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Nov 3, 2010 11:24 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Letter Suggests Synagogue Had Sights Set On Larger Religious Boundary

Nov 3, 2010 11:24 AM

The Hampton Synagogue appears to have been considering an even larger symbolic Jewish religious boundary, known as an eruv, than it originally proposed for Westhampton Beach Village in 2008, according to a copy of a letter sent from an attorney to the house of worship in March.

Months after withdrawing its application with the village two years ago, officials with the Sunset Avenue synagogue apparently asked a Manhattan law firm to also investigate the bylaws of both Quogue and West Hampton Dunes villages, as well as Southampton Town, for reasons still unclear.

But Marvin Tenzer, the president of the East End Eruv Association—the non-profit organization that has been working to establish the larger symbolic boundary—adamantly maintains that the Westhampton Beach synagogue does not have a hand in his current push to establish the larger eruv. The East End Eruv Association is looking to create one that would encompass both Westhampton Beach Village and the hamlet of Quiogue, as well as parts of Quogue Village and the hamlet of Westhampton.

An eruv, which would be delineated by markings known as “lechis” attached to utility poles, would allow Orthodox Jews to push and carry items on the Sabbath, actions that are normally not allowed on their day of rest. The Hampton Synagogue retracted its 2008 proposal after many Westhampton Beach residents protested. Some residents are rallying again against the new proposal by East End Eruv Association.

The letter, which was sent in March from Robert G. Sugarman, an attorney with the Manhattan law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, indicates that the Hampton Synagogue asked him to look into the laws of local municipalities, Suffolk County and New York State, in order to determine whether or not the synagogue would have to apply with any government officials to establish an eruv in the area.

Synagogue officials—including President Morris Tuchman, Founding Rabbi Marc Schneier and Assistant Rabbi Avraham Bronstein—did not return calls or e-mails seeking comment this week. Synagogue officials have not responded to any inquiries by The Press since the East End Eruv Association proposal became public in late August.

In the brief letter, which is addressed to Mr. Tuchman and also sent to the East End Eruv Association, Mr. Sugarman wrote: “You have asked us to research whether there are any local, county, or state laws or ordinances which would require the approval of any governmental entity for the placement of lechis on privately owned telephone poles in the Westhampton area. Our research has indicated that there are none.”

Mr. Sugarman, who did not return calls seeking comment, wrote in the letter that his firm looked over the laws of the villages of Westhampton Beach, Quogue and West Hampton Dunes, along with those of Southampton Town, Suffolk County and New York State, and found no reason for the synagogue to apply with any of them to create an eruv.

On the surface, the letter appears to establish a connection between the synagogue and East End Eruv Association, because it was addressed to both and “East End Eruv Association” appears in the letter’s subject line. Mr. Tenzer has stated in the past that his eruv proposal is “absolutely unrelated” to the synagogue, even though he is a member there.

Mr. Tenzer said this week that the letter obtained by The Press is a copy of a letter that Mr. Sugarman sent the synagogue in 2009. While the synagogue never refiled its eruv application with Westhampton Beach, Mr. Tenzer said he hired Mr. Sugarman’s law firm for his own proposal, and requested a copy of the letter in March for his own applications to the Long Island Power Authority and Verizon for the use of their utility poles.

“The EEEA applications to LIPA and Verizon both required a statement regarding any necessary governmental approvals,” Mr. Tenzer wrote in an e-mail on Monday. “While we understand that the synagogue never formally applied to LIPA or Verizon, we knew that Weil had researched the issue for the synagogue. We asked Weil for any opinion letter they issued on the subject and they furnished a copy of the letter they had sent to the synagogue in 2009, and updated the letter without changing the addressee.”

When asked whether or not the synagogue was at any point pursuing a larger eruv, as is suggested in the letter’s response to the inquiry about local laws, Mr. Tenzer wrote: “I was not involved in the synagogue’s application and have no knowledge of why the question was asked.”

The letter from Mr. Sugarman seems to have aided Mr. Tenzer in his push for an eruv, allowing him to effectively bypass the villages in the approval process. Last week, Verizon send a letter to Quogue Village saying that it planned to allow the East End Eruv Association to attach lechis to its utility poles, despite Mayor Peter Sartorius’s assertion that such attachments would violate village law.

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There should be a eruv around all of Long Island. That would put an end to this stupid dispute once and for all. Make it so large it becomes insignifcant.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Nov 3, 10 3:30 PM
There are a lot of stupid andweird things that go along with religion, all religions. But this has to be one of the most assanine things I have ever heard of.
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Nov 4, 10 9:21 PM
2 members liked this comment
Oy Vey
By danrudan (40), Southampton on Nov 4, 10 10:03 PM
1 member liked this comment
Even the suggestion is stupid...on so many levels..
Why should a religious group be able to make a mark on govt property?
By hmptnlocal (47), Hampton Bays on Nov 4, 10 10:25 PM
Why should my child have to think about jewish religion? I believe in the jews but it is not my faith...how do I explain what this is about and why should I have to?
By hmptnlocal (47), Hampton Bays on Nov 4, 10 10:27 PM
why should jewish children have to hear about Jesus all during Decembr, and thn about the Resurrection during Eastr. Your statement is boorish!
By Infoseeker (280), Hampton Bays on Nov 5, 10 2:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
So, Rabbi Marc Schneier's paw prints ARE found. Anything to enlarge his fiefdom.

God help his neighbors. If they thought that congestion, noise and garbage from his property were bad before, what will it be like when all Orthodox Jews from a geographical area four or five times the size of Westhampton Beach become participants?

One poster on this forum states that the NYS Court of Appeals has ruled that zoning laws are invalid against religion. I can't find any proof of this ...more
Nov 5, 10 1:29 AM appended by highhatsize
To the Editor: According to the headline, there are 14 comments to this article yet only 6 appear. What happened?
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Nov 5, 10 1:29 AM
My only guess is that the "likes" on various posts may count as comments (although when you add them to the comments, they exceed 14).
By Will James (4), Southampton Press on Nov 5, 10 4:12 PM
I'm gonna snag me some counterfeit lechis, stick them up on everything in sight, grab a beer and watch the Sabbath Follies.
By loading... (601), quiogue on Nov 6, 10 9:19 PM
Just wondering if you are so devout in your religion why would you hang some
threads on a telephone and that would make everything ok.. If you are not supposed to do something because of your religion on a certain day DO NOT DO IT! sounds to me they make the rules fit them So typical of them
By J. Totta (106), Sag Harbor on Nov 10, 10 9:16 AM
By Hambone (514), New York on Nov 10, 10 11:04 AM
Are you an expert on Jewish law? Who told you that an eruv is not part of the law? Oh, by the way, I would love to see the following part of your lecture, “sounds to me they make the rules fit them So typical of them,” explained away by the members of your club. You see I am the bigot because I believe these words prove beyond a shadow of doubt that you’re harboring anti-Semitic feelings.
By davidsline (70), new york on Nov 11, 10 12:43 AM
Ya know Davidsline you are right to fell alighted by being called "one of them". That is a demonstrative pronoun that is being used demonstratively wrong.

But I had implored you awhile ago to drop the "bigot" comeback. You have used at waaaay too much and it now has the effectiveness of a car hown outside the midtwon tunnel.

By Hambone (514), New York on Nov 11, 10 4:03 PM
correction "slighted" not "alighted"
By Hambone (514), New York on Nov 11, 10 4:03 PM
Unfortunately, I have to use the bigoted card so often because there are so many J. Tottas online.
By davidsline (70), new york on Nov 12, 10 2:02 AM
Instead of the word bigot which can be applied in any direction and devolves to school yard name calling, why not call those who who offend you "Tottas"

When I am dealing with a winging three year old who has s single mindset and is on the verge of a tantrum, I often say "now don't take a davidsline with me young lady"

Shame works like a charm
By Hambone (514), New York on Nov 12, 10 10:42 PM
Here you go AGAIN
and like before you are the BIGOT
By oldguy (60), hamptons on Nov 13, 10 12:16 AM
Hambone, I find it interesting that you have an issue with the word bigot. I guess you would be happier with anti-Semite. However, I use that word sparingly in light of the fact that there is a group which goes by the name of JPOE (actually, I believe that they can be labeled anti-Semitic, as well). Your remark that I should call these people “Tottas” would also be an issue since it’s the constant use of a word that would be annoying to you. Alas, this silly remark was only ...more
By davidsline (70), new york on Nov 13, 10 10:33 PM
I guess the label fits you.
By davidsline (70), new york on Nov 13, 10 10:33 PM
To J. Totta-"so typical of them" what a terrible and ignorant remark.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Nov 10, 10 12:42 PM
call me what you like I call it as I see it. Ever been to the Catskills in the summer? Just hoping that never happens to the Hamptons. No I am not an expert on Jewish Law, but I certainly seems more Jews are apposed to this than any other group of people. I believe that is against them is even called
Jews against the Evru. Check the Independant for the correct group name fighting it.
By J. Totta (106), Sag Harbor on Nov 11, 10 11:03 AM
1 member liked this comment
You like to add salt to the wounds don’t you? First you ridicule Orthodox Jewish law now you claim that they ruin neighborhoods. While your anti-Semitic rant does not warrant an answer I would just note that without Orthodox Jews summering in the Catskills those towns would totally disappear. These Jews opposing the eruv are using their Jewishness as a cover for their bigotry and you are no different from them.
By davidsline (70), new york on Nov 12, 10 2:02 AM
I am no friend of Davidsline b/c he proves himself to be the planet after Saturn, but you J Totta might actually be create a new scoring level a tthe bottom of the IQ test.

Your poor grammar put forth 'but I certainly seems more Jews are apposed to this than any other group of people". I won't correct you errors but I might call you out on the proof thta more jews are opposed than any other "group" (I take exception to group b/c if you are not a jew you are a gentile). I know seems is ...more
By Hambone (514), New York on Nov 11, 10 4:09 PM
That was some typing above...it was like playing scrabble with Helen Keller huh?
By Hambone (514), New York on Nov 12, 10 10:43 PM
These people do not care about anyone but them selves.
People who live in the towns DO NOT WANT IT
But they just push,push, push themselves on everyone and they dont give a dam about anyone
By oldguy (60), hamptons on Nov 13, 10 12:20 AM
No, Oldguy you’re a crotchety sick bigot, and if the people on this board were big enough they would shun you. Get it through your head it has no effect whatsoever on you.
By davidsline (70), new york on Nov 13, 10 10:34 PM