Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Chassidic dynastic battles & political clout

NYTimes There is an enduring belief among some New York political aficionados that Hasidic Jews vote in a bloc. Capture the support of a chief rabbi and you capture the entire Hasidic sect. 

But the divisions in several Hasidic sects have made once-simple calculations far more complicated, as shown by the preliminary results in the recent Democratic primary for the Congressional seat held by Nydia M. Velázquez, a district that embraces Brooklyn’s Hasidic enclave in Williamsburg. 

The Satmar are the largest Hasidic sect in the United States, with its stronghold in Williamsburg, but with the death of Moses Teitelbaum, the Satmar grand rabbi, in 2006, their ranks have been sundered by a dynastic battle between two of his sons, Aaron and Zalman. And politics has become a favored way for each side to demonstrate its ascendancy.

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