Isaac Abraham, Sudden Satmar Star


photo by Staci Schwartz

“My phone hasn’t stopped ringing. It’s all your fault! The Voice started this.” That’s Isaac Abraham, the first Hasidic candidate for city council, juggling one of his three cell phones this afternoon. Abraham, 57, a Satmar Hasid, got star treatment in a New York Times story today about his candidacy to represent Williamsburg and downtown Brooklyn. The piece follows the Voice’s own profile of Abraham (“First Hasidic Candidate is a Rebel in His Own Sect,” July 2).

Abraham, talking his usual mile-a-minute, was anxious to clear up a suggestion in the Times article that he favors one side in the current factional battle among Satmar Hasidim who are bitterly divided between two sons of the late Grand Rebbe Moses Teitelbaum.

“Nothing is further from the truth,” Abraham insists. “They are trying to turn it into a religious faction war. It won’t work.”


“Niederman, his people,” says Abraham, referring to David Niederman, the leader of the large social service group, United Jewish Organization, and an ally of Zalmen Teitelbaum. Niederman won’t talk to the press, but his allies make no secret of their distaste for Abraham whom they accuse of rooting for rival brother Aaron Teitelbaum, who resides in the Hasidic community of Kiryas Joel in Rockland County.

“Wrong,” says Abraham. “I have always taken the position that Satmar are big enough for two leaders; one here in Brooklyn, one upstate.”