Police Shutdown Jewish Festival in Catskills on Friday Morning After Supreme Court Ruling


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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:

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”.

Read the 2017 court decision here —- and the latest 2018 supreme court decision here.

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)


  1. Its quite obvious what happened here. Hamavin yavin.
    Just wait for the major revenge taken and you will all ask. “”Why why why””” or “they are abunch of anti semites etc.”

  2. If someone CHV”S died because a stage fell on him or food poisoning or whatever the outcry would be “why didn’t the authorities prevent it”?

    If the organizers were to have issues with the oversight and permits not being granted then there are legal avenues to address this. But to just ignore such requirements is a potential disaster.

  3. Dumb and dumber. You want to have an event, you get the permits. Anything else is illegal. Period. Dina d’malchusa dina. This is a commercial, not a religious event. Where does this guy get the idea that he can flaunt the local laws and then cry, “anti-Semitism!” when the police enforce them?

    Want to know why we’re having trouble in NY-NJ with getting eruvin built, using parks, etc.? Guys like this. Arrogance wins no friends.

  4. Lots of chachamim like Dennis Prager argue that anti semitism is baseless hatred of jews. One need not look around too much upstate to find many a reason why people hate jews.

  5. If this article is accurate, I agree with Midwest2 and others. You don’t flout the law and then cry foul. The private sentiments of locals and local officials are irrelevant. Follow the rules or don’t play. This is immature, entitled, dishonest and uncivil behavior. Worst, it’s a big fat chilul Sheim Shomayim; law-abiding, upright Jewish citizens will be tarred with the same brush.

  6. Who is this nutjob that thinks he is above the law??? Then he has the gall to cry “Anti-Semitism”?! Some nerve. Yes, we have suffered greatly over the centuries. Our ancestors were tormented, tortured, slaughtered- all for being Jews. This idiot goes ahead and “thumbs his nose” at the law and authority and then twists the story around. This event sounds quite far from being very kosher as well.
    He goes ahead and creates THIS event as one of the major challenges that “klal yisroel faces”. Talk about exaggeration! Yes, we face many difficult challenges. This is not one of them! I’d quicker venture to say that these type of events actually happening are from our greater challenges, or at least help create additional challenges for the klal yisroel he’s so concerned about. Just go ahead and refund all those people you’re so concerned about! (No; b’h I’m not one of them) Gut Shabbos to all (and FYI it is assur for a goy to observe shabbos. So before creating your events of ” unity and love”, better talk to some REAL Rabbis.)

  7. Sorry, but dinah d’malchusa dinah. You can’t just ignore municipal law and call the results anti-semitism. If he can prove that the decision to deny the permits was done in the name of anti-semitism, that’s one thing. But permit arguments do not meet the bar of ignoring the law of the land.

  8. Why didn’t Ywn post headlines big CHILLUL HASHEM!!!!!! ??????? Only a kidush hashem gets major headlines? This event is nothing more than pritzus, tipshus and hefkairus.

  9. This ian sheigetz is an embarresment to the human race, let alone to the Jewish people.
    He should be tarred and feathered, for starters.
    Dont make us all look stupid be crying anti semitism, this has certainly caused massive anti semitism.

  10. Ridiculous, he doesn’t comply with the law, then has the gall to cry anti semitism!!??
    No different than the minority population that don’t comply with the police then when issues escalate as a result of their lack of compliance, they cry racism!!!!
    Hight of stupidity… follow the laws & get the permits then you won’t have issues!!!

  11. Best idea is to avoid this event like the plague. We don’t need an Orthodox Woodstock concert, busha!!!!
    & Elbaz you’re ruining your reputation hanging out with these guys. Go back to Israel for the wife & children’s sake!

  12. Unfortunately many think the same way as Leifer. This was written about Monsey this week:

    “During a Public Hearing at last night’s (07/24/18) Town of Ramapo Planning Board meeting, a supposed resident of the area under discussion expressed his support for the development proposal at 4 Hopal Lane. His entourage clapped loudly each time he said how much Monsey needed more high-density housing. The problem though was that he gave his address as 32 Blauvelt Road which is a VACANT house. The next person to speak pointed out that fact.

    The first speaker and his entourage that even included children were clearly a shill and ringers for the developer who is from Monroe. How many other times has such fraud been perpetrated?

    We are all aware of the frauds committed by developers that took place recently in Bloomingburg, NY. What steps are being taken to ensure that such cases do not occur in Ramapo and that the integrity of the Public Hearing process is guaranteed so the views of legitimate residents are properly counted?”