MAILBAG: We Will Not Stand By As Children’s Lives Are Carelessly Put At Stake In The Catskills

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‘Lo Sa’amod al Dam Rei’echa!’

Our dear Jewish Brothers and Sisters,

We are writing to you out of deep frustration and genuine fear for innocent Jewish children’s lives.

Last summer a beautiful young 4 year old boy was killed in the Catskills R’L.

Pointing fingers is undoubtedly unproductive, but as a functioning society and as Jews in particular, we all have a communal responsibility to try our best to determine what can possibly be done to prevent such a horrific event from ever transpiring again.

So here are the facts.

The development where this tragedy occurred has a typical wide circle of homes, surrounding a beautiful grass field, with a road encircling the homes and a driveway extending up to each one. However- unlike the typical developments with this setup – there is no path whatsoever in this field, and no gate from the field to the road. Therefore everyone, adults, children, and toddlers alike, use the road encircling the homes for walking, biking, riding, and all such activities.

From 15 year olds biking, to 7 year olds running, to 3 year olds in their Little Tikes cars and 3-wheeler toys, the road looks like your average playground. Just with cars driving too.

The immediate threat this poses to the children’s lives is undeniable. Speed bumps do little to prevent an accident when you have children and cars on the same road. An average 6,000lb car can do fatal damage to a child even when traveling at 1mph.
Children and vehicles do not belong on the same road.
This is a universally accepted common sense.
For this reason, most, if not all developments in the Catskills, have paths in the center of their circle of homes for children to walk, play, and ride their bikes and toys.

Why a path was not installed initially is an enigma, but that is in the past. We’ve already suffered a terrible tragedy and lost a precious beautiful Jewish young boy to this bizarre setup.

Which is why we were horrified to find out that this summer 2019 – a full 12 months later – there is still no path for the children.

The management of this development have done all sorts of things from making a parking lot for guests, to putting up toll-booth style gates at the entrance (which as of this letter being published are not even functioning yet) to restrict access to the road and allow colony members only.

But the road still remains a road no matter who drives it or when.

The Management strangely seems to be avoiding this indisputable glaring issue – there is still no path.

How many more tragedies R’L do we need before the management of this development wakes up and takes the necessary precautions to prevent another accident?

As fellow Jews in the Catskills community, we refuse to stand idly by as this reckless endangerment of precious Jewish Children continues.

If this situation is not corrected, and a proper path not installed, we will have no choice but to publicize the name of this development.

This is extreme Pikuach Nefashos, and we will do whatever is necessary to keep our Jewish Children safe.

-Concerned Jews in the Catskills

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.

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(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)




30 COMMENTS

  1. Didn’t this story involve an ice cream truck? Won’t young children run towards the ice cream truck regardless of the setup in the colony?

  2. While not arguing in any way with the sentiments expressed here, why are the members of that colony not either leaving or doing something?
    Seems like some info may be missing here.
    I’d advise this letter writer to speak to a competent rav before doing anything

  3. I again saw one of those ice cream trucks being driven by a youth backing out of a development in south fallsburg this past Sunday. These monstrosities have little in terms of a rear view and therefore should not put themselves into a position where they will need to back up. It also wouldn’t hurt to raise the age of the kids who are driving these things.

  4. The facts are facts every development has a path for children. This one doesn’t and that is why such a tradegy occurred there and not anywhere else. All those opposed to the path have blood on their hands. When will they wake up?
    I don’t go to this development but have visited it frequently and I am appalled.

  5. This story has a lot of holes in it that need to be filled. What do you mean that Management doesn’t care? They flat out said no to your proposal? Did you consult daas torah? Perhaps it is a mitzvah min hamuvchar to publicize the name of the development if the facts as you state them are indded accurate. The story begs for more clarification.

  6. typical “anonymous” concerned jews. if you have an issue with “management” take it up with them. I highly doubt “managements” in the development under discussion reads ywn, or any website for that matter.

  7. “Children and vehicles do not belong on the same road.
    This is a universally accepted common sense.”

    Yet, some parents persist in allowing their children to play on the road, then, they go and blame “management”.

  8. @frafrumet
    Please explain how having a path would have prevented this freak accident. The kids were clamoring around an ice cream truck. How would a path helped? Ive been to to this development numerous times. Each time I am there I amazed by the number of speed bumps. To suggest that the management doesn’t care about the safety of children and has blood on their hands is inflammatory and pretty disgusting.

  9. Based on some of the videos posted here on YWN in recent months showing cars in Brooklyn going up on the sidewalks to get around double parked cars and trucks, I think the kids are at greater risk walking on 13th Avenue than at some bungalow colony in the mountains

  10. The unfortunate truth is that as the initial group of homes are next to the lake, had they built the development the typical way with the road on the outside, the road would have been between the houses and the lake. Esthetically, it was much prettier to have the houses next to the lake without a road and cars disturbing the view. So….. they built the road on the inside. In addition the developer did not like the look of it being all fenced in. So…. there are no fences. And a child is dead.

  11. I am so disturbed by this letter and some of the comments. Anyone familiar with the accident knows that it was unpreventable and involved kids around an ice cream truck, completely unrelated to the layout of the development. (Obviously nothing would change if the truck was on the road outside a fence). Despite this, there have been hundreds of hours spent by the people closest to the tragedy- the parents of the children of the development and yes, the management (!!) who also have children in the development, to increase the safety and remove potentially dangerous issues. Regardless of the letter writers’ arrogant propaganda, the homeowners and management have been working together on multiple ideas related to safety and yes, also a bike path which is in the process of being made. That someone should feel comfortable posting a comment blaming a developer, management or anyone else for the tragedy displays (besides ignorance of the situation) a complete corruption of middos. Don’t you think the people involved are humans, parents, yidden who are still dealing with the pain!!! May we all be zoche to judge and be judged likaf zechus.

  12. Dear concerned parents of the catskills- -AS I AM SURE YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH, many children are now riding around on various electric vehicles at relatively high speeds. Unfortunately this poses a risk to these “drivers” (who are often toddlers) as well as many other children on bikes and the like. Please let me know how I can join your coalition of concerned parents to raise awareness and protect our children from the potential injuries these vehicles pose.

  13. To the very passionate ng72- you clearly are someone close to this whole mess. You know too much and your taking it too personally.
    Let me take a wild guess- your a homeowner at this colony and your someone who voted against the path to begin with. And reading the truth (finally) publicized so bluntly not only hurts your precious ego, but also makes you come to terms with the idea that you might be very guilty for this childs death?
    Am I close?
    Oh, and of course mention ‘corruption of middos’ – that’s always a great way to prove a point and win an argument. Nebach your struggling to keep your head in the sand. But honestly, I pity you. The truth has got to hurt. Especially when a child is dead due to that truth. And even more so when your responsible for that truth.

    Ouch.

    I have relatives in this establishment and I myself live nearby.
    Your description of how everyone is working together, the homeowners and management spending hundreds of hours, working on solutions yada yada -very nice PR attempt.
    It is pathetically comical how the clearly obvious precaution of putting a path and a gate that practically every other colony out there seems to have done without a second thought, seems to not pass the threshold of worthy ideas amongst your great and wonderful management.
    Thankfully the very well off members of this place have generators in case of a power outage.
    But a path?? Wow. Who would have thought of that?? Mind. Blown.

    Seriously dude. Wake up.

    And to the rest of you making comments assuming there are details missing from this letter etc.
    Unfortunately there really aren’t.
    Yeah, there’s the regular politics and disagreements of any place with a group of jews living together, and this path thing has always been a heated topic. But everyone (including my relative) never wanted to stir too much ruckus and create machlokes.
    And now a child is dead.
    Great job keeping the peace guys.

    And as far as Ice Cream truck comments-
    1- The driver was not at fault whatsoever.
    Perhaps in general there should be older, more careful drivers. Perhaps something can be done in that arena. But this was NOT his fault.
    2- if kids are on the road anyway.. and vehicles of all kinds are too.. does it really matter with what kind of vehicle this particular incident happened to occur with? And if it was a Toyota Sienna does that make it ok?
    Logic people. Come on.

  14. Dear Concerned Parents,
    I go to a very popular development and I agree with @ng72 regarding electric vehicles..
    A 5 year old driver completely drove over another boy up to his neck and was still pressing the gas! I picked the vehicle off the kid. There are boys with these fast motorcycles that go extremely fast without a helmet.
    This is a real concern!!!!
    As for the above letter…. Lets have some decency as everyone is still hurting from the tragedy and there is no reason to further rub it in.

  15. What a well written letter about this sad and tragic topic.

    As a friend of a homeowner and a frequent visitor of this development, i can verify the truth of the facts and have a respectable understanding and feeling of this horrendous situation to know not to beat around the bush.

    I believe the intention of making a public complaint was in the hope that it applies the proper attention and commitment to something so desperately needing a solution in a more timely fashion. It is an elementary understanding that when it comes to pikuach nefesh it requires a fast response, and almost a full year later and there are still only things “in the process of being made” is hard to swallow.

    There is no help or sense in using this tragedy as a vehicle to bemoan other similar safety concerns, or to shrug off the whole topic as if theirs nothing to do. It is unprecedented not to have a path in a summer development and it is therefore obvious and expected to make such a request.

    Whether or not a path would have prevented this accident is immaterial, because that is not an excuse to have an extremely dangerous situation which is obvious from the fact that every other development in the Catskills has one. Our job is to try our best in protecting the safety of ourselves and our children. That is all we want!

    Let it be clear to all that the management of this development are good upstanding and ehrliche people, which adds to the mystery, and it is unfortunate that it has reached this point.

  16. DOVIDTzvi- Ok, in all honesty I have never, ever posted a comment before on these types of forums as they really just serve to let anyone with a keyboard/smartphone spew whatever they want. No, I’m not a homeowner but yes I do know a lot about the events and steps being taken to make the place safer and having been shown the article felt it important to put the truth out there. Having done that, I will happily return to conversing with people who have faces and communicate with each other properly. Your comments are a prime example of why I and many others avoid these forums , though I wish you all the best.

  17. @DovidTzvi
    Instead of accusing another poster and the management of the development of murder, please explain how a path would have prevented that horrible, freak accident from occurring.

  18. Some actual facts: Management and Homeowners committed to install bike paths over the past year. However unfrozen ground and dry weather are required. The extremely rainy spring did not allow for the work to be done until now. Bike paths are in the process of being laid as we speak.

  19. It’s very strange to me that original poster thought that this discussion would be worthwhile having in this public forum and would have any toeles other than creating “hock” and unproductive communal voyeurism.

    Perhaps you thought that this is the only way that you could voice your complaints without being identified, or that you could shame the development into responding. Perhaps you think your anonymous post makes you a hero to “the cause.” Perhaps in our age of message boards and trolling, heroism is indeed anonymous and unaccountable. Perhaps.

    Unfortunately, your identity is obvious and even worse, your facts are incomplete.

    Please consider taking down this post as it is hurtful to everyone – and I mean everyone – involved. You have needlessly made a permanent record of sanctimoniousness, rushing to judgement, and immaturity. You have created a forum for criticism that is more debatable than you let on without giving opportunity for people to defend themselves. Would this be a topic of no consequence, it could be forgiven as misplaced passion, but this online conversation and the causes you reference are now searchable by all involved. I doubt anyone takes solace or derives chizuk from them

    I am only posting this here so that this thread can end. I will not respond further on this page. If you would like to discuss further, please contact me. In private, in a group, but not on the public internet.

    Again, please have this post and follow up discussion removed. Thank you.

    Shmuel

  20. “NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.”

    But they have reviewed it and decided it is fit to publish (“DO YOU HAVE AN OPINION YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE POSTED ON YWN? SEND IT TO US FOR REVIEW).”

  21. Shmuel Ismach-
    I’m not involved in this whatsoever, but I hate when people like you are so condescending to people who write opinions anonymously.
    Whomever wrote this letter clearly is trying to get something done (that apparantly should have been done long ago?)
    And after reading all the feedback, ESPECIALLY yours, I think it is very understandable why they chose to remain anonymous. By you saying you know their name – literally demonstrates why they chose to remain anonymous! What kind of childish threat is that??
    I don’t think anonymity is a sign of weakness or immaturity. Quite the contrary in fact. After reading some comments above, it seems there are many people in agreement with the authors – yet in all this time THEY didn’t have the guts to do something about it. Kudos to the authors for making a stance and taking action!
    And like daas1 says-
    ‘I believe the intention of making a public complaint was in the hope that it applies the proper attention and commitment to something so desperately needing a solution in a more timely fashion. It is an elementary understanding that when it comes to pikuach nefesh it requires a fast response, and almost a full year later and there are still only things “in the process of being made” is hard to swallow.”
    If in a full year nothing has been done- and that seems to be the truth because there are many comments above saying the same, I assume the authors figured that the only option left is to turn to the internet and try to force change by putting public pressure. If they are telling the truth that seems a commendable move.
    You say this letter leaves no way for the people to defend themselves, and you take the high road and say you won’t respond here – that is untrue and immature. Go ahead and defend it! State your claim! Tell the facts as they are and prove this guy false!
    Me and everyone else reading this are eagerly waiting for your explanation of how this all makes sense! Why did management not put in a path or whatever? People commented ‘there is a path being installed as we speak’ are you aware that its been a full 12 months? And of course there is a path now- this letter worked!! Please enlighten us on the apparent ‘missing details’ of this story!

    With people like you around who will threaten the people who have a difference of opinion and decide to do something about it, anonymity is a blessing. THANK YOU YESHIVA WORLD!

  22. a bike path is being laid, today. contrary to the hateful, and simply wrong, assertion by mr. (gender assumed) anonymous “management” of said development cares.

    am i the only one who finds mr. anonymous’ use of the memory of a dead child to besmirch a bunch of people and to further his own petty agenda offensive?

  23. LakewoodHocker, the ground here is frozen until March, and the asphalt company doesn’t even open until April. Since Pesach it has rained so constantly that work could not be done until now. What part of this can’t you understand? If you actually think someone could wake up one day and suddenly decide to get a job like this done that day in response to ‘pressure’, then I feel sorry for your hockees. If you would rather believe that a multitude of people are callous and uncaring, then you have never heard the words hevi dan es chavercha lkav zchus. It amazes me that even the apparently well-meaning posters never thought to ask themselves, or even to post a question to the site, what might be a different reason that paths haven’t been built?, rather than defaulting to the position of false judgment.

  24. @MoshavLetzim – I have never seen such a pack of lies in my entire life.

    Lets start with this. Why was this not dealt with THE NEXT DAY AFTER THE TRAGEDY – AND FOR THE 3 MONTHS UNTIL THE GROUND “FROZE”?

    I won’t waste my breath with the rest of your pathetic responses.

    This place better have a path done in the next 2 weeks or this will explode in ways never seen before. There are more people here than you would want to believe that are livid. We had enough. ENOUGH. Get it done N-O-W.

  25. When the developer decides that he has daas tooraah (yes I spelled it that way on purpose) and bases his decisions on personal preferences and expects everyone to blindly accept his opinion – there will be problems. The developer should have gotten up after the levaya and accepted responsibility for letting esthetics determine the way the colony was built with a tragic outcome. And a child is dead.

  26. Lol. I’m envisioning Beach Holtz (aka Concerned Parents aka family member of DOVIDTzvi, BriskerDude and all the other user names he/they use to make it seem like he’s not a lonely voice yelling in his bedroom) stamping his feet screaming “N-O-W” and then finding out that the bike path that was agreed upon last year by the people who are involved and actually care and can discuss things civilly is now finished (and was arranged to be put down before this whole thread started).

    Wait til you catch your breath before you figure out what the next private issue is that “deserves” to become public shaming.

  27. It sounds to me like the person who started this thread tried to buy a unit in this place and was denied entry. If the way you get revenge is by bringing up a child who is no longer with us it seems to show that the people who did not allow you to buy were correct in not accepting you. Not sure why this whole thread was allowed by yeshiva world.

  28. Briskerdude, today bike paths were completed, and now a hurricane is approaching New Orleans. What, you see no connection? Same for not having bike paths and the ice cream truck accident. It is very good that there are now bike paths, and yet having them earlier would in no way have prevented this accident. So please stop connecting these two events falsely.