Mar 6, 2012

Purim Decorations Endanger Neighborhood

UPDATE Wednesday night:
As of this evening, yellow material that I photographed as being in dangerous p;aces was still up and had not been removed. Maybe they removed some material, and maybe they removed from some intersections, but they definitely did not remove all the dangerous materials.
Someone just posted to the local email list on behalf of the Kupa that they apologize and are taking down the yellow bunting. The message reads:
It has come to our attention that the yellow materials related to our
campaign are obscuring vision of oncoming traffic and pedestrians. Please
accept our apologies for this - the materials will be taken down.

With thanks for your support and patience and wishes for a Happy Purim to
Kupa Shel Tzedaka

One of the local tzedaka organizations goes all out every year in their Purim fundraising campaign. While it often might look like they are spending an awful lot of money in an area in which they already have a very high level of penetration, it takes money to make money, as they say, and it is for a mitzva (even if it is annoying).

Each year they decorate the neighborhood with a different theme. This years theme is social justice and the high cost of electricity. they plastered all over various intersections yellow bunting, hung yellow and black signs with different slogans about the high prices, the lack of social justice and other slogans, and in some traffic circles by major intersections also erected some tents akin to the tent protests this past summer.

The bunting must come down. The bunting has been placed in a very dangerous way. (the signs and tents are fine, the bunting is the problem) At many intersections it blocks the vision of both a driver and of pedestrians who might be about to cross the street.They have been up just a day and already there have been complaints of near-accidents.

I went out to see how much it actually blocks a drivers range of vision and this is what I found:
a child pedestrian who might step out into the street to cross will look to his left and not be able to see an oncoming vehicle.

A driver will not be able to see a child pedestrian as he/she steps out into the street. As well, if the driver will be turning right, his vision is seriously limited.

overall view of the intersection
The bunting must come down before there is a major accident!

Two emails (so far) about this were sent to a local email list
I have just witnessed a potentially nasty car accident at the bottom of Ayalon and Kishon where the visibility for oncoming cars has been totally obscured by huge pieces of yellow fabric. Cars are being forced to inch out into speeding traffic because the fabric curves out 20 meters into the line of vision for motorists trying to turn right.

Please inform the bochrim on Dolev that jumping out in front of and literally onto moving vehicles is not just stupid, but illegal. Cars are swerving all over Dolev to avoid them.

Seriously, Purim is not going to be very happy for some families of they have to spend it in hospitals with their loved ones due to so-called Purim spirit!

I am so glad you wrote this. I almost had 2 accidents this morning because
of the stupidity of charity organizations that think it is ok to decorate
traffic circles reminding people the importance of giving tzedaka on purim.
HELLO PEOPLE - you are going to be collecting money for injured people after
purim. I don't know these organizations but perhaps someone in rbs can tell
them to remove all the yellow material that they have hang on fences leading
up to circles and around the circles. The 2 that I saw that were dangerous
was the traffic circle on kishon by the mercaz mischari and the traffic
circle just after beit tefilla on refaim. It makes driving very dangerous
and you can't see on coming cars or people waiting to cross at the crossing
as the material makes it into a blind spot.
The bunting of this years decoration is very dangerous in the way it hampers a drivers vision as well as the pedestrians. Take down the bunting before an accident happens!

I emailed the organization with my thoughts on this. As of this writing I do not yet have a response from them. I suggest you email (or call) them as well, if you agree.
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  1. don't wait for them to respond. If it is dangerous, and you are able to without causing harm to yourself, start taking them down yourself. לא תעמוד על דם רעך.
    You can also contact the iriya or the police.

  2. This is probably the same group, that plays at outragously loud volume their volume over and over again (including a Yom Kippur tune), and their collectors come en masse to our doors, and intrude on us on Purim. I for one will NOT give to them.

  3. yes you have to spend money to make money but it seems that other local organizations can raise money with much less expense

    and if I'm not mistaken this is the same organization who is always crying that their coffers are empty

    perhaps just like the drunken bochurim..we shouldn't reward their overspending with our support!

  4. Earn money from homeMarch 06, 2012 4:16 PM

    Take down the bunting! They should have tried for a home run instead. Like giving to Vaad HaRabbanim to raise money. Duh.

  5. Hmm. 2 e-mails are quoted and 4 comments concur with the great danger the bunting causes. I am all for increased public safety, and God only knows how negligent our entire community is in the areas of safe driving and road etiquette.
    And, for the record, I am no supporter of the Tzedaka fund in question
    I just wonder how much of this is biased by our community's well publicized divisions, and how much of the venom has nothing to do with public safety. Are any of the voices heard on this issue coming from actual supporters of the RBS fund? And if not, can we stop pretending that this is about protecting pedestrians?

  6. personally I have volunteered to work for this kupa's events (sales, etc). I give them regular donations. And that is so despite the fact that the other tzedaka org is my personally preferred tzedaka org.
    I cannot vouch for other people's motives and intentions, but my motives are purely for the safety issue.

  7. I should have clarified that my skepticism was not directed at Rafi. Anyone who knows him personally admires his objectivity. I have no doubt that the popularity of his blog is a direct result of that.
    And of course, amongst the anonymous others, there are no doubt similar people who are motivated by a desire to see safer streets.
    I simply question some of the gleeful triumphalism in some of these quotes. I find it disingenuous to claim that now we will limit our donations, when the people most upset are often not supporters to begin with...

  8. Anon,

    Quite the opposite. I used to be a devoted supporter of this kupa's work.

    I do question their spending discretion when it comes to advertising.

    By now everyone knows who they are and what they do.

    What bothers me here is the danger issue as well as the idea of taking over the neighborhood. While I support them why couldn't they leave a little room for other tzedakos to advertise.

  9. One of the slogans caught my eye: "hunger doesn't discriminate" Is the implication that the readers shouldn't discriminate when picking our charities, or that the charity itself doesn't discriminate when picking hungry recipients?

    Regarding safety, my guess is that those who are part of it think "ah, it isn't really so bad" even if it is. So I'm not so sure that judging by public statements will be all that conclusive.

  10. Me thinks "Meir" doth protest too much, proving my point. Didn't take Meir long to move from lamenting the safety issue, to arguing against RBS Fund's exclusion of other funds.

  11. Anon,

    Yes I am protesting.

    I protest because I was duped by them for many years. Lines like 100% Tzedaka, We have Daas Torah (and "they" don't), "sponsored by", etc. kept me from giving to the other guys.

    I finally realized that not everything that they say may be 100% true.

    And "for the record" I have difficulty believing that you don't support them.

    At least I am up front about where I am holding.

  12. My husband has been volunteering for the Kupa for years. I noticed this this morning while we were in the car together and commented right away on the hazard. He called one of the Kupa heads, didn't get ahold of him, but left a detailed message. This has nothing to do with loyalties and everything to do with safety.

  13. Thank you Meir, for confirming what I wrote

    Anon 7:31- Kol HaKavod to you. Like Rafi, I have no doubt that this is a safety hazard, and applaud those who reach out to the Kupa to address it.
    I am simply saying that many of those who express their concern via e-mail list and by commenting on blogs may very well, like Meir, have other issues with the Kupa and that they are all too happy to use this safety concern as a hammer.

  14. maybe, maybe not. everybody has to be careful to make sure their motives are pure. and everybody in the end does whats good for them. if someone cares about safety, they will be concerned about this. if someone is more concerned about money they will say its not an issue. if someone is more concerned about knocking one or the other they will behave accordingly. that is not in my, or your, or anyone else's control. That means it is not something I need be concerned with. I cant read inside anybody else's hearts, and therefore do not consider it an issue to worry about.

  15. and I might add that that potential possibility of someone having other agendas and using this "as a hammer" is all the more reason why the Kupa needs to be extra careful that they run their campaigns properly. Just because they are collecting tzedaka does not make everything, all means, ok. They must be extra cautious that their means are acceptable, kosher, and even glatt kosher. they should be extra careful to do things properly and not give people that opening

  16. dont wait for them, take it down ourselves, especially on purim day, this is a danger

  17. Rafi,

    You make a good point. I see a double standard in relation to criticism of organizations. I have no doubt that if Lema'an Achai would have spent that kind of money and time on Purim decorations everyone would be saying "bizbuz kesef", etc.

    Among some people no matter what Lema'an Achai does it's wrong and no matter what Kupa does it's ok.

    The bottom line here is public safety and responsibility no matter who is behind the advertising.

  18. Finally wising up and taking the stuff down. What a waste of time and money as well as efforts that could have really helped the poor.

  19. The Kupa's campaign is cute.

    However, by breaking every boundary - endangering the population, misuse of public property, financial excess, visual pollution - they have shown immense arrogance.

  20. Last year, the Kupa endangered children with their parade.

    Children were literally hanging out of car windows and standing on car roofs.

    Mitzva derech aveira seems to be their standard policy.

    I wonder if they do the same with their books?

  21. The campaign they are running is about keeping our tzedaka funds in our neighborhood. Are they saying that we should not give the myriad of collectors, be it poor people or yeshivas, that come collecting from outside the neighborhood? Is that consistent with halacha? I know there is priority to local tzedaka, but that doesn't mean from outside does not get at all.. as a matter of fact on Purim we are obligated to give everybody.

  22. Yakov - someone from the Kupa just posted to the local email list about rules for participating in the parade. if they enforce what they wrote it looks like they are going to be serious about safety in this years parade.
    (they even say they invited undercover policemen to partake in the parade and give out tickets to those not following the rules.)

  23. Almost none of the material was taken down. I must say that this typical of their PR policies...create an issue (ie the material, the dangers in the parade, etc.) then come as the "good guy" (we will remove that dangerous material, there are strict rules about the parade, etc) and reality keep everything the same.

    Despite the "rules' about the parade I still saw reckless driving and unseated children. I even saw one car with a young adult on the roof.

    They got kudos for their PR about safety, which was just that..PR.

  24. I only checked a few intersections. they didnt remove the entire length of material, but I did see that they evaluated what they considered to be dangerous and removed that portion. So I saw one place where they removed one strip of material but left the rest. Another place where they removed the material off one barrier in the set but left it on the rest.
    I dont know if their evaluations were good or not, from a safety perspective. When doing such things that affect the roads and public safety, a safety engineer should be consulted.

  25. The yellow material on the corner of Refaim and Maor remained after they promised to remove it; a car got way too close to one of my kids because of it.

    But it's no longer there, so no other parents need to worry.

    I did not see the parade, but the drivers of the following vehicles should be ashamed of themselves for letter passengers hang out the doors and windows.


  26. When is it Too Much?March 11, 2012 12:53 PM

    I hope that everyone out there who supported the Kupa for Purim campign are happy that their donations went to banners, (dangerous) bunting, brochures, expensive helium balloons, little fake tents and the myriads of other PR stuff.

    While I fully agree that money must be spent for PR it can also be done with taste and discretion.

    The Kupa should realize by now that due to the banning of Lema'an Achai by many of their rabbis and the other forms of exclusion that they practice they have nothing to fear when raising money in RBS.


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