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Eruv to Top Executive Session Discussion in Westhampton Beach

Mayor Conrad Teller says the board will discuss two letters sent to the village regarding the eruv.

Westhampton Beach Mayor Contrad Teller said the village board will be discussing a "proposal" by the East End Eruv Association to install an eruv within the village during the board's executive session on Wednesday evening.

The executive discussion was scheduled, according to Teller, after the village received several letters regarding the proposed eruv from the East End Eruv Association and Verizon.

Teller said he could not comment further.

The village is currently embroiled in a with the East End Eruv Association. Also named in that suit, which was filed by the association, is the Town of Southampton and the Village of Quogue.

Patch has requested copies of the letters under the Freedom of Information Law, and village clerk Rebecca Molinaro says the request is being processed.

According to Robert Sugarman, attorney for the East End Eruv Association, the letters suggest that Verizon is prepared to grant the East End Eruv Association permission to use their polls to install lechies, which will signify the eruv. The letter states, said Sugarman, that since there is no village legislation that suggests that an application must be filed with the village to install the lechies, the eruv association must simply get permission from the owners of the utility polls. Verison, he said, as agreed to grant that permission.

The village, said Sugarman has yet to respond to the letters, which were dated with a response deadline.

Verizon spokesman John Bonamo confirmed that the company sent a letter to the village in an effort to "get some kind of determination as to legality and jurisdiction."

He said, "Right now we are between two parties that have two disagreeing view points."

Most recently, the East Eruv association made a to install the lechies within that village on Monday morning. In January, the association made a formal application to the village of Quogue under the village's sign ordinance to install the lechies.  A similar application is expected to be filed with the Town of Southampton — a meeting with the town took place last Friday, according to Sugarman.

During the hearing in Quogue, Sugarman explained that the 48 lechies, which are proposed to be attached the LIPA and Verizon poles will not be visable and can be painted any color. He also stated that the eruv will only impact Orthodox Jews, allowing them to carry items that they would not otherwise be allowed to carry on the Sabbath and during other religious holidays.

Sugarman warned that if the village does not approve the eruv, the village would be violating the first amendment rights of the association.

The proposal was met with resistance from an organization, called Jewish People for the Betterment of Westhampton Beach. That group claims that, if the eruv is installed, their rights would be violated because head of the group Arnold Sheiffer said, "Every time one of our members travel in or about the village's rights-of-way and observe the presence of the eruv, they would feel that their own interpretation of Jewish law had been belittled and demeaned by their own government, in favor of the East End Eruv Association's contrary religious views."

Village Mayor Peter Sartorius has stated that the village will take the association's application under consideration, but has not set a deadline to approve or disapprove it.

ileane March 22, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Since there are only five families involved in using the Eruv, I think they should ask their non-orthodox neighbors to help them get around around town on the Sabbath. It would be less complicated than having an Eruv. Nana

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