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October 06, 1995 - Image 64

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-10-06

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N.Y. Village
Violated Jews' Rights

Lee Goosen Siegelson, former Detroiter and Cranbrook alumnus,
travels the world collecting rare and unusual jewelry.

Emerald & Diamond Bracelet

Natural Fancy Yellow Diamond

139 green emeralds 17cts and
129 round diamonds approx. 17cts.
Lot no. 1752 $47,000

1 radiant cut diamond 11.53cts,
2 side trillion diamonds 1.53cts
Lot no. 00654

Round Diamond Necklace

1 center round diamond 2.86cts and
95 round diamonds 25.82cts. Platinum.
Lot no. 299

Baguette Diamond Necklace

Ruby & Diamond Ring

1 oval faceted ruby 7.76cts surrounded
by 44 baguette and round diamonds.
Approx. 3.00cts. 18KYG.
Lot no. 4639

201 baguette diamonds 65.00cts. Platinum.
Lot no. 438

"David Webb" Sapphire
& Diamond Ring

Diamond Pin

115 baguette, round and pear
shaped diamonds 21.00cts. Platinum.
Lot no. 1114

15 square sapphires 7.50cts and
50 baguette and round diamonds 7.00cts
Lot no. 4696

Sapphire & Diamond Necklace

Emerald Cut Diamond Ring

1 center heart shape sapphire 40.00cts.
Approx. 42.00cts diamonds. Platinum.
(shown below)
Lot no. 390

1 emerald cut diamond 6.18cts.
Platinum mounting with
2 tapered baguettes.
Lot no. 00746

Partial listing. All items available for
examination in your home or office.




Call NORMAN ROMANOFF at: 800 223-6686

Siegelson's Diamonds, Inc. 56 West 47th Street, New York, NY 10036 • 212-719-2724 • Fax 212-764-7611

New York (JTA) — After being
harassed and intimidated by lo-
cal residents who opposed their
presence, fervently Orthodox
Jews in suburban Airmont, N.Y.,
have won the right to gather and
pray in the small, home-based
congregations known as
"shtiebels," which are often found
in Orthodox neighborhoods.
A Sept. 21 verdict from the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd
Circuit reversed a lower court de-
cision and confirmed that the Or-
thodox Jews' rights under the
Fair Housing Act and the First
Amendment had been violated
by their neighbors in the Rock-
land County village.
The village was found guilty of
violating the Orthodox Jews'
right to free exercise of religion
and to fair housing, but no dam-
ages were awarded.
The village will probably ap-
peal the decision to the U.S.
Supreme Court, said Airmont
Mayor Raymond Kane.
In 1991, Airmont was carved
out of the town of Ramapo. Its
founders wrote zoning laws to
prevent the fervently Orthodox
families from forming shtiebels,
which are common because Or-
thodox Jews are prohibited from
driving on Shabbat and need con-
gregations close to their homes.
A group of Orthodox Jewish
residents and the U.S. Justice
Department charged that Air-
mont's commitment to "strict
zoning" was designed to make
the village a less desirable place
for Orthodox Jews to live.
"Preservation of neighborhoods
[through strict zoning laws] is of-
ten the byword of the racist," said
David Zwiebel, general counsel
for Agudath Israel of America, an
organization that represents hare-
di, or fervently Orthodox Jews.
The organization filed a friend-of-
the-court brief in the case.
"There was a lot of sentiment
expressed by the residents of Air-
mont that went beyond concern
over changes in logistics," he said.
"We are pleased that willful
discrimination by an artificially
created village was recognized by
this decision," said Sanford
Schlesinger, chairman of the N.Y.
regional board of the Anti-
Defamation League, which also
filed a friend-of-the-court brief.
The village of some 9,000 res-
idents has several hundred Or-
thodox residents, a number that
has "in the last couple of years
doubled or tripled," said Mr.
Kane, a defendant in the case.
Most of the haredi residents
have moved to Airmont from
nearby Monsey or from Brooklyn
and other parts of New York

Rockland County village.
Several pages of the 53-page
ruling detail the ways in which
some of Airmont's founders have
attacked the Orthodox commu-
nity — particularly those who
tried to pray at the home of Rab-
bi Yitzchak Sternberg.
On one Shabbat morning, a
man later appointed to the Air-
mont planning board stood on the
boundary of Rabbi Sternberg's
property, counting and taking
notes on the worshipers, accord-
ing to the appellate court deci-
sion. He and others "conducted
surveillances of Orthodox Jew-
ish homes at prayer times," the
decision states.
Many biased comments were
made by Airmont's leaders
against the Orthodox communi-
ty, according to the court's ruling.

"Preservation of
neighborhoods is
often the byword of
the racist"

David Zwiebel

According to testimony of one
of the plaintiffs, the Airmont
Civic Association's then-presi-
dent had said Orthodox Jews
"knew that there were no hous-
es of worship when we moved
here," that the Orthodox should
not have moved to Airmont and
that the Orthodox were "for-
eigners and interlopers coining
from the outside" as well as "ig-
norant and uneducated."
At a 1986 meeting of the Air-
mont Civic Association, a group
formed to create the village of
Airmont, one resident had said
they should not be "giving up for
what we've worked very hard for,
to a bunch of people who insist
on living in the past."
The resident also had said, "I
will not have a Chasidic com-
munity in my back yard."
According to Agudah's
Zwiebel, 'The problem of anti-Or-
thodox bias, which we have seen
in many different communities
using zoning laws to keep them
out, is not at all limited to•non-
Jews. It's an extraordinarily trou-
blesome phenomenon," he said.
The fact that approximately one-:
third of Airmont's non-Orthodox
residents are Jewish, said Mr.
Kane, would seem to bear out
Mr. Zwiebel's assertion.
`This is an extraordinarily ma-
jor victory. I hope it sends the
message out" that bias against
Orthodox Jews will not be toler-
ated, Mr. Zweibel said, "because
it's not a phenomenon restricted



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