Lower East Side developer Baruch Singer and East River Housing Co-op president Lenny Greher have dropped their lawsuit against the Bialystoker Synagogue president, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Shlomo Hagler, the shul Rav, Rabbi Zvi Romm, and East River Housing Manager and local Hatzolah head Heshy Jacob. (See: Lower East Side Synagogue Members Suing Leadership over Real Estate)
The Jewish Press has acquired a copy of a notice of discontinuance that was filed with the Supreme Court of NY County on Thursday, Dec. 12 on behalf of the plaintiffs.
The suit was dropped with prejudice and without cost to any party.
The law suit, which was celebrated by local media (e.g. the NY Post) with many erroneous details (the Post appointed Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver shul president), was the result of a dispute within the Bialystoker community over the fate of an adjoining old age facility, which some thought they could sell at a profit and help cover the shul costs.
But the NY Attorney General’s office, which had to approve the sale, refused to allow the sellers to pocket the profits, insisting that they had to be invested in creating a similar facility on the site.
Some members of the community cried foul at that point, and tried to alter the process, first through rabbinical court, and when they couldn’t reach an agreement with the defendants over which rabbinical court to approach—they filed their suit with the state court.
The concern of community leaders throughout the process was not the outcome of the lawsuit, but the “chilul hashem” – a term that means literally the desecration of God, but is often used to describe in-fighting which makes a Jewish community look bad.
Having just emerged from several years of economic hardship, the last thing the Orthodox Jewish community of the Lower East Side needed was a rift among its most influential members. And so a great deal of pressure was applied in recent days, to bring the peace back to the congregation, the largest in the neighborhood.
Here is a copy of the notice filed today with NY Supreme Court: