Anthony Weiner is the only Jewish candidate in the mayors race, and he’s been going out of his way to remind voters of this, speaking at Jewish group forums, planning meetings with high-profile rabbis and dropping Yiddish and Hebrew words and phrases into his speech.
Mr. Weiner’s word-dropping has become so prominent that even Jewish listeners may need translation when he speaks.
Two mayoral candidates, Bill de Blasio and Christine Quinn, responded aggressively after a heckler berated Mr. de Blasio last night for defending gay rights.
“Shame! Shame!” yelled an Orthodox Jewish man at the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition forum as Mr. de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, attempted to explain why a Democratic rival, Erick Salgado, was wrong for criticizing gay pride parades.
Anthony Weiner’s newly-minted mayoral campaign is humming along and political observers are in constant discussion as to whether he can accumulate the necessary votes to win. In particular, some have wondered whether Mr. Weiner can secure support in the more socially conservative Orthodox Jewish community–some of whom reside in his old congressional district–or if the salacious details of his 2011 sexting scandal are simply too much.
Judging by the cross-section of callers who reached out to Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s post-Shabbos radio show Saturday night, Mr. Weiner still has some work to do–and not only because of the scandal.
Back in November, the New York Times noted this year’s mayoral race is historically significant because it lacked a Jewish candidate.
“The likelihood that no major Jewish candidate may seek to run for mayor is also the consequence of the extraordinary undoing of the political career of a man who could very well have been the Democratic front-runner at this point,” the paper argued. “Anthony D. Weiner.”
In the basement of Ahi Ezer Congregation in the Gravesend neighborhood of Brooklyn last night, conservative Democrat Rev. Erick Salgado gathered with rabbis and other Jewish leaders to raise money and support for his mayoral campaign. And for some, the event was a forum for rabble-rousing against the socially liberal positions embraced by the vast majority of New York City’s Democratic officials.
“It is my party–my Democratic Party–that takes away everything I believe in,” Rev. Rubén Díaz, Sr., a Bronx State Senator, declared in a passionate speech. “It is the Democratic Party–my party–that imposes in our communities gay marriage. It is the Democratic Party that wants to impose abortion. It is the Democratic Party that takes away our rights.”
Yesterday, vandals burned close to a dozen mezuzahs–religious artifacts affixed to doors–in front of Jewish homes in Williamsburg, drawing widespread outrage both in the local community and among candidates for higher office. This morning, several such pols were among the officials at a press conference blasting the perpetrators.
“Today all of us are Jewish and all of us celebrate this wonderful community,” Councilwoman Tish James, a candidate for public advocate, proclaimed. “But I’ve come here today to say that the individual or individuals that is responsible for this most heinous crime will be prosecuted … You will be caught and it is in your best interest to turn yourself in. In fact, I urge you to turn yourself in before anyone in this community gets their hand on you. It’s in your best interest.”
Tom Allon wants you to know he doesn’t have an Independence streak.
The Manhattan Media CEO, recent Republican and long-shot mayoral candidate released a statement blasting the controversial Independence Party and his rivals in the wake of an opinionated Daily News investigation into the party’s origins. The piece, which quoted party leader Lenora Fulani asserting that Jews “do the dirtiest work of capitalism, to function as mass murderers of people of color,” enraged Mr. Allon.
Anyone who follows northern Brooklyn politics enough quickly learns that there is an incredibly sharp political divide between the two rival factions in Hasidic Williamsburg, where the larger faction favors candidates backed by Brooklyn’s Democratic leader Vito Lopez and the smaller one favors candidates he opposes. With both factions turning out in record numbers in last Tuesday’s election where incumbent Rep. Nydia Velázquez thumped the Lopez-backed candidacy of Councilman Erik Dilan, that smaller faction decided to take a small victory lap today.
In a press release blasted out by George Arzt Communications, the same firm that worked for Ms. Velázquez’s campaign, Rabbi Moshe Indig, a power broker in the the “Aroni” Satmar sect, declared his faction’s ongoing success over Mr. Lopez.
Assemblyman Rory Lancman got a nice boost for his congressional campaign yesterday when he received the formal backing of the Jewish Press. The endorsement, which might be the first one from a newspaper in the race, comes as Mr. Lancman is competing against Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and Assemblywoman Grace Meng in a Democratic primary for a northeastern Queens Congressional District.
“In an extensive interview with The Jewish Press, Mr. Lancman impressed us as someone we would like to see in Congress voting on issues important to the Jewish community,” the publication wrote about their preferred candidate. “He displayed a deep understanding of the nature of Israel’s struggle with its neighbors and why it’s important, for both Israeli and American interests, that the United States ’tilt’ toward Israel.”
brooklyn & queens
“I sing your praises, sometimes I get in trouble for doing that but I will continue to do it forever,” Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind told Republican State Senator Dean Skelos on his post-Shabbos radio show late last Saturday night. “I just want to personally thank you for being so amazingly responsive to all of New York State, but to the Jewish community in particular. You are really just a superstar.”
Mr. Skelos, the leader of the New York State Senate and one of the “three men in a room” that control decision-making in Albany, received this high praise for adding yeshiva tuition tax credits into the state budget and his recent work to fund bus service to those same private religious schools. Mr. Hikind is a longtime assemblyman and power broker in the Jewish neighborhoods of southern Brooklyn and, despite being a Democratic Party official, has been more than willing to endorse Republicans.
At the end of last year, Mr. Skelos traveled to the Masbia soup kitchen in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn where, after donning a velvet yarmulke, he chopped carrots, peeled potatoes and ladled kosher soup to the needy. He proceeded to tell a story about smuggling Jewish artifacts into the Soviet Union and joked that his own Greek Orthodox beliefs gave him insight into Orthodox Judaism, letting Yiddish words like tzitzis and shul roll off his tongue all the while. Cameras rolled and mobile phones snapped photos for the Jewish media to consume later, of course.