House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries are vying for the Orthodox Jewish vote in NY State, which may be blue in presidential elections, but features several congressional districts where the war is on between blue and red candidates. In those districts, the Republicans are hoping that their policies on family and freedom of religion would hold sway over traditional Jews who are being alienated by the agenda of the left.
McCarthy has engaged in multiple meetings with Orthodox Jewish leaders, most notably in the Hasidic village of New Square in Rockland County, where he met with the Grand Rebbe Rabbi David Twersky, whose lineage goes back to the founder of Hasidism, the Ba’al Shem Tov.
The NY Post cited McCarthy, who is a devout Baptist, who said regarding his meetings with the leaders of observant Jews, “We have a lot in common when you think about it. The more they look at the policies Republicans have with freedom and family, and freedom of religion, I think it’s making a difference, especially upstate.”
Congressman Mike Lawler owes his victory last November to the improved relations between the GOP and NY State Orthodox Jews. His 17th District voted for Democrats in presidential elections from Bill Clinton in 1992 to Joe Biden in 2020. Yet Lawler was able to defeat Sean Patrick Maloney, who was preceded by legendary Democratic leader Nita Lowey.
Last March, Lawler and McCarthy met with Twersky one more time, and last June, the Speaker sent his congratulations on Rabbi Twersky’s granddaughter’s wedding. “Your guidance and wisdom have undoubtedly played a significant role in shaping your granddaughter’s life and guiding her to this moment,” McCarthy wrote.
According to the NY Post, McCarthy also attended a fundraiser for Rep. Marc Molinaro visited Hasidic Jews in Monticello in Sullivan County and was hosted by Rabbi Moshe Margaretten from the Tzedek Association.
Lawler and Molinaro relied on Orthodox voters to narrowly defeat their Democratic opponents in 2022.
Leader Jeffries has visited Kiryas Joel in Orange County, where he met with the Satmar Rebbe Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum. In 2000, Hillary Clinton won the NY Senate seat with the support of Satmar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. McCarthy is likely to win hearts and minds in Satmar with his attacks on pro-Israel Democrats in the House. The nice folks in Satmar could probably teach the Speaker a thing or two about anti-Zionism.