An Interesting Practitioner...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

An Interesting Practitioner...

...of that infamous propaganda device which has come to be known as "The Big Lie," is Hampton Synagogue Rabbi Marc Schneier.

From an interview with Religion News Service's Tim Murphy, on WEEEF:

"It was both an extraordinary and an his­tor­ic address, to have had the governor of the state of New York -- and one of the fore­most African-American leaders in our country -- classify the eruv as a civil rights struggle."

While that's not quite what Governor Paterson said, it's another example of the Rabbi con­tinuing to promulgate the fiction that an eruv is a civil right.

It's not, and that is "The Big Lie!"

Also from that interview:

"I was very saddened by the tone of the event. It was an ugly display of disrespect and intolerance, but it has only strength­ened my resolve to reach out and educate and sensitize the greater community."

'Tis but one example of the Rabbi's continued disingenuity and refusal to acknowledge his own responsibility in that "ugly display."

(And the local community sits in breath­less anticipation awaiting the Rabbi's next step in reaching out, edu­cating and sensitizing.)

The great irony, of course, is that the leading proponent of "The Big Lie," initially denounced in Mein Kampf as "a tool of the Jews," was Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels.


1. Gordie Howe said...

Good Evening Dean:

It has yet to be explained how the Rabbi would have been able to enter St. Mark's Church when he was unable to enter the AME Zion Church?

Keep up the good work and stay away from that fried chicken!

An excellent point! I believe Rabbi Schneier's "Orthodoxy" is best described as "situational."

However, if anyone wished to play the Rabbi's game, it would be fair to characterize his disinclination to enter the AME Zion Chuch as "racist."
– Dean

2. Tugboat Bertha said...

No, it wouldn't be considered "racist" unless his refusal to come to 9-11's first memorial service held in the Immaculate Conception Parish Center was considered anti-Catholic. He did show up for that event because all items relating to religion were removed from the room (the gym) to accommodate him.

How gracious of the Rabbi! The question now becomes, was Saint Mark's prepared to take similar steps to accommodate the Rabbi's Orthodox requirements?

It amuses me to consider how something like this might have played out some years ago when the Reverend George Busler still held sway at the Western terminus of Main Street. Having borne the force of the collective egos of the Rabbi and that Reverend for so many years, Westhampton Beach seems set to withstand anything short of a Category III Hurricane.
– Dean

3. Gordie Howe said...

An interesting discussion of what an Orthodox Rabbi may or may not do in respect to other places of worship, may be found at

Good link!

Upon further reflection on Tugboat Bertha's above Comment, I think it shows to what lengths other area Houses of Worship have extended themselves to accommodate Rabbi Schneier. It would be interesting to learn if other local clerics feel that there has been commensurate reciprocity.
– Dean

4. Lexie said...

Is petard Yiddish?

Not the last time I looked, but I get your meaning.

5. Morris Tuchman said...

The Tenafly case was brought pursuant to "29 USC 1983...and the 14th ammendment..." That statute is a "civil rights" statute.

The Tenafly decision moreover said (amongst other things): "Limitations on the free exercise of religion inflict irreparable injury. (citations omitted) ("'The loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.'") [my note: effectively responding to the question of "why now?"] (quoting Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 347, 373 (1976)). The plaintiffs have demonstrated that, if the eruv is removed, they will be unable to push and carry objects outside the home on the Sabbath, and those who are disabled or have small children consequently will be unable to attend synagogue. This showing easily satisfies the irreparable injury requirement.

With respect to the balance of ardships{sic}... Enjoining removal of the eruv would cause neither the Borough nor its residents any serious injury. Without an injunction, on the other hand, the plaintiffs' free exercise of religion will be impaired. The balance easily tips in the plaintiffs' favor.

Finally, where there are no societal benefits justifying a burden on religious freedom, "the public interest clearly favors the protection of constitutional rights." (citations omitted) We do not see how removing the lechis could advance any interests sufficient to outweigh the infringement of the plaintiffs' free exercise rights."

Moreover, the award of attorney's fees (Ms. Denapoli{sic} reports that over $300,000 was paid to plaintiff's lawyers, in addition to that paid by Tenafly to its lawyers) makes clear that "fee shifting" took place in accordance with "civil rights" cases.

The same 3rd Circuit stated at 195 Fed Appx 93; 2006 U.S. App Lexis 22671 "The legal standards governing our award of attorney's fees are familiar. Under 42 U.S.C. §1988(b), our Court has discretion to award the "prevailing party" in a civil rights action "a reasonable attorney's fee as part of the costs." See Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 429, 103 S. Ct. 1933, 76 L. Ed. 2d 40 (1983). It is undisputed that appellants - who persuaded us to reverse the District Court's decision against them and direct that Court to enter a preliminary injunction in their favor - were the prevailing parties in this action." The court awarded $339,189 plus $74,882 plus close to $32,000 in costs to the Eruv Association and the individual plaintiffs.

Thus, the 3rd circuit court of appeals, and not just Rabbi Schneier and Governor Patterson, clearly called this a civil rights proceeding.

The association with Goebbles{sic} is shocking.

While you appear to make a case that an eruv is a Civil Right, I remain dubious. But much finer legal minds than mine will ultimately make that determination.

My reading of the Tenafly decision is that it was predicated on the issue of "equal protection," #1, and, from your quoted passages, it would seem that the eruv was in place and the suit was to prevent it being removed, yes?

In respect to the Goebbels "association," regret that you're shocked! But I will accept no clucking of Jewish or Christian tongues for pointing out that one of Rabbi Schneier's favorite devices is similar to that practiced by the Reichsministerium, not just on the debatable "eruv as a Civil Right" issue, but the Rabbi's tarnishing the entire community with charges of anti-Semitism, and his fiction about how, 18 years ago, "the Village tried to stop the Synagogue."

Also please recall that it is the Rabbi who first invoked the specter of Nazi Germany in respect to Westhampton Beach, and I merely pointed out the irony.

So why is it that your are so willing to give Rabbi Schneier a pass on his words and actions?
– Dean

6. Hampton West said...

Interesting point - was this about the removal of an eruv? That may a very different case than the creation of one.

As for Mr. Tuchman's reference to the monetary award and Governor Paterson's interpretation of the issues, I find it part of an intimidation mentality that seems to exist on the East End. Can't get the zoning you want? Bring a civil rights case and sue everyone for $25 million. Can't get your eruv? remind everyone there will be finiancial awards to pay. Same process. As for the Governor - if he said the world was flat it would still be round; his view that it is a civil rights case is an opinion. As our host blogger says, OtBBfiner legal minds than mine will make that determination.

7. Hampton West said...

As I understand it in Tenafly the local Orthodox community went to Bergen County rather than the local borough government to get permission to intall the eruv, which was done - and the suit was to prevent the already in place eruv from coming down. Correct?

This is because, as I read, according to Jewish law, permission has to be granted by some entity that controls the openiong and closing of streets. With all due respect, this is pretty ludicrous. The Rabbi can pick and choose what entity he thinks controls the roads, get an OK, and then install his eruv. Looks like the Rabbi wants the law of the realm to apply to all, which it should, and then have his own special set of laws based on what I'll label a religious code.

What chutzpah!

  1. This is my understanding as well.
  2. I think that's a fair parsing of the situation.
  3. I think I said that already, yes?

8. Harry said...

The Hampton Synagogue is not breaking new ground. This is much ado about nothing as there are eruvs all over the country. See the Newsday article.

Eruv will be good for community --

"The proposal to erect an eruv in Westhampton Beach has led to a great deal of anger and confusion. The debate has been characterized by misunderstanding, ..."
You're new here, aren't you, Harry.

If you truly think "This is much ado about nothing," then you haven't been paying attention, #1, and, #2, the link you provided is malformed, but I'm pretty sure you were trying for this one:,0,5111881.story, and that was addressed here over a week ago. (See: "Once again..."

The eruv has already been bad for the community, since Rabbi Schneier's approach combined with Mayor Teller's inability to administer the Village and get it done before it blew up in everyone's faces, have proved devastatingly polarizing.

Wake up and smell the bitterness, Harry.

9. Harry said...

You have a choice, Dean. You can either wallow, foster and inflame the "bitterness," or you can accept the realities of established eruvs all over the world, try to mend fences, and move on. I hope that you will opt for the more productive latter choice.

Before you presume to lecture me on my "choices," recommend that you get up to speed on where OtBB has been on the eruv issue since it was first introduced to the Village in late February, then you, too, can "accept the realities," not of the world, but Westhampton Beach.

I've worked very hard at supporting the eruv and trying to understand the opposition to its being approved, to the extent that it's cost me a couple of friends.

But this struggle isn't about the eruv, it's about the ego and hypocrisy of Rabbi Marc Schneier who couldn't give a rusty rodent's rump about what he's done to the Village over the past 18 years.

Wanna preach somewhere? Try the corner of Sunset and Brook!
– Dean

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