Questions about rabbinical college

(Original Publication: January 29, 2007)

Questions about rabbinical college
Even though nothing official has yet been proposed to the Village of Pomona regarding a planned rabbinical college, several questions have surfaced regarding the legitimacy of the project. First, the college's attorney cites the need for housing 1,000 ordained rabbis and their families who would study for 15 years to be judges in religious courts. Even our Supreme Court justices haven't spent 15 years in college to be qualified to oversee the legal process for 300 million Americans.

Second, there seems to be some confusion as to the name of the organization entitled to nonprofit status. The "Congregation Rabbinical College" (not listed by the IRS as a nonprofit organization) claims 501(c)(3) nonprofit status under the name of "Congregation Kahal Minchas Chinuch" and produced a letter from the IRS stating this. But the IRS does not list any such name on its Web site of authorized nonprofits. The IRS does list as a nonprofit, "Kolel Beth Yechiel Mechil of Tartikov."

Finally, there's the real estate activities of the Babad Management Corp. mentioned in a Jan. 21 Journal News article ("Pomona college planner tried Staten Island site"). Since the nonprofit organization and Babad Management use the same address, and Chaim Babad seems to be active in both business and nonprofit activities, this could be a violation of IRS 501(c)(3) regulations and the organization's right to have tax-exempt status.

A volume of mail on this issue might bring an IRS review. The address is: Steven T. Miller, Commissioner of the IRS Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division, 10th Street and Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC.

Mel Cook

Development is a countywide issue

We all know the recent trend of explosive growth in our villages and unincorporated areas of Ramapo immediately impacts local residents. Development in Airmont, Chestnut Ridge, Ramapo and Pomona, among others, have all been in the news. Taken individually it's easy to think these are just village issues.

Wake up, Rocklanders, this is a county problem. Each new high-density development project is more than just the loss of open space. Each new high-density housing project contributes to sinking property values eating away at homeowner equity. Financial freedom is becoming a thing of the past as we anticipate increased taxes and rising infrastructure costs. Local businesses pick up and leave, unable to make a living in the changing socioeconomic climate. Bottom line: home values across the county are at risk, business owners are losing their customer base, and the lifestyle we all enjoy in Rockland is quickly reaching the point of no return. Wake up Rockland before it's too late. Halt the development trend.

Get involved, go to your village and town meetings, know what your local officials are doing and, most importantly, get out and vote in each and every election. The future of Rockland depends on it.

Rachel Avenia-Prol