Bernie Sanders Background

Bernie Sanders - Background

Bernie Sanders BackgroundWhat is Bernie Sanders' background?

Even though Bernie Sanders was born Jewish, his background is steeped more in socialism than Judaism. Born on September 8, 1941 in Brooklyn, New York to a Polish immigrant Jewish father and a US-born Jewish mother of Polish and Russian background, Bernie Sanders grew up attending public school in the mornings and a Hebrew school at a synagogue in the afternoons. On his 13th birthday, he had his bar mitzvah, the traditional Jewish ceremony marking the age of accountability.

At University of Chicago, Bernie Sanders majored in political science, read Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, and joined the Young People's Socialist League, the youth arm of the Socialist Party of America. He also spent a few months living in a kibbutz, the collective commune in Israel.

After graduating in 1964, Bernie Sanders married his first wife, whom he met at University of Chicago, and moved back to New York, where he tried his hand at a few jobs, including an aide at a psychiatric hospital, a preschool teacher, and a carpenter.

He divorced his wife in 1966, moved to Vermont in 1968, and fathered a son with another woman in 1969. His carpentry work wasn't good, so he earned little. He wrote articles for publications but they paid even less, so he lived in poverty until 1971, when he became the mayor of Burlington, a town of 40,000, over 30% of whose residents live below the poverty line as he had.

In 1985, Bernie Sanders traveled to Nicaragua, met the socialist revolutionary Daniel Ortega and praised him, as well as Cuba's Fidel Castro. In 1988, he married his second wife and then honeymooned with her in the Soviet Union, where he criticized the United States to the Russians who hosted them as part of a delegation from Burlington.

In 1989, Bernie Sanders visited Cuba to meet Fidel Castro, failed, but returned home and gushed to Burlington Free Press that Cuba "not only has free health care but very high-quality health care... The revolution there is far deeper and more profound than I understood it to be. It really is a revolution in terms of values."

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