Neighbor complains against Belmar Yeshiva

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Victoria Renner, 50, a Republican candidate for the Belmar Borough Council claims that Bochrim at Mesivta Kesser Torah – which is near her street – are loud and dirty, that the school itself has outgrown the neighborhood and that the council should do something about it.

Renner addressed the council during a sometimes heated exchange Wednesday night.

On Thursday, Mayor Kenneth E. Pringle, a Democrat, said that Mesivta Keser Torah School on 11th Avenue near D Street has been a fixture in Belmar in some form or another since about the 1920s. (The Yeshiva, is part of the Congregation Sons of Israel.)

“We’ve been through this over and over again with Mrs. Renner,” Pringle said. “The police respond to reports of violations and they are rarely substantiated.

Several students interviewed Thursday said they believe complaints are rooted in anti-Semitic stereotypes and they are being singled out from other young people who live in the neighborhood.

“I think so, definitely . . .,” said Ike Spitz, 16, of Brooklyn. “We’ll be playing football in the street and one of the neighbors, they’ll call the police, saying we’re impeding traffic. But other kids, they can play basketball in the street, a block up, and no one calls, nobody bothers them.”

Renner said that it’s not uncommon to see the students making noise, being up at all hours of the night, smoking, discarding their cigarettes on the ground as well as snack food wrappers and pizza boxes. There’s now a problem with rats, she said.

“Nobody in the community deserves to be abused this way,” Renner said. “Nobody. It’s not just Vicki Renner who is unhappy with this.”

William Tyler, 38, of 12th Avenue, agreed. He’s a Plainfield police officer who lives next door to a house that serves as a dormitory for the school.

Tyler said the students’ religion is irrelevant and that he likes the students on an individual basis. But there are nights where they have turned their dormitories into animal houses, behaving like any other young person liberated from an adult’s supervision.

A rabbi at the school declined comment Thursday.

Recently, Tyler attempted to invoke the Open Public Records Act in an effort to determine when the borough approved “a college” in town, which he said aptly describes the yeshiva because it houses both high school-aged and college-aged students.

Borough Administrator Robbin D. Kirk said no approval for a college has ever been given, but that borough records show that the school has existed in Belmar since 1926.

“As a community, we allowed this happen,” Tyler said.

He said the council should have kept a better eye on the school’s growth.

Police Chief Jack Hill said his department has responded when appropriate.

“Belmar Police Department protects its citizens on an impartial basis and thoroughly investigates any complaint of quality of life issues, and we take necessary enforcement action when justified,” Hill said.

Alice Cadotte, chief sanitary inspector for the Monmouth County Board of Health, said a Belmar health inspector visited the yeshiva last year.

“She has been out to the Jewish community center last summer and early fall with a garbage complaint and she believed it was resolved in September,” Cadotte said. “She hasn’t had a call since then.”

Renner said she believed the school would be best served if it moved inland, where it could buy more land, considering what the cost of property is here.

Tyler said the borough should apply its tough quality-of-life laws, designed to crack down on summer renters with respect to noise pollution and garbage, to the yeshiva.

Council President Meredith Brennan, who lives on 11th Avenue, said she does not see what Renner and Tyler see.

“I don’t have dorms on my street,” Brennan said. “There are kids around, don’t get me wrong, I see the kids in white shirts.”

Pringle warned Renner that she was risking a federal civil rights lawsuit.

“You can’t say don’t walk on our streets, you can’t say don’t walk in groups,” Pringle said. “This is a ticket to a federal courthouse.”

APP


16 COMMENTS

  1. If she expects to attract any more Jewish voters and registrants to the Republican party, she is mistaken. What an anti-semite!

  2. With Yeshivas popping up in every little community, B”H, Kain Yirbu, this type of news event is going to become more and more prevalent. This article, it seems, that most of the complainers and objectors to the yeshiva are either Goyim or non-Frum Jews.

    However, this is not always the case. I know of a beautiful little Yeshiva located in a Frum residential neighborhood, where the Ba’al Habatim like the Bochurim, but truely hate the whole package of having a Yeshiva on their block. Many of the same complaints mentioned above were voiced by the Frum neighbors.

    I’m curious what the Frum community thinks about this? Basically, how would you feel about a yeshiva with 50 teenagers moving in next door?

  3. scy, I know that about this particular Yeshiva. But I’m just curious about the larger, general trend of Yeshivas buying up two or three houses in a quiet residential neighborhood, and moving 20, 30, 50 bochurim into this quiet neighborhood.

    I mean, here you are, you spend 300, 400, $500,000 on a home on a nice quiet block. And suddenly a Yeshiva buys up three houses on the block and moves in.

    Just curious as to how you, or anyone, would feel. I’m embarassed to say, that I feel the saying, “not in my backyard” is coming out.

    We can all be real righteous about it, when yell at the objectors when it happens in another community. But how would you honestly react if it happened next door to you?

  4. The Yeshiva itself was founded in 1988 and for many years did not have a dormitory; they bussed in the Buchorim from Lakewood every day. The building was a JCC for the shul which is next door. The Yeshiva has almost no immediate neighbors for most of the year and they are not in Belmar for most of the summer due to their proximity to the beach.

  5. Yeshiva students need space. It is preferable that a Yeshiva have a large enough campus so that it does not encroach upon its neighbors. The boys should have a mashgiach to make sure that at night, they go to bed at a reasonable hour and don’t disturb the neighbors, and they really need a place for sports, not in the street. They have to be careful not to make a chilul Hashem, that is why they need a better place to house their Yeshiva, where they’ll have more space away from neighbors who like to complain, then there’ll be less chilul Hashem.

  6. I think basmelech put it well.

    I don’t think the neighbors could come up with these allegations if they merely hated Jews. IF the dorm is not supervised AND the kids are staying up late partying and making noise, they have a right to complain if it interferes with their quality of life.

    In my humble opinion, it is better to limit the amount of students in the dorm to a manageable number, rather than making a chilul hashem with the neighbors. Also, there has to be a park, or something nearby, where they can play without disturbing traffic, etc.

    Of course, I (and probably others here) do not know the true facts and dynamics here, so this is all conjecture regarding this particular Yeshiva.

  7. “I (and probably others here) do not know the true facts and dynamics here, so this is all conjecture”

    True, but reading the article with care and taking note of the relevant quotes gives you a better starting place than unsubstantiated conjecture.

    “‘We’ve been through this over and over again with Mrs. Renner,” Pringle said. “The police respond to reports of violations and they are rarely substantiated.”

    Police evidence is surely of significant relevance, before we start shootin’ the breeze about the possible impact a Yeshiva does or doesn’t have on its immediate environs.

    If you’re making a general statement, we all have a right to philosophize, and I wouldn’t take that fun away from anyone. But it might not be so appropriate to dispense free suggestions to what is a so far unsubstantiated claim.

  8. To all those who dont know about Belmar:
    The yeshiva was there before most of the neighbors, so when the neighbors moved in they knew there was a yeshiva there so dont say ” how would you like to have a yeshiva on your block”, bec they knew the yeshiva was there when they moved in. Renner complained about the yeshiva being dirty – i am sorry to say but the yeshiva is pretty clean.

  9. I think we all need to see one thing from this and this, if you are not a yeshiva person currently, should be drilled into your kids no matter what age they are, which is there are people out there – be it right or wrong – who are looking for something, anything, of which to complain about you. This is a chillul HaShem and we need to be on guard for it. Chillul HaShem is not only to ayno yehudi but its also to a yehudi as well.

    I am sure she is partially wrong on this however the bocherim should be extra careful not to provoke anyone.

    There is a meshugina at every corner.

  10. I think another aspect of this argument over the Yeshivas right to exist where it is, is the real estate values in that immediate area. The Yeshiva is located a few blocks from the beach and new homes around the corner (on 12th Ave) sold for over a million dollars this year. No doubt this women is concerned with the real eatate values on her block being effected by the Yeshiva. In another light and as someone who is quite familiar with that neighborhood, I do question why any Yeshiva would want to exist overthere. It is an out and out beach town and they are in the midst of building a huge marina. (not a bad place to invest in though)

  11. I happen to be very involved with the Yeshiva. If you would know how much time the Rosh Yeshiva spends a year fighting arguing with apponents of the Yeshiva you would be shocked. As soon as he finishes wasting time in government offices and court, They manage to come up with a another false claim. I guess the Yetzer Harah knows how inportant it is to have Torah in Belmar

  12. In rechavya someone berated one of the gedolei hador in the street on a sunday evening (this was a frun man) saying the neiborhood wasnt big enough for the two of them. (he wasnt happy with the yeshiva there)
    Hashem yeracheim this healthy mans leviyah was Tuesday!!!!!

    regagrding Belmar here is the monmouth county republican offices info
    Republican Headquarters

    http://www.monmouthrepublican.org
    16 W Main St
    Freehold, NJ 07728
    (732) 431-6664
    732.431.6619 fax
    [email protected]

    lets fax e-mail and call in our support for this great makom Torah!

  13. hi everyone i am a bachur at this yeshiva and i been following it very closely to start with mrs. renner she has some serious problems as a person she sits on her front porch all day just waiting for something to happen the boys try to be nice to her but she either ignores us or calls the cops just bec. she dosent work or do anything(actually i ounce saw her paint the curb but that is as far as her working goes)she even called the cops ounce bec. she saw one of the boys do a rolling stop at a stop sighn.i agree it is a problem with cigarrete butts but the rosh hayishiva spoke to all the boys some time ago and its really getting better.as far as the cop that lives next door to the dorm he works like one day every 4 days and he just calls the cops rndomely the cops come down but they say they are sorry for the incovience but they have to respond to all calls (he’s called the cops and his reason was someone was tapping his foot too loudly)and the app said a quote that there are pizza boxes being left out well there was a problem 3 or 4 years ago that one time there was a pizza box left out on the street but its not like its a daily accurance,the lawns by the dorms are even more well maintained than half the houses in belmar.just for everyones info. there are older boys that sleep in the high school and are dorm counsler(they are at the dorm whenever there is a break that the boys are aloud to be there) so there is always adult supervision.regarding the beach and where we are located we leave when the beach opens and duringthe winter there is no better place for a yeshiva the place is a ghost town