New York – Jewish Press Endorses Weprin

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    New York – The Jewish Press endorses David Weprin in the September 13 special election to fill the Congressional seat vacated by Anthony Weiner. Mr. Weprin, a Democrat, is currently a New York State assemblyman and was formerly a member of the New York City Council where he served as chairman of its finance committee.

    He has a long record of standing up for the interests of his constituents in terms of child care, health care, senior care, etc., and has always impressed us with his understanding of the special needs of the Orthodox community’s broad array of voluntary social service safety networks. And while he has had no direct responsibilities relating to the State of Israel (as a congressman he would), there are few public officials who have expressed themselves more forcefully on Israel’s behalf.

    So we have no hesitation in saying he would easily meet the checklist of most voters. This is especially true given the growing need to cut government spending – he argues for cuts over time and increasing taxes in the highest brackets – and the inevitable concomitant competition for ever-diminishing resources. And given the mindset of President Obama when it comes to the Middle East, there has never been a greater need for people in Congress who fully appreciate the longstanding special relationship between the U.S. and Israel.

    But in this particular race, that cannot be the end of the inquiry. There are those who argue that there are at least three separate considerations that trump the usual areas of concern. Some, like former New York City mayor Ed Koch, say it is important to elect a Republican to fill the traditionally Democratic 9th CD seat (once held by Senator Chuck Schumer) in order to send a message to President Obama vis-à-vis his Mideast policy. Others cite Mr. Weprin’s fulsome support for the recently enacted state law authorizing same-sex marriage as a reason not to vote for him. Still others call attention to Mr. Weprin’s supposed support for the Ground Zero Mosque. These are not matters that can be summarily dismissed.

    Mr. Weprin’s opponent in the race is Republican Bob Turner, a retired communications industry executive. Preliminarily, Mr. Turner has advocated a prompt 35 percent cut in government spending without any new taxes, but insists this would not necessarily impact significantly on the lives of those who depend on such government funds, particularly Social Security and Medicare. We don’t usually agree with The New York Times, but here is its editorial reaction: “That would take a magician, not a businessman.”

    Given his overarching negative view of government spending, it is hard to imagine Bob Turner going to bat as strongly as David Weprin in any struggle for funds to minimize the impact of government cutbacks on the 9th CD. Indeed, we were troubled on this score by Mr. Turner’s opposition – apparently in the interest of budget cutting – to including volunteer responders together with uniformed responders in the aftermath of 9/11 in an omnibus compensation law for responders who suffered injuries and illnesses.

    Mr. Turner says he is a staunch supporter of Israel and we certainly take him at his word. Yet, as noted above, Mr. Weprin has throughout his long public career taken strongly pro-Israel positions. So we don’t quite understand Ed Koch’s notion that by electing a Republican over a pro-Israel Democrat, voters in the 9th CD would be sending Mr. Obama a message to be more supportive of Israel.

    While there have been several critical rabbinic pronouncements regarding Mr. Weprin’s support for New York’s same-sex marriage legislation, by no means has there been an emergent consensus that this should drive voter choice. Under the circumstances, while we disagree with Mr. Weprin’s stance on this matter, we do not believe it should trump all other vital issues affecting the everyday lives of New York Jews.

    Further, we urge voters keep in mind that the notion that elected officials must take positions tracking the tenets of their faith is not something that is necessarily good for a Jewish minority in a predominantly Christian country. Our sad experience with the Sunday blue laws comes readily to mind.

    Mr. Turner has attacked Mr. Weprin for being on the wrong side of the ground zero mosque debate. He says Mr. Weprin supported building the mosque on ground zero. However, any review of the record shows that Mr. Weprin said that while the sponsors of the mosque had a legal right to build, it would be a good idea if they looked elsewhere. The First Amendment requires no less.

    On balance, we believe David Weprin is the better choice for Congress in the 9th Congressional District.

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    23 COMMENTS

    1. This is a really smart move and reflects the political sophistication of the leading Yiddeshe print news outlet in the U.S. in not focusing on a single issue in evaluating a candidate. Weprin has done–and will do– more for Jews in the U.S. and EY than the opposing candidate.

      • How can you say the Jewish Press is spiraling to the left? Can you name one leftist or even liberal columnist or writer that appears in the paper? As I recall they endorsed Bush twice and McCain in 2008. They always endorsed Giuliani and D’Amato. How are they “left”?

        • The fact is that over the years their editorials have changed much. They used to be blatant pro Israel. Now much has changed and they have much wishy washy attitude. In addition, the front page headline has come to mirror liberal, left wing newspapers. Headlines such ” Jews split over support of Obama”, “why do Jews hate Sarah Palin?” “Uproar over Israeli General’s Comments” or some headlines that come to mind in recent years. True, they give host to many pro Israel columnists, but the editorials and headlines have become much more centralized, in an obvious attempt to avoid being labeled “extremists” by the liberal left.

      • Weprin is not running to be chief rabbi. He’s a poltician representing tens of thousands of constituents — frum, non-frum, Jewish, non-Jewish. The Jewish Press recognizes that you don’t endorse a candidate on one issue alone, especially if he agrees with you on most other issues.

      • In case you didn’t read the papers, we are voting for a congressional representative and NOT for gabbai rishon. If you disagree with his tax and fiscal policy positions, thats great, but the election is NOT about which candidate is more machmir on tzinius and toevah.

        • Sorry but you are incorrect. The Gedolim have indeed instructed us not to vote for any candidate whose views and votes are for gay marriage or other issues considered an abomination by the Torah.

          • Which “gedolim”? If the “gedolim” only supported candidates whose views are 100 percent Torah-driven, I’m afraid therer would ne no candidates they could endorse.

    2. Lets ask one question…the litmus test… would he have voted for Obamacare as it was proposed (not a better version but that exact bill)? If yes, then he is just an Obama rubberstamper and who needs him.

      • Examples, please, of the Jewish Press being “on the wrong side of the issues.” Don’t just make empty charges. I’m an undecided voter but I have to say this is a well-written, very well argued editorial.

      • The JP got it right almost always when it comes to battling the typical orthodox response to any given issue. The JP is all messed up with regard to the Israeli/Palestinian issue.

    3. We show how infantile we are as a community by deciding who to vote for based on just one issue. I wish Weprin hadn’t voted for the gay bill, but he’s been rock solid for Yiddin and Eretz Yisroel for so many years. And don’t tell me Hikind is really basing his support for Turner on the gay issue. If Hikind is so furious about that, why hasn’t he criticized Assembly Speaker Silver — also an Orthodox Jew — for his support of the gay bill? And will Hikind ever call a press conference to say he won’t support Silver for reelection? Of course not, and that’s all you need to know about Hikind’s sincerity on this issue.

    4. The Jewish Press recognizes one thing. Most Chareidi homes threw out this paper from their homes when Hamodia & Yated started publishing. Since the Chareidi papers endorsed Turner and if their candidate will win, they will score a major victory, especially if some frum people will vote for Weprin.

      • I’m what most people would call “chareidi” and I subscribe to the Jewish Press, as do many of my neighbors and friends — all chareidi. We like that they feature columns and articles from across the entire spectrum of Orthodoxy — Avigdor Miller, Dovid Goldwasser, Jonathan Sacks, etc. Chassidishe, yeshivish, more modern — take your pick. And they were running articles about abuse and similar issues long before the yeshivishe velt began to get on the bandwagon.

    5. It was bad enough that Weprin supported the Gay Marriage Law despite the fact that he claims he is an Orthodox Jew. He went way beyond the Pale by saying that he supports it “because” he is an Orthodox Jew and criticized his Rabbi for holding a contrary view. The “dox” in Orthodox means “belief”. Ortho signifies rigid adherence to the law. Mr Weprin’s actions belie his claim that he is Orthodox. While he has done many positive things for the Jewish community, his election as a self described “Orthodox Jew” would undermine our community when he takes positions (which he will surely do in the future) which go against core Torah values.
      Better to elect a non-Jew who is also pro-Israel and will represent our community in a devoted manner.

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