The Shmooze

Skelos Recalls Smuggling Aid to Soviet Jews

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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As New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos volunteered in the Masbia soup kitchen on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn yesterday, he reminisced about having once smuggled religious items and medical supplies to Refuseniks in the Former Soviet Union. With Jewish terminology like “shul” easily tripping off his tongue, the Senator joked with the Masbia staff about how the “tzizis” he was wearing at the time made him itchy. (The Shmooze won’t give away the punch line — you’ll just have to watch the video clip.)

It is not clear what sparked Skelos, who donned a velvet yarmulke for the occasion, to suddenly recall the work he did on behalf of Soviet Jewry so many years ago. Masbia director Alexander Rapaport said that Skelos, together with Senator Marty Golden, “chopped carrots, peeled potatoes, ladled soup, and served meals to those who would not be able to eat otherwise.” Perhaps there were some Russian recipes on the menu that day.

Watch Senator Skelos Reminisce at the Soup Kitchen:


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