Friday, March 22, 2013

Jews Upset After Prospect Park Accuses Them Of Throwing Bread In Lake: Gothamist

I chose to ignore this story when it originally surfaced last week.  The idea of giving attention to an idiot isn't appealing, and the story was so brain-hurting stupid.  But It's not fair to let a decent guy like Paul Nelson (former chief of staff to Assemblywoman Joan Millman) take even the tepid heat this nontroversy is generating. 
According to the Brooklyn Paper, the release said, "For many years people have brought chametz to Prospect Park to throw into the lake to feed the waterfowl. While this is done with the best of intentions, feeding the waterfowl can be very harmful to them." But Gary Schlesinger, of United Jewish Community Advocacy Relations and Enrichment, says, "For Passover nobody drops the chametz into the lake. That is totally untrue."
Usually, observants Jews will burn unleavened bread (the chametz). However, Prospect Park Alliance spokesman Paul Nelson told the NY Times, "It usually is several hundred over the few days before Passover starts and all around the lake... When asked, they said they were disposing of their bread products in preparation for Passover and thought they were doing a good thing by feeding it to the waterfowl." He explained that with the leavened bread bonanza, geese are diverted from their usual vegetation, "We are not saying it's one branch of Judaism or another, or a particular neighborhood or synagogue. Nor is it organized."The fake outrage is nonsense.  Gary Schlesinger's statement is demonstrably false, and it is he who owes the Prospect Park Alliance an apology.  This would not even be a story but for the ginned up outrage of a buffoon like Schlesinger. 
I've fed the geese in various places many, many times without thinking I was doing the wrong thing.  I don't think there's any scandal in observant Jewish people doing so.  Hmm. I've got to lose this bread, and I'm supposed to do X with it, but I could feed it to the geese. Everybody wins!  Who doesn't like to feed animals?

But apparently its not great for the geese, and due to the holiday, it would seem that a larger number of people all get the bright idea at the same time, which results in overfeeding the geese with grains, which is not good for them. Hence what should have been an unremarkable PSA to the community, turned into a news story by a thin-skinned buffoon. 

The end. 

Full disclosure: I will no doubt continue to feed ducks, geese, chipmunks, squirrels, occasional pigeons, and even an accursed seagull or two, on occasion.  But I'll try to avoid doing so at highly trafficked places. And no trans fats. 

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