Linda Lee hopes to be the answer for Jewish causes of Eastern Queens. This message was made clear at a gathering held this past Sunday evening at the Holliswood home of Michelle and Danny Gejerman to hear from the District 23 City Council candidate. Community leaders and friends gathered to hear from activists who helped James Gennaro win his Special Election in nearby District 24 back in February when he was faced with a DSA-endorsed candidate. The anti-Israel candidate in Lee’s race has won the endorsement of AOC.
Lee is a G-d-fearing, vocal, and energetic native New Yorker, and a mom to two youngsters. She grew up on Long Island and is familiar with Judaism, attending bar and bas mitzvahs. Her strong faith brought her to Israel on a trip with her sister, where she learned its sacred history; she is the only candidate in her race actively supporting Israel. “There is a rule: Don’t go back to the same place,” said Lee. “But I would go back to Israel over and over; there is so much history, especially in the Old City of Jerusalem.”
Lee, who attributes her council run to Rep. Grace Meng, who a decade ago urged her to seek public office, is currently the President and CEO of Korean Community Services, a community-based nonprofit in Queens that provides social services to the community, including youth and seniors. Lee wanted to see the challenges and barriers on the ground, so for twelve years she got her hands dirty. There, she saw the complicated and backwards City policies. “Eastern Queens is forgotten, but property tax monies are never forgotten,” she noted, as she called on those present to work to make their voices heard and get the community a seat at the table.
On issues like public safety, Lee declares that she is adamantly against any defund movement and hopes to allocate more funds for detectives to be able to do their jobs, specifically about hate crimes. “Accountability needs to happen,” said Lee. “Defund is just a scapegoat to bigger issues and we all know that social workers won’t go into a dangerous situation.”
David Mordukhaev of the Alliance for Bukharian Americans rallied the gathering. “There is a great danger amongst us, and we must have good elected official. The anti-Israel DSA are making noise and they aren’t friends of ours.” Mordukhaev urged each member present to encourage five friends to vote for Lee and build a network of folks ranking Lee as number one. “The community is in grave danger. We have built homes and want to continue living here and continue building our families here.” Other speakers included Shimi Pelman, whose daughter Ayelet Goldberg lives in the district and was also an event host. Other event hosts included Yakir Wachstock, Rabbi Daniel Pollack, Sorolle Idels, and Dr. Shalom Feinberg. Speakers who instilled the importance of getting the community out to vote included Alan Sherman and myself.
By Shabsie Saphirstein