The Forward Reports: New York’s state Senate is in disarray, due in part to two Jewish politicians who have broken away from the Democratic Party to which the state’s Jews have been historically bound.
Democrats thought they would win control of the New York Senate this year, allowing the party to completely dominate the state’s legislative and executive branches. Those plans were scuttled when Jeffrey Klein and Simcha Felder struck deals with the Republican Senate leadership. The two politicians’ spoiler roles come as a growing Orthodox community continues to erode Jewish support for Democrats — loosening traditional bonds between Jewish politicians and the Democratic party.
Klein and Felder each represent districts that are home to vastly different sorts of influential Jewish communities: ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn Jews in Felder’s case and upper-middle-class Jews from Riverdale, in the Bronx, and from neighboring Westchester County in Klein’s case. By allying with the Republicans, both have emerged as kingmakers in a legislative body where backbenchers can be all but irrelevant. And both have decided that their constituents won’t hold their deal-making against them…
Klein represents parts of the Bronx, Pelham and Riverdale, all of which are home to small, largely non-Orthodox Jewish communities. Also in Klein’s defecting caucus is David Carlucci, who represents ultra-Orthodox towns in Rockland County. Carlucci’s mother is Jewish… Carlucci represents ultra-Orthodox Jews in the towns of Monsey and Kiryas Joel. He’s not closely allied with those communities and did not have their support in his first race in 2010.
“I really doubt that Carlucci’s move had to do one way or another with the fact that he represents tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews,” said Yossi Gestetner, an Orthodox political activist.