Holocaust couple blame temple for car vandalism

Brooklyn Daily

The long-simmering feud between two Holocaust survivors and their synagogue neighbors has led to vandalism, say two elderly residents who claim congregants of a Manhattan Beach prayer house have been acting less-than holy.

The Blums — Isaac, 89, and Rosa, 87 — claim that someone from Congregation Shaarey Torah took a blue marker to their car windows on the night of Friday, Feb. 17 to cover up a story from this paper about the noise complaints the couple has filed against the synagogue and its blaring heating system. The vandal also covered up a letter to synagogue’s leader Rabbi Moshe Plutchok, detailing the complaints.

Blum’s Toyota Camry was parked in front of the synagogue on West End Avenue when it was vandalized, according to the report Blum filed with police.

“It’s obvious that somebody didn’t like [the article and the letter], and the only people who don’t like them are at the shul,” said Isaac Blum.

Yet temple-goers say they couldn’t be responsible for the marker attack, since it took place on a Jewish holy day.

“It’s against our religion to do something like that during the Sabbath,” explained Perry Newman, who has worshipped at Congregation Shaarey Torah for the past 18 years.

The Blums wiped away the scrawlings, but fear further retaliation.

“We are distraught and are afraid something else will happen,” said Isaac Blum.

The Blums say their conflict with the temple began four years ago after it installed an air-conditioning system that sounded like a “diesel engine” a few feet from the Blum’s bedroom window. The Blums claim they can’t sleep when the device is on.

But Newman and other congregants say the synagogue’s conflict with the Blums stretches back more than 16 years, when they say the Blums boarded up the synagogue’s basement window to stop the congregation’s children from tossing trash through the opening and onto a common driveway — a move Plutchok’s predecessor, Rabbi Bergstein, OK’d.

“Rabbi Bergstein said to leave it alone, that they were Holocaust survivors and that they’d suffered enough,” Newman said.

Congregant Jerry Greenwald said the former labor camp workers are habitual nags.

“Mr. Blum has been complaining regularly from the day he moved in 30 years ago,” Greenwald said.

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

Reader Feedback

vinnyrizzo@yahoo.com from Sheepshead Bay says:
I am happy to say the reporting here, although still somewhat biased against the temple, is more objective.

The retired former local businessman and his wife are no angels, and to say only their neighbors in the temple next door dislike them is laughable. In business Mr. Blum made many enemies; plus there are scores of people in the community who find the placards in their windows despicable and found the posting of their diatribe throughout the Beach on public lamp posts and on private construction fences unbecoming of a fellow neighbor..

Mostly, since as you wrote this was perpetrated during the Sabbath it is impossible to conceive that an ultra orthodox person could be responsible.
Feb. 29, 2012, 10:04 am
Ester from Manhattan Beach says:
Mitchell Shpelfogel
Feb. 29, 2012, 11:42 am
Perry Newman from Manhattan Beach says:
First off the Blum's car is a 1991 Camry not a Honda Civic and only two words were covered up not the entire sign in the Blum's vacant store window.

The article also did to include anything about Mr. Bloom vandalizing the walls of the shul for which the paper was provided a picture of the damage.

However you are correct in saying the incident was on a Friday night and as Shomer Shabbos (Sabbath observent) Jews we are forbidden to write on the Sabbath or for that matter forbidden to even hold a writing utensil in our hand.
Feb. 29, 2012, 5:08 pm
Josef K from Brighton Beach says:
If the Blum's are true Jewish Holocaust survivors then shame on them for their selfishness attitude. Legally they may be right but morally they are wrong.

The Nazi's yamach shemom tried to kill them and this little Shtieble next door is living proof daily that he failed and that a new generation is now in being groomed in this house of worship to take the place of those that perished.

Just like Hitler who began by denigrating the Jews through propaganda in the press and then systematically exterminating us, Isaac and Rosa Blum are using the same tactics against the synagogue and its hard working rabbi.

They are quick to let the press know they survived but it seems they don't remember why they were put in the camps in the first place. It was for only one reason - whether they choose to acknowledge it – it is because they were Jewish and they should do everything in their power to defend those that kept their faith rather than make a mockery of them.

Rather than fight with their neighbor the Blum's should join with their fellow survivors and their children and become members of the Holocaust Memorial Committee located down the block at the MBJC – which they are not - and they should attend the annual Holocaust remembrance events in the park which they have not done over the past 20 years.
March 1, 2012, 12:55 am
Moshe from Brooklyn says:
The synagogue placed a monster machine on the roof to bully the seniors. I challenge anyone to pass by 98 West End Ave and see Industrial equipment on the roof.

Ask yourself, would you want it working by your window?

By the window of your parents?

By the window of your kids?

By the window of your family?

March 1, 2012, 9:07 am
Kogan Family from Brighton says:
Shame on the Jerry Greenwald.
March 1, 2012, 9:47 am
Alex from Manhattan Beach says:
I think it is possible that the Blum's did this THEMSELVES. It is far fetched to believe that Mr. Blum has been hanging letters and signs for over 3 years and only after he gets media coverage are the signs "covered" and his car "vandalized."
Mr. Blum parks his car in front of the synagogue every Shabbos for the sole intention of harassing all the congregants.
SHAME ON YOU MR. BLUM!!!
March 1, 2012, 4:28 pm
Harry from Brooklyn says:
There is a very important fact that seems to have been ignored from the stories here. The the synagogue was in use six years before the Blum's moved next door. The Blums knew that they were going to be living in a house physically abutting a growing and vibrant house of worship and all that that entails.

As for the Holocaust survivor connection that the paper is using here to get public sympathy for the Blum's, the old timers of the synagogue and the current congregants were almost all Holocaust survivors themselves or children of Holocaust survivors or directly related to Holocaust survivors.
March 1, 2012, 5:28 pm
B. Blum from Manhattan Beach says:
The real issue is that the temple is running a unit at illegal noise levels.
The rabbi has made promises numerous times to fix it and didn't follow through.
My parents are not manipulative, they have always gotten along with their neighbors, and before the current legal violations, they had no problems with the temple.
They park legally as close to their front door as they can, which at times happens to be outside the temple.
They have always attended as many Holocaust programs as their health permits; how will your physical abilities be if you get to be 89/87 years old?
All the false accusations against my parents are poor attempts to distract from the real issue: the temple is in violation of the law.
March 1, 2012, 10:22 pm
Jeff Feinberg from Marine Park says:
All the comments seem to be missing the point.
This shul has a different congregation than the one the Blums knew in the '60's and 70's when they moved here. This new and younger congregation rightfully updated the building. However, they did not plan or take in consideration the installation of this huge industrial air conditioner in residential setting. Placing it next to a bedroom is quite thoughtless. for those of you who are quick to opine without having seen this unit, yet alone here it, clearly do not have the facts. If you saw this unit - it needs it's own room, you might think twice, especially if you can imagine this next to your bedroom.
Mr. Blum has posted the sign - actually his letter to the shul in his window - only after 2 summers of the shul defaulting on their word that they would fix the problem. If they agreed to fix it, apparently they acknowledge their wrong doing. Additionally, the Shul has incurred building violations for this. These are the issues, not the signs, not the car, not membership in Holocaust Memorial Committee. It is their quality of life that's been effected,
After 2 years of broken promises, it's about time this problem has surfaced. Had the Shul honored it's word, this press would not have happened. And being a Shul, extra sensitivity towards it's neighbors is expected, Jew or non-Jew. They made a mistake, agreed to correct it, that's what is expected of them.
Yes, Shame on Jerry Greenwald, senior editor of the weekly Jewish Press whose editorials and opinions often vilify similar acts of baseless hatred. Before you take on BoroPark or Beit Shemesh, take care of Manhattan Beach.
March 2, 2012, 1:09 am
Good neighbor from Bad neighbor says:
Its not only an issue of holocaust or synagogue, its an issue of

Abusing senior citizens.
Building codes
Noise regulation
Quality of life
The industrial equipment does not belong in a residential area.
March 2, 2012, 1:26 am
Rabbi from Midwood says:
ASHEM G-D shall punish whom did wrong to the seniors.
March 2, 2012, 8:36 am
Isaac and Rosa from Mnhattan Beach says:
The whole problem is about an INDUSTRIAL AIR CONDITIONER installed by our next door Shull.The unit is located several feet from our bedroom windows-constantly emits extremely loud noise that disturbs our quality of life.An acoustic engineer investigated the matter and his tests confirmed that the unit's noise level are to high and illegal according to the NYC codes.
The Shull's false accusations are intended to divert the real issue.
We are peaceful minded people.
March 2, 2012, 2:09 pm
morals from do good says:
Golden Rule

Jewish Torah:
"Love your neighbor as yourself:
I am the LORD."(Leviticus 19:18 —NJPS)

One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

Shame on ever is responsible for doing bad to elders.

Thank you Council Member Mike Nelson and Assemblyman
March 5, 2012, 5:25 pm
Janet from Brooklyn says:
Shame on you to the Shul! How dare you not take care of this 2 years ago when this was brought to your attention. How dare you lie and say that you will take care of it. Instead the Blums have heard broken promises while they have to endure this hardship. I have known the Blums for many years and they are good people who care about others and have never been in a situation like this before.
Hopefully this will be resolved very soon.
March 7, 2012, 10:52 am

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