One side painted the charity and the assemblyman as partners in a complex web of corruption, deceit and political manipulation.
The other side cited their partnership as the instrument that lifted up the lives of hundreds of thousands, Jews and non-Jews, helping them find jobs, housing and training.
Uri Tannenbaum hasn't seen or talked to his father in nearly two years.
Last week, he tried to get a message to his dad the only way he can: through the media.
"Dad, you must know you're with us. We love you. We miss you," Uri said, not knowing for sure whether Elchanan Tannenbaum will ever hear his words: or if he's even still alive.
For years, the New York Police Department's annual pre-High Holy Days security meeting had become little more than a big coffee klatch.
With crime down and bias crimes reduced, the gathering became better known as a chance for Jewish leaders from all walks of life and all parts of the city to renew acquaintances and trade stories with each other and police brass.
Since the drill was the same every year, discussion about security became routine.
Then came Sept. 11, 2001.
Which made this year's meeting more serious than it has been for a long time.
Declaring that New York State's kosher laws excessively entangle government with religion, a Brooklyn federal judge has struck down the 118-year-old statutes as unconstitutional.
Orthodox kosher law advocates immediately said they would appeal the July 28 decision by U.S. Eastern District Court Judge Nina Gershon, who ruled in favor of a Commack, L.I., butcher whose 1996 lawsuit claimed that the state's kosher laws violated church-state separation.
State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is checking into the 1973 disappearance of two missing Brooklyn teens following an appeal by friends and relatives who charge that New York City and Sullivan County police botched the case and misled them.
In addition, the head of a state missing children's agency is expected to meet with family members to discuss what steps could be taken to help solve the 27-year-old mystery.
William Donat stood at the podium in the dimly lit main sanctuary of Congregation Emanu-El and peered out at the 2,500 solemn faces sitting in the pews.
"As I look out at the audience this Yom HaShoah [Holocaust Remembrance Day], I see fewer survivors out there," noted Donat, a child of Holocaust survivor and author Alexander Donat. "Time is taking its toll. And it is fair to ask what shall be when all the adult survivors are gone?"
The answer could be found all around Donat, a child survivor of the Warsaw ghetto.
Democratic State Assemblyman Dov Hikind says he wants to be a congressman. A Republican congressman. Hikind, a lifelong Democrat with a penchant for endorsing Republican candidates, said this week he is seriously considering throwing his hat into the ring on the Republican line for the Ninth Congressional District seat being vacated by longtime Democratic Rep. Charles Schumer, who represents parts of southern Brooklyn and Queens.
I’m excited about it,” Hikind said. “I will definitely make a decision by next week.”
Gov. George Pataki’s top Jewish liaison has been grilled by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn investigating whether the state gave special treatment to two Israeli drug dealers. The dealers were granted leniency after requests from a leading Pataki fund-raiser, Rabbi Leon Perlmutter, a prominent member of the Satmar chasidic community.
Jeff Wiesenfeld, Pataki’s executive assistant who deals with Jewish affairs, appeared before the grand jury in Brooklyn several weeks ago, sources said.
Offering New York's bias crime law as an example, Gov. George Pataki told delegates to the international Conference on Anti-Semitism and Intolerance in Cordoba, Spain, on Wednesday that the world must step up its efforts to confront a rising tide of hatred against Jews.
"Anti-Semitism must be specifically targeted because of its unique and tragic history," Pataki said in his opening address. The governor was tapped by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to represent the United States at the conference held by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.