May 25, 2011
An article published in The Journal News, a Gannet newspaper serving the lower Hudson Valley, reported on an unfortunate incident involving Aron Rottenberg, who recently suffered third-degree burns to half his body.
As the story goes, Rottenberg had been ostracized by the Skver Hasidic sect that runs the Village of New Square because he did not worship at the community’s main synagogue, headed by Grand Rebbe David Twersky.
A letter distributed to the community in November 2010 by New Square’s leadership and rabbinical court warned that not worshipping at the main synagogue was a severe violation and that anyone in violation must be stopped from using the community’s facilities.
Sources reported that Rottenberg’s family had faced growing levels of intimidation in recent months, including broken windows in their home.
Protests outside the Rottenberg home calling on them to leave led to the family installing surveillance cameras.
On Sunday, May 22, Aron Rotteberg confronted a man carrying a rag soaked with flammable liquid behind his home on Truman Avenue and Rottenberg was severely burned during a confrontation.
Rottenberg is in serious condition at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla but is expected to survive.
Meanwhile, as a country, we are spending Zillions of dollars and sacrificing thousands of our soldiers to death or permanent disability in Iraq and Afghanistan, and not more than 60 miles from Ground Zero, we have extreme religious fanatics engaged in early-stage ‘Hassidic Jihad’.
Today, they attack each other because of the PLACE where they worship.
Apparently, this is not even an issue of “what do you believe?” or “How do you live your life?”
What might happen tomorrow?
I’m concerned and angry, but not quite ready to fight personally.
Yet, our TAX DOLLARS are supporting this insane behavior: The fire district; The police; The district attorney; The public defender; The school district. Each of these entities is involved in this case, and it goes on and on.
I think it is inappropriate for the majority to be saddled with the costs of religious fanatics fighting over turf.
This really is no different from the Crips vs. Bloods, or any other iteration of gang behavior.
Best I can tell, this whole mess looks and smells like it has RICO implications.
Where is the US Attorney? The FBI?
If we are to support this circus with tax dollars, let’s get our money’s worth.
May 18, 2011
I live in the City of Mount Vernon, New York.
Mount Vernon is a small city (70,000 residents) located immediately north of New York City.
As a stand-alone city, Mount Vernon is fully self-sufficient, including a school district.
The Mount Vernon City School District (“MVCSD”) currently has about 8,600 students.
According to recent census statistics, there are about 12,500 residents of Mount Vernon in the 5 to 18 age group, which implies that nearly 4,000 young people who live in the City of Mount Vernon attend schools outside of the District.
What seems to have occurred over the past several decades is an economic exodus from the MVCSD, among families with economic resources in search of school environments that have a high probability of both admission to — and graduation from — a “good” college or university that will lead students to a career which allows income (cash-flow) sufficient to support a middle class life style.
This economic exodus has helped to support and/or encourage a concentration of higher need students into MVCSD (and other similar districts which are predominantly urban).
Dozens – maybe hundreds – of studies have confirmed that the primary predictor of success in school is highly correlated to household economic status.
Subsequent demonstration projects have shown that creative interventions can offset socio-economic disadvantages, and put children from economically challenged households on par with their middle-class peers.
On May 17, 2011 a small group of eligible voters – less than 10% — flocked to the polls in Mount Vernon and defeated the proposed MVCSD budget for 2011-12.
I am not smart enough to determine if the proposed school budget was an optimum budget, but I do know that the presented budget was very much like the contingency budget that will likely be adopted instead.
So, the small percentage of eligible voters who came out to the polls accomplished little, except to highlight that the civic participation among citizens of the City of Mount Vernon is awful.
In a city where over 30,000 residents are eligible to vote, why are just 8.5% turning out to vote?
I think the MVCSD is one huge culprit in this mess.
Where were they with proactive information?
I’m not a happy tax payer. I really would like to think that young people in my community have an equal opportunity with their peers in other communities, across New York State, and the U.S.
I don’t think we are there now, and I’m angry!