By COLlive reporter
As the former chief of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Joseph Lhota has gotten used to the screeching sounds of the New York Subway and the engines of the buses.
It is no wonder then that he was all smiles when the shofar was blown for him during his campaign stop in Crown Heights on Tuesday.
Lhota, running for New York City Mayor in the Republican Primary on September 10, came to the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council (CHJCC) to learn about community concerns and to ask for support.
He was greeted by the council’s executives: Chairman Zaki Tamir, Treasurer Fishel Brownstein, liaison for Governmental Affairs Chanina Sperlin and Executive Director Eli Cohen.
Lhota mentioned his extensive experience in the administration of Mayor Rudy Giuliani, serving as Finance Commissioner, Director of the Office of Management and Budget and finally as Deputy Mayor for Operations.
An investment banker, Lhota told his hosts that he plans to preserve many of the “management achievements” of the Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg Administrations, but he also promised to address the high taxes and water bills caused by a bloated City budget.
He spoke of the need to find more ways to assist families of private and parochial school children with high tuition payments and the need to create more affordable housing and improve traffic flow for cars.
The highlight of the low-profile visit –contrasting the crowds that came for Democrats like Bill Thompson and Eliot Spitzer— was perhaps his reconnection with his Jewish roots.
Lhota was raised Catholic and identifies as a Christian. His maternal grandmother, Ita Steinberg, was born in the U.S. to a Russian Jewish family but married a Roman Catholic. LHota is Jewish according to halacha.
While standing on Kingston Avenue, his hosts blew the shofar as customary during the month of Elul. At the urging of Sperlin, he agreed to put on Tefillin and say the blessings.
A blessing couldn’t hurt come election day…