Sloatsburg NY, – In just a few days, tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews from the tri-state area will be heading to their summer homes/camps/bungalows – in the Catskill Mountains.
As everyone knows, one of the peak travelling times of each week is Thursday evenings, when working men begin their commute to the Catskills to spend Shabbos with their families. Thousands of these men utilize the Sloatsburg Mincha area to Daven Mincha and/or Maariv.
As is previous years, leading Askonim have had many meetings with various officials including the NYS Thruway Authority and the NYSP regarding the Sloatsburg Rest Area, which has been designated for use as a “meeting area”.
Many complications and obstacles have come to light in years past, due to irresponsible individuals utilizing the area to sell hot food such as chulent and kugal, religious items, and people collecting Tzedakah (charity). YWN reported about this constantly, and even posted warnings from the Thruway Authority that the area would be shut down if the actions of these few individuals would not be immediately stopped.
Boruch hashem the area was graced by the presence of long-time Askan, Reb Mordche Friedman Z”L of Kiryas Yoel, who took a handle on the situation and prevented a shutdown of the area. He personally was responsible for cleaning up the site, and assuring officials that the rules would be put into place. He became an icon of the area, and could be seen every Thursday evening at the site, greeting and smiling to the Thousands of travellers.
Unfortunately, Reb Mordche took ill before last summer, and was fighting for his life. Despite all the hardships, and while undergoing difficult treatments for his illness he was driven to the Mincha area almost every Thursday evening last summer, and spent hours making sure things ran smoothly.
Sadly, Reb Mordche was Niftar just one day before Pesach this past year at the young age of 56.
The legacy or Reb Mordche Friedman Z”L, will be remembered by dedicating the name of the Mincha area to “Mincha area Tfiles Mordche” which will be supervised by his sons who are following in their father’s footsteps in leading a life of Chesed.
Rabbi Morton Friedman was renowned within the community and in the New York metropolitan area for his proactive, noble, and selfless deeds of kindness and generosity (chesed), Rabbi Friedman is celebrated for his chaplaincy positions in the law enforcement field with both the Sheriff’s Office of Orange County and the New York State Troopers PBA and his chaplaincy positions in the healthcare domain at the Upstate Regional Medical Center and Arden Hill Hospital (where he installed the
Bikur Cholim Room to accommodate Orthodox families).
The following important information regarding the area was sent to YWN on behalf of from Rabbi Bernard Freilich, special assistant to the Superintendent of the NYSP and Rabbi Abe Friedman NY State Troopers PBA Chaplain and Liaison to the NYS Office of Homeland Security.
*Everyone who will be participating in the Minyanim is urged to drive directly to the second floor – and not park on any grassy area – or your cars will towed immediately from the tow truck which will be stationed at the rest area specifically to deal with this problem.
*Parking area is designated on the second floor which is much better suited for the Heimish Oilam’s needs, as there is much more privacy, and easier access to the restrooms.
*There will be zero tolerance by the NY State Thruway Authority and the NYSP regarding the selling of food.
*There will be Kosher products inside the building. This idea has finally come to fruition, with one machine selling kosher products.
*There will also be zero tolerance with people collecting Tzedakah (AKA: panhandlers)
*No hang-out of any kind, this area is for prayers and worshipers only.
*Parents should be extra careful not to abandon their little children in the car, while using the rest area.
In conclusion, we urge all travelers who are using the Minche area Tfiles Mordche, to observe all special instructions that are given by the NYS State Thruway authority and the NYS state police. Who will be on site every Thursday.
“We truly hope that the community will obey by the simple rules, it and make certain that the summer vacation travelers have a pleasant experience at the at the Mincha area and will be using it for prayers proposes only, Rabbi Abe Friedman, son of Reb Mordche Z”L told YWN.
YWN wishes all travellers a healthy, pleasant and enjoyable summer.
(Dov Gordon – YWN)