Op-Ed: When a Meeting is an Endorsement


yweToday’s Hamodia newspaper attacks NYC Mayoral candidate Erick Salgado and me for sending out press releases claiming the endorsements of prominent Hasidic Rebbes.

The editorial states that “…it is high time for those who serve as liaisons between candidates and our community to put an end to these shenanigans. If and when our spiritual leaders choose to instruct their followers how to vote, they will do so directly and not through the press releases of political campaigns.”

Since I was the liaison who accompanied Reverend Salgado to both the Skulener Rebbe and the Rachmestrivker Rebbe, and since I served as the English-Yiddish and Yiddish-English translator at both meetings, I would like to clarify the question of endorsements.

First of all, I wish to agree with Hamodia that this business of exploiting the Rabbonim and Rebbes for political gain has gotten out of hand.

It is truly a disgrace of Kovod Hatorah when a politician who advocates public policies of immorality and Toeva—the very opposite of what the Rebbes stand for–has the nerve to come to the Rebbe and ask for a “Brocha.”

The endorsement of a Rebbe should not be cheapened by giving it to every Bill, John, and Anthony who shows up at the Rebbe’s house.

However, for every rule there is an exception–Such is the case with respect to Reverend Erick Salgado, who is running in the Democratic party primary election for Mayor on September 10.

At great personal risk—he has received numerous death threats—Reverend Salgado has spoken out vigorously against the push for the legitimization of the homosexual lifestyle in New York and the indoctrination of our citizens–especially innocent children—into accepting this immoral and perverted behavior as normal and acceptable.

Reverend Salgado alone has stated—clearly and unequivocally—that one of his first acts upon assuming the office of Mayor will be the rescinding of the anti Bris-Milah regulations enacted by the Bloomberg administration, and the dismissal of the Health Commissioner and his bigoted assistants who participated in this fraudulent Blood Libel.


When I related these facts to both the Skulener Rebbe and the Rachmestrivker Rebbe– both of whom I know personally–they responded enthusiastically.

They expressed their Hakaros Hatov (gratitude) to Reverend Salgado for sticking his neck out on behalf of our community, and they gave him an enthusiastic brocho for success in the coming election for Mayor.

To me, that’s an enthusiastic endorsement!

Rabbi William Handler
The BrisMILAH Anti-Defamation League

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.


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  1. Rabbi Handler can we hear from the candidate what he says in other communities? Cause I have a feeling that he is just pandering to the Jewish community when he is around in the Jewish community.
    Also besides the Jewish community who else is supporting this candidate? He is about 1% in the polls and is considered a long shot candidate, so why invest time in someone that doesn’t have backing anywhere and doesn’t stand a chance in winning.
    John Liu made it very clear that he will rescind Bloombergs attack on Bris Milah so why not jump onto his wagon?

  2. Well said, Rabbi Handler. The Hamodia/Yated are a waste of time when it comes to politics. They claim to be “Torah” newspapers but yet they ALWAYS have “endorsed” (as if an undecided voter opens these rags & says hmm these political morons are endorsing Mr. A, so that’s who I’ll vote for) the most radical left wing anti torah perverts! After all they’re leading in the polls a week before the election so let’s jump on the filthy bandwagon! Only a fool reads those rags!

  3. This op-ed rambles all over the place, but I will focus on one single question: what do frum residents of New York City need from their next mayor?

    First, let’s consider two things the from community does not need. One is a candidate who supports frum values, i.e., Torah and mitzvahs. For that the frum community only needs more Jews being frum. The Lubavitchers are doing a good job there, and none of them is running for mayor, probably because they know better. Lots of yeshivas are doing a good job there too, though I would like to seem a good count of how many yeshiva grads go off the derech within 5 – 10 years of high school graduation. And frum husbands and wives are doing a good job of producing more Jews, but they cannot vote until they are 18.

    Neither does the frum community does need someone – Jew or gentile – who supports the values of the frum community – the frum community is doing that very well without help from the city government. So a mayoral candidate who tells the frum community – or the rest of the city – that Toeiva marriage is wrong is not telling the frum community anything that is new.

    What the frum community does needs is not that different than what most communities in the City need: their fair share of city services, a competent administration that can spend money – and account for it – efficiently and accurately, and administer the balance between private interests and public needs wisely and for the good of public.

    Rabbi Handler has not told us why his candidate would be a good mayor for the frum community or the rest of the city. He has just told us that if he were a Jew, he would be a good one and fit into the Jewish community. That is not what the frum community needs in a mayor.