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Issac Blum vs. Congregation Shaare Torah

Holocaust survivors cheer when shul replaces noisy air conditioner

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An ongoing feud between two Holocaust survivors and a Manhattan Beach synagogue over the shul’s illegal air conditioner came to an end last week after the house of worship finally complied with a judge’s order to replace the noisy, industrial-sized unit with a smaller, quieter one..

Isaac and Rosa Blum cheered when Congregation Shaarey Torah removed the noisy apparatus they said sat just a few feet from their bedroom window and kept them up all night.

Yet they were suspicious of their sudden good fortune.

“I don’t want to call it victory yet,” said 89-year-old Isaac Blum.

“I want to give it a few days,” he said.

The couple said they might finally get a good night’s sleep now that the oversized unit is gone.

“It would be nice to walk-up whenever you want, and sleep in and not be stressed out,” said Isaac. “Hopefully it will work.”

The Blums gave Congregation Shaarey Torah a thumb’s up for obeying an Environmental Control Board judge who fined the synagogue $800 for breaking Department of Building rules by installing a unit meant for industrial use.

“I have to give them a little bit of credit,” said Isaac, whose beef with the house of worship led to a simmering cold war between the two neighbors.

The couple’s daughter said that the rumbling coming from the synagogue’s industrial-sized air conditioner sounded like “a diesel truck is outside the senior’s window.”

The Blums filed complaints with the city, but the Department of Buildings was never able to serve a violation.

Congregants wouldn’t let inspectors into the West End Avenue shul on six previous occasions, preventing it from confirming complaints that stretched back to 2009, according to agency records.

In February, the Blums claimed that someone from the synagogue took a blue marker to their car windows to cover up a Bay News story about the noise complaints the couple has filed against the house of worship.

The Blums’s front yard was also trashed by an outraged temple-goer earlier this year — an act that prompted an apology from Rabbi Moshe Plutchok, who arranged to have the Blum’s yard cleaned up.

Rabbi Plutchok didn’t return several calls for comment.

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

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Reader Feedback

isaac & rosa from manhattan beach says:
Many people ,compassionate to our situation helped us to obtain positive results in solving this problem,
specially Councilman M.Nelson and his staff and
dedicated Mrs.Deborah.W, as well reporter
Colin Mixson, Zev, family, friends and neighbors.
By contrast the office of Steven Cymbrovitz
refused to intervene or help us in our predicament.


July 19, 2012, 9:15 pm
Robert from Brooklyn says:
My Grandparents were Holocaust Survivors from the same town. I am disappointed that you would use your status as survivors of the slaughter of six million innocents in connection with a fight about air conditioning, (at a house of worship of your own people, no less).

Second, something doesn't make sense about this article. The Buildings Department Website indicates that the shul was given the summons because it installed the AC and electric without the appropriate permits. There is nothing about noise or about industrial vs. residential air conditioning. Theoretically, had they applied for the appropriate permits, they would have been in the right and have been entitled to keep the ACs as is. That is not how the article makes it seem.

It is well known that older people dislike Air Conditioning (some for reasons of frugality and others just feel cold) and I respect their right to go without. I don't however, appreciate when people try to impose their norms on others (and yes, some use "noise" as the trigger to make their complaints more rational sounding).
July 22, 2012, 1:07 am
Leona from Brighton Beach says:
From what I read and hear in the neighborhood in this case both sides had a valid point, and I can see quite clearly the reporter had his own bias in his reporting as did his editor and the publisher of the paper.

Thank G-d this is settled so we do not have to suffer another biased, orthodox Jew bashing non-story in this rag of a paper.

Mr. & Mrs. Blum your 15 minutes of fame is over. I hope you enjoyed it while it lasted.
July 22, 2012, 9:58 pm

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