Lew Fidler Loses Some Rabbinic Endorsements, Rav Benoliel Says it is “Mesiy’ayah Ovrei Aveirah”


lew-fidlerCouncilman Lew Fidler, the Democratic candidate in the special election for former State Senator Carl Kruger’s seat, put out a long list of 266 endorsements when his campaign began. Now, it seems at least a handful of these backers, mostly rabbonim, are no longer on board with Mr. Fidler as he campaigns in the heavily Jewish, southern Brooklyn district.

One of these original endorsers, Rav Chaim Benoliel, even signed a letter saying a vote for Mr. Fidler is contrary to Torah law due to his socially liberal positions. “It is therefore considered to be a great Chilul Hashem and Assur [forbidden according to Torah law] to vote for or to provide funding, campaign assistance, public recognition or any type of support to Councilman Lewis Fidler,” the letter reads. “To do so would amount to being mesiy’ayah ovrei aveirah (abetting transgression of the Torah’s commandments).”

Rav Shlomo Churba Cohen, listed on Mr. Fidler’s announcement as “Shurba Cohen,” is another backer that has withdrawn his support. Earlier this afternoon, Rav Cohen’s son Dovid confirmed his father wanted his name taken off Mr. Fidler’s endorsement list.

Although the son declined to state the reason for his father’s shift, Joseph Hayon, a political liaison for Jews for Morality, said he talked to Rav Cohen and the decision was due to Mr. Fidler’s stance on gay marriage. Mr. Hayon said the various rabbis wanted to “send a message to Albany and Washington that we will not vote for any candidate that pledges to vote for same gender marriage … even if they give us $15,000,000 or supply us with $5,000 education tax credits.”

“I am still receiving requests from leaders of the Orthodox Jewish community asking me how to get their name removed from Fidler’s list,” he added.

Another one of Mr. Fidler’s endorsers, Jack Benton, a former Republican District Leader, told The Politicker he had initially offered his endorsement to Mr. Fidler, but he had done it in an offhand way and was now firmly behind the Republican candidate in the race, attorney David Storobin.

It appears that some of Mr. Fidler’s former backers have already successfully registered their complaints. The Fidler campaign’s Scribd account shows multiple revisions to the list. While Rabbi Aryeh Katzin initially appeared among Mr. Fidler’s 266 supporters, an updated list does not cite him. A source told The Politicker Rabbi Katzin never personally authorized his name to be used and has a policy of not endorsing candidates. Mr. Storobin recently spoke at Rabbi Katzin’s school, Sinai Academy, additionally suggesting at least some level of bipartisanship on the rabbi’s part. Another individual, Rabbi Shlomo Wadiche, was also on the original list but not the updated file.

What kind of impact these endorsement drops will have is unclear as recent signs suggest relative strength on Mr. Fidler’s part. Mr. Storobin just switched campaign managers and Democrats are privately feeling increasingly confident about the race.

The special election opened up when Mr. Kruger pleaded guilty to corruption and resigned. Voters head to the polls on March 20th.

A request for comment to the Fidler campaign was not immediately returned.

{Politicker/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Lew Fiddler has been an advocate at the side of every Jewish issue that we as a community have asked of City Hall. He is an intelligent and committed Jew who has worked tirelessly on our behalf.
    I refuse to allow a “one issue cause” blind our community to the years of good Lew has devoted to us. Zrok es hapesoles vtocho echol.Any other way would render Torah Jewry politically impotent.

  2. Sorry #1 but I coudlnt disagree with you more. I’m not sure how well you know him to make the judgment that he is intelligent, and on what basis did you decide that he is commited? As far as him working “tirelessly on our behalf” I have to assume you are talking about money. there are certain red lines that should not be crossed, and he crosed them. Unlike you, some of us are not ready to sell our souls. Be careful, it’s a slippery slope your starting to slide down

  3. #1 if “he is commited jew except he believes in j.c.” would you still say you dont allow single issue to fderail your support? you want to support him, its your problem. but no commited jew supports same gender marriage. its chillul shem shamayim.i

  4. There’s far more to voting intelligently than counting endorsements. Voters have a duty to independently size up the character, competence, and ideology of candidates. You can’t delegate that duty.

  5. To #9
    You are %100 right! The problem is that Matzav feel’s that it’s a chiyuv to protect & cover up for them! They won’t allow any of the emes hadvorim to come out! Gelt gelt gelt gelt gelt gelt & more gelt! You can throw the Torah out the window! And then they wonder why kids from these yeshivo’s are going off the derech! Very small minded immature people! Chaniffa 101

  6. Cuomo is different, at least he had no chance of losing after Paladino slipped and there was a case to be politically savvy by backing the winner. I don’t personally believe this line of reasoning but it is understandable.

    This race is the heart of a Frum community. It is choosing its representative. To choose a Jew who actively supports anti-Torah legislation and simply tries to pay off our community is downright fraud of the highest order…and a tremendous chillul Hashem. At the moment, there are two sides to the marriage issue in NY. Soon it’ll be dynamite to oppose it. At that point, all the religious exceptions are unlikely to stand. Let us speak up now and tell Albany no. Why not? So he try to get us money. I mean one of his promises was get money that was owed to schools. Good grief. If the gov’t hasn’t been good to pay, then we should believe this guy to magically make the money appear. And for that, we sell our souls. I mean I don’t think we should even for the money. But for nothing is mamish a boosha and shame. Storobin and has said I will represent you. I (Storobin) am going to shul, will support school vouchers for yeshivas not handouts, support the Torah’s principles and be a real representative. If we send’em off, in place of a political hack s’ein camohu like Fidler…heesh.


    Let’s see some signs on the street saying a vote for Fidler is assur.