web analytics
March 27, 2015 / 7 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

A Hamptons Shabbos To Remember


Governor David Paterson, Rabbi Marc Schneier, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Cantor Netanel Hershtik, Rabbi Marvin Hier, Haftorahman, and Shabbos kiddush for more than a thousand men and women – put these all together, add the Hamptons as your backdrop, and you’ve got an unusually memorable Shabbos Parshas Masei weekend.

It was after Musaf at The Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach that Rabbi Schneier, who founded the shul in 1990 as a minyan in the living room of his weekend home, addressed the congregation, mentioning his longtime activism on behalf of greater interracial and interreligious understanding and quoting Dr. Martin Luther King’s declaration that “only those who stand up for others’ religious and civil rights will be assured of securing their own religious and civil rights.” He then described how he was now being attacked in his “own backyard” by those who fear an eruv in Westhampton Beach.

Rabbi Schneier then beckoned Gov. Paterson, who had been sitting in the front row, to the amud to speak to the shul. The governor, after embracing Rabbi Schneier with a hug and a kiss, regaled the congregation with stories of his fascination with all things Jewish – including his recent discovery that he has some Jewish DNA.

The governor reminisced how years earlier he had listened attentively to Rabbi Schneier’s radio program because he wanted to – as opposed to his own father’s program, which immediately preceded the rabbi’s and to which he listened “because I had to.”

After briefly discussing state budget issues, the governor turned to religious tolerance and understanding. He said that just as a gentrified Harlem would have to accommodate old religious and cultural customs, so too would the eruv have to be accommodated by the Village of Westhampton Beach.

Referring to an upcoming town meeting at the synagogue concerning the eruv, the governor offered the possibility that he might “drop by,” adding, “people need to know there’s a new sheriff in town.” The congregation rose and gave him a standing ovation.

Davening was followed by the world class kiddush served every Shabbos and enjoyed by the large crowd that comes for both the service and the marvelous chazanut of Cantor Hershtik.

On erev Shabbos we davened at the “Beach Minyan” and listened to Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center of Los Angeles, who spoke during the services as well as at a community dinner at the Beach Minyan Shul. This minyan had originated in the home of Dr. Albert and Batsheva Waitman, who, together with some of their friends, found it difficult to walk the nearly two miles from their homes to The Hampton Synagogue on Friday nights. It has since expanded and now meets at the “yellow house” near the bridge on the beach side of Westhampton.

Rabbi Hier noted that the Torah enjoined Israel to remember Amalek only when Israel was victorious over Amalek, not when Amalek defeated Israel. The reason for this, he said, was that the Israelites became overconfident and complacent, and he drew a line from the Tanach to our own time, stressing the need to recognize the Iranian threat to Israel for the danger it is rather than comfort ourselves with the fact that Israel is militarily strong.

Shalosh Seudos at The Hampton Synagogue featured a question and answer session with Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, who began by roundly criticizing the current bet din situation in Israel. “I am very aware of my words and I am speaking slowly and clearly,” he said. “It is my opinion that the current bet din situation in Israel is corrupt, abusive, and unmindful of the needs of the agunot as well as those who were converted by Rabbi Druckman – a man devoted to the public who is being vilified for no reason.”

Rabbi Riskin described his involvement in the founding of an alternative bet din in Israel to remedy the abuses he described. He extolled the virtues of living in Israel, saying that next to marrying his wife, making aliyah was the best decision of his life.

Some final words about the vibrant kehillah built by Rabbi Schneier. Back in 1990, a municipal official flatly stated that “there never was a synagogue and there never will be a synagogue in Westhampton Beach,” and a local court promptly issued an injunction against Rabbi Schneier’s minyan. William C. Thompson, Sr., an appellate division judge at the time (and the father of current New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr.), vacated the injunction and ordered the village to allow the minyan. (Rabbi Schneier was supported by then-New York City Mayor David Dinkins and then-Gov. Mario Cuomo.)

About the Author: Daniel Retter, Esq., is the author of the sefer “HaMafteach” (Koren Publishers), an indexed reference guide to Talmud Bavli and the Mishnayos, in Hebrew and English. A frequent contributor of feature articles to The Jewish Press, he practices immigration, real estate, and business law in New York City. He can be contacted at dretter@retterlaw.com.


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.

No Responses to “A Hamptons Shabbos To Remember”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Republican Sen. Kirk at Senate debate on pro-sanctions amendment.
Senate Warns Obama by 100-0 Vote for Pro-Sanctions Amendment
Latest Indepth Stories
Islamic Relief Worldwide Logo

In November 2014, Islamic Relief Worldwide was classified as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

Safran-032715

Too rarely appreciated for its symbolic weight; it can represent freedom and independence.

Erica Pelman is a spiritually-driven woman. She is founder and director of “In Shifra’s Arms” (ISA), an organization that offers aid to pregnant Jewish women of all religious backgrounds practically, financially and emotionally. Its arms are open to any pregnant woman in need whether single, divorced, separated, or from a financially-strapped family. “Presently, we are […]

Gerstenfeld-032715

Many so-called “humanitarian NGOs” frequently abuse Israel by applying false moral equivalencies

Israeli history now has its version of “Dewey Defeats Truman” with headlines from 2 anti-Bibi papers

In God’s plan why was it necessary that Moses be raised by Pharaoh, away from his own family&people?

In their zechus may we all come to appreciate that life is a fleeting gift and resolve to spend every precious moment of it as if it were the last.

In any event, Mr. Netanyahu after the election sought to soften his statement on Palestinian statehood and apologized for what he conceded were remarks that “offended some Israeli citizens and offended members of the Israeli Arab community.”

A worthy idea any way you look at it.

There is something quite distinctive about the biblical approach to time.

The Waqf kept control of the Temple Mount due to Dayan’s “magnanimity in victory” after 6 Day war

The event promotes “1 state” solution (end of Israel as a Jewish State), BDS, lawfare against Israel

I rescued you?! You’re doing me a favor letting me help you!

“Tzedakah tatzil mi-mavet: Charity saves from death”; No death & a tax break? Where do I sign up?

More Articles from Daniel Retter
Thane Rosenbaum

During the Nazi period, as bad as the Germans were, no German politician ever declared openly a desire to exterminate the Jews.

R’ Avraham and Briana Goldberg

I felt guilty asking her to talk about her husband. There was no need for the guilt.

Almost immediately the audience began singing and clapping and continued almost without stop throughout the rest of the concert.

The climate is near perfect. From November through May the weather is dry and warm. June through October is referred to as the rainy season, though the weather is still comfortable and the occasional showers barely interfere with touring, sporting activities or sunbathing.

Twenty-seven-year-old IDF Lieutenant (res.) Aharon Karov completed the New York City Marathon earlier this month, less than five years after an explosion in Gaza left him near death.

There’s an eerie silence and tears can be seen running down the faces of young parents and elderly grandparents and siblings of all ages.

There was a time when an Orthodox Jewish traveler, offered a choice of visiting London, Paris or Rome, likely would have put Rome last on the list. Today, that would be a big mistake. Rome is a marvelous place to visit, especially for a religious Jew interested in the historical roots of the post-Second Temple Diaspora.

Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, formerly the chief rabbi of Israel and currently chief rabbi of Tel Aviv, visited the United States recently to address the Siyum HaShas at MetLife Stadium and to appear at a Chabad Shabbos retreat in Fort Lauderdale.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/a-hamptons-shabbos-to-remember/2008/08/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: