Brooklyn, NY – At a special Tu BiShvat seder organized by Ezra and Gabriella Friedlander in their home in the heart of Borough Park, New York City Council Speaker and Mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn was warmly welcomed this past Sunday by a small but highly influential group of Orthodox and Hasidic movers and shakers and welcomed as a special guest.
At the “seder” table yesterday featuring special readings Ms. Quinn, with a fully loaded campaign war chest and reportedly a commanding lead in the polls in the 2013 race for Mayor of NYC, was honored in reading ancient rabbinic texts about the importance of preserving fruits trees and meaning of planting a seed for future generations to enjoy. The event officiated by Rabbi Steven Burg, Eastern Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center marked a first in what Ezra Freindlander hopes will become an annual tradition by having a public power ‘TuBishvat seder’ in Boro Park.
Also participating in the Seder were NYC Councilman Brad Lander, President of the City Council in Yonkers Charles Lesnick, Assemblyman David Weprin, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, of the NY Board of Rabbis, Abe Eisner, Yeruchim Silber of the BPJCC, Alexsander Rapaport of Masbia, Dr. Joshua of Shema Kolainu, Dr. David Moskovits, Leon Goldenberg, Moshe Friedman of Community First, Meir Laufer, founder of New York Wheel, Isaac Sofer – Central UTA Satmar, Ari Weiss, Shomrim, Naftali Reiner of Bobov ,Jonathan and Cynthia of the QJCC, Esther Henny Jaroslawicz, Boro Park Bikur Cholim, Zev Brenner of Talkline Communications, were among many other local community leaders and activists attending.
Guests were treated to all the traditional fruits of the holiday. In addition about a dozen readings from the Torah Sages were distributed and read by different participants. The topics discussed ranged from the importance of conservation to the unity and responsibilities of the Jewish people. The attendees were able to exchange candid and thought provoking ideas.
“Sharing our traditions with elected officials allows us to get to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and having Council Speaker Quinn join us demonstrated her sensitivity to our community” said Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group.
While the event itself was not billed as political, it remains to be seen if in the coming months as the race for City Hall is heating up and the race to win the highly cohesive Orthodox Jewish vote will include a serious bid by Ms. Quinn. The speaker might not yield or give up on this voting block to her opponents.