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Nov 10, 2008 5:20 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Group files second opinion regarding proposed religious boundary

Nov 10, 2008 5:20 PM

In the latest legal twist regarding the fight to establish an invisible religious boundary in Westhampton Beach, a group opposed to its creation has filed a response with the village that attempts to discredit a legal response that supports the proposed boundary, called an eruv.

In spite of the legal jockeying in recent weeks, which comes months after the Hampton Synagogue first submitted an application asking the Village Board’s permission to create the eruv, neither the Sunset Avenue synagogue or those who oppose the boundary’s creation have yet to file a lawsuit.

If approved, the proposed boundary would permit Orthodox Jews to push and carry objects, such as wheelchairs and strollers, on Saturdays, their Sabbath, so that they can attend temple. The eruv would be demarcated with between 30 and 40 black plastic pipes that would be affixed to telephone poles throughout the municipality.

The synagogue withdrew its application for the eruv in May, after community opposition began brewing over the issue, with the original intent of re-filing it this fall. To date, the synagogue has not resubmitted the application.

On November 5, the Alliance for the Separation of Church and State in the Greater Westhampton Area submitted a formal rebuttal to the village, authored by constitutional attorney Marci Hamilton, regarding the eruv. The document was a written response to an earlier opinion filed by Robert Sugarman, who is working pro-bono for the Hampton Synagogue, that offers reasons why the Village Board should approve the symbolic boundary. Mr. Sugarman also represented the Tenafly Eruv Association in its successful battle to create a similar boundary in New Jersey several years ago.

Submitted to the village in late October, Mr. Sugarman’s legal opinion maintains that if the village trustees do not grant the synagogue a proclamation permitting the eruv’s establishment, they would be violating the civil rights of those who would utilize the boundary. His opinion was a response to Ms. Hamilton’s first opinion, which was submitted to the village in early October and also outlined reasons why the board should deny the synagogue’s request.

The most recent rebuttal states that the Hampton Synagogue’s opinion on the eruv “uses selective citation and misrepresentation of Supreme Court cases to argue that the Constitution permits and would even require the Village of Westhampton Beach to approve ... a proclamation.

“Mr. Sugarman’s reasoning should not be taken as a sound guide to the law in this arena,” the rebuttal continues.

The synagogue first submitted an application to the village for the boundary in February, and then withdrew it in May, stating that it would first educate the public on the request and re-file the application in the fall. Synagogue officials have not resubmitted the application and have offered no indication as to when they intend to do so.

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I don't know why I'm always amazed that the reporting by the SHP always misses the major point and the actual news. Instead of playing the same tired rhetoric about wheelchairs and strollers, (which notion has been dispelled by the profound lack of facts and documentation by the Synagogue) the substance of the recent release submitted to the Village by Professor Hamilton and Bruce Rosen shines the light on perhaps the most compelling reason for the Mayor and Trustees disengage from the eruv controversy. ...more
By Resident (42), Westhampton Beach on Nov 11, 08 1:01 PM
Yet again we see how gratuitous hatred influences people’s opinion. To the commenter above, there is absolutely no Jewish law and no Jewish group that would object to an eruv in Westhampton. Please prior to making uninformed statements become educated. Consequentially, yours is a straw man’s argument.
By samz (9), New York on Nov 11, 08 6:53 PM
Samz perhaps you should educate or acquaint your self with the facts before judging others. There is not only a group in Westhampton that objects to the eruv, they are organized and represent the vast majority of the Jews that utilize the Synagogue in the Village. While the number of Jews that do not object and would utilize the eruv can be counted on one hand and are the minions of the egotist Schneier. Have you been paying any attention to the JPOE? Do you know anything about the Village of Westhampton ...more
By Resident (42), Westhampton Beach on Nov 12, 08 6:50 AM
Bottom line is that an Eruv along with many other modern inventions IS a way that orthodox Jews using clever and distorted logic have been able to justify a way to avoid the "requirements" of their strict and non-evolving religion. Many of us modern Jews DO object to these devices. Judaism is not like the other major religions in adhering to ancient and inflexible beliefs other than for the small percentage who are Hasid and ultra orthodox. It is objectionable for them to be seen a represent the ...more
By (26), on Nov 12, 08 9:53 AM
Ms di napoli's columns represent an objective view of the ongoing controversy surrounding the Eruv. On the other hand the JPOE represent a bigoted group of people who claim that they are in need of "protecting" their homes and their community by opposing the Eruv. They are unfamiliar with how many of us will be able to utilize the eruv and what a difference this will make for the observant families and their guests who are upstanding members of the Westhampton beach community. They make all kinds ...more
By drbarry (1), westhampton on Nov 12, 08 5:37 PM
Resident: Please do not change the subject. You stated that “Some believe that an eruv does not alleviate the burdens imposed by Jewish law, but rather leads believers to violate Jewish law.” I challenge you to find one group or Jewish law that would negate an eruv in Westhampton. Go educate yourself prior to making such asinine statements. It is you who is so typical of anti-Semites/self hating Jews. There is no doubt that the objection to the eruv stems from anti-Semitism. There is no other ...more
By samz (9), New York on Nov 13, 08 4:05 AM
Nov 12, 08 9:53 AM:Please stay out of matters you know nothing about. An eruv is not a modern invention at all, as they were instituted thousands of years ago. An eruv only permits carrying in an area classified rabbinically as a public domain. The rabbinic prohibition to carry in these areas is based on the similarities between these rabbinic areas and biblically mandated public areas. The simple act of installing a string is sufficient because it marks the area as being different than the biblical ...more
By samz (9), New York on Nov 13, 08 4:06 AM
The reality is that an Eruv will essentially have no negative effect on anyone or anything. It is in fact viewed by many (mostly Jews), as an absurd way of getting around ancient religious rules just as are these new refrigerators that have a sabath timer to leave the light on inside so that the act of opening the door does not cause a TRUE believer to break the rule about turning on an electric light.
Part of the problem is the requirement that the Eruv be approved by local government or authority. ...more
By DasK (26), on Nov 13, 08 8:38 AM
drbarry and samz…
You’ve illustrated the pitfall here perfectly… if I had the time and space to explain that part of keeping the Sabbath holy is to make sacrifices and that using an eruv cheapens the Sabbath and Holidays, (it makes it look like a weekday). I again, will be someone who disagrees with the Schneier party line and must be a bigot, anti-Semitic and in my case a self-hating Jew. I think both you (if there actually are two of you and not just another shill of the Schneier minion)… ...more
By Resident (42), Westhampton Beach on Nov 13, 08 9:31 AM
The press coverage seems responsible but you folks - you are funny.
By Sag (54), Sag harbor on Nov 13, 08 12:07 PM
I reiterate, you do not comprehend the underlying reasoning for enacting eruvin. Eruvin are not loopholes at all. Eruvin are not viewed by people who actually know what they are talking about as a way around anything. Biblically, one would be allowed to carry in Westhampton even without an eruv. The proscription not to carry in areas such as Westhampton is strictly rabbinical. The rabbis were the ones who enacted the laws of eruvin in order to demarcate Biblically restricted areas. So it ...more
By samz (9), New York on Nov 13, 08 1:30 PM
How divisive
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on Nov 13, 08 4:57 PM
The observant Orthodox Jews of the Hamptons Synagogue and Rabbi Schneier seem to think that opposition to Eruvs is unique to this community - when in fact such opposition seems to accompany every proposed Eruv worldwide... read the blogs and articles out there. The Hampton Synagogue retained the services of a local Catholic attorney to first propose their Eruv to the Village of Westhampton Beach, a man who couldn't even pronounce it, "Erv," let alone describe the concept properly the first time. ...more
By WHB Oldie but Goodie (3), Westhampton on Nov 17, 08 11:48 AM
No the ferociousness and the language used is unique to Westhampton. The opposition notwithstanding their Jewishness are still anti-Semites. They just hate the Orthodox. I reiterate please stay out of matters that you have no idea about. There is no Orthodox group that would oppose an eruv for Westhampton so it is not a, "worldwide controversial issue to be settled for all Orthodox Jews." It is clear that you are only arguing these points to further your agenda.
By samz (9), New York on Nov 18, 08 11:43 AM
Samz… We are in agreement… “the ferociousness and the language used is unique to Westhampton”… what you fail to acknowledge is that ALL of the ferociousness and inappropriate language has come from Marc Schneier, his minion and stooges like you. When you say “There is no Orthodox group that would oppose an eruv for Westhampton”… No one has ever demonstrated that there is an Orthodox group, other than Schneier, his minion and stooges like you that would support an eruv. We Orthodox Jews of Westhampton ...more
By Resident (42), Westhampton Beach on Nov 18, 08 1:43 PM
If you are Orthodox, you are in denial. For starters, Jack Kringstein, the vice president of JPOE said that the eruv would change the community for the worse by bringing in unwelcome people. If that is not anti-Semitism what is (I could supply more incidents of virulent anti-Semitism regarding the eruv, but I am sure that you know of them very well indeed). I don’t care if he is Jewish he is a self-hating Jew. Moreover, I would bet that you are not Orthodox. No Orthodox Jew would oppose the establishment ...more
By samz (9), New York on Nov 18, 08 4:31 PM
Samz…Your comments are actually very funny. What Schneier, his minion and his stooges like you, don’t want either the gentile population, some of the reform Jews or especially the local authorities to know, is that the largest Orthodox Hassidic sect in the world stands actively opposed to eruvium. When Sam Nussbaum made his now famous statement that he had moved from his former home to our area because it was “too Jewish” what he didn’t say is that he moved from a Satmar neighborhood… where an eruv ...more
By Resident (42), Westhampton Beach on Nov 19, 08 8:02 AM
Could you elaborate on the new Shul on Dune Rd? Why is it not included in the proposed eruv? When did it open? Is it part of Hampton Synagogue or is it a separate house of worship?
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Nov 19, 08 9:58 AM

Services only run from Memorial Day to Labor Day... the website will be updated in the spring.
By Resident (42), Westhampton Beach on Nov 19, 08 11:33 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By samz (9), New York on Nov 19, 08 11:51 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By samz (9), New York on Nov 19, 08 11:57 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By samz (9), New York on Nov 20, 08 10:28 AM
As I mentioned previously please mix out of matters that don’t concern you. If you were actually an Orthodox Jew as you claim to be, you would know that what you are spewing is totally inaccurate. You keep missing the point; let me spell it out for you. No Orthodox group would oppose an eruv in Westhampton. You are erroneously conflating the Westhampton eruv with eruvin in Brooklyn which some groups oppose because they claim the size of the borough would make it Biblically proscribed. Westhampton ...more
By samz (9), New York on Nov 20, 08 11:30 AM
Who writes your stuff Sam, Norm Crosby?
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Nov 23, 08 12:17 AM
William Rodney - You don’t have to be a non-Jew to be anti-Semitic. Being anti-Orthodox is not any less odious. Ever heard of a self hating Jew?
By samz (9), New York on Nov 23, 08 2:41 PM
Gimme' a break Sam, please. How far are you going to take the name calling, especially of your own people?

I have a much simpler name for a person that is self hating - a nut. I do not think the people concerned about resolution of this issue are self hating or nuts - I think they are forward thinking.

So lighten up and have a good Thanksgiving - if you celebrate it.
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Nov 24, 08 11:27 AM
William Rodney - Exactly my point. How far are they going to take this name calling, especially of their own people. Stop this charade. Hiding behind the thin veil of Jewishness doesn’t disguise the bigoted language in use by the anti eruv group. “Protect our village from those who would cause harm.” This is anti-Orthodox which is just anti-Semitism by another name. If this language was used against any other religious group there would be a major outcry. Shame on all of you.

You’re ...more
By samz (9), New York on Nov 24, 08 7:54 PM