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August 1, 2015 / 16 Av, 5775
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Jewish Press Endorsements

For the New York State Legislature in the September 13 primaries for the Democratic designation in the November general election:

Assembly:

Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs
(Assembly District 42)

Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs, the assistant speaker of the Assembly, has fought hard for her Brooklyn community, leading successful efforts to strengthen social services. She helped establish parameters for the Community Services Block Grant program, which provides for food and nutrition programs, job training and other services. She is a member of the board of the Hillel Foundation and a member and past officer of the National Association of Jewish Legislators. A strong advocate for the Jewish community, Ms. Jacobs has also been at the forefront of issues relating to Medicaid and has authored legislation that has served as a national model for preventive health care for women and children. She has earned renomination.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz
(Assembly District 45)

We urge Democrats in the 45th Assembly District to support Assemblyman Cymbrowitz, who has represented the district since 2000. He has always been an important voice for the Jewish community. He is a staunch advocate for Jewish social service organizations that provide legal and financial services and help feed the hungry. He played a leading role in legislation, signed into law last year, requiring insurance companies to provide the same coverage for prescription fertility drugs purchased in local pharmacies as those purchased via mail order, something of great concern in the Jewish community. The son of survivors, Mr. Cymbrowitz has been a leader in educating children about the horrors of the Holocaust and he has been a great friend to other survivors and their families. He has always been a reliable ally in the fight for the rights of Jews as members of a religious minority. Ben Axelrod, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz’s opponent in the primary, brings much to the table but has simply not made the case against Mr. Cymbrowitz’s long record of service.

Assemblyman Michael Miller
(Assembly District 38)

Assemblyman Miller, a lifelong community activist, has made public safety a priority during his career in public service. He has pushed legislation to crack down on drunk and distracted drivers, urging a ban on the use of electronic devices while driving. Miller is one of our state’s great advocates for the disabled, founding an organization for adults with mental disabilities and consistently leading efforts to bring more resources for the disabled. He has shown sensitivity to the importance of protecting the rights of Jews as a religious minority.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind
(Assembly District 48)

Dov Hikind is a 30-year incumbent who has been publicly identified with almost every issue of importance to the Jewish community. He has kept the issue of anti-Semitism on the public radar and has been a forceful advocate for Jewish rights generally and for Israel. In the last general election a virtual unknown named Doherty ran against Mr. Hikind on the Republican line in the mostly Jewish district and secured a remarkable 40 percent of the vote. This time he will have no Republican opponent but is being challenged in the Democratic primary by Moshe Tischler, a spirited young man of 20 who claims he would do better on the issues of importance to our community. As the incumbent, Assemblyman Hikind ordinarily would presumptively deserve community support unless compelling reasons surfaced to the contrary. To this point, this has not occurred. However, even if Mr. Tischler loses the primary election, he has secured and will run on the School Choice line in the November general election and have another, broader opportunity to make his case against Mr. Hikind.

Jerry Iannece
(Assembly District 25)

Jerry Iannece, the chairman of Queens Community Board 11, is seeking the Democratic nomination to run in the November general election for the Assembly seat being vacated by Rory Lancman. Iannece has a long record of public service and is the paradigm of the indefatigable civic activist dedicated to addressing the needs of the community. He reached out to The Jewish Press to present his positions and impressed us with his sensitivity and grasp of the Jewish community’s special concerns. He deserves the nomination.

Senate:

Simcha Felder
(Senate District 17)

The 17th Senatorial District is the newly formed so-called Super Jewish District. Though not an incumbent, Simcha Felder – currently the New York City deputy comptroller for budget and accounting – previously served as a thrice-elected member of the New York City Council, so he is familiar to most primary voters, as is his record. But in the course of the primary campaign Mr. Felder’s opponent, 21-year-old Avraham Tischler, whose brother Moshe is challenging Assemblyman Dov Hikind, and the Republican candidate, David Storobin, both noted some questionable actions taken by Mr. Felder when he served on the City Council. He has offered reasonable explanations for his behavior and we look forward to the general election campaign for a fuller airing of the issues should Mr. Felder be the Democratic candidate. Mr. Tischler has already secured the School Choice line and Mr. Storobin, as noted, will be running on the Republican line.

Judgeships:

Surrogate’s Court (Manhattan)

Two well-qualified sitting judges are contending for one of the two seats on the Surrogate’s Court in Manhattan, which oversees wills, estates and adoptions in that borough. Barbara Jaffe has been an acting Supreme Court Justice since 2010 dealing mostly with matrimonial issues; before that she had served on the Civil Court since 2001 following sixteen years as a law clerk to two Supreme Court justices. Rita Mella worked as a law clerk for 13 years for three judges – including a one-year stint with Brooklyn Surrogate Margarita Lopez-Torres – before being elected to the Civil Court in 2006 whereupon she was assigned to the Criminal Court.

Both have impressive resumes and are serious judges. However, we think Ms. Jaffe is the better choice. Her work as a presiding judge over matrimonial cases gives her a distinct edge in terms of the work of the Surrogate’s Court.

Civil Court (5th District, Brooklyn)

Two highly qualified Orthodox attorneys are vying for a seat on the Civil Court bench in Brooklyn.

Shlomo Z. Mostofsky is a prominent Brooklyn attorney specializing in family law who also served for eleven years as president of the National Council of Young Israel, representing the organization in national and international venues. He is respected by his colleagues and clients as a savvy practitioner, equally at home in court or at the negotiating table and willing to take politically incorrect stands regardless of the heat.

Charles Finkelstein is a twenty-year veteran in the legal profession, specializing in all areas of commercial, personal injury and criminal law and having also served as an assistant special narcotics prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. He is known for his experience as a practitioner in the court system and dogged work ethic. He enjoys a sterling reputation with community activists as “a go to guy” for people in trouble with the law regardless of ability to pay.

Both are eminently suited to sit on the Civil Court bench, but we believe Shlomo Mostofsky’s national and international experience tips the scales in his favor. He has impressed as a passionate advocate for Jews and justice around the world.

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