Oorah Suing Schoharie County Over Religious Discrimination

Oorah late last week filed suit against Schoharie County in US Federal Court on charges of persistent religious discrimination and illegal closure of its TheZone camp facilities in Gilboa and Stamford, NY. The complaint details a saga of anti-Semitic bias and discrimination for years, culminating in the county health department taking advantage of COVID-19 restrictions to unjustly force the organization to close the camps.

Because of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order closing sleepaway camps, instead of its usual camps for hundreds of children and teens, last summer Oorah (like many camps both Jewish and non-Jewish) ran family retreats at the camp resorts with extensive health and safety measures and precautions put in place. Thankfully, not one case of COVID was traced back to the retreats.

In the detailed complaint, Oorah describes significant discrepancies in how pandemic protocols were enforced at TheZone in comparison to other facilities in the region including SUNY’s Cobleskill campus. Along with a description of the disturbing harassment the staff and guests were subjected to over weeks of capricious inspections, the complaint contains references to multiple blatantly anti-Semitic remarks by local officials, such as “We’d like to see actually what we call ‘Jewish lightning.’… They are not welcome.”

The New York State Courts have held that the Schoharie County Health Department illegally shut down both of Oorah’s family retreats in the county but the county has refused to cease the illegality and issue operating permits. Oorah was thus forced to file suit against the county in federal court in an effort to ensure it can open safely and legally this summer.

Oorah Federal Complaint


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  1. It’s heartbreaking to read the extent of the overreach of the county officials. And, truthfully, if you haven’t been to the Zone you can’t really understand the rudeness.
    This Twsp is a nothing hole-in-the-wall. The Zone is a Stunning Campground, and maintained beautifully. The camp is set back from the road it doesn’t bother any of the neighbors. On the contrary, I’m sure the camp contributes to the TWSP coffers. In taxes and in local spending.
    And these people have the nerve to harrass them .
    Absolutely Disgusting
    I hope Oorah wins BIG in court.

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