Shtetl Briefs

Jun 18, 2024 2:44 PM

Skver Yeshiva of Lakewood. Credit: Shtetl

New Jersey legislators scrapped a bill last week that would’ve helped fund private school tuition, according to NJ Spotlight News.

Championed by the Orthodox Union’s Teach Coalition, the bill would have given tax credits to people who donate money to a scholarship fund that provided tuition assistance to low- and middle-income families whose children attend private schools.

According to Teach Coalition data, nearly 40% of private school students in the state attended Jewish schools as of 2022, mostly in the Haredi enclave of Lakewood.

But the bill faced opposition from groups that feared it would divert resources from already-struggling public schools toward schools that are not obligated to comply with the same laws public schools must follow.

In an open letter to governor Phil Murphy and other state leaders, signed by over 50 organizations, opponents explained their reasoning, citing problems that they say resulted when other states in the U.S. adopted similar legislation.

“New Jersey should not send hundreds of millions of dollars to schools that can openly discriminate based on religion, disability, LGBTQ+ status, and any other student or family characteristic,” the letter said. Among the signatories were the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey and the American Federation of Teachers.

"The private schools that would be funded with taxpayer dollars under this voucher program are not subject to the quality and accountability standards that are legally required in public schools," the letter continued.

New Jersey law requires nonpublic school children to “receive instruction equivalent to that provided in the public schools,” but the state doesn’t currently actively enforce specific standards as New York recently set out to do after complaints from Yeshiva graduates.

In response to the opposition, the bill’s sponsors initially made changes to the bill, including reducing the total amount of tax credits allowed per year from $250 million to $37.5 million.

Still, the bill’s prime sponsors, senator Vin Gopal and assemblymember Lisa Swain — both Democrats — withdrew the bill entirely last week.

“Everyone was opposed to it. It was meant to drive a discussion and a conversation and that wasn’t happening,” Gopal told NJ Spotlight. “Folks felt it was a really slippery slope and I think it’s harmful to have this discussion while there’s any type of legislation out there.”

“This bill sparked an important dialogue on how best to support all students in our state and should only continue when a diverse group of voices are heard and represented at the table,” Swain told the outlet.

Along with the Teach Coalition, another Orthodox organization, Agudath Israel of America, also supported the bill, as did a Lakewood-based organization called United Education of New Jersey that advocates for the government to fund private schools. Neither Teach Coalition, nor Agudah, nor United Education of New Jersey immediately responded to emails requesting comment.

Assembly member Avi Schnall, a Democrat who represents Lakewood and cosponsored the legislation, did not immediately respond to Shtetl’s request for comment.

Read more in Shtetl:
New Jersey bill to help with private school tuition via tax credits and a scholarship fund
What’s in the investigations of 18 Haredi schools found to be providing inadequate secular education
What it takes to attend a Haredi school: 11 rules families must follow in the new school year

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Jun 7, 2024 11:55 AM

New Square Safety Patrol. Credit: Mo Gelber/Shtetl

One long-serving security guard employed as a Shabbos goy in the Hasidic village of New Square recently lost that position when he was found to lack the one crucial qualification: non-Jewishness, according to the Haredi news outlet Monsey Scoop. Despite identifying as Catholic, he was considered Jewish under Jewish law because of his maternal Ukrainian grandmother, the news outlet said. 

Chaverim ad regarding their Shabbos goy. Source: Community Connections

Since Jews are forbidden to do anything that is defined as work on Shabbos and many holidays, they often ask non-Jewish neighbors to help out with tasks like turning on lights or air conditioners. In Haredi neighborhoods like New Square, this informal practice can be a lot more formal, as local organizations, including emergency response organizations such as Hatzalah or Chaverim, hire non-Jews to be available to perform such tasks to members of the community.

This particular man worked in New Square for 15 years, the Monsey Scoop said, before revealing in a casual conversation with a resident that his grandmother was Jewish, prompting a local Jewish rabbinical court to order local activists to conduct an investigation.

The investigation found that even though the sexagenarian insisted he was Catholic, Jewish ancestry ran through his mother’s side of the family, making him legally Jewish according to Orthodox tradition, the Monsey Scoop said. Haredi Jews are forbidden from causing fellow Jews to work on Shabbos.

The roll call of famous Shabbos goyim is surprisingly long – both Louis Armstrong and Elvis Presley were proud of helping their Jewish neighbors out on shabbos. And, from the realm of politics, the list of Shabbos helpers includes former U.S. president Barack Obama, Vice President Al Gore, and former New York governor Mario Cuomo.

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Jun 5, 2024 4:35 PM

Monsey Trails bus

Two girls were flown to hospitals with severe injuries and three others were taken to hospital after a serious bus crash in Passaic, New Jersey, closed East Shore Road for several hours on Tuesday afternoon. The Haredi news outlet Rockland Daily urged readers to pray for the two girls, whom it identified as 14-year-olds “Sara bas Rita” and “Simcha bas Neima.”

According to a press release from the West Milford Police Department, the Monsey Trails bus coming from Brooklyn crashed into a tree, “causing one of the branches to break off and enter the passenger compartment of the bus,” injuring five girls, two of whom were severely hurt.

Rockland Daily reported that the bus was one of three buses traveling from Shaare Torah School in Flatbush, a Sephardic school on Coney Island Avenue, to a boating trip in Orange County, when it struck a tree. A branch came off the tree and broke the bus’s windows. According to CBS News, the two severely hurt girls had to be taken out of the bus using the “jaws of life” hydraulic tool and then flown to receive urgent medical care: one to St. Joseph's University Medical Center in Paterson, the other to Hackensack University Hospital.

One local resident who was present at the scene told CBS how the two girls appeared after the crash. "There was two girls that looked like they had some kind of head trauma,” Anton David said.

The police, local sheriff’s department, and local prosecutor’s office are investigating the crash.

Monsey Trails did not immediately respond to Shtetl’s request for comment.

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Jun 4, 2024 3:30 PM

Linden Mayor Derek Armstead at a Menorah lighting ceremony in 2021. Credit: @CityofLinden/X

The mayor of Linden, New Jersey apologized on Wednesday after being caught on tape saying he wanted to prevent the city from “being taken over by guys with big hats and curls,” NJ.com reported.

“Private remarks can be foolish and offensive,” Linden mayor Derek Armstead told the news site, still claiming his comment “was a far cry from being antisemitic.”

Armstead’s comments came to light because of a whistleblower lawsuit from Paul Oliveira, who was serving as Linden’s assistant school superintendent when he secretly recorded the mayor’s remarks. Oliveira accused Armstead and other school leaders of purposely avoiding hiring Jewish candidates in the schools.

In response, Armstead argued that Hasidic Jews didn’t apply for those positions anyway, and that he was “staunchly committed” to diversity.

At the same time he apologized, Armstead accused Oliveira of attempting to extort $950,000 from Linden taxpayers and students. In a statement, he also questioned “the timing and motivations behind the leak of the recorded conversation, particularly given Armstead’s prominent position in the Democratic congressional primary.”

In response, Oliveira’s attorney, Armen McOmber, said Armstead’s accusations constitute “attempts to deflect attention from his own misconduct by attacking Paul” and that the mayor has “absolutely no business leading any city anywhere.”

Shlomo Schorr, the legislative director for Agudah’s New Jersey office, told Shtetl he was “appalled” by Armstead’s comments. “Describing the Chasidic community by their choice of headdress and hairstyles is offensive, but most concerning was his apparent desire to discriminate against the Orthodox community in hiring decisions,” Schorr said.

“The growth of the Jewish community in Linden and surrounding areas should be celebrated and encouraged, not disparaged behind closed doors,” he said.

About an hour’s drive from Lakewood, Brooklyn, and Monsey, Linden has in recent years become home to a growing Haredi community, including a large Bobov Hasidic community.

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Jun 3, 2024 6:45 PM

Screenshot of ERCSD board meeting

Haredi leaders are at odds with politicians and government officials over a bill that would give the state authority to raise local taxes and expand the school budget for the East Ramapo Central School District, which covers Monsey, New Square, and the nearby area.

The bill – which could be passed as soon as this week – comes after school district voters rejected a budget for the next school year that requested a 1.99% tax levy hike, a choice in keeping with the largely Haredi community’s history of repeatedly rejecting funding for public schools. 

State assemblymember Ken Zebrowski said that even that proposed hike would have been too small. "Even with the 1.99% (tax levy hike) this district was going to run into times when [it] could not meet payroll," Zebrowski, who introduced the new bill, told the Journal News.

The bill — which has the support of the New York State Education Department — would install a fiscal control board that could raise local property taxes, and allow the district to access future state aid sooner. Issues facing the district have long pitted public school students against Haredi taxpayers who send their children to private schools and want public funding to do so.

Zebrowski, a Democrat representing parts of Rockland, says that without extreme measures, "these kids will not have a school to go to."

In a recent press release, Agudath Israel of America, an organization that lobbies the government on issues affecting Haredi communities and advocates for more yeshiva funding, called Zebrowski’s bill “a misguided effort which would completely overturn the will of the voters of the district.”

“This legislative effort is counterproductive and supports those who, instead of looking to craft real solutions, have often reverted to antisemitic tropes and false accusations of racism which only serve to further divide people and do nothing to improve the education of students in the district,” Agudah said.

The Journal News reported that votes against budget proposals have been concentrated in neighborhoods where more children attend yeshivas.

The vast majority of students who go to public school in the district are people of color, and most are English language learners, according to the Journal News. Their voting power is curtailed by the fact that one must be a U.S. citizen to vote in school elections. The school board, which oversees all public funds that go to education in the district, has a majority of Orthodox Jews, even though almost all children from the Haredi communities go to local Jewish private schools.

According to the Journal News, the district has staffing shortages, among the lowest standardized test scores in the state, and inoperable water fountains whose water is tainted with lead. About 14.8% of students there are legally considered homeless

The district spends over 20% of its budget on transportation, as it offers universal busing to its fast-growing body of students, who mostly attend Haredi private schools. State senator Bill Weber and assemblymember Karl Brabenec, both Republicans, have proposed transferring transportation costs from the district to the state in districts where many of the students attend private schools.

Agudah’s proposed solution is for the state to change its formula for how much foundation aid each district gets from the state. “The current formula which bases the aid on the number of public school students, can never suffice when more than three quarters of the district’s students attend yeshivas and other private schools which the district is required to serve,” the press release said.

The community will vote again on June 18 on a budget that would only increase taxes by 1%, the Journal News reported.

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May 31, 2024 2:45 PM

Screenshot of the attempted attack from Shomrim video

The New York City Police Department arrested a man they say made antisemitic remarks while he drove a car toward Hasidic yeshiva students in Brooklyn, the Associated Press and other news outlets reported.

The police charged Asghar Ali, 58, with attempted murder as a hate crime and other charges after video surveillance footage posted by the Flatbush Shomrim showed a white sedan veering off the road and driving on the sidewalk toward the students.

The driver appeared to make multiple attempts to run over students at Mesivta Nachlas Yakov Vien Yeshiva, a school on Glenwood Road in East Flatbush. The students are shown running away. Police said no one was injured.

Ali’s roommate, Abdullah Mustafa, told the New York Daily News that Ali was mentally ill.

“He’s been to hospital many, many times — every eight to ten months,” Mustafa told the Daily News. “He kept a knife under his pillow. He’s afraid someone is out to get him.”

“I’ve never heard him say anything antisemitic,” Mustafa said. He described Ali as a Pakistani immigrant and cab driver.

As of May 21, antisemitic hate crimes were up 55% over this time last year, NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said.

This week police also arrested a 12-year-old suspect on hate crimes charges on Wednesday, in connection with an assault on Hasidic boys in Williamsburg earlier this month, multiple news outlets reported.

In a video of the assault, the boys are seen playing on the sidewalk when another boy who was riding a bike nearby dismounts and proceeds to punch and kick two of the boys before going back on his bike and riding away.

Read more in Shtetl:
Police investigating assault on Hasidic boys in Williamsburg
New Williamsburg public school program seeks to combat antisemitism, other prejudice
What do public school students in NYC learn about Haredi culture?

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May 28, 2024 12:45 PM

Neturei Karta protesters. Credit Wikimedia Commons

Haredi protesters with opposite stances on Israel clashed on Monday night when rival protesters, including young boys, shouted at each other outside a synagogue in Monsey, the Haredi news outlet Yeshiva World News reported.

Yehuda Alon, a farmer and veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces, was scheduled to speak at Bais Medrash Ohr Chaim, also known as Scheiner’s, about the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, according to the Yeshiva World News. The news outlet said that the resulting anti-Zionist protest in turn prompted a large pro-Israel counter-protest.

Videos from the news outlet show the protesters yelling at each other, one person at one point can be heard telling an anti-Zionist protester to “go live with the Palestinians.” The Ramapo Police Department and New York State Police were both present, the Yeshiva World News said.

The Yeshiva World News described the anti-Zionist protesters as being part of the Neturei Karta, a small Monsey-based Haredi group religiously opposed to the existence of any Jewish state of Israel before the arrival of the messiah. 

The group’s public-facing activism puts it at odds with others in the Haredi community, including those that share its anti-Zionist views. In December, a leading Chabad rabbi Y.Y. Jacobson denigrated the group, claiming that its members are not “really Jewish” and calling them “very sick people.” Jacobson later wrote in an email to Shtetl, “I have no real knowledge on this.”

Monday’s clash was only the latest in a series of public disputes in Haredi enclaves since Oct. 7. In early May, Neturei Karta members faced off with pro-Israel Haredim at a town meeting near Lakewood, New Jersey, disagreeing over a billboard that said “Stand with humanity. Stand with Palestine.” 

Within Monsey, Jewish business owners recently blamed anti-Israel Haredim after the Israeli flag outside their business was repeatedly vandalized.

And the Town of Ramapo, where Monsey is located, is fighting back against a lawsuit by a man who identifies as a member of the Satmar Hasidic sect, which is known for its anti or non-Zionist views. The man, Leibish Iliovits, argued that, by displaying the Israeli flag outside its town hall, Ramapo violated his religious liberties. According to a source close to the litigant, Iliovits is also connected to Neturei Karta. Iliovits declined Shtetl’s request for an interview.

In April, the Town of Ramapo responded in court, reaffirming its support for Israel and arguing, among other things, that the Satmar Hasidic sect “comprises a very small percentage of the population of Ramapo.” Considered the largest Hasidic sect in the world, the Satmar community has large bases in Orange County and Brooklyn, and smaller ones elsewhere in the region. 

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May 22, 2024 11:00 AM

Mike Lawler at a COJO event. Credit: Lauren Hakimi/Shtetl

Congressman Mike Lawler, a Republican who represents Rockland County, will receive an honorary doctorate degree from the Orthodox Jewish-affiliated Touro University, and be the commencement speaker at its upcoming graduation, according to a press release from the university. 

The press release praised Lawler’s stances on education and Israel. “A champion of school choice, he has publicly defended and protected Jewish education on both the state and national levels,” it said. “He has also fought against antisemitism and the BDS movement and is an outspoken supporter of Israel.”

“In the wake of the anti-Israel demonstrations at colleges and universities across the nation, Lawler has shown that the safety of Jewish students is of paramount concern,” Touro president Alan Kadish said in the press release.

In 2023, Lawler aimed to add a non-binding resolution to a bill in Congress saying “local educational agencies do not have the authority to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum” at private schools, Hamodia reported

“In New York,” Lawler said at the time, “this is of great concern, as the current governor and her administration have attempted to impose severe restrictions on private schools.” Lawler’s resolution came months after the New York State Education Department passed regulations outlining requirements for private schools, after reports showed that many Hasidic boys’ schools offered little to no education in math, science, English, or social studies.

More recently, Lawler introduced the Antisemitism Awareness Act, which passed the House of Representatives earlier this month. If signed into law, the bill would instruct the U.S. Department of Education to use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism when investigating allegations of anti-Jewish discrimination on college campuses. Among many other things, the IHRA definition considers it antisemitic to “[deny] the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”

Touro University, the alma mater of notable graduates such as Judge Ruchie Freier and City Councilmember Kalman Yeger, has multiple branches and programs that cater to Haredi students, including helping students earn GEDs in order to enroll in college degree programs. The congress member will speak at the commencement address for Touro’s Lander colleges for men and women on June 2 at Manhattan’s Lincoln Center.

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May 20, 2024 12:15 PM

Eisdorfer (left) with NYC Mayor Eric Adams. Credit: Lauren Hakimi/Shtetl

Joel Eisdorfer, a Hasidic senior adviser to New York City Mayor Eric Adams and his liaison to Jewish communities, is reportedly eyeing a lobbying job after announcing on Thursday that he would step down from his role at City Hall, the New York Daily News reported.

Frank Carone, Adams’s former chief of staff and the founder of the lobbying firm Oaktree Solutions, told the Daily News that he was in talks with Eisdorfer and another Adams official, Kevin Kim, about potentially working at Oaktree.

“Anyone would be lucky to have either or both as they both have character, work ethic and loyalty,” Carone told the news outlet.

John Kaehny, executive director of the government watchdog group Reinvent Albany, told the Daily News it’s an ethical concern when government officials switch to working as lobbyists.

“What they’re doing is cashing in on their access to the mayor and City Hall,” Kaehny said. The Daily News said Oaktree is currently lobbying city agencies other than the mayor’s office on behalf of real estate and hospitality interests.

Eisdorfer and Kim did not respond to the Daily News’s request for comment, but Adams spokesperson Fabien Levy said the two will do “whatever is best for them and their families” and they will continue to support the mayor “in other ways.”

According to the Forward, which first announced Eisdorfer’s departure, he is leaving City Hall to improve work-life balance.

Eisdorfer told the Forward he would volunteer on Adams’s reelection campaign and continue to chair the mayor’s Jewish advisory council

While at the mayor’s office, Eisdorfer has also arranged briefings and other meetings for Jewish leaders. He is often seen at events in which the mayor meets with Haredi leaders, such as a recent celebration of the establishment of a Bobov Hasidic boys’ yeshiva, during which Adams reaffirmed his support for Hasidic schools dictating their own curricula, according to Hamodia.

“Joel has been an empathetic public servant during one of the most trying times for Jewish New Yorkers,” Adams wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “He's reached across communities to make them feel heard and seen. I'll miss him day to day, but I'm happy he'll keep working with us in new ways.”

Fellow high ranking Orthodox official, Richie Taylor, a deputy chief at the New York City Police Department, also praised Eisdorfer’s work for the mayor. "Joel is a consummate professional who has brought tremendous positivity to government and to all communities in New York City,” Taylor wrote. “I look forward to continuing working with Joel in his role as Chair of the Mayor’s Jewish Advisory Council and I know that the best is yet to come!”

Before working for the mayor’s office, Eisdorfer ran his own lobbying firm, the Daily News said. He has also served as a board member for the Borough Park Jewish Community Council and a member of Brooklyn Community Board 12, which includes Borough Park, according to Hamodia. Eisdorfer previously worked for the now-mayor during Adams’ time as state senator and Brooklyn borough president.

In March, Eisdorfer was the target of a lawsuit that claimed he failed to pay the broker’s fee after signing a contract to buy a restaurant in South Brooklyn. Eisdorfer’s attorney argued, among other things, that that contract was not fully executed by both parties.

He was recently added to a list of city employees with “substantial” influence over public policy, a list that includes employees who have “major responsibilities and [exercise] independent judgment in connection with determining important agency matters,” according to the city’s Conflict of Interest Board.

When Eisdorfer leaves the mayor’s office, his current duties will be shared among his remaining coworkers, the Forward said.

This article was edited to include comments by Richie Taylor.

Read more in Shtetl:
Mayor Adams Jewish liaison Joel Eisdorfer sued over failed business deal
Two more reps of Orthodox organizations will join Mayor’s Jewish Advisory Council
‘Where’s our presence in the streets?’ Mayor Adams tells yeshiva leaders to get outraged

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May 17, 2024 3:00 PM

NYPD vehicle. Credit: iStockPhoto/ Alena Kravchenko

The New York City Police Department’s hate crimes unit is investigating an attack on Hasidic boys in Williamsburg that took place at 8:35 p.m. on Sunday night, after security camera footage of the attack was posted on X, formerly Twitter, according to the New York Jewish Week.

In the video, a small group of Hasidic boys appear to be playing on the sidewalk when a man slowly dismounts from a Citi Bike, approaches the boys, and runs up to one of them and punches him, knocking him down. The man then appears to push another boy to the ground, stomp on him, and kick him repeatedly before returning to his Citibike and riding away. The video was posted by Williamsburg365, an account that posts news about that neighborhood’s Hasidic community.

Police told CBS News that the two boys, ages 11 and 13, were taken to a local hospital with head injuries but are expected to be OK.

"It's just absolutely awful. I cannot believe that somebody would attack children," City Councilmember Lincoln Restler, who represents the area, told CBS. "I am hopeful and confident they will identify this person and hold him accountable."  

“We are very alarmed by this assault,” wrote the Anti-Defamation League, which combats antisemitism, on X.

According to the New York Jewish Week, 285 antisemitic incidents have been reported to the NYPD since October.

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May 9, 2024 2:10 PM

Haredi couple. Credit: Alex Eidelman/iStockPhoto

Yeshiva principals in Lakewood, New Jersey are proposing changes that they hope will ease the “shidduch crisis,” a phenomenon in some parts of the Haredi community in which women struggle to find husbands because of certain features of the dating and marriage system.

It’s unclear exactly why the so-called “crisis” exists, but it may be partly attributable to the fact that women usually date men who are several years older, whose education takes longer. In some parts of the community, men are not allowed to date while studying in post-high school Yeshivas, which contributes to the age gap. According to recent articles in the Yeshiva World News and Matzav, Lakewood principals plan to address the crisis by adjusting the ages at which young men and women are allowed to begin dating.

At a meeting on Tuesday, the principals unanimously agreed to modify dating rules so that women will soon need to delay the age at which they begin to date by one year, as opposed to starting to date shortly after graduating from seminary.

Meanwhile, men will start dating earlier. The logic goes that by beginning their studies in Israel sooner and graduating sooner, they will also begin dating sooner, and be closer in each to their female counterparts. 

The YWN said the implementation date for the new rules is yet to be determined.

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Apr 25, 2024 2:25 PM

NY Attorney General Letitia James at an ADL summit. Credit: Shtetl

The office of New York Attorney General Letitia James sent a letter last week asking the supervisor of the Sullivan County town of Forestburgh to change a recently imposed zoning ordinance that might illegally discriminate against a Hasidic Jewish development, while also warning that the process that led to the law’s adoption might have violated government transparency rules.

The zoning ordinance, Local Law 3, created requirements for religious institutions that are stricter than the requirements for buildings used for secular purposes, wrote Jill Faber, the Chief Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs. The letter cites the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, a federal law that, among other things, prohibits zoning laws that discriminate against religious institutions.

“Local Law 3 appears to violate state and federal law by discriminating against religious uses,” Faber wrote. “And the adoption of Local Law 3 raises concerns about Forestburgh’s compliance with the Open Meetings Law.”

The letter comes amid a yearslong legal battle over Lost Lake Resort, a proposed development that seeks to house 2,600 homes in Forestburgh, a town near the Catskills, in an area where there is a growing year-round Haredi community. The Hasidic owners who bought the land in 2020 have sued the town twice, arguing in both cases — with support from the Haredi organization Agudath Israel of America — that it made changes purposely designed to keep Hasidim out. The lawsuits are both ongoing.

Dan Hogue, the town supervisor, to whom the letter was addressed, told the Albany Times-Union he believed the zoning law was not discriminatory. He said Lost Lake Resort has been the subject of 13 lawsuits, “nine of which have been judged in the town’s favor.”

“The zoning does not specifically call out any race, religion or anybody,” Hogue told the outlet. “To call it that (discriminatory) it just reeks of political undertones given the current lawsuits brought on by this developer. ... I believe it’s just politically motivated by a developer.”

The Attorney General’s letter also warned Hogue that, before the ordinance was passed, a copy of it should have been made available to the public at least 24 hours before town leaders discussed it.

“We request that you promptly review Local Law 3 make any amendments needed to

comport with state and federal law,” Faber wrote. “We further ask that you provide our office with any proposed amendments resulting from your review before their enactment.”

Matis Rutner, also known as Abe Rutner, a leader at the Sullivan County Jewish Community Council, told Hamodia he was happy to see the letter. 

“We are glad that the New York State AG has looked into the what has transpired in the town of Forestburgh,” Rutner said. “Together with the Justice Department, who has written to the judge concerning the Lost Lake law suit, we expect the township to conduct themselves in compliance with the law and treat us without any discrimination.”

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