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Nassau County, NY - Shabbos Morning Police Action At Woodmere Synagogue Angers Orthodox Worshippers

Published on: May 19, 2016 08:43 AM
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Nassau County, NY - Elected officials and congregants expressed concern at a meeting this week after Nassau County police raided a popular Long Island synagogue on Saturday morning just as services were about to begin.

Seven members of the Nassau County Police Department paid a visit to the Young Israel of Woodmere, the largest Orthodox synagogue on Long Island on May 14th, according to Newsday.

Police said that they were there to interview the synagogue’s security personnel after being tipped off to possible gun license violations.

Steven Zuller, chairman of the synagogue’s board of trustees, said that the synagogue employs private security for the safety of its members.

“We definitely have a lot of security,” said Zuller.  “Our membership’s security and well being is one of the most important things. That’s top priority for anything we do.”

Police interviewed the security guards outside the synagogue’s doors, never setting foot inside the building.  Synagogue officials said that several hundred congregants were present at the time, some of whom were disturbed by the incident.

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“At no time did our members enter the temple of intentionally disrupt services,” said Steven Skrynecki, chief of department for the NCPD.  “While on property, we did interview several security personnel outside the temple.”

Police said that no violations were found and a meeting was held this past Monday between police, synagogue officials and local elected officials to try to smooth ruffled feathers.

“It appears that a police department investigation was legitimate, but all agree that it was poorly executed, poorly timed and not well thought out,” said Hempstead Town Board member Bruce Blakemen, who took part in the meeting.

Both sides acknowledged that it was important to maintain good relations between the synagogue and the NCPD and a second meeting has been scheduled for Thursday May 26th.

Skrynecki said that his department has received several complaints about the raid from congregants who felt the incident suggested “inappropriate timing and demeanor on the part of our officers,” but defended the raid saying that police are required to investigate all complaints regarding potentially unauthorized or illegal weapons.

“Upon receiving information such as that, the department is duty bound to take prompt action to maintain public safety and safety within or around a private entity,” said Skrynecki.


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1

 May 19, 2016 at 09:40 AM Anonymous Says:

this is the first time that i hear of this shul raid and it's been nearly a week since it occurred, though it sounds like it took place in mid 1930's Germany

I would love to know if the police department would get away with a similar raid in a mosque or a church without protests or outcries. of course NOT!!

instead, we yiden take the quiet intellectual way which only backfires on us with continuous anti semitism, as was demonstrated here. couldn't they have at the very least waited till after the services???

where are the protests, outcries??! demands for apologies??? i thought we promised never again??

2

 May 19, 2016 at 10:14 AM Surely you jest Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

this is the first time that i hear of this shul raid and it's been nearly a week since it occurred, though it sounds like it took place in mid 1930's Germany

I would love to know if the police department would get away with a similar raid in a mosque or a church without protests or outcries. of course NOT!!

instead, we yiden take the quiet intellectual way which only backfires on us with continuous anti semitism, as was demonstrated here. couldn't they have at the very least waited till after the services???

where are the protests, outcries??! demands for apologies??? i thought we promised never again??

Ok seriously? Chill. There's no comparison here to 1930s Germany.

3

 May 19, 2016 at 10:21 AM Shua Cohen Says:

The definitions:
1) "raid": a sudden assault or attack, as upon something to be seized
2) "police raid": a sudden assault or attack by law enforcement officers hoping to use the element of surprise to arrest targets that they believe may hide contraband or other evidence

The reality of what happened:
"Police interviewed the security guards outside the synagogue’s doors, never setting foot inside the building...or intentionally disrupt services."

This was a RAID?...a sudden assault or attack? Nah...just the usual media hyperbole meant to sensationalize a story beyond the actual reality. This quote from the story -- "It appears that a police department investigation was *legitimate*, but all agree that it was poorly executed" -- just isn't as exciting as a RAID!!!

4

 May 19, 2016 at 10:22 AM Yerachmiel Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

this is the first time that i hear of this shul raid and it's been nearly a week since it occurred, though it sounds like it took place in mid 1930's Germany

I would love to know if the police department would get away with a similar raid in a mosque or a church without protests or outcries. of course NOT!!

instead, we yiden take the quiet intellectual way which only backfires on us with continuous anti semitism, as was demonstrated here. couldn't they have at the very least waited till after the services???

where are the protests, outcries??! demands for apologies??? i thought we promised never again??

Are you really this dumb or are you just trying to sound like a bovan? Nazi Germany?? A "shul raid"? They did not enter the shul and they came and left rather quickly. The vast majority of congregants weren't even aware the cops were there for a brief period of time. There was no questioning of congregants, just a matter of following up on a report of possible firearm violations on the part of security personnel. And THIS is what you're jumping up and down about, screaming about Nazi Germany and wondering why there are no protests or demands for apologies? I know that many of us look to play the victim no matter what the situation, crying "anti-Semitism!" if we so much as think a non-Jew may have looked at us cross-eyed. But still, get a grip, brother.

5

 May 19, 2016 at 10:35 AM rabbibillet Says:

I am the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Woodmere. There was no police "raid" on Shabbos. A few police officers (I met 3) came to the synagogue to speak with our security people. They departed shortly afterwards.They did not enter the building. We take the safety of all of our worshipers and their families very seriously. We want our synagogue to be a safe place for people of all ages. Everything we do in the realm of security has the full knowledge and cooperation of the Nassau County police force. Our facility is very safe and secure because of our outstanding security team, the additional measures that are in place, and assistance of the 4th precinct of the Nassau PD. Everything else that has been reported is hyperbole and the figment of the imaginations of individuals who are Shakespeare lovers and want to make much ado about nothing. Heshie Billet

6

 May 19, 2016 at 10:44 AM Aron1 Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

this is the first time that i hear of this shul raid and it's been nearly a week since it occurred, though it sounds like it took place in mid 1930's Germany

I would love to know if the police department would get away with a similar raid in a mosque or a church without protests or outcries. of course NOT!!

instead, we yiden take the quiet intellectual way which only backfires on us with continuous anti semitism, as was demonstrated here. couldn't they have at the very least waited till after the services???

where are the protests, outcries??! demands for apologies??? i thought we promised never again??

Usually acting appropriately is the best course of action.
We do NOT live in 1930s Germany and treating our host country as if we do will likely backfire and actually increase antisemitism.

7

 May 19, 2016 at 10:50 AM SerIya Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

this is the first time that i hear of this shul raid and it's been nearly a week since it occurred, though it sounds like it took place in mid 1930's Germany

I would love to know if the police department would get away with a similar raid in a mosque or a church without protests or outcries. of course NOT!!

instead, we yiden take the quiet intellectual way which only backfires on us with continuous anti semitism, as was demonstrated here. couldn't they have at the very least waited till after the services???

where are the protests, outcries??! demands for apologies??? i thought we promised never again??

1. They didn't enter the shul, if it was 1930's Germany they would have intentionally disrupted the davening( actually they would have discontinued the davening.)

2. After the services the security guards would go home. How are the police to do their job, in ensuring these people are following the law?

8

 May 19, 2016 at 11:02 AM Pro_Veritate Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

this is the first time that i hear of this shul raid and it's been nearly a week since it occurred, though it sounds like it took place in mid 1930's Germany

I would love to know if the police department would get away with a similar raid in a mosque or a church without protests or outcries. of course NOT!!

instead, we yiden take the quiet intellectual way which only backfires on us with continuous anti semitism, as was demonstrated here. couldn't they have at the very least waited till after the services???

where are the protests, outcries??! demands for apologies??? i thought we promised never again??

There is no point to outcry. When Governments act with Anti Antisemitism against Jews, it has always been and will always be calculated to instill fear, to show who is boss. If you think differently you are seriously mistaken.

9

 May 19, 2016 at 11:08 AM NotNeias Says:

Reply to #3  
Shua Cohen Says:

The definitions:
1) "raid": a sudden assault or attack, as upon something to be seized
2) "police raid": a sudden assault or attack by law enforcement officers hoping to use the element of surprise to arrest targets that they believe may hide contraband or other evidence

The reality of what happened:
"Police interviewed the security guards outside the synagogue’s doors, never setting foot inside the building...or intentionally disrupt services."

This was a RAID?...a sudden assault or attack? Nah...just the usual media hyperbole meant to sensationalize a story beyond the actual reality. This quote from the story -- "It appears that a police department investigation was *legitimate*, but all agree that it was poorly executed" -- just isn't as exciting as a RAID!!!

That is not the case. It was a RAID. I witnessed it. The police came in marked and unmarked cars, uniformed and undercover. They surrounded the volunteers, intimidated them, and conducted unlawful searches. One particular volunteer they made him open his jacket and than made him walk back and forth so they could see if he had a gun. It very much was reminiscent of 1930's Germany. I do agree people should not be carrying a weapon unlawfully, but we were not talking about unregistered guns here, we're talking about a charge of carrying out of class which is a misdemeanor at best. I would urge everyone to call Todd Kominsky and Ed Mangano and voice your concern.

10

 May 19, 2016 at 11:14 AM Butterfly Says:

Just what did they expect to find? Who did they get their "information" from? "A "NICE" Anti=Semite!!!!!!!!!!

11

 May 19, 2016 at 11:41 AM kenyaninwhitehouse Says:

Maybe they should hire Nation of Islam folks to patrol there like they do in the projects.

12

 May 19, 2016 at 11:48 AM Shua Cohen Says:

Reply to #9  
NotNeias Says:

That is not the case. It was a RAID. I witnessed it. The police came in marked and unmarked cars, uniformed and undercover. They surrounded the volunteers, intimidated them, and conducted unlawful searches. One particular volunteer they made him open his jacket and than made him walk back and forth so they could see if he had a gun. It very much was reminiscent of 1930's Germany. I do agree people should not be carrying a weapon unlawfully, but we were not talking about unregistered guns here, we're talking about a charge of carrying out of class which is a misdemeanor at best. I would urge everyone to call Todd Kominsky and Ed Mangano and voice your concern.

Rabbi Billet of the Young Israel in question wrote the truth above (see comment no. 5; I hope it was truly him and not an imposter using the Rav's name). In light of this, your rabble-rousing comment is totally fraudulent. Please go find something better to do than spout stuff & nonsense on the internet.

13

 May 19, 2016 at 11:46 AM RocklandRes Says:

Maybe linked to Shaya Lichtenstein gun permit bribery investigation. If some of security guards are also shomrim it's possible.

14

 May 19, 2016 at 12:23 PM clear-thinker Says:

Reply to #9  
NotNeias Says:

That is not the case. It was a RAID. I witnessed it. The police came in marked and unmarked cars, uniformed and undercover. They surrounded the volunteers, intimidated them, and conducted unlawful searches. One particular volunteer they made him open his jacket and than made him walk back and forth so they could see if he had a gun. It very much was reminiscent of 1930's Germany. I do agree people should not be carrying a weapon unlawfully, but we were not talking about unregistered guns here, we're talking about a charge of carrying out of class which is a misdemeanor at best. I would urge everyone to call Todd Kominsky and Ed Mangano and voice your concern.

Hmm. Who to believe. You or your Rabbi? Even if you saw what you claim, 1930s Germany? A little over the top don't you think? In Germany I'm sure the police nicely left the Shule to Daven. By the way the comment about having an illegal weapon outside your house being a misdemeanor is just silly. Having a loaded handgun is a felony in this state.

15

 May 19, 2016 at 12:31 PM NotNeias Says:

With all due respect, Rabbi Billet and Shua Cohen were not present when the police first rolled up. I was, I saw it they did not. This is not rabble rousing. He can handle it as a community leader as he see's fit, understate what transpired, while meeting with the powers that be and settling this matter quietly.
I think there should be community outrage. You think for a second if this happened in a church or a mosque there would not be more significant repercussions? Lets not roll over and take it, that didn't work out too well in the 1940's.

16

 May 19, 2016 at 01:14 PM NotNeias Says:

Clear-Thinker You may be a clear thinker, but your not knowledgeable with regards to this topic. If you posses a home/range permit in Nassau County, and you get caught carrying unlawfully in Nassau County, its not a felony, rather a misdemeanor at best. The charge is "carrying out of class" and you will and should get your permit and weapon pulled.
If you get caught carrying an unlicensed weapon in NYC, it is a felony carrying a 3 year sentence.
It really does not matter, because nothing was found and this case.

17

 May 19, 2016 at 01:37 PM lenco49 Says:

Reply to #15  
NotNeias Says:

With all due respect, Rabbi Billet and Shua Cohen were not present when the police first rolled up. I was, I saw it they did not. This is not rabble rousing. He can handle it as a community leader as he see's fit, understate what transpired, while meeting with the powers that be and settling this matter quietly.
I think there should be community outrage. You think for a second if this happened in a church or a mosque there would not be more significant repercussions? Lets not roll over and take it, that didn't work out too well in the 1940's.

Rabbi Billet: "Everything else that has been reported is hyperbole and the figment of the imaginations of individuals who are Shakespeare lovers and want to make much ado about nothing."

Reb NotNeias, if you haven't figured it out yet, Rabbi Billet is talking about YOU. He's the one whose called you out as a "rabble-rouser" (perfectly defined by Rabbi Billet as an individual spouting figments of your imagination, making much ado about nothing). Really...give it up already...you're only sounding more foolish with each post.

18

 May 19, 2016 at 01:55 PM chicagomaven Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

this is the first time that i hear of this shul raid and it's been nearly a week since it occurred, though it sounds like it took place in mid 1930's Germany

I would love to know if the police department would get away with a similar raid in a mosque or a church without protests or outcries. of course NOT!!

instead, we yiden take the quiet intellectual way which only backfires on us with continuous anti semitism, as was demonstrated here. couldn't they have at the very least waited till after the services???

where are the protests, outcries??! demands for apologies??? i thought we promised never again??

At Least they didn't invite the police to the cholent
kiddush, or did they?:)

19

 May 19, 2016 at 03:10 PM ActualJew Says:

It was no raid, just a visit. They know we will be there on Saturdays. take it easy. cops are on our side.

20

 May 19, 2016 at 03:13 PM clear-thinker Says:

Reply to #16  
NotNeias Says:

Clear-Thinker You may be a clear thinker, but your not knowledgeable with regards to this topic. If you posses a home/range permit in Nassau County, and you get caught carrying unlawfully in Nassau County, its not a felony, rather a misdemeanor at best. The charge is "carrying out of class" and you will and should get your permit and weapon pulled.
If you get caught carrying an unlicensed weapon in NYC, it is a felony carrying a 3 year sentence.
It really does not matter, because nothing was found and this case.

Why would you think I don't know about people who have a range permit not a carry permit. Still you remain wrong in the statement "misdemeanor at best". If police receive a report and description of man with gun they will not thing of the tortured example you give. If a member of your Shule made the call of man with gun you would want a response such as you claim you saw. Finally your description of similarity to 1930s Germany is worse than silly. The NAZI police didn't politely leave and allow davening to continue. Your comments imho shows a lack of understanding of the nazis. You made a stupid comparison.

21

 May 19, 2016 at 05:40 PM Anonymous Says:

Not the first time cops don't want to see Yidden properly protected by anyone else other than themselves.

22

 May 19, 2016 at 06:38 PM Anonymous Says:

Uhm I think YIW has video cameras. Why not release some of that video so you can see the police were acting with the proper respect (or not). Is it not a violation of the volunteer's rights to have some police officer telling him to walk this way or that way and open his jacket to show he has no gun? 4th Amendment ? "The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides, "[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly ..."

I think the Nassau County Police are supposed to have body cameras. Oh right, I forgot ---somehow the police blocked the implementation of those.

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2015/12/08/nassau-county-police-body-cameras-delayed/

How about the dashboard cameras on the police vehicles? Oh they don't have those either?

Interesting.

23

 May 19, 2016 at 09:50 PM charliehall Says:

Reply to #5  
rabbibillet Says:

I am the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Woodmere. There was no police "raid" on Shabbos. A few police officers (I met 3) came to the synagogue to speak with our security people. They departed shortly afterwards.They did not enter the building. We take the safety of all of our worshipers and their families very seriously. We want our synagogue to be a safe place for people of all ages. Everything we do in the realm of security has the full knowledge and cooperation of the Nassau County police force. Our facility is very safe and secure because of our outstanding security team, the additional measures that are in place, and assistance of the 4th precinct of the Nassau PD. Everything else that has been reported is hyperbole and the figment of the imaginations of individuals who are Shakespeare lovers and want to make much ado about nothing. Heshie Billet

Thank you, Rabbi Billet.

24

 May 20, 2016 at 09:45 AM my2cents123789 Says:

When cops descend on a place knowing the suspects (euphemistical “persons of interest”) would be there hoping to net arrests is called a raid in my opinion. Not a full-fledged assault but still, a police raid.

Whether they asked questions, requested to walk, show permits, turn out pockets, etc, all that with the sole purpose to net arrests. It is immaterial in this case if it’s only a misdemeanor which in Nassau carries up to 12 month term in jail.

Another thing that seems logical to me that is takes a certain amount of grudge or hatred spill over to put in a anon tip like this one. This was in no way an emergency, but instead of investigating this suspicious “tip” further and getting warrants to enter the shul (which would have never had materialized), someone rotten in the department gave the go-ahead. The intimidation caused cooperation and there was no need to enter the shul after all. Still as we can see the community meetings were to follow only to prove that there was a major issue.

25

 May 20, 2016 at 09:48 AM my2cents123789 Says:

What they did was a successful attempt to humiliate and intimidate observant jews. They are well aware we are trying to protect our community partly because they cannot provide us with such protection.

We are not on the same side as someone commented. They are on their own side of power trips and corruption. Many on that hugely over-payed force dislike frum jews. Grudge reporting is also common in the 5T.

The good news is that the raid netted nothing except embarrassment for them, turning out to be just another case of swatting. This should serve as a warning to our community not to associate too close with these “protectors” of the law. Such distancing would also be a great safeguard against any corruption like we are reading about lately.

26

 May 20, 2016 at 10:33 AM Nachum Says:

Yidden-the cops did not come to that Shul on their own volition. Evidently, someone at the Shul complained to the cops about the security guards. Perhaps, the security guards were annoying some of the congregants, and the latter thought of a way of retaliating against them, by calling the cops. Over the years, I've found that many security guards, both unarmed and armed, are not as well trained as regular cops. Many of them are idiots, who look to intimidate and bully people. I've seen them at various department stores, and groceries. Many of them are rent-a-cops, and could not pass a background test, to be a regular cop. Incidentally, I'd like to ask everyone who complained about this "raid" a simple question. Where was the same outrage, when in 1981, at the Toldos Aharon Shul, in Jerusalem, the Israeli cops actually raided that place (they broke down the doors), beat congregants, broke bones of very frum Jews with their night sticks, destroyed seforim and other religious documents, destroyed other Shul property, and arrested scores of individuals. I've said for over three decades that because that incident took place in EY, there was no outrage over the incident.

27

 May 20, 2016 at 10:44 AM my2cents123789 Says:

"Where was the same outrage, when in 1981"??
check vosizneias archives for 1981 :)

it seems that the ncpd were out to get the volunteers, the tip was against them carrying out of class, again as it seems from the above eyewitness posts above.

28

 May 20, 2016 at 10:53 AM Anonymous Says:

again, yidden, be warned, while NYPD are too busy with real crimes, NCPD fat cats can amuse themselves this way. "hey jew walk this way for me will ya?" we can't do stop and frisk, no warrant either, just having good ole fun.

29

 May 20, 2016 at 05:25 PM Anonymous Says:

To #27-Your sarcasm regarding VIN News being around in 1981, is not appreciated!

30

 May 21, 2016 at 11:14 AM L-Chaim Says:

Reply to #22  
Anonymous Says:

Uhm I think YIW has video cameras. Why not release some of that video so you can see the police were acting with the proper respect (or not). Is it not a violation of the volunteer's rights to have some police officer telling him to walk this way or that way and open his jacket to show he has no gun? 4th Amendment ? "The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides, "[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly ..."

I think the Nassau County Police are supposed to have body cameras. Oh right, I forgot ---somehow the police blocked the implementation of those.

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2015/12/08/nassau-county-police-body-cameras-delayed/

How about the dashboard cameras on the police vehicles? Oh they don't have those either?

Interesting.

Probable cause does not always need a warrant. Weaving across a double yellow pavement line while driving? Probable cause exists for a roadside stop and sobriety test.
Unusual bulge under the clothes of security that *may* have been reported to be illegally carrying? Probable cause to examine.
The shonda created by the permit-peddler will have many, many consequences. This *might* be one of them.
Also, gun permit holdrrs are required to follow the rules/restrictions of the issuing county. A permit from NYC restricts or punishes the holder more severely than one in Nassau.

31

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