Ulster County Executive Michael Hein makes decision in Hasidic camp dispute
KINGSTON, N.Y. — With four Jewish camps within its borders, Ulster County has become the latest battleground in a bitter feud between warring factions of the conservative Satmar Hasidic sect.
Ulster County Executive Michael Hein decided on Wednesday that health permits to operate the four southern Ulster County summer camps would be issued to David Rosenberg, an ally of the Zalman Teitelbaum-faction of the sect.
In a letter explaining the county executive’s decision, County Attorney Bea Havranek stated that the Department of Health “doesn’t have the authority to divide these camps among the two factions of the Satmar community.”
“While we are sensitive to the many issues ... it is “undisputed the Rosenbergs have a long history in regard to these four camps.
“They have operated and maintained these four camps for decades,” she stated.
The issue over who would receive the necessary permits arose this year when Zalman Teitelbaum’s older brother, Aaron Teitelbaum also applied for health permits to run some of the camps.
Both men claim to be the rightful leaders of Congregation Yetev Lev in Brooklyn, which owns the camps in Wawarsing and Rochester.
Zalman Teitelbaum draws his support from the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Aaron Teitelbaum’s faction is in charge of the Orange County village of Kiryas Joel in the town of Monroe.
In her letter to the attorneys representing the various sides, Havranek said the county has been working to find an amicable solution to the dispute over the camps since at least January. She said she has sent at least five letters since the beginning of the year and had numerous telephone conversations about the issue.
Additionally, Havranek said, she met with representatives of the feuding sects once and Hein met with them twice. The purpose of those meetings, she stated, “was an attempt to facilitate a resolution amongst your clients surrounding the issues that deeply divide them regarding the issuance of permits for these camps.” Continued...
“It is without question that a deep divide exits amongst the Satmar community that extends beyond the issue at hand,” she wrote. “The county does not wish to be a part of that controversy nor will it.”
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