Saturday, November 12, 2016

“The Rebbe’s (Lubavitch) blessing worked and the Satmar endorsement didn’t.”

In the blue sea of New York City, where Hillary Clinton crushed Donald J. Trump in the election on Tuesday, there were still some districts — working-class areas in the southeast Bronx, Mr. Trump’s childhood neighborhood in Jamaica Estates, Queens, and most of Staten Island — that did not go Mrs. Clinton’s way.

But of all the outlying pockets of Trump supporters in New York, perhaps the most distinct lay six miles south of the Clinton campaign headquarters: the Orthodox Jewish community of Borough Park, a neighborhood in Brooklyn that would seem to have little in common with Middle America, where Mr. Trump drew most of his support.
With its Judaica stores, kosher pizza shops, men in traditional black coats and hats and women with long skirts, Borough Park is home to thousands of Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, belonging to a range of sects, including Bobover, Belz, Satmar, Ger and Viznitz.

The vast majority of voters in the neighborhood are registered Democrats, but they often vote Republican, and this year was no different. In Brooklyn’s 48th Assembly District, which encompasses most of Borough Park, Mr. Trump got 69 percent of the vote, while Mrs. Clinton got 27 percent.

Interviews on the streets of Borough Park on Thursday did not turn up a single Clinton voter.
Some people said that they did not trust Mrs. Clinton or that they viewed her as corrupt or a liar. Others said that they did not dislike Mrs. Clinton but preferred Mr. Trump’s policy positions or simply wanted to try something new.
Many said they thought that Mr. Trump would be a stronger supporter of Israel. But some cited other issues, such as immigration and security.

“She’s corrupt, but I don’t care about that,” said Shaya Stern, 32, a teacher and rabbinical student who voted for Mr. Trump. “She had no message for the voters. She didn’t give any good reason to vote for her.”

Mr. Stern pointed out that the overwhelming Trump support was comparable to deep red states where Mr. Trump got his highest vote percentage. “It’s like West Virginia, Wyoming, and you’re talking the heart of New York City,” he said.

Borough Park has consistently voted for the Republican candidate in recent presidential elections, even more so than this year. Mitt Romney got 75 percent of the vote in the 48th Assembly District in 2012, compared with 23 percent for the Democratic candidate, President Obama. In 2008, the Senator John McCain got 70 percent, versus 27 percent for Mr. Obama.

That is not true, however, for all Orthodox communities in Brooklyn. Leaders of the Satmar Hasidic sect, which has its urban base in the Williamsburg neighborhood, endorsed Mrs. Clinton. 

While some election districts in Williamsburg had a majority of Trump votes, it was not as lopsided as in Borough Park. In Crown Heights, where the Lubavitch Hasidic community is centered, some election districts also showed a majority of Trump votes.

Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka, who converted to Judaism when she married her husband, Jared Kushner, an Orthodox Jew, made a splash shortly before the election when she visited the grave of the Lubavitch leader Menachem Mendel Schneerson. A cellphone video of her visit went viral among Orthodox Jews in the area.
“It resonated with people,” said Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt, a journalist who often writes about Orthodox issues. “The biggest joke in the Orthodox community right after the election was that Chabad won over Satmar,” she said, using another term for the Lubavitch movement. “The rebbe’s blessing worked and the Satmar endorsement didn’t.”

The state assemblyman for the district is Dov Hikind, a conservative Democrat. Mr. Hikind said that Orthodox voters preferred Mr. Trump because of what he said about Israel, which included a pledge to move the American embassy to Jerusalem. Mr. Hikind said that Mrs. Clinton’s support for the nuclear deal with Iran, which was intended to keep that country from developing atomic weapons, disqualified her in his view.

Mr. Hikind said that he did not vote for either candidate and instead wrote in House Speaker Paul D. Ryan on his ballot — because he was put off by Mr. Trump’s penchant for insulting language and comments about groping women. But he said that many Orthodox voters were able to look past that.

“My community represents what happened in America, except we’re not the suburbs,” Mr. Hikind said, adding that the Democratic Party had moved too far to the left, especially on social issues. “The Democratic Party has abandoned us.”
Orthodox Judaism preaches the importance of strict moral behavior, but Mr. Stern said that he was not dissuaded by Mr. Trump’s very public peccadilloes, such as his multiple divorces and a recording of him talking about groping women.

“I think that’s not appropriate but I think he’ll handle better the situation of our country now,” Mr. Stern said. “I don’t really care that he’s not a model.”

Ms. Chizhik-Goldschmidt said that the Orthodox judged non-Jewish politicians differently.
“I don’t think people expect gentiles to follow those rules,” she said. “People are not looking to the United States president to be a representative of some sort of morality in the way that other Americans might. People are looking for a strong leader, a tough leader.”

Moses Steinmetz, 31, a Hasidic Jew who lives in Borough Park, said that he preferred Mr. Trump because he was not a traditional politician. “We need new people in office,” Mr. Steinmetz said.

Mr. Trump, he added, would “bring back the United States the way it was.”
“It was the capital of the world,” he said. “Now everybody laughs at us. Now Russia’s on top.”
Referring to the neighborhood’s support for Mr. Trump, he said, “Borough Park was a red state.”


Joke going around said...

One dead Lubavitcher Rebbe > two living Satmar Rebbes.

Anonymous said...

What a chutzpah to say dead lubavitcher Rebbe, the REBBE KING MESSIAH IS WELL AND ALIVE