Oct 25 - The referendum to legalize more non-Indian owned casinos in New York’s upcoming election is hitting some opposition in the Jewish community, according to The Yeshiva World.com.
Citing an increase in gambling addiction, violent crimes and the denigration of the Catskills in general, two “Satmar weeklies, Der Yid and Der Blatt, known with their influence on tens of thousands voters from the both Satmar factions and other Hasidic communities in New York city and Upstate New York (Catskills), featured long articles in their papers on the ills resulting from the casinos.”
In addition, another newspaper representing the Jewish Community, Di Tzeitung, called for a “No” vote. With tens of thousands of votes at stake, the Jewish community voting as a block could defeat the referendum.
However, according to Steve Israel on the Times Herald Record website today, there is another side to this breaking story. From interviews with local civic and Hasidic leaders in Sullivan County he quoted casino supporter and Town of Thompson Supervisor, Tony Cellini, as saying “That paper doesn’t represent the Satmar (Hasidic) community.”
He then quoted Rabbi Moishe Indig as saying, “He (the Yeshiva World writer) is not affiliated with anybody. He’s not even Hasidic”, and David Weiss, owner of the former Kutsher’s Sports Academy as “fully supporting” the referendum. Both Jewish leaders urge members of their community to support the referendum because it will benefit Sullivan County.
With a scant two weeks to go before the vote, referendum supporters are wondering if the controversy over the favorable wording of the referendum coupled with the supposed concern of the Jewish community about the degradation of the Catskills could turn ambivalent voters against the proposition.