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Mario Cuomo Was a True Friend to Many, Including the Jewish People

Thursday, January 01, 2015 By Ezra Friedlander, CEO - The Friedlander Group
op-ed: upon the death of former NYS Governor Mario Cuomo

Governor Mario Cuomo: A true friend-An Appreciation

By: Ezra Friedlander

The term "true friend "is used so often that it’s a cliché but when used in context with the late Mario Cuomo it's totally appropriate.

As we mourn the passing of Governor Cuomo, I find myself going down memory lane. Growing up, still as a yeshiva student, before I officially entered the profession of public relations, I developed a rather strong interest in public affairs and the political process.

During that time period Governor Mario Cuomo enjoyed a remarkably warm and close relationship with our community-the Jewish community. It was a relationship that was embraced by Mario Cuomo. It was in many ways a relationship that wasn't too difficult to understand. Mario Cuomo was someone who understood both the needs of the Jewish community on a practical level but also on an emotional one. He grew up among Jews but also experienced discrimination as an Italian-American when embarking on his legal career so relating to Jews who suffered anti-Semitism came naturally to him.

During his years in public service and as Governor on matters that affected the Jewish community and their ability to thrive in NYS always found a receptive ear in Mario Cuomo.

I recall how Governor Cuomo used to nostalgically recall his days as a young man growing up in a Jewish neighborhood "helping Jews observe the Sabbath, fondly referring to himself as the Shabbos Goy".

In truth Mario Cuomo was a man of faith who understood with every fiber of his body the accommodations that government has to provide to communities of faith to flourish including the Jewish community.

As we celebrate the life of Mario Cuomo, we remember that the vibrant Jewish community that resides in New York is eternally grateful to Governor Cuomo for extending his hand in friendship so many years ago. It is not forgotten.

We extend our condolences to Mrs. Cuomo and the entire Cuomo family most notably his son, Governor Andrew Cuomo, who continues that remarkable friendship with the Jewish community.


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