Op-Ed: Weprin’s ‘Jewishness’ & The Jewish Votes In NY-9

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The Jewish Vote is considered the largest of all the ethnic groups in NY Congressional District Number Nine. This explains why Democrats nominated Jewish State Assemblyman David Weprin to run for that seat in the September 13’th Special Election.
 Here are some thoughts about it: 

A – Assemblyman Weprin legislated as a non-observant Jew, yet wants to campaign now for Weiner’s Congressional seat as a devout one. For example, Weprin proudly proclaimed that he would vote for same-gender marriage, despite the fact that he is a Jew. Jewish voters in the district — including those who don’t care one way or another about the marriage bill — will not be happy to learn that Weprin was utterly dismissive of his heritage yet wants to discover it now for votes.
 
B – Senator Schumer is Jewish too, but he very often ignores the needs of his Jewish brothers. He therefore does not have much support from Orthodox Jewish voters. In fact, during the 2010 election, he received only 500 more votes than the non-candidate Gerry Bernstein in Assembly District 48 (Dov Hikind’s district), where more than 15,000 people voted.   So Weprin’s ”Jewishness“ isn’t a free pass to allow him to swallow up Jewish votes in NY-9. We have been burned more than once by people who tout their Judaism for Election Day and then behave differently when securely in office.
 
C – Weprin voted “yes” to increase the cigarette tax last summer by $1.60 per pack. Twenty percent of the population smokes, and the many more who don’t still don’t like the idea of “taxing people out of their habit.” They feel that the same lawmaker who taxes cigarettes will tax liquor and many other products that large segments of the population use regularly. His “yes” vote and many other votes may turn Jewish voters off the idea of sending Weprin to Congress, even if he starts wearing a huge yarmulke on his head.
 
D – The reason Democratic politicians in New York often ignore Jewish voters is the math — they can win without the Jewish vote. Republicans in New York, however (think of Pataki, Gilman and Morahan), were and are more in need of Jewish voters. As a result, they are more inclined to give us a helping hand.
 
In summary, Jews won’t gain much by backing Weprin for Congress.
 
Yossi Gestetner is a New York-Based Writer and Marketing Consultant in the Orthodox Jewish/Hasidic Communities. His Firm “Gestetner & Co” Serves Political, Charitable and Corporate accounts. Yossi can be reached via [email protected]

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3 COMMENTS

  1. In New York City only 16% of the population are smokers. And in my own modern Orthodox community, I do not know a single smoker. That is no surprise since it is basically slow suicide and most poskim today hold that it is asur to start smoking and a chiyuv to try to stop.