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Neighbors: Brooklyn Synagogue Siren Is Dangerously Loud

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A siren at a Brooklyn synagogue signifies the Sabbath, but neighbors said their complaint about the painfully loud noise has fallen on deaf ears.

As CBS2's Valerie Castro reported, the city is filled with all kinds of loud noises. Of course, it comes with the territory.

But some Bedford-Stuyvesant residents said a sound on another level is coming from the synagogue with a siren to signify Shabbat, which leaves them covering their ears.

"There's a quality to the sound that's actually you know, it's sort of, 'Errrrr!''" said Robert Prichard of Bedford-Stuyvesant.

The residents of the building directly next to the place of worship are not happy. Many, like Aaron Graubart, have lived in the area a long time.

"I've lived here for 10 years," Graubart said.

The siren was installed just a few months ago.

"I'm used to noise -- it's part of living in a city. This is something else entirely," Graubart said, "unbelievably loud; breathtakingly loud. It's terrifying."

Some residents have even bought special hearing protection to muffle the sound.

"Even with these on, I can still hear it," Prichard said as he wore the hearing protection.

The blast lasts for 90 seconds.

"They've been doing it twice every Friday just before sundown, and at sundown and on High Holy Days," Prichard said.

Neighbors complained loud enough that the city Department of Environmental Protection was called in to measure the decibels. The level was high enough to give the synagogue a violation, but on Friday, the siren still went off.

"It's actually at ear-damaging levels," Prichard said. "Anything over 85 decibels is ear-damaging. This has been clocked at 106."

"When this thing goes off, I have headaches for two days afterwards," Graubart added.

Some say the level of noise even drowns out the sound of the siren on a fire truck headed to an emergency.

"It's as if our health and safety have become negotiable," Prichard said.

Residents said they hope to hear of a compromise from their neighbors soon.

"I have rights too, so do they," Graubart said, "but they don't have the right to deafen people."

The residents said they have reached out to the synagogue, but have gotten no real response to the issue.

CBS2 also tried to reach out to the synagogue Friday, but no one would comment.

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