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Westhampton Beach on Long Island is the summer home of East Coast Bluebirds and rich celebrities from all over. There are a few things that aren’t welcome, people who, when described, only have fewer than three “verys” before the word Rich; people who aren’t rich at all, and observant Jews of ANY income.

At issue here is the fact that Observant Jews in the Westhampton Beach want to build an Eruv. An Eruv is basically a symbolic fence around a community, that allow an observant Jew to do things in the entire community on the Sabbath or holiday, that they would normally be prohibited outside their own property. I said symbolic fence because in actuality it is an unbroken wire that usually runs on high up on a pole. See the picture on the left.

A few months ago the Rabbi of the Hampton’s Synagogue requested permission to build an Eruv in part of the three-square mile-sized community. Thats when the anti-Semitic email campaign started:

“allow the Jewish people to pass through people’s property on their way to temple. … It is the beginning of a ‘push’ by the rabbi to create another Tenafly or Lawrence [both have large concentrations of Orthodox Jews].

“natural outcome of a designated area would alter the real estate complexion and property values within the area. … What is to stop the Orthodox from demanding that Christians,within the eruv, not put up say Christmas ornamentation on their properties within the eruv?”

“people would not be able to drive cars in the eruv … and that [Jews] don’t like to walk on sidewalks within the eruv because of the cracks in the sidewalk,”

and my personal favorite:

The village mayor, Conrad Teller, said all of the complaints “boil down to [the claim] that it would make the area too Jewish.”

And that is the is the only complaint that is true. These Blue-blooded fat cats are afraid that their town will become “too Jewish.” This is not a new phenomenon:

Rabbi Marc Schneier, spiritual leader of the 500-family congregation. said that in the 18 years since the congregation was founded, after what the rabbi described as a “nasty, ugly battle” with village officials who tried to stop it, there has “been a growing traditional element in the synagogue and a growing number of young families.”

The Synagogue temporarily withdrew their application so they could do some some community outreach, but if you ask me it is more likely that a sit down with the Iranian President would bring progress. It is incredible that one community could be so biased in this day and age.

For the full story Click here for Stewart Ain’s Report in the NY Jewish Week

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