They might not claim to be worth 11,000 votes, but, in an increasingly feisty Democratic primary, their votes could still matter quite a bit.
After much internal debate, the Aaronite Satmar sect—the smaller of two Jewish communities that tend to bloc-vote in Williambsurg—have decided to back front-runner Bill de Blasio in the mayor’s race, according to Satmar sources and confirmed by Mr. de Blasio’s campaign.
It’s good to be back home, or at least in your former City Council district.
Bill de Blasio took his mayoral campaign down a busy business strip in the heart of Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community this afternoon, where he was warmly received as he hugged babies, schmoozed with voters and listened to the concerns of small business owners.
And along the way, he frequently pointed out that he used to represent a sizable slice of the Boro Park neighborhood before he was elected public advocate in 2009.
Anthony Weiner and his media circus descended on Jewish Flatbush this morning, as the comeback candidate attempted to revive his embattled mayoral campaign with a photo-op volunteering at a kosher food pantry.
But Mr. Weiner’s presence, in the wake of revelations that his sexting continued long after his resignation from congress, riled many in the conservative neighborhood of modest, below-the-knee skirts, kosher delis and yarmulkes.
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.”
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes has been facing a storm of criticism over his unique practice of not disclosing the names of ultra-Orthodox individuals accused of sex crimes in the same way he would for people of every other religious persuasion. On a lengthy, two-part segment on Inside City Hall last night, however, he did everything he could to push back on the notion that he gives the Orthodox community preferential treatment for political gain.
“We are conscious of the criticism that you’re protecting the abusers by not proclaiming their names,” he said, noting the victim and his or her relatives can get pressured by exclusion from every day religious life in these insular communities. “The level of intimidation is not found nearly as much in organized crime, it’s extraordinary how relentless these people can be.”
“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.
Yesterday evening, Councilman David Greenfield endorsed fellow Councilman Lew Fidler’s state senate campaign, giving Mr. Fidler a bit of momentum as he campaigns for the sizable Orthodox Jewish vote in the district he seeks to represent.