Sunday, March 18, 2012

Does the Flatbush Jewish Journal Contradict Itself?

This week, there is going to be a special election for a district in the New York State Senate.  This district is located in Brooklyn and covers a significant portion of the Jewish population in Brooklyn.

As you can expect, there is a significant amount of political maneuvering going on, with the two candidates -- Lew Fidler and David Storobin, looking to secure rabbinical endorsement.

The Flatbush Jewish Journal, a community newspaper known for it's right-wing leanings, put a notice on the front page of the latest issue stating "It Is Prohibited To Vote for Lew Fidler." 

 The cover directs you to an advertisement on page 20, where a list of 42 prominent rabbis, including such names as Rabbi Chaim Yisroel Belsky, Rabbi David Cohen, Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetzky and others, state that it is forbidden to vote for Lew Fidler.

The exact wording of the advertisement states that because of Mr. Fidler's votes concerning gay marriage "It is therefore considered a Chillul HaShem and Assur [forbidden according to Torah law]  to vote for or to provide funding, campaign assistance, public recognition or any type of support to Councilman Lewis Fidler.  To do so would amount to being mesisy'ayah ovrei aveirah (abetting transgression of the Torah's commandments)."

The document with the original signatures can be seen here.

Pretty powerful words, if you ask me.  In short, it is forbidden to do anything to help Mr. Fidler win the election according to these leading Rabbanim.

Except, perhaps, accept an advertisement in support of Mr. Fidler, because that's exactly what the Flatbush Jewish Journal did.  On page 18 (which is right before the ad above),  they have an advertisement listing people who support Lew Fidler.

 So, what's the story here?  It's forbidden to help Mr. Fidler's campaign (except, perhaps, when he pays for an advertisement?)

The Wolf


Unknown said...

Are there laws regarding what campaign ads they can or cannot refuse? Presumably they'd have a hard time rejecting one.

Might Garnel Ironheart said...

Politics is a cow stall. You can't get involved without getting covered in manure. That includes rabbis who think that democracy means "You vote for who I tell you to"

G*3 said...

Let’s be generous, and assume that the paper is running ads without ascribing to the ads’ content. So the anti-Fidler group paid for an ad on the front page. That doesn’t mean that the paper’s editor believes that helping Fidler is assur.

ZZB said...

The front and back page was one pro-Storobin ad created by Citicom, who publishes the FJJ.

BrooklynWolf said...

The front and back page was one pro-Storobin ad created by Citicom, who publishes the FJJ.

Is it? I'll take your word for it, but, to be honest, it did not seem to me to be an ad (unlike the notice on page 20 which did seem to be an ad).

The Wolf

Woodrow/Conservadox said...

Good to see you blogging again!

Ken Zein (formerly NJG) said...

This is why I could never live in Brooklyn, and why I never allow anyone, especially Rabbis, to do my thinking for me.

By the way, Belsky is the same guy who was against reporting suspected child sexual abuse to the secular authorities. In my book, that makes him a piece of crap. In fact, anyone who tells someone else it is 'assur' to vote for so-and-so is a piece of crap.

ItcheSrulik said...

Rabbi Belsky has been in the hospital for about a month now. The "proclamation" came out after he was admitted.

Anonymous said...

Being in a hospital does not necessarily render one incommunicado.

JRS said...

I received different postcards in the mail telling me

A. that dozens of rabbonim (their names on the back) endorsed Storobin

B. That Storobin falsely claimed [some of] these rabbonim endorsed him. The card included images of letters from certain rabbonim clearly stating they did not endorse him.

So who’s lying outright? Who cares? Probably each side has their version of the truth. If a rabbi was asked for an endorsement and did not clearly, loudly say “When Hell freezes over!”---Hey, folks, we got Rabbi So-&-So!”

They all demean themselves with this nonsense.