The biennial Rockland County Conservative Party convention, where leadership of the party is elected, will be held at Clarkstown Town Hall, 7 p.m., Wednesday, September 26. The date happens to be the second day of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, which runs from the evening of Tuesday, September 25 to the evening of Wednesday, September 26.
Chairman of the Conservative Party Mary Loeffler told the Rockland County Times that the scheduling was a mistake, but her political opponents believe it was an intentional move to reduce Jewish turnout at the convention. Challengers Nick Longo and his team have a significant edge in the Jewish community.
Longo, the former chairman of the party, said the move by Loeffler and the party’s executive director Ed Lettre was unconscionable. “I know this is a hotly contested fight, but to be so blatantly anti-Semitic is frightful. Throughout the country voter suppression in the presidential primary is all the rage, but stopping over 50 Jewish elected committeemen from attending is either a stupid oversight, blatantly anti-Semitic or simply just a tactic to retain power at all costs.”
Loeffler asked the Jewish community for forgiveness. She told the Rockland County Times, “I’m sorry there’s criticism. At the time we picked it, we thought Yom Kippur was the day before. We thought we were free and clear, and it was an oversight, I guess, on our part.”
She continued, “There was no malice on our part when we did it. We’re terribly sorry, we can hope that we can make it up, and have forgiveness. It is the Day of Atonement, so we would ask for forgiveness if we hurt anybody’s feelings. I am really upset about it, and that’s all I have to say.”
But Longo has countered that if Loeffler’s apology is sincere, then after the convention opens Wednesday evening, Loeffler can simply adjourn the convention until the following day.
Sign in for the convention is 7 p.m. and Yom Kippur does not officially end until approximately 7:30 p.m. After Yom Kippur officially ends, Jews traditionally have dinner, breaking a day long fast. Rockland County is estimated to be 30 percent Jewish.