Friday, May 21, 2021

How Andrew Yang Won Over Orthodox Brooklyn 

The campaign material began appearing in Yiddish earlier than usual this year, declaring that the best defense that ultra-Orthodox Jews in New York City could have against a hostile world would be to elect Andrew Yang as mayor.

One ad, invoking a passage from the Babylonian Talmud, told voters that Mr. Yang was the sort of honest man who is loved by God, not someone "who says one thing with his mouth but means another in his heart."

Another ad cast the choice in existential terms, urging people to vote for Mr. Yang because he alone supports "our right to educate our children according to our fundamentals" and "values our way of life."

With the June 22 Democratic mayoral primary roughly a month away, Mr. Yang, a former 2020 presidential candidate, has been able to push to the top of the contest through a potent mix of celebrity, optimism and tireless outreach, both in person and on social media.

As he did in his presidential candidacy, which had support from a broad spectrum of disaffected voters, Mr. Yang has been able to widen his appeal in New York, attracting a significant following from influential ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders.

There are at least 500,000 Orthodox Jews in the New York area, by some estimates, and the endorsement of ultra-Orthodox leaders is highly coveted because the community is seen as a formidable voting bloc, especially in a race that has so far not energized the electorate.


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