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The Republican candidates for president tend to talk about God.In smaller doses, so does Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
But he isn't saying much about his personal beliefs or traditions. "I'm proud to be Jewish," Sanders said last month at a Christian Science Monitor press breakfast.
"But I'm not particularly religious." His brother, Larry Sanders, who lives in England, spoke in a telephone interview about growing up Jewish in New York City.
The brothers were raised in a Brooklyn neighborhood where 80 to 90 percent of the neighbors were Jewish, he said.
Their father sold paint; their mother took care of the family.
Their parents were Jewish, but not deeply religious, Larry Sanders said, describing their approach as "basically secular," but with some religious observances. "There was only one out of a dozen friends, one family was what I would have called Orthodox," he said.
"The others were pretty much like us." The family attended services at synagogue occasionally, such as on the High Holidays, Larry Sanders said.
The brothers went to Hebrew school a few afternoons a week for several years to prepare for their bar mitzvahs, and completed the Jewish coming-of-age ceremony.The faith guided other rituals too, including Bernie Sanders' first marriage, shortly after he graduated from the University of Chicago."His first marriage was not in a synagogue, but it was by a rabbi in a traditional Jewish wedding," said Larry Sanders.Bernie Sanders divorced shortly after the marriage and in 1988 married his current wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders.She grew up Roman Catholic about 15 blocks from her husband in Brooklyn.The couple exchanged vows in a civil ceremony at North Beach performed by then-Burlington city clerk James Rader, as several hundred friends, relatives and sunbathers looked on.