Manhole Covers Stolen In Paterson

16 11 2009

Paterson, NJ – There’s a new mystery in one New Jersey city: Who took 60 manhole covers from a public works yard?

Paterson authorities say the 200-pound cast iron pieces disappeared.
No arrests have been made. Police say it might be hard because the covers could already have been melted down.

A city councilman confirmed that public works employees are under investigation.

A scrap yard owner tells The Record of Bergen County that two uniformed employees of the city’s public works department sold him some covers.

The covers can sell for between $10 and $20 each.

Source: VIN

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Yeshiva Ketana of Passaic Tried To Buy Jersey City Shul in 1999

16 11 2009

The Saga of American Jewry – Based on Jersey City Realities

November 16, 2009

aj.jpgOnly about 100 meters separates the Oasis de Salvacion Angelical Church, downtown New Jersey City and the area’s busies Sunni mosque. While they represent different communities entirely, they have something in common, each represents that which used to be part and parcel of the area’s Jewish community, which included 14 shuls, community centers, tzedaka institutions and of course, kosher food stores.

Less than a five minute walk separates the mosque and the church, a modest street which tell the story, the story that is mimicked in hundreds of cities around the United States. “In the 1930s, Placid Blvd. was called Palestine Blvd. because of the large Jewish population” explains Rabbi Shlomo Marks, the rabbi of Congregation Mt. Sinai, one of two remaining frum shuls in the area.

During recent years, Marks has been working to revitalize the community. During the Yomim Nora’im several dozen mispalalim attended shul. On a regular shabbos, they barely scrape together a minyan. This was not always the case as photos taken years ago bear witness. A 1927 photo depicts dozens of men dressed in suits, wearing the then-stylish cylindrical top hats. About 200 meters (yards) away, Congregation Talmud Torah once stood but the shul’s decline already began in the 1960s.

The building was sold to a private investor who developed it, turning the shul into an apartment building. If one gaze’s upward near the roof, the engraving of the Ten Commandments is still visible on the structures facade, a monument to the Jewish community that has vanished. Rabbi Marks explains the Jews moved to the suburbs in search of a better life. They wanted larger homes, better schools and a backyard.

In essence, this is a good story, the kind we like to hear, a move towards an improved life, but sadly, as the suburbs blossomed, there were fewer and fewer Jews. “The move to the suburbs led to the advancement of the Conservative Movement,” explains the rabbi. The homes were spread out, separated from one another and the shul was far away, too far to walk. “The rabbis had no alternative but to permit using one’s car to get to shul” he adds.

Rabbi Marks goes on to explain that a number of studies today show that in the Conservative community, intermarriage is as high as 40%.

“I tried saving the Bnei Yisrael Shul, today a mosque” explains a veteran area resident, Arthur Goldberg. He lives in Jersey City his entire life, seeing it at its best. He refused to leave when the decline became reality. Even when his brother moved to the suburbs he remained in the area. When he learned the shul’s rabbi was about to sell, he got a number of people together to make an offer, seeking to save the building.

“He refused to even enter into negotiations. He viewed us as goyim” he adds. “For him, we simply were not frum enough. When Chabad offered to take the building, he refused as well. They were not his type. Eventually he had to sell but even then, he was certain not to sell it to people who were different, not subscribers to his type of frum.

Goldberg even organized a protest at the height of the opposition, but to no avail and today, the former shul serves as one of the area’s busiest mosques.

According to the city registrar, the building transferred ownership to the mosque in January 2000, it sold for $900,000. About a half year earlier, an organization calling itself the Yeshiva Ketana of Passaic tried to buy the building for $487,000.
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