Staten Island, NY – Court Overturns Beis Din’s Verdict In $1M Case Between S.I. Young Israel And Oorah

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    Staten Island, NY – Members of a small synagogue on Staten Island are heaving a sigh of relief after a State Supreme Court judge vacated a $1 million arbitration award granted by a beis din that would have forced the congregation to permanently close its doors.

    The verdict was handed down last week and found in favor of the Young Israel of Eltingville which sued Oorah last summer as part of a continuing dispute that dates back several years.

    As previously reported on VIN News (http://bit.ly/2uKUHZN), the synagogue was financially strapped when it brokered an arrangement in 2007 that deeded the synagogue’s property to Oorah in exchange for a $250,000 payment.

    The agreement stipulated that Oorah would allow the Young Israel’s services to continue uninterrupted, but a decision by Oorah six years later to convert the sanctuary into a classroom and move congregants to another room became a point of serious contention.

    The two parties agreed to take the matter to a beis din which ruled in favor of Oorah, prompting the synagogue to file suit, asking a secular court to overturn the arbitration award.

    The court agreed with lawyers for the synagogue who argued that the broker of the original deal, long time synagogue member Sid Stadler, lacked the authority to negotiate any agreements on behalf of the synagogue without prior approval of the shul’s board of directors.

    The decision handed down by the court saves the synagogue from having to forfeit all of its assets in order to pay the $1 million that the beis din had awarded Oorah.

    In a VIN News interview, Stadler said that the synagogue has always had a small membership and that it continues to draw congregants for minyanim as it always has, in addition to hosting two kollels and a yeshiva. The idea that the relationship between the Young Israel and Oorah turned adversarial is painful for Stadler.

    “No one wanted anything but shalom bayis,” Stadler told VIN News. “But when they wanted to destroy a shul, that was something I couldn’t let them do. It is a real shul and they wanted to invalidate it. I couldn’t let them happen.”

    Stadler said he was pleased with the verdict and hopes that it is the final chapter in the long standing dispute.

    “We won?” mused Stadler. “What did we win? Thank G-d Hashem saved the place. A shul has kedusha and you just don’t destroy that and make a classroom out of it.”

    Oorah was not immediately available for comment on the story.

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    20 COMMENTS

    1. When puretz shafted everybody, the only ones to get any money back was oorah. They got back $2mm of the $3mm they gave towards tbe SI Hotel. Not sure where a ‘tzedakah’ has $3mm from, but whatever.

    2. How sad. Don’t thank Hashem -He is not happy. Hashem clearly said don’t turn away from Beis Din and turn to civil court This is a grave chilul Hashem. Just because you didn’t like the cerdict? Really?
      (I also found it funny First you go to Beis Din then when u get an answer you don’t like so you seek to overrule Hashem’s court.
      Additionally; if you were not qualified to negotiate on behalf of the Shul -but I bet you took the $250K! Now you say you weren’t representative. Well you can’t have it both ways.

      • How right you are .Oorah is not “Kulow Zakah” …but YI had no problem taking the $$$ .And ,because not liking the P’Sak of the Bais Din , going to court ????

      • Anyone who does business with Oorah is forced by contract to go their beis din. Every Oorah employee signs that the day she/he gets hired. By the time a dispute arises you are stuck. Its a biased beis din. I can’t blame the guy for going to a secular court after loosing at Oorah’s beis din.

    3. Shame on you Young Israel! Going to secular court is a chillul Hashem!
      Who says that creating a classroom to teach Jewish children Torah is less of a kedusha than a Young Israel shul?

    4. YI sues Oorah in order to stop Oorah from kicking YI out of the sanctuary into a “classroom”. Therefor, YI has to pay Oorah $1 million. Anyone understand this sequence?

    5. Look at Oorah federal filings – they are sitting on mega millions of dollars and have real estate galore, this is public records. All these Tzdukah organizations are frauds, they should be re-named “collection agencies”. If today you are good at collecting (soliciting), start some organization, do a little bit of something good, and rope in the public, while hitting up rich fellows. All you have to do is constantly keep your name in public, ads, place mats, etc.so you can keep on collecting
      Explain to us ( put it on a piece of paper) the good things these organizations do, that warrant to collect 7 million dollars a year from the Hamoyn Am. All their programs can be done for a few hundred thousand dollars, if that much . It is not just Oorah but all of them, Before you give, look into how much the organization actually does. In the public records you can see what percentage goes to the “good thing” they do and what percentage goes to “Administration” fund raisers. I know a person that works in one of these organizations where she tells me 12 people just collect (solicit) and one guy comes in “part time” to do the few programs they have. It is a pity they get away with it. .

    6. I had no idea about this dispute but I do not financially support Oorah. I have no concrete evidence or even ideas as to why, & I know on paper they seem to do good work, but something just seems off……

    7. Sholi-Katz,
      You say you want a rundown of Oorah’s activities in writing. Visit their website and go through the list of programs that they do and you’ll get a glimpse into the work they do. That will still not give you the full picture. I spoke to a few families that receive services from Oorah and what they tell me amazes me. Oorah pays for their children’s tuition, they send their children to the camp for a very reduced rate. Both the parents and the children are involved with the various programs Oorah arranges in cities around the US. These families have spent Yomim Tovim with the Oorah mentors.
      It’s nice to look at one side and see only the money that Oorah earns, why not look at what they do with their money.
      It’s also public knowledge that Kars for Kids is Oorah’s company, that is why they have more to spend than any other organization.

      ShimonYehuda: Rabbi Mintz is not a Dayan and is not on any Beis Din, check your facts please.
      Bottom line is that the YI clearly agrees that Oorah gave them $250K and that there was an agreement. Now they wake up that the person was never authorized to sign the agreement? Sounds like YI made the same assumption that Sholi Katz did….

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