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September 26, 2011

Should Chabad Be Allowed To Erect A Sukkah In A NYC Park?

Sukkah Nathan Lewin, a lawyer who has successfully represented Chabad in menorah cases, said government can accommodate religious displays but cannot appear to endorse them, an impression that might be created by a nativity scene stationed inside a government building with no other religious symbols nearby.

Sukkah

Chabad wants to put a 12 ft x 14 ft sukkah in a Tibeca traffic island / tiny park. Community Board 1 will decide Chabad's request tomorrow. But, as the New York Times reports, placing a sukkah in a public space raises "difficult questions":


…Is the sukkah merely a cultural symbol, or is it unmistakably religious in character? Does the government endorse its religious significance by allowing it to occupy a big chunk of a park when symbols of other faiths are not represented?

Despite several Supreme Court rulings, religious displays — whether of crèches, crosses, menorahs or the Ten Commandments — remain a subject of great ambiguity, civil liberties lawyers say.…

Arthur Eisenberg, legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said one widely accepted principle is equality: The government cannot discriminate against groups that seek access to the park, cannot “favor some religions over others” and “cannot privilege nonreligious expression over religious expression.”

Nathan Lewin, a lawyer who has successfully represented Chabad in menorah cases, said government can accommodate religious displays but cannot appear to endorse them, an impression that might be created by a nativity scene stationed inside a government building with no other religious symbols nearby.…

[T]he city has at times indicated that more blatant religious images might stir questions. The Department of Transportation removed a crèche last Christmas from the St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island, drawing protests from some priests and ministers. A department spokesman said the crèche had been removed because a staff member had put it up without authorization, but he also said that menorahs and Christmas trees were “consistent both with traditions at the ferry terminal and also with legal precedent.” Supporters of a crèche said the suggestion was that trees and menorahs were seasonal images and not as blatantly religious as a figure of the baby Jesus.…

Generally, municipalities who allow Christmas trees and menorahs want both displayed near each other both in space and in time.

Holidays like Sukkot or Ramadan pose a problem, because they rarely coincide with each other and never coincide with Christian holidays.

So symbols of these holidays – the Sukkah, for example – stand alone.

Added to this problem of implied endorsement in this case is the tiny size of the park, which will be overwhelmed by the Sukkah.

There isn't an easy answer to these problems.

And then we have a question: Did Chabad back the creche that was removed from St. George Ferry Terminal?

If it did not, it calls into question the legality of its public menorah displays.

If it did, it's backing something that is a form of idol worship according to Chabad theology.

Would Chabad defend the placement of a giant Buddha in in the same traffic island it's sukkah will be in?

What about a Jews for Jesus sukkah? Would Chabad defend that?

These are the real questions the Times should have asked.

Comments

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Sukkah a bit much


what next a a baptist station

Chabad likes to have it both ways. I am an observant Jew and I really hate those menorahs. As this sukkah would, they breach the line between church and state. Let Chabad find a landlord with a big commercial space willing to let them use the plaza area in front of it for their sukkah. Chabad is good at that sort of thing.

Correct me if i'm wrong but I am not aware of any inyan of parsumei nissa by Sukkos.

nat lewin from rubashkin case ?

Chabad sure likes to push the limit. Why don't they just settle for a sukkah-mobile?

A public sukkah??

A sukkah isn't a "symbol" of anything. It's a sukkah. Religious Jews eat in it during sukkot but it's not an object of veneration and they're not performing a public act of worship: they're having their lunch.

Providing space for a sukkah is like providing space for a chapel in an airport, something widely recognised as being within the scope of the First Amendment. I don't have a problem with other religious groups using a public chapel; I wouldn't have a problem with other religious groups using a public sukkah.

A Sukkah can be viewed as a religious accommodation for the local taxpayer. As a necessary requirement, if the Sukkah does not affect the experience of other park visitors, i.e. a designated area in prospect park, and is also not used as a staging place to proselytize, I would feel strongly pro Sukkah. It would also need to be open to anyone curious about our cultural heritage. Think of all the cultural heritage celebrations
and parades we accommodate in our public places like the Saint Patricks
day parade, the Italian San Gennaro festival etc.
G-D bless America for celebrating all of her flavors.

Why does public property have to accommodate all of these religious artifacts? I thought we had churches, synagogues and mosques in these communities to fill that need.

these chabadniks are like dogs who like to leave theire sent all over piss here piss there piss everywhere.

sorry i meant scent everywhere

The is no problem in placing a succah on public land as long as the following conditions are met.

1. The Succah must be kept plain without adornments which are of a religious nature

2. No Chabad propaganda.

3. Non Jews must not be discouraged from eating in the Succah

4. No one (whether Jewish or not) should not be discouraged from bringing non-kosher food into the Succah

5. Women (whether Jewish or not Jewish) should not be discouraged from entering the Succah (however they are dressed) and sitting wherever and with whom they want to.

There is this funny concept called "Separation of Church and State". Perhaps no one has ever payed any attention to it. The answer is : NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

Not sure why this is an issue now. I seem to recall that Chabad has had a sukkah in Union Square Park for quite a few years already.

Sukkah a bit much
what next a a baptist station
Posted by: seymour | September 26, 2011 at 06:43 AM

Yes, that is the Mikvah.

Posted by: Joe in Australia | September 26, 2011 at 07:45 AM

Actually, I would like to see the Jews for Jesuit, start to proselytize right in the public sukkah. If anyone would try to remove them than would it still be considered public accommodation.

Typical frumma disrespect for the law and the Constitution.

Think of all the cultural heritage celebrations
and parades we accommodate in our public places like the Saint Patricks (sic)
day parade, the Italian San Gennaro (sic) festival etc.
G-D bless America for celebrating all of her flavors.
Posted by: BenZvi | September 26, 2011 at 07:46 AM

I didn’t know that having a public sukkak, is like getting drunk at one of the above mentioned the parades.

Posted by: BenZvi | September 26, 2011 at 07:46 AM

thanks,

now I can build a small mosque for the religious accommodation for the local taxpayer in any city park

thanks I am sure you will be supportive

yes they should. that would be tolerance... we all need more tolerance...

Why does public property have to accommodate all of these religious artifacts? I thought we had churches, synagogues and mosques in these communities to fill that need.

Posted by: Dovit | September 26, 2011 at 08:44 AM

I agree that public property is not the place for religious symbols.

As long as Jews protest other religions' displays in public, they will protest ours.

Only if they provide a lulav and esrog for anyone of any race, creed, sex or religion to freely shake.

I would also like a big banner in the Sukkah declaring "I Love NY"

build a sukkeh?
no problem, just don't call it jewish!

these chabadniks are like dogs who like to leave theire sent all over piss here piss there piss everywhere.

Posted by: jancsipista | September 26, 2011 at 08:57 AM

Haha--I just had an image of dogs in black hats and tzitzits doing that.

The issue here is that this is an extension of Chabad's outreach-conversion-replacement program. Chabad is doing as jancsipista suggests - leaving their markings anywhere they can. They disguise idol worship and racial supremacy with a black hat, a pleasant demeanor, and lots of vodka.

hink of all the cultural heritage celebrations
and parades we accommodate in our public places like the Saint Patricks (sic)
day parade, the Italian San Gennaro (sic) festival etc.
G-D bless America for celebrating all of her flavors
-----------
You forgot the Celebrate Israel parade.

I still thinking a Sukkah in a public place is ridiculous. What observant Jew doesn't have one at home? Same with a creche. What Christian doesn't have one on their lawn or under their tree? Why does it have to be in public? What, people can't truly believe in their faith if they can't show it off?

maybe they can build it here and also put up a massive menorah

And yet, for that customer looking for noncity living within the city limits ­­— with no neighbors, no traffic and no noise save the squawking of the birds that nest there ­­— Rat Island, a 2.5 acre outcropping of mussel-littered rock in Long Island Sound off City Island, might just fit the bill.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/27/nyregion/no-traffic-no-noise-on-an-island-off-the-bronx.html

Korbendallas72-
You've succinctly summed them up best. And yes, they are racist against blacks because I have seen and heard two Chabad rabbis making fun of blacks when they are not around at gatherings. I never felt comfortable amongst Chabad but spent a brief time trying to be more tolerant of other MOTs; however, after honestly asking questions and not being satisfied by their answers since I didn't feel it was based on actual Torah, one of them got pissy with me and unvited me from all future events. BUT when they found out that I was single with money, they kissed my butt! I just ignore them now...just like how they do so with some of my friends who are either converts or only Jewish on their dad's side (my friends might not halachically be Jewish, but they are still good people). I see no point in going to any of Chabad's "shiurim" when I'm not allowed to learn/analyze, and if I want vodka I can buy my own.

Chabad is not real Judaism.

Personally I think it's nice when there are creches, succahs, menorahs, and other public displays of religion that reflect the diversity of our city. One of the most moving moments I ever witnessed was a Muslim pushcart vendor pulling out his prayer rug and doing his prayers right in the middle of the sidewalk. I don't like to be bothered by missionaries of any description, but all you have to do is say "no thanks, not interested" and with one Baptist exception that was all it took to shake them off. The Constitution provides for no established religion; it does not demand that atheism be established as the official religion of the US.

A chabad sukkah is clearly NOT a religious symbol. It IS an unabashed fundraising tool!!!

It is interesting to note throughout New York city .Parks/sidewalks/and other public places are being used almost by everyone for selling/card games/religeos/ETC, NOBODY HAS PROBLEM WITH IT .BUT WHEN LUBAVITCH DOES GOOD YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH IT .Think about it ROSH HASHANA IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER.HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR ,MAY HASHEM FORGIVE YOU FOR THE WAY YOU HAVE BEING PICKING ON LUBAVITCH.(I AM NOT a LUBAVITCHER)

Posted by: issey | September 26, 2011 at 12:44 PM

we do i do

but that issue is not relevant to this blog

You can't expect an insular society that doesn't even learn about the Constitution to abide by it or understand it's principles to do much more than scream it's UNconstitutional to imprison Rubashkin. Chabad as an entity is like mass solitary confinement. That's what made Lewin wealthy.

if the sechach if put up before the walls then is just a shack with no conection to jews. And if the sechach is put after the walls then the structure is identical. Any objection raised to having this in a public park is akin to uprooting any public waterfountains that supply kosher tabwater.

Process that.

When has Chabad ever protested against other public displays? In fact, Nat Lewin has defended many other religions in their pursuit of religious rights. Your commentary is totally speculative.

When has Chabad ever protested against other public displays? In fact, Nat Lewin has defended many other religions in their pursuit of religious rights. Your commentary is totally speculative.

Why not, if artists can set up shop all over nyc so should chabad be able to set up a succah for a few days

Also, the comment about "every religious jew has a sukkah" is comical. Not true in general, certainly not true of Manhattan, where most resident do not have an inch of backyard or terrace on which to place a sukkah, and certainly certainly not true of people during the work day (I dont know about you, but my company does not put up a sukkah.) The chabad sukkahs around NY are deeply appreciated by many many Jews who work there.

Holy Crap,

Every time I log on to this site I am amazed at the seething hatred for Jewish religion. It really is true. We are our very worst enemies.

The saddest part isn't that the ones that are perpetrating it aren't even aware. The saddest part are those who tolerate it.

Seymour - Do you need a baptist station to eat?

Bricktop Shwartz - I respect your right to have your own opinion. Just because you are an observant Jew, doesn't mean that you are right. Chabad has their opinion.

Raphael Kaufman - You may be right. I am not aware of it either specifically by Sukkot. There is a concept of offering opportunities for people to do mitzvot. And of hospitality.

Rubahskin - Nat Lewin from Chabad.

Dovit - Read my lips. It's not an artifact. How about we call it a cultural structural monument celebrating the Harvest.

Jancpista - Your comment speaks for itself. Biased racist close-minded simpleton.

Barry - You are entitled to your opinion.

Dave - You don't seem to understand the concept. It is that the state cant promote one religion over the other.

OMG - So its not neccesary to be tolerant of other people's beliefs?

David - Did you read the article? They are waiting for a decision. There is nothing wrong with asking.

Maple Bacon - Second person to openly agree/laugh at the idea of Chabadniks being dogs.

Korbendallas - is the third

Dovit - Observant Jews like to eat lunch outside their home.

Maple Bacon - There are three people on this site that are blatantly against Chabad. Does it make sense to say that all commentators and visitors on this site are against Chabad? It is silly to extrapolate knowledge about an entire group of people from an interaction with a small amount. Rascism is common enough that it is possible they would be Racist even without being Chabad.

Corn Popper - YOu may be right. But if people are paying money to sponsor it then it means that someone is appreciating them!

My opinion, For what its worth, is that If the park is small and the city permits, then they should put up a small sukkah if at all.

Amish Guy-
If Chabads are so pious and are supposed to bring Jews back to our faith, then perhaps they should be more welcoming and less judgmental. They weren't very nice to me, and only warmed up once they found out I had money. I'm speaking about Chabad from MY AREA (southwest USA), however, looks like they are all the same elsewhere (e.g., Melbourne, Australia, and thank G-d I did not move over there).

Oh yeah, and may I add that one of the Chabad rabbis called one of my friends a n*gger during a heated argument, but my friend is an Israeli from Eastern European stock. Ahavat Yisrael....

Amish Guy - Chabad is a quasi-Jewish cult that openly practices racial supremacy, depending upon who's in the room. The racism is so deeply embedded that I'm not sure they even have a concept of what it means. They look for excuses to practice racism, degrade non-Jewish blood like that of dogs, and of course there's Schneerson's famous run-ins with black people.

See, to them there are humans and subhumans. If Chabad is going to label certain classes and types of people as subhuman by birth, then as a subhuman pack of dogs should Chabad be considered.

May Hashem free us of friends who act like enemies, cults that masquerade as sects, and false dead idols, speedily and in our days.

"Oh yeah, and may I add that one of the Chabad rabbis called one of my friends a n*gger during a heated argument, but my friend is an Israeli from Eastern European stock. Ahavat Yisrael...."
- Maple Bacon

Maybe the friend tans well?

Seriously, that rabbi sounds like a complete a--hole, and a racist to boot.

Strelnikov-
LOL--if you saw my friend, he looks like a "typical white guy." Child molesting ranks higher as an unconscionable act, but just like the topic of child molesting, everyone here knows about the racist name calling but no one does or say anything about it. Trust me, I would and have been known to stand up to jackasses, but I'm no longer invited to Chabad functions, because I ask too many questions.

these chabadniks are like dogs who like to leave theire sent all over piss here piss there piss everywhere.

Posted by: jancsipista | September 26, 2011 at 08:57 AM

why is this allowed?

why is this allowed?

Posted by: JJJ | September 26, 2011 at 03:51 PM

Chabadniks do this all the time. In fact, they're much worse.

But I haven't noticed you asking your question when they do it.

Now why is that?

More bullshit from Lewin as he sucks mightily off the chabad teat.

Anyone with half a brain knows that sukka is only a chiyuv taishvu k'ain taduru, so some poor yutz at work in the City can eat wherever he wants because he does not live there.

This is all about the cult using the sukka as a springboard for cultist activities.

My question for SHmarya is that SMR was clear - he would be home for this Roish Hashanna. Given the complexities and time it takes to check someone out of a federal penitentiary, why has this blog not reported on SMR's release as he heads home for this Rosh Hashanna?

jjj

Why is this allowed? Why is jancsipista allowed to write what he wants to write?

Because, unlike some of the haredi, hasidish, fundamentalist Jewish sites, Shmarya has created a zone where anyone is free to express themselves.

That, in fact, is the sole reason your moronic comments are tolerated here.

I, for one, enjoy jancsipista's comments.

Stick around. You might actually learn something here. We practice something unknown in the world of the "Torah-true" black hats. It's called freedom of expression.


why is this allowed?

Posted by: JJJ | September 26, 2011 at 03:51 PM

Chabadniks do this all the time. In fact, they're much worse.

But I haven't noticed you asking your question when they do it.

Now why is that?

Posted by: Shmarya | September 26, 2011 at 03:55 PM

I am not questioning the premise of this site. The shenanigans that go on in the frum community should be brought to the fore so these actions should be stopped.

comparing people to canines and their urine is not civilized talk.

Keep exposing these people but lets do it in a civilized manner.

Because, unlike some of the haredi, hasidish, fundamentalist Jewish sites, Shmarya has created a zone where anyone is free to express themselves

Posted by: Litvish | September 26, 2011 at 04:31 PM

Hareidi Neanderthals are banned for their moronic comments so should Non-Hareidi morons be banned.

Is this a hate site or do we want things to get fixed?

Is this a hate site or do we want things to get fixed?

Posted by: JJJ | September 26, 2011 at 04:43 PM

It is a hate site - for idolatry, sexual abuse, hierarchical privilege, cults, racists, crypto-racists, interlopers, false leaders, and corrupt madmen. Chabad will be stopped, and Shmarya will receive great reward for this site... more than you will for sticking up for your racial supremacist demagogue Schneerson.

NYC has already set a precedent since Midtown Chabad is allowed to build a large sukkah in Bryant Park right behind the NYPL every year and another Chabad group has one in Madison Square Park. So that might make it difficult to prohibit this one. Chabad holds dinners in the Bryant Park sukkah and requires pre-payment for these diners so anyone can't come by and eat there during those times. During the day I believe they let anyone in. But unfortunately a neighbor of mine, an African American man who converted to Judaism before he married an Israeli woman, was made to feel unwelcome when he went to the sukkah in Bryant Park without his wife.

Posted by: Amish Guy | September 26, 2011 at 02:05 PM
You wrote, “OMG - So its (sic) not neccesary (sic) to be tolerant of other people's beliefs?”

Why would you say that, I am very tolerant, I do not care if they put up a Sukkah, and I am so much tolerant, that I would not mind if, Jews for Jesus, show up and proselytize in the Sukkah. Now how is that for a real tolerant person?

They should still be allowed to put up a sukkah anyhow. It's not like anyone would sleep in it anyhow, especially a Chabadnik who forgoes a biblical commandment because of their idol's personal preference.

The Succah will primarily be a platform on which to hang a sign advertising CHABAD, in which to hang a picture of the Ikon of St. Mendel, and with which to recruit new donors, and adherents, if the lost souls demand it. Chabad mishulokhs have learned that it's better to get the money and leave the donor irreligious. With rare exceptions, wealth/donations plummet after the mark becomes religious.

Hareidi Neanderthals are banned for their moronic comments so should Non-Hareidi morons be banned.

Is this a hate site or do we want things to get fixed?

Posted by: JJJ | September 26, 2011 at 04:43 PM

Haredim are banned when they repeatedly lie, or sockpuppet, etc. – not for saying moronic things.

And I think you can see that a lot of very hostile comments about me are posted, but you never spoke up about that.

Is this a hate site or do we want things to get fixed?

Posted by: JJJ | September 26, 2011 at 04:43 PM

It is a hate site - for idolatry, sexual abuse, hierarchical privilege, cults, racists, crypto-racists, interlopers, false leaders, and corrupt madmen. Chabad will be stopped, and Shmarya will receive great reward for this site... more than you will for sticking up for your racial supremacist demagogue Schneerson.

Posted by: Korbendallas72 | September 26, 2011 at 05:28 PM

Who stuck up for "Schneerson"?

Sockpuppeting as applied here is the practice of many frummocks here who post under multiple sobriquets to create the illusion of support for a particular opinion or position.

Interestingly enough the tem is ambiguous as it also refers to the practice of many hard up chareidim who masturbate inside a sock laying around the mikveh and then leave before their act of abuse is discovered.

Posted by: Amish Guy | September 26, 2011 at 02:05 PM

I do not think this is a shukkha for people who cannot eat i think it will be used to do their shtick

if they put it up and just leave it so anybody can walk in and out with no one saying are you Jewish

that would be a different story

anyway one can eat without a sukkha if there is none around it is simply false to say they cannot eat

Posted by: Bfeirush in Fartscroll | September 26, 2011 at 08:49 PM

This one was indeed funny, thanks for the smile.

Shmarya,

And then we have a question: Did Chabad back the creche that was removed from St. George Ferry Terminal?

If it did not, it calls into question the legality of its public menorah displays.

No, it would have nothing to do with legality as Lubavitch is neither part of the legistlative branch of the federal nor state government.

Dave,

There is this funny concept called "Separation of Church and State". Perhaps no one has ever payed any attention to it. The answer is : NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

& David,

Typical frumma disrespect for the law and the Constitution.

What school did you guys go to? "Seperation of Church and State" was a phrase used by Jefferson addressing a religious group and paraphrasing their pastor - it is not written in any law. The constitution only prohibits the involvement of the government in religion, as in to mandate that Jews must or may not sleep in a sukkah on Sukkot, and that's what Jefferson meant in his address (the pastor had expressed concerns of that type of involvement, which had been a problem for his group in the old world). Have either of you ever even read the constitution?

Is this a hate site or do we want things to get fixed?

Posted by: JJJ | September 26, 2011 at 04:43 PM

Haredim are banned when they repeatedly lie, or sockpuppet, etc. – not for saying moronic things.

And I think you can see that a lot of very hostile comments about me are posted, but you never spoke up about that.

Posted by: Shmarya | September 26, 2011 at 07:57 PM

I'll go on record.

Shmarya should not be attacked personally nor should anyone else. Let's debate the issues and not post vile comments about human beings. We should listen to our mothers who taught us to behave like menschen.

they have them in many many parks i saw one in washington square park last week. i believe it is a violation. you would not be able to put a nativity scene or a cross in the park. why do jews get special treatment?

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