More than Meets the Eye – Tu’Bshvat with the Friedlander Group and High Ranking City Hall Officials

LostMessiah, April 8, 2016
Video from the 2014 Tu B’Shvat Seder attended by prominent “City Hall” officials

Friedlander Group, a Public Relations Firm Establishing Closer Relations with City Hall…. The Power of Shmoozing, and What else? 

“It’s not just a question of votes, although I’m sure in the back of every elected official’s head there’s the question of votes. But I think this community is always at their doorsteps, they’re always there with an agenda, they always have things that are important to them. They’re very outspoken and it makes sense for them to sort of make a house visit, so to speak, and to go to the source and go to the core and understand,” Lubinsky said. “I hope that they’re doing the same thing with all the other cultures and I’m sure they are.”

Since 2001, according to its website, The Friedlander Group:

“has provided government and public relations counsel to non-profit organizations as well as corporate and foreign entities, moving their organizations forward in ways they never thought possible.

We are a boutique political firm, based in New York City, specializing in government advocacy, public & media relations, and political event management.

In a global fast paced environment, the Friedlander Group stands out for its ability to effectively advocate on behalf of your needs utilizing a dignified approach, engaging in an ethical, fully transparent approach in its representation which guarantees the best possibility of success to the goals agreed upon by the client.

Our staff works side-by-side with clients as we utilize the best way to help advance their mission. Whether it’s a closer relationship to City Hall, assistance with navigating state funding, or a political event in Washington, DC we know how to reach the ears of relevant legislators.”

The Friedlander Group boasts representation of a wide range of very interesting organizations people and projects, not the least of which is the ability to advance “a closer relationship with City Hall.”

It would appear that part of the Friendlander Group’s panache comes from parties hosted at the home of Ezra and Gabi Friendlander. These parties include, an annual Tu B’shvat Seder at Ezra Friedlander’s home which according to the webiste, draws top City Officials

video from Tu B’shvat Seder 2014 attended by top city officials

According to the 2014 description of the Tu B’shvat Seder. To quote directly from the Friedlander Group’s webpage:

NYC’s Top Elected Officials Grace Sukkoth Celebration

What do
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer
NYC Public Advocate Tish James
Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson
Assemblyman Dov Hikind
City Councilman Brad Lander

Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte

Assemblyman David Weprin
have in common?

They all gathered in the Sukkoh of Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group to wish prominent members of the Jewish community a “Chag Sameach”.

 In attendance was also: Rabbi David Zwiebel, Executive VP Agudath Israel of America

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive VP, NY Board of Rabbis

Rabbi Steve Burg, East Coast Director, Simon Wiesenthal Center and Rabbi Michael Miller, executive VP of the Jewish Community Relations Council who delivered greetings to the assembled.

A side caption from the Tu B’Shvat Celebration of 2014 reads:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
with special guest NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

 In a news report on the Tu B’Shvat Seder of 2014, by Robert Lewis (Reporter, WNYC News) (quoted from the Friedlander Group website):

It may only be a minor Jewish holiday but some major New York City political leaders and their proxies visited a Borough Park apartment Wednesday night to celebrate and pay their respect to members of the influential Orthodox Jewish community.

The new City Council Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, state Assemblyman David Weprin, three other city council members and a representative of Mayor Bill de Blasio were just some of the heavyweights that packed into the small dining room of Ezra Friedlander, head of a government and public relations firm, to celebrate Tu B’Shevat – a holiday celebrating trees, fruits and rebirth, also called the New Year for Trees.

“They’re part of the community. They work for the community. They represent the community. So it’s only natural to welcome them, that we celebrate the holiday together and we thank them for what they’re doing on our behalf,” Friedlander said. “It’s one little family.”

 Wednesday, February 04, 2015  Tu B’shvat Seder for Top City Officials  – (video top of page)


“In what is now a tradition, top city officials including the Public Advocate of NYC Tish James, NYC Council Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras joined community leaders representing the gamut of Jewish organizational life at the home of Ezra and Gabriella Friedlander to participate at a Tu B’ B’Shevat seder – a unique opportunity share thoughts of renewal, nature and the environment.

Officiated by Rabbi Steve Burg of the Simon Wiesenthal Center explained the origins and customs of Tu B’Shevat. Tu B’Shevat, the 15th of Shevat is the day that marks the beginning of a “New Year for Trees.” “This is the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle.

We mark the day of Tu B’Shevat by eating fruit, particularly: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. On this day we remember that “man is a tree of the field” and reflect on the lessons we can derive from our botanical analogue.”

The gathering commenced with a heartfelt appreciation of the Jewish community by NYC Council Finance Chair Ferreras underscoring her recognition of the community’s contributions with an understanding of the holiday’s significance and how that impacts her interaction with the Jewish community a theme echoed by NYC Public Advocate Tish James a longtime friend of the community who also shared her feelings how serving the public is impacted by the lessons of renewal.

As the evening progressed Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, City Councilmembers Mark Weprin and Corey Johnson joined the celebration and shared their thoughts on Tu B’Shevat and how its teachings directly impact their duties as elected officials. City Councilmember Brad Lander who joins the celebration annually and represents the Boro Park portion where the seder took place called in on speaker phone to offer his thoughts.

“On behalf of Gabi and myself, we would like to thank all the participants and our elected officials who enhance Tu B’Shevat by reflecting together about the wonders of G-D’s world and how working together we can truly make this city a better place to live” concluded Ezra Friedlander who hosts the event yearly.

The de Blasio Connection:

Besides the fact that de Blasio’s top City Hall officials attended Friedlander’s private events, which we view as rather cagey, Ezra Friedlander has his own take (though likely going to have unanticipated consequences) on de Blasio and his connection to the ultr-Orthodox community.  Says Friendlander, ““I plan on having a lot of interaction with him once he’s mayor.”” We believe that there are a number of backroom deals underlying that statement.

The Friedlander Group, quoting Thursday, October 17, 2013, from an article  The Tablet, “

How Bill de Blasio Earned the Backing of Ultra-Orthodox Power Players in Brooklyn”


“But with Lhota trailing by 40-odd percentage points in the polls, many are already looking ahead to what a de Blasio mayoralty will have to offer. Some believe he will be the best mayor ever when it comes to having a grasp of the diversity of the Orthodox landscape and the pockets of need that exist in neighborhoods like Flatbush.

“Bill, for all practical purposes, is part of the Jewish community,” says Ezra Friedlander, an influential Borough Park political operative who handled Jewish outreach for de Blasio’s rival Christine Quinn during the primary.

De Blasio’s Orthodox allies are excited about his signature plans to raise taxes on the rich to fund universal pre-K and expanded after-school programs. “We do have tremendous poverty here, and that’s not recognized in the outside world,” says Goldenberg, who met de Blasio when he was working for Clinton. “I plan on having a lot of interaction with him once he’s mayor.”

Read full article online.”


3 thoughts on “More than Meets the Eye – Tu’Bshvat with the Friedlander Group and High Ranking City Hall Officials

  1. The biggest news here is that all those shtreimels allowed themselves to be videotaped sitting at a table with a woman who clearly made every effort to be modest but who, if one of theirs, would be thrown out for pritzus or for merely being a women or both.

    Did the local papers cover this event? What did they do with the uncomfortable fact that she is there looking like she’s having a better time than any Chassidic woman ever could at an event like that?

    But question; is it really a problem for elected officials to attend private parties organized by special interest groups? or is what you call ‘cagey’ the fact they they all showed up together like it was an official event?

    • Cagey is the fact that they all showed up together like it was an official event. In addition, it would be hard to argue, in our opinion, particularly since they went to this event every year, that they didn’t have a connection to one another. Friedlander boasts the ability to influence City Hall. And, no. The local papers don’t seem to have covered these yearly events.

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