Governor Hochul: A Gift to the Jews

By Libby Post | December 21, 2023

New York has the largest population of Jews in the country. 1.77 million of us live in the Empire State; that’s a little over 9% of the state’s total population.

Since the October 7th massacre in Israel, many in the Jewish community continue to look to our political leaders for just that–leadership. In New York State, we don’t need to look any further on this eighth day of Chanukah than our Governor, Kathy Hochul.

I’m hard pressed to find a Governor who has been more committed to the Jewish community than Hochul. Over my close to 66 years in New York, I’ve heard a lot of lip service but not seen a lot of action. That has changed.

This Governor has a strong record of standing up for a woman’s right to choose, for protecting LGBT people with a strong emphasis on the transgender community, for speaking out against racism and hate. The events of October 7th and since have shown her commitment to fighting anti-Semitism as well.

She didn’t hesitate to speak out about the violence. When she joined the Jewish community in Albany that evening at Temple Israel, she said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. We are a good people and we’ll never be accused of doing nothing. . . So, we pray, we gather, we mourn, and we stand strong. Most importantly, we stand strong and resilient against these forces . .  but they’ll never prevail as long as we don’t cower to them. And that’s what the lesson of today is and tomorrow. It’s that resiliency of spirit that has been there in the DNA of Jews throughout history.”

Yes, we are a resilient people. We’ve had to be after being thrown out of multiple countries over thousands of years. We’ve had to be after losing 2/3 of our European population during the Holocaust—yes, 2/3 equals the six million lost under Hitler’s regime. We’ve had to be after hearing the neo-Nazi chant of “Jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville in 2017 and seeing the anti-Semitic images used on January 6th. We’ve had to be after enduring increasing violent hate crimes against Jews, synagogues, and our communities.

The Governor’s words and actions have added to our resilience. She went to Israel right after the attacks. She has continued to speak out and make sure state resources are put to use to protect our houses of worship, to combat hate speech online and to strengthen our collective response to say no to anti-Semitism.

The relative tranquility of Albany was shattered last Thursday, December 7th, when a gunman fired shots at Temple Israel (the same synagogue the governor spoke at just two months before) while purportedly shouting “Free Palestine.”

The following evening, many in Albany’s Jewish community gathered at Temple Israel for Kabbalat Shabbat Services. Governor Hochul joined us. Not only did she respond to the heinous act of violence that happened while children were in the temple’s early childhood program, but she also took action to protect our state’s Jewish college students in the wake of the congressional hearing on anti-Semitism on college campuses.

The Governor previewed the letter that was going out the next day to the presidents of colleges and universities across the State of New York saying calls for genocide made on college campuses are a violation of New York State Human Rights Law as well as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

I’ve said before that I don’t condone the politics of the Netanyahu administration. I want a two-state solution. I want the violence in Gaza to stop. But, my words can only go so far to affect change a half a world away. However, the words and actions of Governor Hochul has and will continue to affect change right here in New York State.

As we wrap up Chanukah, as eight candles burn bright—so does the commitment of Governor Hochul. Toddah Rabbah (that’s thank you in Hebrew).



Libby Post is the President of Communication Services, a boutique political communications firm that specializes in public affairs, lobbying and advocacy campaign. She is also the managing partner of Progressive Elections, an Albany-based political consulting firm that works for pro-choice, pro-LGBT rights candidates. She has a long history as an advocate and activist for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.