News Briefs: New Chasidic Town; Stolen Menorah at Penn State; Ed Snider Honored

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Secession Referendum for Chasidic Community Approved

Monroe, N.Y., voters on Nov. 7 backed a secession referendum that will enable the Chasidic community of Kiryas Joel to become the United States’ first haredi Orthodox town, according to JTA.

The village of more than 20,000 Yiddish-speaking Jews will become New York’s first new town in 35 years. To be called the Town of Palm Tree, the town will come into existence in 2020.

“Today is truly an historic day that will usher in a new era of peace and stability for all the residents of Monroe,” Kiryas Joel village administrator Gedalye Szegedin said in a statement.

Chasidic Jews began settling in the Monroe area in the mid-1970s. Kiryas Joel annexed 164 acres in 2015 and sought more than 500 additional acres, although Monroe challenged the annexation. As per terms of the referendum, Kiryas Joel will get 56 more acres along with the original 164, but drop its request for additional acres.

Theft of Chabad Menorah at Penn State Caught on Camera

The Oct. 27 theft of a large menorah that stands in front of the Chabad of the Undergrads at Pennsylvania State University was caught on camera, according to Rabbi Hershy Gourarie, the Chabad co-director.

The menorah was found the next day in front of the Sigma Alpha Mu Jewish fraternity.

Gourarie said security camera footage from outside the fraternity showed four suspects. That footage has been given to police.

“Our responsibility as parents, educators, and leaders is to build the characters of our youth, and strengthen their moral and ethical values,” Gourarie said. “Chabad’s response to this incident will be to rebuild the menorah and increase its programming which will be aimed at fostering increased awareness and pride of our Jewish heritage.”

Torah to be Named in Honor of Ed Snider

Chabad of the Main Line will inaugurate a new Torah scroll on Dec. 3 that will be named in honor of the late Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider and also the late Haim Nahary.

Snider died in April 2016 at the age of 83. He was a longtime board member and former co-chair of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, one of the original donors to the National Museum of American Jewish History and had an active role in the fight for Soviet Jewry in the 1970s.