It always depends on...

Friday, July 18, 2008

It always depends on...

...whose ox is being gored.

I received several comments on Wednesday's "Fueling the Paranoia" entry which, together, caused some head-scratching.

The first originated with a blog-reader... it was in an E-mail so I'll let the writer "out" himself if he choses... who was incensed:

"The subject of your blog today and the passages you chose from someone else's blog could easily be interpreted to be inflammatory. Since Mr. Gordon's article appeared on a website called the 5 Towns Jewish Times, I think it is reasonable to assume his audience is Jewish. As such, he is making a positive comment about the perceived success of the synagogue in the community. Locally, of course, we know there are issues with many people who would love to have an excuse to "run these people" out of town. In my mind, this is an ignorant, biased attitude and entries such as yours today will enflame these attitudes, which is and will continue to be harmful for our community in general."

(My "defense" was that I excerpted and linked to the complete source material so readers could form their own opinions in full context.)

This was discussed at some length in E-mail but I'm not sure that the writer was dissuaded from his view.

While this was on-going, I received a 'phone call from a regular reader whose message was more succinct:

"You didn't even reprint the worst part of the guy's blog!"

O, well... as Rick Nelson sang, you can't please everyone.

The "worst part," apparently, is the rise of an­other house of Jewish worship within West­hampton Beach, and while it may have caught some by surprise, those must not have follow­ed the May Village Board Meeting either "live" or via cablecast, where it was discussed.

And if anyone is interested in learning more about The Beach Minyan Shul at Rabbi Eli Popack's home on Jessup Lane, there's an un-bylined story on it in the July 18-24 issue of Long Island Jewish World, one of those stacks of free-bees that's underfoot through the com­mercial areas of the Village... it's the one with the bizarro-looking models in ugly bathing suits on the cover.

They're not offending anyone... except for Quiogue's resident nutburger Irene Barrett who seems to be on a one-witch crusade to rid the Village of anything to do with the practice of Judaism, and despite the relatively large assembly at Rabbi Popack's last Friday for a dedication ceremony, Building Administrator Paul Houlihan estimates no more than "20-30 congregants" for any given Shabbat.

More importantly, no parking problems have been reported in the area of the Beach Minyan.


1. Glenn Dorskind said...


Once again, as co-Chairman of the Hampton Synagogue author series, I would like to invite you and your readers to the Thursday night talks. (They begin at 7:30) This Thursday Betty Rolin will discuss her book on breast cancer and divorce, items that, unfortunately, too many of us are familiar with - regardless of our religion.

I am not trying to "plug" the author series - we get big crowds - rather I thought perhaps people who had not seen the Synagogue could visit. I think first hand experience is better than ads and E-mails. I introduce the authors and will do my best to make everyone comfortable.

I do not like all this fighting. I love this Village and I think there is some real lack of communication, especially on the Eruv. As someone who grew up reformed and studied and taught Buddhism for the last 30 years, I had no idea what an Eruv was, so I am not surprised that my non-Jewish brothers and sisters are concerned. I respect that concern and feel strongly that it should be addressed. I am not qualified to do so.

I know that you love this Village also and am just trying to show it in your own way. You are intense, sometimes obnoxious, very smart, but there isn't an anti-Semitic bone in your body. We've known each other too long.

I have been to many churches in my 18 years of living here. (Unfortunately sometimes for the funerals of those I taught, taught with and loved). People have always been warm and welcoming. I would like to offer the same. I introduced Father David at the synagogue three summers ago and we had a terrific night. The audience, Jews and Christians, really appreciated the dialog between him and Rabbi Schneier. He and I spoke for a while after, and I should have followed up.

I would like to see this whole thing change. I am going to try and meet with Rabbi Schneier this week. (He just returned from Spain) I've talked to Moish Tuchman, our new and wonderful President, several times to encourage dialog. He agrees.

I think your blog comments about Rabbi Schneier are sometimes unfair, and hurtful. I certainly would not talk about the local clergy with such derision. On the other hand, you're entitled to your opinion.

Marc Schneier has been good to me. I consider him an adviser and close friend.

Dean, this is a wonderful Village. Let's get to the next level, let's calm it down.

This all reminds me of that notorious prison warden's famous line in the 1967 classic, Cool Hand Luke, "What we've got here is a failure to communicate."

Whew, Glenn! You've moved to the top of the list for the longest "Comment" in the brief history of OtBB... it deserves "front page treatment" so I'm going to attempt that.

But thank you for the invite and the information about your authors' series... given your enthusiasm for such matters, it does not surprise me that you are in the forefront of making the Hampton Synagogue into a local cultural center. Sincere g'luck to you, and... please don't take this as a "shot..." I hope that you can encourage those Jewish and Christian and Buddhist alike to park in the municipal parking lot on Mill Road rather than in Westhampton Steakhouse or Suffolk County National Bank to the extent that access to the ATM machine is blocked.

2. The Quiogue Kid said...

The Restoration Party, commenting from the cellar of an old home in the safeharbor of all dissenters, Quiogue, thinks the trepidations over the perceived take over of WHB by people of the Jewish faith reminds the author of the distain, back in the good old days, the locals always had against the "summer people." Didn't want to live with them but couldn't live without them (at least financially).

So you're buying into Rabbi Schneier's theme of "Without me 'n' the Synagogue, Westhampton Beach would be in the crapper?"

I followed up on reader rburg's comment about the Rabbi being"instrumental in moving to get Club Marakesh shut down," and found it not credible. The two who were most "instrumental" in that effort were actually then Police Chief Conrad Teller who was w-a-a-a-y out in front of the issue, and Village Attorney Richard Haefeli who drafted the operative legislation.

By all accounts with which I checked, Rabbi Schneier got involved after the horrible Shane Daniels incident, and was part of an Alliance (no relation to the recent one), the key member of which had Governor George Pataki's home 'phone on speed-dial, and used it.

3. Crystal Clear said...

This has been the most intelligent dialogue I have ever read. Well done. I know both of you and you are both very astute and truly concerned about the community over all. Good job. Dialogue is the answer-not behind closed doors. I would have loved to come to the meeting Thursday night but Thursdays are a bad night for me. Keep dialoguing!

Thank you! See "What Glenn said..."

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