By COLlive reporter
Jewish residents in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood recently received postcards asking them to support the candidacy of Michael Hollingsworth for New York City Council and were left a bit confused.
Hollingsworth is running in the Democratic primary to represent District 35 which includes Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bed-Stuy, Prospect Heights, and Crown Heights.
His bio describes him as a “tenant organizer” who has “taken on some of the worst landlords to win repairs for his neighbors, stopped racist rezonings, and helped secure protections for tenants across the state.”
He is facing community organizer Crystal Hudson who received the endorsement of “Crown Heights United” formed by a group of local Jewish activists and residents. Hollingsworth has been endorsed by Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), radical-left and supporters of BDS.
One postcard read: “Dear Yitzchok, I’m so excited to support Michael Hollingsworth who will support working families in Crown Heights. Hope we have your vote.”
It was signed in Yiddish with Hebrew letters “זייט געזונט,” a grammatically mistaken way of writing זיי געזונט which means “be well.”
Some residents who forwarded their postcards to COLlive.com pointed out how it appeared that it was signed by a person named Mendy, a common Lubavitch nickname.
“I don’t know of a Mendy who is working for their campaign,” one resident wrote, adding: “I also don’t know of a Mendy who would work for a candidate who is anti-Israel.”
COLlive.com reached Nathan Pensler, campaign manager of Michael Hollingsworth, asking for comment. In response, he sent a similar postcard where the signature clearly spells out Molly.
“We are proud to have reached out to voters across the district including our Lubavitch neighbors,” Pensler said. “The postcards in question were written by Molly, a Jewish volunteer who recently took a Yiddish course at Yivo and was excited to practice with fellow New Yorkers.”
Yaakov Rosenthal, a certified graphologist and resident of Crown Heights, says he understands the confusion. “It’s a confusing signature,” he told COLlive.com. “It could be read as Molly and could be read as Mendy. The first signature doesn’t appear to be written by the same person as the second one.”
Yaacov Behrman, a community activist in Crown Heights who is backing Hudson, said he found the Hollingsworth postcards disrespectful.
“It doesn’t make a difference whether Molly or Mendy exists,” he told COLlive.com. “It is insulting that Hollingsworth thinks that one postcard with a few Yiddish words is going to fool us. He has made no effort to reach out to the Orthodox Jewish community and, in fact, has shown hostility and malice by his incendiary tweets and rhetoric.”
Behrman added that Hollingsworth “overlooks our 80-year history in Crown Heights and doesn’t believe in Israel’s right to continue as a Jewish state — we can do the math!”