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Iowa to hold ‘10 caucuses on Saturday afternoon

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July 29, 2009

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Iowa will hold its 2010 primary caucuses on a Saturday afternoon, creating a problem for Sabbath-observant Jews.

The state Republican and Democratic parties announced the caucuses would be held on Jan. 23 at 1 p.m. A joint statement from the two parties said it was the first time the caucuses had been held on a Saturday, and that the decision was made "to encourage greater participation in an off-year caucus and get more Iowans actively involved with the work of our Parties."

It is not clear whether the 2010 decision could affect Iowa's first-in-the-nation presidential primary caucuses, which traditionally have been held on a weekday evening.

Paulee Lipsman, a member of the community relations commission of the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines, said the Jewish community was "disappointed."

“It isn’t that every Jew will be affected, but it is a problem for those who would like to observe the Sabbath," she told Politico.

An estimated 6,140 Jews live in the state, but Lipsman said the Jewish population is politically active.

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