Forget about Metztitzah B’peh and school vouchers. We know the Democrats are opposed to vouchers, while some are committed to overturn the Metzitzah B’peh regulation. How about the issues that as at great concern to Orthodox Jews on a daily basis?
Alexander Rapaport, a community activist and head of the Masbia organization, penned a list of 10 major concerns that are secondary to issues of Yeshivas and Metzitzah B’peh, as the mayoral candidates are courting the vote of the Orthodox Jewish Community ahead of the September 10th primary.
“If a City Mayoral candidate can’t even commit to these relatively ‘easily’ resolvable issues, how could we expect anything regarding our major concerns from any candidates,” Mr. Rapaport told YWN. “I think these listed issues are important and could be indicators on how seriously they take our concerns to heart and if they are willing to do the bare minimum.”
Below is Alexander Rapaport’s ‘Sign Off on these Ten-Rights to Be my Mayor’ list, as posted on his Facebook page:
The items mentioned are not something which needs city or state legislative body approval. These are not funding matters nor are they church and state issues. They can be done by the office of the mayor and the mayor can choose to make these as a priority, and see it through.
1. Hand-made matzo bakeries in New York City export millions of dollars’ worth of this specialty item all over the globe. The product has two ingredients: Special Wheat Flour and well water. However, city officials do not allow New York’s well water to be used for matza, and factories are forced to import their water at great needless cost. Will you help change this policy so that local matzo factories can use New York City well water?
2. Most New York City recreational facilities seem to be unaware when Jewish holidays fall on the calendar, and are often unprepared how to handle the high capacity of Jewish visitors during those holidays. They also seem to be inattentive as to when not to schedule construction or renovations to their facilities. Will you help to incorporate a Jewish calendar into the city’s recreational facilities, in order that these public facilities can be better prepared in handling unexpected crowds properly?
3. The mayor’s office grants venue permits for the film industry to be able to work on New York City’s streets and parks. But often, the filming clashes with Jewish holidays, and members of the Jewish community are forced to compete for parking and/or street access, with the film crews, to be able to complete their holiday shopping. Too often the film industry often closes off public access to parks during Jewish holidays, which is exactly the time when the parents and thousands of school free children would like to use the parks. Would you make sure that city parks stay open during times of greatest need and that streets are not closed in times of urgent necessity?
4. Although one out of eight people living in Brooklyn are religious Jews, this significant demographic has no representation within the boards of independent charities funded by the city. For example Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, and Prospect Park Alliance. Since those groups get a majority of their funding from the city, will you require those independent charities to include this demographic on their boards?
5. Due to the observance of the Sabbath, job-holding religious Jews have only Sunday to tend to personal errands. In response, banks and stores, even post offices are open on Sundays in Jewish communities such as Boro Park. Will you help get public facilities such as the public library to be open on Sunday as well?
6. Since many religious Jews avoid much of mainstream media such as TV and newspapers, some critically important government’s health awareness ads or government job recruitment ads don’t reach these folks. Would you consider placing similar ads in local community newspapers and circulars to increase outreach with the potential to save lives?
7. While city government makes an effort to have ethnic diversity in all stock-photos used in its official literature, promotional brochures, websites, and social media accounts, one segment of the population is entirely absent from those materials, and those are ‘visibly religious’ Jewish adults or children. Would you make an effort to gain a more fair representation in every agency’s printed material and every feed of photos that is run by any city agency or recreational facility?