Teaneck Council Candidate Alan Sohn Accused of Sending Sexist Hate-Emails to TeaneckShuls Moderator

May 7, 2018 by

Ever since he first ran for Teaneck Town Council in 2014, Alan Sohn, one of seven candidates running for Teaneck Town Council in elections scheduled for May 8, has been considered by many to be the “token Orthodox Jew” supported by Barbara Toffler, a controversial Teaneck activist, whose antisemitic statements and extremist behavior have made her a divisive figure in the community.

On May 3, new information was posted by Ruthie Levi, one of the five volunteer moderators of TeaneckShuls, an invaluable Internet resource for the area’s Jewish community, in which she accuses Mr. Sohn of sending her “numerous hate emails over a period of years.”

This is potentially very serious because State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg has endorsed Mr. Sohn and his running mate, Charles “Chuck” Powers, who is Ms. Toffler’s husband.

Meddling for Benefits

Teaneck Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin castigated Ms. Weinberg for her “continuous meddling into Teaneck council elections,” which, he called “nothing but a show of force, a ploy used to bolster her power in Trenton.”

“With Senator Weinberg’s endorsements come financial benefits, the backing of her political machine, and her influence in Trenton,” he said.

The mayor, who is not up for re-election this year, expressed deep concern about Mr. Sohn’s “history of harassing women” and Mr. Powers’ “own pedigree of hate-mongering.”

Abusive Emails

One of the jobs undertaken Ms. Levi and her colleagues, on a rotating basis, is to determine which of the literally hundreds of emails received each day by the TeaneckShuls list can be allowed to be posted. Needless to say, those who are told that a post is “political” (a no-no) or a blatant advertisement for a business (also forbidden unless the list is holding one of its “Biz” weeks), are usually not happy.

Nevertheless, the list as a whole is very pleased with the thankless task undertaken by these volunteers. Ms. Levi says that although she has received other nasty notes from some TeaneckShuls members, the emails are usually followed by apologies and quickly forgotten.

Not so with the dozens of emails she has received from Mr. Sohn. His milder complaints accuse her of “hypocrisy,” “status-seeking,” “threatening,” and “bullying.” Others indulge in name-calling, such as one in which he announced that “the bitch is back; she’s at it again, and once your [sic] on her proverbial shit list there seems to be no way to get off.”

He has suggested that she has no right to be a moderator because she is “someone who is not part of our community and does not even live in the United States,” a statement which is blatantly false.

No Surprise

According to Mr. Hameeduddin, Ms. Weinberg was notified four years ago about Mr. Sohn’s behavior.

Nevertheless, he said, “Senator Weinberg sat silent, ignoring the desperate plea of someone who was attacked so viciously by her endorsed candidate, Alan Sohn.”

Asked by a reporter if, in light of Ms. Levi’s public accusation, the State Senator might re-think her endorsement, Ms. Weinberg requested an email with the details. After it was sent, Ms. Weinberg declined to comment further.

Wrong Candidates

Ms. Levi’s post concerning the abuse she has suffered from Mr. Sohn did not surprise some Teaneck residents.

“Many of the women in town know of this harassment [by Mr. Sohn],” wrote Debra Hoffman on the Teaneck mayor’s Facebook page, adding that, as early as 15 years ago, Mr. Sohn made “many disparaging remarks” about Ms. Levi, “from how she dressed in synagogue to her not saying ‘how high’ when he said ‘jump’ especially with regard to his wanting special treatment on TeaneckShuls.”

Although Mr. Hameeduddin recognized that, as a Teaneck resident, Ms. Weinberg has a “right to be involved in town elections,” he characterized her choice of candidates to endorse as “at best ill-advised and, in fact, undermine our township’s cohesiveness and wellbeing.”

“Those who watch council meetings witness Sohn…continuously inserting disruptions in [his] never-ending efforts to make council dysfunctional and the community divided. [This is] certainly not the type of candidate that our senator should be endorsing,” he said.

“1, 2, 3, 4. And out the Door”

Mr. Hameeduddin asked Teaneck voters not to “allow this meddling from Trenton to upend our town’s ability to function and create the wonderful community that we love and deserve.”

His candidates of choice are Deputy Mayor Elie Y. Katz, incumbent Gervonn Romney Rice, and running mates, James Dunleavy and Keith Kaplan.

“Vote lines 1, 2, 3, 4. And out the door,” he said.

S.L.R.

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