Brooklyn, NY – In response to a call by noted community leader Rabbi Nachman Caller, an urgent meeting was held on Thursday night at the bais medrash of Rav Yechezkel Roth to discuss the options of preventing the construction of a Casino at the site of the former Concord Hotel in Monticello.
The meeting was attended by more than thirty prominent rabbonim from the Borough Park community. Upon conclusion of the meeting, it was decided that “the community must be urgently warned to do whatever it can to prevent the destruction” of several Orthodox Jewish communities in the Catskills consisting of camps, homes, and schools which would result from the building of a casino in the vicinity.
Addressing the meeting, Rabbi Caller reported on his meeting the previous day with State Senators in Albany where he was advised that although there are many bidders vying for various casino sites in the Catskills area, it seems that the project proposed for the Concord Hotel site has the best chance of approval.
All the participants of the meeting agreed with Rabbi Caller’s proposal to launch a petition drive to collect at least 50,000 signatures from the residents of the Orthodox Jewish communities in Borough Park, Williamsburg, Flatbush and Monroe. “Our community residents have homes, camps and yeshivas in the area and spend a significant amount of time every summer in the Catskills Mountains’ area and therefore must voice their concerns about the imminent construction of a casino in Monticello,” said Rabbi Caller.
It was the consensus of the participants that if the elected officials (many of who are up for reelection in November) would see the intense opposition of the Jewish community voters they would voice their opposition to the construction of a Casino on the Concord site. If votes matter, they would obviously be in favor of building the Catskill Casino at a site which is further removed from the various Ultra-Orthodox communities in the Catskills.
In addition, Rabbi Caller proposed that independent professionals be retained to review the application by the developer and file a report which would include the detrimental effects on the year-long Monticello residents who earn their livelihood from the influx of the current summer vacation residents. “The building of a Casino in the area would significantly reduce our communities’ presence in the Catskills area and would cause future construction of summer homes and camps to grind to a halt,” he said. “This would severely impair and diminish the economic health of the Catskill community.”
In their decision, the Rabbonim agreed to issue a joint call to all the residents of our communities to support Rabbi Caller and his associates in their ongoing efforts to prevent the destruction of the summer communities.