Mike, Rudy, and the Chasids

The complicated, fascinating circumcision conflict between the Health Commissioner and elements of Brooklyn’s chasidic community broke through to A1 of the Times today, 11 months after it first bubbled to the surface in the Daily News.

I’d add just one political footnote: A subtext here is that chasidic leaders are still suffering from the loss of City Hall power that came with Rudy Giuliani’s departure.

A central question is why the chasidic leaders feel, in the first place, that they can demand that Tom Frieden be removed from the case — as they did again at yesterday’s Gracie Mansion meeting with the Mayor, a person familiar with what went on said. The Mayor — who once seemed to consider the Orthodox quite alien, but seems to have broadened his views on the topic — flatly refused.

So why to these community leaders feel so empowered? And as one Jewish community insider — one with a good deal of sympathy for the Satmar case — points out, a central reason for their political confidence is that, under Rudy, they would probably have won this fight. Rudy’s Jewish liason, Bruce Teitelbaum, had been his campaign manager, and clearly outranked most agency heads. And the Jewish communities that supported the Mayor were well taken care of.