Sanitary District 1
I was delighted to read the letter to the editor in last week’s edition, from a Lawrence resident recounting a favorable encounter with several employees of Sanitary District No. 1. The sensitivity of the employees she described is certainly a credit to their character. It also signals the success of efforts for the last several years to reverse a culture that bred confrontation and resentment between district employees and the residents they serve, to an entirely new culture born of respect, responsiveness, and accountability.
I’ve seen many instances of this success, partly as a resident, but largely through my work with Legislator Howard Kopel, Councilman Tony Santino, and Councilman James Darcy. Being in almost daily contact with the hardworking and dedicated leadership and employees of the Sanitary District—specifically, members of the District Board of Commissioners and District Superintendent George Pappas—I’ve seen vast improvement in the day-to-day service and response to residents’ needs and requests. Sensitivity to the Orthodox Jewish community is deeply rooted and plain to see.
An easy example is the gargantuan campaign of erev Pesach sanitary district services provided within the Five Towns each year. It’s almost breathtaking to see, throughout the day of erev Pesach, armadas of garbage trucks and regiments of district workers, including supervisors, circling the Five Towns from 7:00 a.m. until after 4:00 p.m., in search of garbage bags left on curbs, responding to individual pickup requests, not to mention organizing and staffing three or four different drop-off points.
Another example of this sensitivity, though less visible, is the district’s longtime practice to send trucks daily, if not multiple times a day, to a shivah home—for the duration of shivah—to remove piles of garbage that inevitably accumulate daily (one call to the sanitary district office is all it takes to arrange this service). The service is provided, with no fanfare, because there’s a sensitivity that overwhelming piles of trash may add to the distress a family in mourning already feels.
I’m a big fan of Sanitary District No. 1; they’re a hard working crew and always working harder to improve. So it’s always nice to read a letter or hear a story about an area resident with an experience that reaffirms my feelings, while increasing the number of Five Towns residents who feel the same way.
Why do we need to read about Satmar with all the lavish descriptions of their dueling rabbis? It’s OK for them to build communities where they are not wanted, but the parents of the murdered Israeli teenagers need to do teshuvah? How insensitive can a rabbi be during the week of shivah! I do not need an article about Satmar’s expansion in a Five Towns paper that my family reads at the Shabbos table. Please choose your articles with more sensitivity in the future.
Shame on you, Five Towns Jewish Towns for presenting an article regarding Satmar’s “settlements” in upstate NY. I do not want to read or hear anything to do with Satmar and its “Rebbe.” His inexcusable remarks, blaming the parents of our murdered young boys, make him an outcast to the entire Jewish community. Maybe Rabbi Tannenbaum, who frequently sings Satmar’s praises in your paper, should spend some ink trying to explain his Rebbe’s remarks. At a time when we are striving for Jewish unity, Satmar has taken itself out of the Klal.
Rubin Brecher, MD