David Axelrod is still perplexed by how hard it was to sell his man to Jewish voters last time around. “We had to work for that vote,” he said just before Thanksgiving, during an interview in the empty conference room he uses at President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign headquarters in Chicago’s Loop. “There was sort of, you know, ‘Where’s he coming from?'”

This article originally appeared as part of a larger article in the e-magazine The Tablet: A new read on Jewish life, www.tabletmag.com. Reprinted with permission.