It was the third day of the Crown Heights riots in 1991, and a sense was growing among the besieged Lubavitcher community that members may have to take matters into their own hands. A meeting was planned that night between some of the community’s leaders and then-Mayor David Dinkins. Frustrated that violence against Jews seemed unabating while police were taking minimal steps to protect the chasidim, Rabbi Jacob Goldstein took a decidedly unorthodox tack: He urged chasidic businessmen who were licensed to carry firearms to attend, and to bring their weapons.
The City Council’s Jewish Study Group, founded in response to a rash of Jewish concerns in the early ‘90’s, will take on a higher profile in coming months, says its founding chairman, Councilman Herbert Berman (D-Brooklyn).
“We are planning a whole series of meetings to reinvigorate” the group, which has been virtually inactive since shortly after its inception, said Berman. “It’s important that members be educated as to the problems facing the Jewish people in city, state, federal [issues] and Europe and Israel.”
The only Jewish woman running for statewide office this year insists she has a lock on the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. “I believe I am well-positioned [to] win the primary,” says Sandra Frankel, supervisor of the town of Brighton, N.Y.
She may be right. Being the only Jew and the only woman on the ticket may have its advantages in a year in which a high turnout among Jewish women is expected. “The response of the Jewish community has been very positive,” she says of those she met while campaigning.
Proponents of a state bias crime bill in the Jewish community stepped up their political pressure on New York officials this week following the brutal murder of a gay college student in Wyoming.
“It’s time for the Albany shuffle to end,” said Howard Katz, associate regional director of the Anti-Defamation League at a press conference last Friday. “The three leaders have each said it’s the other guy’s fault.”
To Elizabeth Wilkins, covering her hair with a wig for the rest of her life after marriage was difficult to imagine. “I don’t know if I could deal with it,” said Wilkins, 17, her own hair tied in curly dreadlocks, after watching a stylist adjust a woman’s sheitel at Gianna’s salon in Borough Park last week.
Gov. George W. Bush may be cruising toward the Republican nomination and a November showdown with Vice President Al Gore, but he is expected to face an uphill battle for Jewish support.
The persistent attacks on Bush and the GOP’s religious fundamentalist wing by Arizona Sen. John McCain seem to have backfired, energizing Bush forces in nine of 13 primary or caucus states. But the assault may have succeeded in redefining Bush as a tool of the party’s right wing, damaging his appeal to Jews in the general election.
To understand why fewer women choose public education as a career these days, look no further than Randi Weingarten, daughter of a teacher and now head of the United Federation of Teachers.
Weingarten’s memories of her mother Edith’s career conjures up images of unglamorous labor.
“The living room table constantly had papers festooned all over it,” she recalls in an interview at the UFT’s ornate Park Avenue office.
Initially thought to be a throw-away as far as the Republicans are concerned, the contest for state comptroller is shaping up to be a horse race after all with the nomination of Nassau County’s Bruce Blakeman to challenge Democrat H. Carl McCall.
The first African American elected to statewide office in New York, McCall was seen by many observers as a virtual shoo-in for re-election.
But Blakeman, the only Jew on an otherwise all-Catholic Republican ticket, has changed that assessment.
He’s a Catholic district attorney from Brooklyn who came in third in his last run for statewide office. She’s a Jewish former speech therapist from Monroe County who became the first woman supervisor of her Rochester suburb in 1991.
They may have little in common, but thanks to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Charles J. Hynes and Sandra Frankel are running mates in September’s Democratic primary.
As Agudath Israel of America mourned the death of its longtime leader and visionary Rabbi Moshe Sherer this week, officials of the organization put off for now any discussion of who will inherit the reins of the influential, ultra-Orthodox umbrella group.