Report: Rabbi Kotler and Gov. Chris Christie “Mend Fences”

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aaron-kotler1From the Star Ledger: When U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson lit into Gov. Chris Christie during the Chamber of Commerce dinner in Washington 10 days ago, some thought it was the first shot fired in the 2013 campaign.Others thought it was just a fun way for Jackson, who was former governor Jon Corzine’s chief of staff and environmental protection commissioner, to get back at the guy who defeated her ex-boss. Those close to Jackson say it’s neither.

The Auditor is told the EPA chief, who went to work for President Obama last year, was simply taking on a new role as a public voice on New Jersey matters. During the Chamber banquet, Jackson mocked Christie for not going on the annual Washington trip.

She closed her featured speech by saying, “Folks, we can bring more change by sitting down at a table and having a meal here, in D.C., talking to each other, than we can yelling or editorializing about why we are not here.”

Jackson spokesman Allyn Brooks-LaSure declined to comment. But one person close to Jackson said “she will continue to remain a voice on matters important in the Garden State.”

Time to mend the fences

Apparently, Christie’s feud with the business lobby and the New Jersey Education Association has gotten the attention of others who were at odds with the Republican during the fall election. One group that took notice was the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Lakewood.

The council of rabbis that runs the massive rabbinical college in town broke with its tradition of interviewing both major-party candidates before endorsing someone; instead, it gave its nod to Corzine without ever meeting with Christie.

Now that Christie is governor, The Auditor is informed the rabbis made a move to smooth things over by meeting last week with Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth), a Christie intimate who chaired the Republican campaign. Kyrillos declined to say much about the sit-down with Rabbi Aaron Kotler, CEO of Beth Medrash Govoha, except to say, “I trust and hope the rabbi and his community will be there to support the governor on the tough agenda items upcoming, many of the goals of which he shares with the governor.”

Sen. Robert Singer (R-Ocean) helped broker the sit-down, which was also attended by Sister Rosemary Jeffries, president of Georgian Court University in Lakewood. Singer said he was disturbed by the rabbis’ refusal to meet with Christie and blamed Corzine, “who was overly sensitive” and insisted that they not sit down with the Republican.

With Christie in office, “the rabbis certainly wanted to let Joe know they would be supportive,” Singer said.


  1. The current aim/goal of the [deleted by moderator] Vaad is very clear. We must figure out a way to convince Trenton that we, in-fact, do control twenty thousand votes.

    That illusion is now on the brink.

  2. The Vaad must show that they have the yochid in mind. Since the election the VAAD has done nothing to ease concerns of the oilam. They need to show in a big way that they are DOING for us. like getting the township to cut some expenses in a meaningful way to help the choked taxpayers in Lakewood.

  3. #4 I don’t live in Lakewood, and have barely visited there. I do feel though that those who live there should be aware of what turned Lakewood into the attraction it is, especially when you contrast it with all the other cities and towns in central/southern NJ. It is obviously the Yeshiva. As such, hacoras hatov is in order, or move to Belmar or some other nice Jersey town

  4. Hakoras hatov does not mean we pay taxes to corrupt or inept governments w/o questioning. The taxpayers of Lakewood are choking and there are those who are playing like everything is good just listen to us. the last election showed that the game is up. Yes the new governor does know that Lakewood did vote for him even thoughj some people endorsed Corzine. Do not kid yourself.

  5. Rabbi Aron Kotler is a very special person. It is amazing how people somehow feel they have a right to knock him in any way. If you don’t like how things are in Lakewood – MOVE OUT! Nobody is forcing you to stay. Ela Mai? You like what the Ir Hatorah of Lakewood is and has to offer and therefore you choose to live there.

    The town belongs to the Kotler Mispacha and they have every right to run it as they feel is best for Torah. Reb Aron ZT”L started put the town on the map, Reb Schneur ZT”L continued to build on on that and YB”L Reb Malkiel and Reb Aron are carrying on for their family. The are very good at what they do and have the Siyata Dishmaya to help get things done for them. Reb Aron is great at what he does.

    So unless you are an elected official or a community Askan who dedicates his days and nights to make Lakewood a better place then either keep quiet and just keep saying thank you or start getting involved and dedicate your life for others or move out! Those are your only choices.

    If Rabbi Aron Kotler were to resign effective immediately and walk away – he will have his life back, he will have more time to learn, more time for his family and a much more relaxed life – but it would also mean that within a few months Lakewood wood be finished. No money to pay the Yungerliet, no programs for housing, education, transportation and other programs he has arranged and people will no longer be able to afford to live there, will have no reason to live there and the town would fall apart.

    Be careful what you wish for – it just might come true!

  6. “The town belongs to the Kotler Mispacha and they have every right to run it as they feel is best for Torah…”

    That statement, if intended seriously, represents either,

    A: a gross lack of basic halachic knowledge regarding the requirements of the “tovei h’eir” see perek bnei h’eir with rishonim, (btw, that’s in Mashectas Megilah), or,

    B: a strong, but yet apparent, connection with the mentioned family. That connection may be either genetic, or most probably, a source of kovod for yourself.

    Or maybe both……

  7. We have a lot of hakaras hatov to Rabbi Aron Kotler but to say the following: “The town belongs to the Kotler Mispacha”.
    Wow, that is really disturbing. Rav Elya zt”l would literally be sick if he heard such a line.

  8. It is proper to thank members of the New Jersey
    legislature who voted against “Toeivah”.
    Certainly hakaras hatov is due the local erlikhe askanim with the right “hashkafa” on such inyanim. Their shtadlanus had a positive effect—baruch HaShem.
    Although practical and business
    issues are important, they should not be
    given kadima on the kheshbon of the rukhnius
    of the klal.

  9. I am not endorsing McCain—a huge disappointment.

    I mentioned him earlier only to contrast his most recent statements to those of
    Joe Lieberman on making Toeivah kosher in the military. Even McCain, who is really a Liberal,
    came out against Obama’s immoral Toeivah plan.
    Lieberman, on the other hand, backs the Toeivah
    plan. Lieberman—feh!


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