What’s that? Come a little closer and say that to my face. Yeah, we can take it.

Want an easy target to poke fun? Try Ohio and you’ve got a whole lot of options, particularly my beloved Cleveland. The Browns — the Drive, the Fumble… Lake Eric catching on fire, endless Eddie Murphy movies, you name it. But this state is proud of its Cavs, finally ending the 52-year championship drought. My Cavs championship cap has been proudly displayed as I drive through towns north and south of the Mason-Dixon line. It keeps the grin on my face as I am reminded of what it feels like to actually work hard and come out on top.
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They say that aliyah — moving to Israel — from Ohio is relatively high (percentage-wise perhaps the very highest among American Jews) because people are trying to get out of there any way they can. Hahaha. You laugh. But we are still proud, and cling to our ex-hometown with pride and joy.

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Ohio is a mix of north and south. Its upper border is mostly liberal, and as hard-working as the rest of the state. As you drive towards Columbus and then Cincinnati, the twang emerges and so do the conservative values of family and religion.

We are a swing state, us Ohioans. Take the pulse of the people and you get a pretty good indication of where the country is. And this time, sure enough, it is quite confusing and almost impossible to get a good reading of the feelings expressed on Ohio’s streets, where I spend some time listening. (Heartfelt shout-out here to a very special congressional couple and an uplifting, battery-recharging Shabbat. You know who you are.)

Conservative congressmen face safe races and will hopefully continue to win back their seats. Brad Wenstrup, Jim Jordan, Bill Johnson, are just a handful of this strong group that come to mind.

Senator Portman’s race seems safe. People like him, while Ted Strickland wins no popularity contests around here. On Israel, it’s simple: reelect Portman. If you, dear reader, are from Ohio and currently live overseas, in Israel or elsewhere — register to vote. Your vote counts. Register your voting-age children to vote. All these votes count. So stand up and be heard.

Use the link to the Democrats, to the Republicans. Just vote. The more our overseas voices are heard, the more we know that Congress and the White House is listening. Ours are voices of knowledge and depth, having experienced the US economy from farther away and seeing the damage inflicted upon US national security by betraying its strongest allies. We can share our wisdom and affect our fellow voters to follow their hearts, and to support those who support US freedoms and interests around the world.

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White House alert: Clinton and Trump just met with PM Netanyahu. Judge for yourself who was a polished political hack and who came with real ideas on how to rebuild a friendship. Tonight we’ll have the chance to judge again, as Hillary and Donald lock horns in the first debate. I’ll let you know how it looks from a ring-side seat in NY. Stay tuned.