Photo courtesy of Menachem Daum
March 23, 2023

Menachem Daum is a ‘Zayde at Risk’

The documentarian behind A Life Apart talks Woodstock, cemeteries, and changing Hasidic attitudes

When I met Menachem Daum in Boro Park for lunch, I don't think anybody in the kosher pizzeria would have imagined that the bearded man sitting before me grooved to Joe Cocker at Woodstock in 1969. A college student at the time, Daum had just gotten married and was visiting his parents in White Lake, New York, just a few miles from the dairy farm where the legendary event was held. 

Some hotels still barred Jews, but there, in the Catskill Mountains, Hasidim spent their summers at resorts and bungalow colonies that catered specifically to them. That week, the music festival had brought so many visitors into town that traffic slowed to a halt. Daum recalled how local Hasidim reacted when festival-goers abandoned their cars on the highway and traveled toward the party on foot. 

“It was hot, and these hippies were walking toward Woodstock, and Hasidic women and kids set up tubs of water and cups for them on the side of the road,” Daum said. “These Hasidim had nothing but contempt for hippies and what they stood for, but when they saw how hot it was, and these poor stragglers just dragging themselves another 20 miles, they provided something.” 

Daum, 76, has lived in Brooklyn for most of his life. In the 1980s, long after that summer at Woodstock, he stepped outside of his job as a gerontologist and began making documentaries. Most famous of these was his 1997 film, A Life Apart — narrated by Sarah Jessica Parker and Leonard Nimoy — which introduced audiences across America to some of the joys and challenges of life in Hasidic Brooklyn. This past December, Brooklyn College released over 60 hours of previously unavailable footage from that documentary and made it accessible online. That same month, a restored, high-resolution version of the film premiered at the New York Jewish Film Festival. 

Daum’s goal for A Life Apart was to honor people like his father, Holocaust survivor Moshe Yosef Daum, who he said couldn’t live without Hasidism. He also hoped to challenge some of the stereotypes that non-Hasidic Americans held about the community. In later films, Daum pivoted, flipping his focus and intention. Instead of filming his own community to educate wider audiences, he focused on Poles and Palestinians in order to challenge Hasidic stereotypes of those groups. 

This shift reflects a change that Daum and his co-producer, Oren Rudavsky, perceive in the Haredi community. “The community’s become more conservative,” Rudavsky told me over Zoom. “The access that we got 25 to 30 years ago, I don't think would be allowed right now.”

On the day after Purim, I met Daum at J2 Pizza across from Gravesend Park hoping to find out what changes he has seen take place in the Haredi communities over the years and to learn about his life as a film director living in Haredi Boro Park.

Still from Hiding and Seeking, Courtesy of Menachem Daum
Still from Hiding and Seeking, Courtesy of Menachem Daum

Daum was born in a displaced persons camp near Munich in 1946 to parents who had both lost spouses and sons in the Holocaust. “Before the war, my parents never would’ve never gotten married [to each other]; they were from different social classes,” he said. His father went to a yeshiva while his mother went to Polish public school. But after the war, things changed, and couples who otherwise wouldn’t have gotten together were desperate to start a new life. “Hitler was the matchmaker,” Daum quipped. 

When he was 5 years old, HIAS helped his family immigrate to the U.S. and resettled them in Schenectady, New York. Daum believes HIAS placed them there to encourage assimilation — at his public school, they even changed his name to “Martin.” But for Daum’s father, the scant Jewish population of Schenectady was no substitute for the bustle of Hasidic Jewish life in Łódź. Ultimately, the family sacrificed the economic help from HIAS and moved to Brooklyn, first to Bed-Stuy then later to Brownsville.

In Brooklyn, Daum attended a Hasidic yeshiva for the first time and experienced corporal punishment. “My Hasidic teachers were broken survivors who couldn't get a job in a sweater factory,” he said. “I had a teacher who took electric wire and braided it into a lanyard, and if you didn’t know where you were up to [in the text], they weren’t reluctant to use it.” Daum said that when he was a kid, the books yeshiva students used were the same as those for public students, featuring such generic characters as Jack and Jill and Dick and Jane. Now, special books are published featuring Hasidic characters.

In sixth grade, Daum was kicked out of his yeshiva. Brownsville was a tough neighborhood; growing up there made him more worldly than his classmates, who he said mostly came from more sheltered environments, such as Williamsburg. “I knew things I wasn’t supposed to – let’s leave it at that,” he said. It wouldn’t be the last time his wisdom was treated as a liability rather than an asset.

Daum enrolled in other yeshivas. After high school, he spent four years learning talmud full-time and was on track to becoming a rabbi, but he sensed it wasn’t right for him — “I didn’t feel this was my calling.” He needed to start thinking about getting a job. So he continued studying Jewish law during the day with the legendary Rabbi Moshe Feinstein on the Lower East Side. But at night, he went to Brooklyn College to study subjects he hoped would allow him to financially support a family. Many other young Orthodox Jews had the same idea.

“We used to call it the Yeshiva of Brooklyn College,” Daum recalled. “A lot of young men and women would go to yeshiva during the day, and in the evening we’d jump on the subway and take evening classes, so there were hundreds and hundreds of yeshiva boys at night at Brooklyn College.” Decades later, when Daum began making documentaries, he would point to this time in his life as when he really got to know non-Jews for the first time and learned that, contrary to what he had heard as a child, they didn’t all hate Jews.

But Daum never graduated from Brooklyn College; he discovered an option that would give him a shortcut to a master’s degree. Fairfield University, a Jesuit school in Connecticut, had a master’s in education program that admitted students who were training to be Catholic priests. Because the private university received public funds, it had to admit Daum and other yeshiva graduates, who had an equivalent religious education. 

Attending a Catholic university placed Daum and his Jewish classmates in what he called a “Talmudic dilemma” because each class began with a Christian prayer. “If we come into the class and sit down, and everybody rises up for the prayer, even if we don’t say the words, just by rising up, we’re participating. On the other hand, if we sit, and everyone else stands up to say the prayer, we’re antagonizing all our classmates and professors,” he explained.

The young men came up with an innovative solution. “We would come to class literally 10 seconds before the class started, we would go to our seats, but not sit down. When everybody got up to say the prayer, we were already standing.” That way, he maintained his religious values without offending his peers.


In the pizzeria where we met for the interview, and as we walked by other Hasidic stores on the block, Daum schmoozed with store owners and fellow patrons. As he shared well-wishes and mazel tovs, I couldn’t help but feel like people were eyeing us suspiciously. “I think someone mistook you for my daughter or granddaughter,” Daum reassured me.

After lunch, Daum and I walked toward Washington Cemetery in Mapleton, Brooklyn, passing first through Gravesend Park. “This used to be bocce courts,” he told me as we passed a nondescript patch of grass near 19th Avenue. “All these old Italians would spend their retirement here playing bocce. They had a big metal chest where they had all the bocce equipment, but they did not have to lock it. They didn’t need to. You wouldn’t mess with these guys.” Now, most Gravesend Park patrons are Haredim.

The Jewish cemetery was established in 1850, when this land was not yet part of Brooklyn; before that, it was farmland. Daum said he enjoys walking there. “I like it because you can actually see the sky,” he explained, “and I don’t have to worry about being judged.” Every couple of minutes, he stops to read epitaphs in Hebrew or German. For the ones in Russian, he takes a photo on his phone and Google Lens immediately translates the picture into English.

Cemeteries play an important role in Daum’s documentaries. In his 2004 film, Hiding and Seeking, he visits Poland to learn more about his and his wife’s family history. Before he leaves the U.S., he goes to say goodbye to his father, who had suffered a series of strokes. In a deeply poignant scene, Moshe Yosef asks Menachem to visit his father’s grave to pray for his health. But when Daum actually went to Poland, he found the cemetery damaged, with no sign of the grave. He said tehillim (prayers) anyway, figuring he could not have been more than a few feet from the destroyed grave. Back in the U.S, he lied to his father and said he had found the grave; the truth would have been too painful.

The symbolic power of cemeteries comes up again in Daum’s 2016 film, The Ruins of Lifta – about his visit to the only Arab village abandoned in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that has not been either completely destroyed or repopulated. In that film, Daum reflects on the Holocaust and suggests to a group of Palestinian activists that they restore their village’s cemetery to send a powerful message about their self-preservation. “The reason why cemeteries are destroyed is because you have the opportunity to erase history and pretend such people never existed,” he said. 

His upcoming film will focus on a group of “Memory Keepers” – mostly Christian Poles — working to restore and preserve Jewish cemeteries in Poland. His goal for this film is the same as for his other films after A Life Apart: to try to show Hasidim that non-Jews aren’t all bad. But it’s a surprisingly difficult message to get across in this ever more conservative community. Indeed, encouraging Haredim to look outward sometimes puts Daum at odds with community members. “They have this thing called ‘kids at risk,’” he said, alluding to a phrase community members use for young people they worry are straying from communal norms. “I’m a zayde at risk!” he proclaims.

It was a recurrent theme for Daum in our conversation that intolerance can be a two-way street. While researching Polish Jewish history, Daum came across a study by Anna Landau-Czajka about how radical right-wing nationalist Polish newspapers were writing about Jews before the Holocaust. Looking at the Talmud, the nationalists concluded, inaccurately, that Jews are not obligated to be honest to non-Jews. But the conclusion rang true to Daum’s experience of some Jewish behavior. “I remember reading this, and I nearly fell off my chair – ‘oh my God, they’re onto us!’” he said.

Daum worries that the actions of Haredi leaders, and the attitudes of a community that has become more insular since those tolerant days of Woodstock, can lead to a similar them-and-us mentality. “We come to this country and we game it to benefit our institutions and schools and we don’t think of the long-term consequences,” he said. “I hope we don’t wear out our welcome.”

In Hiding and Seeking, Daum’s two Hasidic-yeshiva-educated sons serve as stand-ins for a Haredi audience that is suspicious of non-Jews. Daum takes them to Poland to try to convince them that there are good and bad non-Jews, just like there are good and bad Jews. The journey introduces them to two Christian Poles who risked their lives to hide Daum’s father-in-law from the Nazis during the Holocaust, but while the sons appreciate that these people indeed acted courageously, they still don’t seem fully convinced. The film ends on the vague hope that one day this experience will truly sink in for them. 

In The Ruins of Lifta, Daum’s protagonist is a Palestinian activist, Yacoub, whom he tries to pair up with a Holocaust survivor so they can learn about each other’s lives. But even at the end of the film, Yacoub is still not interested in befriending Jews – just as Daum’s sons were not interested in appreciating Poles. But while these films may not seem to have succeeded in their goal of establishing cross-cultural harmony, Daum was optimistic. “In Hiding and Seeking, we called it planting seeds. I think the seeds took some root,” he said. When I asked what became of those seeds in 19 years, he shrugged uncertainly and quoted the Mishnah: “You’re not obligated to complete the task.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the nationality of a woman featured in The Ruins of Lifta. She is American, not Israeli.

District Details

District 29

includes Forest Hills, Kew Gardens and a small part of Rego Park. This area is home to a large Bukharian community and a Litvish community.

  • Lynn Schulman (D, incumbent), who is Jewish, has a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School. A member of the council’s LGBTQIA caucus, Schulman signed a letter urging Yeshiva University to recognize an LGBTQ club on campus. Schulman has used discretionary funds to contribute to local causes such as education, youth programs, workforce development, parks and clean-up services; she’s also contributed to a Jewish soup kitchen, local congregations and local Chabad chapters.
  • Ethan Felder (D), who is Jewish, is a union-side labor lawyer. He told Patch he supports raising the city’s minimum wage and hopes to improve public safety by addressing mental health. In 2017, Felder won a case where he worked pro bono to reverse the move of a polling place away from a predominantly African American residential area in Queens. In April 2020, he signed a letter to then-mayor Bill de Blasio that criticized what it described as the mayor’s singling out and heavy-handed policing of the Jewish community and Haredi gatherings during the pandemic. Later, in May 2021, after a major outbreak of violence in Israel and Palestine, Felder organized a rally in Forest Hills in support of Israel.
  • Danniel Maio (R) is a mapmaker. He has criticized bail reform, congestion pricing and COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Sukhjinder Singh Nijjar (D) works at the Queens District Attorney’s office. He has also worked in finance. He told Shtetl his top priorities include funding educational programs to tackle hate crimes and violence and ensuring language access for all languages spoken in his district. He supports QueensLink, a project that looks to provide a new north-south transit link in Queens while also supporting new parks.

District 33

includes the part of Williamsburg west of Wythe Avenue and southeast of Ross Street. This area is one of the centers of the Haredi community; it has a large Satmar population.

  • Lincoln Restler (D, incumbent), who is Jewish, has the support of progressive Jews and Haredim alike. He was endorsed by several Satmar leaders and Assemblymember Simcha Eichenstein, who represents Boro Park in the state legislature. Restler has also won the support of The Jewish Vote, the political wing of Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, a progressive Jewish organization in New York City. In 2022, he attended an annual celebration by the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council. He supports policies that would shift the development of affordable housing to nonprofits rather than for-profit businesses. Last year, he released a climate plan for his district designed to reduce emissions, expand green space and infrastructure and build coastal resiliency. He has worked to reduce trash and rats by organizing neighborhood cleanups, adding trash bins, encouraging residents to compost, and using discretionary funding to pay homeless New Yorkers to help provide sanitation services. Restler spoke with The New York Jewish Week about fighting antisemitism. “I am focused on bringing together all groups in the Jewish community to engage with people of other backgrounds and build tolerance to root out this violence,” he said.

District 34

includes portions of northeast Williamsburg, where many Hasidic Jews live.

  • Jennifer Gutiérrez (D, incumbent), a former tenant organizer, has held office since 2021. She supports increasing tenant protections and shifting the development of affordable housing to nonprofits rather than for-profit businesses. She also believes in improving internet access, expanding participatory budgeting, open streets, universal 3K, and reinvesting part of the police’s budget into non-policing alternatives. As a council member, she helped pass a bill to provide no-cost doula services to marginalized neighborhoods. She previously worked as chief of staff to former City Council member Anthony Reynoso, who is now the Brooklyn Borough President. In a survey she completed for New York Jewish Agenda in 2021, Gutiérrez said she thinks the state should inspect Haredi yeshivas and intervene if they are found to not be providing adequate education in English, math and science. She also said the city should fight hate crimes by increasing culturally responsive education and funding community-based organizations dedicated to violence interruption and restorative justice practices.

District 35

includes the southern part of Crown Heights, which houses the World Headquarters of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement.

  • Crystal Hudson (D, incumbent) has held office since 2021. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hudson founded a mutual aid group to help people experiencing food insecurity and economic challenges. After assuming office, she visited the Library of Agudas Chasidei Chabad and met with members of the Jewish community there. As the chair of the City Council’s aging committee, Hudson supports the Fair Pay in Home Care Act, a bill being considered in the state legislature that would increase the minimum wage for home care aides to $22.50 in New York City. In September, Hudson introduced a package of bills to make it easier for older New Yorkers to age in their homes. The bills would ensure a right to counsel for people 60+ who are facing eviction, ensure older adults have access to services in their native language, and make it so that a portion of new apartments built are accessible to people with disabilities, among other things. Hudson’s other priorities include child care, affordable housing and holding the NYPD accountable.‌

District 38

includes a small part of Boro Park northwest of Maimonides Medical Center.

  • Alexa Avilés (D, incumbent) is a democratic socialist. Before joining the City Council, she worked in nonprofits and was a PTA president. As chair of the council’s public housing committee, she supports increasing tenant protections. Her priorities also include defunding the NYPD, investing in social services and expanding public hospitals. Boro Park 24 reported that when Avilés was first elected in 2021, she volunteered at Masbia, a local soup kitchen, and praised its work.
  • Erik Frankel, who is Jewish, is a fourth-generation shoe store owner. His priorities include building affordable housing and supporting trade schools. He supports removing the BQE or placing it underground. In 2021, he told New York Jewish Agenda he supports increasing criminal penalties for hate crimes. He said he doesn’t think the state should investigate Haredi yeshivas, which have reportedly failed to teach students English, math and science.
  • Christopher Skelly (Ind) is a public school custodian and a libertarian who supports the NYPD. If elected to City Council, he hopes to create an Office of Transparency.

District 39

includes part of Boro Park northeast of 42nd Street, and Kensington, where many Haredi Jews also live.

  • Shahana Hanif (D, incumbent), a former tenant organizer, has held office since 2021. As chair of the council’s immigration committee, she supports asylum seekers’ rights. She also advocates defunding the police, expanding protections for small businesses, expanding health services, legalizing basement apartments, and making sure social services are accessible to New Yorkers in their native languages. In 2019, after a group of boys were picked up by the local precinct for throwing eggs at their Jewish neighbors, Hanif brought together a coalition to educate Boro Park and Kensington residents about antisemitism and hate in Bangla and Yiddish.

District 40

includes part of Flatbush, which hosts Sephardic and Haredi communities.

  • Rita Joseph (D, incumbent) is chair of the council’s education committee. Before joining the City Council, she worked at the U.N. and then as a public school teacher. She supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and welcomes the asylum seekers who have recently arrived in the city. In an interview with WNYC, she discussed crime; “Neighborhoods that are under-resourced always have the most crimes. So we want to make sure we’re bringing resources into the community to support job training, housing, youth services and education,” she said. “NYPD is part of the solution, but not the whole solution." She also emphasized cleaning up trash on Flatbush Avenue, and she has funded tree planting in the district. Last year, Joseph called attention to antisemitic subway graffiti on Twitter and notified the NYPD and MTA. “I condemn this hate in the strongest possible terms,” she wrote.
District 43

includes part of Boro Park southwest of Maimonides Medical Center, where many Hasidic Jews live. It also includes parts of Bensonhurst and Gravesend, where many Syrian Jews live. Newly created from sections of District 47 as part of the redistricting process, District 43 has no incumbent.

  • Wai Yee Chan (D) is the director of Homecrest Community Services, a nonprofit that serves Asian American immigrants and seniors in Southern Brooklyn. She also serves on the Language Assistance Advisory Committee of the city’s Civic Engagement Commission. Chan told Gotham Gazette that her biggest priorities include public safety, improving services for special needs families, and expanding mental health care so that it covers all seniors in the district.
  • Stanley Ng (D) is a retired computer programmer. His priorities include public safety, improving education, and fighting food insecurity. In 2007, he fought against a free course designed to help students ace admissions tests for elite public high schools. The program emphasized serving Black and Latino students, who are underrepresented at elite public schools. Ng sued the program, arguing that it discriminated against Asian Americans, and the lawsuit was settled.
  • Ying Tan is a candidate for City Council. Shtetl has not been able to find more information about Tan but will update this article when it does.
  • Susan Zhuang (D) is Chief of Staff for state Assemblymember William Colton, who represents parts of South Brooklyn. Her priorities include education, safety, and combating hate crimes. According to an interview with Gotham Gazette, she wants to increase funding for the NYPD.
District 44

includes most of Boro Park, one of the centers of the Haredi community. Communities in Boro Park include the Hasidic sects Bobov, Ger, Satmar, Belz, Munkatch and more. Some Litvish, Sephardic and Modern Orthodox Jews also live in Boro Park.

  • Kalman Yeger (D, incumbent) is an Orthodox Jewish lawyer, who has represented Boro Park since 2017. He succeeded David Greenfield, who went on to become the CEO of the Met Council. In 2019, Yeger was removed from the council’s immigration committee when he said “Palestine does not exist.” Yeger has used discretionary funding for Holocaust education, youth programs, workforce development, fighting domestic violence, services for elderly New Yorkers and more; he’s also supported local Jewish organizations. According to City and State, however, Yeger has never asked the council speaker to fund projects in his district, something most other council members do, as a way of accessing  more discretionary funding. After the New York Times published an investigation of Haredi yeshivas, detailing their failure to provide secular education and the corporal punishment that students there face, Yeger defended the education that these schools provide. Yeger successfully opposed plans for a new apartment building at 1880 Coney Island Avenue. He also opposed a proposal that would require car owners to get permits to park in residential areas.
  • Heshy Tischler (R) is an Orthodox Jewish landlord, radio show host, and permit expediter for construction companies. He garnered wider attention in 2020, when he protested against COVID-19 restrictions in Boro Park. He later pled guilty to inciting a riot against a journalist who was covering those protests for Jewish Insider. He also attracted controversy for sexist comments about former mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife Chirlane McCray. He supports Donald Trump and the NYPD. Tischler volunteers for multiple causes, including helping people with special needs. If elected, he hopes to decrease bureaucracy, build youth centers and drug rehabilitation centers, support after-school childcare programs, and introduce legislation to support landlords and small business owners against late payment fees. Tischler supports Haredi yeshivas’ independence.
District 46

includes Marine Park, where the Haredi population has grown in recent years as some have been priced out of other Brooklyn Haredi enclaves.

  • Mercedes Narcisse (D, incumbent) has represented parts of Southeast Brooklyn in the City Council since 2021. Narcisse was a nurse for 30 years and also ran her own business. Her priorities include access to mental health care, after-school programs, sports, and music programs for youth. She hopes to help bring ferry service to Canarsie.
District 47

includes Coney Island and a small part of Gravesend. The old District 47, which includes Bensonhurst and Gravesend, is currently represented by Ari Kagan. Because of redistricting, that district has been divided into other districts. In this unusual situation, Kagan has been left to battle the sitting City Council member of District 43, Justin Brannan, to represent the new District 47.

  • Justin Brannan (D, incumbent) represents Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Bath Beach in the City Council. As chair of the council’s finance committee, Brannan has a powerful role in shaping the city budget. When he campaigned for office in 2017, he was criticized for taking money from real estate interests and accused of neglecting to disclose all campaign expenses. While in office, he has cosponsored and helped pass the city’s new salary transparency law and, according to Brooklyn Paper, was instrumental in bringing to Bay Ridge a ferry route that goes express to Wall Street. He hopes to help bring a ferry to Coney Island, too. Appearing on WNYC, Brannan called public safety his first priority and suggested that much of the discourse surrounding crime is driven by hysteria generated by right-wing news media. “When you walk down the street, do you really not feel safe, or do you not feel safe because the New York Post and Fox News is telling you that you shouldn’t feel safe?” he said.
  • Ari Kagan (R, incumbent) is a Jewish immigrant from Belarus whose parents survived the Holocaust. He has represented parts of South Brooklyn in the City Council since 2021. He has also worked as a journalist for Russian-language media. His priorities include supporting the NYPD, increasing access to mental health services and restoring the Coney Island Boardwalk. In 2022, Kagan switched parties from Democrat to Republican because he disagreed with Democrats over public safety and other issues. Speaking to NY1, Kagan attributed recent antisemitic attacks to bail reform.
  • Anthony Batista Perez (D), a U.S. Army veteran, worked for state Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus, who represents parts of southern Brooklyn in the legislature.
  • Anna Belfiore-Delfaus (R) is a public school special education teacher who strongly supports the NYPD and opposed COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
  • Avery Pereira (R) is a public school special education teacher. He supports the NYPD and advocates cutting property taxes for middle-class homeowners by 15%.
  • Michael Ragusa (R) is an associate director of operations at Rikers Island. He is also a podcaster and former EMT. He supports increasing the number of police on streets, in parks and on subway platforms, and cracking down on fare evasion. Ragusa’s other priorities include helping small businesses, improving education, improving mental health services, and improving subway and bus service.

District 48

includes portions of Flatbush, along with Sheepshead Bay, which has a large Haredi community and a large Russian and Ukrainian Jewish community.

  • Inna Vernikov (R, incumbent) is a Ukrainian Jewish immigrant. She is a lawyer who has represented parts of southern Brooklyn in the City Council since 2021. As a council member, she has protested COVID-19 vaccine mandates. She also organized a march against antisemitism after a man was attacked in Bay Ridge for wearing an Israel Defense Forces hoodie. Previously a Donald Trump supporter, she condemned the former president in 2022 after he had dinner with prominent antisemites Ye (formerly Kanye West) and Nick Fuentes. Vernikov stopped giving discretionary funding to The Museum of Jewish Heritage after it allegedly barred Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis from speaking there. She also cut discretionary funding to the CUNY School of Law after its faculty council passed a pro-BDS resolution. Vernikov’s priorities also include supporting the NYPD and reducing trash and rats in her district.
  • Amber Adler (D), who is Orthodox Jewish, has worked in communications, marketing, and politics. Adler spent two years as an agunah (a woman whose husband won’t grant her a divorce under Jewish law) and made an appearance on the controversial reality show “My Unorthodox Life” to advocate for women escaping abusive marriages. Along with women’s rights, Adler’s biggest priorities include tenant rights, health care, the environment, supporting small businesses, expanding childcare, supporting students with special needs, and making the city more accessible to people with disabilities. She also hopes to break language barriers by providing access to information in residents’ native languages, including Yiddish. In a survey she completed for New York Jewish Agenda in 2021, Adler indicated that she supports increasing penalties for hate crimes. She also said she would consider supporting investigations and interventions in Haredi yeshivas on a case-by-case basis.
  • Igor Kazatsker (R) has worked as a journalist for Russian-language media. According to his LinkedIn profile, he was also general manager of the American Forum of Russian Jewry-Russian American Jews for Israel.
District 50

includes Staten Island neighborhoods Willowbrook and Manor Heights which, in the last few years, have become home to many Hasidic families.

  • David Carr (R, incumbent) hopes to expand the size of the city’s police force and restore qualified immunity, a legal principle that protects police officers from certain civil rights lawsuits. New York City banned qualified immunity in 2021. “I think we need to do more to empower the police, raise morale so we have fewer people seeking to retire or resign from the department, and then also have a plan to rebuild to get us to a point where we have a police force that’s actually adequate to police a city that’s closer and closer to 9 million people,” Carr told WNYC. Recently, the council passed his bill to lower interest rates for some property tax late fees. He criticized COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Did you like this story?

A free press is crucial for democracy. And even the Shtetl deserves a free press.
  • Our Latest
  • Instagram Posts