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Monday, August 13, 2007

Bigotry by the Bay

A friend of the blog e-mails this appalling article, as published in the local Far Rockaway paper, The Wave (link here, subscription required). It's such a piece of garbage journalism that I think I have to attack it on a point-by-point basis. Here we go, with my commentary interspersed:
From the Editor's Desk
(More People Have Died In The Name Of Religion Issue)
Commentary By Howard Schwach
More people have died in the name of religion than anything else throughout history. You don't believe that is true? Take a look at the Inquisition, the Crusades, the Holocaust, the ongoing bloodshed in the Middle East, the long-standing Irish "problems," Kosovo, the ongoing war between Sunni and Shia over who has the right to rule Muslims, and any number of little wars in Africa. Now, tell me that religion is a benign factor in human life.
Ok. People have died in the name of religion. I wont engage in a debate about whether a godless person like Hitler murdered people in name of a religion. And I'll try not to focus my attention on the latent racism in the phrase "little wars in Africa," as if the millions killed on that continent is an afterthought. Either way, it's clear that this piece must be about a very serious brand of religious fanaticism that affects the safety of people on a daily basis. Right? Wrong. Keep reading.
A few months ago, I was in Cedarhurst early in the morning to shop at the bookstore (how I wish there was a bookstore in Rockaway). When I got there, the Nassau cops had a few cars in front of the store. I went in. One of the young clerks was from Far Rockaway and knew me from previous visits. She told me that they found a note on the door that warned them that the store would be destroyed by fire if they continued to open on Saturdays. The note was unsigned, but the store manager at the time told me that they had lots of problems with the Orthodox Jewish community that has all but taken over the shopping areas in Lawrence and Cedarhurst.
Um, a threat of arson? If the store continued to remain open on Saturdays? That certainly sounds pretty serious. If, of course, the threat was deemed at all credible. And considering that it did not show up in any local publications, I have to assume it was not. As a matter of fact, I think the most damning indictment of the author's claim is the fact that the author himself did not report on this alleged story in his very own newspaper! Any explanation for that serious journalistic lapse? I doubt. Let us continue...
A few days later, my wife and I were in the Carvel a few doors away from the bookstore (this was prior to my diet, when I could enjoy a Brown Bonnet). There was an Orthodox man arguing with the Asian owner of the store, telling him that he needed a certificate from the local Orthodox Rabbi if he wanted to stay in business. The owner pointed to a framed document on the wall and told the man he already had a Kosher Certificate. The man told him that it wasn't good enough and that if he didn't pay for one from the local rabbi, nobody from the community would ever again come into his store.
Three weeks later, the store was closed. In my mind, that was worthy of the Mafia and the shakedown antics of the Chinatown gangs.
Riiiiight. The Mafia. The kind of Mafia that somehow allows stores with large and visible Orthodox customer bases like Hewlees and Haagen Dazs to stay open without a Vaad Certification, but threatens stores like Carvel - in the presence of the store's customers, no less. Sounds a little improbable to me.
What brings this to mind is a recent long piece in the New York Times Magazine called, "The Orthodox Paradox," by a "Modern Orthodox" man named Noah Feldman.
Feldman, who is a law professor at Harvard University and an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, tells of the Yeshiva Day School he attended for 12 years and its tenth reunion.
Feldman says that he was photographed with his fellow alumni and their wives, but when the picture was published, he and his girlfriend had been cropped out of the photo. Why? Because his girlfriend (now his wife) was Asian and the mantra of the modern Orthodox school he attended (and, of the religion as a whole) was "no marriage outside the religion."
Ahh. The legacy of our friend Mr. Feldman. The guy who the New York Times claims never said that he was purposely cropped out, therefore obviating his - or the Times' - need to issue a correction. Except that reader after reader, like Mr. Schwach here, seems to have understood Mr. Feldman's claim precisely as that he was purposely cropped out of the photo by the school's administration. Which, as we all now know, he was not.
Feldman says that the goal of modern Orthodoxy is to "normalize the observance of traditional Jewish law - to make it possible to follow all 613 biblical commandments assiduously while still participating in the reality of the modern world."
In a modern society, however, people understand that others have differing viewpoints, and that religion should not drive secular affairs such as how an ice cream shop does its business and whether or not a bookstore is open on Saturday in contravention of Orthodox Jewish teachings.
True. Except that the two examples of the local Orthodox community supposedly making a stink about a bookstore and ice cream store staying open on Saturday are simply not credible - so Mr. Schwach doesn't really have a leg to stand on.
There are many people who believe that the influx of Orthodox to the Five Towns has ruined it for the rest of the population. A great number of the stores and restaurants have been taken over by Orthodox owners. They are closed from early Friday night to Sunday.
I am quite sure that there are many people that feel that "the influx of Orthodox to the Five Towns have ruined it for the rest of the population." (But thanks for spelling those feelings out for us so clearly, Mr. Schwach!) I don't doubt at all that there are many non-Orthodox local who resent that their beloved Manhattan Steak House has been taken over by a Kosher burger joint. Or that Judaica stores proliferate instead of, say, electronics stores. Or so on and so forth. But guess what? Tough. That's how the free market works. If a store cannot draw customers from the demographic of the community it inhabits, it cannot succeed in its present incarnation. That happens on any given day, in communities all over the earth. Demographics change. People need to either change with the demographics - or risk going belly-up. That's always been the reality of owning a business that relies on customers to succeed. Small office supply stores can moan and groan all they want about the big-box office suppliers that undercut their prices and drive customers away, but unless they find some method of their own to continue to draw customers, all the complaining in the world won't keep the small store solvent.

For a great example of someone who rolls with the punches of changing demographics, take Jay Todtman, the hilarious (and sometimes quite rude) owner of the excellent local bagel store Toddy's. Jay, who himself is not Orthodox, realized that the community was changing. He made a choice to hold on to the local clientele by changing in kind, and his the quality of his delicious lox and cream cheese has not changed a bit since becoming certified by the Vaad. Mr. Schwach, perhaps you should head into Toddy's to try a vat of iced cappucino fudge with Cholov Yisrael milk. I guarantee you that it tastes no different than a coffee made with non-CY milk. Of course, that is if you can abide standing in line in the store, so close to all of the Orthodox clients who can't seem to get enough of Mr. Todtman's product. It seems that might be a problem for you - though not for them.
That community has tried, as with the bookstore, to force those not owned by them to close as well.
As I mentioned above - I don't buy that claim. It's based only on Mr. Schwach's hearsay - and never even reported in his own paper. It's also not borne out by any evidence whatsoever. Borders bookstore is absolutely packed with Orthodox of every stripe on a Friday afternoon. Go see for yourself. That doesn't exactly speak of any type of Orthodox boycott attempt. Mr. Schwach's readers' intelligence is insulted by any claims to that order.
To my mind, that is not being a good neighbor. In Bayswater, the Satmar community is taking over, buying property and converting many of the large homes into synagogues. Granted, the Satmar are Hasidic and not considered modern Orthodox, but they are simply a more extreme brand of orthodoxy.
Horrors! People who don't look exactly like you are legally buying homes, and (gasp!) living in them! Call the troops in the white sheets! Wait...is that mentality of not allowing people who are different from you to live in your community a throwback to a different era, perhaps? Like, pre-civil rights?
Since the Orthodox have their own schools, their own stores, their own courts, their own community groups, their own newspapers, their proliferation leads to a separation that is untenable in a modern world.
Who says it's untenable? Orthodox Jews do not have their own schools at the expense of paying school taxes. Seen my tax bill lately? Nor do they have their own courts at the expense of participating in secular courts. Any idea how many attorneys, who participate daily in the court system, live in the Five Towns Orthodox community you denigrate? A whole bunch. And regarding having "our own newspapers" - what do you expect us to do? Read your newspaper where you write anti-Orthodox diatribes, riddled with falsehoods, like this one? Or subscribe to the other local papers, who allow political advertisements that play on bigotry?
To get a glimpse of what I'm talking about, read the Times piece.
Since no work is allowed on the Sabbath, even the carrying of money or turning on an electric light, the word "work" had to be defined over generations of thinking and writing.
Saving a life is allowed on the Sabbath, because life trumps the Torah. Turns out, however, that saving only a Jewish life is allowed, not saving a non-Jewish life unless saving that life somehow led to better relations between Jews and non-Jews.
That is what we are talking about.
Except that this is just not the case. Find me one Orthodox doctor, anywhere, who will ever inquire as to the religion of a patient before treating him/her on Sabbath. One. Find me one contemporary Rabbi who will say that Jewish emergency workers, EMT's, doctors or nurses should deny a patient care based on his religion. Good luck.
Now, you can call me an atheist (although I do believe in a God, although not in organized religion) or a Secular Humanist (the worst thing in the world in the view of religious zealots), but I think that I am levelheaded, worried about the impact of religion on my life and the health of my community. I simply cannot understand why any religion would be so egotistic that it would demand that people of other faiths (or not faith at all) should live by its tenets.
I read recently that the Pope said that we cannot be saved, cannot go to heaven if we don't accept Jesus as our savior. Orthodox Jews tell us that we can't shop on Saturday because they don't believe in it. Then, they make up rules, such as the use of an Eruv, to get around their own rules when it suits their fancy. An Eruv, by the way, is a wire set up high around a particular area that allows for the fiction that people within that wire are at home and can do some things they might otherwise not be able to do.
You have got to be kidding me. First of all, no one is demanding that you practice our religion. Proselytizing has never been the Jewish approach. And the notion that Orthodox "get around their own rules when it suits their fancy" is demonstrably false on it's face. If that's the case, and it's simply about what is more convenient for us as opposed to being rooted in our laws - which, with your limited understanding, you clearly might not be able to grasp - then why wouldn't we "make up rules" for eating pork or lobster? Or driving on Shabbat? God knows the past few Saturdays have been sweltering. It would have been real sweet to drive my air-conditioned minivan to shul, instead of pushing a heavy double stroller. But I guess we haven't "made up" those rules yet. Too bad.
I understand that there is a demand that the Orthodox be given their own time slots at the pool being built as part of Arverne By The Sea, under the theory that men and women from that community cannot mix and that Orthodox youth may not mix with non- Orthodox youth at any time.
Is that what we want our community facility to become?
I once taught part-time at an Orthodox girl's school in Brooklyn.
The Rabbi told me that I could not teach about the Crusades because they were not a "matter for Jews." I couldn't teach about meiosis (the determination that is made when sperm meets egg) because that is "a dirty lesson." The textbook we used had a photo of a priest holding up a cross over the Niagara Falls. That page was ripped from the textbooks. The math teacher was warned not to use a cross as a plus sign, to make sure that the lines crossed right in the middle.
I could go on and on.
I fail to understand how the religious fundamentalism of the Orthodox community discussed above is much different from the fundamentalism of the Christian community that wants us to teach creationism in the schools and fights the use of stem cells when it is clear that their use can save untold lives down the line.
Or, the Muslim fundamentalists that beat people because they go into a bar, wear "seductive" clothing or watch an American movie.
Interesting. So, you "fail to understand" the difference between the violent fundamentalism you describe and the fact that a Yeshiva chooses to cross their plus signs in the middle. You "fail to understand" the difference between choosing not to teach young children about certain aspects of reproduction - and Muslim fundamentalists who beat people because they go into a bar. You "fail to understand" the difference between peaceful requests for a few gender-separate swimming hours in a community pool - and bloody violence. You have a limited understanding for these types of things, it seems.
Feldman's New York Times piece drew so many letters that an entire page of those letters ran in last week's paper, an unusual occurrence for a paper that gets hundreds of letters on each of its major stories. Very seldom does one story get an entire page of letters.
One rabbi, the executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, wrote, "It was Feldman's choice to send as clear a signal as he could, through his marriage, that he was rejecting fundamental principles of the community. His expression of surprise at the reaction of the community's institutions, including his alma mater, where he was taught these principles, strains credulity... Feldman's own life seems to be a testament as to what can happen, in the worst case, when one loses this balanced view of Jewish life, losing the balance between engaging with modern culture and a core commitment to Orthodox traditions, which so many others continue to maintain with dignity and much fulfillment."
This question is not one that is simply academic or global in scope. This question could easily overtake Rockaway as it has the Five Towns area.
I don't really understand this whole paragraph - it must have lost some meaning to overzealous editing. But I will attempt to refute it anyhow. First of all, what exactly is the significance of there being a whole page of letters? Especially as most of the letters were expressing displeasure with Mr. Feldman's take on things? Also, there were many non-Orthodox critics of Mr. Feldman's piece.
I know that it was an aberration, but I once rode through West Lawrence (once called Far Rockaway) during the Sabbath on a story and had a group of young Orthodox students at a Yeshiva on Reads Lane throw rocks at my car and curse me for riding on Saturday.
Wow. That sounds serious. Youths throwing stones? I hope you called the police. I'm sure they would have taken a threat like this seriously - especially as you know which Yeshiva the boys came from, which should make it easy to identify them. I expect that you brought these students up on charges, as any responsible citizen should do. It's truly shocking that Mr. Schwach has had so many violent encounters with Orthodox residents of this area - he's like the Forrest Gump of the Orthodox zealot set. I would love to see some of these police reports so that I can post on these terrible occurrences. Or I would love to have seen the story on this dangerous crime in Mr. Schwach's paper. Alas, it was never reported. I'm sure a local paper like The Wave has few more pressing stories that concern local public safety to report on than youth throwing stones.
That community is one that has isolated itself from the rest of the residents.
That, my friends, is never a good sign for any community's health.
Speaking of isolation, let me ask you a question, Mr Schwach. Have you ever attempted to engage any of your Orthodox neighbors in discussion on these matters? I find it difficult to believe that you have, given your one-sided examples of your experiences with Orthodox members of your community.

And let me leave you with a even more pressing question. Is publishing a hate-filled, dishonest piece such as this one simply a result of Mr. Shwach's own misinformation, or something much more troubling? Because to me, it seems that despite Mr. Schwach's attempts to prove otherwise, all he has proven here is how intolerant he himself is. It is clear that he is unhappy with the culture of others encroaching on his former stomping grounds. I'm sorry for him that such a demographic shift occured, changing his beloved Five Towns and Far Rockaway that was once populated by an Orthodox minority that he evidently deemed appropriately small enough to make him feel comfortable. But people move, and populations change. That said, I think it's clear to everyone that bigotry is bigotry, no matter how one may try to back it up with one's own dubiously sourced experiences. And I think Mr. Schwach has proved himself a bigot, plain and simple.

250 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me try:

"There are many people who believe that the influx of Hispanic to the US has ruined it for the rest of the population."

"There are many people who believe that the influx of Blacks to the Bronx has ruined it for the rest of the population.

Would I be caught dead making those statements? Why is it ok for Mr. Shwack to say it about Orthos?

12:24 PM  
Anonymous ProJewishLife said...

It's time to leave the comfort of your houses and the underlying antisemitism which is rearing it's ugly head, and move home to Israel. Here is one area where the U.S. Ortho community really is circumventing our command to live in the promised land. How do you get around THAT one???
How long do you want to put up with editorials such as this one?
Remind me: how did it all start in Europe? And what happened to the people who did not want to leave their comforts behind???.....
Think about it: you are getting a wake up call.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many people, even those who are Jewish or observant Jews, feel that things are getting extreme in the Five Towns. You may not like the way this man expressed his feelings, but there are people who feel some of the changes aren't positive. You think he should live with the changes brought on by the shift in population? People there should live with the fact that long-time residents might not be thrilled with these changes.

http://www.thejewishweek.com/bottom/freshink_content.php3?artid=446

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=travel&res=9507E3D71E3DF93BA35753C1A9669C8B63&n=Top%2FReference%2FTimes%20Topics%2FSubjects%2FK%2FKosher%20Foods

3:26 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Anonymous said...

Many people, even those who are Jewish or observant Jews, feel that things are getting extreme in the Five Towns. You may not like the way this man expressed his feelings, but there are people who feel some of the changes aren't positive. You think he should live with the changes brought on by the shift in population? People there should live with the fact that long-time residents might not be thrilled with these changes.


Long-time residents don't have a right to vote on whether changes can occur by virtue of their long-time residency status. Change happens, in just about every community, whether or not people like it or are prepared for it or desire it.

Do long-time residents of Cedarhurst have a right to express their unhappiness with the fact that they have fewer restaurants serving non-kosher fare to choose from? Of course. Do they have a right to express their disappointment that the demographic makeup of the Five Towns didn't remain as it was when they moved in many years ago? Certainly. But that's a far cry from the hate, bigotry, and falsehood-filled diatribe presented by Mr. Schwach in his editorial. And people's words are certainly judged by the tone, manner and demeanor in which they choose to present them.

As I mentioned above, perhaps if Mr. Schwach had tried to engage some Orthodox members of his community in polite conversation regarding his feelings on the changes going on, instead of using the reprehensible tactics he instead chose to use, then we would be having a productive conversation. But he precluded that with his publishing such a hatemongering piece of journalism.

As is so often the case in this fractured community, what we see here is just another missed opportunity for communication, thrown away in favor of an attempt to throw some jabs at the Orthodox. Good job, Mr. Schwach.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Great fisking, OM. And a good (if all too familiar) point by the first commenter.

3:56 PM  
Anonymous still wonderin' said...

"It's time to leave the comfort of your houses and the underlying antisemitism which is rearing it's ugly head, and move home to Israel. "

You're giving this jackass waaaaay too much credit.

3:57 PM  
Anonymous stillwonderin' said...

"Think about it: you are getting a wake up call."

Ditto

3:57 PM  
Anonymous stillwonderin' said...

""There are many people who believe that the influx of Blacks to the Bronx has ruined it for the rest of the population. "

You can be certain there are plenty of people who believe that the influx of Blacks to Far Rockaway has ruined it for the rest of the population.

Has The Wave ever editorialized about this?

4:00 PM  
Blogger DAG said...

Those who are out of power...or are losing power, resent those that have it. Those that have it MUST use it wisely OR when the balance changes back, there is retribution.

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He does have a point about the plus signs and the crusades and bio.
why aren't the schools teaching about the crusades? who cares how a freakin' plus sign looks? afraid a child will look at the plus sign and think it is a cross and go off the derech??? and god forbid we teach the kids about what happens when the sperm meets the egg....

other than that he is one angry jew

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dag, I don't know what that means, but it creeped me out.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

anon, I don't think that anyone has a problem with what happens once the sperm meets the egg. What everyone is scared about is when the kids ask the question "how does the sperm meet the egg?"

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, halfnutcase, it might be better for them to hear it from a biology teacher, rather than grow up and have some kallah or chosson teacher tell them, "it's mikvah night so you have to do it, get undressed in complete darkness and get under the covers so you don't see eachother's bodies." Seems to me they should be getting sex ed someplace!

4:39 PM  
Anonymous G said...

Is the fact that no police reports were filed the only reason that you question the veracity of the bookstore and ice cream incidents? He feels he is taking action by bringing them up in this way, the same for the alleged rock throwing.

By and large such actions do not sound so out of place for certain segments of the orthodox community.


Clearly he is overreaching and possibly overreacting based on the total tone of the piece, but then again the same might be said of your response. From the sound of things, you both need to relax.

4:41 PM  
Blogger DAG said...

Anon: Its called Poli Sci 101.

Dag

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That ice cream store incident seems highly plausible to me, given all I've heard about how there is increasing pressure to use the Va'ad or you don't get any customers. I've read food-related message boards (kosher) where it seems as if any certification but 5 Towns Va'ad is now considered unacceptable out there. So that Carvel story does not seem far-fetched. People should be able to choose whatever certification they want, or can afford, without being scared if they don't go with a particular one. It used to be about being kosher, now it's all about politics.

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. OM,
well put. i want to just make a few ponits on your words, schwacks, and feldmans.
a) i believe feldmans article is recieving too much publicity within the orthodox world. he doesnt deserve it. it was meant to stir emotions, dont allow your emaotions to stir. it is filled with sheker, and am-aratzus, and it not worth our discussion.
b) now- is mr. schwak referring to borders book store?? if he is, why dont we ask one of the kind women who work there if this story is true? EVEN IF IT IS- the fact that someone left such a note DOES NOT lead to any of the following conclusions:
a) the store would actually be set on fire if the store didnt close. it could have been some kind of a sick prank
b) the note was left by someone orthodox. there is a possibility that whoever is so crazy to do such a prank would do so even if he doesnt believe in shabbos.
c) even if the note was left by a 'orthodox jew' it surely does not represent the attitude of our community. 99.999999% of our community, rabbis and roshei yeshiva included, would tell such a person he is crazy. as OM pointed out, the store is filled with all different types of jews all the time.

The rock-throwing story does not seem true. and again, if it is, its a terrible thing and like OM (jokingly?) pointed out they should have been dealt with. I am sure a person who would report such a thing to the parents or rabbi of these boys would have handeled it appropriatly.

4:59 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

G said...

Is the fact that no police reports were filed the only reason that you question the veracity of the bookstore and ice cream incidents? He feels he is taking action by bringing them up in this way, the same for the alleged rock throwing.


Well, let's look at the alleged events like this. They either were serious events, or they weren't. If the alleged arson threat was a serious one, one would expect to see it on the police blotter. However, it was not reported in any of the local papers, who have a weekly section reporting on their monitoring of the local police blotters and routinely report on far less pressing incidents such as public drunkenness, shoplifting, and pickpocketing attempts. In addition, Mr. Schach claims to have witnessed these two serious crimes, yet he never actually reported on them. He only mentions them - by his own admission months after the fact - in a bigotry-laced editorial, to make a convenient point as to how miserable the Orthodox community is. Mr. Schach wants us to believe that youths were throwing rocks at him, endangering his own safety and likely that of others, yet he did not file a police report, even though - again, by his own admission - he knew which Yeshiva these offenders attended.

I also question whether the alleged threatening of Carvel caused the store to close - or even whether it occurred at all - considering the fact that so many stores which operate similarly to Carvel (Haagen Dasz, for an easy one) have no certification and yet enjoy a healthy and highly visible Orthodox clientele.

So yes, I do question the veracity of these events. Something smells in Mr. Schachs account. He's expecting his readership to believe that he has been witness to all of these events without ever once reporting them, either to the authorities or on the pages of his very own local paper. Instead, he has been conveniently holding the stories in his back pocket for just such an editorial? What does that version even say about Mr. Schach's suitability as an editor of a local paper - or his sense of responsibility towards public safety? If these events really did happen as Mr. Schach claims, and this is the first the authorities and the readership of the Wave is hearing of it, then I might prefer to know that these events were exaggerated or fabricated, than to know that Mr. Schach has been sitting on them.

Either way, I think there's enough to cast much doubt on the whole report. But that's just my own humble opinion. You're welcome to your own.

5:07 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Anonymous said...

That ice cream store incident seems highly plausible to me, given all I've heard about how there is increasing pressure to use the Va'ad or you don't get any customers. I've read food-related message boards (kosher) where it seems as if any certification but 5 Towns Va'ad is now considered unacceptable out there. So that Carvel story does not seem far-fetched. People should be able to choose whatever certification they want, or can afford, without being scared if they don't go with a particular one. It used to be about being kosher, now it's all about politics.


A few points in response:
1. The Carvel in question had issues that had nothing to do with its level of kosher certification. The service was often slow and there was little room for a backup of customers. There was also almost no space to sit and enjoy your ice cream, and the ambiance of the store was far from pleasant. To blame alleged threats on it's closing is absurd. I don't think anyone really saw it as a thriving business.

2. Haagen Dasz and Hewlees, teo local frozen yogurt/ice cream purveyors with similar certification to Carvel, enjoy a brisk business, replete with many Orthodox clients. Why were they unaffected by the supposed threatened "boycott" that "forced" Carvel's closing.

I think both those points speak to the implausibility of the suggestion that any type of threat was the cause of Carvel's demise.

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, OM, but the intense defensiveness of your response to this piece makes me think you're uncomfortable with the reality that some communities have long-time residents who don't enjoy things changing to the point where they, as Jews, are not comfortable in their own towns. This isn't anti-Semitism, and it's not the same as being wary of an influx of Blacks or Hispanic newcomers. My relatives in Teaneck often feel the same way, that the very personality of the area, the politics and the flavor has changed. These are valid feelings to them, and people that feel them are not bigoted.

Many communities would be fine with an incoming mikvah or eruv but wish to maintain the flavor of the town, in terms of being liberal or artsy or charming, and these qualities often disappear as a predominantly Orthodox community settles in. Where once stood interesting and varied restaurants, there are a dozen interchangeably mediocre pizza/falafel/sushi/burger joints. So people feel that something is gone that they liked, there is nothing wrong with that. People like me who loved the Lower East Side often lament the fact that the place has changed so much. Does that make us anti-Asian, or anti-hip or something? No, we liked the flavor of the place, the old-time Jewishness. The author of that article liked the way his area was. This doesn't make him a bigot, and your intensity may be part of what turns him off about the new arrivals.

5:27 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

The author of that article liked the way his area was. This doesn't make him a bigot, and your intensity may be part of what turns him off about the new arrivals.

You are absolutely right. Lamenting the changes in a community does not make him a bigot. But that simply isn't what he did here. He threw poorly or questionably sourced examples of incidents to "prove" that the Orthodox are the interlopers instead of portraying them as what they actually are - members of the community who have as much a right to their own restaurants and places of business as he does. He may not like that the restaraunts that he prefers to frequent are few and far between. He may not like Haagen Dasz as much as he liked Carvel. That doesn't give his the right to play fast and loose with the facts, nor to produce as bigoted a piece as his was.

Had he written what you suggest, my criticism wouldn't be here. But he didn't. He wrote something entirely different.

5:35 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Sorry, OM, but the intense defensiveness of your response to this piece makes me think you're uncomfortable with the reality that some communities have long-time residents who don't enjoy things changing to the point where they, as Jews, are not comfortable in their own towns.This isn't anti-Semitism, and it's not the same as being wary of an influx of Blacks or Hispanic newcomers.

Really? How is it different? Bigotry is bigotry. I call 'em like I see 'em.

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Biology mavens correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't meiosis the process by which 4 23-chromosomed gamete cells are made from 1 46-chromosomed cell? In that case, it has nothing to do with the act of sexual intercourse. A woman makes all of her ova while she is still a fetus in her mother's uterus, and a man's sperm are, in the words of my high school biology teacher, "made fresh daily, like Dunkin' Donuts," regardless of whether he's learning Torah or engaging in sexual thought or activity.
A tactful, respectful biology teacher ought to be capable of handling meiosis without talking about sex.

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If, as you say, sperm are made fresh daily, like Dunkin Donuts, then isn't the only relevant issue whether they are certified by the Va'ad?

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 5:27, I don't see Om's response as intensely defensive. Seems to ring true to me. You know what they say about quacking like a duck, walking like a duck, etc. This guy expects us to believe that he's on the scene every single time some nasty Orthos mke trouble? Does he also change in a phonebooth and have a girlfriend named Lois?

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Schach is like Forrest Gump in so many ways.

6:04 PM  
Anonymous Azamat said...

OM...Thanks for shining light on this new cesspool of "journalism".

One VERY important point that I think you missed and needs to be underscored here:
Whether or not the arson threat to the book store occurred (I suspect, as do you, that it did NOT)...
Whether or not the argument in Carvel occurred (I suspect, as do you, that it did NOT)...
Whether or not the rock throwing incident is "West Lawrence" (even that seemingly benign reference had racial overtones right?) occurred (I suspect, as do you, that it did NOT)...
Whether or not ANY of the allegations he mentions in this despicable, modern day blood libel, actually occurred...
The VAST MAJORITY of "the Orthodox" do NOT agree with these positions!!
Isn’t that the main issue here people? Orthodox Jews do not care if non-jews drive their cars on Sabbath. We don’t care of your restaurant or business is open on Sabbath. It’s your business – do what you want. Now, we may not frequent your shop on Saturday – but we don’t go to ANY stores on Saturday – and that’s OUR choice right?
Again, there is ZERO founding in Jewish philosophy to force a non-jew to keep any of our laws or customs – so stop saying that we’re trying to force you to DO anything ok? If some NUT decided to threaten Border’s – this does not reflect the overall opinion of Orthodox Jews. If it’s true that this happened, 99.999999999% of Orthodox Jews would be appalled.
The kosher thing – another “completely taken out of context “ issue. Orthodox Jews eat kosher. This means that we require a restaurant to be certified as “kosher” – that they use only kosher ingredients, that no outside food is being brought in et. Stop making this into some insane “shakedown” for $$ thing. That’s crazy. It is simple – if you’d like orthodox jews to eat in your restaurant, we need some type of assurance that the food is “kosher”. They way you supply that assurance is by getting a rabbi to certify that this is so. See…simple.
NO store would be “forced” to be kosher. If you don’t want to be kosher that’s FINE. But, obviously, no Orthodox person will eat there without this rabbinical certification and supervision. The Carvel story makes ZERO sense.
Again, it is not Jewish law or custom to “make” or “force” our ways onto others. These stories “feel” untrue, not only because they have no backing or named sources, but also because they are not behaviors that the VAST majority of Orthodox Jews would engage in.
To me, this is pure fantastical libel – a hate filled piece of fiction aimed squarely at stirring up passions of animosity towards Orthodox Jews. Good old fashioned Jew bashing – alive and well in Queens.

6:23 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I agree completely, Azamat. I thought I made that clear when I said that Mr. Schwach should have instead attempted to TALK to a typical Orthodox person. And while I say that I question Mr. Shwach's version of the events he describes, I don't mean to say that he fabricated them out of whole cloth. I'm sure that some version of the events actually occurred. That said, the version he tells over simply doesn't jibe with the lack of reporting on his interpretation.

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Azamat, I don't think the article was arguing against getting kosher supervision. I think the article is saying that there is a lot of pressure to use a particular agency, and from what I've read, this is true. Also, you keep saying that Orthodox Jews don't expect non-Jews to do this or that -- what about Jews who observe laws differently? Do the Orthodox of the Five Towns respect Jews who do drive on Shabbat, who have different rules as far as dietary laws? I know someone from the Five Towns who says that there is a lot of pressure to dress and act as the Orthdox do, and she is Jewish but not Orthodox. I have a friend in Passaic who says the same thing, and she is Orthdox, but Modern Orthodox. The pressure isn't for everyone to be Jewish, but a certain kind of Jewish.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Schach is wack.

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As long as you brought me up I'll share my perspective.

In 1987 when we decided to join the Vaad the backlash from the non-Orthodox community was very strong. Stories from people who "knew the truth" about why we decided to make the change were everywhere. To this day there are people who are convinced that the Orthodox community forced us to close on Saturday. My response was always, "You're right. Rabbi Billet came to my house, forced an Uzi down my daughter's throat and threatened to blow her head off if we didn't go kosher."
But, let's say we were forced. And let's say someone put a gun to your father's head in 1947 and said, "Buy 1000 shares of IBM stock or I'll kill you." What would you say now?

Some said that we had to close because the Orthodox community was going to boycott us. My response: "How do you boycott a business you don't patronize?" By that logic they were also boycotting the A&S pork store, Lu-Mar Lobster and White Castle.

When Bellini was in town the manager and her husband were frequent customers. The husband told us that a group of Orthodox people had gone into Bellini and said that if you don't close on Saturday they wouldn't be able to shop there anymore. This was the first eyewitness account about the band of Orthodox threateners I had heard of. They were as elusive as Nessie and Yehti. So I asked the man to speak with his wife and make sure the story was accurate. He came back the next day and very sheepishly explained that the story arose from a conversation his wife had with a non-Orthodox customer who very innocently asked, "Do you think you would do more business if you closed on Shabbos?"

Neighborhoods change, and residents of those neighborhoods don't like it. That's always been true. In the early seventies there was a trashy book called The Five Towns. It starts around World War 2 with the people at the Rockaway Hunt club wondering what should be done about all the Jews moving into town. It ends up in 1988 with the trustess of Temple Beth-El wondering what should be done about all the Jews moving into town. If there was an epilogue you'd hear the Men's clubs at YIW and Beth Sholom wondering what should be done about all the Jews moving into town.

Everyone wants the neighborhood to stay the way it was when they moved in, but neighborhoods don't do that. People who moved here 20 years ago moved here because they didn't want to live in a ghetto. Neither did the thousands who have moved here since. But with every new shteibl, eruv, mikvah and kosher restaurant the town becomes more and more attractive to people from the boroughs. And the ghetto that people ran from has caught up with them.

It's hard to imagine but we actually had some orthodox customers before we went under the Vaad. Shocking, I know. When we confided in one of our favorites that we'd be going kosher in a month her reaction was, "Uggh, I hate shopping with those people."

No one likes change but everyone loves having someone to blame for it. The Orthodox are a safe group to pick on at the moment. When you figure out why that's true maybe it will stop.

Jay Todtman

8:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jay Todtman rocks. Rudeness and all.

8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Schwach reports that these incidents took place a few months ago. Didnt Carvel close more than a year ago?

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

let me get this straight...the Carvel store really did close?? regardless of the reason..is this a true statement?? i no longer live in town..

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've got your head in the sand. A non-jewish friend had a successful clothing store in Teaneck. On day, he had a frum visitor walk in off the street and tell him he wanted to buy the business. He offered a ridiculously low amount and my friend didn't want to sell anyway. There suddenly was a whispering campaign about the store and the people who worked there and within a few months, he had to close as his amost 100% Jewish clientele stopped coming. I was incesnsed enough to ask someone in teaneck about it, an upstanding frum person. His answer was a shrug and a yiddesh expression that translates to the longer the beard, the greater the thief.

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" Anonymous said...

let me get this straight...the Carvel store really did close?? regardless of the reason..is this a true statement?? i no longer live in town..

"
it closed. but that might have had something to do with the fact that it was filthy and slow.

8:59 PM  
Blogger DAG said...

I've lived in 5 Towns for 18 months, Carvel on Central was closed when I got here.

10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OM, I think you are treading into waters you do not have direct knowledge of.

I for one know for a fact that many businesses were approached in Cedarhurst for being open on the Sabbath. Suffice to say that one who didn't heed to the call got a brick through their front window a week later. It couldn't be proven as a direct link, but we know it was. There are those, whose circles you may not travel in, that are doing this. Because YOU have no personal knowledge of this doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

As for Carvel, the Kosher Nostra, that harrassed GG and others to no end are still at their fun and games. Except it isn't funny anymore.

Mr. Schwach is not proving himself to being a bigot. There are rock throwers in the Reads Lane area on the Sabbath. Again, because you don't have first hand knowledge, doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

More division in the Five Towns - more Jew vs. Jew retoric.

Why don't we talk about the two schools that the School District board wants to close???? And base it on the facts this time!!!

10:59 PM  
Anonymous anonymous mom said...

"The author of that article liked the way his area was. This doesn't make him a bigot, and your intensity may be part of what turns him off about the new arrivals."

Just to be clear, the tone of this article was unabashedly hatefilled not wistful and benign. The facts were not all accurate.

But, that said, the natural response to this article on the part of our Orthodox "community" can be anger...initially. But after the anger should be the sense of sadness that we do not seem to rub off well on others. We do take over and not all of us are shy about how. Not all of us are well-behaved in our day to day choices and in our interactions with non Jews and non Orthodox Jews. We can and should do more to educate within our little subgroups to inspire in others admiration and not resentment.

11:08 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...


I for one know for a fact that many businesses were approached in Cedarhurst for being open on the Sabbath. Suffice to say that one who didn't heed to the call got a brick through their front window a week later. It couldn't be proven as a direct link, but we know it was. There are those, whose circles you may not travel in, that are doing this. Because YOU have no personal knowledge of this doesn't mean it doesn't happen.


I don't think it does. And the fact that you claim you "know" there was a direct link is absurd. How do you explain the fact that there are scores of stores open on Central Avenue every Saturday, yet they all have intact windows? Or that Haagen Dasz was "allowed" to stay open by the "kosher nostra" - but not Carvel? Please. Your paranoia doesn't prove anything.


Mr. Schwach is not proving himself to being a bigot. There are rock throwers in the Reads Lane area on the Sabbath.


As I noted, Mr. Scwach has yet to file a police report - though he claims to know which Yeshiva these alleged stone-throwers attend. Why? He also did not report on the events until months later. Why? If the events actually transpired, does he not owe it to his community to report on such a huge public safety concern? Why didn't he? Seems like his "experience" was likely not that clear-cut.

Again, because you don't have first hand knowledge, doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

Brilliant. Of course it's impossible to prove a negative. I also can't prove that aliens don't abduct humans and then return them to earth with their memories wiped out. But we can look at the objective proofs staring us in the face and conclude that there is something in Mr. Schwach's various accounts that seem mighty suspect.

11:09 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...


More division in the Five Towns - more Jew vs. Jew retoric.


We certainly know who to thank for this round - Mr. Schwach.


Why don't we talk about the two schools that the School District board wants to close???? And base it on the facts this time!!!


Talk away - feel free!

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not all of us are well-behaved in our day to day choices and in our interactions with non Jews and non Orthodox Jews.

You flatter yourself. You're not even well-behaved in your interactions among yourselves.

11:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yawn. The rude SD15 commenters are here again. Why do you guys always seem to make things so unpleasant around here. Can't you talk like human beings? Go heckle the orthodox board members at a board meeting or something.

11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jay,

Thank you for your reasoned response. Can you please clarify your last statement and your use of the word "you?"

"The Orthodox are a safe group to pick on at the moment. When you figure out why that's true maybe it will stop."

(Who should be doing the figuring?)

Thanks.

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orthomom, you make many, many assumptions about the author of this article telling untruths, but you have no basis for your slander. He may not have filed a police report the same way people in Jerusalem don't file police report when religious fanatics there throw stones.

I think your tone is as strident as can be, more so than the author of this article. And every time somebody disagrees with you you post back to them, and continue to insult the author. I think that if you were more secure in your point of view you'd do your post and let others respond, either agreeing or disagreeing.

You see that some people in your area are not happy to have you there. You also know that some of your fellow Orthodox Jews have not behaved well in the community. Deal with it, and deal with the fact that others feel this way.

I am an observant Jew, probably as observant as you, but I can't understand why people need to move to an area and act like everybody needs to adapt to their beliefs. I'm happy to live in a community with all sorts of people, I don't care if they're blasting their boom boxes or having a yard sale when I'm having my Shabbat lunch -- to each his own. I'm happy to live in the real world.

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm one of the people who disagrees with Orthomom and several others here, and want to know: what is SD15? If it's something in the 5 Towns, I live in Manhattan, so fill me in.

11:32 PM  
Anonymous anonymous mom said...

"I am an observant Jew, probably as observant as you, but I can't understand why people need to move to an area and act like everybody needs to adapt to their beliefs"

I'm just curious. I live in a more angry climate than yours, I believe. Sort of like "my powderkeg is bigger than your powderkeg" :) So I have a question. I know a lot of the players in my particular powderkeg and I was wondering why do you guys think that the newbies want the oldtimers to adapt to their beliefs? I don't see that here at all. I think you are wrong about that one. I think OM is right about the free enterprise thing. There are a lot of them and they are trying to service their community. What I have referred to in my comments is their choice of behavior when interacting with others. I think it's quite American to "take over" as long as you do it with a smile. Um, my neighborhood of origin was taken over too and not by Jews of any stripe. It was what it was and those of us who felt outnumbered moved along. I don't think you guys should move, but I do think that you should be more clear and honest about the newbies. They do not want you to adapt to their beliefs. They're just trying to float their own boat in your bay. If they can do that politely, then that's kind of your tough. Great book out on the evolution of Modern day New York. How did New York become the bigger than life thing that it is? You see, stuff happens to change things all over for all time. OM was right about that.

11:43 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Anonymous said...

Orthomom, you make many, many assumptions about the author of this article telling untruths, but you have no basis for your slander. He may not have filed a police report the same way people in Jerusalem don't file police report when religious fanatics there throw stones.


I make no assumptions. I question the veracity of his statements.

He is an editor of a local newspaper who said here that he would never hold back from reporting a story: "We will gather the news – all the news – and bring it to you in a clear and concise manner. ". Do you mean to tell me that a story about local Orthodox youths throwing rocks at passing cars was not a newsworthy story? Or a story about a confirmed arson threat by religious extremists against a local bookstore? I find that hard to swallow.


You see that some people in your area are not happy to have you there. You also know that some of your fellow Orthodox Jews have not behaved well in the community. Deal with it, and deal with the fact that others feel this way.


Not everyone can be happy with demographic shifts. That doesn't give them the right to speak in a divisive and disingenuous manner. That's just what Mr. Schach did. I take issue with it.

I am an observant Jew, probably as observant as you, but I can't understand why people need to move to an area and act like everybody needs to adapt to their beliefs. I'm happy to live in a community with all sorts of people, I don't care if they're blasting their boom boxes or having a yard sale when I'm having my Shabbat lunch -- to each his own. I'm happy to live in the real world.

Guess what? Me too. I shop in stores that are open on Shabbos. I have non-Orthodox friends and family in my home for Shabbos meals on a regular basis. That doesn't somehow mean that living in what you define as the "real world" obligates me to shrug off Mr. Schach's bad behavior. I simply don't believe the two are mutually exclusive.

11:45 PM  
Anonymous goyguy said...

Anonymous said...

"I'm one of the people who disagrees with Orthomom and several others here, and want to know: what is SD15? If it's something in the 5 Towns, I live in Manhattan, so fill me in. "

That's the local school district. It's what people in the 5 towns usually use as the battle ground for name calling, Orthodox bashing, rumor mongering, Jew vs. Jew hatred, and the like. It's a nice setting for building an us against them attitude among the neighbors. This way you get to drag the kids in on it too, and get them off to an early start on the 'love thy neighbor' thing. It's summer now, though, and things are a little slow. But don't worry. In a couple of weeks there will be a kid walking more than 25 feet to his bus on the first day of school and well, as they say, "Let the games begin"

11:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny. It seems that sometimes Mr. Schwach has the surprising ability to empathize with the person doing the proverbial rockthrowing, such as here where Mr. Schwach blames an anti semitic hate crime involving the vandalization of an ambulance on orthodox school children.

I guess we orthos can't win, right Mr. Schwach?

12:06 AM  
Blogger mother in israel said...

"Of course, that is if you can abide standing in line in the store, so close to all of the Orthodox clients who can't seem to get enough of Mr. Todtman's product. It seems that might be a problem for you - though not for them."

I believe you go too far here. Where did he imply that he couldn't stand to be near Orthodox Jews?

4:37 AM  
Blogger MDmom said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another day in the life of living in the Five Towns ghetto.

7:03 AM  
Anonymous anonymous mom said...

Your atmosphere there is pretty ugly, but I guess I don't see a point in demanding respect from those who have contempt for you. I don't see a point in expecting more from people who are hateful. I only advocate turning inward as a higher plane pursuit. That does not, however, absolve all of you oldtime five towners who are on the other side of this school board fight from doing your own accounting and cleaning up your own personal books. You guys are filled with hate as are the old timers in my community. The hate is really ugly and no high minded agenda or even legitimate concern about your new neighbors can justify it. Reading your comments is painful.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can say is I'm so glad I don't live in one of those Jewish ghettos. It sounds so annoying and tiresome, and would probably make me dislike my fellow Jews. Reading your blog makes me tell my husband I don't want to live in an area saturated with fellow Orthodox Jews -- I fear I'd want to stop practicing Judaism to the extent we do.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous anonymous mom said...

9:11, I was in North Carolina this summer on a family vacation. Guess what? The folks down there are pretty upset about the influx of Northerners (from NY, NJ, PA) to their parts. This isn't a Jew on Jew conflict. The people we spoke to don't appreciate the developments, the crowds, the Northern attitudes and the richer folk. This is happening all across America. What would be nice might be a little less ugliness. The Carolinan day camp counselor who was complaining about the Northern sissies in his group could have been a little less ugly about his complaints. The couple of transplanted Northerners we stopped to ask directions (who couldn't help us, by the way, because they had only recently moved down) were just happy to be out of Phillie and into the sunlight. They were retired inner city police officers with Eagles caps. What can I say? Everyone--the newbies and the oldtimers--need to be less obnoxious.

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. OM,
well put. i want to just make a few ponits on your words, schwacks, and feldmans.
a) i believe feldmans article is recieving too much publicity within the orthodox world. he doesnt deserve it. it was meant to stir emotions, dont allow your emaotions to stir. it is filled with sheker, and am-aratzus, and it not worth our discussion.
b) now- is mr. schwak referring to borders book store?? if he is, why dont we ask one of the kind women who work there if this story is true? EVEN IF IT IS- the fact that someone left such a note DOES NOT lead to any of the following conclusions:
a) the store would actually be set on fire if the store didnt close. it could have been some kind of a sick prank
b) the note was left by someone orthodox. there is a possibility that whoever is so crazy to do such a prank would do so even if he doesnt believe in shabbos.
c) even if the note was left by a 'orthodox jew' it surely does not represent the attitude of our community. 99.999999% of our community, rabbis and roshei yeshiva included, would tell such a person he is crazy. as OM pointed out, the store is filled with all different types of jews all the time.

The rock-throwing story does not seem true. and again, if it is, its a terrible thing and like OM (jokingly?) pointed out they should have been dealt with. I am sure a person who would report such a thing to the parents or rabbi of these boys would have handeled it appropriatly.

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it closed. but that might have had something to do with the fact that it was filthy and slow.


you are kidding me, right?? like the majority of ortho stores are clean??? i wonder if the attorney general reads OM... sounds like civil rico to me!! to the vaad ( mafia) keep em closing.

10:08 AM  
Anonymous anonymous mom said...

Again, I'm wondering why you advocate ignoring Feldman and not this guy. I haven't been bothered by Feldman from the get go. Why? Because you can't get riled up over stuff you can't change. You will not change your Five Town bigot and you won't change Feldman. Even a well-written letter to the editor will not change the readers who sympathize with them. You know what changes things? Our behavior. An old-timer who has nice interchanges and experiences with the newbies and is open to people to begin with will know that the drama is untrue. The others have been thinking it anyway. Like with a good marriage, you do your best to make yourself the best you can be and you don't get hung up on the other's poisons. More positive energy, less poison. Now if the other guy, your partner, your neighbor is too poisonous for you, we all know what to do. We leave. If we choose to stay, we just do good and do good and be good and be good. Expressing passionate anger and indignation doesn't help anything. Ask any married person--when we change our own behaviors it brings about change in others.

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Azamat said...

Are we "orthos" (as we are so affectionately referred to by some of our neighbors) really soooo horrible to be around?? Do we really make such bad neighbors?
Yes, we are a little different. Yes, we have some strange customs.
We don't drive cars on Sat.so we walk on the sidewalks, sometimes spilling into the street.
We only eat kosher food so retaurants in our neighborhood cater to their clientele.
We have a family centric philosophy and our congregations are close knit so our families and friends socialize often.
So what?
Don't we make ideal neibors in many ways?
We are law abiding citizens. We pay our taxes. We take care of our homes and our neighborhood. We don't make too much noise, have wild parties, make trouble, or bother anyone.
Can't some of you let go of the hate? We are practicing an ancient tradition - thousands of years old. All we want is what any other American wants - to raise our children in a peaceful and loving place. To watch them grow, to see them smile.
I realize this comment is a little sappy but I'm begging you ... Please, stop seeing us as these horrible, evil people who are "ruining your neighborhood". Do we have our differances? Yes, absolutely. The school issue probably being #1. But we have so much more in common ... then what we disagree on.
We just want to live our lives in peace with you.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forgive me for going off-topic, but I can't help noticing that some of the Orthodox people who have responded here have pretty noticeably poor spelling and grammatical skills. I've noticed this on other blogs and message boards that I visit. It makes me wonder whether their children wouldn't be better served by attending some of those public schools in the area, rather than the yeshivas. If helps one function as part of the greater society if you can write and express yourself well.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Azamat, As an observant Jew myself, I think you are missing the point. Nobody is upset because the Orthodox don't drive or ride on Shabbat or prefer Kosher restaurants. Your post smacks of, "why don't they like poor little innocent me?" without really addressing the issues that concern the non-Orthodox neighbors in the area. Obviously, they couldn't care less if they see you and your family walking on Saturday. They are concerned with local businesses, schools and the general attitude of the community at large. Whether or not you eat shrimp is immaterial.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 11:30 wrote---

Jay,

Thank you for your reasoned response. Can you please clarify your last statement and your use of the word "you?"

"The Orthodox are a safe group to pick on at the moment. When you figure out why that's true maybe it will stop."

(Who should be doing the figuring?)

Thanks.----

The fact that the Orthodox are a safe group to pick on at the moment is self-evident.

The word "you" refers to those who are outraged that people suffer no reprisals for saying stuff about Orthos that they would never say about any other group.

How will it stop? When those spouting their hateful and bigoted comments suffer reprisals.

I hope that clears it up for you.

Jay Todtman

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forgive me for going off-topic, but I can't help noticing that some of the Orthodox people who have responded here have pretty noticeably poor spelling and grammatical skills.

"pretty noticeably" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.

Point well made. Not!!

10:42 AM  
Anonymous ProJewishLife said...

Let go of the galus mentality, Jews. You can't hold your heads high in a place which is not home. Where you live now is your current reality and what you choose to read is your reality as well. Whining about it and justifying your wonderful lifestyle and getting insulted that people don't like you isn't going to change anything: you live in a world that doesn't like Jews, no matter what people tell you to your faces. Your big beautiful homes, new cars and compulsive spending stand out. Your perfect bnai torah children stand out. Accept it and move on and hope you and your children will be safe for generations to come.
In Europe it all started (came to a head?) with one lunatic writing Mein Kampf - was what he wrote true? Was there anything factual about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion? Don't confuse truth with reality; perception is the name of the game. And the perception is: U.S. Orthodox Jews when presented in droves, are pretty darn annoying and the neighbors don't like 'em!

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Rabbi Dr. said...

The Wave is an entirely appropriate title for this publication. Ha-meivin yavin.

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is wrong with the phrase "pretty noticeably" as used above? It is absolutely correct in that context. You make a good retort -- NOT.

11:02 AM  
Blogger MoChassid said...

Carvel ice cream sucks. Let's face it.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here we go again everyone who says anything about the orthodox are anti-semitic but the orthodox are as pure as can be. BULLCRAP!!! It is a fact that the rabbi's have gone into stores that are not closed on the sabbath with threats of forcing them to close and boycotts if they don't observe the sabbath. Many people may not admit it because it would just be denied as usual and turned around to try and make that person out as anti-semitic. Ask the cheese store on central ave he was one of them they even had the nerve to go into the beer distributor in Inwood with their threats. Kosher nostra is a good name for these laughable clowns although there is nothing funny about this. This has been going on for years and your asking for proof is just as laughable. Do you really think there would be an investigation by the police? Your rabbi's would just claim religous persecution because they are orthodox and nothing would happen as usual. You people use the religon card to get your way with everything. Why are the orthodox allowed to be the only people in NY to have red lights on their cars without being law enforcement personnel? Aside from that do I believe the arson threat? Why not you people have used jewish lighting for years in the 70's when you slumlords were fined for not making repairs. Isn't that where your little poem about Ishmael and his candy store came from? Spare us your bull!#$T claims of innocense. Your people have been some of the biggest thiefs in history making even the real mafia look like amatures just your money and political power has almost always gotten them off. I am suprised that the three brothers from the allou case are actually going to do time although I am sure they are innocent and just being persecuted for being orthodox. Well I guess it's time for you people to write back and say what a bigot and anti-semite I am AS USUAL please do as it gives me a good chuckle. By the way I hear they are going to close #5 school now gee what a suprise from that ortho school board that is for ALL THE COMMUNITY. Well this has been your old friend who is not anti-semitic just ANTI-ORTHO!!!

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

projewishlife, your post sounded as anti-Semitic as anything I've read, even if it was just nasty about American Jews. Not all of us have big homes, fancy cars or spend compulsively. Your idea of American Jewry is worse than anything this writer could have said. I am a Zionist but I live in America and America is my home. People all over the world, even and especially in the mid-East, hate Jews.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ANTI ORTHO HERE:

By the way I hope the story about the rock throwing is true I plan on driving up and down the area hoping to get hit by one so I can proscute them. Or even better as they do in Israel maybe an eye for an eye

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is wrong with the phrase "pretty noticeably" as used above? It is absolutely correct in that context. You make a good retort -- NOT.

I didn't say it was wrong, I simply said that it doesn't roll off the tongue. That means it is a clunky and awkward construction. The fact that it came from someone commenting on the lack of a good public school education for the Orthodox youth was amusing and quite telling.

Try pretty poor spelling or noticeably poor spelling and you will see that "pretty noticeably poor" sounds pretty bad.

BTW I am a product of District 15 whose motto is a chicken in every pot and a huge empty school for every child.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a fact that the rabbi's have gone into stores that are not closed on the sabbath with threats of forcing them to close and boycotts if they don't observe the sabbath.


Name one rabbi, just one, who has done this.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason I used pretty noticeably poor is that I was trying to temper my comment with a bit of gentleness, as being honest might have come off as disrespectful. Shall I tell you my original sentence, which I deleted? My original sentence said that some of the Orthodox people who post here, and elsewhere, have deplorable spelling and grammatical skills. That came off as too harsh, and I edited. Since reading your criticism, I read my post, as written, to two people who found it acceptable. Sorry you found it clunky, but I'm surprised to take criticism from someone who ends a comment with that "NOT!" crap, which is "Wayne's World circa the mid-90's and doesn't sound all that adult and articulate to me. At any rate, you've made your point, as I have made mine.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We knew over ten years ago about the demographic shift between observant and non-observant Jews. Now we see its effects in the streets, and things will get worse before they get better.

Non-observant Jews feel under siege. I work for a company that provides products for synagogues --Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Unaffiliated, etc. I hear at least twice a week about the declining membership and money woes of non-observant synagogues. Many of our largest customers have a dwindling membership and only support themselves by using their facilities as day care centers. The children of these congregations usually intermarry *or* become more religious.

These kind, decent, twice-a-year Jews are usually flummoxed, and occasionally, like Mr. Schach, outraged by the growth of the Orthodox community. One such individual -- my mother-in-law -- recently wanted to commiserate with me about how things are going downhill, nobody goes to shul, etc. I explained that in my out-of-town community, we've seen at least six significant new congregations start in the past 5-7 years (all Orthodox) and all but two of them have had to expand their quarters.

The demographics aren't going to change, so we might as well brace ourselves for the occasional outburst. My mother-in-law did a slightly better job of hiding her unhappiness than Mr. Schach did, but when people feel threatened, they tend to lash out. I'll try to provide ample warning if my mother-in-law gets loose in the 5T area!

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My original sentence said that some of the Orthodox people who post here, and elsewhere, have deplorable spelling and grammatical skills.

Take out the word "Orthodox" and read your sentence. Now, tell me, why was it necessary to use the word "Orthodox" at all?

I am not, nor ever will be Orthodox. But I know as well as I know anything that the Orthodox are the same as everyone else I know. There are some good and some bad, some full of faith and some disenchanted, some by-the-book and some free spirits, some who do it for all the right reasons and some who do not even know what the right reasons are. They're just people who choose to try and live their lives by a set of rules and customs passed down for thousands of years. Sometimes they try and succeed and sometimes they try and fail, but they keep trying. Why do they irk you so? Because they want to close empty schools? Because shopkeepers in town adjust their businesses to accommodate the local population who, by the way, spend a lot of money in town? Or is it because some of the Orthodox on Shabbat don't have the good sense to get out of the way of a moving automobile? Trust me, the more of them you get acquainted with the more you will understand that they are the same as you and me. Except I don't do clunky.

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You speak to me as if I think THEY are this or THEY are that. My husband is Orthodox, I am somewhere between Modern Orthodox and Conservative myself and have many Orthodox friends and relatives. That said, I think that many people who are yeshiva educated are very poor writers. I fear that the Jewish part of the education is more important, particularly at the BY girl schools, than the secular part. And everyone, including those who want to marry and raise children and not pursue careers, should learn to speak and write properly. Read some of the responses here and tell me you don't see that some of the responses from Orthodox people are poorly written. I read numerous boards and blogs devoted to Jewish topics, and time and time again, the Orthodox writers (particular those in very insular enclaves, such as Monsey or Lakewood, but in other areas as well) do not express themselves well in basic English.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since when is clunky equated with grammatical incorrectness or poor spelling?

1:37 PM  
Blogger Krum as a bagel said...

The reason I used pretty noticeably poor is that I was trying to temper my comment with a bit of gentleness, as being honest might have come off as disrespectful. Shall I tell you my original sentence, which I deleted? My original sentence said that some of the Orthodox people who post here, and elsewhere, have deplorable spelling and grammatical skills.

Why don't you read some of the pro-ALPS comments on OM's posts during the run-up to the SD15 election. Or the comments at the Save SD15 blog. Talk about bad grammar and spelling...

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That said, I think that many people who are yeshiva educated are very poor writers.

Take out the word "yeshiva" and you'll be onto something.

Since when is clunky equated with grammatical incorrectness or poor spelling?

People who post to blogs are usually trying to communicate a thought. If you want your thought to be read and understood you'd do well to minimize the distractions of poor spelling, poor grammar and awkward phrasing. You want people to judge what is written not judge the writer who is too lazy to preview his post and correct annoying mistakes.

1:51 PM  
Blogger Krum as a bagel said...

I read numerous boards and blogs devoted to Jewish topics, and time and time again, the Orthodox writers (particular those in very insular enclaves, such as Monsey or Lakewood, but in other areas as well) do not express themselves well in basic English.

See my previous comment. An example:

gosh what a shocker...you not supporting the people who support the well being of the public schools, oh wait, isn't that what all the candidates are supposed to be supporting. you have some balls to try and act like you're doing some good...bitch and moan a little more please... oh yes and don't forget call the candidates bigots one more time...because you haven't done it enough...you're little game is getting old, shut up and get over yourself

Or:

you talk about a candidate being a bigot because the ad in the newspaper referred to the "orthodox community" well guess what...that's what you are and that's what you have established yourselves to be...if you feel any hatred towards your people as a whole it is because you have created it yourselves...any war that is going on is because you have all felt the need to come and mess up our school district...you have no right to complain about anybody...if you wanna complain about somebody do it about your own selves because you're the ones who started all of this in the first place...you're bringing down our public schools, and why you would want to do that is beyond me...once the public schools in an area go downhill, the whole area turns to crap....so you say you have the best interest of the community and our public schools, but really you're just looking out for yourselves...so keep ruining our public schools and bringing them down while you only think of yourselves...don't point fingers at anybody or try to bring any of our candidates down when you're the ones who are creating all the problems...you have turned this into a dirty war...it's even dirtier because you pretend to be innocent and pretend to be the victims when really the victims are all of us WHO ACTUALLY GO TO THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS...this whole thing is actually disgusting and it is sickening the levels which your candidates have taken it to

Or:

The Orthodox are just afraid of us joining their baseball leagues. Lets put tolerance to the test and see who is the bigot in actions, not words! If you try toi stop us, we will sue based on religious exclusion. We welcome ALL to the 5 towns!

Shall I continue?

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm the one who made the point about equating, and I think you missed my point. I was trying to say that using poor grammar and spelling is far more blatant an error than the use of a "clunky" phrase.

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Krum, I could easily cut and paste the poorly written posts here that were contributed by the other side, but I chose not to so as not to embarrass a specific person who was trying to express a point of view.

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The argument that poor writing skills plague many Orthodox individuals is definitely true. As a former college writing instructor, though, I would argue that the poor writers among Orthodox Jews have *plenty* of company, including many people who went to allegedly superior schools, both public and private, where such skills were stressed.

The problem with such an argument as it relates to blog comments, though, is that it can easily backfire on you.

I could ask, for example, why it is that people who never learned in yeshiva are, with individual exceptions, less skilled at classic argumentation. Many have difficulty forming a thesis and defending it -- they think that their own opinions count as evidence. Maybe their schools don't feel argumentation is as important as other subjects . . . you get the drift.

Should day schools do a better job of teaching writing skills? Yes. Should public schools do a better job of teaching writing skills? Yes. Does sloppy grammar and usage drive me nuts? Almost as much as poor typing! Do most of us have areas in which our skills are, perhaps, less than stellar? Yup!

There are plenty of educational soapboxes on which to climb. When the language arts skills of the country's public school children are being thoroughly addressed, I'm sure the day schools will be happy to receive advice.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that's a well written post. Not a clunky phrase anywhere.

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems we've strayed from the topic. Let me help. The Orthodox are bad.


Okay, continue. :-)

2:33 PM  
Blogger Krum as a bagel said...

Krum, I could easily cut and paste the poorly written posts here that were contributed by the other side, but I chose not to so as not to embarrass a specific person who was trying to express a point of view.

So instead you embarrassed an entire group. Nice work!

My only point is that there is plenty of bad spelling and grammar among posters of all stripes. And your selective criticism says more about you than the Orthodox.

2:37 PM  
Anonymous stillwonderin' said...

"It makes me wonder whether their children wouldn't be better served by attending some of those public schools in the area, rather than the yeshivas. If helps one function as part of the greater society if you can write and express yourself well."

You've got to be kidding. The opposition comments that appear every time OM mentions the local schools are often such embarrassing scrawl one would be shocked to believe they're the product of those defending the quality of public education

To be fair, we can all be assured that the work of dopes who spend hours a day foaming over their keyboards, pounding inanities into the comment section of a blog speaks volumes about their collective intelligence and level of competence, not the general public school student body.

Nevertheless, any suggestion that a public school education is the antidote to the allegedly poor spelling and grammar of Orthodox youths is as much a fantasy as the noxious account of a certain local newspaper editor.

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Shwacks' article has no credibility at all. It seems he composed it while sitting on the toilet. Carvel closed over 2 years ago..Howard stay in The Rockways with your beer guzziling blond neighbors I suppse they're better

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Beer guzzling blond neighbors"? Talk about bigotry.

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, so Jews don't like or drink beer? Well, you learn something new every day.

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If helps one function as part of the greater society if you can write and express yourself well.

I would assume our English Professor meant to write "It" not "If". oops

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anti Ortho:

I think you will be dissapointed because no one is going to throw rocks at you. However if you feel it neccessary to drive through the neighborhood please go slowly as we orthos have a lot of children.

I am suprisedat hiw many of you dont see through Mr. Shwach's transparent attempt to sell more papers through lies and exageration. Of course he wasnt in carvel a few months ago since it has been closed for more than a year and a half, and it certainly didnt occur a coulple of days after the alleged arson threat at Borders.

I also wouldnt consider pointing out the benefits of having a local kosher certification to a store owner as strong arming local merchants.

Maybe I'm just too naive to believe that thre is a crew of Gangsta Rabbis out there knocking some heads around.

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm assuming that it was a typo, which is not the same as a spelling error. Methinks he/she hit a nerve with this group, eh?

5:01 PM  
Anonymous anonymous mom said...

Now, you see the tip of the iceberg of ugliness. In summary, their way of life changed and they don't like it, we Orthodox move en masse and our kids go to private school so their schools continue to decline in numbers which then creates a vicious cycle where their married kids don't want to move into town because the public schools are in decline, some of our people are rude which doesn't help, many of our people are "new money" and new money no matter who has it is usually obnoxious to everyone else, and some of us who are more insular don't behave well with others and some of them are exceptionally hateful and small-minded, oh and bad grammar lurks on all sides. Practical suggestion: perhaps WE not they should investigate whether Rabbis have been threatening storeowners and publish the evidence. That t should be an easy proactive first step--store by store, do it. Now, practical suggestion aside, I think the ugliness is the price we pay for freedom of religion and all the other freedoms. We shouldn't have to pay the price, but that's how it is. Let's clean up our own house on the inside and let them crap on the outside all they want to. We know the light and warmth inside is so bright and warm that it will be enough to keep us going strong.

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just for the record. I dont know why Carvel closed, but it was disgusting in there and only slightly more tollerable than that ashtray they called TCBY

5:11 PM  
Anonymous anonymous mom said...

Oh and because I just got out of 2 hours of traffic and I'm feeling ornery... and I don't think anyone on this thread has said it here yet:

For my Jewish Ortho-hating brothers: Just like pre-war Europe, you and I did not see eye to eye, I was too "extreme" to suit you and a bit uncouth and then the Nazis rounded us all up, didn't they? And when the Moslems come again, they're gonna blow us up all at once in one big cloud of smoke while we all huddle for safety in those public schools we all fight about and you know what? They won't ask if you're an "ortho" or not. Ever heard of Klinghoffer, Pearl...?

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please don't group the Moslems and Nazis together. Many would consider that erroneous and offensive, and for good reason.

5:30 PM  
Anonymous stillwonderin' said...

"Please don't group the Moslems and Nazis together. Many would consider that erroneous and offensive, and for good reason."

Please enlighten us as to what that good reason is ...

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No matter what you think, all Moslems are not out to annihilate the Jewish people. This type of thinking is dangerous and bigoted.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The idea that the local rabbis want to coerce storekeepers to close on Shabbat and accept the Vaad is ludicrous. They barely are able to handle the load now. Rabbi Eisen is nowhere to be found. His assistant changes every month and they can't find anyone to run the office. Plus they seem to have only 6 or 7 mashgichim responsible for about 40 stores, and these mashgichim aren't exactly the brightest candles on the menorah if you know what I mean. So to think the Vaad has the wherewithal much less the manpower to go knock heads to get more shops that they can't cover is laughable.

And why is the Vaad run this way? Because Rabbi Eisen is more concerned about his private hashgacha (Kehillah) than with the Vaad?

Can it be fixed?

The rabbis want no part of it.
The storekeepers have it easier than ever and the community is complacent.

So what's broken?

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to anon 6:29

the cosa nostra strong arm tactics of our so called Vaad is despicable. just review the GG situation and the bagel island issues. meanwhile,, our rabbi eisen provides no verifiable supervision other than young yeshiva boys but takes home over 100,000. plus per annum....nice "racket" isnt it?? I wish my son was old enough to work for the vaad....he is only 14...you have to be 16 years old, right? hahaha

6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. This topic has certainly taken a wide path...

I walked out of SuperSol 20 years ago and haven't been back because of the filth. Don't know if it has cleaned up, but it certainly wasn't a place to shop for any type of food 20 years ago.

I don't think it is an Orthodox thing. I think that people's behavior and actions, while wearing a kippah or claiming to be Observant don't co-incide.

I think the bottom line for this community is to "practice what you preach". Evidently, those who say they are Orthodox, yet their behaviors and morals show them to be otherwise is what the crux of the matter is.

6:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very wise person (I think it was me) posted a few weeks ago that the only criterion necessary to call yourselves Orthodox in the Five Towns is to pay dues to an Orthodox shul. That's as true today as it was three weeks ago which shows that genius doesn't go out of fashion.

6:52 PM  
Anonymous anonymous mom said...

Okay, people, not all Moslems, not all Germans, not all Kossaks...I know there are individuals among them who do not want to blow us up. It's nice to know you cut the Moslems some slack. Please do the same for your innocuous and largely kindhearted Ortho neighbors. And with this, I will go enjoy my campfire and barbeque in my nice well-kept backyard. I love America. Maybe my non-Ortho neighbor will join us as he has in the past. Good night and good luck.

7:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today took the cake - a Mom, wearing a sleeveless minidress with her two children, a boy and a girl, shopping for sneakers. It WAS their mom too (of course I had to ask). Getting ready for school. Both kids were dressed appropriately for a frum family, but the MOM was dressed for the dance pole at a local strip club.

I guess she is what makes PTA meetings at the local yeshiva interesting!

7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't believe this man. There is no yeshiva on Reads Lane. The nearest yeshiva is Yeshiva of Far Rockaway, a few blocks away on Hicksville Road.

I don't recall ever reading of an incident in New York, or even the United States, of Jews throwing rocks at cars on Shabbos. This happens in Israel, where it can be presumed that Jews are driving those cars. It is even more remote that such an incident could happen in Far Rockaway which is Chareidi-lite, at most.

He's lying. He's also lying about the incidents in the stores.

7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They were Yeshiva students - not from a specific Yeshiva.

Funny how people automatically discount someone's accounts. Unless you are with him 24 hours/7 days, you shouldn't automatically believe or disbelieve someone so quickly. Unless you are Larry Gordon of course.

I will go to Borders and to the Beer Distributor myself and find out the truth. If it is the truth, then shame on all of you.

By the way, Go to the Willow Tavern in Cedarhurst one afternoon and see how many men wearing kippahs stop in. And ask the bartender if he was ever approached.

Such as pious group... only in your minds.

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They were Yeshiva students - not from a specific Yeshiva."

That's what you say - but why don't we see what Mr. Schwach actually said:

"I know that it was an aberration, but I once rode through West Lawrence (once called Far Rockaway) during the Sabbath on a story and had a group of young Orthodox students at a Yeshiva on Reads Lane throw rocks at my car and curse me for riding on Saturday."

He certainly is saying they were from a specific Yeshiva - one on Reads lane. Except there is no Yeshiva on Reads Lane.

How about this one:

"A few months ago, I was in Cedarhurst early in the morning to shop at the bookstore (how I wish there was a bookstore in Rockaway). When I got there, the Nassau cops had a few cars in front of the store. I went in. One of the young clerks was from Far Rockaway and knew me from previous visits. She told me that they found a note on the door that warned them that the store would be destroyed by fire if they continued to open on Saturdays. The note was unsigned, but the store manager at the time told me that they had lots of problems with the Orthodox Jewish community that has all but taken over the shopping areas in Lawrence and Cedarhurst."

Spoke with the manager of Borders today. She has been manager all year. She cannot recall an incident such as the one Mr. Schwach describes. I'm sure she would have remembered an event that took place a few months ago as Mr. Schwach alleges. Why don't you ask her yourself?

"A few days later, my wife and I were in the Carvel a few doors away from the bookstore"

A few days after a few months ago, you say? Carvel has been closed for almost two years.

Any idea why OM might be questioning Mr. Schwach's credibility? I have some idea.

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous Mom proposes an interesting idea. Since we are appalled at Mr. Schach's accusations, perhaps local rabbonim could form an ad hoc committee to investigate whether local business owners/managers have experienced threats of any kind and put into place a way for local businesses to report any harassment to the Jewish community.

Notice how well this worked when PETA -- a group with whom most Orthodox Jews differ on a number of important matters -- charged that kapores sites in Brooklyn were mistreating animals. While plenty of people condemned PETA, the rabbonim checked into the matter, found that perhaps, indeed, there was a need for improvement, formulated appropriate guidelines, and everyone moved on.

I'm sure the folks at PETA would have preferred everyone to renounce kapores as well as adopt a vegan diet, but the rabbonim handled it beautifully, and the controversial element of the story dried up quickly.

It would be wonderful for Mr. Schach's reporting to receive a similar review. Plus, identifying Mr. Schach as less reliable and objective than PETA is its own punishment!

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jews do not have beer for breakfast

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear the Jewish Star did a full investigation for this weeks paper and the 5 towns Jewish Times will have responses as well.

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

perhaps local rabbonim could form an ad hoc committee to investigate whether local business owners/managers have experienced threats of any kind and put into place a way for local businesses to report any harassment to the Jewish community.

This is completely unnecessary. There are many food stores in town that are not under the Vaad that are frequented by the Orthodox community. If one of them was approached, why not all of them? If all of them were approached we would be hearing a lot more about it. The Cheese Store, the Bagelry, the Jerusalem Market, Arciere, Shin's market, Haagen-Dasz, Hewlett Station, Woodmere Station, Sherwood Diner, Walls, Jerry's Bagels, Starbucks, Ralph's and many others all have Orthodox patrons. The idea that these businesses were all threatened by some rabid pack of rabbis is insane. It doesn't happen, it's never happened. Reacting to it and forming committees to make sure it's never happened is an incredible waste of time and an insult to the leaders of the Orthodox community.

The bigger the lie the more people are apt to believe it.

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

None of Mr. Scach's supporters have commented on the fact that OM poked huge holes in his story. Between the demise of Carvel and not Haagen Daz and Mr. Schach never reporting on any of these stories. Where's the outrage over these lies?

10:45 PM  
Blogger Jack's Shack said...

Jews do not have beer for breakfast

You should have seen my fraternity. It is more than 20 years ago, but I still remember.

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's the outrage over these lies?

Where do you expect it to be?

Jay Todtman wrote The fact that the Orthodox are a safe group to pick on at the moment is self-evident.

. . . . those who are outraged that people suffer no reprisals for saying stuff about Orthos that they would never say about any other group.

How will it stop? When those spouting their hateful and bigoted comments suffer reprisals.


The outrage must come from those who are outraged. Stop waiting for someone else to fight for you, fight for yourself.

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the Editor's Desk
(More People Have Died In The Name Of Religion Issue)
Commentary By Howard Schwach
More people have died in the name of religion than anything else throughout history. You don't believe that is true? Take a look at the Inquisition, the Crusades, the Holocaust, the ongoing bloodshed in the Middle East, the long-standing Irish "problems," Kosovo, the ongoing war between Sunni and Shia over who has the right to rule Muslims, and any number of little wars in Africa. Now, tell me that religion is a benign factor in human life.
Ok. People have died in the name of religion. I wont engage in a debate about whether a godless person like Hitler murdered people in name of a religion. And I'll try not to focus my attention on the latent racism in the phrase "little wars in Africa," as if the millions killed on that continent is an afterthought. Either way, it's clear that this piece must be about a very serious brand of religious fanaticism that affects the safety of people on a daily basis. Right? Wrong. Keep reading.


what i cant get over, is the title of the article "more people have died in the name of religion."

what a title for an article that has nothing to do with orthodox jews in the five towns killing non orthodox jews.

im sorry for my poor grammar:)

i love carvel - im sorry that it closed, but i now i have an excuse to get my hewlees.

i went to a very religious girls school in brooklyn where we learnt reproduction. no sex ed though, i learned that years before in camp. we also learned about the crusades - why wouldn't a yeshiva teach that - it had a tremendous impact on the jewish communities in europe and the middle east at the time.

the only thing i ever witnessed being thrown (with a slur), was a beer bottle out the window of a fast moving old muscle car at a group of orthodox families walking home from shul (yes, some were walking in the street - horrors of horrors - we should all be killed)

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 6:29 said
The idea that the local rabbis want to coerce storekeepers to close on Shabbat and accept the Vaad is ludicrous. They barely are able to handle the load now. Rabbi Eisen is nowhere to be found. His assistant changes every month and they can't find anyone to run the office. Plus they seem to have only 6 or 7 mashgichim responsible for about 40 stores, and these mashgichim aren't exactly the brightest candles on the menorah if you know what I mean. So to think the Vaad has the wherewithal much less the manpower to go knock heads to get more shops that they can't cover is laughable. Anti ortho says:
Right and Gotti was a plumbing supply salesman

11:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ANTI ORTHO HERE:
One question I would like to ask is why do you walk in the street? If you are so family oriented why do you put your children, yourselves and the non orthodox who are driving at risk? When you drive through neighborhoods where the blacks ,latinos and goyim do the same thing, do you mutter curses under your breath at them for doing the same thing you do?
Or are you going to show your arrogance and tell me it's not the same thing?

11:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this hole thing was worth it for Jay's post
Jay is so logically

12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm non-orthodox and have lived in the Five Towns since 1960. I get along with my orthodox neighbors, I'm welcome in their homes, they come to my simchas, I go to theirs. All this interaction has taught me one thing, indidually my neighbors are ladies and gentlemen. Their kids are brought up to be responsible and respectful and they want for their kids the same that I want for mine--good health and happiness.

Having said that I must say I understand the contempt many people have for this Orthodox community and for the more religious of any faith. We're all supposed to abide by the rules, but when you call yourself Orthodox and your name winds up in the paper for fraud, when your marriage falls apart because of infidelity, when you ignore traffic rules and cell phone rules and scream at meter maids in public, when you bounce checks, move out of town leaving unpaid bills behind and skip out on your rent don't think it's all okay because you daven three times a day and walk to shul on Shabbat.

The orthodox by definition are supposed to set a higher standard, but I must say I don't see a lot of difference in their day to day behavior, certainly not enough for them to look on us non-orthos as law breakers because we violate Shabbas rules.

Yes there are bad in every group and the bad ones make the good ones look bad by association, but if that's true then police yourselves. When you're expanding your shul don't have weekly zoning violations like Aish Kodesh did, be more like Rabbi Spiegel's Shteibl. It just gives people the opportunity to say, oh they can study the Talmud but can't read an inspector's report? It smacks of arrogance, like the regular rules don't apply.

And it makes people mad.

Just had to get it off my chest. Sorry if I've offended any decent folk, but I feel they know what I'm talking about. Perhaps if they were more vocal about the others the others wouldn't be so brazen about being the others.

6:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:04 AM: LOVE your comments. I agree with you completely. You echo my sentiments.

And it isn't just with the Orthodox - it is with others. But since we live in the Five Towns ghetto, this is where it is more pervasive, with a certain group - the Orthodox.

Speaking of those on cell phones, the accident in Lawrence is the second death I know of, directly linked to the use of a cell phone. The other was on Route 878 two years ago when a mom was on the cell phone with her daughter and rear-ended a truck. Driving while on cell phones are ILLEGAL AND DANGEROUS! How many lives will be lost here in the Five Towns before the message rings through people's heads???

I was in Brach's last week - sitting in my air conditioned car while my spouse ran in for something. A man on a cell phone stops and yells at me for parking in front of the store where there is no parking. He said, "I work here and you can't park here". Yet, he pulls up to me, while he is on his cell phone, yelling at ME! I, of course said "and talking on cell phones while driving is illegal too (the hand held one)". Of course, he didn't want to hear that. And of course, he didn't yell at others who were parked illegally in front or in back of me, but decided to pick on me alone. It doesn't make it right either.

By the way, even if you put the handheld cell phones on speaker and talk to it like a microphone, it is still illegal.

We should have a column devoted to the use of cellphones while driving and push the issue so that more innocent people aren't harmed/killed. Stop pointing fingers at others and deal with the Orthodox shortcomings appropriately.

6:27 AM  
Anonymous stillwonderin' said...

"No matter what you think, all Moslems are not out to annihilate the Jewish people. This type of thinking is dangerous and bigoted."

Well, if that's your whole point, then allow me to remind you that not all Nazis were out to annihilate the Jewish people either.

In fact, there were many members of the Nazi party who joined the party for their personal safety, professional and economic considerations, and even for the purpose of social climbing.

Should point to those benign Nazis as the rule, and the mass murdering Nazis as the "few bad apples"? It would make sense, especially to the Muslim apologists who like to explain away terrorism as the errant ways of a few bad apples.

Whether the professors at Berekley, the news editors of CNN and the Guardian want to admit, Islam is centered completely on ultimate world domination. And this will come with the threat of death levied on ALL nonbelievers.

Since most Jews (save those few bad apples) are unlikely to convert to a inherently barbaric religion such as Islam, I'd say annihilation is pretty much a certainty for the Jews if the Moslems have their way.

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

stillwonderin', you are a scary and racist person. I recently came across a message board where people sometimes claim that Jews have these horrifically bigoted and paranoid attitude about Moslems, and I was appalled. You, and people like you, are the reason that Israel will not be at peace, ever. I have friends who work tirelessly to promote positive Arab-Israeli relations, people who are peace-loving and positive. They struggle against the narrow-minded racism spewed by posts like yours, but frankly, I think the situation is hopeless. I am a child of Holocaust survivors, I worked at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and I know all about Nazis and Nazism. You do more harm to the Jewish people than most Moslems could or would ever do. Shame on you.

10:20 AM  
Anonymous stillwonderin' said...

stillwonderin', you are a scary and racist person.

Sure. I'm racist. What exactly did I write that wasn't true?

I recently came across a message board where people sometimes claim that Jews have these horrifically bigoted and paranoid attitude about Moslems, and I was appalled.

You were appalled that people would so broadly slur Jews in such a manner, or were you appalled by your willingness to just blindly accept as fact everything you happen to read on message boards?

You, and people like you, are the reason that Israel will not be at peace, ever.

How could that be? I'm not a muslim, a terrorist, a murderer, or a blind, dogmatic liberal that refuses to acknowledge truth, regardless of how many times it blows itself up in a crowded restaurant.

I have friends who work tirelessly to promote positive Arab-Israeli relations, people who are peace-loving and positive.

And let me guess ... they're Jewish (except for the few token arabs they dredged up to give future grant applications some legitimacy), working for an organization that was conceived and funded by Jews. Haven't you ever found it odd, or just a bit suspicious it odd that moslems never seem to spearhead similar programs?

They struggle against the narrow-minded racism spewed by posts like yours, but frankly, I think the situation is hopeless.

The situation is hopeless for as long as a basic tenet of Islam is a world-wide caliphate and death to infidels.

I am a child of Holocaust survivors, I worked at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and I know all about Nazis and Nazism.

Well that's super. so was every single member of the Nazi party actively killing Jews, or am I right?

You do more harm to the Jewish people than most Moslems could or would ever do. Shame on you.

The biggest shame is that after 90 murderous years or arab terrorism, there are still people like you convinced the arabs will come to their senses. Good luck with that.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OM, I recently starting reading this blog and the posted comments, and I have to say--the comments on this blog are so much more interesting than the dead-brain comments that you usually see on most sites (check out the comments on youtube and tmz if you want to fry your brain). Kudos to you for sparking such entertaining and enlightening discussions (even if it is sometimes laced with vitriolic hatred).

Totally off the topic, but I thought these news items might be of interest to the readers of the Orthomom blog:

Maalox is now certified kosher by the OU:

http://www.maaloxus.com/index.shtml

Indiana man protests his property tax by paying in cash; brings tax office to a standstill.

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070814/LOCAL/708140436

Wonder what would happen if someone tried the same tactic in Lawrence or Woodmere.

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 10:50, so funny that you would say that, I was just going to say the exact opposite thing. Not about Maalox, but about the discourse here. Since I've been reading it, it always seems to be the same back and forth. Orthomom posts something that makes the ultra-Orthodox seem ridiculous, like the stockings in summer camp. Back and forth discussions ensue about religious observance, the less Orthodox people mocking the more Orthodox people. Orthomom posts her usual stuff about how she thinks the Jewish Week stinks. More arguing about Orthodox vs. non-Orthodox. Orthomom posts about the situation in the 5 Towns. The people who are totally sick of the Orthodox invasion say so. The Orthodox say that the non-Orthodox people are full of baloney. And so on and so on. All I conclude after these discussions is that there will never be another Temple, because who would ever be agree about who would be allowed to pray there. It's all about "we're the real Jews," and this gets redefined about every three years. I'm glad to live in an area with Orthodox Jews and non-Orthodox Jews get along really well, and all of them, in turn, seem to get along well with non-Jewish neighbors. Obviously this is not the case in most places, as this blog proves.

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the poster above who thinks the Arabs are all out to get the Jews, I actually had the experience, as a teen visiting Israel to stay with an Arab family for a weekend. It was incredible, seeing how alike we were in taste, attitudes and personality. My relatives in Israel get along beautifully with the Arab shop-keepers and businesspeople in their neighborhoods. Thank heaven there are people who don't see other people in black and white, but as people. It gives me hope.

11:08 AM  
Anonymous stillwonderin' said...

A central tenet of Islam is hospitality -- no doubt reminiscent of Avraham Avinu's emphasis on hachnosat orchim -- to treat guests as family while in their home ... even if the guest is their enemy.

While the practice of this ideal is certainly beautiful, it unfortunately does not undo another central tenet of Islam, which is to create a worldwide caliphate and destroy infidels.

I don't doubt the individual beauty of Arab people, and even individual Muslims. But there is a screw loose somewhere than puts us all in peril of their ambition to advance toward world domination.

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 6:27 - You don't even realize how ingrained your prejudice slant is. You honestly believe you have no ill will towards a specific group right? YET...you think that "The Orthodox" are the ones who talk on their cell phones while driving????
COME ON…give me a break will you??
Do some orthodox people talk on their phones while driving? OF COURSE! Do other’s so it as well? DUH….yes of course they do!! Are you insinuating that Orthodox people talk more on their phones than “normal” people?
Please.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

stillwonderin', the way you talk about Moslems is disturbingly similar to the way many people talk about Jews. All you have to do is become an anti-Semite and you could talk about how the Jews are taking over banking and entertainment and everything else. I never thought that Jews had so much in common with skinheads!

I sincerely hope no anti-Semites come across this site. Between your statements and all of the stuff about the Five Towns, it'll just fuel the flames of anti-Semitism.

And if any anti-Semite skinhead neo-Nazis are reading this right now: NOT ALL OF US AGREE WITH SOME OF THE PEOPLE HERE!

1:15 PM  
Blogger Abbi said...

"If helps one function as part of the greater society if you can write and express yourself well."

HA! Guess you caught some Ortho cooties.

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just had to get it off my chest. Sorry if I've offended any decent folk, but I feel they know what I'm talking about. Perhaps if they were more vocal about the others the others wouldn't be so brazen about being the others.

6:04 AM


I know exactly what you are talking about. The ones who speak out about these issues in the "frum" community are the ones get shunned by the Rabbis. To speak out about these things is worse than stealing.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abbi, you have heard of a typo, haven't you? There's obviously a difference between a typo and a spelling or grammatical error. Or maybe it's so obvious to you, so I'll explain:

A typo occurs when your finger hits the wrong letter while typing.

If you're still confused, look it up. In one of those secular reference books you've heard of but not actually used.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous stillwonderin' said...

All you have to do is become an anti-Semite and you could talk about how the Jews are taking over banking and entertainment and everything else. I never thought that Jews had so much in common with skinheads!

What's to talk about? Isn't that old news? On the other hand, as you so ably demonstrate, there are still plenty of people who refuse to acknowledge the ambitions of our nation and society's enemies.

I sincerely hope no anti-Semites come across this site. Between your statements and all of the stuff about the Five Towns, it'll just fuel the flames of anti-Semitism.

And if any anti-Semite skinhead neo-Nazis are reading this right now: NOT ALL OF US AGREE WITH SOME OF THE PEOPLE HERE!


Let me guess ... you're not just the President of the Ghetto Club for Jews, you're a member as well.

But seriously, I'm sure the skinheads and Islamic terrorists who come across this site will be relieved to hear that not ALL the Jews they're so anxious to kill are as lucid as myself.

I'm sure they'll be touched to learn that they're killing a few completely delusional ones as well.

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

COME ON…give me a break will you??
Do some orthodox people talk on their phones while driving? OF COURSE! Do other’s so it as well? DUH….yes of course they do!! Are you insinuating that Orthodox people talk more on their phones than “normal” people?
Please.


No, I'm saying that the whole point of being Orthodox is NOT being normal; they suggest that they hold themselves to a higher standard. I don't know how to write this in English but from what I know the concept of mares eyen is to not put yourself in a position where someone watching you will get a negative impression. Do non-orthodox people do the same things. Of course, but we're nothing special. We have not accepted the yolk of responsibility as the Orthodox have. So, if you accept it, then accept it and don't try to assimilate. And certainly don't justify your bad behavior by saying, "But Mommy all my non-orthodox friends do it!!"

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ones who speak out about these issues in the "frum" community are the ones get shunned by the Rabbis.

Seems like what you need are different Rabbis.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous stillwonderin' said...

"No, I'm saying that the whole point of being Orthodox is NOT being normal; they suggest that they hold themselves to a higher standard. "

I think people who are not Orthodox hold Orthodox Jews to a higher standard than Orthodox Jews themselves. Yes. Everyone should be considerate, respectful, and conscious of how others perceive their behavior.

i'm stating this at the risk of sounding like an apologist, which I may be, however unconscious, but it is possible that people who are not Orthodox place significantly more weight, perhaps unfair weight, on the actions of Orthodox people. It's no excuse for unbecoming behavior, but to a certain degree, the scrutiny and judgement is unfair.

Non Jewish people often invoke the "chosen nation", "light among the nations" standard -- and not favorably -- when faced with Jews behaving badly (just look at the scrutiny Israel must endure) -- with no regard whatsoever to their religious affiliation or degree of ritual observance of the offending Jew.

How is this any different?

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think people who are not Orthodox hold Orthodox Jews to a higher standard than Orthodox Jews themselves.

Perhaps that is so. But are non-Orthodox Jews holding Orthodox Jews to a standard higher than Orthodox Jews should hold themselves?

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anonymous 11:01am who thinks that there will never be another Temple...

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-08-14-coney-island_N.htm?csp=34

Proof that we can all get along, and that we actually do get along most of the time.

When I moved from Brooklyn to the Five Towns, I was struck by how tolerant and respectful the community was to people of all religious affiliations and sects.

Just another perspective.

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 2:09:
I've heard this "You say you hold yourself to a higher standard so why don't you all behave as such" theory before. On it's face, it makes sense and I can certainly understand why you think that way. However, it's based on flawed logic and here's why.
Yes, orthodox Jews strive to hold a higher standard but...the key word is *strive*. We are human and, just because we TRY to raise the bar, does not mean that we will always succeed. On the contrary - always being perfect is near impossible so, we can never actually achieve our ultimate goal – we can only try and have our hearts in the right place.
The fact that we are “labeled” – i.e. we dress a little different and stand out from the rest of the crowd, forces us into the lime light to be scrutinized by people like yourself who only seem to see the negatives and not the positives. For the most part, we are good people who are just trying our best … not some evil group of people recklessly driving around talking on our cells phones trying to ruin the neighborhood for the rest of you…
: )

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The notion of a "higher standard of behavior" is the erroneous idea that drives this debate.

What Orthodox Jews believe is that we have an obligation to follow G-d's will as it was revealed at Har Sinai. In areas where we don't know or understand G-d's will, we have instructions to consult our leaders and our tradition.

Now, ideally, trying to bend our wills to the will of G-d *should* result in better behavior in both big and small matters. Sometimes it does, but man still has free will, and we all know cases in which it doesn't.

For example, I agreed with my spouse that we will observe the chumra of cholov yisroel. But I have a tremendous temptation for Hershey bars. Sometimes I give in temptation and have one. Although I usually regret having succumbed to my impulse and do teshuva, this doesn't make me a hypocrite. It makes me a person who sometimes struggles with G-d and with the choices I have. And that's okay.

My specific kashrus issues are obviously a private matter, but I am well aware that people have greater temptations than Hershey bars.

When I see Orthodox Jews behaving badly in public, I am concerned for the chilul Hashem, but I don't get angry because they are scrupulous in one area of their religious observance but fail in another. Being religious isn't a pill you take that suddenly makes you perfect. It's more like a diet to improve your spiritual health. But just like a successful dieter, a person who is "successful" in a religious sense often has episodes of failure. Our mission is to try again.

I know this seems hopelessly naive. Many of the cell-phone-talker, business-cheater, cut-me-off-in-traffic bums don't give any evidence of having embarked on spiritual journeys. But that's not really my job -- my job is me.

If I can help them, fine, but just getting outraged because they are failing a particular test from G-d is like kicking a student out of school because he's bad at one subject.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous David S said...

This is all true up to a point. Obviously the free market determines to some degree whether people in a particular community choose to believe in one thing or another. That said, the framers of the constitution were very concerned about what they called the Tyranny Of The Majority, which rarely, of course, applies to Jews...except importantly, in those communities where they choose to BE a majority. At that point, all sorts of interesting things occur, some good for the preexisting citizens, some bad. One bad thing is that Orthodox Jews, who disproprotionately send their children to private Jewish schools, do not vote for increases in public school budgets. Its certainly logical on a pay to play basis, but is the outcome good? Not really.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous stillwonderin' said...

" do not vote for increases in public school budgets. Its certainly logical on a pay to play basis, "

So all the alleged bad behavior of Orthodox Jews cited above comes down to how they vote in budget referendums?

Are you kidding?

... and as long as you've decided to lead this string into the School Board dogma, you can be assured that when Thomas Jefferson was fretting about the "Tyranny Of The Majority," he wasn't worried about town residents refusing to vote in a scandalously opaque budget drafted by individuals with a stated ambition of refusing to accomodate the needs of voters they apparently didn't realize they needed.

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One bad thing is that Orthodox Jews, who disproprotionately send their children to private Jewish schools, do not vote for increases in public school budgets. Its certainly logical on a pay to play basis, but is the outcome good? Not really.

Let me state right off that I am not Orthodox and I do not blame the Orthodox for voting against the school budget increases. We as taxpayers have so few opportunities to control what comes out of our pockets that when an opportunity presents itself we're going to take it. My guess is that if HAFTR put to a vote an increase in tuition it would be voted down. If YILC put to a vote an increase in dues it would be voted down. It has nothing to do with our kids or their kids it has to do with rebelling against an opressive tax system.

4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

forces us into the lime light to be scrutinized by people like yourself who only seem to see the negatives and not the positives.

It's not that I only see the negatives, it's that I don't see the difference between the way the Orthodox behave and the non-orthodox behave.

A spoiled jap is a spoiled jap and I don't care what school she goes to.

4:50 PM  
Anonymous stillwonderin' said...

"Perhaps that is so. But are non-Orthodox Jews holding Orthodox Jews to a standard higher than Orthodox Jews should hold themselves?"

This is a very good and fair questions already answered by people (anons 3:56, 4:01) who are clearly better qualified and more astute than me.

I have nothing to add.

4:52 PM  
Anonymous stillwonderin' said...

"A spoiled jap is a spoiled jap and I don't care what school she goes to."

That point of view is a universal shared by all people, Orthodox and othewise -- with the sensibility to be disgusted with spoiled JAPs.

4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 4:01:
Thank you for echoing similar comments I made above (Anon 3:56) - that we Orthodox Jews often try our best but do not always succeed.
Just one point - I suppose the audience you are addressing this explanation to is NOT an Orthodox one correct? In other words, you are trying to explain an orthodox point of view to non-orthodox people right?
So why use terms such as "Har Sinai", "Chalav Yisroel", and "Teshuvah"?
If you are trying to clarify a point of view, why muddle it up with words and concepts most people can not understand?
Not picking a fight, just wondering what you were thinking...

4:54 PM  
Anonymous stillwonderin' said...

"just wondering what you were thinking..."

I'm wonderin' why you're such a condescending boob.

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just one point - I suppose the audience you are addressing this explanation to is NOT an Orthodox one correct? In other words, you are trying to explain an orthodox point of view to non-orthodox people right?
So why use terms such as "Har Sinai", "Chalav Yisroel", and "Teshuvah"?
If you are trying to clarify a point of view, why muddle it up with words and concepts most people can not understand?
Not picking a fight, just wondering what you were thinking...



THIS is a great point, thank you.

I just wish someone could explain this to Larry Gordon. I am non-orthodox and I love to hate the Five Town Jewish Times. But I can't hate it as much as I want to because Larry keeps using words I don't understand and he doesn't seem to know how to use parantheses.

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still wonderin', you're just fighting with everyone today. Why lash out at someone who asked a perfectly reasonable question, and in a respectful and light tone? I am thankful that I don't live anywhere near you -- it's frightening to imagine what kind of neighbor you'd be, judging by your comments here.

5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 4:01:

i thought your post was insightful and erudite. i thought you clarified seemingly contradictory orthodox behavior in a clear and concise manner. im orthodox, been orthodox my whole life, and now i understand it better too.

thank you.

5:10 PM  
Anonymous stillwonderin' said...

"Why lash out at someone who asked a perfectly reasonable question, and in a respectful and light tone?"

I thought it was condescending. You're certainly entitled to disagree.

As for being a good neighbor, I'm not so bad. I do tend to give my non Orthodox neighbors the benefit of the doubt when it comes to describing words associated with Yomim Tovim, Mitzvos, and the like.

I may be wrong sometimes, but I can only hope my desire to be as respectful as possible comes across.

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just hope that you don't have any (heaven forbid!) Moslem neighbors. You know they're infiltrating every neighborhood, working on their systematic eradication of Jewish suburban internet users.

5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
The ones who speak out about these issues in the "frum" community are the ones get shunned by the Rabbis.

Seems like what you need are different Rabbis.

2:14 PM

It begins and ends with the Rabbis and what they accept and do not. Money clouds the issue for most if not all of them, Rosh Yeshivas included.

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still wonderin', you're just fighting with everyone today. Why lash out at someone who asked a perfectly reasonable question, and in a respectful and light tone? I am thankful that I don't live anywhere near you -- it's frightening to imagine what kind of neighbor you'd be, judging by your comments here.

I guess this is what makes horse racing because still wonderin' is the one poster I'd like to get to know better. Insightful and inciteful, irreverant, smart, funny and sarcastic as hell. What's not to like?

6:30 PM  
Anonymous stillwonderin' said...

Mom!!?? Is that you??!!

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still wonderin':
What was condescending about my comment? I thought I was asking a perfectly legitimate question - why attempt to explain a point of view when only those that SHARE that point of view can fully appreciate your ... Point?
: )
I wasn't attacking anon 4:01 I was simply asking a staightforward question.
As an othrodox jew living in the 5 T's it's important to me that my neighbors have a better perspective of just where we are coming from.
Some slack please ...

7:18 PM  
Anonymous anonymous mom said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1THbSNEOVc&NR=1

Try to get through this whole video from beginning to end, try to stomach it because it really puts this stuff into perspective.

None of this matters and it really hurts to read it. No one here is convincing anyone of anything. And I am saddened that we prefer to argue with each other and malign each other rather than just each of us do our very best to be good. We are in this together, folks, and if you truly believe that, then you have to liken it to a marriage like I said before and you have to look at the other one with a kind eye and put all your energies into improving your own faults; that's a successful friendship, marriage, partnership between Jews and people. Are we in this world as a team, people, with players that have different strengths and weaknesses, that have different personalities? Or aren't we? And, don't worry, anon 1:15 p.m., I know you'll watch the vid and say that we bring this upon ourselves or something like that or that not all of them are bad...and you know what, I still consider you a partner, a teammate. Much as my statements cause you distress, yours just wrench my gut and break my heart. But...I think I'll choose--as I do in real life--to avoid having a conversation with you about this at all. In this life, we are going to have to be silent partners.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1THbSNEOVc&NR=1

7:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ANTI ORTHO HERE:
One question I would like to ask is why do you walk in the street? If you are so family oriented why do you put your children, yourselves and the non orthodox who are driving at risk? When you drive through neighborhoods where the blacks ,latinos and goyim do the same thing, do you mutter curses under your breath at them for doing the same thing you do?
Or are you going to show your arrogance and tell me it's not the same thing?

anti ortho - you really are anti.
why do joggers and speed walkers walk in the street? why do the public school kids walk down the street? why do dog walkers walk in the street?

it's easier. and yes its annoying all around - BUT - to drive past and scream an obscenity and throw a beer bottle out the window at the group - thats reprehensible.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plain and simple.....orthos walk in the street so their presence can be known.

8:50 PM  
Anonymous stillwonderin' said...

Someone once told me that orthos walk in the street so they can get places.

What nerve!

9:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do they avoid sidewalks so they won't have to walk near the *shudder* goyim? Or women with uncovered elbows?

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what...I'm "ortho". I've been on here all day trying to post civil friendly and logical comments but the fact is - especially based on the last few comments posted - some people are just A@#Holes plain and simple.
We can try to be civil and do our best to be kind to our neighbors but there will always be JERKS like some of the people above who are convinced that "The orthos" walk on the streets on purpose "so their presence can be known" or that we don't go to the bar on Central because it's open on Sabbath (yeah...THAT's why we don't go there).
So, there it is...I give up. I give up trying to convince some of you haters out there to like us. I will go about my business, try to do the right thing and be civil and, if you hate me you hate me - so be it.

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 4:01, thank you, that's beautiful.

And as a Saturday-driving, decadent USCJ woman, let me say that I think OrthoMom is right on in her concerns.

Any time someone, with no verifiable evidence whatsoever, says "oh, THOSE people are such a problem" because ONE of them was rude or raised his or her voice in front of the complainer is using Bigotry 101, plain and simple.

There are bozos in EVERY group of humans, every color, every religion... So even if the rock-throwing were true, if it's not placed in any kind of context, it's just [creed]-baiting. Let's say some rocks were thrown; the alleged existence three reprehensible underage boys within that entire area of LI says.... nothing!

Do the racist Irish thugs in South Boston mean that everyone in that community is a hypocrite at best? Does the presence of Jewish criminals in jail cells in Israel mean the Jewish people is inherently corrupt? No, it means that the Jewish people is made up of human beings, some of whom behave badly!

That editorial was scary. And Jewish communities have more reason than most to remember how dangerous it is to start into "well you know how THOSE people are" kinds of diatribes.

Shavua Tov.

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I read in THe Hock of The rock in the % towns jewish times that Orthos walk in the street because in europe they didnt have sidewalks and the tradition continues today. or maybe its their large families that would make it difficult for everyone to walk on the sidewalk. Besides they usually only do it on shabbos and there are less cars because the neghborhood is predominantly ortho.

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back to the point at hand. The jewish star did some investigating and the manager at borders said there was never any arson threat and that schwach admitted that the carvel incident may have been his misinterpretation, also it didnt occur recently as suggested in the article and the 2 so called incidents may have been months not days apart. Poetic license i guess.

10:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Plain and simple.....orthos walk in the street so their presence can be known.

that's right!! I am ortho hear me roar!!! (snort, snort)

11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i gotta tell you, that i am a meek orthodox jewish woman who doesn't have too much power - yet, when i read the angry diatribes from anons posting against the orthodox, i feel a perverted sense of power. wow! look at little ol' me - look at how much power i yield - that i can make an entire anon community afraid of me and my ways that they think that a whole community is out to get them. that they think that me walking in the quiet streets on saturday is to make my presence known and an attempt to take over the world (or just the 5 towns).

this newfound power that i hold is a bit disconcerting.

but as they say, "with great power, comes great responsibility."

hmm... which street should i walk down on this saturday? (chin rub)

11:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plain and simple.....orthos walk in the street so their presence can be known.

If this is the way the Orthos display their presence then it's one of the only ways.

Again, some of you are outraged at the editorial comments and those who are wonder what someone else is going to do about it.

My suggestion would be to contact the advertisers in that newspaper and threaten them with an Orthodox boycott of their goods and services unless they agree not to advertise in that paper again.

Will this cause some backlash? Maybe so. Will some people say the Orthodox are being pushy? Maybe they will. Will the editor write another anti-orthodox editorial? Maybe he will. But if the paper's out of business where will he print it.

Remember, as anon 9:45 pointed out, if they hate you they hate you; there's nothing to be done about it.

But have some respect for yourselves. Stop kvetching and do something. Sure it's a small thing, but I reckon there are some bigger things on the horizon and this might be good practice.

11:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anon 11:16, I know you were being facetious, but I have no idea how you took that away from anything that was said here. Nobody here is threatened by the Orthodox. Quite the contrary -- I think the reverse might be true. At any rate, feel free to walk in the streets but I don't think it's the safest thing for your children, as people in cars are not always able to stop in time to ensure safety of pedestrians, especially the smaller ones.

11:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:19, way to confirm every bad stereotype!

11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to 11:24 Which bad stereotype would that be?

11:35 PM  
Anonymous stillwonderin' said...

"to 11:24 Which bad stereotype would that be?"

The stereotype of timid secular Jews who wilt at the thought of Jews who dare suggest standing up to a malicious hack with paranoid delusions about Orthodox Jews.

12:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wipe the foam off your mouth, stillwonderin'. Oh, and please don't boycott me, I don't know how I'll survive without you!

12:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee, it's a wonder why your neighbors and fellow townspeople don't love you! You seem like mighty nice folk. Sure with you'd move into my town.

12:10 AM  
Anonymous stillwonderin' said...

"Sure with you'd move into my town."

Not a bad idea. With Carvel closed down, our work here is done. Where'd you say you lived again?

1:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of you need to see Gentlemen's Agreement.

6:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, so I drove down to Sobel's Beer Distributors in Inwood yesterday and spoke to one of the Sobel brothers and to their Vice President. They have not received any threats or comments about being asked to close on the Sabbath.

I think we are dealing with a lot of hysteria here. From BOTH SIDES (ortho and non-ortho).

However, I know for a fact that the bar on Cedarhurst Avenue was not only asked, but were vandalized with a brick and a note tied to it about 5 years ago. These incidents are documented in police reports. The police ran the plate and it came back to a Brooklyn address, so it isn't locals doing this. But they are making everyone look bad.

The cell phone incidents - of course people from all walks of life are driving and talking on their phones. But right here, we had two Orthodox women in two years involved in two deaths due to cell phones. Enough already! Get the message out that we ALL have to lay off those damn things - it is costing people their lives!

7:48 AM  
Anonymous FRAnk said...

Back in the 70's there was a popoular TV series which starred Roy Thinnis. This comic diatribe reminds of that show

8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stillannoyin', you wouldn't like where I live. We have a wide variety of restaurants, instead of just Chinese-bagel-sushi-pizza-falafel places. We (even those of us who send our kids to private Jewish schools) support our local public schools, because we know that if everyone receives a great education, it's better for the entire community. We accept those of different religions and different levels of practice within those religions. Sounds like a drag, eh?

8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:36 AM: I want to move there! What town would that be??? It's time to move our family out of the ghetto and I can't wait!

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Don said...

On the Jersey Shore, nestled between Asbury Park & Bradley Beach looms a town known as Ocean Grove- known to the locals as Ocean Grave!. Vehicles were prohibited from OG on sundays yeara ago. It was a Christian village. Nowdays frummies take advantage of the beautiful turn of the (20) century victorian mansions which have been converted to B&B so they be in walking distance of the sepharadic emporiums of Deal. Localities change. Does anyone know why Belle Harbor never took off the same way that The 5towns did?

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous mom, I watched that You Tube piece from beginning to end, and didn't understand your point. All I learned is about the horrible evil terrorists, which is something I knew. Nobody here, or anywhere for that matter, is unable to condemn terror and murder as being reprehensible.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey dont forget the israeli steak houses, the yummy cafes, the bistro, and baris - which happens to be yummy - and dont forget the deli and meat restaurants and the fast food take out like burgers bar, subway, and yossis grill.

we have a lot to eat here!

10:29 AM  
Blogger MoChassid said...

no access to the LIRR in Belle Harbor. It's the subway or drive

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Subway fast food? Burgers? Meat grill places? Deli? Can't believe the 5 Towns aren't in Gourmet magazine every month!

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Frank said...

Not too many years ago Supersol was Gristidis' Occasions was Waerner Baer (chazer treif) Off The Grill was Lure of The Sea (chazer treif) Traditions was Walters Village Restaurant (chazer treif) King David was Cedarwood Deli ( not chazer treif) The late 5 Towns Deli ( no wonder it's closed) was Epsteins ( not chazer treif) & Manhattan Steak House is now Kosher Subways. Well, we are not waiting for Moshiach. We are waiting for Al Steiners & Mother Kelly's to go kosher.Maybe they'll move to 116 St to serve the occupants of the SRO's

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are waiting for Al Steiners & Mother Kelly's to go kosher.

You need to get out more. Al Steiners has been gone for over 20 years. But a Kosher La Viola would be sensational. They make the best veal parmigiana.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Frank said...

I guess they went out with Carvel * TCB

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Fox said...

Gracious! I don't think things have been this lively here since the supermarket supervision excitement.

As the anonymous author of the 4:01 explanation, I wasn't bothered at all by 4:54's comment about my lack of translation. It's a good question.

It's true that someone with a secular upbringing probably wouldn't know what "cholov yisroel" means or what "teshuva" refers to, but I felt that context of the comment made it clear that I sometimes do something "wrong" but that it doesn't make me non-religious.

I didn't want to get bogged down in the details of my example; putting a detailed description of the concept of "cholov yisroel" in parenthesis would make for a very clunky paragraph, and we'd be back to that argument.

Or the topic would shift to the whole issue of cholov yisroel, and we *definitely* don't want to go there!

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Observer said...

Wow. Lots o' comments. As to walking in the street, perhaps it is because most streets in the Five Towns area (other than the major throughways) don't have sidewalks that run the entire block. For safety sake I prefer that my kids walk on the sidewalk but it silly to have them on the sidewal for one house, off for the next three that tore up the sidewalk and planted over it, then back onto the sidewalk for another house or two and then off again.

As to the mysterious kosher mafia that shuts down non-kosher establishments, they must be extorting good pretection from all of the open non-kosher establishments. I am sure Starbucks has a budget line for extortion money to the kosher nostra.

To all those who brought up school funding: thanks, it really added to the discourse.

anti-ortho: nice shtick. Preface offensive anti-semetic rants by proclaiming that anyone calling you an anti-semite is hypersensative since your venom is not anti-semitic. Wrong! Plain and simple-- you post anti-semetic diatribes and none of your prefacing somehow magically renders what you say logical or inoffensive.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous anonymous mom said...

"Anonymous mom, I watched that You Tube piece from beginning to end, and didn't understand your point. All I learned is about the horrible evil terrorists, which is something I knew."

This is the tragedy of our times. I am the only person here who is presenting the notion that this dialogue is painful and unproductive. I was clear in the comments that accompany the you tube link that the only proper response to Mr. Schach's venomous tantrum is looking inward and improving ourselves quietly from within. An indignant response just brings out more righteous indignation. It is absolutely painful to read these posts much as it is painful to live in my community a bit Northwest of you and have to hear all the ugly comments Jew throws against Jew. Now, I don't live in the Five Towns (although I am an original Queens person and visit often) so I can't presume that all the players in this Greek tragedy are Jewish as the players are where I live, but I had to appeal to those of you who are Jewish to please keep in mind that our people are being blown up and the world doesn't need our self-indulgence, our angry tantrums. If you cannot see that the proper way to conduct ourselves is with good behavior all around and a KIND EYE to each other, then you are lost. And the video is about what is most important which is that we need to use our time here constructively and live with a spirit of good will. What annoys and even infuriates us about the other person should fall to the bottom of a long list of what is valuable about the other person. Entertain the possibility that this dialogue on all sides is just ugly. I recommend that one foot in front of the other, just deal with the facts and the issues (no one is saying that your school board woes are not to be addressed, we have very similar issues here where I live) ,but do it with an eye for kindness and for my Jewish friends--with a bit of a Galus (exile) mentality. Here is Anonymous Mom's take on a Galus (exile) mentality: 1. We don't deserve everything even if we live in America. 2. Crap happens. 3. We all need to stick together.
This stuff is just painful.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About 50 years ago, there was a comic strip called "Keeping Up With The Jones", which was all about the life of the Five Towns, with the snotty, pious people, compleate with turned up noses. Back then, it was mostly a WASP neighborhood. The strip was meant to point out how snotty people could be. Well, fast-forward 50 years, and the same comic strip would make a PERFECT tribute to the Five Towns Ghetto - only the players aren't WASPs.

Ocean Grove NJ sounds like paradise - oh, like the Five Towns was 15 years ago. A nice mix.

The biggest arguments in the Five Towns used to be over the parking meter maids who leaned on the meters and waited for your meter to "click" before adding your license plate to the ticket.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howard Schwach's article is fascinating, proving once again there is nothing new under the sun. It is old-fashioned anti-Semitism at its worst, disguised in modern, liberal vocabulary.

He begins by equating orthodox Jews with the worst evils history has to offer: Spanish Inquisitors, Christian Crusadors, Nazis.

Next come the lies, in the same tradition that other anti-Semites lie about the Jews. Jews eat matza mixed with the blood of Christian children - the medieval blood libel. Jewish rabbis secretly meet plotting to take over the world - Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Jewish bankers rule the world - Hitler and the Nazis.

Now we have Schwach and The Wave. Blatant lies are told about arson threats. Extortion involving kosher certification. Rock throwing by yeshiva boys that nobody else has ever seen. The Jews are taking over the Five Towns, and we better stop them, or our wonderful way of life will be ruined. Sound familiar? A new Pharoh arose who knew not Yosef.

This article is an outrage. Any idiot with a printing press can go far. I was sorry to read that Schwach taught part-time in a girl's yeshiva. He should not teach again in any yeshiva.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think they were lies. Unless you can personally debunk all of his allegations, you are no better than Howie Schwach.

BTW, Howie came from an observant family. There's nothing worse than more Jew vs. Jew rhetoric.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i dont really understand these debates trying to figure out if the stories were true or not. in regard to the books store, why doesnt somebody ASK them. Even if it is true it doesnt mean the person was serious, it coould have been a horrible joke, and it doesnt mean the person who left it was frum. in regard to the story with the ice cream store, again- a letter to the Carvel company and the Vaad of 5T would prove its validity or, probably, its lack there of. if these stories prove not to be true, the newspaper is guilty of slander and must be dealt with accordingly. Am i wrong?

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the newspaper is guilty of slander and must be dealt with accordingly.

By whom?

Who did they slander?

What are the damages?

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand your idea at all. A Carvel owner is a private person, owning a franchise. Why would Carvel Corp. have any idea why one went out of business two years ago? If there was a boycott, especially a quiet one, they would have no clue. As for the Vaad, I'm sure they'll happily tell you that they regularly pressure business owners and even make threats. It's probably right there in their 5 Towns Vaad Brochure.

All these posts have proven is that if this guy is a bigot, there are worse ones right here. And if this guy operates on heresay and general negative feelings, he's matched or exceeded by many people here.

5:11 PM  

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