THE Grand Rebbe Meshulam Feish Lowy of Tosh – or Rebbe Tosh as he is known to his Ultra-Orthodox Jewish followers – has been giving awful earache to residents in the Victoria Park area of Fort Lauderdale.
Tosh, from Montreal, had taken up residence in a vacant Mansion to escape the Canadian winter – and, within days, local authorities were bombarded with complaints from residents about late-night stomping and moaning, loud music, crowds and cars.
Devotees, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, were driving miles to spend a few moments with the elderly, diminutive spiritual leader and to receive his blessing. The gnomish Tosh is 88.
Local resident Larry Eskesen wrote to his commissioner:
There is no doubt in our minds that the rabbi is a very spiritual man â€¦ but does he have to be spiritual so noisily?
But city officials were reluctant to take any action. They were mindful of what happened in Hollywood, where the city tussled for years with the Chabad Lubavitch Jewish sect which set up in a residential neighborhood.
Said City Attorney Harry Stewart:
And Cooper City, Florida, was ordered by a court last year to pay $325,000 to Chabad of Nova for using “discriminating” zoning laws to keep its synagogue out of town.
The Chabad is still there and Hollywood got tagged for $2 million.
After researching the law and talking to an attorney, Victoria Park residents all but declared defeat this week.
At their monthly meeting on Wednesday night, President Ted Fling told them “the courts are against us.” He asked residents not to talk about it, lest they be sued.
Fearing allegations of anti-Semitism, City Manager George Gretsas, a devout Greek Orthodox Christian who went this week to the house to check out complaints, said:
When you have such a high-profile person visiting the city, you don’t want them to feel unwelcome … In Catholicism, it’d be like the Pope.
This apparently did not stop one irate resident from playing “Nazi music” loud enough for Tosh visitors to hear.
Then, as suddenly as he arrived, Tosh left for his home base in Boisbriand, Quebec, in preparation for Passover. No one’s sure when he’ll be back.
Note: The photo above, from an amazing collection posted here, cries out for a caption. Let’s have your entries by April 10. First prize of S T Joshi’s H L Mencken on Religion will go to the winner, along with a year’s subscription to the Freethinker magazine. The runner’s-up prize is a year’s subscription to the Freethinker. Please post your entries under this item for all to see and chuckle over.