“If you treat them nice, they treat you back nice” – the Expansion of Kiryas Joel into Mixed Neighborhoods

Quest for suburban lifestyle pushes Hasidic frontier farther from KJ

WOODBURY — Joseph Waldman was one of the first settlers in 1976 in a small enclave that would soon become the Village of Kiryas Joel, an upstate outpost for Satmar Hasidic families seeking a peaceful refuge from the congestion of Brooklyn.

Forty-three years later, Kiryas Joel is a densely populated community of 24,000 or more, and Waldman and his family have relocated again, this time to neighboring Woodbury.

Waldman and his wife, Sarah, bought a house last year on Schunnemunk Road in the Country Crossing development, following five of their daughters who already had moved to the same quiet neighborhood. He proudly showed a reporter the picturesque view of Schunnemunk Mountain from his kitchen during a recent visit, and recalled the sense of tranquility he enjoyed as a Satmar pioneer in rural Monroe decades ago.

“Moving here is exactly the same feeling that we had moving here from the city 43 years ago and building that new house,” Waldman said.

The Waldmans are part of a steady flow of Satmar families migrating to the towns abutting Kiryas Joel, where they can get a single-family house with a yard and privacy for the same price as a condo in the crowded village. The trend started in 2015 during a tense conflict over efforts to expand Kiryas Joel and has continued in its aftermath, with couples and investors from Kiryas Joel and Brooklyn now having bought hundreds of houses in Monroe, Blooming Grove and Woodbury over the last four years, according to Orange County property records.

The most striking example is South Blooming Grove, where at least 387 homes, or 44 percent of all single-family houses in the village, have changed hands. In neighboring Woodbury, Hasidic families have settled in neighborhoods like the Waldmans’, where about 70 homes have changed hands, and Woodbury Junction, where about 100 houses and lots have been sold since a Brooklyn developer bought the stalled 451-home project in 2016 and resumed construction.

New complexes are being built or planned in Monroe, Blooming Grove and Chester as well, like the 181-home Smith Farm project taking shape on a hill off Route 17M in Monroe. One proposal still under review, the 600-home Clovewood project, could bring as many as 3,800 new people to South Blooming Grove, more than doubling the population of 3,200.

The home buy-ups and new construction have extended the frontier for Orange County’s Satmar community, which for decades had lived strictly in Kiryas Joel and adjacent neighborhoods close to the synagogues, religious schools, kosher stores, ritual baths and wedding halls that anchor Hasidic life. Now, school buses roll through Worley Heights in South Blooming Grove to take children to Kiryas Joel’s yeshivas, and Orthodox boundary markers known as eruvs line streets in Woodbury.

For a fast-growing community with large families and a constant need for more housing, new opportunities abound.

The suburban migration from Kiryas Joel represents a cultural shift for the Satmar Hasidim and raises new considerations for the towns experiencing or facing that influx. Though the transition has been ordinary in some respects, as routine as one family moving in to replace another, it has also triggered sporadic conflicts over development plans, eruvs and other issues, and has stoked anxiety among some about the future power of growing Hasidic voting blocs.

A ‘KJ without borders’

One late spring night in Kiryas Joel in 2015, attorney Steven Barshov took the microphone in the ballroom of a girls’ school to make his case to a crowd of about 600, Hasidic and non-Hasidic alike, about why it made sense for Kiryas Joel to annex 507 acres from the Town of Monroe. Barshov, representing the property owners who had petitioned for that border change, talked about the scarcity of building space in the Hasidic village and posed a leading question about its future population growth.

“So where are the people to go?” he asked. “Would you prefer that they be spread all around Orange County, which is -”

“Yes!” annexation opponents in the audience roared back before he could finish.

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The Satmar-Ruled Brooklyn pt. 4 – Lee Ave. The Modesty Committees -“Gut’s polizei” – And Even Hynes Knew (2013)

Modesty in Ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn Is Enforced by Secret Squads

Faceless heads model on Lee Avenue in Brooklyn, where women’s clothing stores have been warned not to use mannequins.CreditCreditTodd Heisler/The New York Times 

 

The Brooklyn shopkeeper was already home for the night when her phone rang: a man who said he was from a neighborhood “modesty committee” was concerned that the mannequins in her store’s window, used to display women’s clothing, might inadvertently arouse passing men and boys.

“The man said, ‘Do the neighborhood a favor and take it out of the window,’ ” the store’s manager recalled. “ ‘We’re trying to safeguard our community.’ ”

In many neighborhoods, a store owner might shrug off such a call. But on Lee Avenue, the commercial spine of Hasidic Williamsburg, the warning carried an implied threat — comply with community standards or be shunned. It is a potent threat in a neighborhood where shadowy, sometimes self-appointed modesty squads use social and economic leverage to enforce conformity.

The owner wrestled with the request for a day or two, but decided to follow it. “We can sell it without mannequins, so we might as well do what the public wants,” the owner told the manager, who asked not to be identified because of fear of reprisals for talking

In the close-knit world of ultra-Orthodox Judaism, community members know the modesty rules as well as Wall Street bankers who show up for work in a Brooks Brothers suit. Women wear long skirts and long-sleeved, high-necked blouses on the street; men do not wear Bermuda shorts in summer. Schools prescribe the color and thickness of girls’ stockings.

The rules are spoken and unspoken, enforced by social pressure but also, in ways that some find increasingly disturbing, by the modesty committees. Their power is evident in the fact that of the half dozen women’s clothing stores along Lee Avenue, only one features mannequins, and those are relatively shapeless, fully clothed torsos.

The groups have long been a part of daily life in the ultra-Orthodox communities that dot Brooklyn and other corners of the Jewish world. But they sprang into public view with the trial of Nechemya Weberman, a prominent member of the Satmar Hasidim in Brooklyn, who last week was sentenced to 103 years in prison after being convicted of sexually abusing a young girl sent to him for counseling.

Mr. Weberman, an unlicensed therapist, testified during his trial that boys and girls — though not his accuser — were regularly referred to him by a Hasidic modesty committee concerned about what it viewed as inappropriate attire and behavior.

The details were startling: a witness for Mr. Weberman’s defense, Baila Gluck, testified that masked men representing a modesty committee in the Hasidic village of Kiryas Joel, N.Y., 50 miles northwest of New York City, broke into her bedroom about seven years ago and confiscated her cellphone.

The Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, who prosecuted the Weberman case, has now received allegations that members of a modesty committee forced their way into a home in the borough, confiscating an iPad and computer equipment deemed inappropriate for Orthodox children, officials say. Allegations have also surfaced that a modesty committee threatened to publicly shame a married man who was having an affair unless he paid the members money for what they described as therapy.

They operate like the Mafia,” said Rabbi Allan Nadler, director of the Jewish studies program at Drew University in Madison, N.J.

Rabbi Nadler, who testified at Mr. Weberman’s trial, said that modesty committees did not have addresses, stationery or business cards, and that few people seemed to know where their authority originated, though it was doubtful, he said, that they could continue operating without the tacit blessings of rabbinical leaders.

“They walk into a store and say it would be a shame if your window was broken or you lost your clientele,” he said. “They might tell the father of a girl who wears a skirt that’s too short and he’s, say, a store owner: ‘If you ever want to sell a pair of shoes, speak to your daughter.’ ”

In Israel, there have been similar concerns. Though no modesty committee was overtly involved, there has been anger over ultra-Orthodox zealots who spit on and insulted an 8-year-old girl for walking to school through their neighborhood in a dress they considered immodest.

In Brooklyn, Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who has represented the heavily Hasidic neighborhood of Borough Park for 30 years, said that he had never met a modesty committee member, but that “there are a lot of independent operators that believe they are protecting God and have to do this kind of stuff, and that’s sickening and gives us all a black eye.”

“If you want to advocate modesty,” he added, “do your thing, but when you stuff it down my throat physically, that undermines us and hurts us.”

Hasidic leaders contend that the modesty committees are nothing more than self-appointed individuals who, indignant at some perceived infraction, take matters into their own hands.

“These are individual people who decide to take on this crusade,” said Rabbi David Niederman, who as president of the United Jewish Organization of Williamsburg is a sometime spokesman for the Satmar Hasidim. “You see posters telling people do this and do that. It does not represent an authorized body.”

But many Hasidim say they have seen or heard how a shadowy group of men seeks to pressure parents to rein in children who wear dresses too short or stockings too thin, or who chat on cellphones with friends of the opposite sex. One family reported being harassed because the wife had stepped outdoors with a robelike housecoat rather than a long dress.

While many of the rules of conduct are announced on Yiddish broadsides posted on trees, lampposts and walls, residents of Hasidic neighborhoods say some store owners have received rough verbal warnings from a modesty committee to stop selling magazines that carry photographs considered too revealing, or articles that dispute the Satmar Hasidim’s belief that Israel should not have existed until the Messiah’s arrival.

The Central Rabbinical Congress of the United States and Canada, in addition to certifying foods as kosher and adjudicating matrimonial and commercial disputes, does at times remind the Satmar community of the community’s modesty rules. It is made up of scores of rabbis, but it has an address — it is housed on the second floor of a Williamsburg row house — and it signs every decree it issues.

“We give out proclamations,” said Rabbi Yitzchok Glick, its executive director. “We don’t enforce. It’s like people can decide to keep Shabbos or not. If someone wants to turn on the light on Shabbos, we cannot put him in jail for that.”

But Hasidim interviewed said squads of enforcers did exist in wildcat form.

 

 

 

 

To read the remainder of the article in the NY Times click here.

ממשלת הכופרים – INFIDELS – A Second Look at the Same Poster – Taking Back the World from the Infidels… Where is $2M?

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Satmar of Kiryas Joel, a call to arms against the Infidels

To our Readers:

Last week we posted this poster, which in pertinent part is a proclamation of the Satmar of Kiryas Joel, New York, to stop fundraising activities using the internet. Presumably, by so doing it gets far easier to hide those fundraising activities. We believe that it more accurately is not fundraising that gets easier but laundering… clothing… of course.

One of our readers, however, pointed out the words ממשלת הכופרים which are the last 2 words on the bottom line in highlighted enlarged texts. Those two words translate to “Infidels.” This poster is a call to arms against everyone not otherwise Satmar, the infidels.

Please be reminded that Kiryas Joel, New York is listed as one of the most impoverished cities in the United States. It has one of the highest rates of Medicaid, food stamps and other social services.

Yet, just in time for the passage of a Prison Reform Bill, heavily supported by the Satmar, they ran a http://www.charidy.com compaign to raise 1.5M in 60 hours and we have been told they raised well over $2M USD in that time. Many of the published photographs show the money in cash lying out on the tables as the fundraisers carefully documented the donations. 

We have made calls, openly and publicly for receipts evidencing the distribution of that money, to no avail. The attorney supporting the “Prison Reform Bill” push acted pro bono. The vote took place only 3 days later (if that) so there is little doubt that the money raised did nothing to help the cause of prison reform. 

We want to know in whose pockets that money is sitting. 

Satmar Hasidim of Kiryas Joel, NY Has Decided to Be More Discreet About their Fundraising… Where is the money?

The Monroe Satmar are going to stop soliciting fundraising via the internet. 

This begs the question that we have been asking for weeks. Can anyone account for the last $2M fundraised for prison reform. First question: where are the proceeds? Second question: who were the donors and were any of them accepting social services?

Kiryas Joel Rabbi Declares War against NYS Education Department, Rich Hypocrisy

Rabbi Teitelbaum’s Extremist Rant

It is rich that the Rabbi Teitelbaum of Kiryas Joel would declare war on the New York State Education Department, referring to those who would demand educational compliance as “wicked.” It is a supreme hypocrisy that the Satmar live under the protection of the Israeli state yet Rabbi Teitelbaum’s disdain for the “Zionists” leaves no room for interpretation. He makes no bones about a quasi declaration of war on those who demand education and require Israel Defense Fund Service (IDF) of all children (including those identifying as Satmar). There is no mistaking the Jihadi-like meaning of his 60 minute “call-to-arms.”.

It is ironic that he would refer to those  “wicked who persecute Charedi Yiddishkeit” (a reference to Yiddish culture), yet the Satmar are not themselves practicing Yiddishkeit. The term was used in the cross-cultural understanding of Jews post WWII. What the Satmar practice is some brandished form of radical Jewish fundamentalism, in whatever language they choose to speak. Those of us born into true Yiddishkeit know full well that it comprised: Yiddish theater, literature, a solid and well-rounded education and a belief in NOT creating pogroms (think Kiryas Joel). It is part of a greater Jewish identity, one not defined by costumes and claims.

It is almost tragic, if not somewhat nauseating that in his 60 minute “call to arms”, he emphasizes a pride for the safety and wealth of the Satmar community, as compared to the secular and non-Jewish communities in which they live. Has the distinguished Rabbi Teitelbaum forgotten about the epidemic levels of rape and molestation of children within his community? According to Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg the number of children within the Satmar community who are victims of rape or molestation is unthinkable. Rabbi Teitlebaum seems either to think that raping or molesting children is not a crime (or at least not worthy of consideration in those statistics) or to believe that it does not exist within the Satmar community. We can’t find a broom large enough to sweep up the dirt and yet the Rabbi speaks…

In his targeted and angry Jihadi-like speech, Rabbi Teitelbaum boasts of the money earned by the Satmar, despite the non secular education.  Are they wealthy or are they poor? If the former, why are so many receiving welfare benefits and Section 8 housing funding? If the latter (justifying the social services they receive), then there is little truth in his assertions.

Has he not acknowledged that Kiryas Joel is and has been for many years listed as one of the poorest cities in the country? And as he’s demanding no secular teachings (like science and maths) what will happen when the community does not produce enough doctors to deliver their vast numbers of children born each year? Oh… the Satmar will likely rely on the wicked for that service.

The Satmar as an organized community boasts 200+Million in assets (presumably under management). Yet, to reiterate, Kiryas Joel has been listed for years as one of the poorest cities in the nation. It has been quoted as “redefining poverty.”   Where is all of the Satmar money, Rabbi Teibelbaum, earned by your non-secularly educated children? It is certainly not in the pockets of the residents of Kiryas Joel and others who live on US (and Israeli) social services, unless there is a severe case of fraud going on (in both countries).

We wonder whether it is possible for a family to collect social services in the United States and also in Israel, whether there is a way to manipulate both system. 

Rabbi Teitelbaum’s comments as regarding Israel reflect an unthinkable disgrace upon a country that welcomes the Satmar with open arms. The children of  “the wicked” protect the Satmar in their enlistment, a situation which should not be permitted to continue.

Rabbi Teitelbaum’s comments about New York State and the war the Satmar will declare (Inshallah!) is frightening. We might even regard those comments as warranting law enforcement intervention.

In our opinion if the Satmar are going to eviscerate the countries they inhabit with comments like Teitlebaum’s, the Satmar should not be permitted to inhabit their  borders. The only difference between the Satmar and the most radical Islamic fundamentalists is that so far, the Satmar have not wired their children with explosive devices.

They are not beyond committing violence, however, and we see this speech as the closest thing to Jihadi-like incitement.

 

Satmar Rebbe of Kiryas Joel DECLARES WAR Against NYS Education Department [FULL AUDIO CLIP]

The Satmar Rebbe of Kiryas Joel delivered a fiery speech last night, during which he effectively declared war against the NYS Education Department. The speech was delivered at the 74th annual “Chuf Alef Kislev” event, the day Hagaon HaRav Yoel Teitelbaum ZATZAL, the founder of Satmar Chassidus in America, escaped from the Nazis during the Holocaust in 1944.

The gathering was held at a massive warehouse in Williamsburg, with thousands of Chassidim in attendance.

The highlight of the annual Yom Hatzoloh event is the speech by the Rebbe, using the forum to address some of the burning issues on the agenda, both in Eretz Yisrael and primarily, outside of Israel.

As YWN has been reporting, New York State is taking steps towards stricter enforcement of its education requirements on yeshiva elementary schools. In line with recently released NYS Education Department guidelines, all yeshiva elementary schools must teach a ‘substantially equivalent education’ to public schools, with a minimum of six hours of secular studies daily. The new regulations leave little flexibility for what yeshiva elementary schools may teach.

This is cause for serious concern to many, and this year, the Satmar Rebbe dedicated his annual speech to addressing this new Gezeira, vowing a tenacious fight in what it sees as state intervention in the education of the tenokos shel beis raban, an unacceptable situation to put it mildly.

The Rebbe gave clear instructions to his followers to defy the Education Department’s new orders, noting that the yeshiva system’s successes far outweigh those of the alternative, public schools, which he blasted as needing far more reform than yeshivos.

In his approximately 60 minute long address, the Rebbe first addressed the situation surrounding a new IDF draft law in Israel, which may be legislated in the near future, vowing to fight “that not a single bochur will fall to the Zionists R”L”. The Rebbe then addressed the harsh Gezeira being faced by yeshivos in New York State as a result of the new state educational guidelines mentioned above.

The Rebbe then slammed New York State Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia, “who conspired with traitors and the wicked to persecute chareidi Yiddishkeit in New York, which only wants to educate its children in accordance to Torah and tradition as has been from generation to generation, in talmidei torah, in yeshivos ketanos, and in girls schools” cried the Rebbe.

[SHOCK: New NYS Guidelines Require Yeshiva Elementary Schools to Teach AT LEAST 6 HOURS A DAY of Secular Studies]

The Rebbe continued: “She wants to change Klal Yisrael and remove us from our religion exactly as the Greeks wanted in their time, to destroy the education institutions, a decree of extermination (shmad). Who would have thought that here, in the greatest democracy in the world, a time would come when a decree on education would become reality?”

“I hereby declare that Klal Yisroel will not bow down or surrender to the wicked, not even before the Commissioner of Education, and with great devotion we will be able to educate our children in Torah education. We have had many situations in the past demanding mesirus nefesh for the Torah HaKadosha, and also today, we will launch a major war against the Commissioner of Education in any way [necessary] without compromises and agreements.”

“In a democratic country there is freedom of religion and they have no right to interfere in our religion, and if the Commissioner of Education wants to improve education in the State of New York, please ask the public schools to correct their education curriculum. We have been living in New York for 70 years, which is already a number of generations, and one can already see the fruit of our education as compared to the public-school education. In our schools they do not murder, there is no violence, no drug sales and no thieves. Even percentage wise, we are more successful than the public school graduates,” the rebbe continued.

[TROUBLE FOR NY YESHIVAS: Schools Could Face Pressure Under New Rules]

The massive crowd at the Asifa on Wednesday night

The Rebbe continued to attack the commissioner and the poor education of the non-Jews in New York. “We see the percentage of graduates of their (public school) education, and the graduates of the Jewish education system; who fills the prisons and who fills the large commercial houses and factories here in New York?

Percentage wise, we contribute more to the economy with the graduates of our institutions than the graduates of their institutions. Therefore, the government has turned a blind eye to this day and they realized that even though they invest $25,000 per student in government schools, compared with a few tens of dollars per student in transportation and other budgets, they benefit a great deal more from the students of the Jewish education versus their graduates.”

“Therefore,” the Rebbe concluded, “we will not sit idly by but we will fight a fierce battle over our right to live in our religion, and B’ezras Hashem, we will cancel this terrible gezeira and will not obey the Education Commissioner in any way. Of course, it will only happen if there is achdus. We must put all the petty politics aside and to seriously unite all the communities and unite all of the chareidi Jews, to exploit the ties with the leaders of state, to the federal court, and B’Shem Hashem, Na’ase V’Natzliach!”

To view the video and the information provided and continue reading click here.

 

 

Benefits Fraud – We Know For Certain it is Also Rampant in East Ramapo, Kiryas Joel, New Square, Crown Heights…

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How Benefits Fraud Scam Spread So Widely In Orthodox Town

“One thing is for sure: Many people in Lakewood were aware of the scams, if not of the specifics. In 2015, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office met with Lakewood residents to discourage government assistance fraud.

Flyers warning about the practice were also posted at a local synagogue.

“Those who choose to ignore those warnings by seeking to illegally profit on the backs of taxpayers will pay the punitive price of their actions,” Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said in a statement at the time.

Since news of the arrests spread, there have been ominous signs that even more people could be involved. Hundreds of people have called local officials, inquiring if there would be amnesty for those who admit lying about their incomes, and the APP reported that Ocean County authorities have been swamped with calls from public assistance beneficiaries seeking to stop receiving benefits.”

Read more: http://forward.com/news/375963/how-benefits-fraud-scam-spread-so-widely-in-orthodox-town/

 

Kiryas Joel and United Monroe Agree to Amicable Divorce

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http://www.vosizneias.com/272572/2017/06/18/orange-county-ny-in-historic-agreement-kj-and-united-monroe-to-split-into-separate-entities/

Orange County, NY – In Historic Agreement, KJ And United Monroe To Split Into Separate Entities

Orange County, NY – In a development that could end years of costly legal battles, Kiryas Joel and representatives of the United Monroe citizens group have agreed to the equivalent of an amicable divorce, splitting the Village of Kiryas Joel off into a separate town that would include an unspecified amount of additional acreage to accommodate future growth.

The agreement was announced on Friday night on United Monroe’s Facebook page and would end three years of bitter infighting that resulted when Kiryas Joel announced its plan to annex more than several hundred acres of neighboring land into the village.

The new town would be the first created in New York State in 35 years, with a revised map of the proposed unnamed town to be provided to county lawmakers this week, reported The Times Herald Record

The exact details of the agreement, the result of two months of hush-hush negotiations, have yet to be disclosed, but United Monroe said that new acreage allotted to Kiryas Joel would be considerably less than the 382 acres specified in the village’s latest petition.

The plan still needs to pass muster with both the county legislature and voters in the Town of Monroe. Once that hurdle has been cleared, the issue would be included on the ballot in the upcoming November 7th election.

United Monroe’s Facebook post generated dozens of comments, with the group blaming Kiryas Joel for refusing to negotiate a separation for the past three years and noting that spinning the village off into a new entity would remove Kiryas Joel’s influence in matters concerning Monroe residents.

Both Emily Convers, head of United Monroe, and Kiryas Joel administrator Gedalya Szegedin, expressed their appreciation to all parties involved for their efforts in reaching an equitable compromise.

To read the article in its entirety click here.