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 & queens
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.
Mr. Greenfield, saying Mr. Fidler is “the best person to fight for the frum community in the New York State Senate,” specifically praised his plan to reduce the financial burden of Jewish educational institutions.
Last week, the judge in the redistricting case took submissions from the public on where New York’s new congressional lines should lie, and one group, “the Orthodox Alliance for Liberty,” submitted a plan aiming to unite as many Jewish communities as possible, especially Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau, and upstate.
In order to justify their proposal, the group argued the lines proposed by the legislative majorities, as well as the existing congressional boundaries, are wholly unacceptable.
“The current districting of the Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in the New York City and Long Island area, as well as the maps proposed by the New York State Senate and Assembly majorities are untenable,” they wrote to the court. “The sizable, distinct and ethnic and racial group of Orthodox Jews has been systematically deprived of just representation in the U.S. Congress. This Orthodox Alliance for Liberty implores the Honorable Court to correct an egregious wrong and restore a full voice for New York’s Orthodox Jews in the U.S. Congress.”
what a mensch
Brooklyn’s Jewish media has not been overly nice to Democratic Councilman Lew Fidler in the last two days. Yesterday, COMMUNITY Magazine converted itself to an almost cover-to-cover advertisement for his opponent in his campaign for the State Senate, and today, one of the most influential newspapers in the district, Hamodia, wrote a fairly scathing piece as well.
Underneath the front-page headline “Scandalous Claims,” one of the newspaper’s editors went after Mr. Fidler for insufficiently supporting tuition relief for the district’s yeshivas while boosting his Republican opponent, David Storobin. ”In truth, Storobin’s conservative qualifications appear solid,” he wrote. “But for Fidler to claim the conservative mantle, in support of funding for yeshivos, is just scandalous, say people involved in yeshivah aid.”
Mr. Fidler is campaigning heavily on yeshiva funding and both candidates told Hamodia the issue was the most important one in the district.
The newspaper’s harshest words were over gay marriage, however.
A group of New York Orthodox Jews have formed a group, “Jews Pick Rick,” supporting presidential candidate Rick Santorum in his quest for the White House, they announced in a statement this morning.
“What started as three men in a small room has grown into a larger operation as many Jews have emailed or communicated to us their interest in helping Santorum,” David Shor, the spokesman for the organization, said in the release.
“The sole goal of Jews Pick Rick is to turn the Orthodox community into Santorum territory, spreading Rick’s conservative message to Boro Park, Flatbush, Monsey, Lakewood and Five Towns,” he continued, touting Mr. Santorum’s foreign policy views.
The group also took the bat to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, “whose Jewish advisers are primarily secular Jews,” according to the release.