Zeldin Endorsed by 20 Boro Park Organizations’ Leaders, Citing Support for Yeshivas

By Reuvain Borchardt

Rep. Lee Zeldin meeting with heads of Boro Park mosdos on Sunday.

BORO PARK — Republican gubernatorial candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin continued to rack up endorsements in the Orthodox Jewish community Tuesday, getting the support of leaders of 20 Chassidic groups and yeshivas, on the strength of his opposition to state regulation of yeshivas, and incumbent Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul’s unwillingness to support yeshivas in the same manner.

“The future of our children’s education is, unfortunately in danger, May G-d have mercy,” reads the letter signed by leaders of Chassidic groups including Bobov, Bobov-45, Satmar-R’ Zalman Leib, Belz and Ger; and heads of yeshivas and girls schools including Ohr Moshe, Darkei Chaim, Bais Yaakov of Boro Park and Tomer Devorah. “The best candidate who came forth, ready to fight for our future in the pure education of our children, is Lee Zeldin. It is critically important for our community to have the right representative, who will stand by our side and represent our interests with dedication and understanding.”

Zeldin has received nearly all endorsements thus far by rabbanim and Orthodox community activists, due almost entirely to his vow to fight regulations enacted 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 neutral on the issue, noting that the Education Department operates independently of the governor, despite repeated requests from Orthodox leadership to use her influence to prevent the regulations from being passed.

“We met Lee Zeldin when he came to visit Camp Shalva last summer,” Bobov community leader Joel  Rosenfeld told Hamodia on Tuesday. “We met him again this week, and his message then, when he was way down in the polls was identical to his message now that his poll numbers are surging: he will fight for our yeshivas with the same vigor that he will tackle the crime issues that plague the state.

“As our very existence in New York is threatened by the state’s attempt to control our yeshiva curriculum, we are grateful to Zeldin for standing in support of our educational and religious liberties, and therefore enthusiastically endorse him for governor.

“And we urge everyone go out and vote.”

Zeldin visiting Bobov’s Camp Shalva last summer.

Zeldin campaigned in Orthodox neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Rockland County this week, receiving endorsements from rabbanim in Flatbush and upstate, as well as the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition, and groups of Orthodox activists in Central Queens, Far Rockaway, and Crown Heights.

Boro Park community leaders had held off on making an endorsement in the race until they could meet with Hochul. A meeting scheduled for last Wednesday was postponed by Hochul’s team two hours before its scheduled time, and finally held Monday night.

Multiple sources familiar with what occurred at the meeting Monday told Hamodia that Hochul asked for the endorsement of the Jewish leaders. They told her they could only consider endorsing her if she would speak out strongly and unambiguously against the education regulations, in a manner similar to what Zeldin has. Hochul replied that she preferred to do her work on this matter behind the scenes.

On Tuesday, Hochul issued a statement in the form of a campaign ad, in which the governor said she “will continue to fight for your right to practice your religion and teach your children with your religious education. I recognize that education is an important value in the Jewish community and I want to assure everyone that Jewish schools will always be treated with fairness and respect.”

The Orthodox leaders deemed the statement far too tepid, and the groups threw their support behind Zeldin on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s endorsement letter is signed by most of the usual Boro Park endorsers, though a handful did not join. It is unclear if they will endorse Hochul, or choose not to make an endorsement in what is expected to be a close election.

Hochul has received only one Orthodox endorsement so far, from the Satmar-R’ Aharon community. She is expected to also be endorsed by Skver later this week.

Zeldin has campaigned aggressively in the Orthodox community. Hochul has held meetings and gone to events with community leaders, but has not campaigned publicly in the community since she won the primary election in June.

Her campaign has also refused interview requests from Orthodox outlets. Hochul ignored a Hamodia reporter who asked her multiple times Monday why she was refusing to grant interviews to Orthodox media, at a public appearance at a Manhattan diner and again outside the meeting with Boro Park leaders.

Regardless of endorsements, political observers expect voters in the community to overwhelmingly support Zeldin, in an election that polls predict will be close.

See Boro Park endorsement letter below:

Below is Hochul’s letter to the Jewish community on Tuesday, intended to indicate support for yeshivas and get the communty’s endorsement. Jewish leaders deemed the statement far too tepid as it did not explicitly include a vow to fight the recently passed regulations


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