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Quote - Courting Jewish Voters, Weiner Faces a Challenge

New York Times article quotes Ezra Friedlander about NYC Mayoral candidate Anthony Wiener

“There’s a feeling that he betrayed the Orthodox community, its values and standards, by marrying out of the faith,” he said. “He literally crossed a red line that is enforced in this community.”

(Mr. Weiner, asked about the potential interfaith marriage issue, said his marriage is “between me and my wife and my God.”)

Ezra Friedlander, a Hasid who is a public affairs consultant and is supporting Christine C. Quinn for mayor, pointed to a greater problem than morality in the way many Orthodox Jews perceive the Twitter episode: his posts raise questions about his judgment. “Everyone understands that men have these weaknesses, but Anthony Weiner tweeting inappropriate pictures is more like what college kids do than a serious candidate for mayor,” he said.

Orthodox Jews make up 40 percent of the city’s 1.1 million Jews, according to the latest population survey by the UJA-Federation of New York, and the Ultra-Orthodox are coveted by candidates because they tend to vote — they are among the last communities that tend to vote in blocs, following the guidance of communal leaders.

On the campaign trail, Mr. Weiner has sided with the ultra-Orthodox community against Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s effort to regulate the practice of circumcisions that involve oral suction to clean the wound, which health authorities say has led infants to contract, and on occasion die from, herpes. He has spoken sympathetically about Jonathan Jay Pollard, an American convicted of spying for Israel, and the Rubashkin family, which has faced a variety of legal problems connected with its kosher meat businesses. And he has dropped Yiddish phrases, like “kishkes,” meaning guts, into his talks to Jewish audiences.

A recent poll by Quinnipiac University found a narrow majority of Jewish voters said they had an unfavorable view of Mr. Weiner, and Jewish voters were slightly more likely than the overall electorate to view Mr. Weiner unfavorably. The poll did not break down the Jewish community by observance level.

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