My name is Moshe Binom. I am writing to share some of my thoughts on the disgusting recent decline of the political system in our communities. Before I begin, I am a lifelong resident of Borough Park. I am writing as a casual observer. I am not an Askon, community leader nor am I qualified to make an endorsement in any political race. This should serve as a lesson for us and those seeking our votes.
One of the things that make me crazy in politics is pandering. Even worse, blatant lies. This past erev Shabbos, I saw an ad depicting NYC Councilman Lew Fidler as “Lazer Fidler the charidesha candidate for NYS Senate”. Earlier in the day, I saw that Councilman Fidler described himself as a “Bacon and eggs kind of Jew.” He then went on to say that Dov Hikind has a monolithic view of Jews.
From a “Bacon and Eggs kind of Jew” to Lazer Fidler the charidesha candidate for NYS Senate? Wow, even Barack Obama would have a hard time wiggling out of that one. I, for one, have no issue with your level of observance to serve our communities. I don’t believe that you have to have our hashkafah in order to represent us. What I do believe you need, is our trust. We have to trust that you appreciate our storied values and way of life. We demand that you don’t insult our intelligence.
If you are inclined to support same gender marriage, say so. I certainly respect your views. If you consider yourself a conservative Jew, that’s also fine. If you were presented awards from groups advocating for marriage equality, congratulations. But don’t call yourself the charidesha candidate and have a oversized yarmulka slapped onto your head in middle of a press conference surrounded by our leaders.
I don’t mean for this to be slamming Lew Fidler. He has put out deceptive ads and I feel he should be called out on it. To place an ad claiming that we will receive $5,000 tax detections for Yeshiva is nothing short of pulling at our emotional heart strings. This can never be accomplished. This is a time where the State in cutting like never before. To think that a freshman Senator in the minority party that is serving six months of a term can get this done is dreaming. The fact that TAP passed was a major miracle. Ask anybody in Albany if this has a chance. This is another example of our community being played for fools.
On the other side of this race is David Storobin. Much has been made of him being frum or not. I only found one reference in an op-ed claiming that he is frum. He certainly never claimed to be frum. One thing that is clear is he is a chozer betshuva and should be treated as such. We should respect his core convictions and quest for the truth. The only thing I ever heard him defending was that he is not a neo nazi and that he doesn’t have ties to them.
I don’t think we should have a litmus test to know whether we will support a candidate or not. It should not matter if one is in sync with us all across the board. As orthodox Jews we are a minority of a minority. What we should stand up for is honesty. We should demand of those seeking our votes to tell us who they really are. Only once we know the person, can we debate the issues and values, and cast our votes.
The thoughts in this article are those of my own. They in no way reflect the views of anybody associated with me or the media where it appears.