[Click here for video.] Anthony Weiner is continuing making strides in his run for mayor. Over the past two weeks, he has mainly been reaching out to former constituents, partly the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn and Queens. As he took on the role of defending the practice of Metzitzah B’peh, Mr. Weiner has been somewhat successful in making inroads within the Orthodox Jewish community, especially among those who feel neglected by the City government.
Accompanied by his Jewish liaison Morty Avigdor, Mr. Weiner took time off his regular campaign schedule, Thursday afternoon, to meet with the Munkatcher Rebbe, Rabbi Moshe Leib Rabinovich, in Borough Park. The Rebbe of Munkatch is one of the prominent and respected leaders in the Hasidic community.
While it was not the place to receive an endorsement, the Rebbe expressed his deep gratitude for the help the community has received from Mr. Weiner when he served as Congressman. In addition to a blessing, the Rebbe also drew a clear distinction between Mr. Weiner and his competitors. “I know one Mr. Weiner. Anytime we asked him for anything he was always there. That’s all that interests me,” the Rebbe said.
“Is it politically correct for me to ask for [a Brocho (a blessing)],” Mr. Weiner asked the Rebbe. “Yes. Even if it’s not,” the Rebbe responded, stretching out a hand to bless the candidate running for mayor of NYC lots of success.
With regard to the issue of Metzitzah B’peh, Mr. Weiner reminded the Rebbe that he was the first one, in 2005, to express concern of the government imposing regulation on the traditional practice. “It is the responsibility of the government to walk with a very light touch when it deals with anything that has to do with religion,” he said. “Particular with a small minority group we are, frankly. That’s the instance where the government has to be most careful, to protect the people who aren’t in the mainstream. The mainstream has their way of protecting themselves. It’s called the ballot box, where the majority rules. But when it comes to religious practice, I believe it’s our country’s ideals, particular in New York where we are so diverse, we have to be very respectful of the practice of religion.”
Expressing a sense of empathy, Mr. Weiner added, “The community wants the sense, not that you are always get their way, but they are always going to have their say. They always are going to have an opportunity to make their voice heard.
When asked by Rabbi Berish Freilich whether there’s a law that the major can overturn the regulation, Mr. Weiner answered: “Certainly.”
“A regulation by the department of health is an administrative act. It is not under a legal consent decree or under a state law. It is something that was done by the health department.” Adding “Mayor Bloomberg deserves credit for being concerned about health. But there are lines that get drawn all the time, and the government has to find that line. ”
Later in the evening following a town hall meeting in Canarsie, Mr. Weiner told reporters he reserves the right to overturn the Metztizah B’peh regulation.
In what can be described as a awkward moment, Mr. Weiner turned to the Rebbe asking for advice. “You have never run for mayor, have you? You’d be a good candidate,” Mr. Weiner said. To which the Rebbe laughed.
[Click here for video of the visit.]
Source: NYC ELECTS – J KORNBLUH