New York – Ezra Friedlander: I’m Voting For Christine Quinn For Mayor, And So Should You

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    NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn on January 28, 2013 leaving the home of Ezra Friedlander in Borough Park, Brooklyn, NY. PHOTO CREDIT: Shmuel LenchevskyNew York – In less than 90 days from now, New York City will vote in the Democratic Primary for mayor.

    Elections are about determining the future of our city and our ability to enjoy the quality of life, however we choose to live. Elections for mayor should be based on whoever best fits the criteria as outlined in the city charter. I will cast my ballot for NYC Council Speaker Chris Quinn and I urge the members of our community to do the same.

    The dialogue so far in our community has not concentrated enough on the issues that truly matter. We should focus on choosing a mayor who possesses the following attributes: smart, sensible, stable, strong, and sensitive. Christine Quinn is just the candidate who has these qualities of an ideal New York City mayor.

    Most candidates for public office will promise everything to everyone and ultimately make no one happy. Those who do not make empty promises satisfy more people because they are true to their word. The old saying of “promise less and deliver more” seems appropriate here. When candidates are sincere, they may give statements you do not want to hear, however, you can believe they will deliver on commitments they do make.

    For me, the turning point in deciding to write this op-ed was precisely when Speaker Quinn decried the pandering of the other candidates. It was precisely what she was not promising that convinced me that when she does make a commitment, you can bank on it. I have known Quinn since her earliest days in the New York City Council prior to her becoming speaker and her record exhibits that she is sincere and dependable.

    What should be most important to you as a voter, is a mayor who empathizes with the constituents. Christine Quinn’s record of public service and not her personal life demonstrates that she has the unique insights to understand the challenges and particular needs of the Orthodox Jewish Community.

    There is a notion that those in public life need to mirror their constituents. This belief is a fallacy of the highest magnitude. Many people before me have made the argument that it is in the community’s best interest not to have a member of our community in the oval office (or for that matter, city hall) but rather one who can best govern in a way that addresses the real concerns of our community. One may argue the pros and cons of this approach, but my point is that you don’t have to be a card carrying member of our community or subscribe to our tenets to represent us well.

    Let me be clear. Torah values must be part and parcel of our daily existence. It is the only map a religious Jew must call upon to navigate the complexities of daily life. Torah values belong in our home and in our interactions with one another. Torah values belong in the way we conduct business as prescribed in the highest ethos of Jewish Law; and in the way we want to educate and raise our children. And yes, Torah values should play a central role in how we present ourselves to secular society every day and on every issue.

    However, in that same secular society, it is unrealistic and frankly short-sighted to expect those in government to live by those same high Torah standards we as religious people set for ourselves. Those who want to raise the banner of Torah values in a political context ultimately dilute Torah values and the ability for our community to engage effectively in the political world.

    You may hear a radically different perspective from those with their own agenda but as one who deals with elected officials every single day for over two decades, voters who care about their community and the many challenges facing us, would be wise to at least consider a different opinion.

    Politics is not the Bais Medrash. None of the serious mayoral candidates reflect our lifestyle, nor do they have to, in order be effective advocates for our community.

    To all those trying to inject Torah values into this campaign or any political campaign, recent history shows, though you may have the community’s best interests at heart, your efforts are counter-productive and damaging.

    Historically, the vast majority of American rabbinical leadership did not inject religion or express the opinion that secular public officials in a democratic society adopt a Torah position or platform. Nor did the rabbinic leadership personally raise the issue of religion and politics even when they interacted with those running for or sitting in elected office. It is only a relatively new phenomenon that we use a moral or religious litmus test before considering a candidate for office.

    Once we fuse religion and politics and use religion as the only litmus test to support or oppose a particular candidate, it could lead to a dangerous downward spiral that completely closes government’s door to our needs and concerns. Don’t believe it? It’s already happening.

    Once we mix religion and politics, every religious viewpoint will have a right to air their beliefs in the political discourse. This country has a very strict interpretation of separation of church and state. For us, the word Torah is warm, welcoming, and sacrosanct; but perhaps the viewpoint of other religions is not so welcoming or interested in our way of life. Hence, it is in our self-interest not to allow anyone to dictate their religious principles on others.

    Our overriding concern should always be to protect our right to conduct our lives in the religious fashion which we hold dear. It is the very reason our ancestors came to these safe shores. Furthermore, as an electoral minority, forcing our viewpoint upon others will only be counterproductive. It’s about the numbers and on a Citywide or statewide basis; we simply don’t have the numbers to dictate to anybody.

    The role of government in regards to religion is to allow us as individuals to raise our families in the religious tradition with which we wish to convey. To that extent we want government’s cooperation, nothing more. We also should not want to impose our religious beliefs on secular society.

    I am convinced that Christine Quinn as Mayor of New York City will not only be sympathetic to the unique challenges facing our community, but will surpass all expectations. That is because a mayor who is strong and sensitive as Christine Quinn has proven herself to be understanding of the needs of our community and supportive of us. Her strong leadership in the City Council and her ability to work with Mayor Bloomberg is indicative of her ability to govern effectively.

    It is very easy to be a steadfast ideologue unwilling to compromise, and a hero to a very narrow constituent base. However, a real leader like Christine Quinn understands the need to be effective so that government can be a catalyst for good, even if imperfect. Christine Quinn also understands how to stand up for those who need a strong advocate.

    I am convinced that Christine Quinn as Mayor of New York City will not only be sympathetic to the unique challenges facing our community, but will surpass all expectations. That is because a mayor who is strong and sensitive as Christine Quinn has proven herself to be understanding of the needs of our community and supportive of us. Her strong leadership in the City Council and her ability to work with Mayor Bloomberg is indicative of her ability to govern effectively.

    It is very easy to be a steadfast ideologue unwilling to compromise, and a hero to a very narrow constituent base. However, a true leader like Christine Quinn understands the need to be effective so that government can be a catalyst for good, even if imperfect.

    Christine Quinn also understands how to stand up for those who need a strong advocate.

    I am convinced that Christine Quinn will understand the struggles of a middle class Orthodox Jewish family in our community. She can relate to a special needs child whose parents are fighting the bureaucracy and need to get their child approved in an appropriate school setting.

    Christine Quinn will ensure that Yeshiva kids have their transportation needs taken care of, recognizing the safety concerns of a late dismissal. Christine Quinn demonstrates that she understands the challenges of the middle class by public stating that city fines should be a warning only for the first time with any financial consequences, providing that it is a non-emergency related.

    Christine Quinn understands the importance of preserving communities and due to her experience as housing organizer. Christine Quinn understands the invaluable communal infrastructure that the Orthodox community has built in NYC and our commitment to this city. Her blueprints for creating affordable housing will help our community continue to flourish and grow in New York City.

    When it comes to politics, I always keep the following expression in mind, “Don’t be right, be smart.” I urge you to understand, don’t be right. Elections are not about being right on every issue; start thinking smart. Elections are about being able to deliver for our community, children, and continuity. Christine Quinn as mayor will achieve all those objectives.

    Ezra Friedlander is CEO of The Friedlander Group a NYC and Washington DC public policy consulting firm.

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    87 COMMENTS

    1. I think Friedlander might have a consulting business that may have influenced the writing of this opinion piece. If somebody had nothing to gain I would trust his opinion more.

    2. All yoden in NYC should learn from our passed mistakes. We listened by the heimishe politicians and we got in return crap, time has come for the avarage Joe to stand up and follow their own gut! Don’t vote for anyone that was part of the bloomy administration! Don’t vote for an openly gay woman! Don’t vote for anyone thats out right against our values, Torah and morals!

      • So if she were a closeted gay you would be okay with voting for her? Your god made her that way and you act as if it is a disease to avoid. You are so ignorant, you remind me of the people in the 50’s who were protesting inter-racial marriage

    3. Based on the values Ezra writes I don’t see why he is not supporting Thompson. He has the same values without the obvious baggage that Quinn has.

    4. Ezra you are voting for her because you get paid for it. You do PR for politicians.

      She wont be sensative to our community, she calls that “pandering”.

      We have had enough by being duped by people like you to vote for Bloomberg.

    5. Secular Jews do not vote as a block, and the result is that we get respect and attention from all candidates, and are a disproportionally impotant part of the electorate in NY and nationally. Unfortunately the frum communities vote in a block as per their rav’s directionu and get no respect or attention.

    6. Why is it the posters who are against her can’t spell or can spell at a third grade level? If the uneducated are opposed to her, that means the educated are in favor of her, so since I have an education, I will vote for her.

      • “If the uneducated are opposed to her, that means the educated are in favor of her”

        Is that logical?

        If all cows have teeth all teeth are possessed by cows.

      • Regardless of your education, your reasoning appears illogical (logic as in math). See, I am well educated and whoever I may vote for, that individual will certainly not be Ms. Quinn IY”H.

      • “For me, the turning point in deciding to write this op-ed was precisely when Speaker Quinn decried the pandering of the other candidates. It was precisely what she was not promising that convinced me that when she does make a commitment, you can bank on it.”

        So your not being paid for this op-ed?
        And what commitments is she making to our community?

        She has already stated that she is against MBP.
        She has already stated that is against school voucher in any legal shape or form.
        We already have varsity transportation.

        What will she deliver, what? She is a Bloomberg puppet 80% of the time.

      • Hey, it’s not necessarily “for” and “against”. Sometimes we opt for a certain candidate who has distinguished him/herself in performance to such a degree, that the other candidates become irrelevant (even if without their faults).

      • she will force the city to be more gay friendly and that includes our mosdos. this is how lgbt people work. they will fine them hold back money file lawsuits. gor poshut

    7. FINALLY SOMEONE WITH AN OUNCE OF SENSE! HE IS RIGHT! ENOUGH WITH THE TALIBAN–WHO CARES ABOUT QUINN’s PERSONAL LIFE! WAS GIULIANI BNETTER? WE NEED FRIENDS!

      • she attacked Erick Salgado (the only decent candidate) for saying that their is a group trying to ban Bris Milah marching in the toevah parade.
        she has no problem with banning Milah not just MBP.
        she even had the chutpa to mention her “wife”/ dog at a event that was over 90 Orthodox.
        if Chas veshalom she becomes mayor she will do the same in front of your children.
        voting for her is a yahoreg v’al yavor

      • she’ll will only ensure she will get a full curriculum full of toeivah.
        she want the Jewish community to take out those pesukiem as is evidenced by her telling before a mostly Jewish audience her “wife”.
        imagine when she is brought to a beis Yaakov again and tells them about her “wife”

    8. “…when she does make a commitment, you can bank on it.” Really, now? She has made the commitment to enforce written consent before MBP; you can now bank on that! It would behoove Mr. friedlander to stop preaching so much about Torah values in government. Torah-sensitive + Ms. Quinn = oxymoron.

      At the very least, don’t contradict yourself: Candidate Quinn presents with a partialized tolerance approach; Yet the article states
      “…And yes, Torah values should play a central role in how we present ourselves to secular society every day and on every issue.”

      Now, if you still want to preach, at least practice on paper.

    9. Unbelievable!

      Have we lost all our senses! This is not mixing religion and politics!

      Bloomberg and Quinn have launched an unprecedented attack on our religious liberties! We cannot reward such behavior!

      OUR ability to properly fulfill Torah Mitzvos must be protected at all costs, that is whats at stake!

      Quinn should not get a single frum vote!

    10. Thank you Mr.Friedlander for voicing YOUR opinion.

      NOBODY in the frum observant Jewish community expects anyone from the secular society to live by our high Torah standards.

      NOBODY cares what anyone does behind closed doors.

      We do care that people who are Menivolim (degenerate’s) wants society to know WHAT they do behind closed doors.

      Again, Mr.Friedlander, we don’t care what they do.But we do care that your candidate,Quinn, wants gay marriage which means we will see in boro park two gay men walking on the street making out and they will tell your children they are husband and wife.And you don’t see anything wrong?

    11. “12. Anonymous Says: Why is it the posters who are against her can’t spell or can spell at a third grade level? If the uneducated are opposed to her, that means the educated are in favor of her, so since I have an education, I will vote for her. “

      Where did you get you “education”?
      Seems like in the same place where all the politicians did, in the place that filled with znus, and corrupt values are the essence!
      Or maybe you meant you finished Shas or got a s’micha, or became a Magid shiur?
      If not – just be ashamed and keep low profile!

    12. everyone should be made aware that quinn can win and proably win so we frum jews should take note and vote for her so our community has a friend in City Hall.

    13. finally, one sane voice in the wilderness. Reb Ezra: where were you until now? all the fanatics are losers and have ruined our relationships with the politicians. CHAZAK!

    14. Ezra; I knew your Zeidi, the Lisker Rebbe Ztl in Boro Park; I went to the kever of your elter Zeida, in Liska, Hungary to daven. Ezra,do you think they would approve of your “understanding” of American Politics and your putting your Yiddishkeit on te back burner.
      And on a practical level; the candidate your are supporting said that she could not allow chick-fil-a, a private business to operate in NYC because they support the Defense of Marriage” Act ( “not in my city”).
      Ezra, what do you think Christine will do about Ohel, for example, if they do not approve ‘gay’ foster parents?
      Ezra, come back home to your roots.

    15. No Ezra we don’t have an agenda and all of us are saying the same thing. We are tired of seeing the same corrupt immoral democrats in power and we need to stand by our values once and for all

    16. #12

      Only uneducated people mostly vote and they make up for the block votes so what is the matter about spelling. It is Christine Quinn who stands for interests that are against our beliefs. I am not going into her personal life, did Ezra clarify her stance on MBP?
      What he is saying is that the frum public to trust him, we did with Bloomberg and that was enough.

    17. I must agree that Quinn does not pander to the community, but I think Thompson is a better candidate with less baggage. At least 3 of the candidates have seriouis moral failings, but very few in the general society hold our high standards of morality.

      Although clearly the brightest and most articulate of the candidates Weiner lost my vote because of his past actions and constant pandering. He speaks as if he is one of us, but he seperated himself from the community by his marriage and tweeting.

    18. As far as i know Ezra is lobbyist, not a Asken. (Quoting him, from an interview with Kol Mevaser). Does he have your interest in sight, or his interest.

      Tell me if I’m wrong, These are the exact words I heard from him on Kol Mevaser.

    19. How can she be sensitive when in an interview she mocked all other candidates as pounding for the Orthodox vote, re the issue of Metzitza B’peh.

    20. Some of the points Mr. Friedlander makes are valid and have merit. While I do not agree with all that he writes or accept his argument that Quinn is the best candidate for our community (Bill Thompson or Bill De Blasio are far better choices) his arguments are well reasoned and mature. As opposed to the insane ravings of hyper apoplectic bloggers who scream and yell morality but don’t have the guts to come out from behind their veil of secrecy to declare their identity as they malign and attack anybody and everybody who dares to have a different approach. At least we should give Friedlander credit for having an opinion and defending it publicly. Ezra has guts and those who anonymously attack him are cowards. Debate in the open and than let’s see how tough you are. If you feel so strongly stand up for yourself and your position. I do not agree with Yehuda Levin on most anything but I do admire him for standing up for his position.

      • his arguments are not well reasoned although they are persuasive i.e she’ll bring gelt to the frum communities. this is about selling our souls and looking for excuses to do it.

    21. Rebbes are interested in funding
      the previous Bobover rebbe Rav Shlomo ZATZAL welcomed Ed koch who was the first pro gay mayor and did it although the Kasha Rav ZATZAL disagreed and protested. So this is not a clear and cut pesak. thats why we have to keep an open mind. Lets not close the door on quinn.U never know, she might be the best!

      • I agree with not looking what a candidate stands for , gay , black , black , blue or green. But we are in a fight for bris milah l’halacha which is a core value for us yidden , and this candidate can take the law against us , how can we vote for her? Am I missing something here ?!

      • and what did we get for it toeivah “marriage”
        if we would have opposed Koch properly like R Moshe Feinstein said we never would have gotten toeivah “marriage”

        R Yaakov, R Moshe, R Schwab, R Avgdor Miller, Kasha Rav, Debrecener Rav, R Gifter etc. > Bobever Rebbe who most likely would have been chozer if he saw what’s happening today.
        Ezra is a rodef.

    22. Ezre, Is it true she is against metzitse b’peh , YES or NO ?! If she is not , please tell us, if she is , how can you be her PR for hiemishe yidden ?I don’t know what goes on in shomayim how they will judge you , but you
      are definitely ruining yo
      ur PR capacity with hiemishe yidden by selling your g d for a couple of grushin $$ I would like to see an answer. I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt.

    23. First, no one cares who you voted for before, who you support now and who you will support in any race City, State or Nationwide.

      NO NO and No again, not only the Jewish vote, BUT not a single voter, support or money should go to Quinn after she put in this soup Nazi Bloomberg for a third term automatically assuring her candidacy for Mayor in 2013 spitting the voters in the face who voted for term limits-now its our turn to spit her in the face.

      Lets look ahead what Quinn will do as a (L), when a Rabbi will refuse to marry two men or two women, there goes the Jewish marriage certificate that’s acknowledged even by the courts, and Ezra will say “No she promised not to touch the issue” BS so did Bloomberg, and by voting for Quinn you are voting for Bloombergs fourth term and even worse.

      Quinn is also fighting the Horse carriages, then comes the chickens (kapures) fish (shabbos) Rosh Hakaves (Peasach) to satisfy PITA animal rights.

      Conclusion; Ezra please stay out of advising voters how to vote, don’t take Klal yisroel for granted you are not so bright yet, you had no mentor from the old school to know what’s good for the Jews and the Jewish community at large.

    24. we are all foolish focusing on this gay issue. what about who is the most qualified to be mayor? come to think of it quinn would be a good mayor so take a deep breath and go to another subject.

    25. there is alot of bias here by everyone who attacks quinn- u are afraid of quinn? why? because you think she will hutr us? trust me, she has no interest in hurting our community. live and let live. she helped out the community with the day care vouhers that bloomberg cut. my wife works for bais yacov. this is a fact.

      • like chick Fil A?
        the same reason she went after them she will go after us!
        PS Quinn as speaker aproved the day care cuts before she allowed them.

      • than you will vote for Erick Salgado the only candidate against toevah who was endorced by Rav Nelkenbaum (Mir RY), Rav Yisroail Nuemen (Lakewood RY), the Skulener Rebbe, Rav Elyiahu Ben Haim (YU RY), Rav Haim Beleoliel (Mikdash Melech RY), the Debracener Rav, and many other rabbaniem.

    26. VIN must choose wiser before publishing an op-ed by a person who has a vested interest in the subject matter. Friedlander has been escorting Quinn around the neighborhood and if he didn’t have a political consulting business do you think he would be doing this? Shame on you and him.

    27. If Quinn is so nice, fair, and truth loving like Friedlander thinks, she would respect those who oppose her on moral grounds, and not retaliate against them in any office she might occupy. If so, we can oppose her without fear, and there is no need to flatter her like Friedlander is doing.

      Friedlander is lacking in self respect and bitochoin.

    28. so much ink err type on a nonsense issue..all you fools out there who claim to speak aboit morals, gedoilam, etc. THE TWO SATMAR REBBES FIGHT IN COURT??? ISNT THE TORAH AGAINST THAT?? BUT NO ONE SAYS A WORD! WHY? BECAUSE YOU CANT ATTACK A REBBE! SO WHAT ARE YOU LEFT WITH? BASHING QUINN? THERE IS ONLY ONE SIN IN THE TORAH, RIGHT? BEING GAY? GAY A LIFE!

      • the Satmar rebbes are the same people who have no problem supporting toevah candidate like Coumo.
        the real gedoliem (not the ones who are just their fathers or great uncles children) understand that voting for Quinn is assur gamur.

    29. IT IS SO EASY TO IDENTIFY QUINN AS THE TARGET BUT BE SMART IS RIGHT EZRA. BECAUSE WE ARE DUMMIES. WE VOTE FOR THE LOSER AND THEN WE CRY WHEN NO ONE IN CITYHALL ANSWERS OUR PHONE CALLS.

    30. Yehuda Levin won out. he started this crusade and now everyone kow tows to his viewpoint. we live in galus. none of our business what the secular law is. no one is forcing us to do anything that we dont want. and guess what? had we handled metzitza bapeh with more brains we would be be in the situation we are in. i bet you if mr. friedlander would be negotiating with mayor loomberg there would not be this mess of a consent form

    31. every drop of funding for our community is thanks to speaker of nY Council. like it or not she delivered so lets have hakaros hatov and vote quinn for mayor–hold your nose but vote because she is going to be mayor. and trust me: YOU WANT THOSE baby sitting VOUCHERS

    32. It’s A BIG DIFFERENCE:

      It’s none of our business how a politician lives his/her own private life.
      But it’s a BIG DIFFERENCE if that politician can (and will) effectively promote a To’eiva agenda!

      There are many important issues to consider, but to assist a candidate that openly supports and assists homosexuality is prohibited.
      That constitutes “M’saya L’dvar Avaira”. (Assistance in promoting/helping a sinful thing.)
      Her propensity to push for same-sex marriages trumps all other concerns. Even though she would likely otherwise be a great Mayor. (IMHO)

      Another big difference:
      The Bobover Rebbe Z’L did not shun Mayor Koch because he was already the Mayor. That’s the way our ancient leaders always behaved, giving proper honor to the secular powers that be (as long as we’re in Galus.)

      According to Rashi, Moshe Rabbeinu gave honor to Pharaoh, although he was a degenerate, because, after all, he’s the king.

      But it’s a BIG DIFFERENCE supporting/promoting a candidate that will increase To’eva in this world by propagating and proliferating genuine Znus BEFORE they come to power!

      The differences are really simple to understand.

    33. I’m watching theses comments, amused, because gay marriage is inevitable. The question is 2 years 5 years or 10 years.
      As the demographic gets younger it’ll happen.

      We need to accept that and figure out a way of educating our children as to what that means exactly. I don’t think it’s making anyone want to be gay but it’ll be uncomfortable.

    34. I have never been convinced, nor does experience show that those who are quick to tell everyone how to vote based on their understanding of religious principles are religious, or that they even understand what they are talking about I am sure that the response to this will be an appeal to the gedolim. There is no evidence that those who appeal to the gedolim are any more devout either . If you are truly frum you need torespect another opinion.

    35. Quinn does not support MBP, she opposed the minimum wage and obv obviously supported toeva marriage (the issue is not her personal life). She does not share our values and is known to flip flop and pander which she is doing now She does not represent our interests.

    36. OK, enough with everyone pontificating. every person has a right to vote for whom they want. personally, i see no reason why quinn should not be an option. i met her, heard her speak, not worried at all. she seems smart and savvy enough to be a mayor for everyone.

    37. Ezra Friedlander is CEO of The Friedlander Group a NYC and Washington DC public policy consulting firm and was hired by the Quinn campaign so he got paid to write the article.
      Ezra just wondering since when are you the one to tell us how to vote?
      We will vote as our heart desires and not by whom you get paid.
      Ezra will your father the Liska rebbe endorse her?

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