In recent years, the presidential elections have been deemed “historic.” After George W. Bush was elected president, people were fed up with dynasties and the political class. The American people turned out in droves and elected Barack Obama – the first black president. He was not only the first African American president, but he was also the first one to be elected without any executive experience and hardly any political experience. His victory over John McCain was considered a vote against the establishment.
Last year, people voted against the establishment again. They overwhelmingly voted against another president with the surname Bush or Clinton and elected a man with no political experience. Donald Trump was elected to reject political correctness and stand up for the middle class.
Today, voters in Borough Park and Midwood face a historic election as well. The election is historic not because it is the most violent and negative campaign ever to target the orthodox-Jewish electorate (which, as a result, made it into the media). It is also not the first time that an election has become the establishment versus the anti-establishment or an election that promotes political dynasties and nepotism. It is historic because we can vote against those who seek to undermine us.
Orthodox Jewry is under attack. In recent years, many who have not made it in society pointed fingers at our piety and institutions for their failures. Authors arose to create fictitious stories on the doings of our community, and an organization has been established to fight our beliefs. Four ex-Hasidim were recently featured in a Netflix documentary mocking and attacking the basic tenets of Yiddishkeit. Yeshivas are under assault. 59 yeshivas – including some who have rigorous elementary and high-school curriculums – are being sued by a group of disgruntled ex-Hasidim. Make no mistake: They are not trying to improve our lives, they are trying to undermine our lifestyle. There have been heretics since Matan Torah, but they have never attacked the maaminim like today.
Kalman Yeger is the proud product of yeshivas, while Yoni Hikind is upset with his rebbe for joking about his Bar Mitzvah being Giuliani’s. Hikind’s yeshiva experience may not have been the best, but to cast blame at all yeshivas is unfair and preposterous. His support for the Markey Bill is a sign of clouded judgment due to his personal feeling.
Yoni Hikind may not have a vendetta against yeshivas, but his lousy yeshiva experience resonates with those who seek to undermine the yeshivas. Unfortunately, Yoni Hikind failed to disavow the endorsement of such groups or their people (many of whom were seen attacking Yeger supporters and property). He has also failed to denounce those groups or properly defend the yeshivas. That is why these supporters see Yoni as their ally. That is also why community leaders and askanim who were never involved in politics – people like Chaim Fischer from Hatzolah, Yanky Meyer from Misaskim, Abe Eisner and Reuvein Wolf – astoundingly endorsed Kalman Yeger.
Kalman Yeger is the establishment candidate, having been a longtime political operative who worked alongside Simcha Felder and David Greenfield. Yoni Hikind is the heir to his father, Dov Hikind. Whether you’re anti-establishment or anti-dynasty, your vote should be for your child. The more significant the margin for Kalman Yeger, the longer we quiet those outside forces who seek our detriment. Those forces claim to be the majority and that they’re “one of us,” let us show them that the quiet majority supports our traditions and ways of life.
Dave Hirsch can be reached at [email protected]
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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