Slates Preferred by Jewish Community Win in Rockland Elections

By Matis Glenn

Pomona Village Hall. (googlemaps)

Election results from three heavily populated Jewish areas in Rockland County came in Tuesday night, with wins for slates supported by the Jewish community, while a plot aimed at secretly electing a write-in slate failed.

Pomona, Airmont, and Chestnut Ridge – all near the large town of Monsey – elected local offices, including mayor and trustees, that were up for grabs.

Every two years, villages in Rockland County hold elections for a portion of the trustee board, with mayoral terms lasting four years.

Pomona elected its first Orthodox Jewish mayor, Ilan Fuchs, who won together with his slate of trustees Joel Grunwald and Raanan Zidile. Fuchs was previously a trustee. The winning slate received 471 votes, while 281 voted for mayoral candidate Stephen Katz, and trustees Chris Pulakos and Nicholas Wilson. Current Mayor Ian Banks did not run for another term.

Sources familiar with the situation in Chestnut Ridge told Hamodia that despite the incumbents running unopposed on the ballot, some village residents planned to surreptitiously elect a write-in slate, relying on the incumbents’ supporters not coming out to vote.

The plot was discovered in private social media groups, which was leaked to askanim in the frum community. Urgent notices were sent out to vote, and the incumbents – Trustees Shmuli Fromovitz, Grant Valentine and Paul Van Alstyne – won with 710 votes. Sixty-eight votes were cast for the write-in slate.

In Airmont, incumbent Mayor Nathan Bubel, and Trustees Morris Friedman and Larry O’Toole, won by a resounding 1,322 votes, defeating mayoral challenger Ralph Bracco, and his slate of trustee hopefuls Marcal Matthews, and Joseph Ferazza. That slate received 656 votes.

Local elections in Rockland County have been a flashpoint for the Jewish community in recent years, as attempts at expansion have been met with severe restrictions or complete blocks, in what community members describe as antisemitic bias.

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