The Democratic electorate in southern Brooklyn is changing, with the Russian and Orthodox Jewish vote becoming increasingly salient, and Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz knows it.
In Wednesday’s widely-circulated weekend edition of the Orthodox Jewish newspaper Hamodia, Mr. Cymbrowitz took out a full page ad that neither hides his secularism nor his political adherence to conservative political principles, especially on the issue of gay marriage (which is only referred to as “legalizing immorality” in the ad).
“There’s only one secular Jew in New York City who votes in factor of yeshivas and against immorality: Asssemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz,” the ad reads. “Steven Cymbrowitz is not afraid to stand up for the frum community’s values.”
Mr. Cymbrowitz was one of four assembly members in southern Brooklyn to vote against the same sex marriage legislation passed in Albany last year, and indeed Mr. Cymbrowitz was the lone secular Jew among them (although two of them were technically non-Jewish). Outside of this area of Brooklyn, opposition to gay marriage was almost exclusively found among black and Latino lawmakers in New York City.
Throughout the ad, Mr. Cymbrowitz also heavily emphasized his work to help fund yeshivas. Increasing tuition for the Jewish private schools is often cited as one of the most important political issues in the Orthodox Jewish community, many of whom have large families with many children enrolled simultaneously.
The incumbent, whose 2010 opponent did surprisingly well despite raising no money, faces legitimate primary and a general election challenges from social conservative candidates this time around in the form of Ben Akselrod and Russell Gallo respectively and, understandably, has little interest in losing to either of them.