Monday, July 21, 2014

Candlelight vigil held in Bloomingburg 

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Demonstrators, saying they are not "haters," staged a candlelight vigil Friday near a collection of businesses developer Shalom Lamm is renovating, which have been hit recently with a rash of broken-window attacks.

About 30 demonstrators massed, just before sunset, for the 90-minute gathering on Main Street, down the street from the businesses where six window attacks have occurred since mid-June.

So far, the vandals have not been caught, and Lamm and his detractors are trading accusations about who is responsible.

Lamm, an Orthodox Jew and the developer behind a controversial 396-home Orthodox development, has suggested he is the victim of anti-Semitism and has called the window attacks a "hate crime."

He declined to comment Friday, despite repeated requests from two Times Herald-Record reporters.

As the demonstrators gathered Friday night, one large window was obviously shattered.

Signs had been placed at Lamm's storefronts reading "Not in America," "Stop the Hate" and "Vill. target Jews."

Village resident Lesleigh Weinstein, who organized Friday's demonstration, said the goal was to show "the rest of the tri-county area that we are not haters and anti-Semites."

"We're not what he (Lamm) is saying we are," said Pat Kahn, a 26-year village resident. "It has nothing to do with religion. The law should be the same for everybody."

Sundown Friday marks the start of the Jewish Sabbath, when observant Jews of all persuasions attend services.

Just across the street from where the demonstrators gathered, a steady stream of Hasidic Jews, many dressed in Sabbath attire, entered an abandoned hardware store where a "stop work" order is posted.

The arrivals said the building was not being used as a synagogue.

At one point, a young Hasidic couple walked through the crowd of demonstrators.

"Want to join us?" the demonstrators asked. The couple continued on their way.


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