Sunday, August 10, 2008

Can't help but noticing that we've got...

the best parks around.

As some of you know, I spend most of my summer on Long Beach Island, so I can't always keep current with all the Teaneck happenings.

You think Teaneck has politics, you should see my blog posts at LBI.

I was amazed to see this week the progress on Rudolph's handicap playground. It is a magnificent addition to our park.

I have concluded that Teaneck probably has the best parks and equipment hands down in Bergen County. Maybe we take it for granted, because its in our backyard, but when you travel like I do, you will see the stark differences in parks. (Unless you prefer beer bottles and take out food garbage).

209 comments:

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Anonymous said...

I beg to disagree about Teaneck's parks. Because the Board of Ed in Teaneck, unlike other towns, refuses to permit Little League use of its fields, we are always shocked when we attend summer games that the other towns all have vastly superior baseball facilities compared to the raggedy fields (including the Votee fields) that qualify as home for Teaneck All Star teams.

Anonymous said...

It is truly a shame and scandal that Rudolph's park, along with his other accomplishments for Teaneck, did not overcome the Big Lie campaign against him.

He is going to be sorely missed.

Anonymous said...

Another fatal disaster Sunday.

Anonymous said...

The big lie is that it is Rudolph's park. Scum is only missed by fellow scum.

Anonymous said...

That is the problem... you confuse others with what you yourself are.

Karin said...

The only complaint I have regarding Teaneck Parks is that dogs are allowed to wander in them and at times the owners are not on top off picking up their 4 legged friends droppings, there are no shade trees in the playgrounds so kids have to play in full sun and have you ever slid down a HOT slide before in shorts?--Not fun!

esther said...

Phelps is so shady that my kids refer to it as "the Dark Park".

The upper playground at Votee has loads of shade. Hart Park is shady as well.

If you want a playground with deep, dark, old growth forest shade the best option is to head for Veteran's Memorial Park in Bergenfield on New Bridge Road.

Karin said...

Esther-
The upper playground at Votee is for little kids the good equipment/stuff is in the sun as to Phelps park that is a nice one but why do I have to drive across town to get to a park with shade?

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem with our parks is the ever lacking Recreation Department. Perhaps if dept. personnel were more approachable, the ballfields would be occupied more.

Anonymous said...

It's always shocking to me to here people complain about things and then not get involved in improving them. The Township has a Park's Playgrounds and Recreation Advisory Board that is looking for members. Join the Board make a difference or stop whining.

Karin said...

Oh man another advisory board?!
Doesn't the township employee people that can make educated decisions on what our parks need?

Anonymous said...

Teaneck should recruit to have an advisory board about how to develop the right set of advisory boards.

mskj said...

You people find it so easy to spread rumors and innuendos without checking facts. The Board of Ed has an excellent record of allowing use of its fields for all recreational sports in Teaneck. First priority of course is to high school teams' practices and games, but quite often, a Little League or TBO or TJSL team will come on the field as soon as the THS practice or game is finished at TJ, BF, or the THS Varsity field down at Hawthorne. They also have always been better maintained with better drainage than the township fields until very recently when some work was done at Votee.

Bd of Ed Supporter said...

You're right. Bd of Ed does share the fields with the league teams. The Hawthorne School field is very well maintained, B.F. is in good shape but the T.J. fields are often a mess and the areas around the field is typically not mowed or trimed.
I took the critism in previous posts as referring to those fields under the jurisdiction of the Recreation Department only.

Dave said...

Just wait till the next school board elections. As soon as the orthodox take over on the school board, they'll discontinue high school football (most of our players come from Paterson anyways)and they'll make all the school fields just as bad as all the other parks. Guaranteed.
And as somebody who has been forever ripped off by Teaneck's public education system, I, for one, will be smiling!

Anonymous said...

pretty brutal stuff gang. First of all the Twp uses the advisory boards as a way to get input from the residents. Isn't that what we want Karin?

The dedicated people that serve on these Boards do NOT get paid they donate their time and energy to the Twp to try to make a difference.

There is no doubt that the Council does not always listen to their Boards, and that IS a problem.

Karin said...

Dave,

What can I say in regards to your post but, WOW!

Yoni said...

Dave,

Why do you insist on posting things that would spread fear about Orthodox Jews in Teaneck?

Why do you use the term Orthodox if, as you stated in previous posts, you hate that term?

Whatever you call yourself, act like a mensch, and stop trying to divide this town.

Anonymous said...

Arthur Andersen (1913 to 2002) spent decades as a leading accounting and consulting firm. Founded in 1913, it was once a member of the "Big 8" accounting firms, which later became the "Big 5." Andersen's downfall was its role as Enron's auditor. It used its credibility to bless Enron's special purpose entities and a whole host of illegal accounting. In 2002, the firm voluntarily surrendered its licenses to practice as CPAs after being found guilty of criminal charges, resulting in the loss of 85,000 jobs.

When did our councilwoman work there? If this was her time there, is she part culpable?

Joseph said...

Dave's post is as offensive as it is untrue. He should be ashamed.

Anonymous said...

Way to lose sight of the issue. How we got from great parks to religion bashing is a true mystery. Who cares.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know when the all-inclusive playground will open?

Anonymous said...

It will open after Labor Day. Best bet is to call or go by Rec department. It will be posted out front.

Anonymous said...

or you can call Rudolph.

Anonymous said...

August 23, 2008

CROSS COUNTRY



Connecticut Faces a School Tax Revolt
By LEWIS M. ANDREWS
August 23, 2008; Page A9


On June 30, the board of education and the town council in Enfield, Conn., convened to hear the results of a citizen cost-cutting committee. Among its other recommendations, the 17 residents recommended replacing some public school teachers with low-cost college interns, restricting the use of school vehicles, and increasing employee contributions to benefit plans.
These may seem modest steps toward fiscal responsibility -- but they are emblematic of a significant change in this very blue state: growing disenchantment with the price of government, especially of public education.
1
Corbis
Over the past two and a half decades, the student population in Connecticut has increased only 10%. Yet the cost of schooling more than doubled -- to $8.8 billion in 2006, up from $3.4 billion in 1981. Seventeen years ago, the state enacted an income tax with promises to cut other taxes. Instead, real-estate assessments soared, creating a massive income transfer from the private to the public sector, fueled in part by a state cost-sharing formula that uses taxes on residents in the suburbs to subsidize urban schools. Helping to soak up all that money were binding arbitration laws, skewed to give teacher unions an advantage in collective bargaining negotiations.
The result is that the average teacher salary is now the highest in the nation -- $57,750 excluding benefits, according to the latest survey of the American Federation of Teachers. Meanwhile, the American Legislative Exchange Council reports that Connecticut is one of the 10 states with the heaviest property-tax burdens. According to a calculator on the Web site of the Nonpartisan Action for a Better Redding, a local taxpayer group, even the smallest municipalities unnecessarily spent millions on school construction, much of it to meet a predicted increase in population that never materialized.
The calculator enables the resident of any town to compare the cost of constructing and staffing a new building (or addition) to the cost of simply subsidizing the overflow number of students to attend private, parochial or home schools. Says David Bohn, president of the group: "You could extend the subsidy to children already in such schools and still save hundreds of millions long term."
Now taxpayers find themselves caught between falling real estate values and ever increasing property taxes. And for what? The National Assessment of Educational Progress puts eighth-grade proficiency figures in the state at 37% for reading, 35% for math, 33% for science and 53% for writing.
Connecticut law does not allow a statewide referendum to curb school spending with a property-tax cap, as do ballot measures this year in Nevada and Florida. Nevertheless, most towns in Connecticut fold the school budget into the municipal budget, which can be voted on at a town meeting, or by annual referendum, or by a petition-inspired referendum, depending on the local rules. So citizens do have the ability to rein in public spending if they choose to act -- and that is what they are beginning to do.
This spring Avon, Farmington, Stonington and Ridgefield -- all affluent communities -- rejected the politicians' original spending plans. On June 17, the voters of suburban West Hartford, where public schools have often ranked among the best in the state, rejected the town budget by a lopsided 7,037 to 3,711. As of the end of June, a record 85 of Connecticut's 169 municipalities had or were planning budget referenda; and the median approved spending increase was 3.8%, lower than the 5% last year and 5.3% in 2006.
Limiting government at the state level is more difficult, thanks in part to a 1964 Supreme Court decision (Butterworth v. Dempsey) requiring that representation in state legislatures be based solely on population. By depriving rural regions of their traditional influence, urban Democrats and public sector unions have more influence. From 1970 until 2005, total state spending skyrocketed to $4,322 per capita from $863 in real dollars -- in spite of near-zero job growth and a decline in net population for every year except one in the decade between 1997 and 2006.
But at the local level, there are nearly as many Republican chief executives as Democrats, and both parties outside the big cities are relatively conservative on fiscal issues. This is leading to more than just budget defeats.
Mike Guarco, chairman of the finance board in Granby, has formed the Connecticut Municipal Consortium for Fiscal Responsibility, a bipartisan alliance of elected officials representing 117 of the state's towns. The group fights against binding arbitration, "prevailing wage" laws for public building projects, and burdensome state mandates (such as a requirement that all student suspensions be supervised in-house). These are the three largest cost drivers of K-12 education.
There are other ideas in the air. In Chester, First Selectman (Mayor) Tom Marsh proposes to pay students not to attend public school. He wants to give $1,500 a year to families who send a child to vocational school, $3,000 to families who homeschool, and to put $5,000 in a college scholarship fund for anyone transferring to a private high school.
Mr. Marsh also wants to give a full two-year community college scholarship worth $5,000 to students who graduate from public high school in three years. "If we can persuade families to consider options outside the system," he says, "we have the potential to save significantly long term."
With this gathering grass-roots rebellion -- and with the archbishop in Hartford advocating a tax credit for corporations that help poor students attend private schools -- the public education establishment is increasingly nervous. Last December, the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education and the Connecticut Association of Public school Superintendents wrote an unprecedented joint letter to every school board and superintendent in the state criticizing Armand Fusco, the retired school superintendent who advises the citizen cost-cutting committee in Enfield.
Mr. Fusco has not backed away. He notes that even before the Enfield citizens' commission offered its recommendations, the very existence of the committee spurred the town council to reject a requested 3% increase in the school budget, and to forestall efforts to raise the property tax rate. For next year, Enfield has already adopted zero-based budgeting.
The time is coming, says Mr. Fusco, for all Connecticut schools to "distinguish between needs and wants."
Mr. Andrews is executive director of the Yankee Institute in Hartford, Conn.


Copyright 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Anonymous said...

August 26, 2008
Fractious Coalition in Pakistan Breaks Apart
By JANE PERLEZ

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The five-month-old coalition government in Pakistan collapsed Monday when the head of the minority party, Nawaz Sharif, announced his members would leave the fractious alliance, citing broken promises by Asif Ali Zardari, the leader of the majority party.

“We have been forced to leave the coalition,” Mr. Sharif said in Islamabad. “We joined the coalition with full sincerity for the restoration of democracy. Unfortunately all the promises were not honored.”

The exit by Mr. Sharif’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League-N, had been expected in the last few days, and was finally spurred by the decision of Mr. Zardari to run for president, in an electoral college vote set for Sept. 6. President Pervez Musharraf resigned last week under threat of impeachment.

The departure of Mr. Sharif, whose party sat uneasily with Mr. Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party, is unlikely to result in immediate elections. Mr. Sharif said his members would sit in the opposition in the Parliament and try to play a “constructive” role.

The Pakistan Peoples Party holds the most seats in the Parliament, but not a majority. Political analysts said they expected it would be able to cobble together a new parliamentary coalition with smaller parties.

Still, Pakistan faces continued political instability that may distract from serious governance and serious efforts to turn back the growing strength of the Taliban in the northwestern parts of the nation.

The main problem between Mr. Sharif and Mr. Zardari was a profound disagreement over the future of the former chief justice, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, who was fired by President Musharraf in March 2007, reinstated by the court in July, and placed under house arrest in November. He was finally freed in March of this year, but has yet to be restored to the bench.

Mr. Sharif has insisted that Mr. Chaudhry along with some 60 other judges, who were also fired in November, when Mr. Musharraf declared emergency rule, should be restored to the bench.

To drive home the point about broken promises, Mr. Sharif, a former two-time prime minister, released an accord signed by the two men on Aug. 7.

The document shows that Mr. Zardari and Mr. Sharif agreed that all the judges would be restored by an executive order one day after Mr. Musharraf’s impeachment or resignation. But Mr. Zardari stalled.

In an interview with the BBC Urdu-language radio service on Saturday, Mr. Zardari defended his position, saying agreements with the Pakistan Muslim League-N were not “holy like the holy Koran.”

The Aug. 7 accord, signed as the two parties maneuvered to force Mr. Musharraf out, also said the two men would agree on a presidential candidate.

Instead, according to Mr. Sharif’s aides, Mr. Zardari went ahead to plan his own candidacy for the presidency, and arranged for the election to be held on Sept. 6 without consulting Mr. Sharif.

At the news conference in Islamabad, Mr. Sharif introduced his party’s candidate for president, Saeed-uz-zaman Siddiqui, a former chief justice. Mr. Siddiqui refused to take the oath of office to remain as chief justice after Mr. Musharraf took power from Mr. Sharif in a bloodless coup in 1999.

The presidential vote polls the national Parliament and four provincial assemblies. It is expected that Mr. Zardari will prevail.

There was no immediate official reaction from the Pakistan Peoples Party on the collapse of the coalition.

But a member of Parliament from the party, Fauzia Wahab, said the party would “conveniently and easily survive” without the support of the Pakistan Muslim League-N. She criticized Mr. Sharif for “holding the system hostage of one man,” meaning Mr. Chaudhry.

Mr. Zardari, the widower of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in December, has consistently opposed the reappointment of Mr. Chaudhry since the coalition came together after Feb. 18 parliamentary elections.

The basis of Mr. Zardari’s objection appears grounded in a fear that the judge would undo the amnesty granted to Mr. Zardari on corruption charges when he returned to Pakistan on the death of his wife after years in exile.

Mr. Zardari served in government in the 1990s, when Ms. Bhutto was twice prime minister in the 1990s. He spent more than eight years in jail on various corruption charges that were dropped on his return and which he says were politically motivated.

In the week since Mr. Musharraf resigned, Mr. Zardari has emerged as the chief political force in Pakistan, and he appears to have the backing of the Bush administration as he drives forward toward the presidency.

In the past two days, Mr. Zardari’s statements have increasingly coincided with Washington’s policies, particularly on the campaign against terror, the United States’ central concern here.

In the BBC radio interview, Mr. Zardari used unusually strong words against the Taliban, whose presence in Pakistan’s tribal areas has gathered steam in the last year. “The world is losing the war,” he said of the fight against the Taliban. “I think at the moment they definitely have the upper hand.”

Mr. Zardari said in the interview the Tehrik-i-Taliban, an umbrella group of the Taliban in Pakistan, should be banned. On Monday, the Interior Ministry announced the group would be added to the list of banned organizations. Other Islamic extremist groups are on the Interior Ministry’s list, but the listing appears to have had little effect.

Several months ago, the government in the North-West Frontier Province, which is allied with Mr. Zardari’s party, signed a peace agreement with an Islamic extremist group, in the province’s Swat Valley. That accord is now broken and the Pakistani Army has been fighting the group for the last several weeks.

Salman Masood contributed reporting.

Anonymous said...

There is a point to posting the article about the school situation, unlike the one about Pakistan.

Anonymous said...

There is a point to posting the article about the school situation, unlike the one about Pakistan.

Yoni said...

There is no point ot either. Both are annoying & kill the whole discussion. Next time just post a link. Don't copy & paste the entire article.

Anonymous said...

Yoni, you are right! What a waste of good ether...

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what they doing on the corner of Teaneck Road and Forest Avenue (across from the Community high school)? The 3 end stores have been closed down and now all the windows are papered.

Anonymous said...

Oh please let it be another bank ;)

Anonymous said...

I know the moderator is on vacation but isn't it the moderator's job to get rid of the junk being posted and stick to the topic?

I'm very happy doing my early morning walking at Votee Park but why does that older woman let her Hot Dog dog run through the park without a leash every day? Don't we have leash laws?

Karin said...

I'm very happy doing my early morning walking at Votee Park but why does that older woman let her Hot Dog dog run through the park without a leash every day? Don't we have leash laws?

Of course Teaneck has leash laws, call the cops to report the dog owner--otherwise she will keep doing it!

Karin said...

From the township ordinances:

Sec. 6-21. Dogs running at large--Prohibited; impoundment.EN
No person owning or in charge of any dog shall permit such dog to run at large, whether registered and licensed under this chapter or not. It shall be the duty of the animal control officer to catch and confine in the pound all dogs, male or female, registered or not registered, licensed or unlicensed. which are found at large within the township and not in immediate control of a competent master. (R. O. 1951, ch. 6, § 23.)


(b)Leashing and control of dogs. No person owning, keeping or harboring any dogshall suffer or permit it to be upon the public streets or in any of the public places of the Township of Teaneck, unless such dog is accompanied by a person who is capable of controlling the dog and who has the dog securely confined and controlled by a leash.

Anonymous said...

There also is a sign at every park stating "no dogs allowed." People have gotten irate when I have politely asked that they take their dogs elsewhere, but I really don't want my kid playing in the same spot where a dog has just pooped (yes, I've seen it happen on many occasions). Whether the owners scoop the poop or not, dogs are prohibited from all but one of the Township parks.

Teaneck's Windsor Park is the dogs ALLOWED park (on leash) and in Overpeck there is a leash-free area for dogs to run.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't this country founded on freedom of religion?
----------------------------------
See this in today's Jewish Standard -

Group says they pray ‘by the book’

By Daniel Santacruz


House hosting prayer group is center of controversy


Neighbors are objecting to the use of a house, at 554 Queen Anne Road, by a prayer group. Photo by Daniel Santacruz

Private prayer group or house of worship? That’s the question neighbors and the township of Teaneck are asking about what goes on in the family room of a house on 554 Queen Anne Road.

Many of the neighbors have signed two petitions that were submitted to the township asking it to look into the activities of the prayer group, which they say violates zoning regulations.

But a constitutional lawyer involved in the case, Michael Daily, said that "what you do in your house is not the government’s business, unless there is some type of criminal activity going on. If you are entitled to view sexually explicit books and videos in your home, you are entitled to worship there."

Rabbi Daniel Feldman — who lives in the house with his wife, Leah, and their two small children — and those who attend services in the room argue that they are entitled to hold religious services as part of the use of the residence. Some 20 to 25 families pray regularly in the family room, said Robert Erlich, a representative of the group.

Feldman said he believes the prayer group is "among the most above-board and responsible, and we have taken every appropriate step to do everything by the book."

The family room has an Aron Kodesh, a mechitza, and a platform from which the Torah is read, both of which are moved to the side when not in use, said Feldman. The day a reporter visited the house, between Van Buren and Griggs avenues, toys were strewn about the room.

In a letter dated Aug. 8, addressed to Feldman, Steven M. Gluck, the township’s construction official and zoning officer, asked him to "cease and desist from using the premises as a house of worship/place of public assembly within 20 days from the date of this decision."

Feldman pays rent to 554 Queen Anne Road Inc., a not-for-profit organization that bought the dwelling on Oct. 30, 2007, for $820,000. Services were held in the living room from Nov. 3 until July 18. The organization, which does business as Etz Chaim of Teaneck, hired Feldman in the fall of 2007 as its spiritual leader.

Etz Chaim runs a minyan on Sundays at the CareOne Rehabilitation Center, 544 Teaneck Road.

On July 22, Griggs Avenue residents Rif Campeas and Janet Abbott filed a five-page petition asking the township to "implement enforcement procedures requiring the issuance of permit for a change of use with respect to the family room."

Campeas and Abbott note that the petition was written on behalf of the same 78 residents who signed a similar one on Nov. 1, 2007. The latter asks the township "to enforce all necessary rules and regulations regarding the operation of a House of Worship at this property [554 Queen Anne Road]."

Most of the 78 residents live on Queen Anne Road and Griggs, Van Buren, and Sherman avenues.

The July 22 petition — which also contains photographs of people entering the house, presumably to pray, statements and copies of documents, among them e-mails, a membership form, and davening schedules for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur — says that on July 18, the family room began to be used for religious services and that a "change of use" has occurred, which requires the appropriate permit from the township.

The petition’s arguments are based on sections of the Teaneck code, which says that "after a change of use has been made on a lot or in a building or structure, a zoning permit shall be required and no certificate of occupancy shall be issued without the required zoning permit."

The code adds: "Change of use shall be deemed to include any change in the utilization of a building or lot or part thereof where the resulting use is subject to bulk, dimensional, special, or other zoning regulations which are different than those impressed upon the prior use."

The rabbi disputed the change-of-use argument, saying that of the 168 hours in a week, only five are devoted to religious services at the house, which are held Friday night and Saturday morning and afternoon.

"That’s 3 percent of the time," he said. "It is our understanding, confirmed in two meetings with the township, that [a] prayer group in the house is a permitted residential use. Thus, we do not believe that the use has been changed in any way."

Erlich said the group had filed an appeal to the zoning board to challenge "the interpretation of what they [the township] say is going on at 554 Queen Anne Road. They call it a house of worship [and] place of assembly [but] we call it a private prayer group."

He added, "We were always upfront with the town about what would be taking place [there] and agreed that if anything changed, we would have a dialogue before taking any official steps, but instead we got this cease-and-desist order."

Daily, a pro-bono attorney provided by the Rutherford Institute, a Charlottesville, Va.– based civil-rights organization, will represent the rabbi before the township.

In the cease-and-desist letter, Daily said, "the position of the zoning officer is vague [because] he said they are using the premises as a place of worship, but what is a place of worship? There is no definition of that."

Most synagogues and churches started in people’s homes, he said.

Daily said the immediate neighbors of 554 Queen Anne Road will be notified of the appeal.

No date has been set for the hearing, but it reportedly will be in the fall or early winter.

The current law regarding private prayer groups in New Jersey, added Daily, was made by the 1985 case of Farhi v. Commissioners of the Borough of Deal, where a zoning commission attempted to enforce an ordinance to prevent a rabbi from conducting religious services in his home.

On Nov. 9, 2007, Feldman met with the township’s Gluck to tell him that a private prayer group would meet at the residence.

On May 28, the rabbi and Joel Glucksman, his lawyer, met with Gluck to inform him that the plans for the prayer group had not changed since the first meeting.

At the request of Stanley Turitz, the township’s lawyer, Glucksman forwarded Gluck a letter dated June 20 "memorializing the activities that take place at the above-referenced address."

According to the letter, "[W]hen Rabbi Feldman first decided to have a private prayer group in his home, it was of the utmost importance to him that everything be done above-board and in accordance with local ordinances."

The letter also explains that services are held on the "Jewish Sabbath and on Yamim Tovim/holidays."

"We told the town from the beginning what we were doing, and they confirmed that it was acceptable," Feldman said. "We were not trying to hide anything."

In the Aug. 8 letter to Feldman, Gluck acknowledges that "a packet of information" dated July 22 was submitted to the Building Department by residents in the vicinity of 554 Queen Anne Road and says that after reviewing Glucksman’s letter of May 28, "it is my opinion that the facts demonstrate that the above premises are now being used for a second principal use as a house of worship/place of public assembly without first obtaining a zoning permit in violation" of the township’s code.

If the services continue and the decision is not appealed to the zoning board within 20 days of the date of the letter, "summonses will be issued for each day the violation continues."

Referring to the cease-and-desist order, Campeas, one of the two authors of the petition and who has lived on Griggs Avenue since 1988, said he was "glad to see that the town has taken that step. The town has been studying the situation for some time and I’m confident they will look at the facts and draw appropriate conclusions."

A neighbor who doesn’t object to the existence of the group is Lily Steinberg, who has lived on Van Buren Avenue for 22 years and whose house sits diagonally to the rabbi’s.

She said she was "saddened" to hear that the prayer group has been asked to stop holding religious services and that she and some of her neighbors did not sign the petition because they did not object to having the group in the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

From the North Jersey Jewish News

Rabbi’s home is a shul, say zoning authorities

Freehold Township: Activities indicate house of worship

by Robert Wiener
NJJN Staff Writer
July 31, 2008

Despite months of protest from Rabbi Avraham Bernstein, the Zoning Board of Adjustment in Freehold Township decide unanimously that the Lubavitcher rabbi is indeed operating a house of worship in his home on Stillwell’s Corner Road.
For more than a year, Bernstein and his attorneys have been feuding with township authorities, contending that the building is strictly a residence for himself, his wife, and their eight children.
Bernstein takes that position despite the fact that on Friday nights, Saturday mornings, and Jewish holy days, prayer services are held in his living room, where an ark and a bima coexist with stacks of chairs and a baby’s plastic swing.
“This is not a temple,” Bernstein told NJ Jewish News during a visit to the building in September 2007. “It is my private house. I don’t want it to be a temple, because it is my house.”
His former attorney, Gerald Marks, insisted at the time that “it is not a cathedral. It is not a mosque. It is not a synagogue in the traditional sense. A synagogue is just a place to gather.”
But on July 24, the zoning board said otherwise and ruled that the house met the definition of a house of worship.
“If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, it probably is a duck, and without question, this is a duck,” zoning board member William Nero said, according to a report in the Asbury Park Press.
The backyard of the Bernstein home as photographed from the house of his neighbor, Mary Ellen Sacco, in September 2007.
Neither Bernstein nor Vincent Manning, the rabbi’s newly hired attorney, attended the July 24 meeting.
“I did object to the board voting and notified them in writing,” Manning told NJJN. “I don’t think what they are doing is lawful, and I don’t want to be seen to be participating in something I don’t think should be occurring.
“‘House of worship’ is a technical term,” he contended. “The principle developing here is the state can’t be in the business of telling people what they are doing is establishing a house of worship as they define it. Why do you need state approval to perform religious rituals in your home? The city of Freehold seems to think that you do.”
The board vote gave Bernstein 45 days to appeal its ruling, but Manning said he is unsure whether that will happen.
“Where do we go from here? I am not certain where the matter goes from here,” he said.
Asked what the zoning board intended to do next, its attorney, Dennis Galvin of Jackson Township, said, “Nothing. There is nothing the zoning board can do.”
“The board tried to be as objective as possible based upon the information that was presented,” Galvin said. “The rabbi could have put more of a case in. If his house was used as a residence and not as a house of worship he could have had an opportunity to present that. He chose not to do that.”
Citing Bernstein for a zoning violation “is up to the municipality,” Galvin said. “You would think they would do something.”
As of press time, the Freehold Township Committee had taken no action on the matter.
The zoning board ruling is being applauded by some of Bernstein’s neighbors, who have been complaining about noise levels since a year after he purchased the property in 1998.
Mary Ellen Sacco, whose backyard on Woodcrest Drive is adjacent to Bernstein’s, attended the meeting and was pleased at its results.
“My reaction is they made the right decision,” she said. “I think many of the neighbors were pleased. I think the legal process will run its course. We will leave it up to the courts to decide.”
She said there has been no change in the situation since September 2007, when NJJN visited the Bernsteins and their neighbors.
At the time, Sacco complained that her family didn’t use their yard much on weekends anymore.
“It’s because of the services — the traffic, the foot traffic, and the amount of people in their yard,” she said. “The noise level has really escalated during the day on Saturdays.”
Bernstein could not be reached for comment.

What Lola Wants said...

I find it REALLY FUNNY that the rabbi at the Queen Anne road shul wrote books on business ethics and ethical behavior in the community and he doesn't practice what he preaches...that says a lot for the kind of people he must attract to his place

Anonymous said...

The prior post is slanderous and I ask that the moderator take it down.

Anonymous said...

http://www.boston.com/news/local/maine/articles/2008/08/22/maine_rabbi_wins_home_worship_appeal/?s_campaign=8315

Joseph said...

I agree that Lola's post shows a tremendous lack of respect and is factually wrong. As the article make crystal clear, R. Feldman was completely up-front with the township from day 1. He wasn't hiding anything; he was playing by all the rules. Indeed, ONE WEEK after the house was purchased, R. Feldman, as made clear in the article, met with township officials and disclosed what would be happening. Six months later he had another meeting with township officials and again explained what was happening and he confirmed that in a later a short time later. Now, he has a legal disagreement with the township that will be resolved the way Americans resolve such lawsuits. So, where exactly has there been any breach whatsoever of business ethics and ethical behavior? Lola, I have seen other posts by you here and on other lists that are thoughtful and informative. Perhaps upon reflection you might think it best to withdraw your post (in which event I would, of course, withdraw this one).

Anonymous said...

The article was clearly biased. It reported primarily on what Feldman, his congregation and his lawyer had to say. It ignored the facts that did not support Feldman's view of the situation. The group bought the house to be a shul. It built the room to be a meeting hall. The request for a building permit for a family room was dishonest.

The article also ignored the letters to the neighbors telling them that the house and the adjacent house will be a "new Teaneck synagogue center".

Anonymous said...

More slander! No wonder no one is willing to use their real name!

The house was purchased with the intent that a private prayer group would meet there. This is EXACTLY what the article said and EXACTLY what Mr. Gluck was told and confirmed was okay. Where was the dishonesty?

The letters you refer to were written regarding the property next door, which is owned by somebody else and who played no part in the purchase of 554.

Sounds like the only thing that is biased is your post. The Truth Does Hurt, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Accusing people of slander does not make your self serving lies any truer. The owner of 576 is part of the group that now owns 554.

Anonymous said...

Repeatedly not showing any proof of any of your slander only serves to prove your lies.

Hiding behind anonymity while spewing slander, libel and defamation only shows that you're scared that the you'll get sued for your lies.

The person of whom you speak is also a member of at least 1 or 2 other shuls in town. Does that make them part of all this as well?

Guilty by association is an ugly business. It is often used by those who do not have the TRUTH on their side.

Yes, the TRUTH REALLY DOES HURT.

Let's see some proof of your allegations. Let's see your real name if you think you are so justified in your lies.

But we won't.

Joseph said...

Let's calm down a bit. Accusations of slander on the one hand and bias and lies on the other don't help the discussion. I admit, my knowledge comes from the article in the Standard. As I wrote in my first post, I couldn't find anything done wrong by R. Feldman according to the article. And the additional fact that I learned here -- that a letter was written that the house was bought to be a shul -- doesn't change things. When, and if, the owner wants to make it into a shul, the owner will have to go through the required approval process in order to get the proper permits. But now, if it is being used as a private home by R. Feldman and his family, what may happen in the future isn't really relevant. And, the dispute between the owner and the township as to the legal effect of having services in the family room is just that; a good faith dispute that will be resolved in the way good faith people resolve such disputes; either through negotiation and settlement or though the judicial process. Everybody should take a deep breath, and both sides should think twice before posting allegations of bad faith on either side.

Anonymous said...

If you know so little about it why are you might consider doing some research before reaching a conclusion.

Are you aware for example that the Rabinical Council of Bergen County lists them as an affiliated shul?

Anonymous said...

http://godaven.com/searchzip.asp - put in 07666

http://tiny.cc/2M9tt - yahoo group with 87 members

http://frumhomesinnj.com/Shuls.htm - #63 on a list of shuls in NJ, on a website for frum Jews looking to move to NJ

http://tiny.cc/xgaeL - "Rabbi Feldman of Etz Chaim" presented at OU forum in Teaneck

Karin said...

So if they really are a shul as provided by ANON's links then why do they not seek to be reclassified as tax exempt and hence stop paying local property taxes?

Are they unable to find another house for their Rabbi to live in or do they perhaps not have enough members yet to seek tax exempt status as a house of worship?

What exactly is everyone up in arms about? I mean they are paying taxes on the property-would you rather have them removed from the tax rolls?

Anonymous said...

Like everyone else they should obey the law.

Anonymous said...

To Karin and everyone else who wants to know why "everyone is up in arms:"

Rabbi Feldman can certainly have a house of worship in his home. There are, however, zoning laws which specify how this should be done to maximize public safety for those using the structure and minimize intrusion for those who live nearby. The construction was done according to single-family-home use, not house-of-worship use. Buffers, distance from lot line, sprinkler requirements, notice to neighbors, etc. - all are different. To be used as a house of worship, the congregation (and let's be clear - with a required $5000 building fund contribution it is a congregation, not a prayer group) needed to apply for variances - before it built. All the neighbors are asking is that they follow the law - from the beginning, and not after the fact.

Anonymous said...

When, and if, the owner wants to make it into a shul, the owner will have to go through the required approval process in order to get the proper permits. But now, if it is being used as a private home by R. Feldman and his family, what may happen in the future isn't really relevant. And, the dispute between the owner and the township as to the legal effect of having services in the family room is just that; a good faith dispute that will be resolved in the way good faith people resolve such disputes; either through negotiation and settlement or though the judicial process.

Joseph, I agree in general with your comments however it is a well known fact that Rabbi Feldman and his group purchased the house with the intent to use it as a synagogue. Their goal when they were originally at Care One and then moved to 554 was to establish a shul with Rabbi Feldman as the Rabbi. Anyone from that group that denies that is lying. They have membership dues, a building fund (I don't know of any PPGs that have a building fund - shuls have building funds), and send out weekly announcements in the name of the shul. People, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and smells like a duck, its a duck! If it was their original goal to be a shul, and that goal has not changed, why not be truly honest with the town and let them know that we plan on creating a shul, we will have services in the room we wish to expand etc? Instead they (including the rabbi) claim that they are building a family room. (The article talks about toys strewn about the floor. That shouldn't be too tough to arrange with kids in the house.)

The Rabbi's books deal with honesty and he is considered THE expert on the subject. Let's be intellectually honest here and call it what it is: a group of people trying to circumvent the township code to build their shul as quickly as possible without following procedures set in place to protect everyone (including them).

So, Joseph, back to your point: "what may happen in the future" is actually VERY relevant as the past and present actions of this group indicates what the future intention is - to build a shul.

Anonymous said...

What the prior post fails to realize is that they ARE following the law.

The law as shown in numerous precedents allows for a private prayer group in one's home without the full zoning requirements of a shul.

what is in dispute is whether this is a private prayer group or a shul. The irony, is that I'm willing to bet a significant sum of money that they same people who 'claim' they just want this group to file for zoning and then they'll be okay, will be the same group that will show up to fight against them at the Zoning Board.

But, no matter what happens on this blog, as Joseph said, this dispute will be settled in court (well, Board of Adjustments first), and there is little doubt in my mind based on legal precedent what the end result will be.

Anonymous said...

How many private prayer groups do you know that build 1,500 sf family rooms?

Note to all: religious groups may be exempt from taxes and have certain other advantages but they are NEVER exempt from following the zoning laws as required by individual municipalities, NEVER.

Anonymous said...

Well, as Karin said, at least they are paying taxes on the property. If it's true that the owner of the house next door is part of the group, we might just end up seeing a big shul go up on that site, and no taxes for Teanneck then. We also know that if the group applies fr all the zoning, they will get it!

Anonymous said...

Don't be so sure they'll get it!

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:30. You seem pretty sure of yourself. Sounds cocky to assume you will win. I guess we will have to wait to find out, won't we. ;)

Anonymous said...

Let's hope the property taxes currently being paid are enough to cover the legal battle that will soon follow.

Anonymous said...

Did you all read the article carefully. Rabbi Feldman's group has an attorney from the Rutherford Institute, so their legal battle will be at zero cost.

And did y'all here about the case in Florida recently where the town had to pay the local Rabbi 2 MILLION dollars in a similar case.

Given Teaneck's track record of losing every lawsuit ever filed against it, my guess says it will be Teaneck and its insurance company that will wind up paying for the eventual shul that will wind up on this property.

Sometimes you have to be careful what war you wage or you wind up losing more than you thought.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:59

oh yeah...My dad can beat up your dad!

Yes, we will find out, DOH!

Maybe in the interim we can all act with a greater degree of civility and allow the courts to decide this without having to accuse the other side of all sorts of wrongdoing?

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:59
I'm not cocky. I just don't think a religious group can be stopped. I've never heard of a church or synagogue being stopped before. I don't care if they build or not. I'd rather have the property tax money!

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:11
What legal battle?

Anonymous said...

Forget the taxes to Teaneck. I'd rather have the real estate value. I hope they do build a big synagogue so that I can get more money for my house. I'm sure some jew would pay a killing to be around the corner. I can take my money and run!

Anonymous said...

The increase in real estate value is an illusion as it duplicates the shul being built several blocks away that is going through proper channels.

Anonymous said...

Oh stop the BS.

The 'shul' down the block prayed in basements for 7 years as a Private Prayer group. From its founding in about 2001 until this very day, it davens as a private prayer group in someone's else. The fact that you dismiss this is merely ABSOLUTE PROOF that this has nothing to do with zoning laws or anything of the sort, but rather is a vendetta by some of those very people against those who chose to leave.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:59
Obviously there is a need for this new location. If there were a duplication of services, there would be no need for another place to daven (for the people who daven with R. Feldman). As someone who has spent A LOT of time with both groups,... I assure you.. there IS NO duplication of services!

Anonymous said...

ISn;t the group building at 725 Queen Anne Rd. a duplication of Beth Aaron? Why do we need any other than Beth Aaron? And if there is a need for Arzei, maybe there is a need for R. Feldman.

What Lola Wants said...

As was mentioned a few times before, Rabbi Feldman published books on ethics.

I have a friend who attends this "prayer group" and told me that it is definitely a shul and they are so proud that they can pull the wool over the eyes of the town under the guise of Religious Freedom.

I'm just asking for a little honesty here on behalf of the cheerleading prayer group people.

Thank you anonymous Sept 1 - 2:29 pm for putting the TRUTH out there.

Sounds to me like its walking and quacking like a duck...

What Lola Wants said...

By the way, the "friend" who prays at the shul is no longer a friend. I don't like to associate with people who try to con the town.

Anonymous said...

speaking of people who con the town...

The shul down the street that is "going through proper channels" has had a membership/building fund since its inception, has prayed in someone's house or basement and has paid rent to its hosts for the last several years (which makes it a commercial transaction. The owners of the house it prays in now have not gotten zoning to run a business out of their home). Let's also not forget that the shul down the street that is "going through proper channels"
built a room to their exact specifications at 277 Johnson Ave. to be used as a shul! Let's stop pretending that the shul down the street has done anything through proper channels!

What Lola Wants said...

If these "prayer group" people are conning the town, it makes me wonder what businesses they are in and how they conduct themselves in their businesses? Not people I want to do business with...

Anonymous said...

that's exactly how I feel about many of the people (who have been there for more than three years) in the shul down the street... You couldn't pay me enough to pray with those people.

Anonymous said...

Why haven't we heard more about the place building on Queen Anne but praying in someeone's house now?

Anonymous said...

I think its time for you Feldmanites to just stop the whining and bickering and justifying and useless explanations. It makes you look guilty of violating Teaneck's building code, which you are guilty of and now have to comply with.

What makes this whole thing hilarious is if you Feldmanites would have followed the rules in the first place you wouldn't be getting all this bad press.

This entire argument is based on the Feldmanite being able to convince you that something illegal in Teaneck is legal because Rabbi Feldman said that it was done legally and that the power of Religious Freedoms is attached to it.

They took shortcuts because of time constraints and tried to do things the easy unmoral way and it has bit them in the ass.

If Rabbi Feldman and his Feldmanites have any decency at all, they would comply quietly, get their Shul (its a shul and a duck is a duck)and they can grow as large as the Fire Marshall's capacity number allows them to grow.

Pretty soon they will stop being a black eye on the Jewish Community in Teaneck.

Well, at least until Rabbi Feldman's 20-25 cars need a place to park, so there goes the house next door's backyard for a parking lot.
And the "Family Room" needs to be expanded to the size of the footprint of the entire house next door.
And the mini skinny dipping nudist pool that will only be opened on nights and before holidays that will have to be put in.

But, Rabbi Feldman will assure you every step of the way that "we have taken every appropriate step to do everything by the book."

Anyone who knows the genesis of "Etz Chaim" knows that its core constituency has a history of destabilizing shuls and destroying flourishing minyanim. They need a Shul of their own so that everyone else's shul is safe from them!

But rules are rules and they must be followed.

Shame on you Rabbi Feldman and your Feldmanites!

Anonymous said...

More anonymous slander...

For you 'anti-Feldmanite', why don't you simply post your real name if you're so sure you are right and just in all that you do?

You don't because you know what you post is all lies and slander and libel and defamation and you hide behind the anonymity of a computer blog. What a pathetic life.

As for Lola and her friend. You've convince me now. An anonymous person on a blog posts about an anonymous friend. Wow, smoking gun evidence. You must be the source that said Iraq had WMD!

Anonymous said...

Lola,

I'm not surprised you can't do business with some of the people. if you are who I think you are, you even told me once that doing business with the President of one these groups was quite distasteful, yet now, you cozy up to him.

Says much for your business ethics.

Mr. Reality Sucks Doesn't it (Formerly Anonymous) said...

Quote -
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More anonymous slander...

For you 'anti-Feldmanite', why don't you simply post your real name if you're so sure you are right and just in all that you do?

You don't because you know what you post is all lies and slander and libel and defamation and you hide behind the anonymity of a computer blog. What a pathetic life.

As for Lola and her friend. You've convince me now. An anonymous person on a blog posts about an anonymous friend. Wow, smoking gun evidence. You must be the source that said Iraq had WMD!

September 1, 2008 8:46 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lola,

I'm not surprised you can't do business with some of the people. if you are who I think you are, you even told me once that doing business with the President of one these groups was quite distasteful, yet now, you cozy up to him.

Says much for your business ethics.

September 1, 2008 8:48 PM"


Calling the kettle Black? Why aren't you posting your name?

See the problem with an argument like yours is that when you are wrong, there are no facts that you can draw upon to back you up, only falsehoods. So instead of supplying a real counterpoint to what I have written you attempt to derail my comments using name calling. Hardly a defense of any of the accusations I have made. Rabbi Feldman has taught you well young Padawan. You have learned the art of deflection, but you suck at it so your defense is meaningless....Feldmanite!

To quote Robert Erlich from the article -
"Erlich said the group had filed an appeal to the zoning board to challenge "the interpretation of what they [the township] say is going on at 554 Queen Anne Road. They call it a house of worship [and] place of assembly [but] we call it a private prayer group."

He added, "We were always upfront with the town about what would be taking place [there] and agreed that if anything changed, we would have a dialogue before taking any official steps, but instead we got this cease-and-desist order."


You see Robert, what changed is that you got caught. You and your 20-25 families. Man that $820,000 mortgage plus renovations plus legal fees and zoning code fees and more renovation fees must be really hurting those 20-25 families are shouldering the financial burden just so that
a. Rabbi Feldman can have a house
b. The Feldmanites can have a shul so that they can hurt no others.

I don't feel bad for you at all Mr. Anonymous.....I pity you and your fellow Feldmanites.

Joseph said...

I'm so disappointed at the direction this discussion has taken. "Feldmanites"? A nameless friend told me something which proves someone else is unethical?

I don't live in that area of town. And although I'm a lawyer, I havce no idea who's right or wrong on the law. But I do know that there is a set procedure to resolve such disputes. Why must there be such animosity, such vitriol, such nastiness before all sides have an opportunity to be heard in a proper forum for such resolution?

I'm so very disappointed.

Anonymous said...

For those of you who are not a part of this turf war... you might want to not get involved. Clearly, since no one has responded in any way to the FACTS that Arzei Darom and many of its members has done its fair share of illegal things... all of which I have access to actual proof of and will present when the time is right... this argument is being played out by two groups who will either both exsist or neither exist. I just feel bad for the neighbors in the middle who are being influenced by only one side, because my side prefers not to involve innocent bystanders.

Anonymous said...

Rabbi Feldman and those who daven with him are not the black eye in the community... just ask any RCBC Rabbi which "rabbi" is the one they don't trust or don't respect.

Anonymous said...

Rabbi Feldman and those who daven with him are not the black eye in the community... just ask any RCBC Rabbi which "rabbi" is the one they don't trust or don't respect.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, let's ask the RCBC. Let's ask them who the "golden child" of the council is? Let's ask them about the machanitions and maneuverings they undergo to protect Daniel Feldman at all costs.

Rabbi Feldman cannot be protected forever. Eventually the lies and fraud perpertrated by his groupies which he condoned will bring them all down. Lets see the RCBC prtect him then.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that the town's attorney, Stanley Turitz is also the attorney for the RCBC? Could make for some interesting public meetings.

Ouch it hurts said...

Blaming other for Rabbi feldman's problem is not going to make his problems go away....

Deal with it!

Anonymous said...

Rabbi Feldman isn't the rabbi who started this big mess in the first place.. let's lay blame where it belongs... Aharon Ciment....

Anonymous said...

That last post should be removed. We really are here only to bash Rabbi Feldman and his cronies.

Anonymous said...

Joseph,

Because in the end, that is exactly what this is about. One group of people chose to leave Arzei Darom about 2 1/2 years ago.

A handful of people from Arzei have been laying attack after attack after attack at many of these people.

While I can understand that some of the neighbors may have apprehension about having a private prayer group nearby, this could've been handled in a menschlike fashion had it not been for a handful of people who have a very different purpose - to destroy Rabbi Feldman and the people who choose to daven with him.

So, while some decency would be nice, don't expect it. Those of us who left Arzei merely wanted a place to daven. We didn't start filing complaints to Teaneck about how they are davening illegally in someone's basement, or how they cram 50 kids into a space about 150 sq. ft. for groups or how they pay rent to use this space - instead we simply wanted a place to daven in peace.

This was too much for the 3 Apikoris to handle.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't anyone want to talk about Palin and her slut of a daughter?

Anonymous said...

Those of us who left Arzei merely wanted a place to daven.

It seems that this poster left out some history. A number of the people who left Arzei Darom found a place to daven in the Orthodox Minyan at the Teaneck Jewish Center. They attended Merkaz L'Tora for about a year slowly getting involved and influencing Rabbi Feldman. Their actions were part of what destroyed the minyan at the Jewish Center. And now they continue to try destroy Arzei Darom. This group found a place to daven and used it "merely" to bring Rabbi Feldman along with them to their new location at 554 Queen Anne Road in furtherence of their goal to destroy Arzei Darom.

Anonymous said...

What's really funny is that the people who brought the complaint to the town have absolutely no connection to Arzei Darom and could care less about feuds between the various factions of members and former members of Arzei Darom.

And yes - Arzei Darom did not follow the law until it build the new building. Other shuls don't either - for example, the shul that Mark Schwartz owns, Shaarei Tefillah. That also has no variance that allows for a house of worship, yet no one lives there and it is a shul.

It seems that some members of Etz Chaim feel that they are being unfairly singled out for violating zoning law. I'm sure that if they pointed out all the other transgressors someone would notify the Buildings Department.

So please - let us know about all the illegal shuls in Teaneck. And - thanks in advance.

No More Scapegoats - Rabbi Feldman and Feldmanites are wrong! said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joseph,

Because in the end, that is exactly what this is about. One group of people chose to leave Arzei Darom about 2 1/2 years ago.

A handful of people from Arzei have been laying attack after attack after attack at many of these people.

While I can understand that some of the neighbors may have apprehension about having a private prayer group nearby, this could've been handled in a menschlike fashion had it not been for a handful of people who have a very different purpose - to destroy Rabbi Feldman and the people who choose to daven with him.

So, while some decency would be nice, don't expect it. Those of us who left Arzei merely wanted a place to daven. We didn't start filing complaints to Teaneck about how they are davening illegally in someone's basement, or how they cram 50 kids into a space about 150 sq. ft. for groups or how they pay rent to use this space - instead we simply wanted a place to daven in peace.

This was too much for the 3 Apikoris to handle.


Wow.

Maybe if the Feldmanites would have done things legally they could have been at peace.

Maybe if they didn't try to destabilize and destroy Arzei Darom, they could have been at peace.

Maybe if they didn't try to get Rabbi Ciment kicked out of Arzei Darom, they could have been at peace.

Maybe if they didn't come to the Jewish Center of Teaneck and destroy the minyan that graciously took them in, they could have been at peace.

Maybe if they didn't expose Rabbi Feldman for the fraud that he is, they could have been at peace.

But these people that left Arzei Darom 2 1/2 years ago still bear grudge and have plotted and planned for 2 1/2 years how to destroy Arzei Darom and Rabbi Ciment and they are now pissed off because they didn't follow township rules and waited for the approvals to come through to create a Synagogue at 554 Queen Anne Rd. Their fault no one else.

Not Rabbi Ciment
Not Arzei Darom
Not Teaneck Township or anyone else associated with it.

It is the fault of the President Robert Erlich, eloquently quoted before from the Standard article. It is the fault of the silent and unsilent leadership of Etz Chaim trolling and posting in here blaming others of slander when they can't fight back with fact or truth. It is the fault, most of all, the to true leader of Etz Chaim, Rabbi Daniel Feldman.

It is no one's fault but theirs and if they just would have followed the rules instead of pushing up the opening of their Shul to coincide with Arzei Darom's to compete with them, they could have been at peace.

Anyone who disagrees with me can frame the argument any which way they want, but the unavoidable truth is that no one forced Etz Chaim to send in building plans that called their main sanctuary a family room. Shame on you for signing your name to that document and blaming others for you mistakes and stupidities.

No more scapegoats for Rabbi Feldman and his Feldmanites to blame. They must take responsibility for their actions and rectify them like the menchin that they believe they are and then they can be at peace.

Anonymous said...

And now they continue to try destroy Arzei Darom.

What exactly are they doing to try to destroy anyone?

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:58

What a vivid imagination you have. Why don't you back any of that up with some proof?!

Instead you make allegation after allegation with no proof!

I'm not going to go through your ridiculous post point by point. The need to prove your allegations rests with you. You can't do it, because your entire post is BS.

So, your next post will be PROOF or you should just shut up. Of course, I said SHOULD shut up, but Apikoris are Apikoris for a reason.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:12

They had the audacity to open up a 'competing' prayer group a mere 1/3 of a mile away (note, Rabbi Taubes shul is 0.2 miles from Rinat and Arzei is 0.45 miles from Beth Aaron).

Then they had the audacity to get a world class Rabbi.

Is it true that the Rabbi of Arzei Darom actually said that non-Jews don't love their children as much as Jews? As proof, he repotedly cited the announcement made on planes how in the case of a change in cabin pressure you should put on your own mask and then help your children.

Please, someone tell me that he didn't really say this?! With logic like this, it explains why his followers jump to such outrageous conclusions!

Anonymous said...

It's amazing to read how people have recreated history to make themselves feel better. For the person who wants to know about other illegal shuls... start with Arzei. They may have zoning for their new building, but they don't have zoning for their current location. Why don't you try calling the fire department on them for having the children from the 80+ families they CLAIM to serve in their small youth room. I'm sure that is a MAJOR violation of safety codes, never mind zoning codes.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:39

Another lie. I have in my posession a letter written by the President of the Teaneck Jewish Center which states very clearly that the members of 'Merkaz' who currently daven with Rabbi Feldman did NOTHING to harm the minyan or the Jewish Center.

It was in fact the previous leadership which refused to treat Rabbi Zierler with even a modicum of respect that was a major factor in this group leaving.

When will you own up to your own actions?

Anonymous said...

Oh and I heard that Ciment also stated in a speech on Shabbos that Obama is like Hitler. Both want/ed change. I believe he even emphasized Barack's middle name for affect!

Too much truth for you to handle said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 10:58

What a vivid imagination you have. Why don't you back any of that up with some proof?!

Instead you make allegation after allegation with no proof!

I'm not going to go through your ridiculous post point by point. The need to prove your allegations rests with you. You can't do it, because your entire post is BS.

So, your next post will be PROOF or you should just shut up. Of course, I said SHOULD shut up, but Apikoris are Apikoris for a reason.

September 1, 2008 11:15 PM


Ok. Deal. My original post is in bold.

Maybe if the Feldmanites would have done things legally they could have been at peace.
You got a summos because you didn't follow the Teaneck Code. Common knowledge.

Maybe if they didn't try to destabilize and destroy Arzei Darom, they could have been at peace.The people who left Arzei Darom 2 1/2 years ago tried to get Rabbi Ciment fired because of their friend. Their actions divided the shul and subsequent actions of the friends that ran to the Jewish Center and the ones who remained behind as "The Teaneck Shul" have been calculated to directly compete and to undermine all of the efforts of Arzei Darom to grow and to move past that dark chapter in their existence. If you need proof, ask your friends.

Maybe if they didn't try to get Rabbi Ciment kicked out of Arzei Darom, they could have been at peace.
See above.

Maybe if they didn't come to the Jewish Center of Teaneck and destroy the minyan that graciously took them in, they could have been at peace.
Where are all the members of the Jewish Center Minyan that left with Rabbi Feldman? Where are they davening? Etz Chaim? What happened to their community that they grew?

Maybe if they didn't expose Rabbi Feldman for the fraud that he is, they could have been at peace.
Rabbi Feldman tells the truth to suit his needs at the time he tells it. Ask the buildings department or anyone else he has told "trust me" in the last year and 1/2.

But these people that left Arzei Darom 2 1/2 years ago still bear grudge and have plotted and planned for 2 1/2 years how to destroy Arzei Darom and Rabbi Ciment and they are now pissed off because they didn't follow township rules and waited for the approvals to come through to create a Synagogue at 554 Queen Anne Rd. Their fault no one else.
I'm not the one who didn't follow the rules. You didn't. Don't need proof. Its all public record.

Not Rabbi Ciment
Not Arzei Darom
Not Teaneck Township or anyone else associated with it.

Yeah, because it was you and your Feldmanites.

It is the fault of the President Robert Erlich, eloquently quoted before from the Standard article. It is the fault of the silent and unsilent leadership of Etz Chaim trolling and posting in here blaming others of slander when they can't fight back with fact or truth. It is the fault, most of all, the to true leader of Etz Chaim, Rabbi Daniel Feldman.
The President and the Rabbi bear fault for the actions of the shul, correct? Right Robert and Rabbi Feldman? Which of the 20-25 families have members posting in here?

It is no one's fault but theirs and if they just would have followed the rules instead of pushing up the opening of their Shul to coincide with Arzei Darom's to compete with them, they could have been at peace.
If you would have followed the rules it would have taken about a year to get approval and we all know that no "Teaneck Shul" guy worth their salt davens at Care-One.

Anyone who disagrees with me can frame the argument any which way they want, but the unavoidable truth is that no one forced Etz Chaim to send in building plans that called their main sanctuary a family room. Shame on you for signing your name to that document and blaming others for you mistakes and stupidities.
Again Public Record.

No more scapegoats for Rabbi Feldman and his Feldmanites to blame. They must take responsibility for their actions and rectify them like the menchin that they believe they are and then they can be at peace.
Again, if you followed the rules from the beginning you could have avoided all the bad press and relations with the neighbors.

Too much truth for you?

Anonymous said...

None of that is proof, it is just adding details to your vivid imagination.

Why don't we talk about the guy who invited most every member of Arzei Darom to his house to convince them to 'vote for Rabbi Ciment'. Rather than talk about his good qualities, he repeatedly slandered the Arzei Darom member at the center of all this.

When Rabbi Ciment was asked to please intervene and stop this, he said that he would not.

The reality is that it was Rabbi Ciment's actions and the actions of this member of Arzei that caused the division at Arzei.

In the vote that ensued, Rabbi Ciment was re-elected by a vote of 63-40, which is hardly a ringing endorsement. If those same 103 people voted today, I doubt he would even get a simple majority. I know of at least 2 families who voted for him who certainly would not do so today.

As for Teaneck Jewish Center, you have NO IDEA what took place there. You are either one of the guys at Arzei who never stepped foot into the JCT or you are one of the guys from the JCT who is the REAL reason the minyan was destroyed. You're having a tough time owning up to your actions.

You see, when you tell only half a story, it sounds so plausible. When you want the WHOLE story told, please let me know.

The Truth REALLY DOES HURT.

Anonymous said...

Aharon Ciment should have been fired because he is an idiot. He makes stupid decisions and then hides behind his "legal counsel". From what I hear, that same legal counsel is going to have to work hard to keep him there for another contract.

The mechitzah minyan at the TJC grew because of the people who left Arzei. We were the growth.

Apparently no one from Arzei davens at Care One either, though they like to pretend they rescued Care One from the Big Bad group that abondend them.

Just because you don't like the law doesn't mean we broke any. Mr. Gluck said all along we were fine and now that non affliated people (with the help of one neighbor and those two guys from that other shul) complained, Gluck simply didn't want to have to make any hard decisions himself so he is leaving it to the board.

And,... by the way.. what bad press is everyone talking about? I read the article and it seemed positive to me. What we need is MORE publicity and eventually it will all come out... there should be a few people who are VERY scared about that.

Anonymous said...

I hope that Ciment's "leagl counsel" can keep him there for another contract. G-d knows the rest of the Jewish world doesn't want or need him.

Anonymous said...

Getting Ciment a new contract should be easy. Subtract the 40 people who voted against him who went to Beth Aaron, the JCT or the Shteibl. Add to that another 10 who voted for him but have to live with that embarassment for the rest of their days and that leaves him with a reasonable shot to get 70% of the vote this time!

And in case it's close, a few people will just threaten to sue anybody who doesn't vote the way they want them to.

I hear they use strong arm tactics like that a lot in the Ukraine....

Sticks and Stones said...

Its soooo funny.

In one breath you ask for proof how you are trying to destroy Arzei and Rabbi Ciment.

Then next second you and your Feldmanites post boorish comments attacking him.

Anyway, back to reality and Etz "Abdalek" Chaim. The shul for one 2 1/2 year in the making.

ROFLMAO

or am I?

Anonymous said...

Ukraine? This is Teaneck. Please stop confusing the issues.

Anonymous said...

If a priest told his parishioners that another parishioner is "like Scott Peterson" or like the "Son of Sam," do you think that would be normal moral behavior for that priest? (Unless, of course, the parishioner really was a murderer, in which case the priest should go to the police.)

Well, guess what? That's exactly what Ciment did to one of the members of his synagogue. This member was going through a divorce, and Ciment sided with the wife and went around telling people that the husband is like a serial killer.

This is fact, corroborated by at least ten people who heard Ciment say this.

In light of this, it's understandable that many people didn't feel comfortable staying at Arzei Darom.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was Etz "Geralnik" Chaim? Isn't he bankrolling this shul? Isn't his attorney also representing Rabbi Feldman to the town, someone Glucksman?

No more Scapegoats. said...

Continue to rationalize your wrongdoings. Pointing in a directions. At former JCT members. People from Arzei. People not from Arzei.

But you don't point a finger at yourself. Its your fault. Face the facts. No one deceived the township but the Feldmanites and Rabbi Feldman himself.

My fingernails are growing faster than Etz Chaim getting approval said...

Got to get some sleep.

Have fun posting back and forth.

Tomorrow is still another day Etz "Geralnik Abdalek" Chaim delays its long wait for building approval to run as a synagogue.

Good Luck guys.

Anonymous said...

That and the Ukraine guy protecting Ciment were enough to drive anyone away. Arzei Darom was a warzone not a synagogue.

But this is past history for everyone except Ciment, the Ukraine guy, and a couple of others who harbor such hatred that they just can't let the past be the past and move on and let others move on too. The people who left Arzei Darom are not coming back and that's life. They needed a place to daven, and went in various directions a few years ago after leaving Arzei. Those various directions coalesced into Rabbi Feldman's minyan.

That's life. Accept it and move on.

Anonymous said...

I am sure the Feldmanites are meeting with their leader as we speak, working out exactly how to spin the story tomorrow. Feldmanites: because you somehow manage to rationalize your actions in your minds, doesn't make it right and good.

Breaking the Law said...

Rabbi Feldman's minyan.

Limited to 80 people due to the Teaneck Fire Code.

Have fun growing your shul.

20-25 families = 40-50 adults + the short ones = 60 already + kids = 80.

You maxed out! Guess what Etz "Geralni Abdalek" Chaim's next problem is going to be?

Anonymous said...

Those various directions coalesced into Rabbi Feldman's minyan.

Seems that Rabbi Feldman is constantly coming up as the center of it all, the proverbial cog around which all revolves. Interesting.

Anonymous said...

as long as we're talking about funding... is it true that FINALLY new incoming president at Anshei Sodom wanted the group to take money from his boss Kushner as he was on his way to jail? Kushner was going to jail for blackmailing his brother in law after setting him up with a hooker. Way to hide money. Maybe it was all the illegal activity at Anshei that led to its "demise".

I'll take Drs. Abdelhak and Guralnik over the people at Anshei Sodom.

Anonymous said...

And frankly, if you don't accept it and move on, that will be your problem, not ours. We have a civil rights organization standing up for our rights, so whatever legal battle you force us into will not cost us anything. And we will win in the end if you fight us, because we have the constitutional right to free exercise of religion on our side. This is not a machination, it's the constitution and a basic human liberty. Fight if you want, but it will cost you money and will not cost us anything, and the law is on our side. We will roll with whatever you send our way and be no worse for the wear.

We are patient, and while we are patient, we will continue to pray. You can accept this and be civil, or you can fight. Your choice.

Anonymous said...

You maxed out! Guess what Etz "Geralni Abdalek" Chaim's next problem is going to be?

It's not a problem. They will just knock down the house next door and build a megastructure to accomodate everyone flocking to the most controversial shul possible in the history of mankind. Don't worry Teaneck, no variances are needed, after all its a "private prayer group."

Anonymous said...

So given that Anshei Sodom services 80 FAMILIES (per their own publicity) and packs them into into a basement, how is that not breaking fire codes. Maybe a call into the fire deptartment is in order.

Anonymous said...

I guess it drives people nuts at Arzei to know that people are coming to us and expressing interest. Rest assured that when we go for the zoning variances, we will build what we need to accomodate the masses coming to support us, many who have been given this advice by other local rabbis who warn to stay way from Arzei!

Anonymous said...

many who have been given this advice by other local rabbis who warn to stay way from Arzei!

Local Rabbis = RCBC = protect the "golden one" at all costs = screw the community who they are supposed to represent. The RCBC should stick to what they know: kashrut.

Anonymous said...

If you can trust their ethics about what is kosher, why can't you trust them to know who is right (kosher) and who is NOT in all of this. Maybe you should get a cheeseburger from Mc Donald's on your way into the city tomorrow morning!

It seems to me that the more controversial group is the one who spits in the face of the members of the RCBC, not the one with their support.

Anonymous said...

The sad fact is as stated before that the rabbis on the Rabinical Council of Bergen County have lost all respect for Ciment because of his words and actions. The RCBC also does not have much respect for Arzei, after they flatly rejected Arzei's letter asking them to prevent our minyan from starting.

Perhaps this loss of respect can be remedied, slowly and over time, if Ciment's followers would just leave us and our minyan in peace. But the more you fight us, the less the RCBC thinks of Ciment and Arzei, and where does that get you? That just hurts yourselves.

As much as you hate us, wisdom, common sense, and self-preservation should tell you to put your hatred to rest, let bygones be bygones, and just give it up and end the attacks.

Anonymous said...

If you can trust their ethics about what is kosher, why can't you trust them to know who is right (kosher) and who is NOT in all of this.

Trusting a kashrut organization is to trust what they say about the food and has no bearing on anything beyond that realm. If someone tells you they keep kosher you are supposed to believe them and feel comfortable eating in their house according to halacha. But practically we don't do this and try find a way to politely decline such an invitation. If the RCBC tells us that EtzChaim is ok, doesn't mean that people shouldn't find ways to decline the "invitation".

Anonymous said...

As was said, if we are attacked, we will take our legal defense as far as we need to, to protect the minyan's right to exist. However, we would much rather not fight and have a civil relationship with our neighbors.

How about it?

Can we all just call a truce and end the fighting?

In the spirit of Elul, with Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur coming, can we just say "Let's be friends, make amends?"

We know there are a few of you bloggers who hate us with a passion, and we surely have little love for you, but can we just let bygones be bygones and agree to stop fighting?

We may not be friends yet, but perhaps someday we can, if we leave things alone now.

Would you agree to this?

What Lola Wants said...

anonymous 8/1 - 7:41 - you said it all. Nothing more needs to be said.

anonymous 8:46 and 8:48 (which by the tone seems to be the same person) - I'm flattered that you think I'm someone else, but after seeing how you guys at the SHUL operate, why would anyone in their right mind post their name when you guys would do anything to destroy anyone who disagrees with you?

By the way you are you and all your buddies "anonymous"? What are YOU so afraid of?

Ok, I've had enough of you whiners. I'll wait until someone posts something intelligent and not irrational rantings.

Anonymous said...

but can we just let bygones be bygones and agree to stop fighting?

Sure, lets be friends. You guys have raped the community, affecting every Jew in Teaneck, but lets be friends anyway. It makes perfect sense for the rape victim to open their arms in friendship to their attacker.

Joseph said...

I live on the other side of town and, quite frankly, had only a very vague understanding that there was some dispute going on between the two shuls. I never imagined there was such hatred involved. But I also never imagined that such hatred and disgraceful talk would be published in a public forum. Other than Anonymous (9/2 12:55 am) who is seeking a peaceful resolution, you should all be ashamed of yourselves, especially at this time of year.

Karin said...

Sorry but what is so special about this time of year other than it is Back to School time?

Anonymous said...

Someone commented earlier about the township attorney also representing the RCBC of which Daniel Feldman is a member. Isn't that a conflict of interest for Stanley Turitz?

Anonymous said...

Other than Anonymous (9/2 12:55 am) who is seeking a peaceful resolution

Joseph, Anon 12:55 am is not trying to make peace. Don't be misled by the impassioned plea for civility. He is only trying to sweep everything under the rug as the group is well known for. I agree that the language and insults are uncalled for (not to mention shocking) but please don't be fooled to think anon 12:55 wants anything more than to move things back under the radar.

Joseph said...

Anonymous 10:46am,

Even if you are right (as I've said, I'm really in the dark about the dispute and the disputants), can't everyone PLEASE take it off this public forum. It is only bringing shame on our community.

What Lola Wants said...

Karin,
When someone talks of "this time of year" in this time frame and when speaking about the Jewish community and synagogues (and terrible behavior) this is what they mean.

The month before Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur(a day of atonment, this year in October) is considered a time of self reflection, doing good deeds and repetentance. To be having this line of conversation and fighting and in some people's eyes bringing shame on the Jewish community is contrary to what should be done this time of year. Kind of like the season of lent. I do like back to school thought. It always makes me think of new beginnings....

esther said...

May I remind everyone that we have no idea how many anonymous mud slingers are out there. For all we know, it could be two people.

Karin said...

Lola-

Ah that is why I did not understand the phrase "this time of year" (I do not folow the jewish calendar)...thank you for the clarification!

Karin said...

" I do like back to school thought. It always makes me think of new beginnings...."

Like the comparison Lola!

Out Of Rightfield said...

I don't worship at any of the synagogues involved, but there's one important point to be made. EVERY synagogue starts as a private prayer group, be it in back of a store, in a hotel room or in a basement. Nobody builds a building and hopes people come. Beth Aaron started off in a house. Go to the websites of some of the oldest synagogues in America and look at their history. Most, if not all, began with a few people praying in a house, a store or a hotel.
Some examples
Rodfei Zedek (Chicago, conservative): By the 1890s the membership of Rodfei Zedek had grown to some fifty families, and the congregation had moved from its storefront location to its own building
Knesset Tiferet Israel
(Port Chester, NY, conservative): On September 19, 1887, the first day of Rosh Hashanah in the year 5648, a group of about 20 Jews joined together in a private home on Pemberwick Road in Greenwich, known then as East Port Chester, to worship as a community.
Kemp Mill Synagogue
(Silver Spring, MD, orthodox): Convening a group of 50 people in his home in mid-1988, Rozmaryn launched a renewed effort to get a synagogue off the ground. Ten investors from the community stepped forward to ensure the purchase of a house to act as a temporary facility.
The point is that every synagogue begins the same way.
And more to the point, being this place does not hold weekday services, there is no increased automobile traffic because the only services are Saturdays and holidays, when no cars can be used.
Anybody complaining about the "prayer group" in the house strikes me as anti-semitic.

Anonymous said...

The way all of you discuss your rabbis and klei kodesh- i.e. your descriptions of them-"idiot" etc., plus discussions of contract renewal is shameful. I've always known Teaneck to be a hot-bed and center for Jewish life, but now that I have had an inside glance i am happy that I need not call it home. These are religious Jews? Slandering their leaders behind the mask of the internet? Says a lot about the community....
"Dan l'kol adam l'kaf zechut"
"Mi Ha'Ish H'chafetz chayim... n'tzor l'shoncha m'rah u'sfatecha m'daber mirma..."

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