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Westhampton's Anti-Eruv Group Claims 85 Percent Of Village Opposed To Religious Designation

Originally Posted: September 11, 2008

Kelly Carroll

  |   37 Comments · Print Article

The village of Westhampton Beach has been immersed in eruv controversy since the early summer. Photos by Kelly Caroll

Westhampton Beach - Back in August 2008, a public information session on the implementation of a religious eruv in the village of Westhampton Beach was held at the Hampton Synagogue on Sunset Avenue. Tempers flared, voices were raised and many village residents chose to walk out in anger. Yet, a situation that fueled the on-going controversy over this religious designation also succeeded in uniting another faction in this massive debate - Jewish People Opposed to the Eruv, a new group that is garnering a lot of attention in its fight to keep the eruv out of Westhampton Beach.

In the spring, Rabbi Marc Schneier of Hamptons Synagogue submitted an application to designate a certain part of the village as an Eruv, a religious symbolic area that allows practicing Orthodox Jews to conduct every day activities within that area that they normally wouldn't be able to on the Sabbath, like push strollers and wheelchairs or carry a child.

"[Westhampton Beach] has been a wonderful place to live in harmony and peace," said group Chairman Arnold Sheiffer, who has owned a home in Westhampton Beach for 30 years. "We never knew what religion anyone was and we didn't care."

Jewish People Opposed to the Eruv Chairman Arnold Sheiffer said that
he wanted to give members of the community a forum to speak out against
the eruv.

Sheiffer was among the large crowd that chose to leave the mid-August information session after the reading of heavily anti-Semitic letters sent to the synagogue in response to its crusade. Sheiffer, who is Jewish, said he was stunned by the treatment of those in the audience, who he claimed received gross insults based on the premise that anyone opposed to the eruv is anti-Semitic. Sheiffer added that before that night, he knew of the eruv, but didn't think it would do much to change Westhampton Beach. The volatile outburst at the meeting was the impetus he said he needed to take a stand against it.

"The issue is separations, divisions," he argued. "One group will be set aside for specific reasons, and that in itself will divide the village. It will create divisions where none existed."

Also in attendance that night were Charles Gottesman and his partner, who goes by the name Garcia. While both men consider themselves to be Jewish, they did not feel compelled to support the eruv along religious lines. Instead, they said they needed to protect the village they have come to love so much, having lived in Westhampton Beach for 14 years.

"Nobody wants to see this town fall like the others," Gottesman offered, referring to Lawrence, NY and Tenafly, NJ, two areas that both have eruvs. "Past history proves this will change the town."

It was while these men were prematurely leaving the synagogue session that they met Sheiffer, and from that night sprung the group spearheading the campaign against Rabbi Marc Schneier and his synagogue.

On a rainy Tuesday morning at his fashion boutique on the village's Main Street, Garcia came out of the storm to continue to discuss his concerns regarding the eruv controversy.

Village business-owners Charles Gottesman and Garcia are members for the
anti-eruv group and said they do not want one group getting preferential
treatment.

"Everything was in harmony here for a very long time," he said. "[Rabbi Schneier] has managed to put a scar in the village that may never heal."

Gottesman, in agreement, contended that allowing the implementation of an eruv in the village would be setting a "horrible precedent" in catering to one small group.

"We are totally opposed to any type of interest group taking over," he argued. "We don't care if it's a gum-chewing group."

In creating the Jewish People Opposed to the Eruv group, Sheiffer said he initially had four goals. First and foremost, he wanted to create a forum where those of the Jewish faith could discuss the eruv. According to Sheiffer, 85 percent of the community opposes the eruv, and many were afraid to discuss their problems with it openly. Sheiffer, who was a trustee for the Jewish Center of the Hamptons, in East Hampton, also wanted to eliminate anti-Semitism as an issue. Thirdly, Sheiffer said he felt obligated to apologize to the citizens of the village for the "gross behavior" demonstrated at the Aug. 13 meeting.

"In the Jewish religion, we value a tradition of respect, dignity and honor," he said. "I assured them that they will never receive treatment like that again. I thought it calmed the fire."

Finally, Sheiffer envisioned a formal organization that could provide a voice for those who oppose the eruv. Two weeks ago, when Sheiffer held the group's first meeting at his home, he invited "eight or nine" like-minded individuals, including Garcia and Gottesman, to attend. Yet, 40 showed up. He said it was then that he knew there was a "groundswell of support" for this group in opposition to the eruv.

The Hampton Synagoue's leader Rabbi Marc Schneier had equated the
quest for an eruv to a civil rights struggle.

At the public meeting at Starr Boggs in Westhampton Beach on Sunday, Sheiffer admitted that there was some disruption among the crowd - yelling and shouting ensued, and an altercation broke out afterward. However, Sheiffer called the meeting "successful," with 250 people in attendance, and $10,000 donated, with more money coming in the form of pledges.

"We gave people a forum," Shieffer said. "We turned down the heat and apologized."

While Sheiffer is more cautious in addressing questions on his opposition to the eruv, Garcia and Gottesman do not hesitate in discussing their ill feelings. While both men stress that they are not against the practice of religion, they take the stance that they are against the practice of a religion that impedes on their everyday life.

"We think everyone should practice religion and sex, preferably in the privacy of their own homes," Gottesman offered.

Members of a minority group themselves Garcia and Gottesman are gay men living in Westhampton Beach, something they never really openly discussed. However, according to Garcia, shortly after writing an opinion piece on the volatile scene at the Aug. 13 public information meeting, he was approached by Clint Greenbaum, one of the panelists conducting the session, and a member of the Westhampton Beach Board of Education. Garcia recounted that Greenbaum, in trying to garner support for the eruv, attempted to equate the quest for an eruv to a gay couple's struggle for civil rights, a comparison Garcia did not agree with or tolerate.

"I am not going around trying to change people to be gay," he said. "I don't look for acceptance from them. If I wanted to go to a gay village, that's where I would go."

And while Garcia and Gottesman didn't talk about any particular member of the Jewish Orthodox congregation, they both contend that its leader, Rabbi Schneier, has some type of agenda. Gottesman called the rabbi "arrogant" and said the religious leader was willing to step on anyone to get what he wants.

"This village is perfect," he added. "The rabbi has a hidden agenda. He is telling everyone that this is a done deal. He's not going to get his way. If he doesn't like the way things are, he can leave."

Members of Jewish People Opposed to the Eruv say giving one group special treatment would set a "horrible precedent" for the village.

Garcia and Gottesman also take exception to what they refer to as the synagogue's "lack of participation" in village affairs. While Garcia said that he and his partner support everything that benefits the village, such as donating time and money to things like family counseling, the Peconic Bay Medical Center and the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, they contend that the synagogue does not participate as much as other community organizations.

"We support everything that is for everybody," said Gottesman. Added Garcia, "the synagogue does nothing but what's for the synagogue."

Gottesman also alleged that dissenters at Sunday's Jewish People Opposed to the Eruv meeting were staged by leaders of the Hampton Synagogue. He also contends that the reading of anti-Semitic letters sent to the synagogue at the Aug. 13 information session was a rehearsed action, meant to divide Jewish and Gentile sentiments. "It was well-rehearsed, plotted, to turn one set of people against another. And it didn't work," he commented.

"The rabbi succeeded in uniting everyone in this town against him," Gottesman continued. "Now we're on the same side. This is not going to stop."

In the past months, Rabbi Schneier has argued that instituting an eruv is not a matter of community approval, but a matter of religious law. He has equated the right for an eruv to a civil right, and has said that his congregation should be protected by the First Amendment, which disallows government from making laws that prohibit the exercise of free religion. Gottesman countered this claim with his assertion that one group should not be allowed to get preferential treatment.

Business-owner James Flood said he doesn't think the implementation of an
eruv would hurt his business, but that it would change the village as a whole.

"Once they get a finger, they'll take an arm," Gottesman commented. When asked about the fact that the rabbi already has permission from Verizon and the Long Island Power Authority to put the eruv demarcations on utility poles, he added, "we all pay taxes, and our Verizon and LIPA bills. They have no right to cater to one group."

Gottesman also answered the rabbi's claim that the village already supports religious observances throughout the year since it condones a St. Patrick's Day parade and Christmas nativity scenes and therefore should support the eruv simply out of religious fairness.

"Those are temporary [observances]," Gottesman said. "This is a secular community."

Next door to Garcia and Gottesman's shop is Westhampton Custom T-Shirts, owned by 28-year village resident James Flood. Flood is not Jewish, and as he puts it, is "negative to the eruv." He is not a member of the Jewish People Opposed to the Eruv, yet he did attend Sunday's public meeting. When asked if he thought the implementation of an eruv for the village would hurt his business, he responded with a quiet "no."

"In all probability, I don't think it will have a serious effect on businesses," he later added, "but on the community as a whole."

Flood said that he fears the implementation of an eruv will attract more Jewish Orthodox practitioners, who could then gain an economic and political stronghold in the community, changing it forever. And although he doesn't see this happening immediately, it's a fear that he doesn't want to see come true.

"I don't think [an eruv is] needed," he said. "Before, the community was fine."

And while Garcia and Gottesman are in agreement with their neighbor and fellow business owner, they see the establishment of an eruv as a larger issue. "All Jews are not lumped together. They come in many forms," Garcia commented. "Everyone has to watch us. What happens here will change the Hamptons."




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Guest (isabel) from cincinatti says::
I thought the whole point of having a secular tolerant society was not to have any religious 'symbolism' that separates one group from another. If you set up an eruv, you're essentially saying 'we are different from you.' If the Torah doesn't command it, why put up an eruv? Also why can there be eruvs but not a manger in a town square at Christmas? Or why not the ten commandments in a public place in a town? I don't think that religious symbols/partitions belong in secular places - If you choose to follow as aspect of a religion that imposes certain rules upon you and you choose of your own free will to follow that religion, then you cannot expect the rest of the secular community to make a concession to that. Even if it is only a 'strong of wire between two telephone poles' be careful because what you are doing is signaling to the rest of the world 'we are different', we require 'different treatment' and that builds resentment. If every group did that in a public way, we would only become more divisive as a country and still up hatreds. There are people in the south who still believe that their real flag is the Confederate flag and want it displayed over their state capitols. There are people who want crosses placed in the center of town so that they can pray in a way that is convenient...you get my point. Once one group starts this, then every group will demand it and frankly it just brings problems to the cohesiveness of what should be a tolerant nation. You can't expect tolerance if you also wants only 'your' particular symbols to be imposed. Others will interpret this as an aggressive action and it will breed resentment. I don't think a sting of wire between two telephone polls over a distance of land is going to be the determining factor whether or not Judaism as a culture will continue to survive and endure no matter what challenges come its way just as each culture is faced with challenges. Isn't there a wise saying: Know what battles you should pick?
Oct 24, 2013 5:30 am

Guest (Benymain Solomon) from Brooklyn says::
When I said, "Btw, Conservative Jews are go by an Eruv", I meant to say that Conservative Jews also go by an Eruv. Sorry for the typo.
Oct 16, 2012 2:28 am

Guest (Meir) from Beit Shemesh says::
What an embarrassment to all! All this negative energy and venom over something that is meant to bring more sanctity to the Hamptons, keeping the Sabbath. There are many "eruvim" across the USA; in some cases there was opposition to establishing an eiruv in a neighborhood, however, once the concept of eiruv is explained respectfully and accurately, there may still be opposition, but it should never lead to such unpleasantness. Our sages tell us that the Torah and its ways are pleasant. Look at all the evil speech going around! Better not have an eiruv than to cause such a desecration of G-d's name!
Oct 15, 2012 2:52 pm

Guest (Benyamin Solomon) from Brooklyn, NY says::
The people opposed to the eruv in Westhampton, NY are religious bigots and this Sheiffer guy is a self hating hypocrite. An eruv is hardly noticeable and will not impose anything. The only difference is that you'll see more observant Jews carrying things in the street. That's it. The people opposed to the eruv are self hating Jews and non- Jewish anti-Semites. Stopping the building of the eruv goes against the 1rst Amendment. And as for that fool James Flood, who admits that an Eruv would not hurt his business [he said it quietly cause he was probably ashamed that his opposition to it would rightly be revealed as support for anti-freedom unconstitutional bigotry], his claim that it'll attract more Orthodox Jews to gain a political and economic stronghold has got to be one of the stupid claims that I've ever heard. Show me one community with an Eruv that actually achieved that. The people upset with this are, to put it bluntly, morons. If this was Islam, you'd see the opponents of this would be denounced as Islamophobes, racists, and/or bigots within 1 second. But it's always okay to demonize Jews and their religion. This article, I think, had some of that twisted mentality in it. And so are many people in that village. So what if 85% of the people there oppose the construction of an Eruv? If 85% of people thought that blacks should be in the back of the bus, should blacks be forced to be in the back of the bus. Fact is. This is not a direct democracy. The 1rst Amendment of the US constitution allows for freedom of religion. Therefore, the construction of the Eruv, which is hardly noticeable, is CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED!!!!! Btw, Conservative Jews are go by an Eruv. And btw, I'm an independent Jew [though, as of now, I put my observances probably somewhere between strictly traditional Conservative and Modern Orthodox]. Shame on the bigots of Westhampton, NY. The Eruv will not affect their lives one iota.
Oct 14, 2012 2:17 am

Guest (Guest) from Texas says::
I'm not sure exactly what an Eruv is, I am curious though why Jews are fighting other Jews? There has been enough antisemitism in the world, and it's getting worse. They are privileged enough to live in a community that actually supports them, in the county I come from in Texas there isn't even a synagogue or a shul available. I cannot understand why any Jew would put down another Jew, how many of us were lost in the holocaust? They are still selling Hitler's book in India, why not take that to task? Doing something constructive for the good of all mankind would be really cool.
Jul 3, 2012 2:35 pm

Guest (George) from Vienna says::
I’ve reconsidered what I said before, and I’ve changed my mind. There’s nothing wrong with the eruv, and it’s wrong, essentially un-American, to prohibit it. It’s purpose is simply to allow some people, orthodox Jews, to do something they couldn’t do without it - things other people do so normally in the course of their everyday lives that the very thought of prohibiting them seems unacceptably weird to most (many ideas, dogmas, and practices of many religions seem unacceptably weird to many others). Orthodox Judaism prohibits anything like work on the sabbath, including carrying anything outside of your dwelling. Recognizing that some such carrying - keys, your baby and its carriage, etc. - is indispensable to daily life, whether sabbath or not, the idea of the eruv was established to enlarge the area you could consider your dwelling. So inside an eruv, orthodox Jews may lock their houses and push their baby carriages just like everybody else. That’s it, period. An eruv doesn’t affect non-orthodox Jews in any way, neither as prohibition nor command nor permission, and has no meaning or weight in any law other than religious law. Further, while an eruv is an area with a physically established boundary, this boundary may be so constructed that it’s virtually invisible, and undetected by most people. A single strand of wire, or even translucent fishing line, unobtrusively placed, will suffice. Thus, there is no question of obstructing, defacing or otherwise materially altering the landscape; it offends none of the senses. I’ve seen here the “give ‘em an inch and they’ll take a mile” argument. That has no bearing whatever in this case. They’re asking for an eruv, that’s all. If, as has been mentioned, some orthodox Jews have asked local stores to close on the sabbath, that’s a wholly different issue, but (as long as we’re talking about religion) one that’s no different than the Christian basis for the “blue laws” prohibiting commercial business on Sundays, which have been part of U.S. legal history since the beginning, or asking a merchant to carry fish for Catholics who can’t eat meat on Fridays. We’re a democracy. There’s no law against asking. If the owner wants to close, he may, but he’s not required to. Like with the blue laws, the people can vote them in or vote them out, and the majority rules; and when there’s no law, there’s simply freedom of choice.
Sep 18, 2011 9:32 am

Guest (guest99) from whb says::
This Rabbi came in to our lovely town and established himself by breaking rule after rule and law after law. He did so under the guise of religious freedom and has not stopped.It is my understanding he still lacks some of the proper permits for his synagogue's annex. The problem most of us-- and yes it is quite a high number who oppose the eruv is that he has never once demonstrated that he is a man of his word that can be trusted. Charles and Garcia are lovely people who do a lot for the town and they are very brave for putting a public face on the sentiments thatb many, many people share. The other point that needs to be made is that some of the orthodox who have moved into town have already begun to approach businesses in town asking them to close on the sabbath and honor their religious beliefs. They are trying to impose their restrictions on our town. As others have said you are more than welcome to live here but keep your religious choices to yourself. How utterly ridiculousis it to ask merchants in a summer community to close on Friday evenings and most of Saturday- - it is absurd and arrogant at the very least.
Sep 6, 2011 3:24 pm

Guest (Arnold) from Brooklyn says::
There was an interesting cover story in the Long Island Jewish World last week on the Hampton's eruv. They have a digital edition where you can read it.... http://editions.us.com/lijewishworld_071511/
Jul 18, 2011 10:19 am

Guest (Mike) from Sharon, Massachusetts says::
I'm a catholic living in the middle of the Sharon, MA Eruv. It was established in 1990, I think. The neighborhood is mostly Jewish an I must tell you anti-eruv people that it is a wonderful place to live. My neighbors are kind, warm people who value thier children and their children's education. Noone pushes their beliefs on anyone. Please, don't be afraid of what you don't understand.
May 27, 2011 7:39 pm

Guest (Sulu) from WHB says::
If people want to break the laws of their religion why don't they just use the most common practice? After acting sacrilegiously, spend a lot of money at a charity event to atone. No string necessary!
May 12, 2011 10:33 am

Guest (Vram) from Yerushalayim says::
"Guest (Greg) from Toronto says: Give me a break, if you don't want to always follow your arbitrary self-imposed restrictions, then don't always follow them. Why all this trouble and fuss? It's all in your mind; you don't need to complicate everyone else's life. There are people who have real problems to deal with." Complecating everyone else's life? really, by posting a fishing line next to the electric wires???
May 3, 2011 12:13 pm

Guest (Seth) from Queens says::
Based upon Mr. Flood's comments, it seems clear that the issue is preventing the Orthodox Jewish community from growing in Westhampton Beach. One wonders what these people would do if a large contingent of Orthodox Jews started to move in without there being an Eruv in town. Would they take to firebombing Orthodox Jewish homes? Would they burn crosses on their lawns? As for the practice of religion, no where does it say in the Constitution that the practice of religion needs to be restricted to the indoors, in the privacy of one's home or place of worship. This entire thing is about discriminating against a single group for sole purpose of dissuading more of its members from settling in that community.
Apr 24, 2011 12:20 am

Guest (don) from omaha nebraska says::
The entire idea of an eruv is, of course, pure nonsense. Nothing in the Torah or the Talmud, just a way of doing things we're not allowed to do on Shabbos. But.....one thing is much more nonsensical than the eruv. And that's the silly group of Jews who are fighting against it. It can barely be seen, so it's not an eyesore. It makes a small group of religious (i.e.: observant) Jews happy. It bothers no one. The nonsense of the nay-ssayers completely outdoes the nonsense of the eruv. Doesn't happen in Nebraska (there are Jews in Nebraska???)
Apr 21, 2011 9:46 pm

Guest (Daniel) from Chicago says::
It's very simple- they don't want Orthodox Jews 'taking over their community'. Their only reason to oppose the Eruv is because they don't want the demographic of their town to change. So if a community wanted a Korean Church center, a town can oppose it, saying, "We don't want Koreans here". It's literally the same thing. Forget all the other nonsense and read between the lines, they are simply discriminating, and trying to maintain the demographic that they are happy with. As for the Eruv, I don't feel it was properly explained on the Daily Show. Using an Eruv in no way allows Jews to 'break their own rules'. It is a little exaggerated. On the Sabbath, one cannot carry anything in a public domain (or take an item from public to private, or private to public). What the Eruv does, is signify everything that is within the Eruv as 'one domain'. Therefor, Jews can carry objects within that boundary. The use of an Eruv only applies to the prohibition of carrying, and is widely accepted by Jewish communities as a way to carry objects outside the house on the Sabbath. "If their own beliefs prohibit them from doing things they'd otherwise like to do (and, to put an even finer point on it, why do they want to do things which their beliefs prohibit in the first place? And what's at fault, their needs or their beliefs?" ---I blame John Stewart for these types of ignorant comments.
Apr 3, 2011 2:49 pm

Guest (Suri Stern) from The Five Towns says::
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6yB_auHjRI
Apr 1, 2011 7:18 pm

Guest from queens says::
Yes, the eruv, an almost invisible string, is forever. But it doesn't affect anyone, other than allow observant Jews to push a stroller and keep a key in their pocket on Shabbos. Garcia and Gottesman "take the stance that they are against the practice of a religion that impedes on their everyday life." There is no impediment whatsoever. It's not about a string, or impeding on anyone else's life, or a minority getting "preferential treatment" (?? Nobody's being preferred, just included!) It's about keeping out an unwanted group.
Mar 31, 2011 2:13 am

Guest (Ailon Maik) from Livingston, NJ says::
Jewish people gave their lives, were tortured and slaughtered because they kept their religion. Shame on Charles Gottesman and the likes of him - small, petty, and lacking wisdom.
Mar 30, 2011 7:33 pm

Guest (George) from Vienna says::
Wow! What I first saw was the Daily Show video. First I thought it's simply a gas, a really hilarious typical Jon Stewart piece. And, in fact, it is that, too. But what I didn't know is how real the issue is, that there really is this Eruv war in the Hamptons. And what a shame! And it's one of those issues with which the problem is that's it's an issue at all - a problem now which was never a problem before. While both sides are both in the right and in the wrong at the same time, I still hold the Orthodox community - not "the Jews", because the Orthodox are only a very small minority of the Jews in the Hamptons - to be fundamentally blamable. It's not really a question of religious freedom, however much it may appear to be that, or even, however much the Orthodox firmly believe in their hearts that it is. It's a question of a minority's rights in a democracy, and a question of where are the limits - because there are limits. The traditional dictum is "your freedom stops at my nose", to which I would add, in this case, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". The Orthodox were never banned, or even discriminated against, in the Hamptons; no injustice was done them, which, now that it's come to light, ought to be rectified. If their own beliefs prohibit them from doing things they'd otherwise like to do (and, to put an even finer point on it, why do they want to do things which their beliefs prohibit in the first place? And what's at fault, their needs or their beliefs?), it's not society's obligation but theirs to resolve their own problem. They can certainly ask the community for help, they have a right to be heard; but they have no right to demand it. If the community has no problem with acceding, fine, but if not, then it's the Orthodox who must step down. And it not because they're Orthodox, or Jews, but because they're in the minority. That's how democracy works.
Mar 30, 2011 6:53 am

Guest from Ohio says::
This is really sad. We have several eruvs in the area and it doesn't effect anyone except those that want to carry their prayer books or push a stroller. You can't even see the string. You must have bigger issues than trying to make life hard for people to observe their religion. Now, you're being made fun of on Jon Stewart's show. I don't think anyone could possibly object to a nearly invisible string that helps make life easier for people without changing how anyone else lives theirs. WOW!
Mar 29, 2011 2:18 pm

Guest (Jacek Serety) from Poland says::
Saw your story on The Daily Show. You guys are a bunch of racists! Your antisemitism is worse than the Nazis.
Mar 29, 2011 2:07 pm

Guest (guest) from champaign, IL says::
Charles C .... you are jewish! You are ALL JEWISH!!! Members of the same family with the same history and same religious faith and obligation. It is your RIGHT (charles...) to ignore hashem just as much as it is the orthodox's community to observe.
Mar 28, 2011 7:40 pm

Guest (tigi) from Zürich says::
Is Westhampton Anti Semetic? At least that is what i'm reading between the line. Thanks for publishing this Article, one place to check off the bucketlist, especially with backward people like Charles and Garcia.
Mar 26, 2011 6:02 am

Guest (Judy) from Boca Raton, Florida says::
I live in a town with even more wealth than most and there are eruvs all throughout Boca Raton. It did not "fall like the others" as Mr. Gottesman fears. There are eruvs throughout the U.S. in tony communities like Los Angeles' Beverly Hills and Hancock Park to Scarsdale, NY, all evidently far more tolerant than snobby West Hampton. I've spent time (and a lot of money) in Westhampton Beach over the years. Unless the fishing line goes up, I won't be back.
Mar 25, 2011 9:12 pm

Guest (David Shatz) from Cherry Hill,N.J. says::
bs"d Seems to me that Gottesman and Garcia of anybody should be more sensitive to the idea of a single group being singled out for being so different. How typically contradictory of the self-hating Jew. They wax lyrical about tolerance,acceptance and plurality until it means including a group THEY find objectionable. Ironically not once in the article or any news item associated with this topic, does it ever become clear exactly how the eruv itself is a problem. Basically because it's not. Orthodox Jews and the life style they embrace coming to this community, and how much these self-hating Jews don't want that is the real issue.
Mar 25, 2011 6:49 pm

Guest (shmiel) from Monroe says::
Im not named Shmiel nor am I from Monroe but I think Im going to buy a place or 2 in the village and invite my Chasidishe cousins with their 14 kids to come and spend the weekend. Although theres no eruv , we'll just take turns watching the kids so the men and the women can have an opportunity to mingle in town with Gottesman, Garcia and Sheiiffer. But they have nothing to fear we wont be pusing baby carriages. There goes the neighborhood boys. Your property values will fall quicker than 1,23 and then there will be more of us. Today the hamptons tommorrow the World!!!
Mar 25, 2011 1:14 pm

Guest (Steve Jones) from Chicago,CA says::
Seriously, consider what is being said. The opposition to this "eruv" is openly being made as the opposition to a certain religious group. I'm fairly certain that Westhampton is still in the United States which has at least a minor clause allowing freedom of religion. The only reason why this argument is tenable is because it is being made by a bunch of Jews who are opposed to other Jews. If the opposition was to "Muslims", "Catholics", "Hindus", the country would go crazy. In my neighborhood, if a bigoted white guy said that he doesn't want black people moving into his neighborhood he would either be killed or at least have his store set on fire. Grow up people.
Mar 25, 2011 11:24 am

Guest (Dan) from Westchester says::
An eruv is a physical boundary that demarcates the presence of an orthodox Jewish community, solely for the purpose of allowing orthodox Jews to carry and push things on the Sabbath. It sounds crazy, but it is according to Jewish law. It is an idea that is practiced in many communities, places where Westhampton residents probably formerly lived also had them. We are talking about using power cables to define the boundary, and in places where the cables are not continuous, they use a thin piece of string. That is it. It does not require any action on anyone's part, and it makes living for a significant portion of greater New York's Jewish population much easier. If anything, this entire back and forth shows how bigoted the supposedly "balanced" and "progressive" residents of Westhampton really are. The creation of an eruv will not disrupt anyone, just make lives for people easier. The people who oppose it may not be anti-semitic, but they are leading an anti-semitic revolution that is dangerous on many levels. They are afraid of people with black hats and payot (side curls) because they don't know how to interact with those people -- trust me... they won't want to move to your wonderfully tolerant community, because they practice actual tolerance. Just because the Westhampton synagogue may have an unethical lay organization or a questionable rabbi, it is not appropriate to take out a community's frustration with those select people an ever-growing portion of the Jewish people. I know that if an eruv is created, then it will be easier for myself and friends to vacation there and infuse money into your local economy. But I'm not sure that I'll be welcome, because I wear a kippah and need an eruv in Shabbat. I am so happy though that White Plains, which has obviously fallen in stature and wreaked havoc since an eruv was constructed there, I am not only tolerated but also welcomed.
Mar 25, 2011 10:37 am

Guest from New Jersey says::
Think of the comment like this: Flood said that he fears the implementation of an eruv will attract more Black practitioners, who could then gain an economic and political stronghold in the community, changing it forever. And although he doesn't see this happening immediately, it's a fear that he doesn't want to see come true.
Mar 25, 2011 9:20 am

Guest (Guest) from California says::
My goodness, are Garcia and Gottesman representative of your community? You must have quite a nasty place there. Really, if I see an Orthodox family pushing a baby stroller, it causes me no distress whatsoever.
Mar 25, 2011 3:02 am

Guest (Megan ) from NYC says::
Interesting how the article doesn't mention what an eruv even is- it's a thin string hung along the telephone poles, almost invisible unless you are looking for it. Opposing it is only opposing the right of religious Jews to carry on Shabbos.
Mar 24, 2011 3:12 pm

Guest (Guest) from WestHampton guest says::
Balanced? I didn't see anyone from the synagogue interviewed not was Rabbi Shneir allowed the opportunity to refute these accusations. Watch John Stewart's show from last night to see what a mockery those opposing this eruv have made this community.
Mar 24, 2011 12:34 pm

Guest (Greg) from Toronto says::
Give me a break, if you don't want to always follow your arbitrary self-imposed restrictions, then don't always follow them. Why all this trouble and fuss? It's all in your mind; you don't need to complicate everyone else's life. There are people who have real problems to deal with.
Mar 24, 2011 12:01 am

Guest (Shubin) from NYC says::
In agreement with, Westhampton was always a peaceful village. Surely, a synagogue could have been established that kept the town in thought but from the onset, Schneier has broken bridges...leaving debt and bad feelings along the way. This so called "rabbi" lacks ethic in his personal life as well heading up the synagogue. Westhampton was an understand hidden secret and he brought in his wannabe celeb values and followers. I am a religious and observant Jew...Marc Schneier and his slew of followers are bad. Did you know that the president of the shul, Michael Weisbrod, is a convicted felon on several counts (having spent time in a federal penitentary)...including federal tax evasion, knowingly purchasing stolen artwork, tax evasion again...along with a huge amount of small law suits due to conducting sneaky business. Who would want people like this in their town, with our without a synagogue. Let the synagogue stay, get out the stinky sneaky sly people who profit from it in probably a dishonest way...and then build a jewish community which acts as an asset to our beloved Westhampton.
Feb 9, 2011 4:18 pm

Guest (Guest) from Westhampton says::
85% -- come on? Has Mr. Sheiffer gone door to door taking a poll? Stop advocating hatred, Mr. Sheiffer. I doubt you would even know if you walked under an eruv wire.
Jan 17, 2011 12:09 pm

Guest (Guest) from New York City says::
Merry CHRISTMAS to all my friends in Westhampton. Let's hope the religious freaks and their "string" stay away.
Nov 28, 2010 7:59 pm

Guest (Westhampton Rez) from Duh says::
Excellent point that St P's day and the other ilk like that are short term events and an Eruv is forevor. If 85% (ok let's say 51% are against at the very least) then why push to do it? What value does it afford? He openly stated that once he gets his eruv he'll look to expand it (see utube video)...would it behoove the community to understand what that actually entails? PS. Gottesman is right -- the Synagogue doesn't do *** for the community and frankly if they did now it would reek of pandering.
Oct 21, 2008 12:00 am

Guest (WHBQT Blogger) from Westhampton Beach says::
Good report… balanced and reasonably accurate.
Sep 16, 2008 6:00 pm

 

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