Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Let The Shul Stay

Who has a problem with Rabbi Feldman's shul? Why?
Seems the other Teaneck Blogs want to avoid the topic. We want to keep the dialogue open.

33 comments:

A straight answer is requested said...

All that you want to do is create a bitchfest for the shaddenfreud. There was nothing productive coming from the discussion on TeaneckTruth. Or, perhaps you want to see the IP address of the people commenting to take some kind of "personal" retribution....

This will be my first and last comment on your thread.

Truth D. Hurt said...

I respectfully disagree with "a staright answer is requested". While the name calling is uncalled for, there needs to be open discussion about the issues. We have one group that seems to be doing things without proper permits or town approvals. We have another group who claims that they have been totally above board. Put aside the playground name calling and discuss the issues openly and honestly. This is a great forum for such respectful debate.

Out Of Rightfield said...

Just before posts were suddenly eliminated from Teaneck Truth, I posted a comment indicating (with historical proof from various synagogue websites) that pretty much ALL shuls originally started in houses, or basements, or storefronts. This is going back hundreds of years. Unlike a church, where if you build it they will come (by car or horseback), a shul has to be walking distance from the homes of those who pray there. In small communities and in fringe areas of larger communities, such as the case here, a shul has no choice but to start in someone's home. Beth Aaron, now a large shul, started in a house many years ago. Right or wrong, there is no other way to start a new shul than in a house.

Anonymous said...

Out of Rightfield - I have an interesting question. If it were a church doing the same expanding and or building in a neighborhood would everyone be as understanding. I ask this question because a few months ago I was at a church members home who happened to host bible study for our church for a limited time. Her neighbor across the street who happens to be jewish had the nerve to question someone going into their home as to "what goes on over there on Wednesday night" While I think they have some nerve questioning someone's guest I have to wonder would they have asked the same question had the person been jewish? Is there a double standard?

Anonymous said...

How is this possibly a great forum to debate anything?

Anyone can post anything anonymously. I can claim to be someone I am not. I can post using multiple IDs and argue with myself if I want (I've actually seen this on a Yahoo financial msg board - it is quite hysterical!).

Zoning issues are generally regarded to between neighbors. That is why when you apply for a variance, you are required to notify neighbors within 200 feet. The zoning board will care far less what someone living 6 blocks away has to say. So, if anyone involved in this wants their to be useful dialogue, an anonymous blog is hardly the place for it. The parties know who each other is and are free to knock on each other's doors anytime they want.

I understand the desire of the those who pray at 554 to want them prayer group to continue as is and I can understand the neighbors who have their doubts.

Why don't we either let the impacted parties either discuss it in person, or allow the courts to settle it the way our system of laws works.

Why are some SO eager to play this out on an anonymous blog?

Out Of Rightfield said...

Couple of things...
I don't think it's a jewish issue or a christian issue. I think it's a NIMBY issue. Nobody wants a nuclear reactor built on the property next door to their house. Nobody wants a store in a residential neighborhood. Houses of worship are similar. The only difference between an orthodox synagogue that only meets on Shabbat and holidays and a christian study group is there is NO additional vehicular traffic with the shul. A bible study group brings people in cars to the street. An orthodox synagogue, operating on Shabbat and holidays only, does not.
And the question is not necessarily a zoning issue if this prayer group is not a synagogue. When a family member dies, the immediate relatives sit "shiva" and host prayer services three times a day for a week in the home of the deceased or the home of one of the relatives. Does this make the house a synagogue? Does every jew have to apply to the zoning board for a variance before he can sit shiva?

Out Of Rightfield said...

Take it one step further...
Do I need a variance for a "mezumen" for benching (grace after meals, said only when three adult men are present). Is my home a shul because I pray there every day?

Anonymous said...

Out of Rightfield,
On teaneck progress you mentioned that everyone in the North East section of Teaneck will vote for Obama because he is African American or black as you put it. Why would would you make such a generalization and assumption. The implication is that that every resident in the North East lacks the intellect to make the decision of who they are going to vote for based on their foreign policy, health care plan or economic plan. No, just vote for him because he is African American. As a North East resident and Hillary supporter I think you should be careful when making such statements. Just in case you haven't noticed other races and nationalities live in this area of town as well. As a matter of fact my block is quite mixed.

Out Of Rightfield said...

According to CNN's latest poll results, reeleased within the last hour, over 90% of blacks say they will vote for Obama.
As for your support for Hillary: now that Hillary is not in the race and she has endorsed Obama, who will you vote for in the election, Obama or McCain?
Just as the northeast has people of all nationalities, so does West Englewood, but for the most part it is observant/orthodox jewish. As a neighborhood, my thought is that McCain will do weel there. Same for my take that Northeast will go for Obama. Not EVERYBODY will vote for him, but I think he will win the neighborhood by a large majority. Just my opinion.

Out Of Rightfield said...

Back to the synagogue issue, I want to compare Northwest Teaneck to Southeast Teaneck.
The Northwest corner of town has a large, recently constructed synagogue. It has 3 or 4 sanctuaries, a social hall, catering facilities, daily classes, numerous daily services and a large parking lot. Saturday services draw hundreds of congregants. THAT is a synagogue.
The Southeast part of town has a house that is used by a much smaller number of people as a place of worship for less than an hour on Friday evenings, about 3 hours on Saturday mornings and less than an hour on Saturday evenings. That is all. There is no social hall or catering hall, no services on weekdays, no sanctuary other than the home's living room.
THAT is NOT a synagogue. THAT is a prayer group.

Truth D. Hurt said...

Back to the synagogue issue, I want to compare Northwest Teaneck to Southeast Teaneck.
The Northwest corner of town has a large, recently constructed synagogue. It has 3 or 4 sanctuaries, a social hall, catering facilities, daily classes, numerous daily services and a large parking lot. Saturday services draw hundreds of congregants. THAT is a synagogue.
The Southeast part of town has a house that is used by a much smaller number of people as a place of worship for less than an hour on Friday evenings, about 3 hours on Saturday mornings and less than an hour on Saturday evenings. That is all. There is no social hall or catering hall, no services on weekdays, no sanctuary other than the home's living room.
THAT is NOT a synagogue. THAT is a prayer group.


Many new shuls start out by just having services on Friday night, Saturday morning and Saturday evening. Ultimately their goal is to become a full service synagogue which offers congregants multiple services during the week etc. It is a natural progression for a shul. As was pointed out earlier, most if not all shuls in the area and beyond began in people's homes, often as a private prayer group. They expanded and became much larger centers of jewish activity. Why do you think that it will not happen here with 554 QA? Or do they wish to remain a small group, never to grow? In recent announcements sent out by Etz Chaim (554's dba), they announced a Saturday afternoon welcoming party to showcase themselves to visitors and potential congregants. Their goal is clearly to expand and we have a right to agree or object.

When a family member dies, the immediate relatives sit "shiva" and host prayer services three times a day for a week in the home of the deceased or the home of one of the relatives. Does this make the house a synagogue? Does every jew have to apply to the zoning board for a variance before he can sit shiva?

I must disagree. Shiva is one week. yes there is an impact with cars etc but it is for one week only (hopefully). A private prayer group or shul is continuous. As I mentioned above, Etz Chaim's goals are surely to grow which means they will eventually offer weekday services too which will significantly impact the neighbors and traffic patterns in general. Shiva is not a strong argument.

Anonymous said...

Mr. "Truth",

So, you are saying because someday they MIGHT become a shul, they should do what now? Apply for zoning variance now in case they become a full fledge shul 3, 5 or 7 years in the future?

Exactly where do you daven? Is that what your shul did? Young Israel started in someone's house. Did they apply for a zoning variance as soon as they began to do so? From what I understand that house underwent much construction over time to accomodate the group. Most of this took place without declaring it a 'shul' and getting the zoning.

I'm not as familiar with CBY, but I was told it too started in a home. Sharei Tefila also started in a home and only now that they are going to have a stand alone shul (with no residence) have they applied for the zoning variance.

And, as discussed on these boards many times, the group down the block from 554 has been davening in someone's house for 7 years without any zoning variance whatsoever.

This is the way shuls have started all over the country for decades. Every bit of law is on the side of it being done this way. So, why don't we simply allow the courts to decide instead of playing it out on an anonymous blog?

what is the motivation for discussing it in a place where nothing can be verified?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Truth,

With a name like that, I would think you would avoid half-truths.

You mentioned a 'party' that took place. First, I'd like to know how you can be opposed to this group yet still somehow get a copy of their announcements, but that's a whole 'nother blog.

Let's discuss that 'party'.

Q) What was it?
A) A dessert seudah shlishit

Q) WHERE WAS IT?
A) at a private home on Vandelinda Avenue

Q) How many people attended?
A) about 50-60

Q) How many 'guests' were there?
A) Three families came from the other side of town

Q) How did this come to be?
A) These families heard about Rabbi Feldman and contacted him about finding out more about his group. They are considering moving into the area and wanted to meet some new potential neighbors

Q) Was there a charge for this?
A) No. people volunteered to make things for the dessert.

Now you have the whole truth.

Now, some questions for you.
Why does this bother you so much? If you are truly a 'neighbor' who will be so impacted by this and so concerned, how come you're not concerned about this coming week's event!

This coming week there will be another Seudah Shlishit.

Q) Where will it be?
A) At the place where group currently davens.

Q) How many people will attend?
A) No way to be sure, but the shul has 80+ families according to their website, so probably at least 100 people + kids.

Q) Is there a charge for the event?
A) Absolutely - I believe it is about a $40 family max.

Q) What is the purpose?
A) Just a social gathering for this group

Q) Does charging for an event held at a private residence by an outside group constitute a violation of zoning ordinances.
A) I believe so

So, Mr. Truth, I assume you are prepared to call the town about this. In fact, I am 100% certain that if it were Rabbi Feldman's group doing this, the town would have been notified by now.

However, since the group doing this is the other 'shul' davening in a basement down the block, no one will be calling the town.

So, perhaps if you're interested in the truth, you should ask - why do members of Arzei Darom interfere in what is going on at 554, but the people at 554 don't interfere in what Arzei does?

Truth D. Hurt said...

Exactly where do you daven? Is that what your shul did? Young Israel started in someone's house. Did they apply for a zoning variance as soon as they began to do so? From what I understand that house underwent much construction over time to accomodate the group. Most of this took place without declaring it a 'shul' and getting the zoning.

This is completely inaccurate. The Young Israel was always very careful to follow all zoning requirements of the town. They began in someone's house, moved to their current location and indicated to the town that they were a small congregation with goals to grow over x number of years (of course they were unsure how long the growth would take so they could not be specific.) Prior to building their new shul to handle a larger congregation, they first went to the neighbors to discuss their plans. Once architectural drawings were created, they went to the town, neighbors came to the various meetings and expressed concerns regarding several aspects of the plans which were then altered to accomodate all the concerns of the neighbors. The Young Israel was, from day one, above board with the neighbors and town about their plans and goals. Were some neighbors upset that the shul was expanding, yes. Did any of those neighbors ever say they were not involved in the process or not approached about their views, not one.

Beth Aaron's expansion has gone through the same channels, first ensuring that the neighbors are ok with their plans and then the town.

Why is a fledgling congregation like Etz Chaim different from the Young israel and other shuls in their requirements to keep the neighbors and town involved in their growth plans?

Anonymous said...

So much for Truth, Mr Hurt.

Go check with the town and tell me when did Young Isreal first become a zoned 'shul'. Then tell me when did it first exist?

Ditto for Beth Aaron, Arzei Darom, CBY, Shaarei Tefila? etc.

They all existed for years before applying for zoning variances.

As you well know, because I don't doubt that you've read the J Standard article, the township of Teaneck has been notified FULLY of the plans for this group.

Right now, we daven on shabbos and holidays. What the future holds, only Hashem knows.

Again, Mr. Truth....Where do YOU daven? Are you a neighbor with genuine concerns or do you have an axe to grind?

How the TRUTH for a change? or does the TRUTH REALLY HURT?

Anonymous said...

Did any of those neighbors ever say they were not involved in the process or not approached about their views, not one.


Perhaps because they didn't have neighbors trying to seek revenge against them for leaving their group?? Just a thought...

Anonymous said...

Out of Rightfield
Thank you for responding. Point well taken. I just don't think people should assume that it is a foregone conclusion that the vote is based on race alone that's all.

Truth D. Hurt said...

First, I'd like to know how you can be opposed to this group yet still somehow get a copy of their announcements, but that's a whole 'nother blog.

Some people are better informed than others. ;)


I assume you are prepared to call the town about this. In fact, I am 100% certain that if it were Rabbi Feldman's group doing this, the town would have been notified by now.

However, since the group doing this is the other 'shul' davening in a basement down the block, no one will be calling the town.


Did anyone call the town about Rabbi Feldman's get-together? No.

I am simply a concerned Teaneck resident who has knowledge of what is going on at Etz Chaim. I do however know that other shuls have been above board and considerate of their neighbors.

Truth D. Hurt said...

As you well know, because I don't doubt that you've read the J Standard article, the township of Teaneck has been notified FULLY of the plans for this group.

Yet the town issued a cease and desist order to Etz Chaim? Interesting!

Anonymous said...

Mr. "Truth",

Apparently, you're not interested in the Truth, just attacking.

You didn't answer a single question directly.

Where do you daven?

Why didn't someone call the town on the seudah shlishit that 554 had? Because nothing was illegal, but you implied something ill was done and didn't bother telling this board that it was NOT held at 554.

If you think everyone should be above board, why do you have no problem with the Seudah for this weekend which DOES violate zoning ordinance?

And you've provided no proof as to how any other shul has done anything differently. Since I have far more knowledge of Arzei's beginnings than you apparently do, I know with 100% certainty that they have done nothing differently than 554 has done, yet you continue to give them a free pass.

The TRUTH: You have an ax to grind. You are not interested in the Truth. You do not speak the Truth. You are not a concerned resident with 'knowledge' about what goes on at Etz Chaim. You have zero credibility and that has been fully exposed by your double standards and refusals to answer questions directly.

I'm done discoursing with you because you're clearly not interested in the Truth.

Truth D. Hurt said...

The TRUTH: You have an ax to grind. You are not interested in the Truth. You do not speak the Truth. You are not a concerned resident with 'knowledge' about what goes on at Etz Chaim. You have zero credibility and that has been fully exposed by your double standards and refusals to answer questions directly.

I am interested in the truth, not the spin.

Anonymous said...

Saying it doesn't make it the "TRUTH".

Answer the man's questions.

Anonymous said...

There are several shuls in town that would be issued a ceast and desist if they had neighbors, and members of other "orthodox shuls" working tirelessly to shut them down too!

Out Of Rightfield said...

So both of you guys agree that what currently stands at 554 Queen Anne is not, at this time, a shul.
The question then goes back to whether a private prayer group can meet in a home. The answer, I believe, is yes. Should the Feldman crowd eventually want to convert the house into a full service shul, then I think you'll both agree that the zoning laws will be followed. So what exactly is the argument????

Anonymous said...

According to the RCBC they are a shul!

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