Carol Green Ungar

New York Jews – Be Careful

Here we go again, It’s midterm election time in NY, and Orthodox Jews are publicly playing partisan politics. Just this morning I learned that the republican candidate Lee Zeldin snagged the endorsement of a prominent Rosh Yeshiva.

What is going on here?

Perhaps Lee Zeldin will best represent orthodox Jewish interests but that isn’t the point. America is not our home. We Jews are guests and not necessarily welcome ones. Witness the resurgence of antisemitism and the hate crimes perpetrated in Brooklyn’s Chassidic bastions.

Many people do not like us.

By publicly endorsing  Zeldin we orthodox Jews automatically alienate the 50 percent or more of the electorate who favor the other side. And as an unabashed Trumper, Zeldin has his enemies. Too many of us live in our own echo chamber that we fail to realize that not everyone thinks as we do.

The polls are predicting a tight race. What is Hochul wins? Then what?

Adopting the equivalent of a Neturei Karta stance eg desist from voting isnt in the cards–we need to use our democratic rights but soberly. We can’t allow ourselves to get drunk on democracy.

It’s well known that some of our people have become wealthy beyond belief. That’s great but has this wealth caused some of us to lose touch with reality?

We are a small people and for the most part an unpopular one. The latest Pew research data indicates that 45 percent of Americans see the US as a Christian country. That’s right.

We need to remember that and realize that by publicly backing Zeldin, we will only make more enemies.

Of course, need a voice in Albany, but our wisest course is to quietly cultivate relationships on both sides of the aisle. Quietly, that means outside of the headlines. In our publicity-obsessed era that isnt easy but that’s what we need to do. Play both sides. Donate to both candidates, Befriend them both. Then either way we come out the winners.

About the Author
Carol Ungar is a prize-winning author who writes from the Judean Hills.