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January 21, 2017 / 23 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘2012’

The City that has Problems with Synagogues

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

My congressional campaign is over, but one of the main reasons I ran remains. What first impelled me to seek public office was the feeling of powerlessness to stop Muammar Kaddafi from coming to stay in the home immediately next door to me in Englewood, N.J., in the autumn of 2009.

And though we ultimately succeeded, with God’s blessing, in pushing him out, I could not persuade my city to challenge the tax exemption of an international terrorist which forced me, and all the other residents of Englewood, to be complicit in evil in having to subsidize a murderous government’s compound in our midst. (The staff living there did not have the decency to even once lower their flag to half-staff in the wake of the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi.)

If only my city were to treat me with the same courtesy they accorded Kaddafi.

For the past year my congregants and I have been locked in a bitter struggle with Englewood to get our home properly zoned as a Synagogue. We have hosted prayer, religious services, and educational events for more than 13 years, but the city continues to cite us as requiring a variance in order to host communal worship. The same city that could not, for three decades, muster the courage to challenge the Libyans’ tax-exempt presence in our town has obstructed a fair hearing of our congregants’ right to establish a house of worship. As the Chairman of our Board, Michael Fromm, has put it, “It’s an outrage. We have had hearings canceled for nefarious reasons, the rules have been changed mid-game, city officials have abused their power to thwart us, board members have publicly displayed prejudice against us, and we have been held to a higher standard than international terrorists.”

The city’s efforts to block our Synagogue application have been brazen. First, they canceled our hearing at the Board of Adjustment – for which we had prepared for months at considerable expense – on the very same day it was to take place on October 24, 2011. Then, after having our hearing unlawfully canceled by one Board, we spent thousands more to ready ourselves for a hearing at the Planning Board, appointed and overseen by the City’s mayor, Frank Huttle. Unbelievably, they too found a legal loophole to deny us from even being heard. The full video of the hearing is available here and you may draw your own conclusions as to the fairness of their arguments and vote.

So, thousands of dollars later we were back at the Board of Adjustment for a hearing scheduled for May 21, 2012. Then, just a week before the hearing we were forwarded a letter, authored by Ken Albert, the City Engineer, dated March 27, 2012, that demanded, for the first time, a host of new improvements in order for us to even qualify for the hearing. Bizarrely, the city stamped his letter April 24th, 2012, suggesting they had sat on the letter for a full month prior to forwarding it, thereby making it impossible for our hearing to go ahead as planned.

We acquired a new date of June 25, 2012 only to have that hearing canceled by Chairwoman Rosemary Byrne a mere four hours before it was scheduled, wasting thousands more of our organization’s money. Was the city’s strategy to have us squander all our funds without even a hearing so that we would throw in the towel?

We finally decided to go public about the many obstacles and cancellations thrown in our path for the creation of a House of Worship, while leaving the Libyans to live peacefully at Englewood taxpayer expense. We also prepared a Federal lawsuit against the city under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. Once the newspaper reports appeared, we were granted a hearing.

We’ve had two since. Unfortunately, the hearings have been characterized by what would seem to be a predetermined outcome. A simple read of the transcripts provides a great deal of illumination, with one board member in particular, Harry Reidler, seeming particularly vexed by our application.

Reidler, who is a member of the local Democratic Municipal Committee, several times raised my Congressional bid in the district (Republican) even though it was never germane to our Synagogue’s application. When, for the first time, he brought up my race for Congress he was interrupted three times by the Chairwoman and told, “Wait.” Still he objected, saying ‘…I mean, we know that this Rabbi is running for Congress.”

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Community Currents 0 November 9, 2012

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Jewish Press Staff

On Politicians and Grunt Work

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

MK Uri Orbach is a personal friend of mine.  He even came up with the name “Almagor” for the organization in which I work.  The man is an artist of the written word.  And precisely for that reason, I have to react to troubling comments recently released in his name:

“Under the noses of the political commentators, a new breed of politicians is arising: Shelly Yachimovich, Yair Lapid, Naftali Bennett.”

Then an insult to the opposition within the party: “Many people are fed up with politicians who will just ‘take care of things’ for them.  They now prefer politicians who inspire confidence, who show they care.”

And a final swipe at MK Zevulun Orlev: “The old politicians wave around their ‘experience’—which often is bad experience—and toss around meaningless numbers as proof of their success.  That’s old politics.”

My purpose here is to present a defense.  Not a personal defense of Orlev or of Nissan Slomiansky, but a defense of my profession and that of many of my friends.  What we have here is a battle about the worth of the grunts, the people who are willing to do the sacred behind-the-scenes work of serving the public without arrogating themselves the status of “leaders.”

The Knesset members who “take care of things” for us deserve to be praised, not insulted: people like Uri Ariel and Zevulun Orlev, whose offices are filled day and night with the representatives of organizations and institutions, religious and secular.  And they “take care” of these people.  It’s true that Ariel and Orlev received popularity ratings of only three percent in a recent poll of the national-religious community, but this isn’t their problem—it’s the respondents’ problem.  Orlev and Ariel are too busy for self-promotion.

The “new” politicians have a certain style.  The public missions that they accept upon themselves somehow seem always to be short-term.  Somehow there always is aspiration to the next job.  Or maybe impatience.  Or boredom.  This raises questions about their future.  Assuming that we vote for them, how long will they have the strength and interest for the drudgery entailed in serving the public from day to day?

Hint: Orbach already “took care of” the answer for us.

And already now there is a line of young people who are studying the model of the “new” politicians and readying themselves to imitate it, young people who have never served the public and never “taken care of things” for it, yet are already setting their sights on the Knesset.

So who will serve the public?  Who will do the day-to-day grunt work that the public needs its servants to do?

I asked that question of a young activist of the “new” model, the sort who obsessively keeps tabs on his position in the polls.  He answered: “the suckers.”

Primaries: The Root of All Evil

At some point in the past, I signed up for an Internet campaign run by Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked in behalf of the Yesha Council.  And somehow over the past few weeks, my computer and phone have been bombarded with e-mail and text messages calling on me to vote for them.  There is the question of how they are using data that they gathered in one job to promote themselves toward another one, but that is a separate issue …

There is no arguing that Orlev is a man of action, but he is liable to find himself up against an Internet-borne wave of new party members seventeen years old and up: the clientele to whom his opponents appeal, offering them a twenty-shekel opportunity to capture the party and “take control,” in the words of the banners that have been put on public display wherever there is a large national-religious population.  A movement that was founded over a hundred years ago by luminaries such as Rabbi Yitzchak Yaakov Reines is now liable to change beyond all recognition.

Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook used to sign his letters with the words “servant to a holy nation.”  But now there are to be no more public servants.  The new fashion is that of “leaders,” primary candidates, public relations professionals, and strategic advisers … and we’ve already heard from quite a few of them, courtesy of the propaganda campaign being waged by the new candidates.

Meir Indor

Daniel Pipes: Why I am Voting Republican

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Note the title is not “Why I am voting for Mitt Romney.” That’s because the two major American parties, Democratic and Republican, represent contrasting outlooks and you vote for the one or other of them, not for a personality. The presidential candidate is captain of the team but its many other players act autonomously. The past half-century has seen a sharpening of the divide between the parties’ philosophical consistency which I (unlike most observers) see as a positive development; who needs Rockefeller Republicans, wets, or RINOs? And ticket-splitting increases gridlock.

I vote Republican because I support the party’s core message of individualism, patriotism, and respect for tradition, in contrast to the core Democratic message of dependence, self-criticism, and “progress.” I am inspired by the original reading of the U.S. Constitution, by ideals of personal freedom and American exceptionalism. I vote for small government, for a return of power to the states, for a strong military, and an assertive pursuit of national interests.

And on my special issues, the Middle East and Islamism, Republicans consistently outperform Democrats. Extensive polling and many congressional actions establish this pattern for the Arab-Israeli conflict and a similar contrast exists also on other foreign policy issues, such as the Iranian nuclear buildup, energy policy, and the Arab upheavals. As for the new totalitarian ideology, Islamism, Democrats show a marked softness, just as they previously did vis-à-vis the communist one.

Finally, I worry that Barack Obama will do far more damage in a second term than he could in his first, that Obamacare will prove just the start of what, before his inauguration, I called the “fundamental restructuring of the relationship between state and society such as occurred under three of his Democratic predecessors of the past century – Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson.”

And so I am voting the straight Republican ticket and urge readers to do likewise. (November 4, 2012)

Originally published at the National Review Online and at Daniel Pipes.org on Nov. 4th, 2012.

Daniel Pipes

Daniel Pipes: Superficiality Reigns Before the Election

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

It happens every four years, as U.S. presidential elections roll around: I feel like a stranger.

That’s because news reports blare out what’s not of interest: trivial statistics (171,000 jobs added in October; jobless rate up 0.1 percent to 7.9 percent), biographical irrelevancies (claims that Romney outsourced jobs to other countries when at Bain Capital), and forgettable gaffes (Obama saying that “Voting is the best revenge”).

This limited discussion misses two main points: First, the quite contrary philosophies of Democrats and Republicans. Where’s the discussion of equality vs. liberty, the federal government vs. federalism, much less about topics like education, immigration and Islamism? What are the candidates’ criteria for appointing federal judges, their ways to solve the debt crisis, or their guidelines for the use of force abroad? What about the scandalous administration reaction to the events in Benghazi on Sep. 11, 2012? It almost seems that the candidates tacitly agreed to ignore the most important and interesting issues.

Second, the debate ignores that the candidates are not isolated individuals but heads of large teams. Who are the candidates for secretary of state, defense, and treasury, and for attorney general? Who are likely heads of the National Security Council and the Council of Economic Advisers? What are the implications of each team taking office?

Let’s hope that voters can see their way through this miasma of superficiality. (November 3, 2012).

Originally published at National Review Online and DanielPipes.org on November 3, 2012.

Daniel Pipes

Parshas Vayera

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

New York City
CANDLE LIGHTING TIME
November 2, 2012 – 17 Cheshvan 5773
5:30 p.m. NYC E.S.T.

 

Sabbath Ends: 6:34 p.m. NYC E.S.T.
Weekly Reading: Vayera
Weekly Haftara: Ve’isha Achas (II Kings 4:1-37 Ashkenazim; II Kings 4:1-23 Sephardim)
Daf Yomi: Shabbos  30
Mishna Yomit: Nazir 6:2-3
Halacha Yomit: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 147:7 – 148:1
Rambam Yomi: Hilchos Nizkei Mamon chap. 9-11
Earliest time for Tallis and Tefillin: 6:33 a.m. NYC E.S.T.
Latest Kerias Shema: 9:04 a.m. NYC E.S.T.

 

This Saturday night at 2:00 a.m. (Sunday 2:00 a.m.) we set the clock back one hour as we resume Standard Time.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Community Currents – November 2, 2012

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/community-currents/community-currents-november-2-2012/2012/11/01/

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