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Sloatsburg, NY - Rest Stop Offers Jewish Men Place to Pray

Published on: July 27, 2011 10:14 AM
By: Read more at The Journal News
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Sloatsburg, NY - On Thursday nights during the summer, thousands of Orthodox Jewish men transform an ordinary rest stop into a sacred space.

The travelers, who hail from Brooklyn, Staten Island and northern New Jersey, look for a place to pray as they make their way upstate to meet their families.

For nearly two decades, the New York State Thruway Authority has provided a place for religious Jews — as well as those of other faiths — to worship at the Sloatsburg travel plaza along the northbound Thruway, past Exit 15A, due to public safety concerns.

The prayer zone is on the top level of the rest area’s two-story parking garage, far from the highway’s breakdown lanes where men once gathered.

Rabbi Joel Friedman of Williamsburg in Brooklyn said Sloatsburg is well-known among religious Jews in New York City. The travel plaza is referred to as the “prayer stop” or the “meeting area.”

 As many as 300 Jews say their afternoon (mincha) and night (maariv) prayers there each Thursday, Friedman said. The busiest time is between 9:30 and 11 p.m., when up to 70 men in small groups pray together. That window of time lets them say both prayers within a short period before continuing on their journey.

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“They stop for one prayer before sundown, and they wait a few minutes so they can (say) another prayer after sundown,” he said.

Friedman spends each Thursday in the summer supervising the proceedings from 4 p.m. to midnight. As a liaison with the Thruway Authority, he makes sure things run smoothly, worshippers pray in the right location and people don’t tie up traffic.

“A little bit, sometimes people still park on the ramp,” said Friedman, who tells them there is designated parking on the second floor of the garage. “That’s even easier. I keep explaining, ‘Why walk?’ “


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1

 Jul 27, 2011 at 04:48 PM volfie Says:

who is the sloatsberger rebbe ?

2

 Jul 27, 2011 at 05:37 PM reb-leibel Says:

why can't we daven before we leave? why seek special treatment when not absolutely necessary?

3

 Jul 27, 2011 at 06:27 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
reb-leibel Says:

why can't we daven before we leave? why seek special treatment when not absolutely necessary?

Obviously you don't realize that some people have to work and can't daven and then drive up the 87. Some of us have to travel all the way up to Montreal. So before you ask questions try to think a little.

4

 Jul 27, 2011 at 06:41 PM Leon Zacharowicz MD Says:

We live in an amazing country, wherein such activities are allowed, even encouraged.

5

 Jul 27, 2011 at 07:56 PM ALLAN Says:

Reply to #4  
Leon Zacharowicz MD Says:

We live in an amazing country, wherein such activities are allowed, even encouraged.

A true testimonial to freedom of religion. What a beautiful sight, when the men are up on the top level praying.

6

 Jul 27, 2011 at 08:02 PM shredready Says:

hopefully there is access to all

Muslims Mormons reform and Conservative if they choose to pray there

7

 Jul 27, 2011 at 08:52 PM common-cense Says:

Reply to #6  
shredready Says:

hopefully there is access to all

Muslims Mormons reform and Conservative if they choose to pray there

Are u trying to stir up some controversy Mr. Shreder? Well let's just ignore u.

8

 Jul 27, 2011 at 11:53 PM hmmmm Says:

Reply to #7  
common-cense Says:

Are u trying to stir up some controversy Mr. Shreder? Well let's just ignore u.

Oy, husti git gezukt.! Shredready/formerly , whenever something jewish sounds too good, you jump out of your hole. For shame.

9

 Jul 28, 2011 at 06:10 AM kikarhashabbos Says:

Btw, his name is not yoel friedman its avrohom yaakov friedman

11

 Jul 28, 2011 at 01:03 PM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #6  
shredready Says:

hopefully there is access to all

Muslims Mormons reform and Conservative if they choose to pray there

Yes. And let your inferior feeling, mainstream seeking, self conscious, conscientious little soul be at peace. (B"H) we have you as the gate-keeper of equality, fairness and justice by those tribal, clannish, narrow-minded, shtetl-mentality afflicted, ignorant, un-mannered descendants of the Hebrew tribes.

12

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