web analytics
July 3, 2015 / 16 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Freedom of Religion Denied

City officials in Englewood are hampering the development of a synagogue, but were nowhere to be found in opposing Kaddafi and the Libyan Embassy in Englewood.
Muammar el-Qaddafi's tent.

Muammar el-Qaddafi's tent.

You know your city might be out to stop your Synagogue when one of its most powerful officials testifies that its creation might bother the Libyan embassy that is your neighbor. But that was the testimony of City Engineer Ken Albert at a recent hearing where he said that our Synagogue may not have enough “landscape buffering” to protect the Libyans next door.

Landscape buffering.

And here I was more concerned about Kaddafi owning the house next door to me and possibly stockpiling arms as he reportedly did with embassies all over the world and God forbid harming my family. And what did the city do protect us? Nothing. Zero. Gornisht.

Over thirty years they even forced me, and the rest of Englewood’s residents, to subsidize Kaddafi’s murderous regime by refusing to challenge his tax exemption. But as soon as we apply for a Synagogue, the city Engineer, whose full salary remains undisclosed despite it being paid from the public purse, is concerned that we might interfere with the rights of the Libyans. It has suddenly taken on great importance that our Libyan neighbors – who pay no taxes – be protected by requiring planting of evergreens capable of growing to 106 feet within one year, 25 feet from the property line. It seems that landscape buffering has now been added to our national policy of cooperation and trust building between our two nations! Perhaps they are trying to play out “and they shall turn their swords into plowshares….”

Our hearings before Englewood’s Board of Adjustment have been farcical. Harry Reidler is a member of the board who is also an active Democratic Council member in Bergen County. He has repeatedly brought up my Congressional candidacy (Republican) in the hearings, although they were never germane to the application. His hostility has been glaring and undisguised.

In the last thirteen years our Synagogue has hosted thousands of people of every denomination, religion, color and creed, including Mayors of our City, Governors, Senators, and world-renowned personalities. For many, especially secular Jews and non-Jews, it is their first introduction to the beauty of Judaism and the peace and serenity of the Sabbath. But that did not stop Reidler from a bizarre insinuation in the last hearing, by some strange comparison, that our Synagogue might be something of a scam. This loathsome and slanderous suggestion, bordering on the anti-Semitic, was, mercifully, quickly objected to by the chair but only on the grounds that it was off topic. That Reidler seems to have made up his mind about our application before it was heard and does not even evince a pretense of objectivity is evident from the hearing’s transcripts, which are all part of the public record. Another board member, Elliot Fuld, seems only slightly behind Reidler in animus and opposition.

Hearings that are supposed to be fair and objective have instead been characterized by deep hostility, making a mockery of Englewood justice. Albert, for example, did not even reveal, as he should have been required to at the beginning of his testimony, that about eight years ago, after he and the city tried to strong-arm me by appropriating part of our property for a traffic light and offered us $1000 in compensation (in Englewood, when your home is assessed for tax purposes it is Versailles, but for condemnations it suddenly becomes a trailer park), I sued the city with Albert as its main witness. They paid me a settlement and Albert’s plan was revised. They did not take the land. Surely a lawsuit in which Albert played a central role should have been mentioned by him as part of full disclosure.

Nor is the board beyond intimidation in order to try and get us to back down and withdraw our application. Ken Albert is supposed to be simply the City Engineer, however well compensated. But in our hearings he suddenly decided to play the role of City code enforcer, suggesting to the board that because we have employees (he mentioned four, there are actually fewer) we are in violation of city statutes. (Interestingly, the last City code enforcer, Peter Abballe, with whom I clashed over the Kaddafi home next door to me, was arrested by the FBI in a sting operation and pleaded guilty to taking bribes). Those present at the hearing began to imagine a frightening scenario of a city doing random spot checks for inconsequential violations on the part of citizens that run afoul of city elders.

About the Author: Shmuley Boteach, whom the Washington Post calls “the most famous rabbi in America,” is the founder of The World Values Network and the international bestselling author of 30 books, including “The Fed-up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering.” Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

4 Responses to “Freedom of Religion Denied”

  1. Yechiel Baum says:

    Have the Libyans move it to Bengazhi where our Amercian Ambassador was murdered and pitch their ten there.

  2. Yechiel Baum says:

    Have the Libyans move it to Bengazhi where our Amercian Ambassador was murdered and pitch their ten there.

  3. Roc Diaz says:

    the answer is that since the rest of the world seems to be clear with its message towards us, its time for all jews in america and around the world to leave where they currently reside and come live in their true country, ISRAEL!

  4. Roc Diaz says:

    the answer is that since the rest of the world seems to be clear with its message towards us, its time for all jews in america and around the world to leave where they currently reside and come live in their true country, ISRAEL!

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Palestinian Authority Arabs climb a section of Israel's separation barrier in the village of Al-Ram, as they try to avoid crossing Israeli-controlled checkpoints to reach the al-Aqsa mosque compound at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City to attend Friday prayers in the fasting month of Ramadan.
Arab Killed in Rock Attack on IDF Commander, IDF Soldier Hurt at Qalandiya
Latest Indepth Stories
Jelgava Synagogue, Latvia

Latvia, July 4, 1941 they forced many Jews in the shul putting it on fire; everyone was burned alive

United Nations Building, New York City

There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN

Zuckerman-070315

Respect & appreciation for our country is not only a civic value but an essential Jewish one as well

wedding cake

When words lose meaning, the world becomes an Orwellian dystopia; a veritable Tower of Babel

Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.

Kids shouldn’t have “uninstructed” Internet access, better to train them how to use it responsibly

What if years from now, IS were to control substantial territory? What world havoc would that wreak?

Rambam writes the verse’s double term refers to 2 messiahs: first King David; 2nd the final Mashiach

The Gaza flotilla has been rightfully and legally blocked by Israel’s Navy, with greetings from Bibi

The president described the attack as “an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress…”

“The only [candidate] that’s going to give real support to Israel is me,” said the 69-year-old Trump.

And whereas at the outset the plan was that Iran would have to surrender most of its centrifuges, it will now be able to retain several thousand.

Now oil independent, US no longer needs its former strategic alliances with Gulf States-or Israel

In addition to the palace’s tremendous size it was home to the “hanging gardens,” which were counted among the seven wonders of the ancient world.

More Articles from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Now is not the time to lay down our arms; it is the time to fight back against Israel’s demonization

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meet in the Kremlin, Nov. 20, 2013.

On the one hand, Putin has been a friend to Chabad and to Israel. On the other hand, Putin is a brutal dictator.

The gradual trickle of self-hatred into the Jewish soul is evidencing itself in the American Jewish public.

Rabbi Schochet wrote the Johannesburg Beis Din: It is totally prohibited and unacceptable to hear someone like Boteach.

If you’re feeling down, stop reading right now. You’re only going to be more depressed.

The world and the United State continue to give Rouhani a pass.

American Jews – especially those working on campus – don’t accept that we have a battle on our hands.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/america-rabbi-shmuley-boteach/freedom-of-religion-denied/2012/12/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: