Hochul Gets Her First Orthodox Endorsements, From Satmar-R’Aharon and New Square

By Reuvain Borchardt

NEW YORK — Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul received her first endorsements from Orthodox communities in her reelection bid, getting the support of the Satmar community of the Rebbe Harav Aharon Teitelbaum on Tuesday, and the New Square community on Wednesday.

“Gov. Hochul has been a friend to the community for close to a decade,” Satmar community leader Rabbi Moishe Indig told Hamodia Tuesday. “She was always there for the community, and we are looking forward to continue this great relationship for another term.”

Hochul’s Republican challenger, Rep. Lee Zeldin had received all previous endorsements by Orthodox activists and rabbanim, largely based on his promise to fight regulations passed by the state Board of Regents in September, that for the first time give the government the ability to mandate a specific secular-studies curriculum on private schools.

Hochul has remained publicly neutral on the issue, noting that the Education Department operates independently of the governor, despite repeated requests from Orthodox leadership to publicly oppose the regulations and use her influence to prevent them from being passed.

Hochul enjoyed a good relationship with the Orthodox community prior to the new regulations being announced last spring and Hochul’s subsequent decision not to take a stance on the matter as the regulations were publicly debated, and ultimately passed by the Board of Regents. For a community that typically endorses friendly incumbents, the near-unanimous support for the challenger in this election underscores the centrality of the yeshiva issue.

But Rabbi Indig said that Hochul promised to protect yeshiva education in a recent meeting with community leadership.

“The governor visited the Rebbe and community leaders,” Rabbi Indig said, “and she promised to be a supporter of the Jewish community in opposing antisemitism and fighting to protect the rights of parents to be able to educate their children, so that we may enjoy our rights to freedom of religion.”

The endorsement was officially announced in a letter from community leaders publicized Tuesday evening.

The letter defended Hochul’s stance on the education issue.

“Even though, because of the atmosphere in New York, Governor Hochul did not seek to make media statements to defend the truth about our holy chinuch,” the letter says in Yiddish, “throughout this entire time she sought to ensure that in the executive branch of the state, which she controls, the liberal agendas against our chinuch would be rejected. She ensured every step of the way, that despite the fact that that the executive branch does not have any influence on the Board of Regents … where these dirty winds continue to blow, her administration should not be dragged along with it.”

The letter acknowledges that most of the Orthodox community is supporting Zeldin, and indicates that a goal of its endorsement for Hochul was so that if she wins, the Orthodox community will still have some connection to the halls of power.

“During a time when many in our community are expected to vote for the Republican candidate to support his positive public statements for the benefit of our chinuch,” the letter reads, “we bear a critical obligation to be the possible lifeline for the future of Yiddishkeit in New York, by maintaining a strong connection with the leadership in the corridors of Albany.”

New Square community leaders published a letter Wednesday in support of Hochul and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat running for Congress in Rockland County against Republican challenger Mike Lawler.

Most polls have favored Hochul, though nearly all have the race with a single-digit margin.

Early voting has already begun and runs through Sunday, November 6. Election Day is November 8.

See the Satmar letter below

See the New Square letter below


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