Friday, July 21, 2017
You don't need to be a Talmudic scholar to understand that the bigwigs at Borough Park yeshivas and nonprofits are raking in the big bucks while poverty-stricken Orthodox Jewish families are given the shaft.
And every Thursday afternoon before Shabbat when these bigwigs leave boxes of food on the doorsteps of impoverished Jews while they bleed them dry for yeshiva tuition, it doesn't seem to live up to the highest form of Talmudic charity or tzedakah.
But that's the way politics and economics goes in the Hasidic and Orthodox Jewish community. They take care of their own as long as the top get theres.
Which also helps explain why the neighborhood's top yeshiva and non-profit bigwigs took out a full-page ad in the Jewish newspaper Hamodia wishing City Councilman David Greenfield a Mazel Tov (Good Luck) at his new gig heading the Met Council on Jewish Poverty and pledging support for his hand-picked successor, Kalman Yeger.
Considering how much taxpayer money some of these organizations received through Greenfield's city council office coupled with the fear of losing financial support if they don't support Yeger, the ad buy was the least they could do. Even if it does border on illegal for non-profits to spend money on campaign advertisements, particularly if they are getting government funding.
But the legality or lack thereof is besides the point. The message behind the ad is to let the community know that Yeger's coronation to the city council is a done deal. That there's no use in fighting the inevitable.
And for now, the ploy seems to be working. Yoni Hikind, a therapist by trade who works with some of the community's most troubled youth including those with substance abuse issues, told KCP that he's always wanted to follow in his father, Assemblymember Dov Hikind's footsteps, to help people and do good things for the community.
"Running for office is something I've been considering for 36 years," said Yoni, "but I have to take a look [at running for the city council seat] and see what's involved."
For two days, Yoni said he'd get back to KCP with a photo and more of his plans, but for now he hasn't. Ditto for the Hikind family ally, Democratic District Leader David Schwartz, who some would like to see run, but who has ruled it out for now.
Real Estate attorney and Republican District Leader Nachman Caller is said to be looking at running, but surprisingly JPUpdates Publisher Moshe Friedman called KCP saying he was Caller's spokesperson, although sources say that he secretly supports Greenfield.
"The bottom line is there is no outrage over [Greenfield] handing someone the seat. Nobody wants to run. Maybe people think David Greenfield can deliver even more at the Met Council," said Friedman.
It' still too early to know for sure where all this will lead, but one thing is for sure. When it comes to following the letter but not the spirit of the law, the powerful in the orthodox and Hasidic community of Borough Park have it down pat.
It leaves one wondering how they follow Talmudic laws.
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