Mitz-Vote

Independent Votes in a Most Democratic Place

By Joy Resmovits

  • Print
  • Share Share

UPPER WEST SIDE, NEW YORK CITY — As the Jews of this northern Manhattan neighborhood walked past a school bake sale and up to the polls in P.S. 163, coats and scarves flapping on this brisk morning, some were torn between party loyalty and other concerns.

Joy Resmovits
On the Upper West Side, attorney Samuel Flaks said he’s comfortable voting Democratic.

Home to a diversity of synagogues and a large modern Orthodox population, the neighborhood’s Jews tend to lean liberal, as they say they see their religion’s social values reflected in the Democratic ethos. As attorney Samuel Flaks, 25, put it: “We’re taught to help the poor and disadvantaged, qualities found in Democratic values.” And none of the voters queried wanted to play a part in the much-predicted Republican wave. But this year, their 20-term Democratic congressman comes with baggage: Charles Rangel, U.S. Representative for New York’s 15th District, which includes parts of the Upper West Side and Harlem, faces 13 ethics charges by the House ethics committee alleging a range of improper uses of his office. The Harlem stalwart’s opponents are Republican Michael Faulkner, a minister, and independent candidate Craig Schley.

Longtime Democrat Joseph Shapiro, 50, a director of an international education company, felt conflicted about Rangel. “I think it’s wrong. People in positions of power have the responsibility to act accordingly,” Shapiro said. “I still believe in Democratic principles on face value, that you do the right thing no matter what — and that may come from my Jewish background.” A self-described cultural Jew, he found a way out by voting Independent.

Likewise, attorney Eric Jacobs, 50, selected third-party candidates this time around after growing up and living in the Rangel-dominated neighborhood. “If Rangel did do what they’re accusing him of, he should go to jail,” he said, “but I still expect him to get elected.”

Ariel Fishman, a 33-year-old Yeshiva University researcher, says the allegations (that the congressman improperly used his office to solicit donations, did not pay correct taxes on a villa in the Dominican Republic, and improperly accepted low-rent apartments from a Manhattan developer, among others) don’t bother him. “2008 was about change. 2010 is about hoping that we can maintain the recovery,” he said. “Charlie Rangel spoke at OZ [congregation Ohab Zedek], and said we need to build a relationship that we haven’t had. I don’t think that Rangel has deliberately done anything wrong.”

Fishman soon found himself playing the part of role model: 20 nursery schoolers on a field trip from the Chabad Early Learning Center led by teacher Chava Kleinman wanted to know whether Fishman had voted.

“When you get really big, when you’re 18, you can come here and vote, too,” Kleinman told the toddlers.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Upper West Side, Charles Rangel

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.