But the divisions in several Hasidic sects have made once-simple calculations far more complicated, as shown by the preliminary results in the recent Democratic primary for the Congressional seat held by Nydia M. Velázquez, a district that embraces Brooklyn’s Hasidic enclave in Williamsburg.
The Satmar are the largest Hasidic sect in the United States, with its stronghold in Williamsburg, but with the death of Moses Teitelbaum, the Satmar grand rabbi, in 2006, their ranks have been sundered by a dynastic battle between two of his sons, Aaron and Zalman. And politics has become a favored way for each side to demonstrate its ascendancy.
They also contended that their votes were crucial in two other Brooklyn elections in recent years, that of State Senator Daniel L. Squadron and Councilman David G. Greenfield. The Aroynem, based in Kiryas Joel, a village near Monroe, N.Y., even claimed they were fast rivaling the numbers of the Zaloynim in their base of Williamsburg.
“Williamsburg is no longer under the complete control of the Zaloynim,” Rabbi Moishe Indig, a leader of the Aroynem, said in a statement issued after the primary by the public relations firm George Arzt Communications. “The Aroynem have just as much power and influence.”
The quarrel, which has little to do with any standard political issue like taxes or abortion, suggests that the succession disputes in Hasidic sects are starting to affect Hasidic power in politics at a time when there are dynastic conflicts within at least three of the largest sects, Satmar, Bobov and Viznitz.
Some political professionals contend that the disputes have weakened the effectiveness of the Hasidim. Imagine, they say, if the warring Satmar factions had joined together on behalf of, say, Mr. Dilan. Then the bloc vote would be as powerful as the myth has made it seem.
In the aftermath, disputes have cropped up at every turn, over who owns which schools, synagogues, summer camps and real estate. (The two groups both agree that Israel should not have established itself as a state until the coming of the Messiah, a belief that defines the Satmar sect.)