(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.
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.