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Trump Prevailed in Orthodox Williamsburg, Though Community Was Divided

By Gwynne Hogan | November 11, 2016 11:22am | Updated on November 14, 2016 8:49am
 Many voters in the Williamsburg's Orthodox neighborhood favored Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.
Many voters in the Williamsburg's Orthodox neighborhood favored Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.
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WILLIAMSBURG — The neighborhood's Orthodox Jewish community largely favored Donald Trump for president, though the community was divided in a voting pattern that closely resembled that of the rest of the country, Board of Election results show.

At the polling place at 215 Heyward Street, which tallies voters almost exclusively from the Orthodox enclave, Trump won six of eight districts with between 52 and 68 percent of the vote while Hillary won two districts both with about 60 percent of votes cast.

Parts of the Jewish community closer to Broadway went for Clinton, while areas more centrally located in the commercial and cultural heart of Orthodox Williamsburg along Lee Avenue sided with Trump.

"It looked like the rust belt. You have hardworking people, non-college educated, so they voted like rust belt people," said Samuel Stern, 37, a community activist and member of the Hasidic Satmar community, who's tracked the area's voting history on the last several presidential elections.

Stern ultimately chose Clinton, he said.

"[Trump's] unpredictable. I don't know what he stands for."

Rabbi David Niederman, the head of United Jewish Organizations, an umbrella of Orthodox communities in Williamsburg, also recently endorsed Hillary Clinton though not on behalf of UJO. Despite the vote he cast, he understood why many of the folks in his community opted for Trump.

"People are very upset and feel the pain of the working poor and the middle income who really fall between the cracks," he said.

Orthodox voter Esther Eigner, 28, said she'd sided with Trump, along with most people she knew.

"From the two Trump is more honest...He's more down to earth," she said, over the objections of her husband, who asked her not to speak, as the two walked down Lee Avenue pushing a stroller. "He's building buildings. He's not just talking the talk."

"Hillary really belongs in jail," she said. "[She] is full of bluff."

Other voters in the community said they'd picked Trump because of his business skills or because they felt they couldn't vote for Hillary Clinton because of her emails, Benghazi or her stance towards Israel.

Another Orthodox Hasidic voter, who said he didn't want to be named to protect his wife said ultimately she convinced him to vote for Clinton.

"My wife really felt that she couldn't go to sleep at night," he said. "The children, they all were really felt strongly that Trump should not become president. They were like really anxious about it."

Other strongholds of the Orthodox Jewish community — Crown Heights and Borough Park—also opted for Trump on Tuesday's election, according to a map of voter precincts districts earlier published by DNAinfo.