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BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY

Rabbi-Sol 08 Jan 06 - 10:23 PM
Edain 08 Jan 06 - 10:50 PM
CarolC 08 Jan 06 - 11:05 PM
LilyFestre 08 Jan 06 - 11:54 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 09 Jan 06 - 05:41 AM
Paul Burke 09 Jan 06 - 06:28 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 09 Jan 06 - 09:34 AM
Clinton Hammond 09 Jan 06 - 09:39 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 09 Jan 06 - 09:57 AM
wysiwyg 09 Jan 06 - 10:59 AM
Rabbi-Sol 09 Jan 06 - 01:54 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 09 Jan 06 - 03:08 PM
CarolC 09 Jan 06 - 04:08 PM
bobad 09 Jan 06 - 04:17 PM
Bill D 09 Jan 06 - 04:24 PM
Bill Hahn//\\ 09 Jan 06 - 04:53 PM
Rabbi-Sol 09 Jan 06 - 06:48 PM
John O'L 09 Jan 06 - 06:53 PM
LilyFestre 09 Jan 06 - 06:59 PM
Jeri 09 Jan 06 - 07:16 PM
Rabbi-Sol 09 Jan 06 - 07:20 PM
Rabbi-Sol 09 Jan 06 - 07:25 PM
LilyFestre 09 Jan 06 - 07:40 PM
GUEST 09 Jan 06 - 08:44 PM
Bill Hahn//\\ 09 Jan 06 - 09:34 PM
Rabbi-Sol 09 Jan 06 - 10:21 PM
M.Ted 09 Jan 06 - 10:30 PM
ejsant 10 Jan 06 - 07:13 AM
Peace 10 Jan 06 - 12:42 PM
Rabbi-Sol 10 Jan 06 - 07:23 PM
bobad 10 Jan 06 - 07:34 PM
Bill Hahn//\\ 10 Jan 06 - 08:29 PM
Bill D 10 Jan 06 - 08:29 PM
Bill Hahn//\\ 10 Jan 06 - 08:31 PM
Rabbi-Sol 10 Jan 06 - 10:15 PM
Bill Hahn//\\ 11 Jan 06 - 04:34 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 11 Jan 06 - 05:31 PM
Bill Hahn//\\ 11 Jan 06 - 06:17 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 11 Jan 06 - 07:41 PM
Bill Hahn//\\ 11 Jan 06 - 10:47 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 12 Jan 06 - 11:29 AM
Bill Hahn//\\ 12 Jan 06 - 04:14 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 12 Jan 06 - 05:07 PM
Bill Hahn//\\ 12 Jan 06 - 06:34 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 12 Jan 06 - 07:36 PM
Bill Hahn//\\ 12 Jan 06 - 08:12 PM
GUEST,Jen 12 Jan 06 - 11:00 PM
LadyJean 13 Jan 06 - 12:12 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 13 Jan 06 - 09:55 AM
Bill Hahn//\\ 13 Jan 06 - 11:38 AM

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Subject: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 10:23 PM

Here is the latest incident of discrimination against Orthodox Jews by a municipality in Rockland County. This time it is the village of Suffern, NY. There is Jewish charitable organization in our community called Bikur Cholim. Its purpose is to provide, free of charge, services for those who have been hospitalized as well as for their relatives who come to visit them. Our local hospital is Good Samaritan Hospital located in the village of Suffern. Although it is a Catholic hospital it is extremely friendly and accommodating to all Jewish patients as well as their families. The hospital is located 7 miles from the nearest Orthodox Jewish community and the problem arises when a patient must remain in the hospital over the Jewish Sabbath when his or her family are not allowed to travel by car to visit. For the past 2 years, Good Samaritan Hospital has given Bikur Cholim 2 dormitory style rooms (one for men & one for women) where a patient's family could eat and sleep over the Sabbath. These were called "Shabbos Rooms". Recently however Good Samaritan has built a new cardiac care unit and needed this particular space for this purpose. As a result Bikur Cholim has to go elsewhere for sabbath accommodations. They got a rich benefactor to donate money to purchase a house one block from the hospital on Route 59 and for the past 3 months they have been using this as a "Shabbos House" for families visiting loved ones. It is only occupied from sundown of Friday until after sundown on Saturday night. Problem solved ? That is what we thought. Enter, the bad guys, in the form of the Zoning Board of the Village of Suffern and Town Attorney Terry Rice. They served Bikur Cholim with an injunction and a violation order, claiming that the area is only zoned for single family homes and that there are as many as 17 people at one time staying at the Shabbos House during Friday night and Saturday. It its reply, Bikur Cholim, through its attorney Paul Savaad pointed out that there already exists on the same block a Monestary as well as a Salvation Army Center, both of which have Dormitory facilities as well as an office building. Therefore how can the village claim that the Shabbos House changes the character of the neighborhood.   Attorney Rice replied that these other facilities have existed for over one hundred years, and pre-date the village government and the zoning regulations, and are therefore exempt from the law. Bikur Cholim calls this blatant discrimination because Christian facilities are allowed to exist but a Jewish one is not. They have filed suit against the Village of Suffern under the Federal RLUIPA (Religious Land Use & Instituionalized Persons Act) and have retained the services of The Rutherford Institute of Fairfax, VA and their noted attorney John Stepanovich who will be handling the case pro-bono. This case will probably make it all the way to the Supreme Court. I would like to get the opinions of the folks on this forum (both pro & con) on this highly controversial issue.
                                                SOL ZELLER


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Edain
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 10:50 PM

After one read through and no background research I would be inclinded to say that it sounds to me like a case of beurocracy sticking to it's rules rather than discrimination. Having had first hand experience with beurocracy (I'm a member of the Steering Committee for my union) I can tell you that if the Board enforce their rules like Steering enforce the union's then thats what it'll be (although we do it mostly to ensure fair elections and keep the union from being politicised as so many have become these days). We have however been known to make exceptions where we felt it was warrented (although please don't tell the officers that or they'll never leave us alone!).


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: CarolC
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 11:05 PM

Sounds like a very unfortunate situation, Rabbi-Sol. I would be interested to know how the courts rule on this one. Will you keep us posted?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: LilyFestre
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 11:54 PM

I think that many communites make laws that allow previous conditions to exist but prohibit any further types of conditions to occur...kind of like a grandfather law of sorts. You can stay here because you have been here for generations but we will no longer allow blah blah blah...that's what it sounds like to me.

Michelle


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 05:41 AM

Looks very much like hide-bound beaurocracy rather than discrimination, but this would certainly seem to be the most justifiable case for an exception that I have ever seen, given the purpose for which this property is being used.

I hope that the judge will take a sensible and pragmatic view of the case, but I fear that may not happen, in which event a sustained publicity campaign might achieve better results.

Local authorities really hate performing in the glare of media attention, and if the media don't run with this one, I would be surprised.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Paul Burke
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 06:28 AM

BUREAUCRACY!!!

(that's how you spell it).

As your men said, it's probably not meant to be discriminatory, and they'd have ruled the same for any other religion or race. But silly nontheless.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 09:34 AM

It does sound like bureaucracy and not a case of discrimination. If the group went through proper channels to request a zoning board variance, and obtained approval from the neighbors they might have stood a better chance.

Using "religious discrimination" as the reason will be difficult to prove and fight. It is a hot button phrase that will surely draw media attention and hopefully force the village of Suffern to do the right thing, but the Bikur Cholim won't be making many friends with the government and you can bet that they will be watched for every infraction.   Working with the system, as screwed up as it is, might have yielded better results.

How big is this block if it can house a monastary, Salvation Army dorms, AND single family houses? How close are the monastary and Salvation Army to the hospital?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 09:39 AM

Sounds to me like whoever set up the "Shabbos House" didn't do their research and are now getting bit in the ass because of it...

"Bikur Cholim calls this blatant discrimination"
It's not...


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 09:57 AM

Rabbi, it sounds like you've got a good lawyer and wealthy backers, so you should have a better chance in the courts than many others who have to go that route. But if you don't finish up with what you want, I hope you'll remmember that it's possible for Jews to lose an argument without it being "blatant discrimination."


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: wysiwyg
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 10:59 AM

Rabbi, with all due respect, not every fight needs to have been a fight. Might the monastery, for example, share their hospitality? What about faithful Jews in the area offering informal hospitality in their homes?

What is the goal here-- support for faithful families, or a court precedent?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 01:54 PM

To answer Ron Olesko, yes it is a very big block. From what I understand (not having been there) this is the only other stucture on the block besides the Monestary, Salvation Army, & office building. To answer Susan, I stated previously that the nearest Orthodox (faithful) families are 7 miles away which is beyond reasonable walking distance. Now as far as going through legal channels go, Bikur Cholim did make an application to the zoning board once they were informed of the legal situation. However when the public notice went out for the hearing, the village classified the application as being for a "transient hotel" for lack of a better definition. This blatant mis-classification with all of its negative connotations is what brought out 200 angry residents to the hearing shouting NIMBY. Even the testimony of the Mother Superior who is president of the hospital in favor of the Shabbos House was shouted down by the angry mob. Therefore the courts are unfortunately the only answer.

                                             SOL ZELLER


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 03:08 PM

It is odd that there would be a complaint if the only other structures on the block are not single family homes. If Bikur Cholim had done their homework, they probably could have received the variance before they started the operation. Applying after the fact probably created tension and magnified the situation.

The classification as "transient hotel" actually seems pretty accurate for the situation.   "Transient" refers to how the home will be occupied, it is not a reflection on the clientle. Unfortunately when people hear the word "transient" they think that homeless people are moving in and it will descrease their property values.   It is a shame that this process did not occur in the normal manner, all this could have been avoided.

People behave strangely.    My mother's next door neighbor was looking to build an enclosure over their front door.   The town she lives in requires a variance and a notice to all the neighbors within one block - even houses on the back street. My mother could care less, but the majority of the neighbors complained at a public hearing. What should have been a 5 minute stamp of approval became a two hour bitch session and the application was denied. The neighbors moved out of the neighborhood.

Good luck Sol!


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: CarolC
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 04:08 PM

It would be interesting to know how Ronald McDonald Houses are classified when they deal with zoning issues.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: bobad
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 04:17 PM

I was going to bring up that very example Carol C. I also wonder if the community would have the same reaction if it were McDonald's sponsoring this initiative.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 04:24 PM

in their checklist of types of structures, the 'officials' have only a few possibilities. Like many bureaucracies, they simply do not LIKE items that don't fit pre-determined categories, and 'transient hotel' was the closest that could come up with! This house slips between the cracks and will need a variance. I strongly suspect that it will NOT go as far as the Supreme Court, will eventually be permitted as a 'special case'...if Bikur Cholim doesn't push it as discrimination! A smiling, insistent request for a reasonable variance ought to do it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Bill Hahn//\\
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 04:53 PM

Situations such as this are usually described in the terms most favorible to the writer.   Living in the same county (not the same area) I can vouch for the fact that there are other issues involved that touch upon variances being requested in other areas in proximity to that which Rabbi Sol speaks of. Variance requests for quite different reasons by the Orthodox communities.

That has to be taken into consideration when reading the original posting and that these other issue was not mentioned. I won't go into the geography or the requests since most people here do not know the area and will not understand the issue.   Suffice it to say it is not medical.

"Good Sam" (as the hospital is affectionately know)is exactly as you describe---open and friendly to all, as is Nyack Hospital in the South end of the county.   

The issues are---as many writers here state---not one of discrimination but, rather, one of legalities. Banks , Government P, and many such entities have things known as "grandfather clauses"---new rules apply to new situations but the old rules remain in place for for earlier situations and people.

In my own community a number of years ago a small group of Orthodox purchased a house and fully intended to use it as a Synagogue because there was not an Orthodox one in the area. They applied for the zoning variance after the purchase knowing full well that this was a residential street and not zoned for that purpose. Interestingly all faiths (Jewish included) showed up at the zoning hearing to defeat the variance. They proceeded to sell the house---at a handsome profit.

With all due respect I would add, Rabbi Sol, that naming the thread as you did is in itself inflamatory. It is a statement and not a question.

I have a positive suggestion to offer here that would solve the problem you speak of. If, as you say, there is not even one Orthodox family within walking distance of "Good Sam" then I humbly suggest the renting of motel rooms for those needing to stay over. There is a motel in walking distance.    Not being fully versed in the religious rules of Orthodoxy I seem to recall situations where one is excused from observing certain rituals because of health or other hardships. If that be the case then it would seem to me that what you describe is such a situation.

I mean my post in the most respectful way to bring some light to a situation that I have long abhorred---namely---things are not always discriminatory just because one says they are.   "Wolf" is not always a good thing to cry, as the legend has it.


Bill Hahn


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 06:48 PM

Hi Bill,
         I am sure that you are correct when you say that other recent issues involving Orthodox Jews, especially the recent defeat of Robert Rhodes and his Preserve Ramapo Party in the last election have come into play here. Given the existance of the Monestary & Salvation Army facilities, Bikur Cholim was not even aware that their house which was only going to be occupied only 26 hours a week was in violation of zoning regulations until they were served with papers.
I am sure they would have proceeded differently had they been cognizant of the law. If you are familiar with the area the nearest motels (Holiday Inn & Wellsley Inn) are still a good 3 miles from the hospital and would involve a walk along a busy highway with no sidewalks. As far as leniency in Jewish law is concerned, it applies only to the sick person himself and not to those healthy people who wish to visit him. These "Shabbos Houses" exist at many hospitals in the NYC Metro area and this is the first time that one has been challenged.
                                              SOL ZELLER


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: John O'L
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 06:53 PM

I too would be hesitant to invoke the discrimination demon. He is hard to control. He blesses and curses indiscriminately.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: LilyFestre
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 06:59 PM

What about what some answers for the suggestions Susan gave...I think they are great suggestions.

Might the monastery, for example, share their hospitality? What about faithful Jews in the area offering informal hospitality in their homes?

What is the goal here-- support for faithful families, or a court precedent?


So what is the goal? You didn't answer any of these questions. Would you be willing to open your home to help these families you are so concerned about?

Sometimes folks who yell discrimination go a bit overboard...I am with the above poster...this is a legal issue, new laws put into effect...not a religious issue.

Michelle


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Jeri
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 07:16 PM

Laws do not have to discriminate intentionally to discriminate, and folks involved in the legal process likely don't have visceral reactions to the word. If there are facilities for Christians and none for Jews, and building a facility for Orthodox Jewish people has been made illegal, then it IS discrimination. Whether or not there's a legal responsibility to change zoning ordinances to eliminate accidental descrimination is a matter for those who know the law.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 07:20 PM

Michelle,
          I would open my home if I lived near the hospital. I live a good 8 miles away. There are no "faithful families" living within reasonable walking distance. If there were I am sure that their houses would be open. As far as the Monestary sharing its facilities, that would not be a viable option. Orthodox Jews are not permitted to enter a church or a house of worship of any religion other than their own. ( I have not been able to attend folk concerts or coffee houses that take place in churches because of this law.) While staying in this Shabbos House they are required to offer the Sabbath prayers as well. A Jew is not permitted to pray in the same room where a crucifix is affixed to the wall. The kitchen facilities in the Monestary are not kosher. Special food is part of the Jewish sabbath worship as well. That is why it is important to have our own place.
                                           SOL ZELLER


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 07:25 PM

The Federal RLUIPA law that I mentioned in my initial post that started this thread was written to address just such a situation as we have here. It is supposed to supersede any local zoning ordinances that place an unreasonable burden upon religious practice.

                                                 SOL ZELLER


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: LilyFestre
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 07:40 PM

Sol,

   If all those things are true, how is it that folks could stay in the rooms provided by a Catholic hospital? I'm sure there were crosses in and on the building, food that wasn't kosher, meat and dairy in the same space, electricity 24/7.

   I can see where your housing setup would be preferrable but if there are no other options? How about having bikes available for transportation?

Michelle


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 08:44 PM

I agree with Jeri.

It is bureacracy without conscience and not blatant discrimitation but all things considered, they should allow it. Whats the harm?

Is there an appeal process in regards to zoning regulations?

I don't think its fair to ask people to 'open their homes' to complete strangers. Just because you share the same religion doesn't mean you're ready to take on the responsibility of housing a family dealing with medical problems.

Its not fair to the families requiring accomodations, either. When a loved one is hospitalized, you need some private space so you can cry if you feel like it. You also need quiet time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Bill Hahn//\\
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 09:34 PM

Lily Festre makes a m ost valid point---one which I wanted to bring up when Rabbi Sol wrote re: not being allowed to enter another sanctuary.   

I have to say that "Good Sam" hospital spread out the welcome mat and it was well rcvd by its recipients---now to claim the above seems a bit hypocritical and/or "nit-picking".   

In fact many of these rules are about avoiding them--loopholes if you will. A few examples: Jewish Hospitals (Mt. Sinai, etc;) have what they call Shabbos Elevators. Elevators that just keep running so you are not turning on the electric (and ---by the way---you are riding---forget stairs?). Let us also not forget the Shabbos Goy (by the way --Goy is not a detrimental term for everyone's information) who works the Jewish Sabbath.   The fact is if you use the benefit of the appliances and modern practices by technical circimvention I would suppose it to be a bit of hypocrisy. Be it the Amish, the Catholics, or others---if you truly believe you should---but then don't reap any benefits by circumvention of your own beliefs.

On a lighter note---my late mother was in St. John's hospital in Santa Monica years back.   The nuns who were the nurses asked her if she wanted to see the Rabbi--scared the hell out of her--she thought she was dying. Turns out he wanted to give her fruit in celebration of Succoth and was visiting the hospital to see all the Jewish patients for Succoth. She got the fruit---lived a long time after that



Bill Hahn


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 10:21 PM

Michelle,
          Good Samaritan Hospital is very accommodating. They remove the crucifixes from the walls of rooms housing Orthodox Jewish patients. They provide kosher food that is brought in from a local Orthodox caterer for patients who require it. They even provide a meditation room exclusively for Jewish use where a Talmud class is given every day by a surgeon who also happens to be a Rabbi. Their annual dinner takes place in a Glatt Kosher catering hall because they have so many Orthodox benefactors who donate money.

                                              SOL ZELLER


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: M.Ted
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 10:30 PM

One of the nice things about going to court over an issue is that, in the face of the seemingly endless formalities, procedures, depositions, etc, hot tempers, angry disagreements, and shouting all eventually give in to the process. And there seems to be a lot of anger here--

Thanks to some of Rabbi Sol's past postings, I've been following what has been happening up there when it makes it into the news, and I think that he's right when he says that religious discrimination is at the heart of the issue.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: ejsant
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 07:13 AM

Whether religious discrimination is in the hearts of those, both government and constituents, would be difficult to determine for certain. This of course wouldn't preclude any of us from forming an opinion as to the validity of the claim would it?

To me this circumstance demonstrates one of the fallacies of man's law. When did our society decide that the letter of the law was greater than the intent? Has this been a gradual process, one that I failed to recognize, or was it overnight?

Sol,

I would think that your claim of discrimination would be better supported if you could demonstrate that another religious organization, or any organization for that matter, received a variance from the current zoning ordinances for a similar purpose in the same neighborhood or another in the community with the same zoning designation. In my opinion using what may very well be applications whose existence precedes the current zoning ordinances is not a very strong way to support your contention that the decision was based upon discriminatory mind sets.

There may be other variance applications that are clearly decided to be non-desirable by those in the community, including the Orthodox Jews, that would then be allowed by way of adjudication simply because of the precedent of allowing the use you have written about.

All that said doesn't mean that I agree with the results of the actions thus far. Actually I find them troubling. Not because of the potential discrimination aspect, although if indeed discrimination is what motivated the decision that would be very troubling, but because to me it shows that as a society we are taking less responsibility in deciding the issues that concern our living together cohesively by simply deferring to the words of some written ordinance.

I wish you and Bikur Cholim much success in this most benevolent endeavor. As with all peaceful co-existence the concerns of all need be considered and middle ground need be sought. This should not be a case of one side "winning" over the other but rather a case of how all sides of the issue find a satisfactory solution. Ideal, absolutely, but as well absolutely necessary if we are to live together in peace with-out harboring ill feelings towards one another. Ill feelings that unfortunately have the potential to negatively influence our perceptions of one another and therefore our peaceful co-existence.

Peace,
Ed


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Peace
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 12:42 PM

I don't know that it's discrimination, but it surely is stupidity.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 07:23 PM

I thank you all for your input here. I wanted to hear ALL opinions, both pro and con and I find Mudcat to be the ideal forum to air both sides of a controversial issue.
                                           SOL ZELLER


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: bobad
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 07:34 PM

That's one thing you can always count on, Rabbi, no shortage of opinions here, Shalom.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Bill Hahn//\\
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 08:29 PM

For sure---but, it might be helpful if one did not name a thread with a headline---which is a statement. It does not allow for an open discussion of issues---might I suggest a better header---Is There Religious Discrimination in Suffern---Here is the issue!!

I do not want to repeat my earlier post---re: crying "Wolf".

I know, Sol, that you mean well, but things get misinunderstood and it is alwayws better to be clear in what one wants to discuss.   

I suppose you would agree that a good parting line here would be ---"...and now I have to get back on my ship--the St. Louis". I do not believe that to be the case.

Bill Hahn


Bill Hahn


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 08:29 PM

It is an awkward thing in a complex society to balance pragmatic rules designed to benefit and guide the populace generally with the special needs of various minority groups. The handicapped can't easily get on many busses....so how much should a community have to spend to provide either special taxi service expensive busses that lower on hydraulics? (my area recently struggled with that one).

    I'm sure many people sincerely believe that making 'unusual' arrangements for the convenience of religious groups should be, as the hospital does, through generosity and not by mandate. Just as Amish communities have to work hard to deal with the safety problem of slow moving buggies on public roads, the Jewish communities have many complex laws regarding cleanliness and activity restrictions on the Sabbeth...as well as the rules noted about crosses and prayers. To an outsider it may look not only strange, but intrusive, when it feels like someone else's 'needs' translate to 'demands' on the community at large, and require exceptions to some of the ordinances .

    Jeri notes that "Laws do not have to discriminate intentionally to discriminate,", but it is still important to differentiate, if possible, between 'intentional discrimination' and mere disagreement over a pragmatic decision. If animosity can be kept out of the negotiations, both sides may eventually benefit.


   In this case as described, I think a house supported and used in the manner noted should not be a problem for the zoning board, and Bikur Cholim should be allowed to maintain it with the blessings of the community, as it DOES benefit both sides. Perhaps the hospital itself could be persuaded to intervene (or explain) how it's changes brought about this situation, and how making allowances, as much as possible, would ease things for all concerned. At the same time, Bikur Cholim should proceed gently, remembering that their needs are not necessarily understood and/or appreciated by many in the bureaucratic realm. "Discrimination" IS a loaded word, even when only meant in a legal, technical way, and needs to be used carefully.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Bill Hahn//\\
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 08:31 PM

I hope that the St Louis line was not too obscure for those who do not recall historical context.   

Bill Hahn


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 10:15 PM

Bill,
      Maybe for the benefit of the younger members of this forum, you should give us all a synopsis of the ill fated voyage of the St. Louis and its relevance to current events. It was one of the darker chapters of American history for sure.
                                              SOL ZELLER


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Bill Hahn//\\
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 04:34 PM

Thank you, Sol. I would be happy to give the brief synopsis and also why my last line was :"...I do not believe that to be the case".

The St. Louis was a ship which carried a full complement of Jews that had been allowed (encouraged) to leave Germany in the dark days prior to the full onset of WW2. It sailed to many countries and at each (the U S included) the passengers were not allowed to disembark ( I vaguely recall that a small number may have disembarked in Cuba and UK--I could be in error there).

As to the U S ---FDR was encouraged by the American Legion and other isolationists to not permit the disembarkation. FDR, while a sainted man in many ways, had his faults for political expediency as well.



The ship eventually returned to Germany with most of the passengers still on board and the rest is of course history as to what transpired with The Holocaust.

That is the brief history. Thank you, Sol, for asking me to elucidate. It is also the reason I made the reference to the ship and my feeling that what we are speaking of in this thread was not in that category. Happily the U S has come a long way (even if all of the world has not) and we are more a country of laws than before. Hopefully, we will evolve even more---none of it has been easy or bloodless--for sure. The injustice suffered by African / Americans in this country (and others) is akin to the Holocaust---but I am digressing. That is a whole different topic for a "thread".

I would add here that the film "Ship of Fools" (a wonderful film) is exactly the opposite of what the St. Louis was.



Bill Hahn


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 05:31 PM

There was an amazing movie about the St. Louis incident called "Voyage of the Damned".   

The passengers were not returned to Germany, but the countries of France, Great Britain, Holland and Belgium took all the passengers in. Unfortunately the Nazi's invaded most of these countries and about 2/3 of the original passengers perished in concentration camps.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Bill Hahn//\\
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 06:17 PM

Good point---I had forgotten about the nations mentioned---but the disembarkation was limited--to my knowledge. I do believe that Cuba and UK did take some in. But that is beside the point. It is quite correct about the countries mentioned and what transpired after that.

It was a wonderful film---as was Ship of Fools showing how people believed their loyalty and love of "Fatherland" came first and it turned out how mistaken they were----the last shot in the film is the most telling---just like in Gloomy Sunday---you have to look closely at the last scenes to get the whole point.

If you have not seen Gloomy SUnday---do so---it is a great (really great) film---in German but subtitled.

Bill Hahn


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 07:41 PM

"I do believe that Cuba and UK did take some in."

Yes, I mentioned Great Britian. I believe you are correct about Cuba too. From what I remember of the story, Cuba took in a handful of passengers who were willing to pay a fee. From what I recall of the story, the Cuban stance was based on the economic strife in that country and the idea that refugees would take jobs - a tactic that is still used by those trying to oppress immigration even today.   I also remember that in addition to the United States, Canada also refused entry.

I'm not sure if North America has really come a long way. Even today there is discrimination against immigrants. Just last week there was a protest in one New Jersey town against day laborers, most who come from South America looking for work.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Bill Hahn//\\
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 10:47 PM

I suppose this is how these threads take off on different tangents. We had started with the thoughts on Suffern NY.

On the subject of the St Louis and my comments about our country doing better in the legal sense when it comes to immigrants I have to disagree with Ron. Nothing is perfect--nor will it ever be. If it were we would all be living in Utopia.


Since we are living in a world of nations and not one world, of many cultures and not one, and with security problems and idealogies clashing things are, surely, far from Utopian. Are they better than in, say, the 1920s, 1930s, or name any earlier era? I would say yes. Can and should we---or the rest of the world--- do better? Of course. So, back to Suffern---and my earlier comments--I only brought up the St Louis for a point and I thank Sol for wanting me to explain what that was about

Bill Hahn


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 11:29 AM

"my comments about our country doing better in the legal sense when it comes to immigrants I have to disagree with Ron."

Tell that to the immigrants from South America who gather together each morning in towns across the region looking for an honest days work. Tell that to all those who try to cross our borders. Tell that from everyone who has suffered because of Homeland Security and the Border Security Enforcement Bill. Tell that to all the immigrants who supply the marjority of the labor in the meat packing industry. Tell that to the immigrant farm workers. Do a search on human rights abuse in this country. If anything, we have added new laws to make immigration more difficult and deposing easier.

In 2005 we can look back at the St. Louis incident and easily say that the U.S., Canada and other countries were wrong in making these people suffer. Yet in 2005 we turn a blind eye at the other abuses in our own country, often because of religious or simply the color of a persons skin.    In New Jersey there is the previously mentioned outcry about "immigrant" day laborers, who happen to be from South America. Yet you rarely hear anyone mention the thousands of illegal Irish and Polish immigrants who live in the same area.

The arguements that were heard at the time of the St.Louis incident were that immigrants would be taking jobs, straining resources and costing the goverment.   These are the same arguements we hear today.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Bill Hahn//\\
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 04:14 PM

Well, I guess Suffern is pretty well gone in this thread.

A question to clarify Ron's comment---are you saying we should treat the Poles and the Irish as we do the people from S.A. or that we should treat those from S A as you allege the Irish and Poles are treated?

Do we need immigration laws? I would say yes---but they should be realistic and fair. The security issues today are quite different than they were 60 or so years ago. As to the thoughts re: "...taking jobs and straining gov't resources"---yes, they were the arguments used in the time of the St Louis but the situation was quite different--those people were fleeing for their lives. Not their livelihoods.   We still grant asylum for those who are persecuted but the comment re; jobs and gov't resources is valid. Our Medicaid rolls are filled to the brim with "legals" (citizens).

As I said--we are not perfect and Utopia is not at hand. I doubt that it ever will be given the human condition.


Bill Hahn


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 05:07 PM

I am saying that we should treat all people who wish to stay and work in this land fairly and equally. These people did not come to this country to be persecuted.

I never claimed that we are perfect and there is no such thing as Utopia except for overused cliches. What I have said is, things are not necessarily as rosey as people seem to believe.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Bill Hahn//\\
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 06:34 PM

I think we have a confusion of thought here----Ron, you never said--as you say--that you never said things are perfect.   I was the one who said that I believe they are better than they used to be--and that we will never reach perfection (Utopia) given human nature. We do the best we can.

Surely we do not want to persecute anyone but, we like other nations, have to have a set of laws and policies that protect our citizens and taxpayers from more than just "terror". I think that Emma Lazarus' words on the base of the Statue of Liberty are what we aim for and have achieved over time. More than most nations in years gone by.

On a lighter note---Suffern has turned into a WFDU discussion group as initiated by a question from a listener ---Sol. Always good to have these---now as to Suffern.....

Bill Hahn


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 07:36 PM

"we like other nations, have to have a set of laws and policies that protect our citizens and taxpayers from more than just "terror"."

I do agree with you on that Bill. The point I was trying to make is, that the arguement you just made was the same one people were making at the time of the St.Louis incident.   I don't think any of us today have enough information on the reasons why people from Mexico, South America and other countries are coming to this country. There are brutal governments out there, and unless they produced oil our country seems to ignore these infractions of human rights.

Also, back to the St. Louis incident, the horror of Kristallnacht was fresh in everyone's mind at the time, and clearly the ugly nature of the Nazi's were known, I think that people were still in the "denial" stage if you will, or at the very least the idea of remaining neutral was in the mind of many.   America has a history of oppressing immigrants, be it the Chinese, Irish, Italians or whatever group was coming into this country at the time. In hindsight the denial from this country to the passengers on the St. Louis is all the more horrific knowing what transpired, but at the time could anyone say for certain what the fate of those passengers would be - especially since they ended up in countries that were not occupied by the Nazi's?

Again, the only point I was trying to make is that we should not lull ourselves into thinking that everything has improved and situations like this could not occur again. They can and they will. While the situation in Suffern may or may not be a case of religious discrimination, there is plenty of religious and racial discrimination going on around us.

I guess this has turned into a WFDU discussion group, but anyone can step in at anytime to tell Bill and I that we are full of crap. We are used to it!! :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Bill Hahn//\\
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 08:12 PM

I like the last line---that is the boottom line truth.


Bill Hahn


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: GUEST,Jen
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 11:00 PM

Full of crap,full of crap. It is what you wanted to hear.

Jen


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: LadyJean
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 12:12 AM

Having lived in a neighborhood where parking was scarce and parking wars were common, I wonder how much that has to do with the Shabbos house.
6 or 7 extra cars parked on a crowded street from before sunset Friday to Sunday morning are going to create problems. I lived near a National Guard Armory. I stayed home on Guard weekends, because there was no place to park. If the Shabbos house is creating a parking problem, someone is going to have to find solutions. Perhaps guests could park their cars in the hospital lot over the weekend.
I lived near a Ronald McDonald house too. Neighbors complained when the house was built. They were afraid of noise from ambulances. That didn't happen. The Ronald McDonald house, by the way, has a parking lot.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 09:55 AM

Bill H, you brought in the St Louis knowing next to nothing about it (I know the extent of your ignorance because I have read and heard the accounts of people who were on the voyage - most of whom have been traced - and have met some of them). And this comment Happily the U S has come a long way (even if all of the world has not) is preposterous and smug, except in the most narrow sense that the US is now a nation that is led by the nose by its most vociferous lobbies.

Rabbi Sol, should you not be spelling "monestary" as "monastery" as some others have done in this thread?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religious Discrimination in Suffern, NY
From: Bill Hahn//\\
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 11:38 AM

Peter K--you are surely a wonder at correcting people. And in the most insulting manner, may I add.

       My opinion may differ from yours. That makes neither of us ignorant but your comments do show your narrowness and opinionated thinking.   Bravo for you that you met some people from the voyage--so now you are an expert.

       Perhaps you might take Sol to a spelling bee since you also know about those things. This site does not have a spell check and I know that many people use words in an improper way because of the sound--such as: compliment when they really mean complement (*among others). It is good and refreshing to have you correct such things---I believe the word is nit-picking (gee, I hope that is spelled correctly or you will report me to the spelling correcting squad).   

       I think Ron is right---about being full of crap---welcome to the club.


Bill Hahn


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