Lakewood Vaad: “Hakoras Hatov to Lakewood’s Staunch Four Thousand” [EXCLUSIVE]

It’s been a while since elections, but the Lakewood Vaad is now opening up for the first time – and exclusively to TLS.

Many have been trying to understand the Vaad’s position in the recent elections, the calculations they made when endorsing Murphy for reelection, and their take on the fierce battle which took place in Lakewood.

“Now that the dust has settled, it’s a good time to reflect on the recent election and its down to the wire outcome,” the Vaad said.

“In the end, Jack won the frum vote by about a 60/40 margin, but lost statewide by 60,000 votes – a 3 percent margin.

Jack really seemed to be a nice guy, and did make extensive rounds on Lakewood’s streets. But that’s as far as it goes.  While that was less than the major polls predicated, it was a loss. And a loss is a loss, and in the end there is a tomorrow. Askonim will still need to battle against arbitrary Covid lockdowns and advocate for tens of millions of dollars for Yeshiva and Bais Yaakov bussing, in addition to a host of other crucial needs of the Kehilla.

Much has been written in both the frum and secular press about the outsized role Lakewood plays in New Jersey politics, and what the role and influence of the Lakewood Vaad has in that role.

In the end, four thousand plus Lakewood frum voters followed the Vaad’s recommendation to vote for Governor Phil Murphy over challenger Jack Ciatterelli, and for that they deserve a huge Yosher Koach.

Supporting the sitting Governor was not the Yossel in the Street popular choice, but it was the right choice, as I will attempt to explain.

So in the end what was gained by all the Machlokus and the barrage of Pahkevilin, robocalls, blaring sound trucks and the hock in the streets? I certainly don’t know, but I know what was lost. A very precious commodity, Achdus of a Kehilla. In the end the in-your-face Machlokus caused such confusion that most frum voters choose to stay home. On the one hand, not wanting to go against the wishes of Roshei Yeshiva, Rabbonim and long-time askonim. Yet still unsure which ‘side’ was right. A lose, lose all around.

In the end, and with much Siyata Dishmaya, the 40 percent that voted as the Vaad recommended will allow Lakewood’s officials and  askonim to pursue the vital interests of Kehilla without the sneers of a Democratic Governor, State Senate and Assembly. After all, candidates are human and being kicked in the teeth, especially in a close election, does not bode well for successful Askonius. Vhameivan Yovin.

You might be wonder why is a 40 percent showing a ‘win’? Because we all know that the frum community, which are the majority of the voters of Lakewood, are heavily predisposed Republican and have a strong conservative bent on social issues. With this demographic, 40 percent is a respectable showing. As an aside, and to our deep regret, there was very little difference in the left liberal views of either candidate on issue like assisted suicide, the toeiva agenda and natural right of the unborn to live.

If this was a popularity contest of the Vaad’s credibility, as some pundits suggested, the Vaad could easily have supported Jack, and walked away with an 80 percent vote of confidence. This would have spared the Kehilla a gut wrenching down-to-mat wrestling match and would have been a very safe bet in in Lakewood. But it would have violated our long-time principle, underlined by our Roshei Yeshiva past and present, to express Hakoras Hatov to those who went out of their way to recognize and accommodate Kehilla needs in very trying times. And it would have traded short-term chest thumping popularity for a reckless blindness of the Kehilla’s serious ongoing and future challenges.

On a scale of 3, we scored a 2.5 on our (somewhat fluid) criteria in supporting a candidate.

1) We showed a measure of Hakoras Hatov that was due to the Govornor
2) We backed a winner
3) On backing a candidate with values close to our Hashkafa, we drew a tie, as both candidates supported radical leftist social policies.

And let’s be Mispallel that as Kehiila we can all do better next time.

And thank you again, four thousand.”


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  1. If you would’ve put the same effort you put into getting everyone to vote for Murphy into getting true justice for Rabbi Eisemann, Murphy would’ve gotten 80 percent of the vote, with a turnout that would’ve far surpassed the numbers we saw.
    You can pat yourself on the back, but when I come upstairs, I could tell Hashem that I did what He really wanted.

  2. Amazing how the Vaad hasn’t learned their lesson since Corzine vs. Christie when the Vaad endorsed Corzine, and most of Lakewood voted for Christie AND CHRISTIE WON.

  3. Sorry to say , you totally missed the point . What a shame after all these weeks and you didnt get the message! You may be right, as to whom we should have voted for , but you completely lost a block vote of 20 to 40 thousand , that we could have had ,by uniting . Instead YOU “THE VAAD” made the PIRUD by ignoring the majority of our town. DONT BLAME THE OTHERS FOR MACHLOKES … ITS TIME TO SIT DOWN WITH YOUR COMMUNITY .INSTEAD IF TRYING TO RAM YOUR OPINION DOWN EVERYONES THROWT… There are ways to unite a Kehilah AND YOU FAILED… If your not going to learn from your mystake, next time will only be worse ..RETHINK !!!

  4. THE VAAD BACKED CORZINE INSTEAD IF CHRISTIE when it was clear to everyone whose hashkafa is more aligned with ours. So don’t sell me this nonsense that they didn’t endorse JACK cuz he was just as “left” as Murphy.

    It’s never about hashkafa. It’s about $$$$$.

    Some of us have moral priorities….

    • You’re right. It’s not about hashkafa. It’s about producing results, including help for people, money for Mosdos and more.

      The ballot box is not a place for Hashkafa, as per Reb Chaim Kaniyevsky. And nobody ever said it was.

  5. In the Future please vote for Republicans not Democrats everyone should listen to my advice . Everyone should vote for Republicans!!! Not the Democrats!!! We will win this time !!!

    • A couple of weeks go, the Lakewood Scoop reported about an incident in which a UPS vehicle knocked over a resident’s recycling bin, and apparently ruined it. You may want to inquire about that bin, as it may be available free without charge. The bin is likely damaged, but it probably is sufficient for puking purposes.

  6. Dear ‘Vaad’,
    Please introduce yourselves. Many in the kehilla are new to Lakewood or not affiliated with the yeshiva. Many people would be happy to hear the side of the Vaad if only they knew who they were listening to. An anonymous Vaad holds no credibility. So please, we want to know who the rabonnim and askanim that we are listening to are before we vote blindly and follow your recommendations.

  7. As a younger local balabus, I would advise the vaad do a better PR campaign before the election not telling us what to do rather explaining what we should do. As a ben Torah I want to follow the rabbonim, but if it makes no sense and seems to have personal interests I won’t follow it! I want to follow the vaad I just need explanation what the reasoning is to back the specific candidates.

  8. An unsigned letter is a Pahkivil, no different then the dozens of anonymous pre-election calls and pamphlets we were inudated with.

    If you want any credibility in future elections, especially with the new chasidish neighborhoods (with no connection to BMG), sign your names on all future endorsements.

  9. All this election showed is there is no Block vote in Lakewood. It showed future politicians that the promise to deliver Lakewood as a Block is meaningless.

  10. I and my wife both spent about half an hour voting for Murphy as the vaad asked us to do.But the local township officials that allowed and enabled all this overdevelopment and every person that goes on the roads suffer from sitting in traffic daily!!They rezoned way too much ,and allowed all of us to suffer ,that`s why I didn`t vote with the vaad for our local friends.Subconsciously I believe most people just had enough and don`t trust the local politicts .It`s ironic that we keep voting in the people that made us all lose way too much time in traffic every day.This is why the vaad lost it`s trust.It`s a crying shame.

  11. Hi,

    I think the vaad doesn’t get the full picture. They dont realize if we wouldnt have murphy and we would have a Republican there would not be lockdowns and you wouldn’t have a governor that is trying to lock up rabbi eisman for no reason
    And as another note jack vowed if he became governor he would help out in the r eisman case as opposed to governor murphy which said he cant help us.
    Also the vaad doesn’t you have a chiyuv of pidyon shvuyum think for a second if rabbi eisman was part of your family would you do something about it make believe it’s your brother your blood isnt better than his. He has a family that is going through gehinom on this world.
    As a side note when murphy came to visit he came to visit the askonim no the Lakewood community as opposed to jack came to hear and listen to the community.
    And I think if the vaad wont go and start listening to the community and just be involved in their own agenda they will lose the whole community in matter of years.

  12. Talk about the elephant in the room… they somehow neglected to mention the mandates and shutdowns that one side supports over the other. Not everything is about govt money for schools… especially in 2021. And no coherent argument was ever made for hakaras hatov either… not being as bad as NY isn’t a valid position.

  13. What I don’t understand is why every single person who is eligible in Lakewood to vote does not go vote.

    The town of Lakewood has between 50-60K eligible voters which actually WOULD have been enough to sway the election

    For the life of me I don’t understand why the Lakewood Vad and community is not 1000 percent focused on getting out the vote and why like every Rav and Rebbetzin are not speaking to their kehillas to tell them to go vote!

    There should be a weekly column in every newspaper in town free babysitting and transportation offered etc it’s not too late to prepare for the next election.

    And to all the choshevh balei batim in Lakewood who so kindly gave millions of dollars to BMG as a additional stipend wouldn’t they get a better ROI (return on investment) if they focused on a get to vote out operation and voter registration to get the state of NJ to actually give Lakewood the funding it deserves such as school vouchers etc we save the state tens of millions by not going to public school and we get free busing and lunches not a great deal 🙂

  14. One would think it’s a chiddush to say that Jack tied with murphy on social issues, given Jack’s record on defunding PP, promise to roll back to’eva education, and more.

  15. it’s also a chiddush to call murphy a “winning candidate”, given the very close margin of the victory that he eked out. A margin that sent democrats reeling across the board. Perhaps it was even close to a recount.

  16. Stop talking about the kehilla! You are interested in your own issues, not the regular person on the street. Do NOT call yourself a representative of the people of Lakewood. You do not represent me as I never appointed any of you to talk for me. You are as free to make as many recommendations as you would like, but do not compel me to listen to you by using the “daas Torah” line. “Daas Torah” knows what they are told by the Vaad; the input they get is slanted by the Vaad’s interests, not mine. If the Vaad continues to back their own interests without determining that they are in fact in-line with what the people they say they represent want, you will continue to see a dwindling of the Vaad’s influence (whomever they may be!)

  17. There’s not really any chiddushim here as everyone knew this already.
    As for backing a winner, that’s only after the fact as it was very close for a long time.
    My big question here (and probably everyone has this question on the Vaad), a matter of voting is based on opinion (as we know many rabbonim and Roshei Yeshiva were divided on whom to vote for). Why is the Vaad saying this is whom to vote for and even sending out robocalls saying not to vote for the other candidate? They should have just said “Based on our research and out of Hakaras Hatov, we RECOMMEND or ENDORSE.”

  18. That’s all very nice to work on more money for schools and BMG etc…. I’m not opposed to that but I’m opposed to my taxes being raised! For those of us earning a a salary of 400k around 40% goes to taxes!! We cannot live on what we have left after tuition and all the the costs of frum living and a large family. Not a single hand out not a penny of stimulus , no free school lunch’s, no ebt cards , healthcare that costs 35,000 a year plus 50$ copays. So costs are rising as are my taxes but not our income. So we vote for our taxes and monetary concerns. Because the vaad may be looking out for the “klall” but No one gives a hoot about us! Unless they want out money of course!

    • So 40% of your $400k goes to taxes, leaving you with only $240k a year to live on.
      I really feel bad for you. You must really be suffering. Because the extra you need to pay for your Sushi must be really taxing on your meager paycheck.

  19. Pretty well written. I’m living in Lakewood over 20 years and I did not vote for exactly the reasons stated above. Ideologically I liked everything Jack was saying but I ultimately knew deep down from experience that he was not going to win and the key to askonus is to back the winner unfortunately… But I could not bring myself to vote for Murphy either… Not to mention the fact that it was impossible to even figure out where to go to vote LOL

  20. To those of you who wrote up this letter…

    I will continue asking everyone to vote republican and will continue voting republican myself!

    Just because you and “THE VAAD” have an agenda to fill your pockets while foolishly claiming that Murphy was and will be great for us people won’t vote democrat…
    We ran away from Brooklyn because of all that nonsense and I belive that NJ will eventually become back republican.
    Democrats were never, and never will be good for the hard working middle class citizens no matter what they promise and lie about!
    Your argument of hakoras hatov or any of the other arguments about this horrible gov. Vs jack made zero cents and that’s exactly why people voted republican or didn’t vote at all.
    If Republicans wouldn’t release their numbers as long as all mail in ballots were counted jack would’ve won but the liberals knew how many votes were needed to win and just filled more ballots as needed!!!
    GUYS KEEP VOTING REPUBLICAN AND STAY STRONG! DON’T BE INFLUENCED BY THESE “ASKANIM” They don’t mean your good but only their pockets.

  21. Maskim 100%. It’s become a popular thing to have ur own ideas about something. Arguing with doctors about covid and in regards to politics too. People somehow feel by seeing a few pictures of a politician in bagel nosh they know all there is to know. ……

  22. So if Murphy was a sure loser we would have endorse Jack and הכרת הטוב would have not applied? So basically הכרת הטוב is tangible used as needed.

  23. Either way you look at it, if the man on the street is 99% convinced that the Vaad does not have our interests at heart (as basically every person I spoke to feels) then, best case scenario, you guys have a massive hasbara problem… There is a huge disconnect between you and your constituents that self-congratulatory messages like this sure ain’t fixing.

  24. It boils down to the Vaad realized they have no power they cant manipulate the kehillah to vote for their interests. B”h we are at a point where the kehillah has a brain for themselves. All the Vaad is doing is trying to manipulate you and blindfold you to just do what they want.we just need the rosh yeshivas to wake up as well get their facts from honest people not the vaad who has their unspoken agenda. Mazel tov!!!

  25. A very self promoting article that doesn’t address any of the issues the community has with the Vaad.

    Maybe they should be representative of the community at large and consider everyone’s interests..

    When was the last time there was a town meeting to discuss any issues???

  26. If more then 5% of this town would even know who is on the Vaad would be amazing. But they don’t. You can’t stay anonymous , members pass away and no one is added. Showing up once a year for elections won’t work. There is a huge disconnect between the 20k+ local families and the Vaad.

    To show up, pat yourself on the back and not acknowledge your shortcomings is sorry to say tone deaf. The Vaad acknowledged years and years ago that they need to evolve. They didn’t. But at least have some humility and address what people aren’t happy about.

  27. I certainly respect your position but it is extremely short sited.

    The work of the askanim to get funds for schools and keep them open during Corona is undoubtedly tremendous, but at what cost?

    With the new woke democrats we forgo on our rights to use separate bathrooms at target, (something I once experienced under Obama) to see justice in our community served, and to be subject to the liberal filth that is slowly permeating all of our lives. And who can forget the 2nd highest nursing home death rate second to Cuomo??

    I would gladly keep my kids home for extended periods and be Moser nefesh another few dollars so that we elect a governor who is morally sound. Sorry.

  28. Shame this was not communicated earlier as I would have voted the Vaad’s endorsement. As for the OE argument – I don’t know why I got caught up with emotions thinking Jack would be better off but thinking back there’s now way a candidate would be able to follow through on a pardon if it was a campaign promise!

  29. One of the strongest reasons this letter asserts to vote for, or against, a candidate is their social stances. The conversation needs to be, not that they are both bad social choices. Rather, to what extent do the social positions they take, make a difference on the position they wish to attain. For example, abortion, and marriage are rights now asserted as Constitutionally protected by the Federal Constitution. Even if a State official were to take a contrary stance, they have no power on the Supreme Court of The United States.
    Now the question needs to be a different one: what is the hashkafa of a politician that takes a public stand contrary to Torah values. I do not assert it makes no difference. I merely assert the underlying question is different. Once the question is merely more symbolic (again this may be important as well) as opposed to a material difference, the impetus to vote for someone you disagree with on a moral level may change, if the other factors this letter asserts holds sway with you.
    Bottom line, in many areas of political discussions, people are just unaware of the actual differences politicians can and cannot do in the positions they seek to attain.

  30. Dear Lakewood Vaad or whoever you are (no name to me is not worth too much),

    Your ignorance and pride are clearly noticeable. Why did you leave out the suffering middle class? All you elitist think about is yourself and how much money and honor you can squeeze out for your own selfish benefits. Why would I listen to A) a person I don’t know, not even by name? B) a person who doesn’t care about my personal financial struggles, especially when it comes to taxes etc…?

    Please name yourself and please tell us how you have helped the suffering middle class!!

  31. If you want to avoid Machlokes and keep the Kehila unified WITH you, and not AGAINST you – You must address their worries and concerns prior to the elections, not after the dust has settled in.
    A transparent statement from the VAAD explaining their choice of candidate and signed by real people, could have gone a long way.
    All this letter is saying is: “You see (in hindsight)? We were right! Look, Murphy ended up winning by a hairline. Therefore, trust us in the future and stop fighting.”
    Sorry, I don’t think that makes for a compelling argument.
    Hope the VAAD could do better next time.

  32. I hate to say it, but this letter cannot be further from the truth.
    1) when trying to justify Murphys values they are extremely vague and incorrect. (I will admit that Jacks values aren’t perfect but definitely plenty better then Murphy.)
    2) They could’ve swayed the election to have made it close enough to call for a recount and possibly have Jack win. So you could’ve easily backed another winner other then Murphy
    3) you can’t use hakaras hatov as an excuse to allow horrendous rules come to the state (we all know it’s going to happen and if you don’t believe me then wait a few months)

    All in all the vaad very possibly has their own agenda(I can’t say for certain since it can just be mere stupidity). I really hope they look into possibly replacing or voting to replace the vaad. We need change in lakewood.

  33. A letter from “The Vaad” signed by whom?
    I am not advocating for any candidate nor commenting on the content of the letter. But a letter without a name is a sign of being spineless.

  34. In your article, you mentioned that maybe people voted for a specific candidate due to the toeiva agenda, hoping that the real winner will get rid of this agenda once and for all. Many years ago when there were serious issues pertaining to idol worship, the Rabbis prayed and Hashem accepted their prayers. It’s a good thing that those Rabbis prayed and prayed and they didn’t wait for the elected officials to take care of the issue.

  35. Is ‘Va’ad’ a first name or a last name? Who is this ‘Va’ad’ that spoke?

    Who told them Achdus is an ideal? All voting for the same candidate is not Ahavas Yisroel, and everyone following the same opinion is not Achdus. There is no ideal that we should all vote the same way. To the contrary, keep all politicians on their toes, that they shouldn’t be able to deal with a couple of people and ignore the rest.

    FWIW, I voted for Murphy, and I hated the barrage of ‘religious’ (not Torah) reasons to hate Democrats. But this article makes no sense to me.

  36. One thing is clear, Daas Torah means listening to your Rav, no matter what you may think. To say the Rabbanim were slanted due to what they were told by the Vaad denies the inherent Siyata Dishmaya Daas Torah has. Instead of deciding these klal issues on your own, ask your direct Rav what you should do. The gaavah in some of these comments is sickening.

  37. Here is a list of the Vaad members from 4 years ago. I’m not sure what has changed since then.

  38. Beautifully written.
    However, I disagree with the premise of the Vaad that this election was a referendum on the Vaad’s popularity. It was about kitchen table issues, such as taxes, inflation, and overall overreaching of the democratic party. The hope for many voters was that he will realize that he was given a platform to counter President Biden and the democratic party. The Vaad was just unable to connect with the typical Lakewood voter and persuade us to vote for their preferred candidate as we feel that they are removed from our individual needs and do not reflect the greater diverse Lakewood population. As soon as the Vaad can prove to us that they are not another special interest group they will regain our respect.

  39. @lakewoodvaad, the machlokes in this town was around long before elections. As a kehilla, we have never been more separated. Perhaps we should work on unifying the community, not just for elections but to enhance quality of life for everyone.

  40. What this writer and commentators did NOT mention is that we (the Republicans and bnei torah) actually won! The entire Democratic party got a wake up call across the country. True, Virginia got flipped but NJ sent them shaking. They now realize they can’t do what they want. And in that sense, WE won because we were part of it and the VAAD lost….No, Mr. Vaad, I will not vote for people to raise our taxes by many millions so that BMG will make one million. I will not dig my own grave ….and thankfully the average “yossel on the street” (as you disgustingly call them) was smart enough not to listen to this cowardice – after the fact – message. Shame on you.

  41. This is a statement from the Vaad ?
    Not on a letterhead & not signed.
    That is mamesh a bizayon !!
    And written on an eight-grade level and not proofread.
    Just shows how you dont respect the Hamoin Am.
    Working or learning.
    Rich or poor.
    The Gemara in several places (L’moshol 4th perek in Megillah) discusses the Tuvei Ha’ir. Sorry, you are NOT that.
    Such a Chutzpah.

  42. Hard to believe this is real and not a spoof. Nothing was mentioned about the 35,000 registered voters who didn’t vote. How can the askanim represent people if they don’t vote? Nothing was mentioned about the fact that there is no get out the vote campaign in Lakewood.

  43. You do know that NJ upgraded their voting machines to electronic Dominion machines running Smartmatic (which are connected to the internet) just before the last Presidential election. Take a hint. Oh, BTW the $830M to do it was allocated by, ahem, who will charge you, your kids and your grandkids with tax hikes.

  44. I think the letter writer was expecting more Thank you’s. Seems like the response was quite the opposite. Not to worry, he will convince himself that the people in the comments section, are the rabble rousers and complainers. Just goes to show how out of touch they are.

  45. Don’t vote for Democrats and we all know the truth and we will end the Democrats for once for all!!! The VAAD don’t have the power over our freedom of votes. I want you all in Nov 2022 to vote for Republicans!!! Let show the VAAD they are wrong ! We cannot allowed our lives to be destroyed!!! BMG need stop endorsing the Democrats!!!

  46. No chiddushim here. Including the unbelievable deragatory tone of the letter.

    I question if this letter was indeed written by the vaad and with the endorsement of its Rabbinical board and ‘Daas Torah’.

    For shame.

  47. I don’t see a whole lot of division in Lakewood. I have lived here a long time, and know a lot of people, and frankly, no one I know supported Murphy.

    The 4,000 votes that Murphy got , far less if you only count the ones from our community, were from the naive and newcomers, who actually think the Vaad endorsement means something.

    The Vaads primary accomplishment was causing people to be conflicted and to stay home, thus destroying the Lakewood block vote and diminishing it’s influence.


  48. The Vaad: “vote for Murphy cuz we said so.”

    Everyone:”but what about taxes, rt 9, vaccine mandates, bussing, social issues etc?


    Then you wonder why 20K Lakewood voters were שב ואל תעשה עדיף

  49. I’m in Lakewood over 48 years and when Lakewood was still small and Yeshivish I went along with the VAAD, but for many years now I started voting with my own sechel and it’s Republican all the way, never mind what the VAAD says. I don’t like the way the town has grown and what the builders and investors have done here and I don’t know if the VAAD is to blame or not, but I am old enough to make up my own mind and vote for whom I want.

  50. It’s amazing how the Vaad blames the lack of achdus on everyone but themselves. Can we just make a new vaad? They keep on mentioning Daas Torah, but the Rabbonim and Roshei Yeshiva I spoke to all said to vote for Jack.

    • Why do we need a vaad at all? Eventually whomever is on the Vaad will have conflicting interests that will taint them. If you can’t understand the issues yourself ask a friend who does.

  51. If so many people are disappointed with the Vaad, why not create a group of elected representatives to supersede the Vaad? You could then make your own research and recommend your best candidates to your constituents. No one is stopping you.

  52. An anonymous interview doesn’t deserve a response. If you don’t have the courage to put your name on your statement then don’t complain when no one listens to you on election day.

Comments are closed.