As we go about our daily lives, we often forget about those who are fighting for us in the halls of our government. The Queens Jewish Alliance, under the guidance of Sorolle Idels, makes it a point to bring light to the complex issues affecting our neighborhoods and ensures that our voices are heard loud and clear on the phones, in the inboxes, and at the podiums of where our elected officials preach.
To this end, on Monday, August 23, Idels and her husband Shimmy hosted a backyard fundraiser in support of Lynn Schulman, the Democratic City Council Candidate for District 29, which covers Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Rego Park, and parts of Richmond Hill. Idels, a proud resident of Kew Gardens Hills, sought to exhibit the camaraderie necessary to build successful working relationships with our bordering districts.
The theme of standing in toe with our adjacent communities was repeated throughout the evening in every conversation. “Tonight is important because we are living next door,” explained Idels to those gathered on her deck as she pushed the vote for Schulman. “We all encouraged our friends to vote for Lynn and we successfully kept the DSA out,” added Idels, referencing the recent Primary Election where Schulman defeated Aleda Gagarin, who was backed by the Democratic Socialists of America. Final results showed a healthy margin of 60-40 between the final two competitors.
In her public remarks, Schulman acknowledged the presence of Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Council Members Barry Grodenchik and James Gennaro, Assembly Member Daniel Rosenthal, District Leader Shimi Pelman, Rabbi Daniel Pollack (as the Jewish liaison for Congresswoman Grace Meng’s office), and Idels, who have all been strong Schulman supporters.
“I take nothing for granted,” said Schulman. “I am a Jew who grew up in Forest Hills. I have been on the community board and have worked alongside City Council Member Karen Koslowitz, who is my supporter. I will continue to support similar programming.” Schulman also gave special shout-outs to Masbia of Queens, Tomchei Shabbos of Queens, and Project Lead, which operate in her area.
Schulman stated that she hopes to join the Jewish Caucus of the City Council and has already established talks to do so. “The number of Jewish council members will be less this upcoming term,” she admitted.
“You can’t do it by yourself,” said Schulman of her race, as she expressed her various introductions to community leaders and organizers of the past number of months. “It is great to go into the campaign for the General Election with full funding. I hope to do great work with the district next door.”
“Anyone who stands on this deck wins!” exclaimed Queens Borough President Richards. “I’ve know4n Lynn for a very long time. She is a friend to Israel who will stand firm in her beliefs.” Richards spoke of the need to tell the varied and diverse stories of Queens County while encouraging Schulman to work with him on the capital funding desperately needed for infrastructure measures throughout the district. Richards also pointed to the successes of JetBlue and Bartlett Dairy remaining in Queens as a victory for coalition building. “Our diversity is our strength, and we have to let that show,” he stated.
Schulman faces a November race against Republican contender Mike Conigliaro, who has been consistently gaining momentum in all corners of the district.