Dueling lawyers, arguing rabbis…

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dueling lawyers, arguing rabbis…

...is what the most recent eruv proposal is going to come down to.

Southampton Press reporter Will James let the feline loose from the burlap in his report on 27East this noon with:

"Another group, East End Eruv Association, has recently contacted at least one utility company about putting up black markers on utility poles to delineate the eruv, Mr. Teller said after the meeting."

There it is... in the parlance of the gridiron... an end-around.

Since Verizon seems to have informed Jewish People Opposed to the Eruv 17 months ago that they would not be going forward without municipal approval, the logical suspect would be Long Island Power Authority.

(There's a degree of difficulty in getting coherent information from the JPOE site because Arnie Sheiffer or whoever serves as Webmaster, is a slob with no notion of editing or formatting, but right now it's the third item down, dated March 16, 2009.)

Two years ago we learned that it was Jewish Law which dictated municipal or other Govern­mental approval necessary for an eruv to be established.

This is why Hampton Synagogue applied to the Village of Westhampton Beach, and when that appeared to come a cropper, reached out to Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy and New York State Governor David Paterson.

And while neither would touch the request with an eleven-foot Czech, the Governor did cause some ripples with his impassioned rhetoric on the subject at an August 3, 2008 Synagogue service.

(It was everything the congregants would have wished to hear... unless they listen­ed closely: "You deserve this, but you're gonna have to get someone else to sign off on it.")

The new group, E³A, seems to feel that if they can get LIPA to grant their request, that will serve their religious requirement for "govern­mental approval."

And this is where it gets tricky... according to the utility's own language:

"The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) is a non-profit municipal electric provider...."

Further research finds that LIPA is a municipal subdivision of the State of New York, created under the Long Island Power Act of 1985... in short, a government-owned corporation.

Will that suffice for the eruvian requirements of Orthodox Judaism?

Never mind the nutburger's head exploding or Bob Dillmeier clutching at his chest and keel­ing over on the first fairway, I can't figure it out either!

But then I don't have to... this is going to be argued between competing rabbis and then litigated by lawyers on both sides.

The only thing that's clear at this point is that while Westhampton Beach may be at the epi­center of the eruv proposed by E³A, the Village has nothing to do with it!

Now this is some shameful stuff!

Less than three hours after Will James posted his 27East report, it was excerpted and re­printed on the Web under the misleading ut­terly dishonest headline:

Anti-Orthodox Bias Rears its Ugly Head Yet Again

(See also "Eruv Online.")

Perhaps it's me, but the only "ugly head" I see, is that of the blogger... if it wasn't hidden behind the cognomen "lineman."


1. Allan S. said...

Does the eruv come with a "parking lot" for the temple? Just curious.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Another with some instutional memory of what occurred at the multi-Board meeting in 1993!

That would be a suitable trade-off... if the Village had anything to do with this, Allan. It doesn't, nor is Hampton Synagogue itself involved in the application, only some of its members. You may see it as a distinction without a difference, but it is not.

2. Lineman said...

Well, excuse me, but the fact that this issue is even up for debate is ugly as are the comments it unfailingly elicits. The only people the eruv impacts are the Orthodox Jews for whom it is intended. For everyone else the eruv blends into the thicket of wires on the utility poles and is inconsequential. Anyone objecting to an eruv is clearly displaying an anti-Orthodox stance.

For your information, there are many ways to satisfy the requirement of governmental permission including going directly to a higher authority such as a member of state government.

No, "Lineman," I won't excuse you.

I commented on your blog because of the arbitrary and unsupported characterization in your headline: "Anti-Orthodox Bias Rears its Ugly Head Yet Again."

You refuse to acknowledge that an eruv is as much a symbol to non-Orthodox as it is to the observant... and that's a clear bias on your part.

I find your views intolerant and the manner by which you express them inflammatory. You're as big a bigot as some of the "haters" railing against the eruv.

3. Tugboat Bertha said...

Could it be that fear of an eruv isn't about religion but more about real estate values going down?

Possibly for some, but if a sizable chunk of the Western Hamptons is within an eruv, it becomes a very attractive area to the observant Orthodox... and that's the real fear of the majority of anti-eruvians.

4. Lineman said...

Pray tell me how pieces of string and plastic are a symbol of anything to non-Orthodox Jews. An eruv is not even a religious symbol to Orthodox Jews. An eruv only connotes a physical barrier that allows an Orthodox Jew to carry therein and is not holy per se (as a matter of fact this was part of the argument in Tenafly NJ). You know very well that most people wouldn't know an eruv from a telephone wire if it hit them in the face.

Most of the arguments opposing the eruv break down into two categories. Either an open anti-Orthodox bias that argues the community will become too Orthodox (and I would love to hear how you justify this clear example of bigotry) or a condescending attitude towards Orthodoxy that precludes them from helping religious Jews observe halachah (almost as if they have to save us from our own archaic religious laws).

The rest of your comment does not warrant a response -- you clearly don't know me.

If you fail to understand how some non-Orthodox are wary if not fearful of a surfeit of Orthodox coming into a community, then you don't care... which is precisely how your previous comment here came across: confrontational and strident.

With attitudes like that, why do you think others are wary?

You think I don't know you? I knew you the instant you published the headline to your blog entry, the only thing of yours as the rest was Will James' story which in no way supported your editorializing headline. You race around looking for anything you can tortuously characterize as bias or bigotry, the same way that Jesse Jackson (and to a lesser extent, Al Sharpton) live to play the race card. You're not interested in a civil dialogue, only in a shrill confrontation.

Yeah, I know you all too well... you can't wait to fight another six-day war in the Western Hamptons.

5. Lineman said...

I am simply amazed that one who claims to be so rational would even entertain such open bigotry. You are just proving how spot on my post headline was. To exclude any group of people based on race is simple prejudice. There is no "dialogue" needed. Moreover, it's laughable to claim that these people are interested in "civil dialogue" when anyone who listened to the rancor at the public meetings and the comments emanating from this group sees that this is far from what they are interested in.

The rest of your arguments are simply absurd. I rarely trump the bigotry card. However, I have no doubt that this case is a matter of bigotry, and you are just proving my point by giving credence to such rhetoric.

Your opening gambit was to play the bigotry card with your unwarranted and unsupported headline to the story borrowed from 27East. When I challenged you on your own blog with "Where's the 'ugly Anti-Orthodox Bias?'" you fired back with an aggressive non-answer which you reposted here.

You see anti-Orthodox sentiment everywhere... you seek it out, and when you can't find anything overt, you simply label it, as you did with your headline yesterday, "Anti-Orthodox Bias." You probably didn't even read Will James' story, just copied, pasted and labeled it "Anti-Orthodox Bias Rears its Ugly Head Yet Again."

I've lived with, and reported on, what's happened here with the eruv issue for the past 30+ months, and called out the bigots on both sides... but you wouldn't know that because you don't read for content, only for your own buzzwords.

O, and by the way, who exactly are the "these people" to whom you refer? If I'd used that phrase, I could rightfully be called on the implicit bigotry... so don't come here and pose as any defender of what's right and meet! Your own words hang you.

And I don't know where you were on August 13, 2008, but I was part of the "full house" at Hampton Synagogue for the crucial meeting about the eruv... and watched in disbelief as Joel Cohen, in less than ten minutes, completely alienated almost the entire audience, and lost any meaningful local support for the Synagogue's proposal. And if you were there, you wore blinders and ear muffs!

I read your blog's selected (and selective) history of the original Westhampton Beach eruv, and here's a suggestion, Lineman, don't rely on Newsday for your information about what goes on in our Village.

So in three comments here you have revealed your own deep-set bigotry, your intellectual dishonesty, and your willingness to pursue head-long a path that history has shown is rarely productive.

Think about that as you fall asleep tonight, chanting your "Never again!" mantra beneath your breath.

6. Lineman said...

The only thing that I agree with you about is that the meeting was a major fiasco. I don't condone intolerance from either side. However, this will be my final comment as I see you're an obstinate person who is not willing to accept that the argument "an eruv will attract Orthodox Jews," is simply bigoted. This is what my headline reflected. If anything, your reluctance to recognize the bigotry at the crux of the debate only proves your own "intellectual dishonesty."

The only other issue of your rant that deserves attention is regarding my use of the term "these people." For the life of me, I can't imagine how you can construe my comment as bigotry. I was just referring to your comment that "some non-Orthodox are wary if not fearful of a surfeit of Orthodox coming into a community." To this I commented that "it's laughable to claim that these people are interested in civil dialogue." In this context, it's simply warped to suggest that my use of the term "these people" is prejudiced.

You assert that you "don't condone intolerance from either side," yet you practice it yourself. There was nothing in Will James's story on 27East which warranted your choice of headline.

You can blather and attempt to explain away your use of the phrase "these people" 'til the Hassidim order bacon for breakfast, but you used it in this exchange, and it reveals, as I've noted, your own prejudices.

Disagree? Walk into any locale, assume an aggressive posture, and start out with "you people," and see what happens next!

But most of what you've written here is simply blather. Your métier is constructing short, editorializing headlines for other writers' work which you have excerpted for your blogspot.

Get back to us when have something relevant and rational to discuss civilly, and I'll respond in kind.

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