Borough Park, NY – Lessons To Learn From Simcha Felders Loss, The Jewish Community Does Not Take Voting Seriously


    Borough Park, NY – On Tuesday September 9th the democratic primary for New Yorks 21st Senate district took place and in a stunning display of voter apathy Councilman Simcha Felder failed to unseat incumbent Kevin Parker. With all the polling sites in the number broke down with 49% to Kevin Parker, 36% to Simcha Felder and nearly 14% for Kendall Stewart and only 2340 votes separating Mr. Felder from Parker.

    Many may remember Kevin Parker making headlines for assaulting a traffic agent while repeatedly screaming “do you know who I am”? This was followed by mandatory anger management classes and what would have appeared to be a loss of political clout and confidence from his constituency.
    While casual political observers may simply be concerned with the win/loss column it of far greater importance to understand why despite raising more than twice the amount of campaign money than his competitors combined and a masterfully planned and executed campaigned managed by the politically savvy Y. Phillip Goldfeder, did Mr. Felder fail to unseat Kevin Parker?

    The 21st Senate district is a diverse district that includes Hispanics, African Americans, Carribean Americans and Orthodox Jews. The neighborhoods include Kensington, Ditmas Park, East Flatbush sections of Flatbush and sections of Boro Park. Based on the location of a polling site political analyst can determine exactly which groups are voting for which candidates and which communites are coming out to vote.

    What can be concluded from preliminary evaluations is that Mr. Felder pulled in approximately 3100 votes from the African American and Carribean American community and approximately 3800 votes from the Jewish community.

    The latter number represent about 45% of the potential voters from the Jewish community in the 21st Senate District. 45% is an awful turnout. It is embarrassing and it reflective of the apathy that seems to be so pervasive. On September 9th the Jewish Community of the 21st district missed two major opportunities. 1. In Felder they missed being represented by one of their own, a powerhouse of an individual who serves his community with genuine dedication and regard. It will be a long time until a similarly qualified candidate will have the chance to run in a primary with a similar slate of candidates. But, perhaps even more importantly they have shown that they are politically insignificant. They are neither a threat nor an asset.

    A community that cant even be bothered to support a candidate who is one of their own has made a very clear statement and the elected officials and political parties are listening. If numbers broke down differently and Felder would have lost but 90% or more of the Jewish vote would have come out to support him, it would have still been a flexing of political muscle and would have let the victor know this is a community that matters and needs to be respected. But that is not the case.

    I write this not to put down specific Brooklyn neighborhoods but rather as a lesson to us all and warning for future elections. The Orthodox Jewish community is its own special interest group with unique needs. The importance of being politically significant is critical for ongoing services, programs, and benefits. While there will always be individuals that refuse to vote with the brilliant mantra of “my vote doesn’t count” or the individual that wont register to vote for fear of being called to jury duty even though they have already made the list through tax rolls and DMV records, it is important that communities as a whole instill the value of voting and creating well organized voter drives and show high percentages of voter turnout. There is no valid excuse.

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    1. its a shame and shows very much iresponsibility Brooklyn has i believe 20,000 votes that they could bring and that would be a strong block vote even monsey is strong when it comes to voting

    2. 3800 votes from the jewish communtiy what a joke is this 10% or less why cant brooklyn come out strong and ONLY they will benefit from this i am sure they all see that BP has over 20,000 jewish people and only 3k are coming out to vote

    3. who says they need to be “represented” by one of “their own” ?

      what about all the other neightbors?

      is mister shapiro suggesting that all blacks vote for the black guy and all latinos vote forthe latino and all frummies vote for the frummy?

      this is america man, get with the program.

      even hikind and the jewish press were not in favor of felder!

    4. U r so right we don’t go out to vote, I would not vote 4 Simcha regardless but he did not run in my district. But I think why Simcha turned to a certain degree on his community cause he knows that we don’t vote & those that do go will vote 4 him anyway if every one 18+ will go out to vote no politician on a city level 4 sure on state level maybe would listen to us you can be sure. So let’s start a voter regastration drive

    5. Not quite! I was turned away from the polls for not being a Democrat. ONLY Democrats can vote in these elections! That’s stupid! I proudly abandoned the Democratic Party after suffering the unmoral Clinton years. And I am NOT going back! Let the local politicians figure out how to allow all registered voters in NYC vote, not only Democrats. Democrats, FEH!!!

    6. I would like to point out that hundreds of people were not allowed to vote on voting machines and instead were forced to use “affidavit ballots.” Still hundreds more were turned away from the polling sites, not allowed to vote, without even the courtesy of an explanation. Many sites were totally closed down. I know many people that had these complaints firsthand. Some places the booths weren’t delivered etc. At one voting site, at 7:30pm there was a line of about 100 people waiting to get in but the doors were locked. I think that Simcha should investigate this fact and contest his loss in court.

    7. I think that there’s a lesson to be learnt from this: we lost because we weren’t organized. We didn’t hit the correct polling places and we didn’t hit in the numbers we needed. We also didn’t do enough community outreach. But then again, I’m not too unhappy about Simcha’s loss.

      I don’t trust him with vetoing the community board and putting up the Windsor Plumbing project that’s a fire hazard.

      Too bad though a frum politician in the seat would’ve been nice anyway, but maybe it’s better that it isn’t simcha.

    8. Gevald,

      when there is a PRIKARY to choose between candidates from a specific party, DEMOCRAT, or REPUBLICAN or otherwise, the people from that party choose between the candidates to be the nominee.

      Had feler won, you would have had the chance to vote for him in the general election.

      if there was a republican primary yesterday you would have been able to vote in that election.

      why are people so ignorant of something so pashut?

    9. i think felder should now run against parker as an independent. it seems to me he would win. he woud give us a second chance. and it might work.

      but he has to first make sure that everone is a registerded voter,and make sure everone should know were he has to vote,and send baby sitters to people s houses or put a mobile infront of the polling booths people should be able to leave their children for atleast 15 minutes till they get around with does stupid people sitting over there. he should also make a good text massage systym.

    10. oh please!! i went out with my husband at our lunch hour we gave our name and address and we were ready to vote simcha felder WELL the two polling workers looked at each other and said “OH NOT AGAIN”

      they told us that through out the day so many people came to vote BUT ARE NOT IN SIMCHAS DISTICT!! we were so shocked we live in the 12-49 area,

      we asked the same question as so many residence of boro park diffrent district???!!!



    11. bp did vote, me and my friends voted for kevin parker at least i wont have to pay $1600.00 every year for riding through manhattan and since mosdos got 100 million why didnt mosdos cut schar limid ?

    12. I think that Felder who is a great & honest askon

      lost because of prior askonim who were not honest &

      didn’t do any thing for the community

      those askonim send a message for the entire community

      that elections means money & self interest

      now that we finally got a great askon who REALLY cares

      for us Reb Simcha couldn’t win because of history.

      We have to explain to our entire community that we finally got someone

      who is ready & will do any thing to help our yeshivas & our community

      I think that Reb simcha will have more opportunities to run for high

      Positions & he will come in very strongly


      הציבור עם שמחה

    13. as someone mentioned before this was aPRIMARY not an election only registered democrats were allowed to vote.a large majority of our area is registered as republican or independent not as democrat. Let him run as an independent in the election and you will see the difference in votes. Joe Leiberman did it and won why cant Simcha Felder?

    14. Maybe the lesson is, that a campaign that is run on “If Simcha loses, we all lose” yet while he is in the council voted against our interests, like raising property taxes, water taxes, congestion pricing, etc.will not work. Had Simcha had the courage “real courage” to do what is right there would of been a bigger more enthusiastic turnout for him.

    15. 20,000 votes for a small piece of boro park is a large turnout the other 20,000 boro parkers are either republican or independents and another 5,000 that arent registered or couldnt find time thats 50,000 people


    16. America is a wonderful country. You don’t have to vote if you don’t want to.

      It is an insult to people’s intelligence that they are an embarresment if they do not vote for Simcha Felder. This is taking their vote for granted. He may have, with his vote for congestion pricing, his non vote (because he had to go to the bathroom) for Speaker Quinn, and other issues which he voted for HIS own best interest, not neccesarily his constituants.

      I am certain, that there were people that knew him and voted against him, and there were others, that knew him and didn’t want to vote against him, but didn’t vote because they didn’t want to vote for him.

      In this district only 20% of the voters are jewish/orthodox/frum. The fact that Simcha received 36% of the vote and a substantial number from out of his base, is really good.

      The fact that 45% of jews in Boro Park voted in a primary is really really good voter turnout. Generally in a primary 10% is the average.

      The fact is, that the demographics were stacked against Simcha Felder, he knew this, but since he had a $1 Million warchest to sit on, with OTHER PEOPLES MONEY, he was willing to “take the plunge” and campaign for this seat. There was nothing for him to lose.

      The real question is, will a 3rd person, who is either liberal modern orthodox, or liberal non religious jewish, be able to win Felder’s council seat when Joe Lazar and David Greenfield slug it out and split the Frum/religious vote. It may happen.

    17. I live in the heart of Boro Park. i came to the Polls to vote on Tuesday. They told me I’m not in the district. If the district would be streched until 60th st. or even less Simcha would have won!

    18. I’m sure if the Pigeon’s would be able to vote, they wouldn’t Vote for Felder just like us…

      We in BP are very angry at Felder for not helping with the increase in Parking Ticket’s. So YES, we Voted for Parker. He is anti Ticket Agents! Don’t you remember how he punched a Traffic Police Officer in her face?

    19. dear eli shapiro

      i read your article and i believe it is riddled with innacuracies

      as the person said in a post two before mine anyone that runs a campaign with the arrogance of if simacha loses we all lose is doomed to failure. he banked on the fact that all jews wouyld vote for him because he gave the institutions money whil not realizing that voting for tax increases , gay city council speaker, pigeon control water taxes congestion pricing made him unfit to care for the interests of the little guy

      i voted parker for all these reasons and also due to the slogan

      we all win and lets all be besimcha

    20. I’m a registered Republican. I couldn’t vote for Simcha even if I wanted to. With the recent voter registration drive, everyone assumes they all registered as Democrats. Thats just NOT the case!

    21. You got that right, many of us in Boro Park are registered Republicans, including myself. I would run to vote for Felder. Also note that not the whole of BP are in Felders district.

    22. why should i vote for simcha ,what did he do in the past ? i almost never heard of him the last couple of years dov heikind is allways doing something ,so if he suported parker i voted for parker !!!

    23. I enjoyed reading the analysis, however, it does not tell us how many votes Parker and Stewart got in Jewish areas. Maybe Mr. Shapiro can provide such info to make the picture more complete.


    24. I guess that Kol Koreh went unheeded. Funny how people pick and choose which ones to listen to. It was the Jews who cost Felder the elction, let’s see how good this next guy is for our community. It’s a shame.

    25. I find it very disturbing that the writer harps on the fact that the Jewish community failed to vote in “one of their own”. That statement is sickening. While certainly having someone who is intimately familiar with your needs is important the implication that otherwise we have inadequate representation is blatantly racist and absurd. It does not matter what a person’s religion or race or gender is. If they are capable and genuine in their desire to help their constituents then they are worthy of support. If all things are equal, then perhaps a nod to the candidate who is a member of the community would be in order. But it is not a tragedy if a different person is chosen to represent us.

      Come on, we decry the 97.5% of the black vote going to Obama as racist. Aren’t we being hypocritical when it concerns one of our own?

    26. Half of Boro Park wasn’t able to vote because Felder wasn’t in they’re district. Did anyone know that???? They called your house fifteen times, signs on evry corner, pamphlets, fliers, double decker buses….. Not one flier had a map to indicate what district you belong to and who’s running where.

      Countless people I know went and weren’t able to vote for him.

      Don’t go blame BP, chassidim….

    27. 11:42 you are 100% correct. The average yungerman whose vote simcah needed didn’t feel he had any Tovas Hanooah from all these Millions to the Mosdos, as they still keep on raising the Tuition for each of them. Imagine, you have 5-6 kids in a mosod and you get raised 40.0-50.0 per child, how are they to swing this? What happened to these Millions that he claims the mosods got?

    28. In my opinion, Simcha needed much more time to methodically knock on the doors of prime (That would have eliminated most of the confusion). He entered this race WAY too late. He should have run this race from the beginning focusing on the needs of Boro Park and not the entire city. Then he would have had Dov, The Jewish Press and the community endorsement. He would have had plenty of money for a senate run without the Winsor Plumbing developers or the Sephardic money (both of which lost votes for Mr. Felder). With the timeframe they had, this was an organized, professional campaign that is not typical of Boro Park campaigns. The only thing I agree with is voting for congestion pricing. We benefitted greatly from his relationship with Bloomberg and his vote didn’t really matter. I hope that this wasn’t a hoax to give Simcha name recognition to run for something else yet again. Lastly, The Sinas Chimum and disrespect going on here is disgusting. I agree with change and youth but not at the price of disrespecting our elders… I agree with change but not at the expence of disrespecting our elders. There is a lot the community can learn from the experience and leadership of Dov Hikind Sheldon Silver and young campaigns should embrace them rather than put them down.

    29. I know scores of people in my part of Boro Park including myself that purposely did not vote at all.

      Simcha disappointed us.

      At a meeting about the proposed housing project near McDonald Avenue, hundreds of neighborhood people attended including the Mattersdorfer Rav. We were all very strongly opposed to this project. The show of hands there was unanimous against this project. The only one in favor was Simcha Felder.

      The message was one of arrogance, sort of like “I know what’s best for the neighborhood not you dummies that actually live there”.

      Most people felt he may have been “strongly influenced” by the developers. I don’t want to be challila Choshed him but it left a very bitter taste among the resident of the area. We feel he is not our representative.

      We could not bring ourselves to vote for his opponent but certainly not to vote for him. So I and hundreds, maybe thousands, of others stayed home.

      Will the other guy be better? Who knows!

      Voters have sent a message.

      An elected official must always remember that he is a Shaliach Tzibbur no matter how long he has been in office.

      There is no question that had he sided with the community, we would have had us come out in masses for him and he would have won.

      I hope all politicians are taking note of this.

    30. I dont understand whats wrong with parker. He was the incumbent and i feel he has done a good job. Has anyone ever heard of hakoras hatov just because felder was running we should vote for him? Thats ridiculous. I dont think Felder has ever done anything. He does not deserve our vote.

    31. The hundreds of Gerrer living in that part of Boro Park didn’t vote for Felder, they voted for Parker. This was a result of him voting to build the housing project on 19th and 50th where many of them live and there girls school is located.

    32. it would’ve been nice for felder to have educated the public to which voting district they live in & which district he’s running in. the average boro parker knows they live in boro park. that’s it.

    33. you are not looking at the problem. the problem is that the schools rig it that when you vote you bring back a card saying you voted and the kid wins a prize. you can only vote legally once so what do you do when you have 8-10 kids in a school. to solve the shalom bayis issue in the house, the parent doesn’t vote so he/she doesn’t have to pick one child over another


    35. I guess the $205,000 to upstate Satmar just did’nt buy him more local votes. When Felder is in the news for pigeons and his wife tells him to lose weight that bring honor to us?

      What about parking/ Housing? Graffiti?

    36. i guess I davened till I get fed up!!! I don’t want feeding to be a moving violation. i guess when he came out with this law, he didn’t know I was flying!!!!

      truly yours

      pigeon YENTA PESHA

    37. It happens to be that I went to vote in B.P in my regular polling place and they told me my name is not on the list. they said something that districts were changed. I am a registered democrat.

    38. Why should we support a candidate who is one of our own? People are sick and tired of these (one of our Own)Candidates that come into office and all of a sudden they become a spokesman for the Jewish Community. If you are a State Senator BE ONE! And don’t become a spokesman for ISRAEL or for Jewish affairs. Jews always had more from a gentile that is a friend to the Jewish people and they have many.

    39. Well Simcha has to learn that Boro Park is not willamsburg.. Here you have to work for the people NOT for the mosdos. And charging an extra $8.00 to pass Manhatan is just to much.

      Dont be a fool, stop running after Mayor Bloomberg…

    40. I love pigeons. Thats why I didnt vote for felder.He discriminated against pigeon. how dare? pigeon have a heart too.pigeon eat and sleep aND THINK LIKE US HUMANS..HOW DARE FELDER DISCRIMATED AGAINST pigeon..BECAUSE pigeon cant talk back your allowed to abuse them?

    41. Oh give up already. He lost. No ones fault. He was not chosen. No ones fault again. People have the right to vote for who they wish.

      BTW-Felder campaigned in many areas that the district votes did not belong to him. Learn district boundaries before you go putting up signs everywhere.

    42. 1) He has voted YES for congestion pricing.

      2) Oh yes! Busy with pigeon droppings

      3) Simcha Felder since when are you a council member from Williamsburg? By staying neutral you would have gotten 100% of Williamsburg, you get involved with UJCare now you lost 50%, if not more.

      NOW YOU GOT IT!!!

    43. balabusta

      you are a hundred percent right – campaign moves were amateurish – the last minute thing may have kept kendell in the race but also didn’t give him sufficient time to campaign in the district. it was raining and it was the only elections on most of these ballots. this seat is a very hard one to win, while noach was running from march – simcha tried to buy the overnight. its a shame, he would have done good for the community but the facts are what they are and there’s no one to blame.

    44. You got it wrong.

      It’s not the Jewish Community that doesn’t take voting seriously.

      It’s Simcha Felder that did not take the Jewish Community seriously.

      HolyMoe said it better than I can ever express myself.

      My wife and I and many people on our block either didn’t vote at all or voted against him.

      I was also there at that community meeting last year on 59th St. about the project on Mcdonald avenue.

      Everyone everyone everyone. Balebattim Rabbonim and even non-Jewish people were against this project. Unfortunately we know who ends up living there.

      Simcha Felder ignored our interests.

      He ignored the community and favored the developers.

      He figured he has our community in his back pocket anyway.

      He ignored us when we needed him.

      We ignored him when he needed us.


    45. Shame on Dov Hikind. We need to send him a clear message.

      He is responsile for our Simch’s loss. Hikind let the Jewish community down. It is evident that he is intimedated

      By protege, an underling that out grew him. I wish term limits were to go away. We the community lost a great and dedicated public servent. He did so much for us and we let him down. We like to take and never consider giving. Remember, you can never get if you don’t give. We didn’t give.We lost.

    46. i dont think its a mistake NOthing happens JUST!

      i think that he lost because his views on certain issue. like…

      and let me quote him

      “i dont care about Landlords there are more tenants then Landlords so sorry”

      so maybe we DID go out & vote JUST NOT FOR HIM!!!!

    47. Hikind would have loved to support Simcha but Simcha decided too late in the game what he wanted to run for. By then Dov had committed to supporting Parker.

      When Simcha decides what he is running for next I am sure he will have Hikinds support.

    48. The beauty of our system is that the FEW CAN HAVE POWER LIKE MANY if they vote in disproportionate numbers. If voting were mandatory, we’d lose the potential of having greater power than our actual numbers.

      True, primary election turnout is generally very low, this gives us an opportunity to shine – and WIN.

      Also, voter education about district boundaries was probably worse in WB, everybody got numerous phone calls regardless of their district.

    49. Dov Hikind had already pledged his support to Parker before Felder entered the race. I went to the polls to vote in Flatbush and found that Felder was not running in my district, yet he had people handing out fliers right outside the school. It doesn’t seem to be particularly good planning to have people stumping in areas that you’re not even running!!

    50. excuse me alot of jews went out to vote but were turned away my polling place was closed. felders office was called and they sent someone to help us get in but he couldn’t. we were about 30 people that were turned away. ps 105 at 1031-59th st in case your interested

    51. Interesting to poingt out Noach Dear lost last time with less then 400 votes. The article should be titled different, it should say like this “The Jewish Community Does Not Take Voting Lightly”. They cannot be bullied into voting foe any candidate just because he wears a Yarmulka. We all vote, come visit us by other elections. I didn’t vote because Simcha didn’t deserve my vote and didn’t want to vote against him either, a little Jewish guilt. I know many people who voted against him.

    52. The truth is that it should be tallied differently. Look at the Jewish votes in total not what Felder received. The fact is that many people were not happy with him, just ask around. Many voted against him and many didn’t vote at all because of this.

    53. i dont know about felder and dont care about demecrat/republican the only point is that BP willi or any other community must be united and be able to show a strong vote block and thats the only way today that we or them could get anything from anyone if we have 20,000 votes and we could bring that for a certain politition they will run after us and we will definitly have the upper hand and again if a community has 20k votes that will even count on the presidential condidates they would even come down to ask for our votes

    54. I called Parker to help me with a utility bill and was taken care in 3 days after Felders office told me Sorry i live half a block from his district and cant help me…

    55. Everyone is talking about being UNITED when all we see and hear is MACHLOIKES in our own community..We breath Machloikes …Yom Kipper is around the corner…Wake up and smell the COFFEE

    56. I live on 51st street and together with some people from our block and others from 53rd street we went to out poling station on 18th Ave. and 47th Street. We belong to the 62nd ED. There was no voting booth set up for E.D.62. We all left without voting. Felder lost 7 votes at that moment.

      I wonder how many more people tried to vote for him but were denied the opportunity because the voting booth was not set up for their Election District.

    57. Just remember, being Jewish doesn’t mean you are guaranteed Jewish support. Let me try to explain it this way, I have had better employee-employer relationships working for non-Jews than Jews. But I digress.

      As a conservative, I personally don’t vote for religion, sex, color, race, etc. It’s the issues! While I don’t live in NYC, I am highly suspect of frum Jews involved with the democrat party. But that is my personal opinion. It’s the same reason why I do not respect Sheldon Silver’s politics. Again, I’m not eligible to vote for him. He may be a great guy to daven with and make a L’Chaim at kiddidush, but not to represent me.

      Perhaps this was a flawed campaign, like putting up signs in the Catskills and casusing a chillul HaShem when his signs were dumped on Ms. Felder’s property. Perhaps people should have realized you couldn’t vote for him because he is not in your district.

      If you like him so much and you want all NYC frum Jews to vote for him, then maybe you’ll have an opportunity if he runs for mayor or a statewide office. Otherwise, you’ll have to accept the fact that he lost.

    58. The heimishe crowd is upset with Simcha for having the chutzpa to spit in our faces by the projects fiasco. Simcha, we did not think it was raining. We bitterly felt the spit on our faces.

    59. i don’t think it was the votes! i think simcha burnt his bridges that’s y he lost. Kevin Parker doubled his votes in BP from his last election.

      it WAS a great turn out check your #’s

    60. Have some great news for all of you here:

      Parker together with Stewart got around 200 votes in Boro Park. So all of you who say I voted Parker should’ve gotten 1000 votes.

      Stop the nonsense and 90% of registered jewish democrats in the 21st senate district didn’t vote.

      Can’t wait when next years funding comes and stand in front of felders office and watch how all the organizations will be knocking on his door for funding. Oh will I stand there and laugh. Hope Mr. Felder that you are smart and tell them all to go to Hikind and Parker cause they really represent the community, by bringing in from the budget a few 100 not like you did a few million.

      By the way Mr. Felder next year when the Mayor wants to remove from the Budget the after school vouchers (that most family’s in Boro Park get) don’t stick your neck out lets see bill deblasio get that restored.

      Just remember Mr. Felder all the good people that somehow forgot what you did for them the past 7 years. Be a good politician sit in the office and relax, don’t do anything and you will be the best person ever elected.

    61. “Mr. Felder pulled in approximately 3100 votes from the African American and Carribean American community and approximately 3800 votes from the Jewish community.”

      How many Jews voted for Parker?

    62. Sigh…the point of a democracy is that no one can persecute you for how you vote. No one knows HOW you voted, but what is publicly available is WHO voted. That’s why there’s the little booth, get it? Based on those numbers, we can see that Jewish voter turnout was in fact low.

      So regardless of all the problems that people may have with Simcha, that’s not what did him in. If there was massive turnout in Boro Park and Simcha still lost, that would have been a bizayon for Simcha.

      So apparently Simcha is still a good guy. VIN is going on a theme here- this community forced Rabbi Twerski from doing what he should be doing and the community yanked Simcha Felder away from being able to do more for our community.

      Klal Yisroel, since the time of Yirmiyahu, has a long and glorious history of knifing their leaders in the back…

    63. Also, a rezoning would be nice. Entire 9th avenue area is out of the loop on this one. I vote every single election for candidates whose names I do not recognize.


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