“Millions of people around the world lost a leader today in Rabbi Chacham Ovadia Yosef,” Mr. de Blasio tweeted and said in a statement. “His wisdom, charity and sensitivity were legendary.”
The New York Post slammed Mr. de Blasio for the condolence message of (whom they shamefully called) a “hateful rabbi,” noting it ignored Rabbi Yosef’s history of attacks on blacks, Arabs and others.
But Mr. de Blasio didn’t back off of his public praise of the late Sephardic leader.
At a wine tasting and fundraiser event in Manhattan, hosted by the Sitt family from Brooklyn and power-brokered by Philanthropist Ari Noe, Tuesday night, Mr. de Blasio was hailed for standing up and not backing down amid the criticism. The attendees, many high ranking members of the real estate industry, gave the frontrunner for Mayor a warm and receptive welcome.
Mr. Eddie Sitt, owner of the Sitt Asset Management and host of the event, praised Mr. de Blasio for standing with the Jewish community mourning the loss of Rabbi Yosef.
“Just yesterday, when the Jewish community lost one if it’s greatest and prominent leaders and scholar of this generation, a father figure to millions all over the world, Rabbi Yosef, Bill promptly acknowledged this great loss,” said Mr. Noe in his introduction of Mr. de Blasio. “The critics, who find the bad in everything, started bashing Bill, but Bill doesn’t back off what he knows is right and stood his ground.”
“I think it is so important when you’ve got a leader who had such an extraordinary devotion and brought people together in the way he did, no one is perfect in this world, but I think it’s incredibly important to acknowledge what it meant to so many in the Jewish community,” Mr. de Blasio stressed. “By the way, I heard there were a Million people by his funeral. That’s extraordinary, an unbelievable statement.”
At the fundraiser, attended by two dozen real estate brokers and developers from the Syrian-Jewish community in NYC, Mr. de Blasio spoke of his vision to move the City forward by addressing inequality, creating jobs for the people of all Boroughs and easing the burden for small business owners.
Although he avoided from going into specific policy proposals, Mr. de Blasio promised the realtors to break away from the Bloomberg years in terms of easing regulations, reducing the level of bureaucracy and speeding up the process for building permits.
In his introductory remarks, Mr. Noe pointed to last week’s Torah portion (Parshat Noach) where Noah built his ark for an entire year. “Imagine if he had to build it here in NYC under Bloomberg?” Mr. Noe noted. “How many stop work orders, fines, violations and zoning headaches he would have gone through! Never ending his project on time or on budget.”
“That’s a great point,” Mr. de Blasio quipped.
During his remarks, Mr. de Blasio eluded to the comparison of Noah’s ark, promising to rebuild the Ark — the business environment and infrastructure of New York City — if given the trust of New Yorkers on November 5th.
Mr. de Blasio also noted that while the mission and the tasks ahead of him may be met with some roadblocks, his entire political career was advanced by winning against all the odds. He also expressed his hope in getting things done with a cooperative City Council and a helping Governor, in addition to winning the trust of a majority of New York City’s voters – the same overwhelming mandate he claimed he got in the Democratic primary.
(Jacob Kornbluh – YWN)
Below are some photos of the event: