The Jewish Press endorses Hakeem Jeffries in the June 26 Democratic primary for the 8th Congressional District. In Brooklyn the district consists of Fort Green, Bedford-Stuyvesant, East New York, Canarsie, Flatlands, Mill Basin, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Brighton Beach, Coney Island, Sea Gate and Manhattan Beach. In Queens the district includes Ozone Park and Howard Beach.
In his interview with The Jewish Press, Mr. Jeffries displayed a keen understanding of our community’s issues. (Please see page 30 for a full report of Mr. Jeffries’s views.)
Mr. Jeffries impresses as someone who is sensitive to our community’s interests and will work to accommodate them as he goes about representing the interests of all his constituents.
It should be noted that while Mr. Jeffries deserves our support based on his positions on the issues alone, an added reason to support him is that his opponent, Charles Barron, has stood out among local elected officials with his mindless racial and religious verbal assaults.
Following the resignation of State Senator Carl Kruger, who pleaded guilty to bribery charges, voters in Brooklyn’s 27th District, which includes Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach, Gravesend, Mill Basin and Midwood, are choosing his successor in a special election. Both candidates, City Councilman Lewis A. Fidler, Democrat from Sheepshead Bay, and David Storobin, Republican from Brighton Beach, have not discussed the issues confronting the district, so much as exchanged wild and nasty accusations regarding Storobin’s affiliations with… neo-Nazis.
According to a NY Times report from early February, the Democratic front-runner said his challenger had neo-Nazi ties. Now, mind you, both candidates are Jewish.
Speaking in the middle of a very noisy bar back in January, Councilman Fidler told the assembled (and a tad inebriated) Young Democrats “The Republicans in the State Senate are going to drop a half a million dollars behind some guy who I laid eyes on for the first time tonight – first time, I go to a lot of meetings and [this was the] first time I ever saw David Storobin – a guy who can’t even fess up to what he writes on his web pages anymore and is busy scrubbing what little history he has because he’s embarrassed about his ties to skinheads and neo-Nazi groups and white supremacist groups because the Republicans had no idea who they were putting on the ballot.”
Yeshiva World published a retort by Storobin that went: “From the start of his campaign for State Senate, Lew Fidler has engaged in nasty, vicious and false negative attacks against me. Realizing that he stands against traditional marriage, against vouchers, in favor of abortions, in favor of higher taxes and otherwise out of step with the people of the district, Mr. Fidler knew that he cannot appeal to the voters by discussing issues. As such, his campaign and its supporters resorted to character assassination.
“They said that I was tied to the Nazis. They questioned whether I’m really Jewish. They’ve attacked my profession as an attorney with a false smear. They’ve even repeatedly attacked my mother with words I won’t write here.”
Storobin proceeded to state that he was born in the Soviet Union. “My grandparents were born into frum families,” but the communists robbed the family of its Yiddishkeit. He even inserted a prooftext memoir: “My maternal grandfather Pinchus knew how to be a shohet, but the only thing we knew is that he would buy and prepare the chicken during important events.”
The Times noted that after his videotaped remark had gone a little more viral than he had expected, Fidler sent out a press release asking Storobin to explain “his connection to white supremacist groups” whose websites he had linked to his articles, and to republish the articles themselves, which Fidler claimed had “disappeared from the blog’s archive.”
In the end Fidler revised a bit, saying he should have used the word “links” rather than “ties.” And by links he meant “hyperlinks” on a browser page, rather than, well, ties.
This week the Jewish Press endorsed Lew Fidler For State Senate, saying that “he has ably represented the interests of his Orthodox Jewish constituents and deserves their support.”
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.
Question: How have rising prices affected your buying decisions?
As a caterer, I see all too well the increases in food prices. Rather than pass along the inflated prices to my customers, I’m trying harder to use different staples in my food. I used to be a brand buyer but now I try to buy more generic items to save money. Here’s a cool trick I want to share with readers: On food labels, look for the plant number on the back. Many name-brand and generic items are made in the same plant, but because of the name you’re paying more. For example, a major well-known brand of cheese and Key Food’s brand of cheese are both OU and both come from the same plant, but there is a significant price difference.
- Ira Polansky, owner, Eden Caterers
I can’t walk into a store and just buy items casually like before. I have to limit my choices and so shopping has become less fun. We also can’t go around as much due to the high gas prices.
- Samantha Hupart, 7th grade student
I’m eating out less. The price of food is shocking. I remember buying a bagel for 40 cents and now it’s a dollar. This didn’t happen gradually – it almost seems like it occurred overnight. I try to only buy necessities. I also use my ’93 Corolla more than my 2005 truck to conserve on gas. In my line of business, I unfortunately see foreclosures, evictions, and bankruptcies all too often.
-Gary Rose, New York City marshal
When I look for clothes I don’t buy brand names as much anymore since it really doesn’t matter what the label says. I also go out to eat less than before. I was shocked when recently I went to the grocer to buy a few plums and a bottle of water and the bill came out to $10!