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Op-Ed: A New Perspective On David Weprin

After my article on David Wep­rin appeared in the Five Towns Jewish Times and at The Yeshiva World News website, I was approached by two of my most ardent political supporters, Shimi Pelman and Dr. Joseph Frager. They had a personal request of me: they wanted me to meet David Weprin in person.

Dr. Frager is one of the most influential frum Republicans in the tri-state area and a close confidant of Governor Mike Huckabee. Dr. Frager accompanied Glenn Beck on his recent trip to Eretz Yisrael, where Mr. Beck was enthusiastically received by the Israeli Knesset. Additionally, he is the organizer of the Glenn Beck “Restoring Courage” tour to Yerushalayim this August, at which every Republican presidential candidate will be in attendance.

I must admit that I was surprised that both Shimi Pelman and Dr. Frager were supporting David Weprin’s bid for Congress. Bowing to this pressure, I agreed to meet Mr. Weprin for breakfast. I had one condition: that I be free to discuss every issue of concern to the frum community without any sugarcoating on my part.

As I stood outside the restaurant waiting for David Weprin and Shimi Pelman to arrive, I must admit that I was nervous meeting the person whom I had described in my articles as “Obama with a yarmulke” and as being nothing more than a party hack. As soon as David appeared, he gave me a big “Shalom Aleichem,” and we sat down to talk. I found him to be charming, caring, and modest.

While Shimi Pelman would have preferred I hold off on my attack mode and engage in niceties, I immediately raised the issue of Mr. Weprin’s vote and his support of the gay-marriage bill in the New York State Assembly. Mr. Weprin was taken aback at my directness on the issue and saw firsthand the passion this issue stirs within the frum members of our community.

Mr. Weprin grew up in the home of the famed Saul Weprin, the former Speaker of the New York State Assembly. The Weprin home was a bastion of liberal ideology. Liberalism is rooted in David’s DNA. That David became frum is a testament to the man and his core set of values. Despite the fact that he is frum by choice, his liberal gene is part of his very essence.

Liberals believe that support of gay marriage is a civil-rights issue. As long as in David’s opinion it did not harm the welfare of any religious group, Jewish or other, he was confident in supporting the bill.

Indeed, the bill in its original form posed a risk to frum Jews, who could have been put in a position of being forced to choose between obeying the law and observing their religion.

David, with his bona fide liberal credentials, successfully and tenaciously fought to ensure that the final version of the bill included exemptions and protections for Jewish and other religious groups. His vote for the bill was not cast out of rishus or political expediency, but out of a liberal view that espouses the strict separation of church and state and holds dear the principle of civil rights. I disagree with him vehemently in his support of the bill, but I understand where he is coming from.

David, upon hearing my explanations of why our community feels the way we do about same-sex marriage, understood how I and many in our shuls and yeshivas viewed his vote, why we are so upset about it, and why he has a lot to prove.

We then changed topics and began to discuss his myriad accomplishments on behalf of Jewish causes. One of David’s proudest moments was when he fought for and won the right for frum Jews to continue to perform metzitzah b’peh by a b’ris milah. When David was in the City Council, Mayor Bloomberg’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Frieden, fought mightily to ban metzitzah b’peh. David, using his liberal connections, was able to form a coalition to defeat this affront to our religious practices. In his ten years of public service, David has helped more yeshivas, shuls, and tzedakahs, including Hatzolah and Ohel, than any other politician.

David is extremely pro-Israel and over the last ten years has taken positions that are more in line with right-wing Republicans than his liberal Democratic colleagues. He believes that as a Democrat, he can be more effective at changing President Obama’s position on Israel from the inside, rather than just being another Republican attacking the President. As proof, he offered Steny Hoyer’s recent speech at the AIPAC conference. The speech was regarded as a complete repudiation of the president’s Israel policy. The speech made headlines because it was made by one of the highest-ranking Democrats in Congress, who had openly taken on his president. I wonder what Ed Koch would say to that! It is an interesting theory, one that the voters of the 9th Congressional District must contemplate.

David has surrounded himself with people who are staunch supporters of Israel and true askanim for K’lal Yisrael. He consults with them and has assured me that he will redouble his efforts at truly listening to the concerns and needs of the Orthodox Jewish community.

I dislike what the Democratic Party stands for, especially the liberal base of the party. I was the Republican Congressional Candidate in the 2010 election for the 6th Congressional District of New York, one that borders on Anthony Weiner’s old district. I vote Republican, but I don’t live in the 9th Congressional District. The question is, how will the people of the 9th view David Weprin? It is their decision. I urge the members of our community not to make my mistake, but to look closely at the man named David Weprin before rushing to judgment.

Asher E. Taub, Esq. is a former congressional candidate and aide to Bob Turner.

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


14 Responses

  1. Excellent. So he, like Joe Lieberman, is a personally good person. But as you said, he is a liberal. We can befriend him. But not vote for him.

  2. If he has a “liberal” gene, he’ll be happy as a Democrat. And while most frum Jews are “liberals” on economic matters (we love receiving patronage and pork, and don’t worry how it gets paid for as long as someone else pays for it), no frum Jews can be happy with “liberal” social policy. We may not mind that the goyim kill their own babies, but we know that abortion is clearly prohibited even to goyim. There is no way we can work with the seculars who have made an averah (same-gender sexual relationships) into a “mitsvah” in their culture. We can hardly be sympathetic with those opposed to a strong defense policy and American exceptionalism when those policies, more than anything in a this-world sense, saved us from the Nazis, the Communists and is the first line of defence against the fanatical “jihad” movement.

    If Eric Cantor emerges as a national leader, it will be interesting how it affects us. He’s “coservadox” (and Jewish enough so we can relate, even if not frum). His social and national security views match our own. His economic views are very much in contrast to the “let’s get our share” attitude of New York’s frum commmunity, but appeal to those who look at national finance and (unlike the conservative Christians) don’t worry about the US becoming another Greece, but worry about the US going the way of Weimar Germany.

  3. no no no he is not gonna get our support! he voted for gay marriage and this is the only way to get our opposed voices heard is by voting against him and yes just because of that. And btw how else could we look on a politician’s real views if not by his previous voted issues isnt this the type work whats he is gonna be doing if he wins? the writer of the article got cought by his sweet political talk smells so much of “obama liberalism” and we are not dumm obama puppets!

  4. Well, if you thought until now that he voted out of Rishus that is your problem. Nothing I read here came as a suprise. It is a common thing that after meeting someone, you’ll speak differently about him. But if it was really the policy that was the issue than nothing would have changed.

  5. This article TOTALLY MISSES THE POINT. There is NO QUESTION that David Weprin is PERSONALLY Orthodox, is PERSONALLY a mensch and PERSONALLY believes in all the causes espoused by our community. HOWEVER, David Weprin is a “PARTY MAN” through and through. …and when the party has a key vote you can bet your bottom dollar, that DNA wins, he will be a vote that the Democrats WILL ALWAYS (WITHOUT EXCEPTION) be able to FIRMLY rely on. Congress is not the Assembly…and when Pelosi “pulls the strings”, David Weprin will ALWAYS SHOW HIS LOYALTY. The TOEVA bill proves this “beyond the shadow of a doubt”. If there is a conflict between our community and the administration, the administration WILL ALWAYS WIN. That is why our community must “draw a line in the sand” and vote for someone WHO WILL NOT BE IN ADMINSTRATION’S BACK POCKET. I don’t alway’s agree with Dov Hikind, but his vote on the Toeva bill was a profile in courage. So was the clergyman Diaz from the Bronx, who has much to lose. Most others are part hacks. Obama has FORCED Natanyahu to negotiate with the PA based on PRE-1967 suicidal lines. There are rumors in the media that Obama (and his team) made program “cut-off” threats. This is also in Obama’s DNA. Ask yourself, in this case, if push comes to shove how would David Weprin vote?

  6. I agree with mr taub 100% that David werpin may be a very nice guy but his ideology is NOT in line with the orthodox way of life. Therefore as nice of a person he may be he is not the right person to vote for.

    I still can’t understand why people are so shallow and think a politicians position on israel is what defines them. Its the opposite! Most politicians are pro israel because that’s what makes sense (Only US ally in middle east). Also ones position on israel does not have any major effect on us or israel. Yes, they talk a lot about israel and speak out defending Israel, but in truth that means nothing. All our pro israel politicians over the past years have not really changed the situation in Israel.
    Another point is their main job is to legislate for us in our country the ways that’s best for us. To this point I can confidently say the democrats failed us. Regarding issues that really pertain to us, we see don’t see any support from them. To the contrary, we see them against us.
    The biggest proof that I’m right is this article. Why is this article dominated by werpins position on Israel but nothing on issues that pertain to us- his constituents here in district 9??? If werpin would discuss his position on these positions, he wouldn’t get 1 vote from the orthodox community and a lot less from the rest of the district. That’s why he sugar coats his position with being pro israel.
    Every voter should open their eyes and see the truth, look beyond the surface, ask questions, be informed, and then decide who to vote for.

  7. IMHO I am grateful that we live in the USA that has a seperation between church and state. You cannot legislate morality, but you can legislate taking away our freedom by chipping away at what the public sees as unpopular at that time. A prime example is Europe where they are outlawing shechita and burkas and whatever they deem as unpopular. Do we want to live in a country that takes away our freedom to live according to halacha? I would rather have 1,000 toeiva weddings take place that have one shoelace of my personal religious rights taken away. Freedom for everybody!

  8. Jakey, ur same toevah guys are trying to bamn circumsision. U forget who runs the world and where beracha comes from. Not the democrats, but Hashem. Anything blatantly against Torah has an effect-do u not believe that?

  9. akuperma:

    Personally, I think it would be excellent – politically – for the Republican presidential nominee to choose Rep. Cantor as his running mate. It took 24 years from Democrat Geraldine Ferraro to Republican Sarah Palin; it would be a good idea for the GOP to halve that time in following Al Gore’s example.

    (My personal choice of a GOP 2012 ticket is Rick Santorum for President and Eric Cantor for Vice President. I also think the choice of Herman Cain would be politically wise.)

  10. akuperma:

    Personally, I think it would be excellent – politically – for the Republican presidential nominee to choose Rep. Cantor as his running mate. It took 24 years from Democrat Geraldine Ferraro to Republican Sarah Palin; it would be a good idea for the GOP to halve that time in following Al Gore’s example.

    (My personal choice of a GOP 2012 ticket is Rick Santorum for President and Eric Cantor for Vice President. I also think the choice of Herman Cain for Secretary of the Treasury would be politically wise.)

  11. Hashem runs the world and not the politicians. Hashem will take care of the toeva issue and not you guys. The important thing is that yidden should be free to live our lives according to our halacha and not be indebted to politicians. That is why I believe the government that governs least, governs best. Again, Freedom for everyone.

  12. Why r u on this world jaky? Jews have a purpose – to be a light and to spread Gds word. The Torah doesn’t punish people for not being Jewish but doing things which are wrong. We r the guiders whether u like ur role or not. Whatever legally we can do to keep the world moral we must. That includes legally voting out politicians who don’t mix morals with social policy

  13. Jews can be a light to the world by setting an example of an ehrliche lifestyle governed by Hashem. If we are not afforded the freedom to live our ways then we will be in gehakte tzuris. Remember in nazi germany they first took away people’s right to practice whatever they wanted, then they eventually took away their right to live. Learn from history’s slippery slope. I repeat, freedom for everybody.

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