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New York - Polling Site For Jews At A Church Prompts Hikind To Intervene

Published on: September 1, 2011 01:26 PM
By: Press Release
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New York - Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) has intervened to prevent a polling site at St. Agatha’s Church. Residents living in the 73rd and 74th election districts recently received notification from the Brooklyn Board of Elections that their polling site was moved from the local public school to St. Agatha’s Church because of concerns that the public school could not physically accommodate all those wishing to cast a ballot. Many observant Jews live in the 73rd and 74th election districts. Hikind visited the site personally and noted that large crosses were present on both the interior and exterior of the building, as were other “related items you’d expect to find in a Catholic institution.”

As the primary for Civil Court Judge is scheduled for September 13, a new site could not be immediately identified. In the interim, Assemblyman Dov Hikind has obtained special ballots which will allow affected voters to cast their vote in-person at the Brooklyn Board of Elections by selecting the “Religious Scruples” box. Under Election Law Section 11-300, one may cast a special ballot if it is against one’s “religious scruples to vote at a polling place located in a premises used for religious purposes.”

“Who knows how many Orthodox Jewish or other voters would have been disenfranchised by the Board of Elections’ decision to move these voters to a church?” Hikind asked.

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Hikind is working with the Board of Elections to find a more suitable location for the general election in November. The Board of Elections will mail updated polling site notices to affected voters once a new location is found.

To obtain a ballot, please visit the Office of Assemblyman Hikind or contact his office at 718.853.9616 to have one mailed to you. Special ballots must be cast in person at the Brooklyn Board of Elections no earlier than one week before the election, and not later than the close of polls on Primary Day.


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Read Comments (24)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Sep 01, 2011 at 01:31 PM 5TResident Says:

When I lived in Kew Gardens Hills, I sometimes had to vote at a Catholic school located near my house. It was no big deal to me, I just ignored all of the icons. Let them have their avoda zara, I want to vote!

2

 Sep 01, 2011 at 02:02 PM Anonymous Says:

I don't know about a catholic high school, but it is assur to enter a church.

3

 Sep 01, 2011 at 02:03 PM Anonymous Says:

There are many polling locations in New York City located at shuls so why shouldn't yidden be willing to vote at a church. If the goyim have to go to a shul to cast their ballots, why are we saying we cannot go to a church since the intent is obviously to vote and not to engage in avodah zorah.

4

 Sep 01, 2011 at 02:14 PM Ayin_Tachas_Ayin Says:

Reply to #1  
5TResident Says:

When I lived in Kew Gardens Hills, I sometimes had to vote at a Catholic school located near my house. It was no big deal to me, I just ignored all of the icons. Let them have their avoda zara, I want to vote!

reply to #1 - With all due respect, there is an halachic problem with going into a non jewish house of worship. It goes beyond of what you might see on the walls, it's downright prohibited.

I know that in europe many hospitals have churches in them and there's alot of buzz in the poskim regarding the circumstances of entry.

5

 Sep 01, 2011 at 02:22 PM concerned_Jew Says:

I don't believe they were thinking anything when they did it. To most people, a church is a perfectly fine place to meet, vote, whatever. They didn't even realize that some people might feel uncomfortable there. The church to them is l'havdil like a shul to us. A place where they feel comfortable, at home.

6

 Sep 01, 2011 at 02:33 PM am Says:

Thank you Dov, as usual

7

 Sep 01, 2011 at 02:37 PM Anonymous Says:

I suppose you can vote absentee ballot. I have a place to vote and it is a methodist church I think. I never get evangelized and I only think about the voting when I am there. For a breif second the fact that it is a church passes in my thoughts. I am not stigmatized and I do not fear for my position as a Jew in this universe by going to this church. But in brooklyn that could certainly be a different story.

8

 Sep 01, 2011 at 02:45 PM Materetsky Says:

Not sure if this is true, but I once heard that there is no halachic issue with voting inside a church. It is clear to all taht you are entering to vote istead of attending a service.
I don't think the issue is the crosses being present. For example, you can ride in a cab even in the driver has statues of saints on the dashboard, which isn't an incredible rarity. I was in a car a few weeks ago with a hindu god hanging from the mirror. I told my rabbi and he said it was okay to ride in the car. I think the issue is the practice of avodah zara. For sure we cannot bow to the crosses, or attend any sort of religious service. But I don't think that when you enter to vote and it's clear that you are voting that there is an issue.
That being said, I can still see why many people wouldn't want to enter anyway. It's still very uncomfortable.

9

 Sep 01, 2011 at 03:05 PM Baltokayer Says:

Rav Shimon Schwab ZT"L of KAJ paskened that it was permitted to vote in a Church Social Hall, but not in the sanctuary. The particular building was an Episcopalian one, not a Catholic one.

10

 Sep 01, 2011 at 03:07 PM Baltokayer Says:

Rav Shimon Schwab ZT"L of KAJ paskened that it was permitted to vote in an Episcopalian church social hall which was on a floow below the sanctuary.

11

 Sep 01, 2011 at 03:17 PM Chaveirim Says:

Reply to #1  
5TResident Says:

When I lived in Kew Gardens Hills, I sometimes had to vote at a Catholic school located near my house. It was no big deal to me, I just ignored all of the icons. Let them have their avoda zara, I want to vote!

There's an itzy bitzy tiny difference between going into a Catholic school - which is just a school, and going into a Church which is Assur L'Halacha...

12

 Sep 01, 2011 at 03:20 PM enlightened-yid Says:

Yes, if you walk into a building with a cross on it to vote, you may have a heart attack or cause an earthquake. Can these politicians deal with something more pressing?

13

 Sep 01, 2011 at 04:15 PM shvigger Says:

Not all non-Jewish places of worship are assur to enter. A Mosque, for instance, may be entered because Islam is not idolatry. A church is another matter entirely.

14

 Sep 01, 2011 at 03:33 PM Flgroup Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

There are many polling locations in New York City located at shuls so why shouldn't yidden be willing to vote at a church. If the goyim have to go to a shul to cast their ballots, why are we saying we cannot go to a church since the intent is obviously to vote and not to engage in avodah zorah.

#3, will you please tel vin readers which Shul in NY is used for Voting, I don't know any Shul in Wsbg BP Monsey used as for Voting

15

 Sep 01, 2011 at 04:58 PM ShmuelG Says:

My polling place is in a public school. Not crazy about churches, but any public school is that much worse! It is frequented by so called teachers who are actually nothing more than teachers union members from whom that awful smell of liberalism and immorality emanates...

16

 Sep 01, 2011 at 06:19 PM shredready Says:

Reply to #15  
ShmuelG Says:

My polling place is in a public school. Not crazy about churches, but any public school is that much worse! It is frequented by so called teachers who are actually nothing more than teachers union members from whom that awful smell of liberalism and immorality emanates...

a teacher teaches and you call that immoral because you do not like their political choices
good think most humans do not have that such hate as you

17

 Sep 01, 2011 at 06:20 PM shredready Says:

Reply to #15  
ShmuelG Says:

My polling place is in a public school. Not crazy about churches, but any public school is that much worse! It is frequented by so called teachers who are actually nothing more than teachers union members from whom that awful smell of liberalism and immorality emanates...

to all who say this is a problem

i hope you will not say a word if a polling place is a shul and people complain

18

 Sep 01, 2011 at 06:56 PM Elazar Says:

Reply to #17  
shredready Says:

to all who say this is a problem

i hope you will not say a word if a polling place is a shul and people complain

Yes shredready, all of your dedicated readers -both here, and on other blogs -wouldn't want you to have to enter a synagogue in order to vote...

It would break your clean streak of not visiting a shul, and although you could qualify your statement by saying, "Well, that was only to vote, so it doesn't count.", you'd still be torn between your desire to perform your civic duty and exercise your rights and your hatred of anything sacred.

19

 Sep 01, 2011 at 07:47 PM yaakov321 Says:

Reply to #15  
ShmuelG Says:

My polling place is in a public school. Not crazy about churches, but any public school is that much worse! It is frequented by so called teachers who are actually nothing more than teachers union members from whom that awful smell of liberalism and immorality emanates...

You would have hated the American Forefathers. Nearly all were liberal in their day. Must have really stunk in Philadelphia huh? Maybe that just your udder rancid deteriorating soul you smell instead.

20

 Sep 01, 2011 at 09:20 PM curious Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

I don't know about a catholic high school, but it is assur to enter a church.

Maybe the sanctuary is assur but not the entire building. But I am proud that hikind intervened. Some are uncomfortable.

21

 Sep 01, 2011 at 09:34 PM shredready Says:

Reply to #18  
Elazar Says:

Yes shredready, all of your dedicated readers -both here, and on other blogs -wouldn't want you to have to enter a synagogue in order to vote...

It would break your clean streak of not visiting a shul, and although you could qualify your statement by saying, "Well, that was only to vote, so it doesn't count.", you'd still be torn between your desire to perform your civic duty and exercise your rights and your hatred of anything sacred.

if you complain about entering a church why cannot another person who for their religious reason have a valid complaint not to enter a shul? and would you scream and cry antisemitism?

as for me I will enter a shul or church to vote so my previous comment has nothing to do about me just you.

How would you react if people would say I do not enter a shul because of my religion would you be so understanding or would you scream antisemitism

22

 Sep 02, 2011 at 08:35 AM Tzi_Bar_David Says:

My polling place is often at a Methodist church....the booths are not in the actual "church sanctuary part" ... with the pews, idolatry and other assorted avoda szara, but in the social hall immediately adjacent. There are a few crosses and pictures hanging around, but I think it's going a stretch to claim to be "offended." The people who run the church are trying to be civic minded by opening their institution to the public for this important democratic process.

23

 Sep 02, 2011 at 11:31 AM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #16  
shredready Says:

a teacher teaches and you call that immoral because you do not like their political choices
good think most humans do not have that such hate as you

Poster # 15 did not speak about the curriculum, only about the personality of those who occupy the building. I might as well comment already on your next post. (# 17). I really don't know what makes you tick. But what you (probably) need is to be exposed to a good, potent dose of anti-Semitism, taken in the long term. That you so despise anything and everything having to do with Jews and Jewish pride. And love everything that reeks of Goyishkeit. You are like a person of one gender who really feels inside like the opposite.
p.s.: Early on, I thought your (reflex) way of commenting is funny. But it really isn't. (If you mean what you say.) You are so predictable. I don't know, but a feeling of disgust washes over me every time I read your stuff.
p.p.s: I bet this comment will not make it to airwaves.

24

 Sep 02, 2011 at 11:35 AM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #21  
shredready Says:

if you complain about entering a church why cannot another person who for their religious reason have a valid complaint not to enter a shul? and would you scream and cry antisemitism?

as for me I will enter a shul or church to vote so my previous comment has nothing to do about me just you.

How would you react if people would say I do not enter a shul because of my religion would you be so understanding or would you scream antisemitism

Personally. I'm not bothered by anyone having a problem entering a Shul. Oy vavoy for any Jew who fell under your hands when you were a Commissar back in the good old USSR.

25

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