“The Son with No Name” - The Jewish Voice
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Friday, July 1, 2022

“The Son with No Name”

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“No Alternative: Simcha is the ONLY actual candidate from a Jewish standpoint. The other side (Storobin) is a son without a name. And it’s understandable that he is not even to be considered as a candidate for our community.”New York State senatorial candidate Simcha Felder really put the “low” in “local politics” last week, lashing out at opponent David Storobin’s credibility as a representative for the Jewish community.

In a 15-page mailer targeting Boro Park’s frum community, Felder referred to Storobin as a “son without a name,” explaining that he is “not even to be considered as a candidate for our community.”

According to a report by the local online publication Capital, a spokesman for Felder clarified the statement, explaining that the initial translation was “too literal,” and that the phrase is comparable to saying, in English “he isn’t known around here.”

…said the pot to the kettle.

At this point, we’d like to offer a tip of our collective hat to our colleague, political commentator and occasional JV contributor Jacob Kornbluh, who helped bring this issue to the attention of those of us not fluent in Yiddish, and who then decided to dig a little deeper.

It seems that six months ago, when the leaders of Agudath Israel were behind Storobin, Hamodia had no qualms describing the state senator as “an Orthodox Jew, who belongs to a shomer Shabbos shul,” noting that he was both “a frum Jew and a descendant of Holocaust survivors.” But wait, it gets better.

Back in 2001, Kornbluh explains, it was actually Simcha Felder who wasn’t considered “frum enough” to be taken seriously as a candidate “for our community.” Hence the following passage in the Gotham Gazette:

“Simcha Felder, an aide to longtime Assemblyman Dov Hikind and the leader in the money race, is Orthodox but, according to press accounts, not Orthodox enough for candidates Ezra Friedlander and Elya Amsel, who are Hasidic. ‘I am not interested in being a Jewish leader,’ Felder says. ‘I am interested in being the council person from the 44th district.’ He adds, ‘If someone comes along and says they are holy, I can’t compete.”

It seems the chalitzah shoe is on the other foot! But we’re not done.

Kornbluh also points out how, in 2008, Councilman Felder, running against State Senator Kevin Parker, told Vos iz Neias not to vote for him based on his Jewishness:

“I happen to be Jewish, and I am very proud of it, but that shouldn’t be the reason to vote for me. When you buy food, clothes, or cars, or when you hire a plumber or electrician, you compare the options and see which one is the best.”

Finally, something we can agree on! We at the Jewish Voice understand that a political candidate being “one of ours” can certainly be a factor, just as Christians might feel a rapport with Christian candidates, or African-Americans with Black candidates, Hispanic voters with Hispanic candidates, and so forth. But it’s pure foolishness to make that the deciding factor. Felder is right. If you’ve got a weak Jewish candidate, whose policies you disagree with, and a Gentile candidate who stands for the right things, you’re shooting yourself in the foot by letting religion or ethnicity trump common sense. In other words: a mensch is a mensch. That’s why we at the Jewish Voice were proud to stand behind Congressman Bob Turner when he ran for office, even though we made waves by “crossing religious lines” and backing a non-Jewish candidate against (Jewish) Assemblyman David Weprin.

Of course, all of this is rendered moot by virtue of the fact that David Storobin is one of our own, regardless of what’s written on some political junk mail (even if said junk mail is in Yiddish).

In any event, if we were running Storobin’s campaign, we’d capitalize on this whole “Son with No Name” thing. It actually sounds kind of cool, in a Clint Eastwoodian sort of way. Here’s an example of how we might use it in a political ad:

In next month’s showdown, vote for “The Son with No Name.” He’s not only a nice Jewish boy, but he’s also got the guts—the chutzpah—to fight on behalf of our community and to do what needs to be done in Albany.

(You can use that for free, David. You’re welcome. And hatslacha rabba.)

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