Jewish Politics: 5 Reasons Why Paladino Lost The Orthodox Jewish Vote After Visiting Boro Park

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Carl Paladino’s visit to Boro Park should be mandatory teaching in graduate schools across New York of how to guarantee that your candidate loses the Orthodox Jewish vote. It went so poorly that Paladino’s campaign manager even offered to resign. To prevent this from happening to another naïve political operative, we at Jewish Politics proudly introduce you to: “5 Things Politicians Should Never Do In Boro Park.”

1- Don’t take a fringe Rabbi with you. When you go to Boro Park you have two options: you can either bring one of a handful of mainstream Rabbis with you (mainstream means that the Rabbi has at least 1,000 followers; not like the Rabbi who Paladino brought who on a good day has a minyan of ten followers). Alternatively, you can bring one of only two influential elected officials in the community: Assemblyman Dov Hikind or Councilman David Greenfield. They’re pros who would have never allowed the visit to spiral out of control. By showing up with a fringe right-wing Rabbi, Paladino essentially guaranteed that Boro Parkers would not take him seriously and turned his visit into a side-freak show.

2- Don’t bash gays. This is the major mistake that many politicians outside of Boro Park make. They think that Boro Parkers care about social issues. They’re wrong. Boro Parkers care about social-service issues not social issues. As far as they are concerned, violating shabbos, eating pork and gay marriage are in the same category – transgressions of Jewish law. But Boro Parkers aren’t trying to convert the world, they’re only trying to improve theirs.

3- Don’t insult their Rabbis. Paladino read from a prepared statement where he insulted two prominent rabbis in two ways: 1. He did not refer to them as “rabbis,” he simply referred to them by their name. This is a cardinal sin in a place where even the elderly are referred to by venerated titles. 2. He accused them of selling out for supporting a candidate who doesn’t oppose gay marriage. He should have read rule # 2. Or even rule # 1. An insider would have explained that the Rabbis supported John Heyer for City Council instead of Brad Lander to prove that they control votes – NOT to win the race. In fact, the Rabbis were offended by Brad Lander’s overall liberal political views primarily because of his extreme left-wing views on Israel (Lander is of the Soros/J-Street/Peace Now persuasion). They weren’t trying to win a race, they were trying to send another local politician (Assemblyman Dov Hikind who had endorsed Brad Lander) a message. The Rabbis sent their message: Heyer won 85% of the votes in Boro Park.

4- Boro Parkers are NOT amish. Everything you say WILL be recorded. There are more cell phones, digital recorders and flip video recorders in Boro Park per capita than any other place in the world. This is because there is no religious prohibition on these items, but there are on other items like televisions. As a result, Boro Parkers compensate on banned items by having more of the permitted gadgets than anywhere you will ever visit.

5- NEVER campaign in a synagogue. Boro Parkers treat synagogues as the holiest of holiest places. Any kind of conversation, other than prayer or studying torah, is strictly prohibited. That is why politicians coming to Boro Park only go to a synagogue to receive a rabbi’s blessing – never to campaign. If a politician is campaigning they are doing so in a rabbi’s home (usually his study). Another reason to stay away from synagogues – they have mandatory separate seating areas to prevent men and women from socializing while praying (although they routinely mingle outside of synagogue where there are no prayers). You can never bring a woman into a men’s section or a man into a women’s section. Seeing as how most politicians come during a weekday when traditionally only men are attending synagogues (as opposed to Shabbos when men and women are attending) you will only frustrate your female staff and the reporters following you around because they will not be allowed in the men’s section.

In short, all political strategists owe Paladino a debt of gratitude. His trip to Boro Park not only cost him his support of the Orthodox Jewish community but taught all political strategists what never to do if you are courting the Orthodox Jewish vote.

Daniel Miller for YWN

Jewish Politics is a new opinion column by veteran political strategist Daniel Miller. The views and opinions reflected herein are solely of Mr. Miller and are not necessarily those of Yeshiva World News.

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38 COMMENTS

  1. I can’t believe #2 is right.

    Do you mean to say that Boro Parkers are a bunch of ‘Ame-Raztim’ and don’t know the difference from Chazal???

  2. A-Carl Paladinos Campaign Manger offered to resign not because of the fallout, rather because he let stuff in the speech that should never have made it there. Check his statement.

    B: The notion that you dont campiagn in a Shul is false. Rebbes politicians into shuls, succas and other places of religious significance. Rep. Towns was just snapped at a local Flatbush shul for an upsherin.

    C: What type of a signal does it send that Chasidim are only about social services and not about Social issues? Not only is that offensive its patently false. Its a huge chillul hashem Yes, some Chasidim are sell outs but to broadly paint all of them is not true nor is it the right thing to do.

    D: Tell me, Mr Stratgiest. If people only vote for who gives the most money and who will get the iggest Rabbis to take pics with them, what does THAT say about our scoeity to the outside world? Is that what you want to impart to your kids about our political process? I would not.

    E: The reason Greenfeild has been absent from all these Pressers and love fests is because he is above all this garbage.He doesnt see the political upside in bashing someone as an anti-semite without knowing the facts. Even if its right outside his office. There is no upside in running with chasidim and rebbes showing the entire world we will support someone who is in the exact opposite ends of what we as jews need to uphold but since he will give us money we will smile. Its a joke and scam.

  3. Guess what! we are against gay. And Paladino did not lose frum voters. I guess this person knows nothing about this “frindge” Rabbi, but he is the most well known Rabbi in the political arena among secular society.

  4. I agree with “tina18” (#2).
    Paladino DID make some blunders, but his views are still more in line with the frum community than pro-abortion, pro-toayva “marriage” Cuomo is.
    Jews DO care about social issues, if for no other reason that that they DO have ramifications for US. For example, the pro-toayva agenda of Cuomo could end up causing yeshivas to be forced to teach the “”johnny has two daddys” curriculum.
    What will we do if, chalila, that were to happen?!?

  5. Personally after this fiasco I will be voting for Cuomo because Paladino was a wild card now he’s just wild.

    Levin isnt the most well known. and he’s known the same way as netyra karta. being wild and controversial.

  6. 1. The frum electorate VERY MUCH does care about moral issues.

    2. Hikind, Greenfield et al DO NOT get you votes in statewide or national elections.

  7. Rubbish! Daniel Miller is clearly in cahoots with Agudah et al. Not everything Rabbi Levin does is wrong, and not everything those who ridicule him do, are right. There’s no black and white. It’s shades of gray.

  8. I don’t think he lost the orthodox Jewish vote he never had the “establishment” orthodox vote anyway but many many many orthodox Jews will vote for him for the following 6 reasons:
    1-They don’t believe he is an anti semite.
    2-They like his conservative policies.
    3-They don’t trust the orthodox “establishment”.
    4-They realize that the Levin fiasco was not his fault because he believed that Levin represented politically conservative orthodox Jews & was just trying to reach out to them.
    5-They realize that whatever offensive things he said were not his words rather Levins.
    6-They know that Coumo stinks of old established liberal politics which they’re sick of.

  9. Paladino’s biggest mistake was reading from a speach that the one issue rabbi wrote for him. I expect few in Boro Park to bother voting for either candidate.

  10. Eric Schneiderman visited an Orthodox synagogue in my neighborhood. He was recognized by the rabbi, and when offered the chance to speak, simply thanked everyone for allowing him to be there. No political content at all. He probably picked up a lot of votes in the frum community that night.

  11. FYI: JOHN HEYER promised the BELZ community a building in boro park so went to all Rabunim and claimed that he is a conservative and got all their votes. They made a HUGE campaign in the name of Purity & Morality. and it repeated again when JOE LAZAR ran against DAVID GREENFIELD. but now that no candidate promised them any buildings they are completely out of the picture. YOU WON’T SEE ANY CAMPAINING FROM BELZ. INTERESTING HA?

  12. Point #1 is absolutely true. I’m still trying to figure out what PR firm is making sure that the particular rabbi in question keeps getting mentioned on the news constantly, as if he were l’havdil, the “Pope of BP”.

    While much of what Cuomo has to offer is standard liberal shtick, Paladino scares me. Yup, he’s wild alright. Pity that the GOP can’t come up with better candidates, not only local and statewide, but nationally as well. Where is the next Ronald Reagan? I don’t think he’s disguised as Sarah Palin.

  13. Wonderful well thought out and based in fact article. Paladino chose an outsider “Rabbi without a pulpit” for his Boro Park media event and has charata; he needs to do t’shuva. Perhaps there is still a chance; if he heeds Daniel Miller’s advice and revisits Boro Park “the right way”.

  14. #15,

    You are correct about the poor quality Republican candidates. The Republican bench is quite weak. As a Democrat, I will say that not a single potential Republican Presidential candidate for 2012 appears able to defeat Barack Obama. And I can’t think of a single Republican who would have defeated Cuomo in NY this year. Rudy Giuliani could have defeated Gillibrand but he would have had to campaign from her left on immigration and guns, and might not have survived the primary.

    And that brings up a major issue: The Republican party has declined in membership in recent years as former moderate Republicans have become Independents or even Democrats. As a result, the Republican Primary electorate has become more and more extreme in most states, even New York. While there is nobody who would have defeated Cuomo, Mike Castle would have defeated Chris Coons and Rob Simmons would have defeated Richard Blumenthal. The Senate race in Kentucky would not be close had Grayson defeated Paul, and Arlen Specter would be far ahead of Joe Sestak right now. And How could Bill McCollum — no liberal — lose a primary to a guy whose company scammed Medicare for $1.7 billion?

    The Republicans may well capture control of Congress — a lot of conservative Democrats in conservative districts will lose their seats. But Sarah Palin and Ron Paul are not the kind of people any of us should want to see in the White House, and fortunately most Americans will agree.

  15. Just curious to know how one becomes certified in “Jewish Politics”? Do you just wake up one day and start writing articles,or do you have to rub shoulders with some politicians? Does someone in “Jewish Politics” have to be recognized by any group of ppl, or if you have a name on your article, your are automatically licensed, even though nobody may have heard of you??? Just Curious!

  16. What have the Democrats given us Obama wake up Cuomo is garbage Politician who was Atorney General, went after everyone to prmote himself!!. He is a Anti Semite. he get his money from Arab connections who hates us just like Obama , Don’t C”V get stuck with this empty vessel. We need jobs , these men is a Stinken Liberal who loves not us. Wake Up. C”V what we had in Crown Heights where do you think he would stand or If the Arabs around Bp do something he is lowlife , who will promote himself and hisagenda. It’s time to put the oilam into jobs , not like these liberals turned America around with no future !!

  17. I think he definitely messed up politically, but more outside of our community than inside. Since he had to backtrack his words, and the story came out that he parreted someone else’s words, he is seen as gullible and vulnerable. At least we know that he does have the views that we want him to have, and that this was a mistake. But in general the points mentioned here, besides #2, are valid.

  18. Listen, Mr. Miller: You didn’t do your homework.

    Paladino went with Rabbi levin right after Dov Hikind attacked Paladino as an anti-Semite at a press conference at City Hall, together with Gedalia Weinberger of Agudas yisroel and David Niederman of Satmar, plus other prominent Orthodox polticians.

    Paladino had to respond immediately, and Rabbi Levin was the only one who offered to defend him against the unfair attack, orchestrated by the Cuomo campaign.

    So, don’t blame Paladino or Rabbi Levin, if, indeed, tre is any reason at all for blame. Blame the irresponsible Jewish “leaders” who shamefully trashed Paladino, without giving him a chance to respond to the Loshon Horah from the Cuomo campaign.

    By the way, everyone I know is very supportive of Paladino’s speech, in which he called for tax credits for Yeshiva parents and condemned the “brainwshing of public school students” in the legitimacy of Toeva.

    See Rabbi Hershel Kurzrock’s comments in today’s New York Post column by Andrea Peyser: “Regarding the gay business,” he’s 100 percent right,” Kurzrock told me (Peyser). “No doubt about it. It’s an abomination. Prohibited. A cardinal sin.

  19. While you may have some valid points, I fundamentally disagree with your conclusions and assumptions stated therein. Before calling off Paladino in the Boro Park circles and handing victory to Cuomo,let us examine some of the recent elections in the above neighborhood including some of the things you mentioned and we will conclude otherwise.

    At first, I’d predict that BP voters will overwhelmingly vote Paladino over Cuomo or stay home. Others might simply vote for a third party candidate or cast a written ballot. Most of the Boro Park voters will refrain from casting a vote for Cuomo as we will discuss.

    The first point you made is something I totally agree with, but only on concept. In general, this statement isn’t limited to a Rabbi; any controversial person or issue is a threat to a campaign. Consider William Ayers or Rev. Wright whom Obama distanced himself from at his campaign for president. Politicians staying away from Charles Rangel and others keeping a distance from Vito Lopez. Consider many republicans running away from the Arizona law on immigration and other issues such as privatizing Social Security etc. We always have politicians running ads where they try to connect their opponent to a controversial figure (consider Bush in ’08 or Obama/Pelosi now) or legislation (consider Obamacare, TARP or Stimulus). Bottom Line: It is never good for a politician to be associated with a controversy.

    However, I’d suggest that just like the controversial Rabbi didn’t garner him any votes, he won’t take away any votes either. I might say that there would be some that will base their decision according to this Rabbi, in both ways, but their numbers will be minimal. The majority of the Boro Park voters couldn’t care less about rabbinical endorsements anymore. They all know the truth that they are all manipulated by ‘Askanim’ and politicians with self-interest. In addition, people today look at themselves and their pockets. They know that voting for the establishments pick means more money and benefits to the Mosdos and less to them. David Greenfield can attest to the fact. He had the majority of the Rabbanim and ‘Askanim’ against him, yet he pulled off a stunning victory. Mentioning that, you obviously haven’t followed the recent elections in Boro Park if you mentioned Hikind as a power broker. As seen in many publications (including here on YWN), Hikind lost every election in recent years. If you want to talk about being associated with a controversial figure, don’t look further than Dov Hikind. People in his district view him as corrupt and manipulating. Fact is, the majority of the voters in Boro Park these days are the young voters who vote according to their gut feeling and that’s usually leaning conservative.

    The second thing you mentioned is totally false. While you may be right that bashing gays (or anyone for that matter) won’t generate to much good, the BP voters view morality as an important issue when casting their ballot. It is our duty to make sure we don’t return to the days of Dor Hamabul (and we have an Issur of Lifnei Iveir), therefore it is well in consideration. As to the social programs, although you are right that many BP voters look at that (and I would suggest they are the establishment-voters) it is not their forefront issue. First, I have yet to find a politician that promises to abolish those programs. Secondly, people look at vouchers (or free tuition) as a substitute to the programs. At last, a majority today view the programs as an obstacle in life, blaming it for sky-high rent (think those that don’t have section 8) and keeping you from climbing the ladder of success (for fear of losing the programs).

    I must say I agree with three although we all know that there’s an elephant in the room.
    Four is a rule everywhere and all the time. At every election cycle we have politicians saying inappropriate or offensive things caught up on a phone or recorder. From Obama (clinging to their guns…) to Carly Fiorina’s slip on Boxers hair or Jerry Brown’s [wife] decegration of his opponent. It is the age of technology and you gotta be careful. Nothing with Boro Park though.
    Five is proper and the way it should be. Unfortunately, it isn’t that way as every politician these days campaign in synagogues, some even held town-halls in the past. However, campaign speeches in Shuls is definitely wrong, especially without consent of the chief Rabbi of the synagogue and with such content.

    Bottom Line: Carl Paladino made a few of erroneous moves to secure the Jewish vote and in his campaign in general. I believe that his BP visit caused damage elsewhere (hence the reason his manager offered to resign) but hardly left an effect in Boro Park. The biggest mistake he made was to use that particular Rabbi (who I’d say just isn’t policial correct) to connect to the Jewish voters.

  20. I have been a longtime reader of this website, and I have never posted a negative comment, but after reading this disturbing article, I can no longer remain silent. When it comes to Jewish music, I could not disagree with Rabbi Levin more, but when it comes to morality, and how we should vote, I could not agree with him more. To the author of this article: HOW DARE YOU CLAIM THAT THE BORO PARK COMMUNITY IS NOT ANTI-IMMORALITY?!! DO YOU NOT KNOW THAT RABBI LEVIN IS A TALMID OF RAV AVIGDOR MILLER ZT’L AND THE KASHAVER DAYAN ZT’L, BOTH OF WHOM FULLY SUPPORTED HIS ANTI-IMMORALITY EFFORTS? DO YOU NOT KNOW THAT RAV SCHWAB ZT”L AS WELL AS OTHER GEDOLIM WHO DID NOT INTERACT WITH RABBI LEVIN WERE ALSO OUTSPOKEN ON THE NEED TO VOTE FOR PRO-MORALITY CANDIDATES? DO YOU NOT KNOW THAT THE AGUDA HAS ALWAYS CONDEMED ANYAND ALL EFFORTS OF THE IMMORAL AGENDA, INCLUDING THEIR SO-CALLED “MARRIAGE” AND “RIGHTS”? ARE YOU UNAWARE OF THE ASKONIM FROM LAKEWOOD WHO TRAVELLED TO TRENTON TO FIGHT THE IMMORAL SO-CALLED “MARRIAGE” THAT WAS BEING PROPOSED FOR NJ? WORSE: ARE YOU NOT AWARE OF THE MASSIVE CHILLUL HASHEM THAT YOU CAUSED? DID IT NOT OCCUR TO YOU THAT PRO-MORALITY GENTILES MIGHT READ WHAT YOU SAY, AND THINK CHAS VESHALOM THAT EVEN THE MOST RELIGIOUS, ULTRA-ORTHODOX JEWS ARE AGAINST THE SHEVA MITZVOS BNEI NOACH, WHICH ARE YEHORAG V’AL YA’AVORS?! THAT THEY WOULD THINK THAT WE ARE A BUNCH OF SELLOUTS, WHO SUPPORT ANTI-TORAH CANDIDATES JUST BECAUSE THEY PROMISE US MORE MONEY, A MISGUIDED ASSUPMTION THAT IS FLAT-OUT WRONG?! THIS ARTICLE IS DISGRACEFUL!! It made an otherwise good website, look pretty terrible! RABBI LEVIN’S VIEWS ON MORALITY AND THE NEED TO VOTE FOR PRO-MORAL CANDIDATES ARE NOT IN ANY WAY FRINGE- THEY ARE MAINSTREAM AMONG THE FRUM COMMUNITY!!!!!!! In Lakewood, Republicans were outvoted by Democrats by a 2 to 1 margin, and the same is true in other frum communities, and this is at least in part due to their stance on morality.

    Listen to Rabbi Levin’s speech- I am dan lechaf zechus that he gave it in front of a church because as he said, it was Carl Paladino’s church, and that made the speech’s impact more powerful. In his speech, R. Levin mentioned that there was a school in which immoral material was being taught to pre-schoolers, rachmana litzlan, and that when 1 parent removed his children from the school so that they wouldn’t be exposed to this poison, he was faced with jail time. I was aware of this case years before Rabbi Levin mentioned it- it tok place 6 or 7 years ago nebach. DOES THAT NOT SHOCK YOU?! CAN YOU IMAGINE THE UPROAR THAT THIS WOULD CAUSE IF RACHMONA LITZLAN THIS WERE TO HAPPEN IN ONE OF OUR SCHOOLS, CHAS VESHALOM?! However, from the tone of your article, it could sound to a gentile that such a horror story wouldn’t bother you- THINK BEFORE YOU WRITE!!!! As I said, I liked this website, but if this is the kind of improper material that is being posted, then I see no reason to continue viewing it. Everyone should post how they disagree with this article, so that we can show the righteous gentiles that we are pro-morality, and that the views of this author DO NOT REPRESENT US IN ANY WAY!!!!!!!!!

  21. Dear no. 30: I understand why you are so angry at Dan Miller for this article.

    However, you need to understand that Dan Miller, like top Democratic strategist Hand Sheinkopf (who was in my class in Yeshiva), is a professional politician, who is more at home with the goyische political operators than with the Heimisch Jewish community.

    He looks at things from the conventional political viewpoint–NY Times, NY Post, Daily News…etc.

    He cannot imagine the hashkofos that we frum Yidden have, because he is alientaed from them.

  22. To #31:
    It sounded from the article that Dan Miller was from the staff at YWN. If as you’re saying he is not, and is from the secular media, then I publicly apologize to YWN for incorrectly grouping Dan Miller together with them.

  23. deepthinker, I’m still in shock and humbled over the title you’ve bestowed upon me.

    It is obvious, as you and other readers have stated, that this opinion is out of touch with most Boro Park voters. While many of the previous generation were less educated and intellectual than many of their counterparts, times have changed. Many orthodox Rabbis of the previous generation (such as Reb Moshe etc.) forbade their students to achieve degrees or pursue a higher education. Today, there are numerous colleges and courses in Boro Park where you can earn a degree and become a professional. A professional will earn everything on the books and most likely won’t be eligible for much of the social programs. Additionally, in todays day and age, most businesses will pay their workers for tax purposes. It is also much harder to make fraudulent invoices and payrolls in the computer-era. Therefore most BP residents will look at those with a fiscal conservative agenda. BP is a reliable red patch in center of dark blue Brooklyn. They will vote for those with conservative views over promises of sweets. Immorality in Boro Park is sometimes worse than anything else. Boro Park has flooded their elected officials with mail, phone calls and petitions when the Immorality bill was introduced in the state senate. It has been a campaign issue all along and a defining one.

    However, I believe that Rabbi Levine has gone overboard this time. We must remember that a Chillul Hashem isn’t just a way of life but a fundamental issue in Judaism. It isn’t an easy task as well. They are always on the lookout to catch us in embarrassment thus causing a desecration of Hashems name. Things must be done politely and with diplomacy so it should be effective. If our community will become labeled a bigoted racist community our voice would never be heard again (think Westboro Baptist Church). We should use our bloc-vote, petitions and phone calls in a political-correct manner to drive our message home. HaKol Kol Yaakov, VHaYadayim Ydei Eisav. Bashing others with insensitive remarks will nullify you forever and cause a Chillul Hashem in vain.

  24. The morality issue being discussed here will not be relevant to the governors race, if at the state senate and assembly level we vote in members who wont get such legislation to the governors desk to sign.

    I dont live in boro park, and can not be considered a boro park voter, however, I dont think we as a community, wherever we are, can become one issue voters.

  25. apy#35: Sheldon Silver is dead set on passing toeiva marriage. The State Senate might be our best hope. But the Governor can VETO it, so the Governor DOES matter.

  26. As far as one issue voting, if one candidate was 99.9% agreeable with us on almost every issue — with the one tiny exception he called for the expulsion of Jews from America, we very much would vote against him on “one issue”.

  27. Paladino actually lost 70% of his chance to be governor of New York, before he came to Boro Park. Because he wasted time and goodwill after winning the in the Primary. He let his mouth get ahead of himself by cursing and threatening everyone in sight. He only enhanced his mistakes by buying Yehuda Levin’s agenda Lock,Stock and barrel. By not reviewing and knowledgeably editing Yehuda Levin’s script in which he speaks in a derogatory and disrespectful manner about Two prominent Rabbis in the community, Paladino only made himself look very foolish and not worthy of anyone’s endorsement.