Congressman Hakeem Jeffries

Representing the 8th District of New York

The Yeshiva World News: Brooklyn’s Political Power Demonstrated At Sukkah Gatherings Across The Borough

Sep 30, 2013
In The News

The power of Brooklyn in this year’s election was highly demonstrated as elected officials, Democratic Party leaders and community activists gathered night after night at various annual Sukkot celebrations across the Borough of Brooklyn.

On Sunday, the first day of Chol Hamoed, Democratic candidate for NYC Comptroller, Scott Stringer celebrated his well-earned victory over Eliot Spitzer at a Sukkah celebration hosted by Ezra and Gabriella Friedlander, the CEO of the Friedlander group and a year-long supporter and adviser.

“They say nice people finish last; Scott Stringer has proven that not to be the case. Nice people finish first” said the host Ezra Friedlander in introducing the guest of honor.

“This was a long journey. Not always an easy one,” Mr. Stringer told the crowd assembled in the Sukkah located outside the Lisker shul on 50th street and 14th Ave. in Borough Park. “This was such an immense coalition – Both the Jewish community and our elected officials. We really brought together the best of New York.”

Councilman David Greenfield, who was an early supporter of Mr. Stringer’s candidacy, joined fellow councilman Brad Lander in congratulating Mr. Stringer for a hard fought and well-earned victory. “Sukkoth is a time of celebration. This was a very significant race where the community came together and said clearly we support Scott Stringer, because he was not only the right guy but he was the good guy,” said Councilman Greenfield.

Also in attendance were: Assemblyman David Weprin; Daniel Squadron, candidate for Public Advocate; James Leonard Fire Chief of Brooklyn; Abe Eisner, adviser to Gov. Cuomo; Rabbi Yeruchim Silber, JCC of Boro Park; Dr. David Moskovits, Rosh Kehilas Skulen, president Endowment for Democracy in Eastern Europe; Rabbi Steven Burg, Director, Simon Wiesenthal Center on the Eastern Coast; Larry Spiewak, President Chai Lifeline, Chairman, Flatbush COJO; Stuart Appelbaum, President Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union ( UFCW) and Pinny Ringel, community liaison to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

On Monday evening, Democratic party elected officials, victorious primary candidates and high ranking NYPD officials gathered together to celebrate the holiday and the stunning victories in Brooklyn, at the Sukkah of one of Crown Heights community’s influential leaders, Mr. Chanina Sperlin.

Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee for Brooklyn borough president, told the crowd he’s still concerned about losing the November election–even though he faces only token opposition in the overwhelmingly Democratic borough.

“It’s far from over,” Mr. Adams declared. “Millions of dollars is going to be pumped into this race in the citywide election that’s going to trickle down to the borough-wide election. We need you now more than ever.”

“My champagne is on ice,” he said.

At the gathering, Brooklyn DA candidate Ken Thompson was introduced as “the next DA” following his stunning victory over incumbent Joe Hynes, despite losing the Jewish vote in certain neighborhoods of Brooklyn.

Mr. Thompson, sometimes beaming and sometimes serious, thanked the Crown heights community for their vote of confidence, as well as pledging to be fair to all communities in Brooklyn, once sworn in as the next District Attorney. “I intend to be a DA that will be a champion for every community in Brooklyn,” Mr. Thompson said in his brief remarks. “I believe it’s time to have a DA that will not only keep us safe but make sure that we are all treated fundamentally fairly, and that’s my commitment to you. I am here today, but I will be here over and over again. My commitment to you, to our families and neighbors is to make sure that Brooklyn is better.”

A day later, The Chabad Jewish Community Council hosted an event for the Republican candidate for mayor, talking the issues of great concern to the community, and taking the candidate for a stroll down Kingston Avenue to meet and greet voters celebrating the festival of Sukkot.

The last night of Chol Hamoed, Tuesday evening, belonged to one of Williamsburg’s respected community leaders – Rabbi Abe Friedman. The tradition of inviting elected and public officials to celebrate their close relationship with the Williamsburg community has been going on for over a decade.

Among those who participated were: King County Democratic Party Chairman, Frank Seddio; State Senator and incoming Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams; Brooklyn Councilman David Greenfield; Congressman Hakeem Jeffries; Congresswoman Yvette Clarke; Assemblyman Karim Camara; Abraham Lichtenstein, NYPD community/clergy liaison; Rabbi Eli Slavin, community liaison for Congresswoman Yvette Clarke; Representative of Governor Cuomo and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio; Williamsburg Shomrim coordinator Jacob Itzkowitz, as well as community leaders and local activists.

The two candidates for public Advocate, Tish James and Daniel Squadron, also joined the celebration following their fierce TV debate, sharing with the audience their commitment for affordable housing and representing the all the communities’ needs.

Various high ranking Police officials, who attended the gathering, thanked the Friedman family for being great supporters and example leaders.

“We celebrate together the freedom we live in,” Rabbi Friedman told the overflowed crowd, as he in introduced Brooklyn’s elected officials and candidates for citywide offices. “And we probably wouldn’t have been able to live the way live here, without all of you,” pointing to the law enforcement and local Police and Fire department officers in attendance.

“The fact that our two senior Representatives (Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette Clarke), from Brooklyn, are here with us in the Sukkah and that our next mayor is going to come from Brooklyn,” incoming Brooklyn Borough President Senator Eric Adams pointed out, is a testament that the party is respectful to all religions and for the diversity this borough has.

“When you look at the diversity of this borough, Brooklynites have sent a signal across the entire county that they really are looking to vote for people they think can do the job right, and not looking at the ethnicity of the individuals,” he added.

“I am proud what we have done in Brooklyn,” Democratic Party chair Frank Seddio said of his first year as the leader of an embattled party in Kings County. “Look what we have accomplished: We have a Brooklyn person that hopefully will be the next mayor of New York City. We have a Brooklyn person that’s going to be the Public Advocate. But more importantly, we got Brooklyn people who think like Brooklyn people. That’s what we haven’t had in a long time. Too often, Manhattan seems to be the place. ”

Speaking of the next Borough President, Mr. Seddio hailed Mr. Adams as a friend and a close partner “who’re, together, going to make this borough shine and grow politically, economically and spiritually, and most importantly for the good of the people in Brooklyn.”

“Everyone is now coming to realize what is coming out of Kings County,” Congressman Hakeem Jeffries said, echoing his colleagues’ tribute to Brooklyn. “Somebody down in DC told me, ‘You guys seem to be in the midst of a Brooklyn renaissance right now.’ I said, ‘No! We’ve always been hot. You’re just late to the dance.”’

“But we are glad that everyone is coming to the dance right now, and we’ll have a real opportunity to show the world what we are made of.”

“Rabbi Friedman is to thank for building bridges between various faith based communities, for years,” Mr. Jeffries added in words of praise for the host.