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The Jewish Press urges its readers in the 27th Senate District (which includes Flatbush and Boro Park) to vote for Lew Fidler in the special election on Tuesday, March 20. As New York City Councilman representing Marine Park, Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay and Madison, Mr. Fidler has ably represented the interests of his Orthodox Jewish constituents and deserves their support.
On the everyday issues facing our community he’s always been there for us. He was in the forefront of efforts to restore $25 million for Priority Five after-school vouchers. He secured passage of a law requiring the provision of on-site nursing staffing for yeshivas. He led efforts for special education yeshiva funding including an autism initiative. Currently he is sponsoring legislation that would require the NYPD to provide security for yeshivas.
He promises that as a member of the State Senate he will continue his efforts on our behalf. He would seek tuition tax credits to reimburse parents for their tuition payments. He would pursue state funding for security cameras around yeshivas. He would increase state funding for after school activities. He would seek adjustments in the yeshiva bus transportation program to address complaints from parents that their needs are not being adequately addressed. He says he would move for prompt payment of tens of millions of dollars earned by yeshivas under the Mandated Services law but that remain unpaid.
We are not unmindful of the efforts of some to bring a halachic element to bear on this special election. That is, there are those who would have us believe there is a Torah imperative not to vote for Mr. Fidler because of his position on gay marriage. Certain rabbonim were importuned to sign on to a letter proclaiming the edict. Individuals are certainly entitled to follow the teachings of anyone they wish. However, the idea that there is a community-wide compulsory religious standard here seems wholly without basis. Indeed, there are significant rabbinic and Orthodox communal leaders who support Mr. Fidler’s candidacy.
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Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.
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