Max Goodman: An ode to Florida’s non-Jews

'Throughout all the chaos, inaction, and intolerance, there is a bright spot.'

It was 1996 when I sheepishly entered a hotel suite at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., to greet former President George H.W. Bush. The president was there as a favor to my dad to produce a skit for my bar mitzvah video. The celebration’s theme, after all, was billed as “Max Goodman for President because a good man is hard to find” (cringe!).

I couldn’t help but think of that experience this week and the kindness and acceptance the late President showed me, my family and our Jewish faith.

Fast forward to 2024 where young adults across the country, many of whom couldn’t locate Israel or Gaza on a map, are no longer harassing people because they support Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks but because of something far more menacing and disturbing — because they’re Jews.

Doomscrolling my way through Twitter and witnessing the horrific displays of Jewish hate at college campuses in places like New York and California — the two states with the largest Jewish populations — is enough to make me want to rip out my red hair.

But throughout all the chaos, inaction, and intolerance, there is a bright spot. That bright spot is taking place right here in Florida. And, in many instances, it has been leaders of non-Jewish faith who have led the way.

The trust-fund babies protesting at the University of South Florida this week could barely get their tents in the ground before Gov. Ron DeSantis and Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister had seen enough. Within an hour the faux encampment was dispersed courtesy of a beautiful flurry of tear gas and rubber bullets.

In Southwest Florida, where I call home, we have leaders like Congressman Vern Buchanan who have been relentless in their support of the Jewish community, publishing op-eds in the Jewish News berating his Washington colleagues who cower in silence for fear of political retribution.

We have leaders like Sen. Joe Gruters, arguably the most vocal advocate against antisemitism in Tallahassee (sorry, Randy Fine), who will shortly embark on his first trip to Israel to witness firsthand the atrocities perpetrated by Hamas.

And we have leaders like Reps. Fiona McFarland and James Buchanan who have made the safety and security of our local synagogues and Jewish Federation top priorities when submitting appropriation requests.

None of the aforementioned men and women are people of the Jewish faith. That in and of itself is significant. I’d even dare to say their support is more important and meaningful at this moment than that of my Jewish brethren.

Because if — and I mean if — we are to successfully purge this unrighteous venom that so many of our country’s youth confuse with the latest fashion statement, it will take leaders of all religious faiths to make it possible.

Leaders like we have right here in the state of Florida.


Max Goodman is a political and media consultant who resides in Sarasota.

Staff Reports


  • Dont Say FLA

    May 2, 2024 at 1:50 pm

    “Free speech and protests are great! As long as we approve.”
    – MAGA /J6 “Hostages”

  • rick whitaker

    May 2, 2024 at 2:38 pm

    remove religion from florida, and it would be WAY better. religion, is canned hate.

  • Earl Pitts "AMERICA'S BIG VOICE ON THE RIGHT" American

    May 2, 2024 at 6:17 pm

    Good evening America,
    1O0% of American Jews totally see the direct corralation between The Democrats and 1.) The Oct. 7th HAMAS slaughter And 2.) the anti Semetic hate on Americas College Campus’s.
    Therefore America’s Jews have left the Democratic Party.
    All of America’s Black Men see a direct corralation between The Democratic Party, America’s totally trashed economy, and Black men’s inability to finanacally take care of their families and homes.
    Therefore America’s Black men have left the Democratic Party.
    Our Jews and Black Men will NOT vote Democrat or Throw Away their votes on RFK or some idiot 3rd party vote.
    Earl Pitts American

    • rick whitaker

      May 2, 2024 at 6:39 pm

      EARL, how can a guy like you look yourself in the eye and say, i’m a good person? you can’t. sleep on that . you are a POS so i KNOW you won’t.

Comments are closed.


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