By Larry Gordon

Here Comes the School Board Election

On May 21, there will be an election in the Lawrence School District. We urge residents in Lawrence, Inwood, Cedarhurst and parts of Woodmere to vote for the reelection of the incumbent trustees: Dr. David Sussman, Michael Hatten and Tova Plaut.

Our current school board, under the presidency of the dynamic and brilliant tactician Murray Forman, has held the line on school taxes, which comprises almost 70 percent of your annual real estate taxes, while increasing services to private schools in the district.

At the same time, the board has implanted policy and seen a vision realized that has improved the overall education of all district students both in public and private schools.

The tug-of-war, or rather the battle, for control of the school board and policies that do not deny private-school students their rightful district school privileges, began almost two decades ago, and we have seen remarkable progress on all levels of district education.

The current board has instituted such effective and successful policies to the point that there is virtually no candidate running against any of the incumbents except for one perennial candidate whose candidacy has always failed to spark any interest or garner attention.

Dr. David Sussman is a veteran board visionary who, more than two decades ago, was a lone voice of reason on the board, always concerned about why private schools in the district were not being provided with fair and equitable services that should have been provided, but, for too long and for no good reason, just were not.

Many district residents who moved to the Five Towns over the last 15 years might not be familiar with how important it is for us as tax-paying residents to vote for the incumbents and stay the course on current school policies. The board has done a remarkable job over the years in controlling what was once a volatile and contentious situation. Once upon a time, it was a wild scene with election campaigns filled with acrimony and belligerence.

Also on the ballot will be the election for the library board, with Lawrence resident Reva Oliner, the wife of former Lawrence mayor Marty Oliner, running against trustee Joe Fuller. It is vital that we have a voice like Reva’s on the board, as important decisions about the library expansion and location will have to be made in the year ahead.

It is vital to reelect Sussman, Hatten, and Plaut, and elect Reva Oliner for library trustee on May 21. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

A New Shul in Town

Rendering of Bais Tefila of Inwood

Doughty Boulevard and Mott Avenue used to be the very outer limits of the Jewish Five Towns. Now, with the purchase of the VFW building by Bais Tefila of Inwood, that intersection is about to become the center of town.

Walking through the property on Tuesday with Rabbi Pinchus Weinberger and shul members Pinny Ackerman and Tzvi Sussman, we saw the future, as the shul is about to take possession of the property and will hopefully have a beautiful and spacious new shul along with a state-of-the-art simcha hall by time the yomim tovim arrive in September.

The VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) building has long been one of the centerpieces of Inwood and sits on quite an expansive property that includes a natural parking lot for what is going to be a very busy shul. “Where do you find a shul these days with 70 parking spaces?” commented one of the members of the walk-through.

The Bais Tefila shul today has a membership of about 120 families and is experiencing constant growth. The demand for homes in and around the Five Towns has been a boon for Inwood. In addition to what will be a beautiful shul, a state-of-the-art mikveh is already close to being completed.

A tour of the community following the walk through the shul showed a suburban-looking area that we do not usually see when we are only exposed to the edges of the Inwood neighborhood.

The shul, which has been functioning in Yeshiva Ketana since its founding some years ago, will be an anchor of the neighborhood that is experiencing rapid growth. The administration of the shul is hoping to close on the property in the next few weeks and is endeavoring to raise $360,000 in order to be able to close. The purchase of the property as well as the renovations is expected to total about $3 million.

Bais Tefila will be a great asset to the neighborhood as the newest shul bearing testimony to the overall growth of the Five Towns.

Jovia Radix for NY City Council

Jovia Radix

There is an election in Brooklyn on Tuesday to fill the seat vacated by Jumaane Williams who was elected as public advocate in the position that opened up after Letitia James was elected NYS Attorney General.

The open seat represents a large swatch of the Midwood area, and there are eight candidates. For some reason, leading askanim and business personalities have endorsed Farah Louis, a community organizer and Flatbush native.

Two other candidates are Adina Sash, otherwise known on social media as “Flatbush Girl,” and Jovia Radix, an attorney and the former Brooklyn representative of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Radix told us that her vision for Flatbush includes tackling quality-of-life issues with a focus on affordable housing, improved education, and getting a handle on taxes, which continue to increase regularly.

The special election next week will be followed by a primary election for the same seat a month later, in June, and then an election in November 2019. So there is a lot of campaigning and running for office again and again for whoever wins next week.

In a special election like this, which promises to draw very little attention, Jovia Radix can win with just a few thousand votes or less. She looks like the best choice.


  1. Joe Fuller, a founding member of the Young Israel of Lawrence Cedarhurst, and a pillar of the Five Towns Orthodox community for close to 60 years, has been a PPL trustee for more than a decade. If you are advocating for his replacement by Reva Oliner, you should be able to articulate a stronger argument than “it is vital that we have a voice”. We’ve seen from your past editorials that you have no particular interest in strengthening the community’s public libraries. If you are pushing for a change in leadership, please come out and clearly say why this is so, and what issues constitute the major differences between Mr. Fuller and Mrs. Oliner.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here