Update on cow slaughter (not something I write every day)

My colleague Jane Lerner has the story, which goes like this:

RAMAPO – The operators of a yeshiva (pictured) where a cow was slaughtered in the backyard earlier this week have written a letter apologizing to neighbors for the incident.

Neighbors said this morning that the letter was hand delivered last night to people who live near the school at 609 Route 306, bordering the villages of Pomona and Wesley Hills.

“The unfortunate incident that took place on Monday evening on our school property was totally not within parameters of our school charter or mission purpose,” states the letter signed by Rabbi Gershon Bornfreund, administrator of the Bobover Yeshiva of Monsey. “Ritual animal slaughter is beyond the scope of elementary school education.”

The yeshiva, in a Colonial-style house that town officials maintain is being illegally used as a school, will go before the town’s Zoning Board next week to seek variances to allow the construction of a building on the property to serve 250 students. The 2-acre site also has a nursery school.

Ramapo officials have said the yeshiva began using the existing building as a school illegally.

Rodney Wechsler, who lives next door to the school, said this morning that letter was brought to his home last night by a rabbi from the yeshiva.

The apology, coming days after his wife and 3-year-old son looked out of their kitchen window and saw men with knives slaughtering then decapitating the brown and white spotted cow, was overdue, he said.

“It’s better than nothing,” he said of the letter. “It was obviously written by a lawyer to cover them.”

Ramapo. Yeshiva. Cow slaughtered.

Here’s one of those stories that is going to get a lot of attention, reported by my colleague Jane Lerner.

The headline:

Cow slaughtered in yard of Ramapo yeshiva

The start of the article:

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RAMAPO – Police and health inspectors are investigating today after students and teachers at a yeshiva on Route 306 slaughtered a cow in the school’s backyard last night, officials said.

Ramapo police were called to 609 Route 306 shortly before 7 p.m. after neighbors called to report that students and teachers at Yeshiva Bobover had tied a cow to a tree and were slaughtering it, officials said.

When police arrived they found a dead cow in the backyard, according to Lt. Brad Weidel.
“There was a cow that had been slaughtered,” he said.

No criminal charges were filed. But the incident was referred to both the Rockland Department of Health as well as town officials, he said.

The cow had apparently been purchased from a livestock company in Monticello, N.Y., Weidel said.

Neighbor Carol Friedman saw adults and teens from the school lead the cow from a brown van into the backyard shortly after 5 p.m. She did not see what happened in the yard, but another neighbor told her that the animal was tied to a tree and slaughtered with knives.

“It’s the most horrendous, barbaric thing I have ever heard of,” she said. “I can’t believe they would slaughter a cow in a backyard in a residential neighborhood.”

*****

You can read the rest HERE.

Witness Village

The Jehovah’s Witnesses, long based in Brooklyn, are planning to move many of their operations to Ramapo.

My colleague James Walsh reports that the Witnesses want to build an administrative and residential complex for about 850 people.

That’s a mini city.

The Witnesses bought a 248-acre site in February for $11.5 million.

Not surprisingly, residents are concerned about the property leaving the tax rolls.

To remove or not remove an Hasidic woman’s wig

There have been several interesting court cases in recent years over whether Muslim women can wear the hijab (head covering) when having a picture taken for their driver’s license.

Now a police officer here in Ramapo is taking some heat for forcing an Hasidic Jewish woman to remove her wig for a head-shot after her arrest.

Many Hasidic women who are married wear a wig to cover their hair, which is to be seen only by their husbands.

Town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence apologized for the officer’s conduct, saying that a female officer should have processed the woman. He said that police officers will be given a new round of sensitivity training.