Recognizing Congregating For What it Is in Times of Covid-19 – Endangerment

NJ Couple Faces Child Endangerment Charges for Coronavirus-Defying Party

  • Police charged a Lakewood couple with five counts of child endangerment — one for each of their kids — after breaking up an event at their home Sunday

  • Lakewood police have responded to multiple reports of unauthorized gatherings in the town since the state ordered social distancing

  • The town’s large Orthodox Jewish community has faced a number of threats for holding gatherings since the lockdown began

A Lakewood couple faces child endangerment charges after police broke up a gathering of dozens of people at their home, in defiance of the state’s coronavirus lockdown orders.

And just hours later, police in Lakewood had to break up another prohibited event and cite two people.

They were the latest in a handful of gatherings to be broken up in Lakewood in the last two weeks, despite Gov. Phil Murphy’s orders banning such events and ordering social distancing.

Governor Murphy, Your Directives Have NO Teeth – Stepping in? – Covid-19

Cops break up another Lakewood wedding defying coronavirus rules

Police said they broke up another wedding Thursday in Lakewood, at least the third time township officers had to disperse a group violating the state’s ban on gatherings amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Patrol officers at the scene of a car accident discovered the celebration taking place on Wayne Street, according to Capt. Gregory Staffordsmith.

“While tending to the scene two vans pulled up with would be wedding guests. The officers then noticed that a nearby backyard had a party tent set up,” the captain said in an email.

It was not immediately clear how many people were at the wedding, Staffordsmith said. Officers issued a criminal complaint for maintaining a nuisance to 39-year-old William Katzenstein.

Gov. Phil Murphy banned gatherings – including weddings – in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected at least 6,876 people in New Jersey.

“Our social distancing directives are not polite suggestions. We will enforce these,” Murphy said Wednesday at his daily briefing on the virus.

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Lakewood, New Jersey, Covid-19 MORTAL THREAT!

Coronavirus: Orthodox Jewish leaders close Lakewood synagogues, citing ‘mortal threat’

LAKEWOOD – Rabbis from a coalition of Orthodox Jewish organizations — including the Orthodox Union, Agudath Israel and the Lakewood Vaad — Friday declared the coronavirus outbreak a “mortal threat” and ordered sweeping changes.

“We have taken the unprecedented and deeply distressing step of shuttering the central fixtures of our lives — our shuls, yeshivos and schools — and certainly to eliminate other gatherings,” the religious leaders said in a statement.

The declaration followed more evidence Friday, announced by Gov. Phil Murphy and public health officials, of the spread of the coronavirus in New Jersey.

All of the Asbury Park Press coverage of coronavirus is being provided free for our readers. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the Press at APP.com/subscribe.

In recent days, government and religious leaders have expressed worry that the public health warnings — more social distancing and bans on large crowds — were not sufficiently being followed in Lakewood, sparking an uptick in local cases of the disease.

 

Friday’s message from the religious leaders amplified the warnings.

“This is an unprecedented situation,” doctors and religious leaders said on an automated phone call, sent to the town’s entire Jewish community Friday afternoon. “We beg you to prevent all and any congregating.

“Only isolating will prevent greater catastrophe from unfolding.”

Ocean County:  Change isn’t easy amid coronavirus outbreaks, say Lakewood Orthodox Jewish leaders

Chaskel Bennett@ChaskelBennett

Robocall released to the entire Jewish Community of Lakewood NJ from Doctors, First Responders, Rabbonim & community leaders: STAY HOME, SAVE LIVES!!@AsburyParkPress @GovMurphy @AgudahNews @Avi_schnall

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The directive made for a Friday unlike any in a long time in one of the nation’s biggest Orthodox Jewish enclaves.

The streets were so empty that finding a parking spot near the door of Gourmet Glatt, a Kosher grocery store, had never been easier.

 

 

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Holding a Wedding or Simcha (Celebration) When People are Getting Sick Is an Act of Bio-Terrorism

Dear Readers:

The title to this article speaks to how we feel about these gatherings. There is a level of selfishness in hosting these events, which are forbidden because they are dangerous. A person in this Covid-19 environment is  nothing more and nothing less than a bio-weapon.

Covid-19 is not about those who are healthy. It is about those who are immuno-compromised or could get sick. Even “healthy” people could be transmitting the virus from one person to another.

These types of gatherings are in essence acts of bio-terrorism and in our opinion should be treated as such. People at these gatherings should be compelled to pay the costs associated with the medical care required for anyone and everyone in their neighborhood, “Shchoona,” community or State.

Alternatively, there should be a fund put together, paid for by anyone at a gathering, for people who are financially shattered by current world events.

Stay well. – LM 

Lakewood Police break up large gatherings at two Wedding receptions

More than a day after Governor Phil Murphy extended public gathering restrictions to not allow more than 50 people in one place at one time, two groups of people rolled the dice and ignored that directive by having much more than that amount of guests at two weddings in Lakewood Tuesday night.

Lakewood Police spokesman Captain Gregory Staffordsmith said officers responded to one wedding at a venue on Vassar Avenue just before 8:00 pm and another wedding shortly after 8:00 pm over on Oak Street.

The Officers reminded the staff that they cannot host gatherings of more than 50 people.

Captain Staffordsmith said the staff and attendees then dispersed without incident.

The amount of guests at each of the weddings on Tuesday evening was much greater than 50 people, Staffordsmith told WOBM News.

Read More: Lakewood Police break up large gatherings at 2 Wedding receptions | https://wobm.com/lakewood-police-break-up-large-gatherings-at-two-wedding-receptions/?utm_source=tsmclip&utm_medium=referral

Biased Intimidation – Propoganda, Jackson Township Residents Being Victimized

Dear Readers:

The following was posted to the Jackson Community Watchdog News Facebook site. It was also forwarded to us.

Hat Tip to the tipster and please see as follows:

This is an example of the frequently victimized turning into the abusers with the help of a consortium of people who seem to think that disenfranchising a secular community is an acceptable response to bogus claims of anti-Semitism.

Image may contain: one or more people, table, living room and indoor

BIASED INTIMIDATION = THE advertisement that defamed an entire town @GurbirGrewalNJ, intimidating texts, emails, and a constant barrage of HATE is directed toward Jackson residents. The legality is questionable, the fact that Governor Murphy or AG Grewal has not denounced this HATE toward Jackson residents speaks volumes. Or can it be that Dr. Roberts deep pockets is more important than the citizens those leaders have sword to represent.

FOR THE RECORD: The propaganda piece you may have seen today is not about Anti-Semitism, its about the lawsuits and an attempt to force Jackson leaders to settle. Well here’s the FIRST two pages of Agudath of Israel’s settlement: every zone in Jackson will be changed to accommodate schools, dormitories, and houses of worship. YES, a School in the 3 bedroom 2 bathroom home next to you. This is what our Jackson Government is protecting – OUR QUALITY IF LIFE!

 

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The Anti-Semitism Mantra and the Victimized, Who Really are the Victims?

 

Who is Really Creating the Narrative?

Weaponizing the anti-Semitism “Mantra”

For those readers who do not know the definition, a “Mantra” is a slogan that is repeated over and over again for the purposes of concentration or meditation. It is, in other words, a form of mind-control. Some might say it can be a form of brainwashing. At it’s purest, a Mantra can be powerful tool for self-awareness, calm, a sense of peace. But, like all else, the pendulum swings both ways. Yin has its Yang.

Anti-Semitism as a Mantra, when used in weaponized form by those who would prefer to  distract attention from their behavior, shields any and all scrutiny. Criticism of the behavior gets viewed through the lens of a hater and not simply an investigator. As such the group, however irrelevant to the narrative, gets to act with impunity. The constant repetitive use of the term anti-Semitism is tragic insofar as it diminishes the value of the events and circumstances in historical context that led to the very word’s development in Judeo-Christian lexicon, the slaughter of millions of Jews.

While there have been other mass slaughters of people in human history, there does not appear to be a similar term for those who hate or show hostility against a group of people. The events of September 11, 2001, rightfully or wrongfully, led to a fear of and hostility towards overtly religious Muslims; but there is no similar word that describes that “group-hate” mentality. While anti-Semite might apply, it has not developed to describe the hatred towards Muslims.

African Americans and People of Color (trying to be sensitive with word use here) were enslaved, tortured, bought and sold as chattel and yet actions against them did not lead to a single defined term. Those who hate people of color are simply bigots or racists. Those who hate Asians don’t get a special adjective to describe them, nor do those who hate… well, you get the general gist. Haters of any particular group for whatever reason are defined under a single umbrella – bigot or racist.

Anti-Semitism was uniquely created as a term by history. It is now being uniquely weaponized as a mantra by behavior. That is a frightening and tragic reality. 

We have stated before and will repeat our sentiments here that the insidious distrust and tensions pervading New York and New Jersey are not foundationally about anti-Semitism. They are about over-development, unequal treatment under the law, corruption, judicial impropriety and a whole host of other indignities being perpetrated upon a myriad of different communities, including Jews. That the perpetrators are in large part ultra-Orthodox Jews is a function of the crime statistics and not a function of the community viewing that group harshly.

At least it did not begin that way.

Anyone who wants to turn the scrutiny of the behavior of: developers, landlords, tenants, not-for-profits, LLC’s, school board members, community members, community leaders and the list goes on, into a discussion of hate is allowing crimes to be committed with impunity. The financial crimes are at epidemic levels in New York and New Jersey, and they are going unchecked; because by shining light we are allegedly declaring war on religious Jews, on all Jews. This is the greatest con in history. It is an outright gaming of our very lexicon to allow a community’s members to act with impunity.  As such we are complicit in fostering the use of the anti-Semitism Mantra as a weapon; and it is being used against each and every one of us. This is a very dangerous precedent. 

It is high time that law enforcement, the judiciary, government officials and even Facebook open your eyes to the improprieties that are being committed. It is a moral imperative for ultra-Orthodox, Orthodox, Conservative and Reformed and otherwise unaffiliated Jewish leaders to take a stand against the blanket use of a the anti-Semitism mantra as a weapon. By participating in the repetition of the term you assist in the perpetration of crimes against entire groups of people.

Inevitably this will lead to real, unadulterated hatred. It is just a matter of time. People are getting hurt. Communities are being plundered. This is not victim blaming unless you sit and contemplate who are the real victims in the equation.

Look outside the box that would otherwise group the perpetrators because it is wholly irrelevant that so many are visibly religious Jews. Don’t let them convince you of a different reality. Had they been visibly religious Muslims or FLDS, or any other visibly religious group, there would not be a special word, to be used to create smoke and mirrors. Anti-Semitism is not the problem. 

But, a warning for the weary, tread that fine line of scrutiny and criticism carefully and be mindful. It is a treacherous road to travel. There are many innocent and visibly religious Jews who are being harmed both by the crime epidemic and by the repetition of the mantra. And they are worse off than everyone else.

NAACP v. East Ramapo, Remove Religion from the Mix, Still Segregation Problem, New Jersey’s Englewood Example

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The Englewood, Englewood Cliffs, Tenafly Example – No Right to Segregated Education.

The East Ramapo battle playing out in the courts is, writ small a discrimination case against a board in its nominating practices. The NAACP is claiming that the Board of Education has rigged the system so private school parents have a disproportionately large number of seats on the public school board. Writ large, however, the battle is ultimately one of segregation, allowing a community of white children to obtain significant funding and school budgeting allotments to the detriment of a largely minority public school system. This has played out before. 

The battle of what happens when you remove white children from a largely minority, people of color and Hispanic/Latino school system has played out in many districts, in many fora. The closest comparison between Rockland County, New York is one to a battle that played out for years, from the early 1980’s to the mid 1990’s just down the Palisades Interstate Parkway in Englewood Cliffs,  New Jersey.

The fact that the white children of Rockland County, New York are ultra-Orthodox is largely irrelevant. The issue is segregation. Is the State of New York prepared to allow a community to be segregated, if not foster that segregation; and is it willing to disenfranchise a public school system of largely minority children to do so? In New Jersey, the Commissioner of Education and the Courts were not:

One need look no further than the United States Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Topeka, [347 U.S. 483, 74 S. Ct. 686, 98 L. Ed. 873 (1954)] to support the ALJ’s reliance upon evidence dealing not only with “material loss,” i.e., reduction in course offering, effect on curriculum, loss of teaching staff, but also an assessment of impact on the psychosocial dimension of education referred to in this case as “symbolic loss.” Notwithstanding the fact that DMHS is not all minority, it is, as previously stated, substantially imbalanced racially; thus, the following passage from the U.S. Supreme Court in Brown has no less bearing in this matter than if DMHS were all minority. It states: Segregation … in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law; for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the negro group. A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. Segregation with the sanction of law, therefore, has a tendency to [retard] the educational and mental development of negro children and to *445 deprive them of some of the benefits they would receive in a racial[ly] integrated school system. …. [T]he Commissioner rejects the Cliffs Board’s arguments that attempt to justify severance because DMHS was an inferior educational facility at the time the petition was filed and should not, therefore, be held harmless from that. It is clear from the record that this case has been heavily immersed in an effort to cast DMHS as an inferior school, not worthy of its students. It is equally clear that the record does not support this position.
As to the Tenafly tuition policy, the Commissioner agreed with the ALJ that while it did not violate the law, it is “clearly contrary to public policy … and cannot be allowed to stand”:
Although the policy is, on its face, not discriminatory and although it was not adopted for improper motives, this does not mean that it should be allowed to stand insofar as the Cliffs and Englewood Boards are concerned, for the record has made it abundantly clear that the effect of the policy has been exactly what the ALJ denounces, namely, to exacerbate racial imbalance at DMHS by skimming off and luring students who are eligible to attend DMHS. Thus, in that sense it is “repugnant” and a “beggar-thy-neighbor” policy as it affects DMHS.

To provide a very oversimplified background, for years, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, a largely white and affluent district without its own high school had a sending-receiving relationship with Englewood, New Jersey’s Dwight Morrow High School. Englewood was far more heterogeneous a community with a large majority of the students from families of color, Hispanic/Latino and other ethnic groups. Within a contractual setting, Englewood would receive public school children from the Cliffs with a percentage of the tax money sent to cover the costs per children. Cliffs’ children of high school age who chose to remain in the public school system were bused to Englewood after 8th grade. 

At the time, Alpine, New Jersey’s children were being sent by similar sending/receiving agreement to Tenafly, New Jersey a more homogeneous community with socio-economic ties that had a greater resemblance to Englewood Cliffs’, also mostly white and Asian community. During the early 80’s parents in Englewood Cliffs began, with greater frequency to leave the district before high school, to remove kids to parochial schools or to send them to either Elizabeth Morrow or Dwight Englewood, both private schools. At the time, busing was not provided to private schools; but rather it was arranged within the tuition paid. Busing was, however, provided to public school children who attended Dwight Morrow as part of the public school sending/receiving relationship.

In and around the early 80’s Englewood Cliffs began negotiating a contractual sending/receiving relationship with Tenafly, New Jersey, with the thought that the Cliffs would sever its relationship with Englewood. As a backdrop, Tenafly also began accepting students on a tuition-paid basis to give the Englewood Cliffs’ parents different options.

Englewood fought back, filing a series of actions with the New Jersey Commisioner of Education. All of the actions were based in pertinent part on the resulting reduction in white students, segregation and the detriment to the children of Englewood. To put it simply, Englewood claimed that even though the numbers of Cliffs children who were remaining in public school after the 8th grade were dwindling,  the loss of services to the children of Englewood, the reduction in classes which were at that time very diverse and team sport enrollment outweighed the benefit of the small population wanting only to be more homogeneous. In addition, and particularly relevant, they argued that no one had the “right to segregate” which was effectively what the Cliffs’ parents were doing when sending their kids to Tenafly by tuition. 

The Commissioner stated:

In Booker, the Supreme Court said that “children must learn to respect and live with one another in multi-racial and multi-cultural communities and the earlier they do so the better.” 45 N.J. at 170, 212 *480 A.2d 1. It also declared that the Commissioner has a duty to ensure that such learning occurs in schools that are not de facto segregated and that he must not only eliminate schools that are “entirely or almost entirely Negro,” 45 N.J. at 178, 212 A.2d 1, but must also achieve “the greatest dispersal consistent with sound educational values and procedures.” Id. at 180, 212 A.2d 1. By focusing on Booker’s “multi-racial and multi-cultural” reference instead of the principle of “greatest dispersal”, it seems to us that the State Board recast the expansive holding of Booker as the far more limited holding that achieving some minimal racial and cultural diversity will suffice. In so doing, the State Board eviscerated Booker’s explicit ban on school segregation. If it had taken no further action, we would likely have intervened on this issue, at least to the extent of requiring an explanation of what educational values and procedures the State Board viewed as counter-balancing the need for greatest dispersal. Because of the later developments, it is unnecessary for us to do so.

Even within that backdrop, the State of New Jersey’s Commissioner of Education still dismantled the idea of changing the relationship between Englewood and Englewood Cliffs on the grounds it would only serve to segregate the children and would ultimately come at a high price to Englewood’s children.   

In the early 1990’s the issue again came to light when Englewood decided to close some elementary schools and move 8th grade to the high school. With the Englewood Cliffs Elementary School ending in 8th grade, this created a mismatch. And yet, the Commissioner of Education and the courts were still not moved; and the issue of regionalizing high schools was raised, also not moving the Commissioner.

Cliffs complains that, even if the State Board properly denied its petition for severance, it exceeded its authority in enjoining Tenafly and other non-party school districts from accepting Cliffs’ students on a tuition basis. With respect to Tenafly, Cliffs claims that the State Board’s injunction violated Tenafly’s statutory right to exercise discretion as to which interdistrict students it accepts. It also argues that enjoining the THS tuition program will in no way increase the white student population at DMHS. Cliffs also asserts that the State Board’s injunction denies due process to any school district not joined as a party.
The Commissioner has broad constitutional and legislative powers concerning public education. N.J.S.A. 18A:4-10; Piscataway Tp. Bd. of Educ. v. Burke, supra, 158 N.J. Super. at 441, 386 A.2d 439. These powers must be interpreted sufficiently expansively to correspond with his “high responsibilities” in the education field. Jenkins, supra, 58 N.J. at 504, *474 279 A.2d 619. N.J.S.A. 18A:4-16 concomitantly confers on the State Board all necessary powers “requisite to the performance of its duties.” Clearly, under appropriate circumstances, injunctive relief is a power available to the State Board. Bd. of Educ. of Asbury Park v. Bds. of Educ. of Shore Regional High School District, 1971 S.L.D. 221, aff’d, 1971 S.L.D. 228 (1971). Indeed, Cliffs concedes this theoretical power, arguing instead that the injunction was improvidently granted in this case because an injunction, the so-called “strong arm of equity,” is an extraordinary remedy not justified by the facts. Van Name v. Federal Deposit Ins. Corp., 130 N.J. Eq. 433, 442-43, 23 A.2d 261 (Ch. 1941), aff’d, 132 N.J. Eq. 302, 28 A.2d 210 (E. & A. 1942). We disagree.
Here, we have affirmed the State Board’s determination that the Tenafly tuition policy had a serious negative impact on the racial balance at DMHS. As Tenafly’s non-indigenous population increased, the situation at DMHS worsened. Tenafly not only “lured” and “enticed” Cliffs’ students by its “beggar-thy-neighbor” policy, and in doing so syphoned off a disproportionate number of high achievers, but also attracted white and Asian Englewood students. Given those findings, the effectuation of the State’s constitutional policy in favor of racial balance as a function of the quality of education not only authorized but compelled an injunction against Tenafly. See In re Solid Waste Util. Customer Lists, 106 N.J. 508, 516, 524 A.2d 386 (1987). As to the other school districts (none of which has complained), the State Board’s directive was a necessary adjunct to the injunction against Tenafly. Without the directive, the State Board could not ensure total compliance with the educational goals it sought to achieve. Most importantly, the injunction was a critical element of the State Board’s attempt to remedy the problem at DMHS by using the least intrusive means. Given the history of this case, a laissez faire attitude, without an injunction, would have doomed these means to failure.
*475 VIII
While a sending-receiving relationship is essentially an education services-for-tuition exchange made between two districts, that arrangement does not alter the structural integrity of either district. Regionalization, on the other hand, involves the formation of an entirely new school district governed by a separate board of education. See Jenkins, supra, 58 N.J. at 504-05, 508, 279 A.2d 619. Regional districts can be formed for all purposes or for limited purposes. N.J.S.A. 18A:13-2. Among the “limited purposes” is the organization of a regional district to operate a high school or high schools only. Englewood has petitioned for the creation of a regional high school district including it, Cliffs and Tenafly. The effect of such a regional district here would be to transfer control over DMHS and THS to a regional school board.
The authority for cross-district regionalization arises out of Jenkins where the Supreme Court expanded on the Booker principle of intra-district regionalization:
It is true that Booker dealt with a community which was wholly contained within a single district fixed by municipal lines whereas here the community involves two districts. …. As the Supreme Court pointed out in Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, [575] 84 S. Ct. 1362, [1388] 12 L. Ed. 2d 506, 535 (1964), political subdivisions of the state whether they be “counties, cities or whatever” are not “sovereign entities” and may readily be bridged when necessary to vindicate federal constitutional rights and policies. See Gomillion v. Lightfoot, 364 U.S. 339, 347, 81 S. Ct. 125, 5 L. Ed. 2d 110, 116 (1960); United States v. State of Texas, 321 F. Supp. 1043, 1050-1058 (E.D.Texas 1970); cf. Jackman, et al. v. Bodine, et al., 55 N.J. 371 [262 A.2d 389] (1970). It seems clear to us that, similarly, governmental subdivisions of the state may readily be bridged when necessary to vindicate state constitutional rights and policies. This does not entail any general departure from the historic home rule principles and practices in our State in the field of education or elsewhere; but it does entail suitable measures of power in our State authorities for fulfillment of the educational and racial policies embodied in our State Constitution and in its implementing legislation. Surely if those policies and the views firmly expressed by this Court in Booker (45 N.J. 161 [212 A.2d 1]) and now reaffirmed are to be at all meaningful, the State Commissioner must have power to cross district lines to avoid “segregation in fact” (Booker, 45 N.J. at 168 [212 A.2d 1]), at least where, as here, there *476 are no impracticalities and the concern is not with multiple communities but with a single community without visible or factually significant internal boundary separations. [Jenkins, 58 N.J. at 500-01, 279 A.2d 619].

The relevant case Englewood Cliffs v. Englewood, 257 N.J. Super 413 (1992) can be found here.

A report on the the NAACP v. East Ramapo Central School Distrrict, 18-3481 (2d Cir. 2019) can be found here.

A News brief one NAACP v. East Ramapo can be found here.