Southern Brooklyn

Jewish Leaders Contradict Storobin Campaign About Debate Folly


The source behind the claims from David Storobin’s campaign that Lew Fidler is dodging a debate for the Orthodox Jewish community is a supporter of Storobin – and now his account contradicts that of the campaign’s.

Both Storobin and Fidler are running for the former seat of State Senator Carl Kruger, and the campaign has had its share of nastiness. The latest example emerged last week, when Storobin’s campaign issued a press release claiming Fidler was “ducking” a debate in the Orthodox Jewish community since he didn’t want to discuss his stance on school vouchers.

When Fidler’s campaign shot back, saying they never received an invitation to a debate, which would have been co-sponsored by Agudeth Israel and the Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush, Storobin’s team put out a release pointing the finger at Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz of Agudeth Israel.

Their account, which we published Friday, is as follows:

Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz who is with the Council of Jewish Organizations invited us to debate sponsored by that organization and Agudath Israel. We agreed, and it was our understanding that Fidler’s camp also agreed. After that, emails and phone calls went back and forth trying to firm up a date and logistics. Then, this afternoon (Friday), Lefkowitz got back to us and said Fidler had pulled out.

However, Lefkowitz’s version of events doesn’t quite match up with that of the campaign. We got in touch with him this afternoon, and this is what he said happened:

I dont know what happened on the Fidler side, but on the Storobin side – as [Executive Board Chairman of the Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush] Leon Goldenberg has said – he approached Agudeth to sponsor a debate. He asked me if I would be in touch with the Storobin camp and they said yes. And I got back to Leon. Then Leon got back to me. I don’t know who he called or who he spoke to, but according to Leon there’s no debate. That’s all I know about this situation.

Lefkowitz clarified to us that he never said Fidler had agreed to the debate, as Storobin’s camp claims he did, nor did Fidler pull out. Lefkowitz said he did not ask Goldenberger why there would be no debate or if Fidler’s team had ever been contacted.

“It’s a fast moving world. If someone says it’s not happening, it’s not happening and I go on with life,” Lefkowitz told Sheepshead Bites. “I didn’t have time to go into the nitty gritty details.”

Goldenberg, who has formally endorsed Fidler, spoke to City & State earlier today, giving a statement that matches up with Lefkowitz’s:

Goldenberg said that he simply had forgotten to ask Fidler about the debate, making clear that Fidler’s campaign had not been trying to dodge a debate with Storobin.

“I went to Belgium last week for a wedding, so therefore it basically got messed up, and at the end of the day, Fidler was never called,” said Goldenberg.

… Goldenberg, who supports Fidler’s campaign, said he took full responsibility for his mistake, and was sorry for all the “brouhaha” caused by the misunderstanding. “

“It was simply a mess-up on my side,” he said, adding that the organizations have not decided whether or not to reschedule the debate.

Comment policy


  1. Word the street is David Storbine is Trolling the R.A.J.E. Groups for Votes.

    after having to meet Lew, and everyone who works with him at the Taste of Sheepshead bay. The whole group was nothing but Nice and Respectful.   i can clearly tell you, he will get my vote,  i Spoke 10 seconds with David as i wanted to clock him in the jaw.

  2. This campaign has really gone so far off the deep end. It’s more like a steel cage wrestling match. Is there no turning back? Why can’t these two meshuggahs just meet, shake hands, put the past in the past, and say “May the best man win?”

  3. I can confirm this, sort of.

    Storobin gave the keynote address at the orientation for the Spring 2012 RAJE program yesterday at the Jewish Center of Brighton Beach. It was a strange speech however, because Storobin himself barely said a word about his campaign or about himself. Instead his entire speech consisted of praise for the RAJE organization, his experience with the organization, and praise of the staff and specifically RAJE director Rabbi Mordechai Tokarsky (who he said has helped him with many things throughout the years, even when they resulted in a detriment to Tokarsky himself). In fact, he spoke so little about himself that Tokarsky made him go back up after he was done with his speech to do a few more minutes about who he is, what office he is running for, and why he is running for that office.

    Tokarsky’s introduction, on the other hand, was the complete opposite of Storobin’s speech. Besides being filled with praise for Storobin, his accomplishments, and his character, it also included a few telling remarks such as the fact that although he can’t officially endorse David since he is the director of a non-profit, he does encourage anybody who wants to volunteer to talk to one of Storobin’s staffers after the session is over. (paraphrased using as many of Tokarsky’s own words as I could remember) You could tell that Tokarsky really wants Storobin in office and, at least for me, it made for a rather uncomfortable “keynote”.

    I have also seen Storobin attending various other local Jewish events/lectures around town where he walks around introducing himself to people. I wouldn’t say he is “trolling”, but he is definitely doing everything he possibly can to get the Jewish vote and although he seems like a nice enough guy, something just doesn’t sit right with me about all these appearances lately.

  4. On the first flyer that Stobine sent out he was with the Rabbi & it stayed that he was   the only real Jew in this race. BTW ,what is a real Jew?

  5. Joke or not, this could be a complicated question:
    “Who Is a Jew? Court Ruling in Britain Raises Question”

    “Orthodox Jews, of course, sympathize with the school, saying that observance is no test of Jewishness, and that all that matters is whether one’s mother is Jewish. So little does observance matter, in fact, that “having a ham sandwich on the afternoon of Yom Kippur doesn’t make you less Jewish,” Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, chairman of the Rabbinical Council of the United Synagogue, said recently.”

    Hey, that describes me exactly!

  6. Way too many “Bites” readers reside in the district that one of these men will represent soon enough. People should know as much as they possibly can about both candidates before they go into a voting booth.

  7. So what we know is that they are running for Kruger’s seat and we all are aware of what happened to Kruger.  The situation with the debates is another illustration of exactly why Storobin cannot be trusted.  He is going to do the same thing Kruger did.  I have no doubt about that.  But the other question is whether Fidler can be trusted…And if no one can be trusted, what kind of representation in the State Senate we are really getting?

  8. This is why we wind up with crooks and idiots being elected. Instead of campaigning on real issues,they argue over nonesense.

  9. Both candidates are stupid. Everyone should write-in Han Solo. Han Solo is a candidate I can get behind he. He was able to complete the Kessel run in 12 parsecs. Pretty impressive, right?

  10. I tried explaining to my friend that a Parsec was a distance and not a measurement of time. He asked me what is the exact distance of a parsec, and I told him that it was 3.2 light years which confused him even more. And since I couldn’t remember how many kilometers were in a lightyear, I gave up explaining it. 


    parsec = 3.2 lightyears = distance

  11. Seems and Is are two remotely different things. A lot of people think Carl Kruger is a Nice guy as well, Without knowing anything about the person we fail to let appearance judge.

    He promised to lower Business Taxes………Imagine that shit.

  12. what we need is a politician that will stop with the empty promises and actually help get us out of the mess we are currently in, someone with the balls to publicly admit that we are neck-high in crap in every possible aspect. Earlier someone mentioned Kruger’s promise to lower the taxes; anyone with half a brain realized that this was not feasible at that time (and it still isn’t), and they voted for the candidate who was either incompetent or liar. neither of these two will get my vote.

  13. Is it a coincidence that this election might roughly coincide with the release of the “Three Stooges” movie? (As someone else said, we’re missing Curly).

  14. the only reason Storobin is getting the Ortho vote is because he’s against gay marriage and because apparently Lew Fidler supporting funding for youth homeless shelters, and an end to job discrimination based on gender identity, is enough to drive these people bananas. 

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