Williamsburg primary upset might indicate slipping power for Hasidic leaders

The victory of an activist over a long-serving state politician might signal that there’s more support, even in a devout Brooklyn district, for secular education in religious schools than suspected.

Community organizer Emily Gallagher, 36, narrowly beat Assemblyman Joe Lentol, 77, by an estimated 400 to 600 votes in the Democratic primary in the 50th Assembly District, which includes Hasidic Williamsburg.

She did so despite the fact that Lentol had been in office since 1973, longer than she has been alive, and had endorsements from Jewish leaders like Rabbi David Niederman, Simcha Eichenstein, Moshe Shmuel Lando and Sholem Pesach Grinberg, some of whom praised him for his commitment to protect their yeshivas from what they saw as outside interference. Lentol is Catholic

The victory of an activist over a long-serving state politician might signal that there’s more support, even in a devout Brooklyn district, for secular education in religious schools than suspected.

Community organizer Emily Gallagher, 36, narrowly beat Assemblyman Joe Lentol, 77, by an estimated 400 to 600 votes in the […]

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