The campaign to reelect Barack Obama received a boost from the Jewish community on Tuesday with more than 600 rabbis declaring their support for a second term for the current US president.

The new campaign initiative, labeled Rabbis for Obama, announced that “over 613 rabbis... from across the country and across all Jewish denominations” have committed to reelecting the president.

Ira Forman, the Jewish outreach director for Obama’s reelection campaign, said that the rabbis on the list represent “a broad group of respected Jewish leaders” from across the country.

“Their ringing endorsement of President Obama speaks volumes about the president’s deep commitment to the security of the State of Israel, and his dedication to a policy agenda that represents the values of the overwhelming majority of the American Jewish community,” said Forman.

Rabbis Sam Gordon and Steven Bob – who were the founding co-chairmen of Rabbis for Obama in 2008 – and Rabbi Burt Visotzky, a vice chairman for the campaign in 2008, will lead the group in what is described as “a campaign initiative to engage and mobilize grassroots supporters” for the president.

The battle for Jewish votes is likely to be more intense than ever in this election campaign, given the closeness of the race, the importance of the Jewish vote in key swing states such as Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and even Nevada, and the perception among some American Jews that Obama’s polices have been detrimental to Israel.

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