Interview: Noah Arbit Wants to Bring Jewish Values to the Michigan House

Jewish Insider: Noah Arbit Wants to Bring Jewish Values to the Michigan House

Noah Arbit founded the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus in 2019 with a goal of increasing Jewish representation in state and local politics.

Now, the 25-year-old community organizer and Michigan native is mounting his own bid for public office. Late last month, Arbit, 25, announced his candidacy in the open-seat race to represent Michigan’s 39th state House district, which includes his hometown of West Bloomfield.

“I have spent the past two-and-a-half years mobilizing and empowering the Jewish community to get involved in politics in a way that was unprecedented in Michigan,” Arbit said in a recent conversation with Jewish Insider. “I think I’ve set myself up to be successful.”

Jewish Insider: What are the Jewish values that resonate with you?

Arbit: Everyone talks about tikkun olam and repairing the world, and I feel like I’m running to repair my little small corner of the world. The gerrymander has literally ripped my community apart. But I really think about how my great-grandparents came from Hungary and Poland and Belarus and Ukraine. They came escaping antisemitism in the early 1900s. They didn’t experience any pogroms, but it was something that I know compelled them to leave. I think about how they ended up in Detroit, which was really like the engine of the world at that time. What a hopeful existence to have to leave the place that you knew because it was no longer safe for you and coming to this roaring, exciting place that was powering the world and doing so much for so many.

We’ve lost that, and we have to get back to that. I think about the grit and determination of my great-grandparents, who were market vendors and shop owners, and how they worked so hard and probably got spat at and their English wasn’t good. Now here I am, a candidate for the state legislature. It really is l’dor v’dor, an unbroken chain of service and of giving back and of building something better for the next generation.

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