NEW YORK (Aug. 18)
A Town Board in suburban Long Island began an inquiry today into complaints by residents, most of them Jews, that a rabbi was operating a “Bar Mitzvah factory” and a kosher catering business which were creating traffic hazards.
The target of the complaints of a group of residents of Syosset was Rabbi Morris Appleman, spiritual leader of the 2,500-member East Nassau Hebrew Congregation. Members of the Syosset Homeowners and Birchwood Park Association made the charges at a meeting of the Oyster Bay Town Board.
An association member said it was embarrassing for the residents, largely Jewish, to seek action against a rabbi “but he is hiding behind a church cloak and we’ve just got to do something about it.” They charged that Rabbi Appleman had expanded his catering service beyond the needs of his congregation, and was violating a zoning ordinance. They also expressed concern over mounting automobile traffic resulting from the weekend catering services at the synagogue.
Rabbi Appleman denied all the charges, replying that there was no issue but that the residents “are making a problem.”