New York's Orthodox Voting Bloc Divided on Mayor Race

Brooklyn Orthodox Split Between at Least Three Candidates

Cracks in the Bloc: Satmar Hasidim are vowing to deliver Brooklyn ultra-Orthodox voters to Bill Thompson in the Democratic mayoral primary. But other groups are endorsing Christine Quinn and Bill DiBlasio has support in the community too.
josh nathan-kazis
Cracks in the Bloc: Satmar Hasidim are vowing to deliver Brooklyn ultra-Orthodox voters to Bill Thompson in the Democratic mayoral primary. But other groups are endorsing Christine Quinn and Bill DiBlasio has support in the community too.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published August 29, 2013, issue of September 06, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 3)

Whether or not Orthodox Brooklyn is strategically covering its bases, the effect of the scattered, long-withheld endorsements has been to force the candidates to pay attention. The fracturing of the Orthodox vote comes amid a campaign in which Orthodox issues have played an unusually prominent role.

Many candidates backed city aid to private religious schools, a perennial Orthodox priority, and criticized Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s effort to regulate a controversial circumcision ritual called metzitzah b’peh. De Blasio, in a well-timed move in mid-July, issued a statement in his day job as the city’s public advocate criticizing a Saudi-owned airline for refusing to book Israeli passengers on flights at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. Weiner and Quinn both said in late June and early July that they believed the West Bank to be disputed territory, not occupied territory.

“All the candidates are addressing [our] issues,” said Sofer, whose Satmar faction is expected to make its own endorsement before the end of August. “It’s a phenomenal achievement, in my mind”

For Niederman, Sofer’s Satmar factional counterpart, the fractured vote is simply a political fact.

“We would love that we all go dressed alike, speak alike,” Niederman said. “It doesn’t work that way.”

Orthodox leaders said that they had had trouble settling on an endorsement. Niederman, speaking after announcing that his Satmar faction had endorsed Thompson, said that his group had been choosing among Thompson, de Blasio and Quinn up until the previous day. Dov Hikind, the New York State assemblyman representing Boro Park, praised both de Blasio and Thompson in mid-August, days before coming out for Thompson.

Sofer said that he had been in talks with representatives of Quinn, de Blasio and Thompson, and that his Satmar faction was bouncing back and forth. “In the morning, people [are] pushing this one; in the afternoon, people [are] pushing [that one],” Sofer said.

Contact Josh Nathan-Kazis at nathankazis@forward.com or on Twitter, @joshnathankazis.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.