Jewish temple project on hold

26 06 2009

CLIFTON – A proposed Orthodox synagogue in the city’s Rosemawr section that’s drawn strong opposition from neighbors has hit a snag.

The city Planning Board did not hear the application Thursday night, removing it instead from the agenda after the city zoning officer wrote that the project should be judged by the Board of Adjustment, which would postpone the hearing to July 15.

The reason given was that the site plan does not meet the conditional use requirements for parking.

But Frank Carlet, the lawyer for Congregation Shomrei Torah of Passaic/Clifton, argued Thursday night that the Planning Board should review the site plan because it met all requirements, including one for parking and interior landscaping.

“We’ll go to court,” he said. “They’re dead wrong.”

The Orthodox Jewish congregation is seeking to build a synagogue and ritual bath for women.

David Gross of Clifton, the congregation’s president, said the point was to construct something within walking distance of members, who live in that part of the city.

Orthodox Judaism forbids work on the Sabbath. From sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, observant Jews are not permitted to drive, and many families walk the stretch of Dwasline Road to attend Sabbath services in Passaic.

Initial plans for two buildings were changed to accommodate objections from residents. Sidewalks also would be constructed in the revised plans.

Gross said changes were meant to mollify residents, who have objected to the temple for a variety of reasons, including the size and scope of the project, and their view that the temple wouldn’t conform with the nature of the neighborhood.

But an attorney representing residents opposed to the project said it would not fit into the area.

“It’s totally inappropriate for the neighborhood,” Ira Weiner, who’s based in Montvale, said before the meeting. Weiner cited the size of the addition and parking as issues.

Fred Komarow, 50, of Virginia Avenue is one resident against the project.

“I’m pro-synagogue but I’m against one in this neighborhood, of this size,” he said.

The city planner had objected to the plan because its use would be too intensive for a residential neighborhood and because of lack of sidewalks on Dwasline Road.



Passaic teen to undergo counseling for posting inappropriate pictures on MySpace

24 06 2009

CLIFTON — A 14-year-old New Jersey girl accused of  after posting inappropriate pictures of herself on has been ordered to undergo counseling but won’t face more serious charges.

The Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office said the girl must undergo at least six months of counseling and stay out of trouble. If she does, all charges against her will be dropped.

The Clifton teen was initially arrested and charged with possession of child indecency and distribution of child inappropriate pictures. If convicted on those counts, she could have been required to register as a sex offender. NJ.COM PCJN

Breaking News 2 Robberies in the last 10 minutes by gunpoint

6 01 2009

The passaic police department is on a search for  a green Mercedes older model  with scratches on the side door. Shots were fired at victim #1 but Thank G-D the gunman missed, nothing was taken from him. A 2nd victim was outside the Home Depot in Down town passaic. Victim # 2 was robbed but no shots were fired and a hand gun was displayed.

Update; 11:17Pm 6 Passaic County Units are in passaic searching for the gunman.

PCJN is first to report this story as well as all Breaking News

Footprints in snow lead to suspect

18 12 2008

footprints in the snow

Photo from: (with permission)

CLIFTON — Police say they tracked a teenager they suspect of robbing another youth by following his footprints in the snow Tuesday night.

About 9:30 p.m., a 17-year-old Clifton teenager was walking alone on Van Houten Avenue when he was approached by someone wearing a mask and pointing a gun, said Detective Capt. Robert Rowan of the Clifton Police Department. The thief told him to turn away and stole the victim’s cellphone. He fled on foot toward Passaic on Van Houten Avenue.

When Clifton police responded, they found a distinct set of footprints heading toward Passaic, Rowan said. They tracked the prints a few blocks to a house on Albion Street.

Police spoke to the homeowners, who told officers that a nephew was in the basement with a group of friends. Officers searched the teens and found the pellet gun and cellphone in a 16-year-old’s sweatshirt pocket.

The Passaic boy was charged with robbery in the first degree, unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of an imitation firearm in the commission of a crime. Police arrested another teenager in the group on an outstanding $1,500 warrant on disorderly conduct charges in Passaic, Rowan said.

On Wednesday, the 16-year-old was held in the Passaic County Juvenile Detention Center in Haledon.


Campers jump at chance to help at the YM-YWHA Jewish Community Center

12 08 2008

CLIFTON — Alex Braun, 4, usually jumps rope just for fun.

But Friday afternoon, Alex was among about 100 children ages 3 to 12 who participated in a “Jump-A-Thon” to raise money for Parents of Autistic Children, a non-profit autism advocacy group.

The children were all campers at four summer camps housed at the YM-YWHA Jewish Community Center on Scoles Avenue.

“We raised money to buy Band-Aids for the kids who have boo-boos,” Alex said.

During the event, which took place on a field near the community center, camp counselors counted how many jumps their charges could complete in 10 or 20 minutes, depending on their age. Parents and other supporters pledged to donate between 25 cents and $1 per jump.

Sarah DePeri, 10, of Clifton, said she jumped 110 times in 10 minutes. Why?

“Because we wanted to help raise money for the sick people,” she said.

Gary Weitzen, executive director of the Brick-based Parents of Autistic Children, attended the Jump-A-Thon and handed out hats and wristbands to the children.

Camp officials said they didn’t know how much money was raised Friday. Last year, the Jump-A-Thon raised $5,300.

“They all enjoyed it,” said Mike Vallila, director of YM-YWHA’s KinderCamp and K’ Ton Ton summer camps. “They had a good time.”

Alex Cabrera, 10, said he wanted to get involved because one of his close friends is autistic. His favorite part of the Jump-A-Thon?

“Falling on the floor all sweaty,” he said.

Reach Jennifer H. Cunningham at 973-569-7162 or

Passaic woman charged after leaving tot in SUV

16 07 2008

A 33-year-old Passaic woman was charged with endangering the welfare of a child yesterday after she accidentally left a toddler inside her SUV for about three hours in Clifton, police said.

The 2-year-old boy, also of Passaic, was not breathing and had al most no pulse when she finally no ticed him and got help, but the toddler was expected to fully recover, Clifton Detective Sgt. Robert Bracken said last night.

Meira Lebovitz spent part of the day carpooling six children, including several of her own. Later, after dropping off five of the children, she stopped at the Home Depot in Clifton at about 2 p.m., not realizing the 2-year-old was still asleep in the back, the detective said.

While in the store parking lot on Bloomfield Avenue, Lebovitz suddenly noticed she had forgotten to drop off one child, who had fallen asleep in the rear of her Chevrolet Suburban sport utility vehicle, Bracken said. Lebovitz, a friend of the boy’s family, rushed the child into the store, the detective said.

The child was dehydrated, had a temperature of 102.6 degrees Fahrenheit, was not breathing and did not have a noticeable pulse, Bracken said. The boy ap peared to have advanced heat stroke, he said.

Two customers in the store began cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the child as they waited for emergency rescue crews, according to the detective.