Mayors of New York City

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk


Three and One Half Jews


The mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, will be 64 years old in February of this year. A native of Medford, Massachusetts, he worked his way through Johns Hopkins University, from which he graduated in 1964 with a BS degree in electrical engineering. Thereafter, Bloomberg went to Harvard, where he earned an MBA decree.

His working career began in Solomon Brothers, a stock trading company on Wall Street. Starting to work in 1966, Bloomberg noticed that the methods used to retrieve information consisted of handwritten ledgers and of looking at old copies of the Wall Street Journal. He regarded these methods as truly archaic and therefore developed his own financial information company selling terminals to Wall Street firms. He made a fortune doing so and subsequently began a radio network, which today includes WBBR-AM in New York City.

In 2005 Bloomberg was ranked number 94 in the Forbes list of the 500 richest people in the world. Forbes reported his net worth at $5 billion. In view of all this money, Bloomberg decided to run for mayor of New York in the 2001 election, which he won on the Republican ticket although he had been a lifelong Democrat previously. His advantage in the 2001 election was his ability to spend heavily. He spent $73 million of his own money on the campaign by far outspending his opponent. Once in office, Bloomberg refused to accept the mayor's salary. He is working for one dollar annually.

In 2005 Mayor Bloomberg was reelected by a margin of 20%. Since the law prohibits a mayor for holding the office for more than two terms, evidently Bloomberg cannot be reelected.

Although a secular Jew, Michael Bloomberg has traveled to Israel in the company of a number of Orthodox rabbis and other Orthodox members of the Jewish community and has given his full support to the fight against terrorism.

Michael Bloomberg is known for having given millions to numerous charities. Evidently he sought political office solely for the sake of living in the limelight.

Ed Koch was born in 1924 in the Bronx, New York. Koch is a graduate of the City College of New York and of the New York University school of law. His B.A. degree was awarded him in 1981. During the Second World War he served as an infantryman in the United States 104th infantry division, landing in Cherbourg, France in September of 1944.

In 1966 Ed Koch was elected to the New York City Council and in 1969 he became a United States congressman from New York's 17th District. He served in that capacity until 1973 and continued in the 18th District until 1977. 

In 1978, Ed Koch became the 105th mayor of New York City. He served three terms until 1989. Today only two terms are allowed.

After his political career had come to an end, Koch practiced law full time but also became a commentator on politics in newspapers, radio and television. Together with his sister, he published a children's book called Eddie, Harold’s little brother, as well as 14 other books dealing mostly with his own life and with politics.

Abraham Beame was born in 1906 in London, England and served as mayor of New York from 1974 to 1977. During his administration the city was almost bankrupt but was turned around mainly because of his financial ability.

He sacked the city's workforce, froze wages, restructured the budget and succeeded in gaining several federal grants. He was defeated for reelection in 1977 by Ed Koch.

Fiorello La Guardia was born in 1882 and died in 1947. He was the mayor of New York from 1934 to 1945. Son of a Hungarian Jewish mother and an Italian Catholic father, he was raised an Episcopalian. For short time he lived in Trieste and Fiume, Italy and in Buda-Pest. After returning to the United States, LaGuardia worked as a translator while earning a law degree at New York University.

In 1914 the became deputy attorney general in New York. In 1916 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives. During the First World War La Guardia served as a commander in the United States Air Force. Then, during the Great Depression of the 1930s, he was elected mayor of New York City. Although he was a Republican, he also accepted the nomination of the American Labor Party and supported Franklin Roosevelt for president.

Despite his obvious Italian name, La Guardia, whose first name means “little flower”, seemed to belong to all ethnic groups at once. He had a Jewish mother, an atheist-Roman Catholic father and he spoke seven languages, including Hebrew, Yiddish, Italian and Hungarian.

La Guardia was responsible for creating a high school of music and arts in 1936, now called the Fiorello H. La Guardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts. A Pulitzer prize winning Broadway musical about his life is called Fiorello. One of the New York City airports is named after him.

Much more could be said about all of these 3 1/2 Jewish mayors of New York . All, however, have one thing in common. Unless Bloomberg breaks the pattern, they had no political future after serving as mayors of the capital of the world.

Shalom u’vracha.

Dr. Gerhard Falk is the author of numerous publications, including Football & American Identity (2005) &  Youth Culture and the Generation Gap (2005) with Dr. Ursula A. Falk.

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