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Sunday, May 14, 2006

More Neighborhood Nastiness

Krum has a post up regarding an issue that I have been following doggedly (to the apparent chagrin of some of my readers), my community's upcoming local school board elections. He answers some questions that were raised recently in the community as well as right here in my comments section, of whether Orthodox Jews should be advocating for a specific outcome in this election. To wit, from a comment left here in the name of one "Yaacov Gross":
Voting against the public school budget and non-Orthodox school board candidates appears to have become almost an article of faith among many in our community. Too bad. That's what happens when Jews begin to act in a manner that comports with the "power politics" standards of a secular society rather than with their Jewish values.

... In our community, the school budget and board battles have now become proxies for a much uglier clash, one that pits Orthodox Jew(euphemistically referred to as "private school parents") against everybody else. That should disturb us on many levels. As Torah Jews, we have a mission to the world, and Chazzal have been adamant in insisting "chachomim -hizaharu biDivreychem". Wise people should be cautious in how they speak. "Divrey chachomim biNachat nishmaim". The words of the wise are spoken with gentleness. We cannot hope to fulfill our mission to the world through aggressive and hostile conduct - even if we believe it to be politically expedient or "more effective". The Torah approach is one of "darchei shalom", the way of peace.
Krum disagrees with the premise, however, that the Orthodox community's action of aligning themselves as a voting bloc is the incorrect way to behave:
Second, while the rhetoric surrounding the upcoming vote may have sometimes crossed a line (and I include my community in this assessment), the notion that Orthodox Jews should refrain from advocating forcefully on behalf of their own interests because of the “what the goyim/non-orthodox might think” is outdated and wrongheaded. If we learned anything from the Holocaust it is that the “Court Jew” approach to Jewish advocacy exlemplified by people like Stephen Wise – who despite being the most influential and well-respected American Jew of his generation, was afraid to forcefully advocate the plight of European Jewry to FDR -- is ineffective and leads to disaster. Orthodox Jews have a unique set of needs – and like any other interest group -- should feel free to advocate for the interest within the bounds of constitutional, democratic and religious principles. I am not naïve enough to think that those who might speak ill of us as a result would have thought of us any differently had we sat on our hands and kept our mouths shut instead.

I agree wholeheartedly. Indeed, I have seen many examples in the past few weeks that prove Krum's last point. There is an e-mail list of "key communicators" that circulates throughout the community, between the public school administration and members of both the private and public school community who wish to be kept "in the loop", as it were. (I might add, as a parenthetical, that I was on that list for a while, under my Orthomom e-mail address. Apparently, someone did not like what I was posting, because my name was unceremoniously dropped from the list, and I no longer receive the e-mails. Being as there are both other anonymous addresses on the list, as well as members of the press, there isn't any other conclusion to draw aside from the one that they didn't like my kind of communication - i.e., public criticism of the present board and its policies.) Ostensibly, the point of the e-mail list is to foster a greater level of understanding and communication among community members, presumedly working toward the goal of providing equitably for all district children, in a way that satisfies all voters. Instead, the rhetoric that has been circulated among the list's members has become heated - and very telling. An example (in response to reasonable and perfectly justified questions raised by a member of the Orthodox community about the disparity between the numbers of students receiving special ed in the private school vs. public school populations):
How could anybody living around here be suprised at the behavior of these people. Isnt it ironic that Bruce was chastised for trying to help us challenge these people? Perhaps now you see that they are capable of anything. What I don't understand is why you think you can reason with them.
"These people"? "Capable of anything"? Um...what year is this exactly? What country am I living in? When people talk in this offensive and stereotypical manner regarding a certain group, they have nothing to blame for it but their own bigotry.

92 Comments:

Anonymous fed up lawrence resident said...

HOW FAR WILL DR. FITZSIMONS GO TO GET THE BUDGET PASSED?


In past years, Dr. Fitzsimons allowed high school students to make pro-budget phone calls from adminstration offices in the Lawrence High School building.

Phillips v. Maurer (NYS Court of Appeals) - Public resources cannot be used to "exhort the electorate to cast their ballots in support of a particular position advocated by the board"


In past years, Dr. Fitzsimons has allowed access to public school lists for teachers and others advocating for the budget.

Stern v. Kramarsky (NYS Court of Appeals) - Providing access to its established channel of communication to espouse a partisan position has been deemed improper


Last June, Dr. Fitzsimons approached newly elected board member, Murray Forman and asked Forman to urge any voters in his community who could not vote "Yes" on the budget to stay home (as recounted in an email from Dr.
Fitzsimons).

NYS Commissioner's decision no. 14,259 - Satements that do not specifically urge a "yes" vote may nevertheless violate the law if such statements otherwise seek to persuate or convey support for a particular position.


In February, Dr. Fitzsimons used taxpayer funds to mail out an invitation to public school parents for privately sponsored budget meetings at the Sons of Italy Hall in Inwood and Atlantic Beach Town Hall. This invitation carried the same name as the new political organization (Lawrence Pride & Spirit) which is sponsoring pro budget candidates - Thomas Rizzo and Michael Brooks.

NYS Commissioner's decision no. 14,102 - The use of specialized mailings or distributions to parents of students or other selected groups may suggest the appearance of partisan activity.


At a high school student event last week (Sports Night), district personnel allowed pro-budget flyers to be placed on every car in the high school parking lot.

NYS Commissioner's decision no. 13,830 - District must take affirmative steps to ensure that its parking lots or other school district facilities are not used by outside groups for the distribution of partisan campaign
literature.



Last week, the Superintendent sent out a second budget flyer (at taxpayer expense) which effectively blames the district's failure on the poor turnout by public school parents in school board elections. Why does the flyer mention only the poor turnout by public school parents in a district with so many children in private school? Could this be just another attempt by Fitzsimons to get out the "Yes" votes for the budget?

Phillips v. Maurer (NYS Court of Appeals) - "The use of district resources to distribute materials designed to solicity favorable voters
violates the constitutional prohibition against using public funds to promote a partisan position"


HOW FAR WILL DR. FITZSIMONS GO TO GET THIS BUDGET PASSED? AND HOW LONG WILL TAXPAYERS BE FORCED TO SHOULDER THE COST OF DR. FITZSIMONS' PRO-BUDGET ADVOCACY?

1:02 PM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

I agree with Orthomom for the last 3 paragraphs beyond the sentence "I agree wholeheartedly." I disagree with Krum. Eivah, darkei shalom are still concepts one has to consider.
To quote the Holocaust is over the top concerning a discussion on taxes. One could debate the Holocaust- Kranzler and Zuroff have for starters.
The effectiveness of the chareidi community was at least as poor during WW11-but if one wastes ones capital on school taxes-no one will ever take the group seriously.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting that readers of your have been bored by this subject. I find the whole jew versus jew aspect of it fascinating. Anyone who cares about education should also find this interesting.

OM, do you know if the last anti-semitic e-mail went out to a public e-mail list? Were there Orthodox on the list?

In terms of whether the orthodox community is entitled to vote and electioneer as a bloc: they do so every election. Were you in Williamsburgh or Crown Heights in the weeks before the recet mayoral election? No one objects to quid pro quo politics there. Are you familiar with the fact that New Square votes as a bloc? And that they get lots in reward for doing so? How about every other ethnic and racial group that does the same. There is no Chillul Hashem in voting for our best interests, whether that means our kids or our pocketbooks. Thank God we live in America and have that opportunity.

If the Orthodox community feels that it is getting shafted by the School Board, it is the school board's right - nay, its responsibility - to campaign to correct that feeling if it is wrong. What they are doing here (stepping up efforts at incerasing anti-Orthodox sentiment among the Public School crowd so at to hopefully negate the Orthodox vote) is foolish and ill-advised. Take a page out of any politicians book. Politicians trying to regain lost votes work to BUILD bridges, not BURN them. Te onus in this case is on te government agency (the school board), not the voters who feel (with evidence to back up their claims) that they are being (pardon my french here) screwed.

1:30 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

The effectiveness of the chareidi community was at least as poor during WW11-but if one wastes ones capital on school taxes-no one will ever take the group seriously.

I disagree. I feel that the line of thought you are espousing is warped. A vote, or bloc of votes is never a "waste". If anything, every time a group exerts its political muscle, it increases its political capital.

1:38 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...


If the Orthodox community feels that it is getting shafted by the School Board, it is the school board's right - nay, its responsibility - to campaign to correct that feeling if it is wrong. What they are doing here (stepping up efforts at incerasing anti-Orthodox sentiment among the Public School crowd so at to hopefully negate the Orthodox vote) is foolish and ill-advised. Take a page out of any politicians book. Politicians trying to regain lost votes work to BUILD bridges, not BURN them. Te onus in this case is on te government agency (the school board), not the voters who feel (with evidence to back up their claims) that they are being (pardon my french here) screwed.


I totally agree.

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Chavivah said...

Boy, Orthomom both you and Krum TOTALLY missed the boat in Mr. Gross's comments.

I don't think that Mr. Gross ever advocated not forcefully advocating Jewish activism for Jewish causes. In fact, I would be shocked if he did. Mr. Gross is actually the President of the Rambam Mesivta, which has taken the a leading roll in rallying for Jewish causes such as Israel, and bringing Nazi War Criminals to justice.

Mr. Gross's issue was not the notion of waging campaign, but merely the MANNER in which it's being done. In this respect, I think that he is 100% right. I think the election campaign has become something utterly repulsive - on both sides. Both communities have been strident, vehement and shrill and have totally crossed the boundaries of propriety in the nature of their campaigning.

I think that your selective quoting of Mr. Gross's email was done in a distortionary fashion. Post it in full and then you and your readers can properly reflect on it and its meaning. By all means disagree - reading your blog, I think that you are intelligent and certainly entitled to do so - but it is wrong for you to do so without letting the person you're attacking get a fair hearing.

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Jared said...

Yeah, I agree with Chaviva. You should put the whole thing up so that people can read it. I also wouldn't put it under the title of 'Nastiness' - it wasn't a nasty email.

I may disagree with him, but I think he made his point in a thoughtful, respectful fashion. You aren't addressing his arguments, you're just distorting them by only quoting parts of it and not the whole thing.

And - by the way - you also misspelled his name.

5:40 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Chaviva, I think you might have missed my point. While Mr. Gross may have made his point as part of a larger point (and I made it clear that his full comment is posted in the comment section of a previous post on this blog), he did make the point that Jews have to think before using "power politics". He may usually disagree with that point, but nevertheless, it was there. I used that point as a springboard to make mine. Whether my readers have the right to reflect on Mr. Gross's full comments or not, (they may, and I will add the link to it shortly on your suggestion) he is certainly not the only one to make the point I attributed to him, and I was quoting his words as but an example.

In terms of the "utter repulsiveness" of the campaign, I'd like to hear specific aspects that you are referring to.

5:50 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Jared, I am happy to clarify that Mr. Gross's e-mail was certainly not the "nastiness" I refer to in my title. I refer to the last e-mail I quote, which I'm sure most readers will agree falls under the rubric of "nasty".

6:00 PM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

"I disagree. I feel that the line of thought you are espousing is warped. A vote, or bloc of votes is never a "waste"."
I happen to disagree with you-but have never called someone who disagrees with me warped-it is not in my vocabulary.
If a group claims every issue as top priority-the issues that it really cares about will be neglected. Thus, a politician will not put their neck out hypothetically on a pro-Israel position if it makes no difference to their electibility if all that counts is how you vote on taxes that affect the group. Thus, if the deciding issue in an election district is taxes which canbe seen in the voting patterns in Lawrence vs the rset of the 5 towns. Check the voting patterns on Presidential elections, not only SD 15 voting where the voting pattern reflects understandably so the party that reflects the economic interest of the voters. Nothing wrong about but don't make it a moral issue. Save your capital for moral issues-saving refugees, helping starving people etc.

6:13 PM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

"If the Orthodox community feels that it is getting shafted by the School Board, it is the school board's right - nay, its responsibility - to campaign to correct that feeling if it is wrong."

I am waiting for anyone to show me any School District budget vote in LI that the Orthodox community would vote more than 20% for the budget. Of course, show me a school district thatthe public school parents will vote a majority against the budget-it won;t happen on either side. It is a pocketbook issue.

6:18 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Hey, mycroft, I never called you warped. I called a line of thought warped. I would never call you names, and certainly hope you understand that you are a valued commenter here, even if we disagree at times.

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Gross always writes these pieces that are wordy, verbose and attempt to agree with everyone and with no one at the same time. Tell Mr. Gross that its dark outside and he'll explain to you that while indeed it is dark it is also light....better off not paying any attention to him.

6:39 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

That was uncalled for, anon. Mr. Gross's statement was quite eloquent, even if I did disagree with parts. I try not to be dismissive of anyone - even if I don't see eye-to-eye with him, and would prefer my commenters accord others the same respect. Disagreeing with someone does not mean you are "better off not paying any attention to him".

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but that's his MO---you say white, very eloquently says black.

7:14 PM  
Blogger thekvetcher said...

hitler would be proud of how the government of lawrence is run. did you evertry to park in the lot behind amazing savings? it is a psychological terror. try it in the rain with a kid in a baby seat walking back and forth to the meter and to the car.

7:41 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

thekvetcher said...

hitler would be proud of how the government of lawrence is run. did you evertry to park in the lot behind amazing savings? it is a psychological terror. try it in the rain with a kid in a baby seat walking back and forth to the meter and to the car.


Lol. I hear. I have a post about the speed of the local ticket-givers on this blog somewere.

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"How could anybody living around here be suprised at the behavior of these people. Isnt it ironic that Bruce was chastised for trying to help us challenge these people? Perhaps now you see that they are capable of anything. What I don't understand is why you think you can reason with them."

I can't believe that this statement was made to a public forum that included Orthodox Jews. Any idea who made the comment?

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The person who made the comment is a very nice fellow named John Squeri from Atlantic Beach. He is a staunch advocate for the kids of the Lawrence Public School system, and his words were a long time coming.

The only reason the statement seems anti-semitic is because you may not realize how angry the public school families are at how the Orthodox are trying to ruin the schools. Rightly so, if you want honesty.

8:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Anon, don't say those nasty things about Mr. Gross. OM always objects to her poster's comments if she disagrees or if they're inappropriate. OM doesn't tolerate negative "uncalled-for" comments. If only OM wasn't such an unbelievably transparent hypocrite, she'd be my hero.

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"More Neighborhood Nastiness"

What an appropriate title for on oRthomoG blog.

8:38 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...


The only reason the statement seems anti-semitic is because you may not realize how angry the public school families are at how the Orthodox are trying to ruin the schools. Rightly so, if you want honesty.


Is this comment a parody?

9:04 PM  
Anonymous Jared said...

Accepted Orthomom - Yeshar Kochachech for changing the spelling and I await the posting of the link to his comments. Second, perhaps it would be appropriate to clarify that Mr. Gross's comments are not being referred to as the nasty ones in the byline that you listed him under.

To the anonymous attacker of Mr. Gross as being verbose and coming to no conclusion. First of all he couldn't have been clearer - even Orthomom, who disagrees with him agrees on that. Second, though I may disagree with Mr. Gross as well, at least Mr. Gross isn't a coward who attacks behind the vail of anonymity and snipes. He took full aim at the Orthodox people running the campaign and he signed his name on the bottom. Kol HaKavod to him for his courage and integrity.

11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The only reason the statement seems anti-semitic is because you may not realize how angry the public school families are at how the Orthodox are trying to ruin the schools. Rightly so, if you want honesty."

Let's be honest here and call a spade a spade. Everyone knows that the Orthodox community is labeled by certain ALPS-type segments as "trying to ruin the schools." But the fact of the matter is that the Orthodox people who are labeled as such have never had the necessary influence on the school board to even attempt to do so. In fact, it is the non-Orthodox people who control the school board and have led the district and schools to the "ruined" point that we all witness today. With that in mind, is it really fair to label the Orthodox as trying to "ruin the schools" when all they ever talk about is teacher performance and student performance - something that the current board clearly has done nothing to improve.

Stop the hypocricy. Just becuase they're Orthodox doesn't mean they're not qualified or that they can't do a better job.

12:36 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Yeshar Kochachech for changing the spelling and I await the posting of the link to his comments.

The link is there.It's a link to my comment section where the comment was left in its entirety.

12:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are some more pearls of stupidity from "one Yaacov Gross" that I think should not be ignored:

"There are many in our community who benefit enormously from the special services, yet from the comments of some "election activists" and the open letter signed by some of our community rabbis – but not by all, I am proud to note - one would think that there is an overt campaign to deny resources to our community. I don’t doubt that there are hotheads on the “other side” who speak in terms of “payback” to our community for our school budget and board votes, but this flies in the face of the facts. With a handful of exceptions – and, yes, those need to be understood and, if appropriate, contested – our community does receive services from the public schools.

As I know Yaacov Gross and I know many parents of "private school" special ed parents who have been shafted by the district, I would like to set the record straight:

1. Yaacov Gross has had no experience dealing with the district along the lines of what these special ed parents describe, because he is in the fortunate position of not having had to turn to the district for services.

2. Yaacov Gross has and always has had an "agenda," which is quite obvious from his message.

3. When numerous parents hear "paypack" type rhetoric from district administrators, personnel and employee who are empowered to make these decisions, the problem clearly runs far deeper than a couple of "hotheads on the other side" as Yaacov Gross attributes this sentiment.

4. I also noticed an eerie parallel between Dr. Fitzimons' email and that of Yaacov Gross. Dr. Fitzsimons cites the "many letters on file from parents of private and public school parents thanking us for providing the special services that have positively changed the course of their child's education." Gross similarly states that there are only "a handful of exceptions" and "our community does receive services from the public schools." Both Fitzsimons and Gross belittle the difficulties faced by these parents whose lives are already challenged with the added responsibilities of caring for one or more children with disabilities, and point to the fact that some other parents are satisfied with services, as though the existence of any number of satisfied parents negates the hardships of those unsatisfied parents who now cannot provide for their childrens' needs or are forced to spend $40k - $50k in tuition to pay for their childrens' needs - because the district has denied services to 8 out of 10 children attending Kulanu Torah Academy. While it's obvious that the Superintendent of the district will stop at nothing to defend the district's practices (as his job depends on it), I was disgusted to see an individual who would like to see himself as a communal leader make the same statement without having the benefit of the anecdotal and statistical evidence that either side cites.

5. Last but not least, I would add that it is an extremely rare occurrence for all of the rabbis in the community to come to a common understanding and to sign all of their names to any statement or cause. And having heard some rabbis discussing this letter over the past few days, I can confirm that this letter was precipitated by meetings, discussions and first hand accounts from professional educators, leaders of community schools, education attorneys and parents. All of which leads me to wonder - Who is Yaacov Gross to cast aspersions on 21 rabbinic communal leaders whose combined wisdom, knowledge, leadership and integrity

I must admit that when I first read Dr. Fitzsimons "Shame On You and Tikun Olam" missive to all of the rabbis in the community, I was somewhat humored by the irony of the Superintedent chastising all of the rabbis of the community with which he often avowes his mission of harmonious relations and greater understanding. It also occurred to me that the Superintendent clearly lacks an understanding of the reverence that members of the community have toward their respective rabbis, and that lecturing the rabbis on Tikun Olam would not land him more respect from the rabbis or the community. But the irony of an Orthodox member of the community making a similarly irreverant gesture towards the 21 rabbinic leaders of the community, as did the Superindented who has no foundation in orthodoxy, cannot be ignored. What audacity?! Doesn't this man have any respect for rabbinic leadership? And what does he mean when he references the "open letter signed by some of our community rabbis – but not by all, I am proud to note"? This got me very curious, so I looked back at the letter to determine whether there was a single rabbi (of any shul) in the District 15 community who did not sign his name to this letter - There isn't. So, after casting aspersions on all of the community's rabbis - because he knows that some children have in fact received services, what is Gross so "proud to note"?
Is this all under the banner of the "Darchei Shalom" he professes in his email? He must be kidding.

1:18 AM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

""open letter signed by some of our community rabbis – but not by all, I am proud to note"? "
Just curious is the letter signed by the Rabbis of Temple Israel and Sinai? If not, for starters there are "community Rabbis" who didn't sign. Just to make it clear they aren't my communal leaders-but they are leaders of a segment of Lawrence population.

" and that lecturing the rabbis on Tikun Olam would not land him more respect from the rabbis or the community. "
Sadly issues of Tikkun Olam are ignored in many circles of 5T's . When was the last time you heard emphasis in schul in a drasha about Tikkun Olam or Darchei Shalom-rather than the "mystical power of Yehei Shmei Rabba"-see latest project of Chafetz Chaim Foundation.

Or how many have read:
"Tikkun Olam : Social Responsibility in Jewish Thought and Law (Orthodox Forum Series) (Paperback)
by N. Y.) Orthodox Forum 1994 (New York, David Shatz (Editor), Chaim I. Waxman (Editor), Nathan J. Diament (Editor) "

A worthwhile introduction to Tikkun Olam

5:07 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Just curious is the letter signed by the Rabbis of Temple Israel and Sinai? If not, for starters there are "community Rabbis" who didn't sign. Just to make it clear they aren't my communal leaders-but they are leaders of a segment of Lawrence population.

mycroft, that's a funny thought. If the Rabbis of those temples were to have signed, they probably would be looking for new jobs. Can't imagine there are many members of their congregations who are voting for the "private school candidates" (to borrow a turn of phrase).

8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember when this used to be an interesting blog?

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Jared said...

To the anonymous person bashing Mr. Gross. You are a dirty coward who hides behind the vail of anonymity while Mr. Gross actually reveals himself. I disagree with his premise, but it isn't 'stupid' and, like I said before, he has much courage to come out under his own name and make a statement. Why don't you reveal yourself - what are you afraid of?

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way anon - I know of a couple of Orthodox Rabbis who actually refused to sign the letter.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous outraged in lawrence said...

he has much courage to come out under his own name and make a statement. Why don't you reveal yourself - what are you afraid of?

9:29 AM


Well, Fitzsioms is sending his letter around with a message that all private school parents should read and take it to heart. Mr. Gross is entitled to his opinion, but there's no reason that his opinion has to be assumed as represetative of all of the community. As a matter of fact, it isn't. I think Mr. Gross is wrong, ad I don't just mean I disagree with his opinion. He is wrong on fact. There are plenty on parents who feel that they have been denied the services their children need, and who the hell is Mr. Gross to say there aren't? He is NOT my spokesman, nor do I want him to be.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gross had little respect in the community before and he has even less respect now.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Just curious is the letter signed by the Rabbis of Temple Israel and Sinai? If not, for starters there are "community Rabbis" who didn't sign. Just to make it clear they aren't my communal leaders-but they are leaders of a segment of Lawrence population."

You may not have realized this, but there are two distinct Jewish communities in the 5T with a divergence of opinion these school board matters, so yes, there are no rabbis of this community that did not sign the letter - of course that refers only to the orthodox synagogue rabbis whose message the letter conveys. As for Rabbi Rosenbaum of Temple Israel, he already made his position very clear last year when he endorsed Stanley Kopilow on his Temple letterhead.

"By the way anon - I know of a couple of Orthodox Rabbis who actually refused to sign the letter."

That's ridiculous - unless you're referring to rabbis who aren't in the community - I just cross-referenced the letter with a list of every shul in the community and all of their signatures are on the letter. Are you trying to say that there are additional individuals with rabbinic ordination in the community who did not sign the letter? There wouldn't be enough room on ten letters to include every individual with the rabbi title - obviously, this letter was only submitted to rabbis who officiate in shuls in the community. Are you referring to rabbis in Milwaukee who "refused to sign the letter?" You're no better than Fitzsimons and Gross, belittling every rabbi in the community, because you know better.

10:34 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember when this used to be an interesting blog?

9:25 AM


I'm sorry you don't find e-mails with bigoted undertones sent out under a public school e-mail list to be interesting. I do. Bigotry isn't a local issue, last I checked.

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone see the latest from Fitzsimons? It appears that he just forwarded a copy of Gross' email to everyone on his list. Now, if that isn't illegal ...

10:47 AM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

'hitler would be proud of how the government of lawrence is run'

This was WAY over the top.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The only reason the statement seems anti-semitic is because you may not realize how angry the public school families are at how the Orthodox are trying to ruin the schools. Rightly so, if you want honesty. "

Maybe I'm simple minded, but why isn't the school board "issue" a matter of supply and demand? The fact that the orthodox vote against the "public school community" (even as a bloc) is just a sign of the changing needs of the community?

Why make it a jewish thing? Just keep it what it is...changing demographics that lead to one type of person to vote against another type?

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thekvetcher said...

"hitler would be proud of how the government of lawrence is run. did you evertry to park in the lot behind amazing savings? it is a psychological terror. try it in the rain with a kid in a baby seat walking back and forth to the meter and to the car."

OM said: "Lol. I hear. I have a post about the speed of the local ticket-givers on this blog somewere."

Orthomom, after a comment like this, you can only respond with an "Lol", and refer to an earlier post regarding parking in the Five Towns? You didn't feel any need to admonish the kvetcher for his Hitler - Lawrence comparison? That's a darn shame, and unfortunately, quite telling.

12:09 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Point taken. I really just skimmed the comment before pressing publish. The Hitler comparison is wrong and offensive and I apologize.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Jared said...

Anonymous and Outraged. You've both crossed the line of decency and respect in communal discussion. You just want to vent and bash anyone who disagrees with you, all while conveniently hiding behind the vail of anonymity like a bunch of cowards. On the contrary, outraged, though I may disagree with Mr Gross, I'd rather have people like him than raving lunatics like yourself representing me. Who really cares what either of you think anyways, you're just a bunch of cowardly morons.

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, Jared - What's your name?

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think many of you are missing the point. Although I would agree with many on the intentions of Fitz, the main person we should be discussing about is R Leff.
Any comments would be appreciated

12:49 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Jared said...

Anonymous and Outraged. You've both crossed the line of decency and respect in communal discussion. You just want to vent and bash anyone who disagrees with you, all while conveniently hiding behind the vail of anonymity like a bunch of cowards. On the contrary, outraged, though I may disagree with Mr Gross, I'd rather have people like him than raving lunatics like yourself representing me. Who really cares what either of you think anyways, you're just a bunch of cowardly morons.


Jared, I'm somewhat amused by your rant. Let's not pretend that you yourself haven't crossed the line here with your namecalling. "cowardly morons"? "raving lunatics"? And it isn't as if you've submitted your full name with your own overheated comments. Posting under te name "Jared" is not exactly a hallmark of a courageous commenter. I am of course the last one to require my commenters to post under their real names - people don't exactly come to the blog of an anonymous blogger for accountability - but please, step back and take a look at your own contradictions!

And let me be clear: "Outraged in Lawrence " is perfectly entitled to say that Mr. Gross does not represent him, as you are entitled to state who you feel does and does not represent you. There is nothing in his comment that designates him a lunatic, or anything close to that. I think the rhetoric level has to be ratcheted down by yourself.

1:25 PM  
Anonymous Jared said...

Orthomom,

I'm not hiding in anonymity to publicly attack a member of the community by name. If Anonymous had revealed himself, I would have done the same and challenged him in person on his remarks. And besides, it's not between me and him - it's between him and Mr. Gross, the person who's character and reputation he has publicly maligned in a cowardly, disgusting fashion.

Further, given the fact that he snipes at Mr. Gross's character behind anonymity, why should I reveal myself and allow myself to be victimized by some cowardly hoodlum? I'm not cowardly, but I'm also not foolish either.

In terms of the rhetoric, in terms of what I probably should have termed these two depraved individuals, I'd say that I'm being rather mild.

2:05 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

In terms of the rhetoric, in terms of what I probably should have termed these two depraved individuals, I'd say that I'm being rather mild.

Jared, I completely disagree. Tell me wat "outraged in Lawrence" said that you find so offensive?? That Mr. Gross is not his spoeksman? That makes him "depraved"?? Your name-calling, again, is way out of line wen your target has done noting to deserve it, as in this case. You started off this dialogue very reasonably, and I responded in kind - I conceded your points and corrected them. But on this, you are very very wrong.

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why isn't Jared remotely outraged about Fitzsimons' and Gross' efforts to malign the 21 Orthodox rabbis in the community?

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one expected any different kind of response from Orthomom or any of the other private school parents that frequent here. It is YOU that Mr. Gross is writing about!

3:00 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Anonymous said...

No one expected any different kind of response from Orthomom or any of the other private school parents that frequent here. It is YOU that Mr. Gross is writing about!




I'm not sure what you mean. Do you mean when Mr. Gross discusses the rhetoric that he feels has pervaded this campaign? Find me some. Find me an example where I have spouted rhetoric against anyone in this community when it comes to this election. I have been very fair and measured, I have only asked for answers.

Do you mean when Mr. Gross criticizes members of the private school community for voting as a bloc instead of examining the issues? I have examined the issues ad nauseum here. Perhaps they have not been answered to your liking, but that is a different story.

You may not like the fact that I am a private school parent, and from your comment, it is clear you did not "expect any different kind of response", but where were you on the issues. There have been a few advocates for the budget in recent weeks who have come around here and spoken on point, and I have been grateful for their presence and contribution to the debate. But to just argue on the merit of my being a "private school parent"??? Here I am, a voter who is asking questions about the issues. Any time I brought up the questions, 9 out of the 10 responses are attacks against a community at large. Where are the substantive answers to my questions?

You are espousing Mr. Gross's words, where he says everyone sould behave in an appropriate manner, and as a community?? Then where are the comments from you decrying Mr. Squeri's words that I quoted ("How could anybody living around here be suprised at the behavior of these people. Isnt it ironic that Bruce was chastised for trying to help us challenge these people? Perhaps now you see that they are capable of anything. What I don't understand is why you think you can reason with them) as divisive and intolerant? Don't pay lip service to "getting along" until you are willing to actually come through.

3:18 PM  
Anonymous CATHOdad said...

Please....

I am hopeful that Jesse's boys will pull though and win, but if they don't....we will see how fast another school is closed, programs cut and services rendered.

What will you then ORTHOmom

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"we will see how fast another school is closed"

What's wrong with closing another school. Haven't the Superintendent and the board already decided to close another school?

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Not Jared..... said...

Yep....now they want to close the high school and sell that off too. Pretty soon, they'll be teaching in the school buses since all of the schools will be condos. Didn't we learn anything from the past? They sold #3 school in the 1970s and then cry that they are short of classroom space in the 1990s. Didn't Kelleher propose spending $30 million to expand the high school - they very building that Fitzsimmons now wants to close. Do ANY of these officials know what they're doing? If we change the Board's voting habits tomorrow, could we do it and hire some competant people?

6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't we build another school in Zion Park while we're at it?

Does anyone recall why they closed the Number One School?

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would you believe there are couple of Brooks/Rizzo supporters combing the area right now and indiscriminately planting signs in people's lawns?

7:37 PM  
Anonymous My opinion is.... said...

The best thing to do is have the early morning commuters spend 15 minutes combing the area (particularly around the polling places) to throw them out.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

"'hitler would be proud of how the government of lawrence is run'

This was WAY over the top."
Very inappropriate language-
Especially the Mayor of Lawrence is Jewish and his wife is an assitant principal of a major Jewish Day School/Yeshiva in the 5T's

9:16 PM  
Anonymous usually anon said...

" indiscriminately planting signs in people's lawns"

Are you sure it's indiscriminate? That would be a pretty stupid thing to do since most people, myself included, would immediately take down any sign put on my property without my permission. Is it possible that they received permission from these people? Why assume chicanery?

9:26 PM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

"so yes, there are no rabbis of this community that did not sign the letter - of course that refers only to the orthodox synagogue rabbis whose message the letter conveys. As for Rabbi Rosenbaum of Temple Israel, he already made his position very clear last year when he endorsed Stanley Kopilow on his Temple letterhead"
Not that Rabbi Rosenbaum cares what I think- but I believe it is inappropriate for him to endorse anyone.
If all 21 Ortho Rabbis-don't know how the count is endorse anyone position on any political matter- it is because at least some are afraid of facing their congregants on this matter and don't want to use up their capital on not signing this type letter.
BTW I've known a few people with legitimate smicha who are opposed to the making the emphasis of opposing the budget. I'm sure more take Orthomom's position. It reminds me of all memebers of a BD say a person is chayev in a cpital matter he is not executed because hecouldn't have got a fair trial.

9:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now, Rizzo and Brooks have kids lining Broadway in Lawrence with signs now. Yes, of course they're doing it indiscriminately - I just heard a rabbi pulled one out of his lawn a little while ago. Aside from the illegality, what exactly is the strategic benefit of this?

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW I've known a few people with legitimate smicha who are opposed to the making the emphasis of opposing the budget.

Mycroft, is that the best you can do? I know people with legitimate smicha who
rape little boys.

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orthomom,

Long time reader. It would be nice if you set aside school voard elections and tuition crises for a moment and discuss the "big elephant sitting in the living room." I'd be curious to hear your take on the matter.

12:41 AM  
Blogger DAG said...

Well..i voted today in Woodmere...First time i voted in NY...I guess you know you need to lose weight if they cant close the curtain around you!

1:12 PM  
Blogger Madame Marceau said...

having voted at the Number 6 school this morning with my 2 little ones, and seeing and experiencing the pure viciousness that has become the District 15 school board elections, i can honestly say i am thoroughly facinated and disgusted by these events.

i work for a yeshiva in #14, and i clearly remember how the districts were going to stop bussing after 4:30 pm and the furor it caused.

i signed the petition to move the library to Zion Park because i didn't understand how a library can be shafted like this. i got the letters, have the Hatten/Kaufman sign on my front yeard. my kids went through speech through the district, but were denied for CPSE...someone decided that because he's a Yeshiva student and not desperate enough for services.

if they can charge me taxes, then really, they can't deny me services, can they? i'm not allowed to not pay my taxes, but they can certainly say "no, your son is in school too long, we aren't going to bus him" or "yes, we know the schools are empty on sunday, but no, you can't have Super Sunday there....because we don't a good reason to let you."

and to think, i thought moving here was a good idea.

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So dumb...and naive...

Super Sunday ending was a result of cuts from a failed budget.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Madame Marceau said...

so you mean it wasn't in retaliation for not passing the budget? silly me.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again...so dumb and naive...

So you think that nothing that effects the private schools should be cut when the budget fails.

HEHEHEHE!!!!!!!

Its going to be scary once the private schools take over that board!

4:13 PM  
Blogger Madame Marceau said...

i would appreciate you refraining from insulting me, especially if you are not "man" enough to sign the things you post.

5:08 PM  
Anonymous senor sanchez said...

madame marceau...this is your real name?

5:32 PM  
Blogger Madame Marceau said...

it happens to be one i am known by, as it was given to me by my boss.

but, no, it is not the name on my driver's license.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you seen these so-called "bouchrim" giving out leaflets for H/K? What a chillul.

5:43 PM  
Blogger DAG said...

what about those bochurim?

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do the leaflets say?

6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't anyone realize yet that the people who vote this budget down are DESTROYING their own neighborhoods? Do they realize they are hurting innocent children? Do they realize that private school services are going to be the first to be cut when the money runs out? Why are you trying to destroy a community that was once the best on long island? Why? I'll never understand, haven't they learned from how bad things have gotten over the past few years that this nonsense has been going on? Lawrence is now the laughing stock of long island.Hope all you NO voters are happy with your ignorant choices.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous 764 said...

Just to set the record straight on Super Sunday... There was also a Super Saturday. That was taken away ( at the same time as Super Sunday ) because of the buget failure. The schools are not "full" on Saturday either. Why is only 1/2 the story given by Mr. Kaufman? or any other non public scool speaker? Mr. Kaufman also cried about Pre-K bussing. He tried to claim that only the non-public children lost this service. The FACT is that Super Weekends, Pre-K bussing, Continuing Education, Summer Programs hosted at the public schools ,and many other fine extras were lost to EVERYONE in the community because of the failed budget. How do these losses equal an attack on the Orthodox community? Can't everyone on this board see that when we fight against each other, or don't use our common sense, or don't try to work together, that EVERYONE loses! I am not "anti" anyone. I am a parent, a tax payer, a concerned citizen, a neighbor, and hopefully a friend to all. Let's stop the fighting, and 1/2 truths ( on both sides ) and let make this a community EVERYONE can be proud of..

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Just heard,,,, said...

So much for the power of half-truths.....just heard the budget's been shot down again. Fifth year in a row budget voted down on the first try....that has to be a sad record

10:25 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...


Anonymous said...

Have you seen these so-called "bouchrim" giving out leaflets for H/K? What a chillul.


Um...what's the problem here? I have yet to see a leaflet for Hatten/Kaufman that is anything but respectful and on-point.

10:29 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Lawrence is now the laughing stock of long island.

Let us not pretend that Lawrence is the only district that has had rejected budgets in recent years. This is a common story, and I hardly think Lawrence is any sort of laughingstock. It is just one of the many Nassau County districts with budgets that have been shot down, and I might add it still has the highest per/student spending of any of its fellow austerity districts. Laughingstock...how, exactly?

10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No administrator worth his or her salt will even take an interview at Lawrence. Top teachers no longer will look to move to SD 15 either. The only superintendents we can get are from outside NY and are too stupid (or greedy) to even check into the failures here.

Laughingstock? I wish the reputation was that strong anymore. No other LI district has had the past 5 votes rejected in a row.

In the end, we are all the LOSERS in this battle.

10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

serious? you think each time WE, yes, WE the orthodox community voted this budget down we should continue to receive services while the public school students services got cut? I got sick of the rabbi's telling me what to do, when are the rest of you going to stop acting like lemmings and doing what you are told. I left because of it, I live in a district now that passes the budget and I'm much happier being away from the US and THEM mentality that WE created. Do you not realize that you are discriminating against the public school students aka non-orthodox?
And each time we voted the budget DOWN, the Yeshiva tuition went up. When will you realize what I did? There is a cause and effect. who is really getting ALL your money?

How do you expect to get special ed services when you aren't giving them any money to do that? Do you realize that the Lawrence District provides more services to non-public school pupils than ANY OTHER district? Do you realize that they've done it longer than other districts? Do you realize that with the new changes in the State regualations and with the changing of the guard in the District PPS department you probably won't be getting anything anymore? Do you NOT know that the old guard has been fighting for you? Do you NOT know that any of this?

11:55 PM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

The following from Newsday online probably summarizes accurately both "communities " view of the budget:(I deleted identifying information about those quoted-other than one is a public school parent and one is an Orthodox Jew who apparently does not use the public school system)

"Watching the Lawrence district's proposed budget fail for three years prompted , 49, of Atlantic Beach, to vote for the first time in his life. "I never saw the importance of voting until I had kids," he said. He has a -old son who attends No. Six Elementary and a -old daughter.

Other voters seemed to have little faith that the budget would pass this year. There is a unique dynamic in Lawrence, where an influx of Orthodox Jewish families who send their children to private schools has eroded support for the public system, evidenced by the continual rejection of the budget. Voters yesterday acknowledged the tensions between public and private school parents, split along religious lines.

Voting in favor of the library proposal, but against the budget, , an Orthodox Jew, said it doesn't make sense to pay for services she doesn't use. "We pay high taxes," said , 39, of Cedarhurst. "And we don't get a lot of benefits for it."

12:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We elect school board members like Dr. Mansdorf and his wife Orthomom who have never once set foot at a function of the Public Schools.

Orthomom, tell us how Sportsnite was, or can your husband? You didn't even support your fellow board member whose daughter sung the national anthem. Shame on you for all your posturing on how you are supportive of all children you and your husband are all talk and no action. Show up once in a while maybe the public school people can put a face to the spew.

12:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm not going to pay for services I don't use" - when your child has a reading or speech problem see how fast you'll tun to PPS to USE THE PUBLIC SERVICES. SELFISH FOOLS! You'll be happy when your neignorhood has no public school and the community looks like a third world country with million dollar mansions. GET A SMALLEr house ... YOUR TAXES WON'T BE THAT HIGH.

6:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont even know why I came to this site, I was already upset, now I'm just sick!!! These people wont be happy until the public school has nothing and for what??? there taxes will continue to increase.... It is because they can! Nobody reproduces faster then the orthodox and when you marry your first cosin its not that hard to get laid!

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

I go back a while and it all started when Toddys decided to close on shabbos. The rest is history

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great site, how do you build such a cool site, its excellent.
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6:01 AM  
Blogger Arnold Spender said...

I am writing a play and possibly a book based on the "culture wars" in Lawrence between the orthodox and secular communities.

Othodmom and her blogg has been a great source. I anticipate asking permission of those people who have used their real names. If anyone who has posted anonymously does not want to be quoted, please let me know.

Normally one needs permission to quote even from Internet lists and bloggs etc. However, permission is not needed to quote from anonymous posters (i.e. since there is nobody from whom permission can be requested)

Arnold Spender

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great site lots of usefull infomation here.
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