Mayoral Debate Slated for Erev Yom Kippur



The only scheduled Philadelphia mayoral debate is slated to be aired by Fox29 on Erev Yom Kippur, and challenger Karen Brown is blaming Mayor Michael Nutter for the timing.

"I know it's Yom Kippur. My ex-husband is Jewish. My kids are half-Jewish," said Brown, a former Democratic committeewoman who earlier this year switched parties to run for the city's top job as a Republican.

Brown, who said she had hoped to have as many as five debates with the mayor, said she had pushed to have the segment shown earlier in the week and closer to prime time.

Instead, the half-hour debate was taped at the Fox studios on Oct. 4 and is scheduled to be shown Friday evening, Oct. 7, at 10:30 p.m.

Brown contended that Nutter wanted the debate to be seen by as few viewers as possible to help maintain the appearance that he doesn't have a serious challenger.

Sheila Simmons, Nutter's campaign manager, said the mayor's camp had no control over when the program would air and simply accepted an invitation to participate. Simmons said she was told by Fox officials that the debate would be replayed at a later date, but apparently that won't happen.

Claudia Russo, a spokeswoman for Fox, said that starting early on Friday, the station will make the program available for streaming at Russo said she couldn't provide comment or insight into the debate's scheduling.

In addition to the web, there is also the DVR option of recording the debate and watching it after the holiday.

Most Orthodox rabbis rule this is acceptable, though a few have opposed the practice, according to Rabbi Yonah Gross of Congregation Beth Hamedrosh in Wynnewood.

Myles Gordon, a member of Congregations of Shaare Shamayim in Northeast Philadelphia who, in the past, has organized several candidates' forums at the synagogue, said he doesn't have a DVR and thinks it's a shame to air the match-up on the most holy day of the Jewish year.

"Observant Jews will be fasting and praying for forgiveness on this High Holy Day and will be unable to view this important event," Gordon wrote in a letter to the Jewish Exponent.

"I hope they reconsider and reschedule. If not, I will unfortunately have to forgo voting for either candidate."


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