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Simcha in the Senate

Binyamin Rose, New York

As a yeshivah bochur it wasn’t easy to sit still, yet in the past five decades New York State Senator Simcha Felder has learned about taking his energy and spirit of selflessness into public office to help others. Whether it’s going to bat for his Jewish voters or Asian constituents, Felder always keeps his eyes focused on the needs of his district.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Simcha Felder is a study in contrasts. He was an unruly yeshivah bochur with little patience for learning, but sat tight long enough to earn semichah and a master’s degree in business. Though he admittedly lacks zitzfleish, he devoted his early career to the most sedentary of professions — auditing. He ran for New York State Senate as a Democrat in 2012, then days after he won the election, decided to caucus with the Republicans — for all intents and purposes defecting to the other side. He said just one word: “Here” — on the floor of the New York State Senate in his first year in office — and then only because he had to answer to a roll call. Yet when impassioned by a cause, he can unleash as fiery a speech as any skilled orator.  Despite the forces that tug him in disparate ways,SimchaFelder, at age 57, clings to one thread of consistency — his spirit of selflessness and desire to utilize his position in public office to help others. 

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