When Dr. Joe Frager calls and says that he wants us to meet him for dinner in the city there’s no need to probe to deeply into the reason. Frager is a busy medical doctor who utilizes all his time outside of his office to advance the cause of Israel and enhance the security of the Jewish state.
I kid Joe every now and then about the difficulty of running the state of Israel from the borough of Queens but in reality its close enough to JFK Airport so that he can hop over to the Middle East and literally a few moments advance notice. Amongst the things that I admire about the 57-year-old physician is his remarkable vision and seemingly endless energy.
So just before Sukkos we met in the city with two government officials from Bulgaria who were in New York during the week that the United Nations General Assembly held their annual meetings. Joe Frager has been to Israel with former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, he’s helped to arrange the summer 2011 Glenn Beck extravaganza and most recently this past summer accompanied congressional candidate Dan Halloran on a 3-day trip to Israel.
So when Joe said that he wanted us to meet Bulgarian officials I almost immediately agreed but still had to ask why Bulgaria. Well, the reason is a combination of the simple and the complicated, I suppose as most international relationships with overlapping interests and agendas are wont to be.
We were meeting with two members of the Bulgarian parliament with one of those attending being the chairman of the Order, Law and Justice Party, Yane Yaniv. Now Mr. Yaniv does not speak any English so he is accompanied by an interpreter. It is a little difficult to adjust to the cadence or the flow of the conversation. We talk or express ourselves as usual and then wait for the interpreter to repeat what we said in English to Mr. Yaniv and his colleague. They respond in Bulgarian and then we wait for the man doing the translating to relate to us the Yaniv response in English.
After a few minutes I guess you do get used to the tempo of the exchanges. One of the advantages to meeting with people who do not speak the same language as you is that you can speak freely amongst yourselves about what subjects you would like to discuss.
The common interest that we have, and the personality that brought us and the Bulgarians together, was Congressional candidate and current New York City Council member, Dan Halloran. Halloran who I have only met for the first time a few months ago is quite an involved and charismatic personality. He’s running as the Republican candidate in what is stacking up to be a very close race with Democrat New York State Assemblywoman, Grace Meng.
The district which is the old but redesigned traditionally Democratic area was represented by Gary Ackerman who served the area in Congress for over thirty years. The district is an interesting ethnic mix that winds its way through several very heavily Jewish populated areas. The Jews in the area who generally lean to the right on issues like Israel and the US economy have a mysterious proclivity to consistently vote personalities like Mr. Ackerman who traditionally lean to the left on these very same issues. More in this weeks 5TJT.