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Nov 16, 2010 5:18 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Quogue Village Hires Attorneys Over Eruv

Nov 16, 2010 5:18 PM

The Quogue Village Board on Friday agreed to spend up to $20,000 on private attorneys, asking them to investigate whether or not a non-profit interested in creating a symbolic Jewish religious boundary can legally do so without securing village approval.

The Village Board’s decision to hire Manhattan attorney Marci A. Hamilton, at a special meeting on Friday, comes little more than a week after the Westhampton Beach Village Board hired Riverhead attorney Anthony Tohill to represent them in the same dispute over the boundary, more commonly known as an eruv. The decision also comes less than a month after a lawyer representing Verzion informed Quogue Village that attorneys representing the East End Eruv Association, the group seeking the religious boundary, does not think they need village approval to create the eruv.

On Friday, Quogue Village trustees said they asked Ms. Hamilton to respond to inquiries from Verizon over the symbolic religious boundary that, if created, would encompass all of Westhampton Beach Village and Quiogue, and include parts of Quogue Village and the hamlet of Westhampton. Specifically, Quogue trustees want Ms. Hamilton to craft a letter asking Verizon whether or not the affixing of markers, known as “lechis,” to utility poles throughout the municipality can be allowed if they violate village code.

In September, Quogue Village received a query from Verizon after the East End Eruv Association secured tentative permission from the utility company, as well as the Long Island Power Authority, to attach the lechis to utility poles in the village. These markings are needed to designate the boundaries of the eruv. Within this religious boundary, Orthodox Jews can carry and push certain objects, activities usually prohibited outside, on the Sabbath.

Quogue Mayor Peter Sartorius said Ms. Hamilton, who is the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in Manhattan, was selected by his board to respond because of her familiarity with religious issues. She was previously hired by the Alliance for the Separation of Church and State for the Greater Westhampton Area, a group opposed to the 2008 eruv application filed by the Hampton Synagogue with Westhampton Beach Village and later withdrawn. The leaders of the East End Eruv Association have said that their application is not related to the Sunset Avenue synagogue’s 2008 request for an eruv.

Mr. Sartorius said Ms. Hamilton would respond to Verizon’s letter no later than Monday, November 22.

In addition to tapping Ms. Hamilton, Quogue Village will also be hiring the law firm Esseks, Hefter & Angel, LLP, which has offices in Riverhead and Water Mill, to assist Ms. Hamilton if the East End Eruv Association sues the village over the eruv.

“With something like this, you want to get a legal team,” said Mr. Sartorius, adding that the board has not yet reached a decision on the proposed eruv. “We have our counsel.”

After stating on Friday that he wants to keep the cost of hiring outside counsel “down to a dull roar,” Mr. Sartorius motioned for the board to transfer $20,000 to pay the village’s potential legal fees over the eruv. The resolution was approved by Mr. Sartorius and fellow board members Kimberley Payne and Jeanette Obser. Board members Randy Cardo and Ted Necarsulmer were not present at the meeting.

On Friday, Mr. Sartorius said he could not speculate on how Ms. Hamilton would word the village’s response letter to Verizon. He did note, however, that he had written the company in early September, stating that it would be illegal for any organization to affix markers to the village’s utility and telephone poles without board approval.

In that letter, Mr. Sartorius wrote that Chapter 158 of the Quogue Village code “prohibits any encroachments or projections in any public right of way. Thus, any attachment of a non-utility device to any utility pole located in the right of way would be prohibited,” he wrote.

In a letter dated October 26, William J. Balcerski, assistant general counsel for Verizon, told the mayor that the company had received a letter from an attorney representing the East End Eruv Association, indicating that village permission was not needed to attach the markers to utility poles in Quogue. The group’s lawyers also told Verizon that attaching lechis to existing utility poles does not qualify as an “encroachment,” as defined under village code, according to the same letter.

Marvin Tenzer of Westhampton Beach, the president of the East End Eruv Association, did not return calls this week regarding Quogue Village’s decision to hire counsel. In a previous interview, Mr. Tenzer said his non-profit would not seek permission from either Westhampton Beach or Quogue villages to create the eruv, and is asking only that they not break civil rights laws by opposing the boundary’s establishment.

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where is davidsline?
By Hambone (505), New York on Nov 17, 10 9:49 PM
HIDING UNDER A ROCK
By oldguy (60), hamptons on Nov 23, 10 4:11 PM
Quiche is spending $20000 of tax payer dollars to fight something that will have no impact on anyone outside of those who choose to observe the eruv. Disgusting
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Nov 17, 10 10:13 PM
If no one knows...why don't you go put your stickers up when no one is watching????
Why make it an issue?
By 11968shlocal (22), southampton on Nov 18, 10 11:53 PM
iPod changed Quogue to quiche
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Nov 17, 10 10:14 PM
that's funny razza5351!

Scoreboard: Attorneys -1 Little People-0

why do all of these articles refer to "carrying or pushing something"? why be vague? what exactly are the orthodox jews looking to do. perhaps the interpretation of the rules are a little outdated?
By ghostofxmaspast (32), North Haven on Nov 18, 10 8:28 AM
1 member liked this comment
The Quogue Trustees are getting their hooded white suits laundered and pressed for their next meeting at the "Field Club"

By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Nov 18, 10 3:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
BIGjimbo12 why would you make this inflammatory? You are sick! People can voice their opinions without you calling them kkk or natzi? What kind of sick bastard are you?
Why can't people question this and the intentions without being judged? It shows where this is going and why
By 11968shlocal (22), southampton on Nov 18, 10 9:36 PM
apologies to BIGjimbo...I think I mis-interpreted your comment..sarcasm...
I agree with you..
By 11968shlocal (22), southampton on Nov 19, 10 12:01 AM
Right, it shows where this is going!!!!!
By davidsline (70), new york on Nov 18, 10 11:39 PM
The whole idea is insane!
No! to any marker visible or invisible.
Division of church and state.
By 11968shlocal (22), southampton on Nov 18, 10 11:49 PM
If this is so invisible, you guys...pick a night..we won't look...
put up your markers..
If we don't notice, we don't notice....
If you want to accompany it with a legal document...it will never happen
By 11968shlocal (22), southampton on Nov 19, 10 12:04 AM
Whooo hooo 7 people posted before you weighed in. Now high hat and I have a bet on how long it takes for you to call someone a "bigot". C'mon Davidsline...make me a winner!!!
By Hambone (505), New York on Nov 19, 10 2:14 PM
Nobody needs your legal documents.
By davidsline (70), new york on Nov 19, 10 4:27 PM
Thats right there is a division of church and state.
By davidsline (70), new york on Nov 19, 10 4:28 PM
There have been times and places where it was very good advice from religious scholars to encourage their followers to live in walled communities. Today orthodox Jewish scholars say these walls can be symbolic. Hopefully tomorrow they will say they are not needed. All of this worrying about Eruvs is a sad distraction from God's true message.
By METCOMedia (116), Hampton Bays on Nov 19, 10 3:41 AM
Another expert on Jewish law.
By davidsline (70), new york on Nov 19, 10 4:27 PM
No, I really don't understand it and am finding it very difficult to understand. Is there a large group of Orthodox Jews living in the area within the borders of the proposed Eruv, or is there a desire to grow an Orthodox community, or is it a combination of the two?
By METCOMedia (116), Hampton Bays on Nov 19, 10 5:51 PM
METCO may not be an expert on Jewish law. However, he doesn't need to be to have common sense.
Davidsline, would you go to bat for another faith with equal fervor?
By double standard (1506), quogue on Nov 20, 10 4:17 PM
No, you did claim to understand the history of eruvin. You accused the rabbis of changing the laws to suit their needs when in fact the opposite is true. Eruvin, as is being used here, is rabbinical in nature, and it was the rabbis who proscribed and it was they who permitted carrying with an eruv. If you truly were interested, you would have done more research. In any case, it is irrelevant and is not anyone’s concern what the source of the prohibition is. I think many Jewish people arguing ...more
By davidsline (70), new york on Nov 20, 10 10:03 PM
No, this has nothing to do with common sense. He claimed to know the history of eruvin, and he simply does not know what he is talking about.

For your information, I do advocate for other religions (with common sense). I find that while most bigots reserve special hated for Jews, they usually are equal opportunity haters. In any case, this is irrelevant.
By davidsline (70), new york on Nov 20, 10 10:04 PM
I think people tend to fear change, especially when it may have an impact on the neighborhood where they live. Do Orthodox Jews have customs that may conflict with those of Christians? Does a community within an Eruv change? I would suggest those who wan't an Eruv need to do a better job of educating the public. People do fear what they don't understand. If Christians said they wanted to put a symbolic boundary around your neighborhood, wouldn't you have concerns? Would that make you a bigot?
By METCOMedia (116), Hampton Bays on Nov 20, 10 11:22 PM
I don’t buy this. People are simply not interested in the truth. I have said many things on this board, and it goes in one ear and out the other. People want to believe what their preconceived prejudices are and are not interested in becoming educated.

As to your questions, nothing changes when an eruv is established. An eruv does not conflict with any other religions at all. If Christens wanted to establish a boundary with approximately the same ramifications on the community, I ...more
By davidsline (70), new york on Nov 21, 10 1:06 PM
I knew you'd go the bigot route, it was just a matter of when!

Now what did I win?
By Hambone (505), New York on Nov 21, 10 11:28 PM
YOUR NOT. YOU ARE JUST A BIGOT AS YOU CALL EVERYONE ELSE
By oldguy (60), hamptons on Nov 23, 10 4:13 PM
Another issue raised by this article is Verizons ownership of telephone polls on the public right of way. I believe New York State needs to take a close look at it's agreement with the telephone company, and try to transfer ownership of telephone poles on L.I. To LIPA. I believe a portion of our electric bills is for pole rental, paid to Verizon.
By METCOMedia (116), Hampton Bays on Nov 19, 10 4:03 AM
davidsline line is now resorting to sarcasm because the schoolyard name calling is ineffective. Sarcasm is the lowest form of humor...even below the pun. The pun is painful at times but requires a touch of wit.

By Hambone (505), New York on Nov 20, 10 7:59 AM
This is the way of bigots and anti-Semites -- when the shoe fits they resort to other tactics. In this case, they are trying to make me drop the labels bigots and anti-Semites claiming that they have real issues that are not bigoted. However, most of the arguments are outright bigotry such as the argument that the area will be overrun by Orthodox Jews. Moreover, without fail, the comments veer off course and people start referring to the classic stereotyping of Jews. The bottom line is the shoe ...more
By davidsline (70), new york on Nov 20, 10 10:06 PM
I am glad you like my humor...you are easy fodder

PS satire does not translate on the internet, unless you are Andy Borowitz
By Hambone (505), New York on Nov 21, 10 11:30 PM
Verizon ownes 46% of the poles and LIPA ownes the other 54% by their joint use agreement. No rent is paid by either Co.
By whb978 (3), westhampton beach on Nov 20, 10 5:04 PM
Does that mean the Eruv Committee would need an agreement with both Verizon and LIPA to put lechis on telephone polls?
By METCOMedia (116), Hampton Bays on Nov 20, 10 9:33 PM
So David--- answer me this if you will, Do you have aproblem with the public display of Christian symbols eg. a nativity scene on public property?
By bigfresh (3900), north sea on Nov 21, 10 8:04 AM
I have absolutely no problem with it. If you do have a problem then answer me why have the courts consistently allowed it? If you don’t have an issue with it then please explain why an eruv is any different? As a matter of fact, an eruv is very different; it’s not even a religious symbol. Your question should be asked of those who are making use of non-religious arguments opposing an eruv (e.g. opposing the eruv on the grounds that they do not want to grant special consideration to ...more
By davidsline (70), new york on Nov 21, 10 1:22 PM
Most halakhic authorities state that one must have the permission of the civil authorities to construct an eruv. So, even if the pro-eruv forces embrace the minority opinion that this is unnecessary, most Orthodox Jews will not recognize the eruv without the civil authorities acquiescence.

As for WHY they want an eruv, my guess is that Orthodox Jews want to enjoy the East End without a mandatory trip back to Manhattan every Friday.

The question at law is whether a religious group ...more
By highhatsize (3784), East Quogue on Nov 21, 10 9:21 AM
Another expert in Jewish law.

No one states that permission from the civil authorities is not needed. You simply do not know what you’re talking about. However, it is not required in writing, and it does not need to be made by the local authorities. Consequentially, in a situation where there is anti-Semtic or self- hating people in a locality, there is no reason to deal with them at all.

There is no mandatory need for a trip back to Manhattan; an eruv just makes life ...more
By davidsline (70), new york on Nov 21, 10 1:07 PM
I am neither Jew nor Gentile, Mahomedan nor Theist; I am but a member of the human family.
Frances Wright
By ghostofxmaspast (32), North Haven on Nov 21, 10 1:37 PM
to davidsline:

Well, one of us is certainly ignorant.

You state, without citation, that the matter of eruvin is settled law. As far as I know, the Supremes have NEVER ruled on it but the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, In Tenafly Eruv Association v. Borough of Tenafly, 309 F.3d 344, held that eruv associations had no intrinsic right to add attachments to utility poles on borough property. The Supremes declined cert. THAT is the settled law.

You state that no one ...more
By highhatsize (3784), East Quogue on Nov 21, 10 2:59 PM
The issue in Tenafly was regarding sign laws; in the end, the court settled in favor of the eruv. My statement was regarding separation of church and state.

You claimed that, “the minority opinion that this [permission of the civil authorities] is unnecessary,” how about backing that statement up with citations? I am not referring to the press. This is well known codified Jewish law as is stated in the Shulchan Aruch, our primary book of Jewish law.

I reiterate, no ...more
By davidsline (70), new york on Nov 21, 10 4:19 PM
to davidsline:

I reiterate, the question of the 1st Amendment Constitutionality of permitting the attachment of lechis to private utility poles on public easements has not been considered by the Supremes. In Tenefly, the Third Circuit permitted the attachment because the borough had allowed others to attach signs or tokens to the utility poles and the Court ruled that it could not, therefore, EXCLUDE Orthodox Jews from so doing. Rather than address the interesting & sensitive religious ...more
By highhatsize (3784), East Quogue on Nov 21, 10 8:26 PM
I agree with your first statement, but regarding your second statement, I believe there is no difference between Tenafly and Westhampton. Actually, the courts addressed the religious issues prior to the Tenafly case in Manhattan Beach. That ruling was the basis for NYC allowing eruvin even on city property. They simply look at the issue as an accommodation.

Correct, no permission is needed.

It is simple bigotry to single out one group over the other. If there are other issues ...more
By davidsline (70), new york on Nov 22, 10 1:42 AM
To davidsline:

The construction that you have put on my statement regarding concern for the innocent neighbors of the Hampton Synagogue once again reveals the victimized prism through which you view reality. I said nothing of an "Orthodox bastion" nor did I posit any objection on the basis of religion or race. My objection is to the simple numbers of people who will invade a residentially zoned neighborhood. It is a matter of indifference to me whether they are Orthodox Jews, Anglicans, ...more
By highhatsize (3784), East Quogue on Nov 22, 10 10:22 AM
No, I do understand this concern. However, you originally stated with surety that this issue (of the neighbors) is a given fact. It’s with this statement in particular that I take issue. In fact, the eruv will only affect a small minority of people.
By davidsline (70), new york on Nov 22, 10 11:22 AM
As of a year ago, an inordinate number of homes were for sale on the back side of Sunset. Why they were selling is their business but something bothered them.
By Hambone (505), New York on Nov 22, 10 11:10 PM
Does anyone even know if davids line is even a resident of the area in question or is he simply the paid shill that he sounds like?
By Hambone (505), New York on Nov 21, 10 11:37 PM
I guess your new tactic is going to be that I am a “paid shill.”
By davidsline (70), new york on Nov 22, 10 1:43 AM
Oh no I've already thrown that one out before. You just missed it.

It just seems peculiar to me that you talk of the eruv and the related issues from a more macro or 50,000 foot view. You never really speak of what it's like to live on the same street as the synagogue or more local issues.

It makes one think you might think never have been to Sunset avenue and think Quiogue and Quogue are the same thing.
By Hambone (505), New York on Nov 22, 10 9:33 AM
I will leave it at this; I know the neighborhood fairly well. Oh, by the way, your humor does not seem to translate too well over the internet.
By davidsline (70), new york on Nov 22, 10 11:25 AM
Dude:

You played the bigot card like you were playing "war" with a pinochle deck.

You tried sarcasm....which frankly was so weak (heck you even had to tell someone it was sarcasm...then again maybe that's better than some cheesy emoticon)

Now I am faced with schoolyard banter which mirrors a kindergarten taunt.

Can you even tell a knock knock joke?

Look you have a rail thin position you want to beat into anyone who dares post. In fact you seem to be ...more
By Hambone (505), New York on Nov 22, 10 11:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
davidline...
not a paid shill... just a one trick pony.
By Resident (42), Westhampton Beach on Nov 22, 10 12:23 PM
It would be nice to be able to discuss/debate this issue without the personal attacks and insults. I have found the discussion to be very informative as to the issues surrounding the local Eruv debate. Does this issue really boil down to the Synagogue not having adequate parking and an Eruv would result in increased attendance with cars?
By METCOMedia (116), Hampton Bays on Nov 23, 10 11:15 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By spiritofogden (1), New York on Jan 3, 11 10:27 PM
In listening to the debate, it appears that the issue is a discriminatory treatment of lechis vs other signs, etc. If municipalities allow signs and other privately sponsored fixtures on telephone poles, they must allow the lechis. That was the case in Tenafly. However, if, under municipal law, telephone poles are not allowed to have signs, bills etc on them for any reason, then lechis should not be allowed either. Would davidsline agree with that?
By spiritofogden (1), New York on Jan 3, 11 10:28 PM
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