If you want to really annoy Adeena Bleich, just ask her what it feels like to be a young Orthodox woman running for City Council. I know, because when we sat down recently for lunch at Shiloh’s, the first thing I asked her is what it felt like to be a young Orthodox woman running for City Council.
She rolled her eyes like my teenage daughter Shanni does when I show off my knowledge of the latest music.
It’s clear that Bleich is leery of being stereotyped, or worse, becoming some kind of political curiosity whose main calling card is her youth (she just turned 31), gender and Orthodox religion.
What she is, she says, is something a lot less dramatic: A hard-working individual who knows how local politics work and who wants to bring a new, practical attitude to serving the people.
All the people, of course.
Although she estimates that nearly half of the registered voters in her 5th District (which cuts a wide swath from West Los Angeles through Westwood, Pico-Robertson, the Fairfax area and right up to Sherman Oaks) are Jewish, she’s savvy enough to realize that Jews alone won’t carry her to victory. So Bleich, who is single and belongs to three Modern Orthodox shuls in Pico-Robertson (Young Israel of Century City, Beth Jacob Congregation and B’nai David Judea) wants to reach out.
She’s not exactly a novice at this game. She spent years as City Council Deputy to Councilman Jack Weiss— and was knee-deep in the local dramas of neighborhood groups, pro-business groups and the maze of City Hall politics. She was also in the trenches with former Speaker of the California Assembly Bob Hertzberg when he ran for mayor of Los Angeles.
So she knows the lingo, and she also knows that she’s up against some serious competition — from, among others, former city councilman Paul Koretz and neighborhood activist Ron Galperin. But she has no qualms about asking for your vote, because, as she says, she’s got some great things cooking for your district and your neighborhood.