Satmar Rebbe: Trumpism has infiltrated Judaism, twisted many minds

The Grand Rebbe's words came two days after the US midterm elections, during which Democrat Kathy Hochul became the governor of New York state, beating out Jewish Republican Trump ally Lee Zeldin.

Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, Satmar rebbe in Kiryas Joel (photo credit: REUTERS/DARREN ORNITZ)
Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, Satmar rebbe in Kiryas Joel
(photo credit: REUTERS/DARREN ORNITZ)

“Trumpism has infiltrated the Jewish camp and twisted so many minds,” Satmar Grand Rebbe Aron Teitelbaum said in a beginning-of-semester address to Satmar Yeshiva students in Kiryas Yoel, New York.

The rebbe's words came two days after the US midterm elections, during which Democrat Kathy Hochul won the New York governership, beating out Jewish Republican Trump ally Lee Zeldin, who had very strong support among New York’s haredi voting population. She had been acting governor since August 2021 after previous governor Andrew Cuomo resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment.

According to Satmar Headquarters on Twitter, the rebbe blamed many in his community for being involved in “Trump meshigas,” or madness.

“When we think of Trumpism, it’s so antithetical to Judaism and it infiltrated our Jewish camp by a gang of hacks who raised their heads,” he said, according to a translation from Rabbi Meyer Labin on Twitter.

Satmar Hasidic Jews await the arrival of Grand Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum at a mass gathering in the Brooklyn borough of New York December 2, 2015.  (credit: DARREN ORNITZ / REUTERS)Satmar Hasidic Jews await the arrival of Grand Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum at a mass gathering in the Brooklyn borough of New York December 2, 2015. (credit: DARREN ORNITZ / REUTERS)

Tech versus Torah

He specifically singled out the use of modern technology as a distraction from Torah and the ultimate cause of "Trump meshigas" in the community. "Those who are connected to WhatsApp [as opposed to Torah] – that’s where it’s coming from,” he said.

Teitelbaum lamented the viral nature of the “Trumpist” school of thought, saying that those involved are “spreading incitement and are unfortunately successful in brainwashing large parts of our communities. People can’t think straight. It’s very painful and I was trying to keep quiet about it until now, because I realized that there is no one to talk to.”

The rebbe has not always come out on the side of the Jewish political Left, although his views on technology have remained consistent over the years. He has strictly forbidden his followers to own computers (except for dire circumstances) or smartphones.

He is firmly opposed to Zionism and, according to a 2013 Ynet article, referred to the proposed draft of haredi (ultra-Orthodox) men into the Israeli army as “a decree worse than the annihilation of the Jewish people.”