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.”
September 17 is the anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street protests, but it is also Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, a day when observant Jews are supposed to go to temple and refrain from a whole host of activities. Because these religious obligations might prevent Jews from participating in the protests planned for the Occupy-iversary, a group called Occupy Judaism is planning an Occupy Rosh Hashana service in Zuccotti Park on September 16. According to the Facebook invite for the event, Occupy Rosh Hashana will include, “a potluck dinner,” a “nondenominational holiday service” with “Occupy Torah” and, of course, the requisite apples and honey.
“Using Jewish holidays as a way of calling for social and economic justice is in line with what the prophets envisioned, as far as what an act in the service of God is,” Occupy Judaism founder Dan Sieradski explained to Politicker. “God wants you to pursue justice, not to talk about it in a book, to go out and pursue it.”
Mitt Romney’s motorcade ran into an interesting obstacle before a fundraiser this evening in Lakewood, N.J. Lake Terrace, the venue for Mr. Romney’s event, was also being used by an Orthodox Jewish wedding party and, according to a pool report filed by Yahoo’s Holly Bailey, the guests at the nuptials became rather excited when Mr. Romney’s motorcade arrived.
“As we turned into Lake Terrace, the motorcade drove past an Orthodox Jewish wedding party that had been posing for pictures outside. Immediately, the family abandoned the bride and groom and began chasing Romney’s car in the parking lot, waving cameras,” Ms. Bailey wrote.
Strongly Worded Letters
The National Jewish Democratic Council wants an apology from Ohio congressional candidate and 2008 election supporting actor Samuel “Joe The Plumber” Wurzelbacher for his campaign video blaming the Holocaust on gun control. This evening, David A. Harris, president and CEO of the NJDC released a statement demanding Mr. Wurzelbacher apologize and remove the clip.
“Using the memories of the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust to make a political point is never appropriate, under any circumstances. For Ohio Republican House candidate Samuel Wurzelbacher to imply that these innocent lives were taken because of gun control laws is simply beyond the pale,” Mr. Harris said.
Former Mayor Ed Koch, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Councilman David Greenfield, Assemblyman Dov Hikind gathered with several other elected officials in front of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park this morning for a press conference billed as an effort “ to Denounce Charles Barron as Enemy of the State of Israel” and the Jewish community. The politicos who showed up at the event where longtime councilman Mr. Barron was branded “hateful,” a “scary monster,” “anti-Semite” and “bigot” also expressed their support for his rival in the congressional race, Hakeem Jeffries.
“What prompted me … speaking of people that just are not familiar with Charles’ record and they just dont know who Charles Barron is, that’s a very scary thing. Right?” asked Councilman Greenfield, who organized the event. “People are not familiar that there’s an individual who’s running, who we all know very well, who is an anti-Semite, who’s a hate-monger and who’s a bigot. I think it’s very important for us to educate the public and let them know who this individual is.”
Assemblyman Dov Hikind was not happy with the new Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition of Gertrude Stein’s art collection. Mr. Hikind, a leader in the Orthodox Jewish community, has been harping on the Met to modify the exhibit with a note explaining it “was owned and collected by fascist/Nazi-collaborator Gertrude Stein.” After teaming up with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer to raise the issue at a meeting with museum officials this morning, Mr. Hikind said he was able to convince the Met to add a note about Stein’s relationship to the Nazis.
“Visitors have the right to know that this collection exists because Gertrude Stein sold her soul; that she lived in comfort, aiding the Nazi cause while her fellow Jews were being robbed, tortured and murdered,” Mr. Hikind said in a statement. “I am grateful to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for accepting the historical accountability of full disclosure. I also want to thank Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer for joining me in correcting this glaring omission.”
The race between veteran Councilman Lew Fidler and Republican upstart David Storobin was a vicious campaign that included charges of pedophilia, Nazism and election day allegations “a Storobin thug” ran over a Fidler volunteer with a van. A police spokesperson subsequently told The New York Times the claim about the van proved to be untrue. In the end, Mr. Storobin was up by 120 votes in the final pre-paper ballot tally, but both candidates declared victory and the campaign is headed to a close count and court fight. However, as Mr. Storobin pointed out in a speech at his election night party, no one expected him to come close.
“We counted 100 percent of the votes but there are still some votes, some paper votes that are left, but based on all the info that we have, I’m proud to say that we, all of us, won this race. There may be recounts and we may have to wait for official results for a few days, or maybe even a couple of weeks, but like I said, the good won, we won,” Mr. Storobin said. “Tonight, we’ll go to bed as winners when nobody outside believed that we had a shot to even compete, when every story about this campaign began with Lew Fidler, the heavy favorite.”
WASHINGTON — Rick Santorum’s campaign manager, Michael Biundo, responded to the growing controversy over a Hanukkah card signed by “S.C. Team Santorum” inscribed with a New Testament bible verse that implies non-Christians will “walk in darkness.”
“It certainly wasn’t an authorized graphic that they sent out. I’m not even sure who did it, you know, the South Carolina office is not even–you know, not together at this point,” Mr. Biundo told The Politicker at the Conservative Political Action Conference today.
Many local politicians were unhappy with the proposed legislative lines released yesterday by Albany’s redistricting task force, but Assemblyman Dov Hikind said the plans for the “Super Jewish” Senate District 17 are “absolutely wonderful.”
“If all this ends up being the case and this district stands I think it will be absolutely wonderful,” Mr. Hikind told The Politicker.
Occupy Wall Street used donations to spend $140 on tobacco and $3,000 on “Halloween puppet supplies.”
Mayor Bloomberg is considering holding a parade for Iraq War vets.
Governor Cuomo is inviting New Yorkers to spend New Year’s Day with him.