Chazal teach us, “Kol Yisrael areivim ze la’zeh – All Jews are responsible for one another.” At a time when Israel is in danger, shuls and kosher markets are being attacked, anti-Semitism is rampant on college campuses, prominent politicians make blatantly anti-Semitic statements, and the New York State Department of Education is seeking to dictate what is taught and who may teach in our yeshivos. It is our responsibility to stand up for our fellow Jews in Israel and around the world.
Many of the decisions that impact on the security of Israel, our rights to live as Torah observant Jews, and the safety of our families, homes, places of work, and communal institutions are made by our elected officials. While faith in the Ribbono shel Olam comes first, we have a responsibility to do our shtadlanus. Even if we find politics distasteful, we have a responsibility to participate in the process and to elect representatives who are responsive to the needs of our community.
The reality of politics in Queens today is that the Democratic Party is in control. Changing demographics means that the Democratic Party will become even more dominant in the years to come. This means that our local elected officials are effectively chosen in the Democratic Primary and not in the General Election in November.
We are rightly alarmed by the growing power in the Democratic Party of those who are hostile both to Israel and to Torah values. Candidates aligned with them are rising to challenge the elected officials who have been responsive to the needs of our community. The Democratic Primary is the arena in which that battle will be fought. We must stand on the sidelines when the future of Israel and the Jewish community in Queens may be at stake. We must stand by those who have supported us and build coalitions with other communities, even when they disagree with us on other important issues.
Polls and the result of the recent Iowa caucus have shown that there is a strong possibility that Bernie Sanders could win the Democratic nomination for President and the General Election. We cannot afford to take a chance by waiting for the election in November. The time to defeat Bernie Sanders is now. The only way to do that is by voting in the Democratic Presidential Primary in April.
All of us who are concerned for the safety of Israel and the future of the Jewish community in Queens need to enroll to vote in the Democratic Primary. You can enroll online at voterreg.dmv.ny.gov/motorvoter or download the form at vote.nyc/page/register-vote.
For those who are changing their party enrollment, the deadline is just one week away, on Friday, February 14. For new voters, the deadline is Wednesday, April 8 (Erev Pesach).
Enrolling to vote in the Democratic Primary does not make you a member of the Democratic Party and does not require you to vote for the Democratic candidate in the General Election. You still can and should vote for Republican candidates in the General Election when they are more sensitive to our concerns.
With faith that with the help of Hashem we will prevail in this battle and soon see the ultimate triumph of our Torah and our people with the coming of the Goeil Tzedek bimheirah b’yameinu, Amen.