Despite Urgency, Our Community’s Voter Turnout Was Abysmal

  The first competitive primary election for Queens District Attorney in the first open-seat race in a generation may have made history on Tuesday – but we may not know the final results for a few days. Tiffany Cabán, a Latina woman who does not have any experience as a prosecutor, ran on the platform of closing the Rikers Island prison, decriminalizing prostitution, and refusing to prosecute charges such as fare evasion, recreational drug use, and loitering. As of this writing Tuesday night, she leads Queens Borough President Melinda Katz by about 1,000 votes, and although Cabán has declared victory, there are still thousands of mailed-in ballots to be counted, so no official winner has been named.

The outspoken support for Israel by evangelical churches is well-known in the Jewish community, but among the older “mainline” denominations, the struggle on the Israeli-Arab conflict has also been in the news with contentious debates on whether the Lutherans, Methodists, and Episcopalians should stand with the Palestinians as part of their commitment towards “social teachings.”

The Israeli capital city appears in the center of the historic Jewish homeland, but it is also the frontline of Jewish restoration efforts that require great personal and financial sacrifice, security risk, political will, and faith. “The former mufti of Jerusalem looked me in the eyes, man to man, and said that the Temple never existed,” said Fox News Channel host Pete Hegseth at the American Friends of Ateret Cohanim / Jerusalem Chai annual dinner in Midtown Manhattan last Thursday.

The Chazaq outreach organization is famous for its variety of programs, often headlined by its energetic director Yaniv Meirov. At last Sunday’s event, featuring two highly experienced business leaders, he also delivered introductory remarks but first introduced this writer to Moshe Rafailov, who came up with the event and was then entrusted to organize and promote it in the Queens community. “I had the privilege of meeting the speakers at an Olami Shabbaton. They are funders of kiruv all over the world,” said Rafailov, a third-year student at Long Island University majoring in the pharmacy program. The event, titled Building Connections in the Workplace, was hosted by the Yeshiva of Central Queens, with a dozen co-sponsoring organizations, including the Queens Jewish Link.

The entire political, legal, and law enforcement establishment of Queens stood in mourning on Tuesday to give their final farewell to District Attorney Richard Brown as his hearse drove past the Queens County Courthouse, Borough Hall, and down Queens Boulevard to the Reform Temple of Forest Hills, where hundreds of mourners honored the borough’s longest serving prosecutor.