On Sunday, the media were given a unique opportunity to assess Anthony Weiner’s support among Jewish voters. At the Celebrate Israel parade on 5th avenue, the WSJ and the Daily News conducted many interviews with Jewish voters who had mixed feelings about the only Jewish candidate running for mayor in the Democratic primary.
“I have no desire to vote for him,” said Alan Walz, a 54-year-old legal assistant who lives in Queens. “Whether he’s Jewish or not is irrelevant to me. It’s about whether he’d make a good mayor, and based on his indiscretions, I won’t put him in office. He’s already made his bed.”
“The thing you most need in a mayor … is moral integrity, and this man has trampled on integrity,” said Sandy Lebowitz of Midwood, Brooklyn, once Weiner’s political base. “How dare he come here because it’s [politically] convenient.”
Karen Gordon of Riverdale, the Bronx, also said Weiner was unwelcome. “He embarrassed himself, and someone like that shouldn’t be elected,” she said.
“In some ways, your community is the one that’s going to judge you the harshest,” one prominent Jewish leader. told the Daily News, “There’s a Yiddish word for it: shonda. It’s like a shame to the community.”
Others were more forgiving.
“I was disappointed when he quit, so I’m glad he’s back,” said Ellen Kamaras, a 57-year-old accountant in the Brooklyn section of Mr. Weiner’s old district. “Not that I’m condoning what he did, but I always thought that he was good for the community.”
“Weiner for mayor!” yelled Jack Gindi of Flatbush, Brooklyn, who said he could ignore Weiner’s personal foibles.
“The man can and has served well for the people of New York City, and what he does in his private life and whatever else he’s done in the past, I’m willing to overlook for the sake of New York City,” he said.
Queens Rabbi Moses Birnbaum predicted many Jews would end up as Weiner followers, if not on Twitter. “Judaism believes in redemption,” he said. “As far as the unfortunate episode over the Internet, a lot of my people have said the media have fixated on this, when you consider the people serving in Congress who have violated laws, like tax laws, they think he shouldn’t have resigned.” Speaking to reporters Sunday before marching in the parade. Mr. Weiner played down any specific appeal he has to Jews. “I’m very comfortable with the issues that are important to middle-class voters in this city, and I’ve represented a district that had a heavy Jewish population for my entire career,” Mr. Weiner said. “But frankly the things I’m talking about in this campaign are unifying themes. It doesn’t matter where you live, it doesn’t matter what your faith is, you probably believe that this city has become harder for the middle class to live in.”