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Attorney seeks six months’ notice before Chassidic funerals in Upstate New York

A lawyer for Chestnut Ridge, N.Y., sent the letter after traffic was held up by proceedings for the late Rabbi Chai Yitzhak Twersky.

Entrance sign along westbound New York State Route 340 just after entering Rockland County, N.Y. Credit: Famartin via Wikimedia Commons.
Entrance sign along westbound New York State Route 340 just after entering Rockland County, N.Y. Credit: Famartin via Wikimedia Commons.

Jewish law explicitly prohibits consulting soothsayers and fortune tellers. But that’s just what the Upstate New York village of Chestnut Ridge apparently expects a Chassidic cemetery called Har Shalom to do.

After traffic was held up for the funeral of Rabbi Chai Yitzchok Twersky—known as the Rachmastrivka Rebbe—a local lawyer wrote to the cemetery in Airmont, N.Y., calling the Aug. 16 holdups “an unacceptable situation” and “unmitigated disaster.”

The letter acknowledged that Har Shalom had notified police and municipal officials in Airmont and the town of Ramapo in Rockland County about potential traffic disruptions from the funeral’s large attendance but claimed the cemetery failed to do so for nearby village Chestnut Ridge.

“Hundreds of Chestnut Ridge residents were unable to return to their own homes or make their appointments for hours because major thoroughfares and arteries in Chestnut Ridge were closed,” the lawyer wrote. “This will never be tolerated again.”

But the lawyer wasn’t done yet.

“If there is any anticipated funeral or related procession or event such that Har Shalom orchestrates a plan ahead of time, the notice must be provided at least six months in advance,” the lawyer wrote.

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