Judaism is mostly a rationalist tradition that embraces free will, critical thinking, and the importance of the intellect. Most endeavors that mandate irrational and overly chancy behavior are forbidden by the Jewish tradition. Gambling is one of the prevalent modern activities that may make for fun sport in moderation, but when treated as a primary source of income it borders on the irrational.
A coalition of organizations and groups, including many Russian Jewish immigrants, is working to keep gambling out of Coney Island as the state mulls expanding casinos.
“If you look at every independent economic study that’s been done about casinos, what happens is crime and traffic increases and the quality of life decreases,” said Steve Zeltser, a spokesman for Stop The Coney Island Casino, which held a press conference Monday morning at the Kings Bay Y.