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Aug 23, 2011 11:17 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Group Wants A Say Regarding Proposed Religious Boundary

Aug 24, 2011 8:29 AM

While discussing strategies in which to block the eruv on Sunday, one angered resident yelled: “Get rid of the rabbi!”

Other JPOE members said the problem is that Mr. Schneier makes all of the synagogue’s financial decisions unlike with other temples in which members are involved in those discussions. And others, including Mr. Sheiffer, said another strategy to undermine the push for the eruv is to try to encourage members of the Westhampton Beach synagogue to defect. “If we can empty the temple, all this will end,” Mr. Sheiffer said.

Mr. Sheiffer kicked off Sunday’s meeting by offering a time line of the contentious issue, which has elicited passionate debate since Mr. Schneier first applied to Westhampton Beach Village in 2008. He later withdrew his application and, last year, the EEEA picked up the baton. The group secured letters from both Verizon and LIPA, which own the utility poles, granting them permission to install the lechis but were blocked by village and town officials from proceeding. Attorneys representing Westhampton Beach, Quogue and Southampton Town have previously stated that the lechis would violate their respective sign ordinances.

In January, the EEEA sued the three municipalities, alleging that its request was denied because elected officials are discriminating against Jewish people. That litigation is still pending. In April, the group filed its request seeking the preliminary injunction to establish the temporary eruv.

“The judge is now considering it and we are awaiting his decision,” Mr. Sugarman said about the preliminary injunction.

Meanwhile, Estelle Lubliner of Westhampton Beach, one of the founding members of the Hampton Synagogue, is awaiting her day in court. Ms. Lubliner, who attended Sunday’s meeting and is passionately opposed to the eruv, said she objects to the fact that her name was brought up in the ongoing court proceedings. She noted that she was never given an opportunity to respond.

Donations were also requested of the JPOE membership on Sunday. Mr. Sheiffer said the group needs to raise approximately $50,000 to cover its legal costs.

“We are in an uphill legal fight, but we can do it,” he said. “We want to preserve the secular culture in the community where we reside.”

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This, to me, foreshadows the battles taking place over the Kiryas Joel community in upstate New York, which the New York Times has written about extensively. Kiryas Joel grew faster than any other community in New York State between 2000 and 2006 -- and was named "the poorest place in America" in 2011. The Times has lots of great reporting on this for anyone who's interested.
By Tay (35), Hampton Bays on Aug 23, 11 12:19 PM
i have no dog in this issue, but you cant push a stroller or wheeelchair without the eruv on sundays?

Can you carry your kids? can a person push their own wheelchair? im being serious.

i understand refraining from work, etc, but what religious purpose is served by prohibiting people from minding their kids, elders and infirm?
By tm (174), mtk on Aug 23, 11 12:41 PM
It's up to the courts. The law is the law. JPOE is irrelvant. Hopefully a ruling will take place shortly.
By Steven (113), Westhampton on Aug 23, 11 4:58 PM
can you please extend the eruv to the canal in hampton bays? we could use some help with property values and half the town doesn't pay for their kids to go to school anyway since they don't have u.s. citizenship.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Aug 23, 11 5:27 PM
Anybody who lives in a house pays real estate taxes; anybody who buys anything pays sales tax. How does citizenship factor into paying for education?
By VOS (1241), WHB on Aug 23, 11 11:59 PM
We can't have a nativity scene on public property, kids can't pray in school, a minister or other religious person can't lead a benediction before graduation, why is this eruv even being considered? Seperation of church and state should be for all of us! As abhorant as the supreme court's decisions have been, the law applies to ALL ! No special of preferential treatment for a specific group.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Aug 23, 11 5:35 PM
I bet my bottom dollar if this were about praying in school you'd fight like he'll to make it happen. We have all read your hateful, bigoted, arrogant rants on every subject under the sun. You have about as much credibility on this issue as - I will not even go there. And now you and all of your bigoted, hypocrite friends can pile on and spin your perverse brand of reverse psychology, but your trail of comments reveal the truth about your deep hatred for any person not as incurious and dimwitted ...more
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Aug 23, 11 6:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
Westhampton Beach *does* place a nativity scene on public property. It's right there on the Village Green.
By AvrahamB (1), Westhampton Beach on Aug 24, 11 11:09 AM
Thou shalt not use public property, for the private use of a religious sect.

I think that was on one of the tablets that shattered...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 23, 11 8:16 PM
There should be an eruv around all of Long Island. That would solve this issue once and for all. Expand the boundries and make it insignifcant.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Aug 23, 11 9:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
to fcmcmann:

You speak of "ranting"? So far, in this thread, you have an exclusive.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Aug 23, 11 9:34 PM
Defending one of your own, eh, HH?
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Aug 24, 11 8:30 AM
“We are against one man with a phony reason for trying to change the secular nature of our village for his own financial well-being.” ......

WOW, that is some statement..........
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Aug 23, 11 10:53 PM
I agree Big, and I believe it's against the law to try and exclude a group of people based on their religious practices. You can be against the Eruv (using public property for religious symbols, etc.), but working to keep Orthodox Jews out of Westhampton Beach is a much more serious matter. I wouldn't be surprised by additional law suits and the Justice Department's involvement..
By Steven (113), Westhampton on Aug 24, 11 8:59 AM
1 member liked this comment
On target, Steven. This is not about an Eruv (which is basically INVISIBLE) but it is about keeping an entire group of people out of town. Where are all the "big government" whiners now?
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Aug 24, 11 9:21 AM
to fcmcmann:

Oh, dear. Now you have gone and insulted bigfresh.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Aug 24, 11 10:45 AM
Let's document for a minute:
People who send their kids to private school can apply for an exemption - and that applies to everyone, Jewish or not, religious or not. And school taxes are only a small portion of property taxes and all other forms of tax that all Americans pay.
Rabbi Schneier has nothing to do with the eruv proposal. It's a group of residents, both year-round and summer, who own property, pay taxes, and have the right to fight for an eruv.
JPOE slipped up. They exposed ...more
By yaldani (1), Westhampton Beach on Aug 24, 11 11:58 AM
1 member liked this comment
I'll probably get hate mail for this, but I feel the belief in an omnipotent, omnipresent "God" is antiquated, primitive, and irrational.

Speaking from the point of view of an Agnostic, I feel than no organized religion "has it right", and to impose individual religious views or practices on the general public is not only unconstitutional, but unwarranted, and simply plain rude.

If you can't follow the rules of your religion, pass an amendment, or convert/abandon if for a belief ...more
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 26, 11 6:07 PM
Is everyone bored?
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 27, 11 2:56 AM
Although I understand hesitation on the part of anyone unfamiliar with Eruvin to embrace the idea that these structures by no means interfere with or infringe on other peoples beliefs or traditions. I cringe at the myriad of comments I see written across the web proclaiming the Eruv to be some kind of "loop hole." The comments are born from at best ignorance and at worst, some kind of fear or intolerance. In fact, the law governing carrying objects in public/private domains is one of the most complex ...more
By dnz (1), woodmere on Sep 9, 11 8:19 AM
1 member liked this comment
All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry.

~Edgar Allan Poe.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 23, 11 4:58 PM