Tag Archives: Chabad

Word of caution to Stamford Hill community – Learn from the Lakewood experience

With members of the London Stamford Hill Charedi community being priced out of the area, some are now trying to snap up houses on Canvey Island, Essex.

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The site of the former Castle View School on the Island will be transformed into a private Jewish school, Essex County Council has confirmed.

The Charedi community, is understood to have paid £1.75million for the former school building, which closed five years ago, and its attached playing fields.

Residents living around the site have started to experience members of the community knocking on their doors offering to pay above the market price for their houses, despite them not being up for sale.

AntiSemitismWatch has already taken the step of sending messages into the Stamford Hill community in an attempt that the experiences of the Orthodox Jewish community in Lakewood, USA are considered in how the Canvey Island experiment is proceeded with.

2016-05-13-09-36-17--1070305669Toms River, a neighbouring community to Lakewood, took the step of implementing a law aimed at putting an end to what many of its residents and leaders labeled overly aggressive tactics by realtors.

Some observers suggested the measure was part of a campaign to block an increasing migration by members of the Lakewood community.

The other Toms River 'welcome' sign
The other Toms River ‘welcome’ sign

Tensions also simmered over comments made by Toms River Mayor, Thomas Kelaher. In an interview with Bloomberg News Service regarding the recent influx and his town’s reaction to it, Kelaher was quoted as saying, “It’s like an invasion. It’s the old throwback to the 1960s, when blockbusting happened in Philadelphia and Chicago with the African-American community — ‘I want to buy your house. You’ll be sorry if you don’t [sell it to me].”

In the wake of its publication, Lakewood Mayor Menashe Miller penned an open letter expressing deep offense over the use of the term “invasion,” which he said implied a takeover by a malicious group, and demanded an apology.

The intervention of AntiSemitismWatch comes after Joel Friedman, who works for the Interlink Foundation, a charity representing the community, confirmed half-a-dozen families have already bought houses on the Essex island.

One islander living near the proposed school site, who did not want to be named, told The Echo her family received a visit on Sunday afternoon from a groups of people interested in buying their home.

She said: “I was quite surprised really as they just started asking about house prices in the area, and whether we would be willing to sell ours.

“They were very polite, but it was just a bit random really. I’ve seen them knock on quite a few houses in our area over the past couple of weeks.

“I don’t think we’re ready to sell just yet, but I think it’s interesting they are so keen to move here.”

Dave Blackwell, leader of the Canvey Independent Party, said he is pleased the former Castle View site is becoming a school instead of housing.

He said: “From what I am hearing quite a few houses have already been bought and they are looking to create a large community here.

“I think it’s a good thing and particularly as the rest of that school site will actually get used and it won’t become housing as set out in the local plan.

“I have to say, I am not sure why Canvey has been chosen, as it’s not the easiest place to reach.”

The former Castle View site had originally been earmarked for 50 new homes, but developers pulled out of the school due to flood concerns.

The situation in Toms River has led representatives of the Chabad Jewish Center to file a law suit in federal court against Toms River and its Zoning Board of Adjustment. The legal move came after a refusal to allow small weekly prayer services in Rabbi Moshe Gourarie’s Toms River home.

The refusal was alleged to be a civil rights violation spurred by, “A rising tide of anti-Semitism among the Toms River government and population, fearful that the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community located in adjacent Lakewood Township will extend into Toms River,” the complaint suggested.

Thomas-KelaherIt also cited the statement by Mayor Kelaher and an antiSemitic act whereby the words “Burn the Jews” were carved into playground equipment at the nearby Riverwood Park.

The complaint further cited a number of statements made in various places on social media “regarding the Chabad and ultra-Orthodox Jews describing them as “cockroaches,” “trash,” a “cult,” “he-brews and she-brews,” a “Jewish conspiracy,” “disgusting phonies,” a “joo school,” “damn jews,” “dirty,” and a “disease.”

AntiSemitismWatch comment:

“Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.”

 

Russian protesters call for ban on Chabad movement – anti-Semitism at play?

Demonstrators protesting the allocation of land to the Jewish community in the Russian city of Perm have demanded the outlawing of the Chabad movement. The rationale behind the protest is exceptionally questionable with distinct anti-Semitic elements.
On Saturday, the protesters showed up with signs reading “Chabad out” and “liberate us Russians from Chabad.” One protester held a placard that read “Chabad settlement is over the line: 1547,” an apparent reference to  the decision that year by Ivan the Terrible, a grand prince of Moscow, to ban Jews from entering or living in his kingdom because they “bring about great evil.”
More than 100 people attended the rally near the area that municipal authorities in Perm, which is located 870 miles east of Moscow, designated for transfer without charge to the local Jewish community that is headed by a Chabad rabbi.
They additionally sang a song titled “Holy War,” a patriotic nationalist tune widely identified with Russia’s fight against Nazi Germany.
Unrest around the Jewish community of Perm has been brewing for years amid accusations made in 2013 that the local Jewish community made unauthorized use of a local theatre. That same year anti-Semites tried to set fire to the local synagogue. No-one has ever been brought to justice for the crime.

Yet participants insisted they are protesting against Chabad specifically and not against Jews in general, the Russian news site Ura reported.

Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar and Russian President Vladimir Putin
Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar and Russian President Vladimir Putin

However, Boruch Gorin, a senior Chabad figure and aide to one of Russia’s two Chief Rabbis, Berel Lazar, said the 2013 campaign against Chabad in Perm was a thin disguise for anti-Semitism.

In Russia, Chabad is the largest Jewish movement with a presence in over 100 cities.

Separately, Putin on Tuesday said that “Russian Jewish organizations are making a substantial contribution in the cause of domestic political stability in Russia, for which we are very grateful” during a meeting in Moscow with Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress.

Toms River / Lakewood situation takes new twist

Toms River, New Jersey – Readers may already be familiar with the news that Toms River has implemented a law aimed at putting an end to what many of its residents and leaders labeled overly aggressive tactics by realtors. Some observers suggest the measure is part of a campaign to block an increasing migration by members of the neighboring Orthodox community of Lakewood. Against this backdrop, tensions have simmered over comments made by Toms River Mayor Thomas Kelaher.Thomas Kelaher

In an interview with Bloomberg News Service regarding the recent influx and his town’s reaction to it, Kelaher was quoted as saying, “It’s like an invasion. It’s the old throwback to the 1960s, when blockbusting happened in Philadelphia and Chicago with the African-American community — ‘I want to buy your house. You’ll be sorry if you don’t [sell it to me].”

In the wake of its publication, Lakewood Mayor Menashe Miller penned an open letter expressing deep offense over the use of the term “invasion,” which he said implied a takeover by a malicious group, and demanded an apology.

Now in the latest twist, representatives of the Chabad Jewish Center filed suit Tuesday in federal court against Toms River and its Zoning Board of Adjustment alleging its refusal to allow small weekly prayer services in Rabbi Moshe Gourarie’s home is a civil rights violation spurred by a “rising tide of anti-Semitism” in the community.

The lawsuit, which was filed in federal district court, asks the court to overturn the December decision of the zoning board rejecting the Chabad’s request for an interpretation that its activities were permitted and that Gourarie did not need a use variance to continue them.

The lawsuit, filed by Roman Storzer of Storzer & Greene of New York, in conjunction with Christopher Costa of Kenny Chase & Costa, accuses Toms River officials of violations of the First Amendment guarantee of free exercise of religion and the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law. It also alleges violations of the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”) and the Fair Housing Act.

More than 1,200 residents attended the board’s hearing on the Chabad’s application, which had to be moved to accommodate everyone who wanted to attend.

“These recent actions to shut down the Chabad took place during a rising tide of anti-Semitism among the Toms River government and population, fearful that the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community located in adjacent Lakewood Township will extend into Toms River,” the complaint says.

It cites the statement by Mayor Thomas Kelaher and the recent carving of the words “Burn the Jews” into playground equipment at Riverwood Park.

Kelaher, at a press conference last week, said the comments were simply a recitation of sworn testimony given when the township was considering implementing that ban, which took effect last Friday, March 18. He and others emphasized the conflicts were of a legal nature, not religious.

But the complaint also cites a number of statements made in various places on social media “regarding the Chabad and ultra-Orthodox Jews describing them as “cockroaches,” “trash,” a “cult,” “he-brews and she-brews,” a “Jewish conspiracy,” “disgusting phonies,” a “joo school,” “damn jews,” “dirty,” and a “disease.”

The result, the complaint says, was a collaborative effort between Toms River officials and residents with respect to various efforts to prevent ultra-Orthodox Jews from adjacent Lakewood Township from moving into Toms River.

“This cancerous movement targeting a specific religious minority has spread into Toms River,” Storzer said. “The use of local ordinances and land use regulation to build a wall around Lakewood should not be tolerated.”

Rabbi Moshe Zev Weisberg, a prominent Lakewood askan, said that, based on his experience with Kehaler in the past, he did not believe that his statement, nor other actions aimed at limiting Jewish buyers in the community, was motivated by anti-Semitism, but by “populism.”

“He’s pandering to what he thinks will work well for him politically,” he said.

“What’s the invasion? It’s a town, people are buying and selling,” said Rabbi Avi Schnall of Agudath Israel’s New Jersey division.

He said that aside from the comments themselves, the mayor’s encouragement of “Toms River Strong,” a grassroots movement discouraging residents from putting their homes on the market despite rising values, was “troubling.”

“Toms River Strong is being encouraged from the top; he’s giving them a platform,” said Rabbi Schnall. “He called a town meeting about this, not about crime or any other problems. This shows where his priorities are.”

Read more here.

 

 

Moscow Limmud examines Antisemitism

MOSCOW – Hundreds of Jews from around the world flocked to Moscow this weekend for the Limmud Jewish learning conference, making it the second-largest event of its kind.

The three-day gig, which drew 1,500 participants to a resort just outside the Russian capital, was the largest Limmud event ever held outside Britain, Limmud International said in a statement.

Chaim Chesler, founder and chair of Limmud FSU, hailed the event as a “big success,” saying it was part of efforts to “raise awareness” to acampaign against anti-Semitism in Europe, spearheaded by the European Jewish Association and The Jerusalem Post.

The online campaign inspired by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge calls on gentiles on the continent to don kippot and other Jewish items and film themselves walking down the street to show their opposition to rising anti-Semitism. The European Jewish organization has produced a series of videos in which young Jews, as well as key Jewish figures, urge both Jews and non-Jews to challenge five friends to post their videos on social media.

A third of participants this year were first-timers, according to Alexander Piatigorsky, co-founder of the first Moscow event in 2006 and senior executive at one of Russia’s largest cellular providers.

Among the speakers were Alexander Boroda, a senior Chabad rabbi, and Andrey Makarevich, a rock star.

“I came to Limmud FSU this year for the first time after a Jewish friend of mine, who is more religious than me, told me it has great content that broadens your horizons,” said Dennis Sher, who also volunteered at the event, which ended Sunday.

Read more here.