The split between the two heirs to the Satmar Hasidic dynasty spilled over into the political arena this week.
According to Yiddish-language listservs and blogs hosted in Israel, there is a an Internet campaign underway to urge Satmar residents in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn to vote for Hillary Clinton, while at the same time urging residents to physically cross off her delegate, Rabbi David Niederman, from their ballots. Allies of Niederman have countered, urging voters to support him.
Niederman is considered to be a follower of Zalman Teitelbaum, who splits the community’s allegiance with his brother, Aaron Teitelbaum.
Throughout the listserv posts, calls were made for visitors to promptly urge their spouses and children to vote, but to abstain from supporting Niederman. Few, if any, cogent arguments are provided and impenetrable financial statistics related to his community-organizing work abound.
After the 1999 split between the brothers, different community organizations became affiliated with feuding rabbinical leaderships. He is currently the director of the United Jewish Communities of Williamsburg, an umbrella organization that serves as a provider of social and housing services, as well as public health and community development services in the Williamsburg area.
“I don’t read the blogs and I am not aware that they exist.” Niederman remarked, when reached by the Forward. “Voting is going on in Williamsburg right now.”