Chassidim Elected To Public Office
The election on March 28 of Yidel Perlstein as chairman of Community Planning Board 12 in Brooklyn is an indication of unfolding voting patterns that are changing the face of local governance. His election follows the November 2011 election of Aron B. Wieder to the Rockland County Legislature, representing its 13th District.
Wieder, running on the Democratic, Republican, and Independence lines against an incumbent, won a resounding victory, garnering 79 percent of the vote. He has since been appointed to four important Rockland County Legislature Committees: Economic Development; Government Operations; Public Safety; and Environmental. The appointments are an affirmation of the respect and confidence he has earned from his colleagues and of his viability as a public servant.
Perlstein was elected with an impressive 75 percent of the vote. He had received the endorsement of several elected officials. Community Board 12 represents more than 200,000 residents. He succeeds Alan Dubrow, a member of the board since 1978 and chairman since 1990. Perlstein joins Rabbi Jacob Z. Goldstein, another chassidic elected official, who has served, with distinction, as chairman of Community Board No. 9 (Crown Heights) since 1979.
Who Might Be Next?
Of course, being elected to public office is no easy matter. We can laugh at Mark Twain’s comment, “Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress – but I repeat myself.” But the reality is that getting elected to any public office is a noteworthy achievement. One must have the intuitive understanding to effectively communicate to the people whose votes are necessary for being elected. Being elected by a constituency that extends beyond the walls of one’s beis medrash is to be truly admired.
Our community has an impressive number of individuals worthy of public office. But they have to be encouraged and persuaded to run for office. Few, however, rise to the towering level of Rabbi Aaron Lewin, zt”l Hy”d (1879-1941), Reisha Rav and author of Hadrash Veha’iyun. Grandson of Rabbi Yitzchok Shmelkes, zt”l (1828-1905), author of Beis Yitzchok, Rabbi Lewin served in the Polish Sejm (parliament) from 1922 until the Nazi invasion of Poland in September of 1939. He was murdered in the Holocaust.
The internationally renowned attorney Nathan Lewin is a proud grandson of the Reisha Rav. Nathan Lewin is the son of Rabbi Yitzchok Lewin, zt”l (1906-1995), Agudath Israel Leader.
The Reisha Rav was extraordinarily unique. Nonetheless, there are individuals in our communities who are worthy of serious consideration. One name that immediately springs up is that of Chaim Israel. He was instrumental in the work of SEBCO over the last 35 years in stabilizing the neighborhood known as Boro Park West (the lower numbered avenues and streets), which thrives today. The same principles were applied to other neighborhoods. Those successes have received national attention.
Chaim Israel is well respected by administrators at Maimonides Medical Center and other area hospitals. He organized Vaad Refuah and propelled it to the forefront of Bikur Cholim challenges. In that capacity he leads volunteers from all walks of life: attorneys, businessmen, health care professionals, rabbis, real estate developers, men and women from yeshivish and chassidish backgrounds, all dedicated to improving the health and the delivery of health care services to our community.
He is the son of Rabbi Avrohom Meir Israel, zt”l (d. 1995), late rav of Honiad and author of Vaya’an Avrohom and Imrei Avrohom, and ybch”l Rebbetzin Chava Israel. Rebbetzin Israel (may she have a speedy recovery and be restored to full health soon) is the ideal bikur cholim practitioner, having made countless visits to patients during her decades of daily rounds of visits to every bed in area hospitals.
Surviving the Holocaust, Rabbi Avrohom Meir Israel served as chief rabbi of Vienna and was a key figure in guiding the resurgence of religious life in postwar Europe. He worked alongside post-Holocaust Torah leaders such as Rabbi Boruch Leizerowski, zt”l (d. 2000), Lodzer Rav and author of Taam Boruch who survived Dachau and Auschwitz and was appointed chief rabbi of Munich and later served as chief rabbi of Philadelphia.
Rabbi Avrohom Meir also worked shoulder to shoulder with Rabbi Eliezer Paltiel Roitblatt, zt”l (d. 1998), Shenitzer Rebbe, who was appointed rav of Shenitza, Poland, in 1935. He was the last surviving rav who served in Poland before the Holocaust. Surviving the Holocaust, Rabbi Eliezer Paltiel was appointed rav of the displaced persons camp in Lintz-Weigsheid and was instrumental, together with Rabbi Avrohom Meir, in freeing many agunahs whose husbands were murdered in the Holocaust but had no absolute proof.
Chaim Israel, who wears a shtreimel on Shabbos, has served as the president of the Boro Park Y for many years and is president of Agudath Israel of Boro Park West (9th Avenue). He is frequently found on the roster of panelists at Agudath Israel annual conventions and is seen in almost every picture of Boro Park activists at significant community events. He also is a longtime member of Community Planning Board No. 12.
Universally respected, Chaim Israel plainly is an individual who should be given serious attention as a chassidishe candidate for public office. He will be strongly supported by all segments of our communities. Though this writer considers Chaim Israel a good friend, this writing and vote of confidence is totally unsolicited.
On the second day of Chol Hamoed Pesach, April 10, Moshe Chaim Labin was engaged to the daughter and oldest child of Rabbi Chaim Zvi Teitelbaum, Jerusalem Satmar Rav and oldest son of Rabbi Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, Satmar Rebbe. The chassan is the son of Rabbi Yeshaya Labin, Zidichover Rebbe in Williamsburg. The engagement took place in Beis Medrash Berach Moshe, in the complex of the Satmar Rebbe’s Williamsburg home. Present were only close family members and specifically invited kehilla leaders.
That evening, thousands gathered in the Main Satmar Beis Medrash in Williamsburg to mark the joyous event. The assembled sat at or stood around the tables while yeshiva students stood on standing-room only bleachers waiting for the Rebbe, together with other family celebrants, to enter. When the Rebbe stepped over the beis medrash doorstep, spirited singing erupted and accompanied him until he sat on the podium.
The engagement had been formalized and celebrated on Motzaei Shabbos Shemini, April 22, in the Main Satmar Beis Medrash, with additional thousands having come from beyond the borders of Williamsburg to participate.
The chassan is the grandson of Rabbi Naftali Zvi Labin, zt”l (1916-2009), Zidichov Beregsaz Rebbe who survived the Holocaust and settled in London and later moved to Williamsburg; son-in-law of Rabbi Moshe Labin, zt”l 1939) Zidichover Drohabitcher Rebbe; son-in-law of Rabbi Yitzchok Isaac Eichenstein, zt”l (1805-1873), revered Zidichover Rebbe and author of Lekutei Maharea.
Today’s Zidichover Rebbe is the son-in-law of Rabbi Yonah Fulop, zt”l, Satmar rosh yeshiva and author of Higion Milev; son-in-law of Rabbi Yekusiel Yehuda Rosenberger, zt”l Hy”d (d. 1944), Diyeresher Rav and author of Toras Yekusiel who was murdered in the Holocaust.
The Jerusalem Satmar Rav is the son-in-law of Rabbi Ephraim Lemberger, zt”l, Makaveh Rav in America and author of Ateres Ephraim; son of Rabbi Moshe Noson Nuta Lemberger, zt”l (1909-1983), Makava Rav and author of Ateres Moshe; son of Rabbi Menchem Mendel Lemberger, zt”l, Polgar Rav; son of Rabbi Yehuda Leib Lemberger, zt”l Roshzono Rav. Rabbi Menchem Mendel was the son-law of Rabbi Moshe Noson Jungreis, zt”l (d. 1889), Tisaforod Rav and author of Menuchas Moshe and Toras Noson; son of Rabbi Asher Anshel Jungreis, zt”l (1806-1873), revered Chenger Rav and author of Menuchas Asher. Rabbi Ephraim Lemberger was a son-in-law of Rabbi Moshe Spitz, zt”l, Bistritzer Rav, as is the Satmar Rebbe of Williamsburg.
Toldos Avrohom Yaakov Rebbe To Visit L.A.
A visit to Los Angeles by Rabbi Shmuel Yaakov Kohn, Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok Rebbe of Jerusalem, originally planned for the winter of 2012, will begin with the Rebbe’s arrival on Friday morning, June 22, for Shabbos Shelach. He will remain until Wednesday, Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, June 20. Additional information will soon be released.
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