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Meet the Jewish Mother Running for Central Committee of the Los Angeles GOP

Despite her party affiliation, Barcohana sees a vital need for Jews to be involved “on both sides of the political aisle” of Republican or Democratic Central Committees
[additional-authors]
February 15, 2024
Elizabeth Barcohana Photo by Louella Allen

“I am a life-long conservative,” Elizabeth Barcohana told me. Her words may seem innocuous, until one considers that Barcohana was raised in Los Angeles, a staunch bastion of Democratic voters and policymakers. 

Barcohana is currently running for the Central Committee for the Los Angeles GOP. If you are not familiar with the inner workings of Central Committees (both the GOP and Democratic parties have them), you’re not alone. “The Central Committee,” Barcohana explained, “is the ‘ground level’ of the political party membership; the people responsible for organizing the ‘boots on the ground’ to increase voter registration, voter turnout, candidate recruitment, campaign support, getting candidates elected, and fundraising.”

There are both Democrat and Republican Central Committees. Their members form the individual county’s party. “The Central Committee is the smallest unit of the GOP party infrastructure,” Barcohana explained. “In Los Angeles County, each Committee consists of seven members. We have 10 candidates running in District 42, the most of any Los Angeles County district.” 

Committee members are elected every four years during the presidential primaries. Barcohana’s district, AD 42, includes Agoura Hills, Bel Air, Beverly Glen, Brentwood, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Topanga, and parts of Westlake Village.

Barcohana, a practicing litigator, is the only mother with young children (four children, to be exact) running for a seat. The UCLA (’04) and USC Gould School of Law (’07) graduate is also “only one out of a handful of Jews that participate in the monthly L.A. GOP meetings,” she said.

“I believe that Jewish values obligate us to participate in the civic and political process in America, not only to protect ourselves and Israel, but in service and gratitude to America at large for the lives we are blessed to freely live.”

“I believe that Jewish values obligate us to participate in the civic and political process in America, not only to protect ourselves and Israel, but in service and gratitude to America at large for the lives we are blessed to freely live.”

Full disclosure: I have known Barcohana since the first grade, when she was still known as Elizabeth Berman. Her mother and father, Mitra and Myles Berman, were and remain active members of the local Jewish and pro-Israel community, particularly her father, who is one of the founding members of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Los Angeles. 

I asked Barcohana whether, in addition to inspiration from her father, there were any life experiences or specific values that inspired her to be more active in the California GOP. She is no newcomer to the Republican party, currently serving as a California GOP associate delegate, a member of the L.A. GOP Voter Registration Committee, and L.A. GOP’s Past Chairman Richard Sherman’s Alternate on the Central Committee for AD42. “I grew up in a very diverse environment, hearing both liberal and conservative views,” Barcohana reflected. “I was always open to learning about liberal ideas, and heard them often in school and among friends, but ultimately, I disagreed with most of them. And now, as an adult and mother, I understand that merely disagreeing is not enough. You have to actively work against them because they have been destructive to the fabric of American life.” 

She continued, “I believe that family, God, and our fundamental freedoms and responsibilities are the foundations of American life,” she said, adding that she is “grateful for the privilege of being an American. Today, these values are most consistent with the values of the Republican Party and its candidates up and down the ballot.”

There is one particular day in Los Angeles that remains etched in Barcohana’s memory: “The day I knew I had to get more involved in local politics was June 2, 2020,” she said. “Los Angeles was under curfew because the streets were open to rioters and looters, but the schools and synagogues were closed to our children. Only the Republican Party was standing up against those policies in any meaningful way.”

Despite her party affiliation, Barcohana sees a vital need for Jews to be involved “on both sides of the political aisle” of Republican or Democratic Central Committees. But when I asked her about Jewish participation in local Republican politics, she responded, “I will answer this way: At Los Angeles County Republican meetings, there are more non-Jews wearing Israeli flag pins and yellow ribbon pins in the room than there are Jews.”

Barcohana previously served on the board of FIDF Young Leadership for Los Angeles, and still supports FIDF. During the 2021 Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza, she organized a fundraiser to purchase a recreation/rest structure for units operating the Iron Dome in the Negev, allowing soldiers an opportunity for much-needed shelter and shade. 

This fall, Barcohana organized a warm clothing drive for Israeli children and families who arrived in L.A. after being displaced after Oct. 7, and who had been accepted into her children’s Jewish school. “I received so many donations from the community that I had to convert my living and dining rooms into a fully-stocked store so the families could take what they needed in privacy and dignity,” she said. 

Barcohana describes herself as a “fierce Zionist.” She and her husband, Dr. Bob Barcohana, are also teaching their kids to be educated and impassioned Zionists. “We have an Israeli flag hanging from our banister in our entry way that I plan to keep up until the hostages are home,” she said. “When some were taking their mezuzahs down and taking their necklaces off, I went out and purchased a Magen David [necklace] on Oct. 12 (once I started breathing again) and have not taken it off, including for all of my on-camera interviews during my campaign.”

In discussing local voting patterns, Barcohana rejects the premise that all the precincts in Los Angeles County are strictly Democratic enclaves. “There are nearly one million registered Republicans in Los Angeles County — more than any other county in the nation — and even more conservative-leaning voters.  When voter turnout is low, election results are not necessarily an accurate indicator of how conservative people in L.A. actually are,” said Barcohana. “Part of my job on the Central Committee will be to increase voter participation among conservatives.”

Those who are registered as Republicans in AD 42 may vote for Central Committee candidates in the March 5 primary election, and eligible voters that are not registered or wish to change party affiliation must do so by Feb. 20.


Tabby Refael is an award-winning writer, speaker and weekly columnist for The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Follow her on X/Twitter @TabbyRefael 

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