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Joel’s Corner

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Joel is the consummate professional when it comes to government and politics, which has been his life for more than three decades. Joel joined the firm in 1998 after a decade as Deputy Director for AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), the pro-Israel lobby. During his tenure, he coordinated a network of key community leaders to lobby Members of Congress, monitored nationwide Senate and House elections, served as liaison to federal, state and local officials and oversaw fundraising and programming for major AIPAC contributors. Prior to that, he served as a senior housing official in the three Koch Administrations and was on the campaign staffs of presidential, senatorial and municipal candidates and successfully secured government and foundation grants for national and local not-for-profit service organizations. Joel coordinates government relations, development and political consulting operations for SAI clients, is a registered lobbyist with both NYC and NYS and serves as a confidante of elected officials and their staff.   Author :

Setting the Record Straight: an open letter-to-the-editor

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Dear Editor:

Rabbi Nosson Sherman’s comment in the June 28th FJJ issue, that Mayor Ed Koch went to Rav Moshe Feinstein’s levaya “since mayors must show their faces wherever there are large numbers of voters” is erroneous. As a former “special advisor” to the mayor during his 3 terms of office and active in every one of his campaigns, let me set the record straight on what happened so it is not repeated.

During the ’77 campaign, Koch paid a visit to the Lower East Side on Rosh Hashana during tashlich time and was walked around by local resident, William Rapfogel, then publisher of The Jewish People newspaper and now CEO of the Met Council on Jewish Poverty, and was looking forward to meeting the Rosh Yeshiva.( Rav Moshe, btw, was very emphatic about voting in elections as a hakaras hatov to this medina shel chesed.) Willie, who was also active in that campaign effort, explained to him that the world famous rabbi would perform tashlich during the week.

Some years later, when Koch was sitting shiva for his father, Rav Moshe wanted to pay a shiva call but was too weak so Reb Heshy Jacob, LES askan and Hatzolah member, arranged for a phone call between the Rosh Yeshiva and the Mayor. Heshy, Willie and I were at Gracie Mansion when the pre-arranged call was made and the Rosh Yeshiva spoke with the mayor while Heshy translated. It was a short but warm conversation and the Mayor was extremely touched.

When Rav Moshe was niftar, Willie received a call from the Mayor’s Office asking if Koch should go. Logistics were pretty easy as the yeshiva was minutes from City Hall. Wiliie’s response was “think of Rabbi Feinstein as the Jewish world leader of this generation and if the mayor would go to someone of that stature from any other religion, he should do so for the rabbi.”

East Broadway was already closed off for the estimated 50,000 that were attending the funeral and I was assigned to meet the mayor at the Henry Street back entrance to the MTJ yeshiva. We entered without fanfare at the very beginning of the hespaydim and stayed throughout the entire funeral. No one outside knew he was there, though Rav Moshe Tendler, the RY’s eidim, did acknowledge that “even the Mayor of this city is here paying his respects.”

To make it seem as though a personal gesture of compassion was a campaign stop does not do justice to either the Rosh Yeshiva’s memory or Ed Koch’s decision to say goodbye to someone he actually admired.


Joel Schnur

Senior VP

Government Affairs/Public Relations

Schnur Associates, Inc.

1350 Avenue of the Americas

Suite 1200

New York, NY 10019

Tel. 212-489-0600 x204

Fax. 212-489-0203

  Author :


Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
[singlepic id=124 w=175 h=89 ]   Author : Schnur


Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

In a global environment where image and presence make a difference, you want an expert team on your side.

  Author : mitra