Bay Ridge Community Council Cancels “Great Debate” that was Accidentally Scheduled on Yom Kippur

Debate planned for Jewish high holy day cancelled

The Brooklyn Paper
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A Bay Ridge civic group has cancelled the neighborhood’s largest political debate — a heated back and forth between four pairs of candidates that stunned Jewish residents for being scheduled on Yom Kippur.

The Bay Ridge Community Council scheduled its so-named “Great Debate” for Tuesday, apparently unaware that the Jewish day of attonement began on the same night — a move that puzzled many Jewish Bay Ridgites.

“Most government offices are out and most other agencies and groups respect that day,” said Herb Karasik, chairman of the board of trustees for the Bay Ridge Jewish Center, who said Bay Ridge has a mall, yet significant, Jewish population in the predominantly Italian, Irish, and Arabic neighborhood. “There are Jewish people on the Council, and they wouldn’t be able to attend.”

Organizers apologized for what they called a “scheduling oversight” as well as “any offense it may have caused.”

“They must have miscalcula­ted,” said Ted General, a member of the Council’s board of directors. “I think they knew Yom Kippur was the next day but not that the evening was significant too.”

The event was supposed to feature showdowns between State Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) and Democratic challenger Andrew Gounardes, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R–Bay Ridge) and opponent John Mancuso, Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny (D–Bay Ridge) and GOP rival Tom McCarthy, and Congressman Michael Grimm (R–Bay Ridge) and Democratic contender Mark Murphy.

Debate organizers realized they erred when Brook-Krasny, a Jewish emigre from the former Soviet Union, told them that he would have back out.

“Any other holiday I would be able to attend, but Yom Kippur I cannot do it,” the six-term legislator said.

Brook-Krasny didn’t ask the Council to reschedule — and was trying to work out a plan where he could submit written responses in advance and have them read aloud at the debate — when the group decided to throw the event in the dustbin.

Organizers say they plan to reschedule, but have yet to agree on a date.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at (718) 260–4507 or e-mail him at Follow him on Twitter at
Updated 5:35 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Frieda Livery from The Heights says:
Sept. 22, 2012, 12:42 pm
bengee from coney. says:
I think Rush is trying to blame POTUS for this screw up.
Sept. 22, 2012, 3:34 pm
Schwartz says:
BRCC are a bunch of goyum. They do not care about the Jewish calendar. They only care about their own personal calendars.
Sept. 22, 2012, 8:30 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
schwartz - goyum is a derogatory term and you know it - how about i call you jewboy. mazel tov
Sept. 23, 2012, 8:40 am
BunnynSunny from Clinton Hill says:
I prefer sardines to kippur.
Sept. 23, 2012, 11:55 am
Coney Isle from Homecrest says:
An error was made. Insensitive? Perhaps. The error was corrected once it was discovered or perhaps publicized. Would the non-Jewish candidates have debated on Yom Kippur? If they did, it would have been a slap in the face of the Jewish community and others who are sensitive to religious obligations. But, throwing around derogatory terms is disgraceful. True religion is about compassion and underdstanding of not just your own beliefs, but others too. Its sad how comments become so nasty. That's not what its all about.
Sept. 23, 2012, 12:06 pm
eab from Bay Ridge says:

I wonder how the Principal of Xaverian High School, Deacon McCormack, who also hosts the radio show Religion on the Line with Rabbi Potasnik was not aware of a religious observance scheduling conflict when Xaverian was chosen as the venue for what is being referred to as the "neighborhoods largest political debate."
Sept. 23, 2012, 8:41 pm
jdh from Bay Ridge says:
small, not mall
Oct. 2, 2012, 9:29 am

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