Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Lakewood, NJ

The Ashbury Park Press had several articles about the Yeshivish community in Lakewood, NJ and related housing concerns (courtesy of JH).
First, one should make the disclaimer that the APP has had it in for the Yeshiva & its community. However, since the APP might be the only Newspaper other than Hamodia & Yated that covers Lakewood (probably the fasting growing Jewish community in North America) we should be reading it.
Chakira already gives his spin on the articles.
My only comments are related to another discussion involving a recent Berel Wein op-ed in the J-Post about Chareidi Culture which I hope to discuss later this week. Even if one grants that the APP is baised against the frum yiddin, one can ask if a community created by the largest & most important Ultra-Orthodox Yeshiva in North America should be making a Kiddush Ha-Shem rather than causing problems with the neighbors?
Now almost every major Orthodox Jewish community in the world is having a tremendous squeeze on housing and affording housing has vanished for the most part. But does Teaneck, Queens, or Passaic have these problems with their neighbors? Does predatory housing practices an indictment of the educational institutions what bred these people? Are questions like these valid? I believe that they are.

The other observation which I will note and not mentioned by either JH or the APP is that many of these houses are being paid for by the US Gov't by way of HUD. Even though the Kollel Yungeleit do qualify for HUD, WIC, food stamps etc. because of their poverty, they freely choose this poverty (usually with the blessing of their Gedolim). It bothers me, though I could understand if others would disagree.

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