(LATEST UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF ARTICLE)
An annual Jewish event in Sullivan County is being shut down Friday morning, after years of illegal operation. A decision handed down June 21 by the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division is stopping the fifth annual event from taking place this weekend, Shabbos Nachamu.
At 7:00AM Friday morning, Deputies from the Sullivan County Sheriff Department were stationed on the two roads leading into the event in Jeffersonville (40 Sickmiller Rd & Route 52), and stopping vehicles from entering the property to attend “The Camping Trip” – an annual event hosted by Ian Leifer.
The three-day event features performances from some popular singers and groups, including Gad Elbaz,Moshav Band and Zusha.
For quite a few years, the event has caused issues between Leifer and the Town of Delaware. The Camping Trip, has a website and sells tickets online, making this event a commercial one, and needing permits from the Health Department etc. None of those permits were issued, nor did anyone file for permits – despite being warned that they must.
Interestingly, Leifer knew that this event may be shut down, yet tickets were still being sold as early as Friday morning at 9:00AM. No where on the website did it inform people of the pending issues.
Deputies were seen blocking the “port-a-potty” company from entering, and other guests.
The Appellate Division prohibits music festivals, plays, films and other dramatic performances in the town’s Rural District without a permit from the Town of Delaware Planning Board.
“He didn’t have a permit to have the event – ever,” Town of Delaware Supervisor Ed Sykes said. “He just thumbs his nose up at the whole process.”
While Leifer in the past has claimed that the event is not a money maker, the website boasts prices which begin at $200 for a camping pass, $700 for a 4-person package, $900 for a family package plus tent rental fees, and $75 meal tickets.
Sponsorship and vendor opportunities are also available, according to the website, but no costs given.
Advertising live music, camping and food in exchange for tickets, thecampingtrip.net states, “The Camping Trip was born out of a love of live music and a desire to be free of the mundane and ordinary. This beautiful 68-acre landscape nestled in the foothills of the Catskill mountains teems with wildlife, freshwater streams, woods, and open fields; providing a perfect environment for those seeking a weekend of relaxation, good vibes, good music, and a fresh, new kind of social experience. This private party is an exclusive, invite-only event that caters to the celebration of Shabbat, life, and love. Come and party in the middle of the woods for the weekend of July 27th – 29th, 2018!”
Leifer argues the evolution of what was a campout with a few friends into a weekend-long Shabbos festival, which has attracted nearly 600 people on several occasions, shouldn’t be worrisome to the town.
And Leifer feels it’s protected by freedom-of-religious expression laws. At Leifer’s latest court appearance his attorney, Russell A. Schindler of Kingston, argued that Town of Delaware laws excessively interfered with his [Leifer’s] expressive conduct in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
However, a panel of Appellate Court Judges saw it differently. They ruled, “A theater…is prohibited in the Rural District.”
His 2018 lineup of performers include:
Gad Elbaz גד אלבז, Moshav Band, Zusha, G-Nome Project, Soulja Music, Noah Munro Lehrman, Brosky, Soulfarm, Emily Zimmer Music, The Steve Bluth Project, Esther Freeman Music, D.J Kamilly.
Leifer said he’d an eruv around the event this year, and interestingly wrote the following on the website:
**NEW** THIS IS A SHOMER SHABBAT (SABBATH OBSERVANT) EVENT, PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL TO OBSERVE SHABBAT ACCORDING TO JEWISH LAW TO THE BEST OF YOUR ABILITIES
THERE ARE NO SCHEDULED MUSICAL PERFORMANCES OR SOUND CHECKS ON SHABBAT
THERE IS A HALACHICALLY SOUND EIRUV ON THE PROPERTY
THERE IS A SEFER TORAH AVAILABLE FOR LEINING ON SHABBAT DAY.
Please note: This is not an exclusively Jewish event, however everyone is encouraged to observe Shabbat.
“As seen elsewhere on the site, there are Shabbat accommodations available. The Camping Trip provides guests with the opportunity to feel comfortable keeping Shabbat while camping. This is not an exclusively Jewish event, however everyone is asked to observe Shabbat and Kashrut (Kosher) publicly. There are no scheduled musical performances or sound checks permitted on Shabbat. There is a halachically sound Eiruv on the property, as well as Glatt-kosher Shabbat catering included with every ticket. There will be scheduled davening times and there is a sefer Torah available for leining on Shabbat day.’
Sullivan County Undersheriff Eric Chaboty told YWN the following:
“It’s an unfortunate situation but The Camping Trip event at the Leifer property in Jeffersonville has no permit from the Town of Delaware, no permit from the State Health Department and a permanent injunction against it issued by the New York State Supreme Court”.
UPDATE 12:00PM ET: Ian Leifer now claims this is “Anti-Semitism” and that “Klal Yisrael is facing a great challenge today”. The post goes on to say that “three (unnamed) holy tzaddikim (righteous men) in our time have all urged us to go forward with this event”.
The Facebook post does not mention if these three Tzadikim were asked about anything else regarding the event.
From the event Facebook page:
From the Organizer of the Event- Klal Yisrael is facing a great challenge today – the anti-semitism we have faced and the oppression we are facing now all stems from an anti Semitic comment made by Town Supervisor Ed Sykes after Ian Leifer received permission to host this event from the building inspector Jim McElroy. Ed Sykes said after permission was granted by the building inspector – “You must have thumbed your nose at the town because you are Jewish” – the ensuing lawsuit resulted because of Ed Sykes anti-Semitic comment- he is behind all of the harassment and legal affairs. It is times like this, that Klal Yisrael needs to unite for social justice against corruption and the enemies of the Jewish people. We ARE moving forward with the event – and have alternative parking alongside the road at 341 Swiss Hill Road North, Jeffersonville, NY 12748. Additional alternative parking is being obtained – and we are asking all guests to come and take part in the event in protest of the injustice that has come upon us. If not now, when? When the Jewish people forgo their doubts and stand up for truth – HaShem is with them. We are Am Yisrael – and it is moments like these that define who we are as a people. All aspects of the event are in place and will move forward as planned – the only thing we are
missing is your presence here, and your support. There are already 100 people+ here that are taking a stand – will you be part of this cause? We need YOU and the event will go on with you. Three holy tzaddikim in our time have all urged us to go forward with this event – Come now- the catered food will be here as planned, all services and all acts will take place as planned. COME- they can try to hurt the few, but they cannot the many. We have overwhelming support and many more people are coming now then ever before to stand up for our right to celebrate our love for G-d. Stay alert to our posts – we will keep you updated.
(Charles Gross – YWN)