Monsey Memories: When New Square was Building Their Infrastructure 50 Years ago

Monsey Memories: When New Square was Building Their Infrastructure 50 Years ago

By: Yitzy Fried

The village of New Square—a Skverer outpost nestled among the towns of Rockland County—was incorporated as a village in the year 1961, roughly half a century ago. 

The establishment of the shtetl, a project of the previous Skverer Rebbe, who endeavored to cling to the old way of life in the country, did not come easy.

Today, we go back in time to the troubles that the leadership endured when there was a hearing being held about a sewer project that would affect the shtetl’s residents. 

“New Square Loses in Suit on Date,” says the headline The Journal News. Supreme Court Justice John J. Dillon this morning at White Plans dismissed a court action by a New Square resident to cancel Saturday’s referendum on the $12.6 million sewer project…

“The petitioner, Meshulem Rottenberg, of New Square had sought an injunction to stop the referendum because the Orthodox and Conservative Jews in the sewer district would not have a chance to vote since Saturday is their Sabbath.

Justice Dillon said that the Sabbath, according to the most traditional view, will end at 5:48 p.m. This means the petitioner and others of the same faith will have more than an hour after the termination of the holy day for the exercise of their voting right. 

“He ruled that the petitioner is not compelled to choose between civic right and religious belief. ‘They have the opportunity to exercise the one and observe the other.’

“The case was argued by Myron I. Mandell, who represented Rottenberg… In his argument, Mandell contended an election on Saturday is in violation of federal, state, and county laws. He noted that several states consider Saturday as if it were Sunday. 

“An affidavit from Rabbi Moshe Kranzler of Haverstraw, president of the Rockland County Board of Rabbis, said there were 7,500 Orthodox and Conservative Jews in the county.” 

A lot of water has flowed under the bridge—and through the sewer pipes of New Square—in the ensuing half a century, and the shtetl has gone on to thrive and expand in this time. And one ventures to guess that the numbers of Orthodox Jews in Rockland County are far, far higher today than in 1963.

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