Mew York mayoral candidates are boning up on Jewish law and are learning about Jewish holidays as they attend Jewish events in the race for the large Jewish vote, especially in the Democratic primary.
There are no Jewish candidates to replace Michael Bloomberg, and the lack of a strong Republican candidate more or less puts a Democrat in Gracie Mansion next November.
Approximately 600,000 Democrats are expected to vote in the primaries, a large number of them black or Jewish. Outside of Manhattan, Jews account for more than 15 percent of the vote, according to The New York Times, and nearly one-third of them are Orthodox, whose population continues to soar.
“The seven or eight percentage points that the Orthodox Jewish vote makes up in a primary could definitely make the difference,” Councilman David Greenfield told Colin Campbell in 2012.
It is no wonder that City Council Speaker Christine Quinn attended a Tu B’Shvat “seder” earlier this year and met with Orthodox women who own or manage businesses in Williamsburg.
Polls give her a commanding lead over rivals with 37 percent of the projected vote and 40 percent of the Jewish vote, but future polls could change drastically, one way or the other, if Mayor Bloomberg endorses a candidate. He previously has said that Quinn is the only “rational” candidate but has since gone cold one her after she call for a new Police Department watchdog.
With the primaries five months away, she has plenty of time to go after the Jewish vote, but for the time being, she has not been overly noticeable at Jewish events. One point against her among Orthodox Jews may be that although she is married, she also is openly homosexual.
Her closest rivals are Bill Thompson and Bill de Blasio, who are running close to each other in the polls.
Thompson is a black who is highly regarded in many Orthodox Jewish circles and may be able to garner the Jewish vote to close the gap behind Quinn.
The Times reported last month that Thompson knows better than to shake hands with an Orthodox women and may even have learned a bit of Yiddish that his father, a former legislator, often used.
He is an Episcopalian, but his father’s second wife was Jewish.
“I still remember his bar mitzvah,” joked Ben Barber, an observant Jew who owns a linen business in Borough Park told the newspaper.
Last month, Thompson was the only Democratic candidate at a press conference who denounced Brooklyn College for hosting a Boycott Israel movement event.
Thompson also was the first comptroller to make city investments in Israeli bonds.
De Blasio has 18 percent of the Jewish vote, according to New York Mayor BlogSpot, which also reported Sunday that he attended the Belz annual dinner in February, where he was introduced as “the next mayor of New York City.”
The New York Times reported last month that de Blasio has been “attuned” to issues of business fines and parking that have irritated Orthodox Jews.
Quinn last week attacked a $1 million ad blitz against Quinn, who implied that it was financed “by those closely aligned with my opponents,” but de Blasio denied any connection with the campaign, whose spokeswoman Chelsea Conner said, “Frankly, the Quinn folks made an inaccurate statement Sunday night, they knew it as well as us, and they had to walk it back Monday morning.”
All of the other Democratic party candidates have marginal support except for John Liu who garnered 9 percent in the Marist poll.
Some Jewish leaders have noted “he hasn’t missed any Jewish event in the years he’s been in office,” BlogSpot wrote.
Jewish Press Staff