This past Sunday dozens of young community activists gathered in the home of Nussy Elbogen in Kew Gardens Hills to hear about the importance of the upcoming elections and their impact on the Orthodox communities of Central Queens. Kew Gardens Hills is part of a super jewish district in Queens which unites the communities of Far Rockaway, Belle Harbor, Rego Park, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, and Kew Gardens Hills into a single district. Similar to the special election that elected Congressman Bob Turner in 2011, the frum community will provide the swing vote that will determine control of the New York State Senate.
The 15th Senate District features a contest between incumbent Senator Democrat Joe Addabbo and the challenger Republican City Councilman Eric Ulrich. The contest is considered a toss up and is a top priority of Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.
Skelos came to Kew Gardens Hills to talk about the achievements of the State Senate Majority on behalf of the Jewish community and to ask the askanim in the audience to help him elect Eric Ulrich to the Senate.
The program was chaired by Nechemia Hoch, a lifelong resident of Kew Gardens Hills who talked briefly about the district and the election and turned over the podium to the well known askan Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz. Rabbi Lefkowitz informed the crowd of how the frum community has benefited from a close relationship with Senator Skelos and the Republicans. TAP, school buses, repeal of the MTA payroll tax, scholarship tax credits, special education are but a few examples of issues that the Republican majority has fought for. With that introduction Rabbi Lefkowitz welcomed Senate Majority Leader Skelos to the podium.
Senator Skelos spoke eloquently about his strong relationship with the Jewish community and how important it is for Yeshiva parents to gain help from the state. Skelos pledged to continue the strong relationship between the his conference and the Orthodox community and stressed the importance of electing Republicans like Eric Ulrich to the Senate and said that winning the seat is a high priority for him.
Nechemia Hoch then introduced Councilman Ulrich and reminded the groups that the political world would be watching this race to see if the frum community will vote in strong numbers. He then introduced Councilman Ulrich as a champion of the values of the frum community.
Councilman Ulrich stressed several main themes to the crowd. The first was that he supports school choice that funding should follow the student. He talked about his beliefs in traditional marriage and the sanctity of life. He encouraged all the attendees to get the word out about the race and what is at stake.
The event was hosted by a group of young community activists including Yossi Newman, Nechemiah Hoch, Ari Elbogen and Elisha Hisiger.
(YWN Desk – NYC)