Photo Credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York; Gage Skidmore
Congressman Lee Zeldin vs. Governor Kathy Hochul.

Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, one of the two Grand Rebbes of Satmar and the chief rabbi of the Satmar community in Kiryas Joel, New York, is urging his Hasidim to cast their votes on Tuesday for incumbent Governor Kathy Hochul, Behadrei Haredim reported.

The Rebbe’s spokesman, Rabbi Meir Zvibel, announced on Sunday that it is “the duty of every man and woman” to vote for Hochul.


Meanwhile, Hochul’s Republican opponent, Lee Zeldin, has received the endorsements of Rabbi Shea Hecht from Lubavitch, who said in an open letter to Zeldin: “You are the only candidate who is truly pro-Yeshivas and public safety, which are the two prominent issues facing our community … I enthusiastically support your campaign.”

A year ago, the other Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum, supported Andrew Yang, so Reb Aaron Teitelbaum’s followers switched from Yang to Eric Adams, diluting the effect of the Satmar vote on the outcome.

It’s not clear which of the candidates in the gubernatorial race has Reb Zalman’s support.

Zeldin, whose great grandfather was an Orthodox rabbi but his wife Diana is a Mormon, has received the endorsement of several Hasidic groups, mostly because he promised to defend Hasidic yeshivas against attacks from the state’s and the city’s departments of education over “secular studies,” a.k.a. core curricular studies (such as English and Math).

Last week, Zeldin told reporters about the Hasidic voters: “They care about yeshiva education, and Albany has declared war on yeshiva education.”

Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum is the oldest son of the late Grand Rebbe of Satmar Moshe Teitelbaum, the nephew of the late Satmar Rebbe, Reb Yoel Teitelbaum. In 1985, Reb Aaron was appointed as chief rabbi and rosh yeshiva of the Satmar congregation in Kiryas Yoel, making him the decision-maker in the movement, but some residents of Kiryas Yoel at that time resented the appointment,

In 1999, the Satmar Rebbe Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum appointed his second son, Zalman, as leader of the Williamsburg congregation, which was seen as a signal that he wanted Zalman to become the next rebbe after his death. Until then, it was assumed that Reb Moshe’s eldest son, Reb Aaron Teitelbaum, would be the next rebbe.

Reb Moshe died in 2006, and each side declared their leaders as the new Satmar Rebbe. Reb Aaron’s Hasidim sued in state court to get possession of the movement’s assets in Williamsburg, but the court declined to rule in either brother’s favor, and the movement remained split since then.


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