. “As she told us, veterans, by virtue of their time in military service, have both been victims of violence and have engaged — directly or indirectly — in violence.”

DeBarros said that building on the election of “progressive, bold women of color” in the recent citywide elections, she believed that the new district lines improve her chances as a progressive challenging the establishment.

A race to watch

Abdelhamid, 28, the daughter of Egyptian-born parents, works at Google, and is one of seven candidates trying to oust Maloney in the redrawn district that includes most of Manhattan’s East Side and parts of the Upper West Side.

Maloney, in her 15th term, enjoys strong ties to the Jewish community and is backed by pro-Israel PACs. Internal polling conducted by the campaign of Suraj Patel, a former Obama staffer who launched his third consecutive campaign against Maloney earlier this week, showed 37% of likely Democratic primary voters supporting Maloney, 28% backing Patel and 9% favoring Abdelhamid.

Jeri Essagof, a JFREJ member who lives in the district, said Abdelhamid’s approach to combating antisemitism impressed the Jewish Vote’s endorsement team. “She not only demonstrated a deep understanding of antisemitism’s impact across the world and here in New York, but also offered specific policy solutions,” said Essagof, who is also part of the group’s Sephardi/Mizrahi caucus.

Abdelhamid was the victim of an Islamophobic attack in her teenage years, when a man tried to snatch her hijab off her head on the street. The incident inspired her to teach other Muslim women self-defense.

“I could not be prouder to receive the support of The Jewish Vote,” Abdelhamid said.