(JTA) – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has long prided himself on his strong relationship with the Jewish community – a relationship he dates back to his father’s three terms as governor. But in a story about Cuomo’s political career, The New York Times Magazine reported Cuomo’s frustration with a campaign appearance at a Sukkot event during his run for attorney general in 2006. “These people and their f***ing tree houses,” Cuomo said to his team, according to The Times. A spokesman denied the comment. “His two sisters married Jewish men, and he has the highest respect for Jewish traditions,” the spokesman said.
Cuomo’s relationship with the Jewish community has largely been positive for most of his career. But his ties with the Orthodox Jewish community hit a rough patch in the fall when Cuomo ordered tightened restrictions on a number of Orthodox neighborhoods with heightened COVID test positivity rates during a major surge in cases. Coincidentally or not, those restrictions were announced during Sukkot. One Orthodox advocacy group, One Orthodox advocacy group, Agudath Israel, even sued Cuomo, claiming that a rule restricting attendance at religious services in those neighborhoods was a violation of religious liberty. The Supreme Court agreed with Agudath Israel in November and the rule eventually was amended.
Main Photo: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo talks to reporters in Albany at his daily news conference about the coronavirus crisis, March 29, 2020. (Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo)