Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Big Brother in Beitar II - legitimate fear of minorities

Anonymous commented on your post "Big Brother in Beitar":

In the US, the issues are a bit different than in Israel.

Observant Jews as a community spend millions of charitable dollars building shuls, schools, mikvoth and community centers. Because we must live walking distance to shul, there are not many neighborhoods in the US where an observant Jew can live and it is not generally easy or even possible to move.

Because Orthodox Jews do not put their children in public schools, in frum areas, children from underprivileged districts will often be bused in to fill the empty public school seats.

Orthodox Jews hire service workers in homes, schools, caterers, grocers etc. Discrimination is very real in the US and Jews are among the few who hire minorities who naturally like to live near work.

Jews also tend invest in rental properties in frum neighborhoods. The only tenants for rundown rentals are minority workers and their families who otherwise cannot afford Jewish neighborhoods, so several wage earners will share a single family home.

In many frum neighborhoods in the US, there are those who did not grow up in Boro Park or Flatbush under the siege of racial tensions from the surrounding neighborhoods.
These Jewish investors do not understand the implications of living among ethnic groups who have a history of violence against Jews.

So you frum communities of a few thousand Jews living under siege. In NMB, for example, children can not even play in the front yard, there are nightly break in attempts on homes, it is terrifying to come home after dark, and women and children are afraid to walk to shul on Shabbos in broad daylight.

Once dozens of homes in frum neighborhoods have already been rented out like this, what is there to do? (The asking price of houses in NMB has dropped about 40% in wake of the recent crime. This makes it even more impossible for families to move).

The local police cannot win the battle against crime in minority neighborhoods which they consider too dangerous to even patrol. In Miami, the City has contracted with a private security agency to patrol crime ridden areas.

The yeshivas, shuls, mikvoth and kosher services in North Miami Beach were built with 50 years of community tzedakah and the frum residents have no where else to go.. These services cannot be duplicated in another less crime ridden area. Especially not when homes are worth less than their mortgages.

This is an issue now in frum communities all over the US. It might seem harsh and bigoted to Israelis try to prevent Jewish landlords from renting to whomever they wish (ie in Lakewood). But consider that in recent months, it has become statistically safer to live in Sderot than in many frum US neighborhoods.

If you were locked in your house behind iron window bars, afraid to go to a Shalom Zachor, evening shiur or even to shul on Shabbos morning; if you were afraid to even let your children play in front of your home, how would you feel?

Perhaps, like the Rabbis in Lakewood you might also support a ban on landlords renting their properties in Jewish neighborhoods to whomever they wish.


  1. In many frum neighborhoods in the US, there are those who did not grow up in Boro Park or Flatbush under the siege of racial tensions from the surrounding neighborhoods.

    I grew up in Boropark and went to school in Flatbush. The only "racial tensions" i ever heard of or encountered were a friend from Kensington (a different neighborhood)'s story about once getting mugged by an African-American teenager when he was younger, and Kahanist thugs coming up to my brother on Avenue J and asking if he wants to "learn how to beat up g---im"

  2. I do not understand this comparison? Can somebody enlighten me?

    In Beitar the vaad was not established to keep out dabgerous minorities. Are there mexicans stealing peoples cars or vandelizing shulls in Beitar. Have any chassidic girls been raped in Beitar? Puleez!

  3. In the 60s-late 70s African Americans burned hundreds of Jewish owned businesses and apartment buildings in race riots in NYC, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, Philadelphia, Newark, Plainfield and Camden.

    At the time, many of the buildings African Americans lived in and the businesses that served their neighborhoods were owned by Jews because they were in formerly Jewish neighborhoods (ie. Brownsville, East Flatbush, East NY, Harlem etc).

    Nation of Islam (which is NOT Muslim, but an antisemitic, pseudo Christian cult that believes that their "rebbe" Elijah Mohammad is the Messiah) torched Jewish businesses whose owners would not pay them protection money.

    This was how the Shomrim and Hatzolahs in Jewish neighborhoods got started. Frum Jews did not flee urban neighborhoods as their less observant brethren did. Boro Park in the 50s was a Conservative and Modern Orthodox suburb. The neighborhood only became solidly "frum" after the "white flight" of the 60s and 70s. I remember BP as a neighborhood of mostly single family wood frame houses with lawns. There were apartment buildings too, but it was mostly wood frame houses with big porches. Developers knocked those down and built six 4 bdrm apartments in their place.

    Until the late 70s there were even two movie theaters in BP, one at 51st and New Utrecht and another one at 46th. The storefronts on 13th Avenue haven't changed much, I am told since the 50s.

  4. Beitar Illit isn't trying to keep out "dangerous" elements in the sense of rapists, drug-addicts, and thieves.

    They're trying to keep out those elements that might show elbows and ankles and have dogs!

    As someone who considers herself quite religious and quite observant, I know that I'm less than welcome as a visitor in Beitar, because of statements such as "I don't see any religious reason why one can't believe in evolution." and "I would prefer to buy heter mechira and support Jewish farmers since shmitta is only derabbanan in our day."

    Apikorsus at its worst, I suppose... not to mention the fact that I wear a skirt and top instead of a suit on Shabbos (don't own a suit - can't afford one).


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