US/World News

Rabbi legislator in Illinois loses primary bid

(JTA) – The only rabbi to ever serve in the Illinois state legislature lost in the Demo-cratic primary to a progressive candidate backed by his predecessor. Rabbi Yehiel “Mark” Kalish garnered 31.9 percent of the vote in the Chicago-area’s 16th District on Tuesday, losing to Denyse Wang Stoneback, who had 42.9 percent. With no Republi-can challenger, Stoneback is all but assured a seat in the state’s House of Represent-atives. Kalish, an Orthodox Jew, was appointed in January 2019 to fill the unexpired term of state Rep. Lou Lang, who resigned. The suburban district, which includes Skokie and Rogers Park, is about 30 percent Orthodox Jewish.Kalish, 44, is CEO of the S4 Group, a government affairs and business development firm, and also serves as the cantor for Congregation Shaarei Tzedek Mishkan Yair in Chicago. Stoneback, 50, is the a BDS supporter and founder of the gun control nonprofit People for a Safer Society.

Main Photo: Rabbi Yehiel Kalish (L) attends the swearing-in of Dafna Michaelson Jenet, his sister, at the Colorado House of Representatives in Denver, Janurary 11, 2017. (Courtesy of Michaelson Jenet)

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