The Haredim and Anti-Semitism

America is experiencing a developing crisis concerning anti-Semitism against members of the Haredic Jewish communities. It has already become big news in the northeast.

These Haredic Jews (also called Hasidim) are often called Ultra-Orthodox -- they do not like that term -- and so I will respectfully refer to them generically as Haredim (which means those who tremble before God).

America’s historically tolerant attitude toward the Haredim may be about to change. In the northeast United States, the spur is demography. Haredic groups have started to move into towns and -- for want of a better term -- take them over.

Once in the majority of a town, the Haredim -- who send their own children to private schools -- often get control of a school board and defund the schools to the fullest extent allowed by law.

The new [Haredic] majority on the board cut taxes and budgets, angering the public-school community. Some of the decisions they made -- to lease two public-school buildings to yeshivas, and then put them up for sale; to clean out the district’s reserve fund during a deepening recession -- provoked... outrage -- New York (2017)

Sometimes, the state has to step in, as in the case of East Ramapo, New York.

[T]he District’s non-Orthodox residents say the Orthodox board members have gutted the public school system and diverted money from public to private schools.

In 2014, the resulting decline of the District’s public schools led to the appointment by New York State of “monitors” to oversee the district’s finances. -- Times of Israel (2020)

Given the high birthrate of such observant Jewish communities, they quickly outgrow municipal boundaries, and are soon looking to move to adjacent towns. The adjacent communities see the handwriting on the wall and will often react with illegal and discriminatory regulations.

In the case of East Ramapo, New York, the observant Jews wanted an eruv (a wire allowing Jews to walk locally on the Sabbath) extended to nearby Mahwah, New Jersey. Mahwah residents mobilized to counter what they saw as an opening move of a demographic threat to their town and their school system. Soon enough, charges of anti-Semitism were made.

But is this classic anti-Semitism? Haredic behaviors can produce criticism not only among the Gentile community, but even among secular Jews.  And the Haredim have made enemies even in Israel.

Some Israeli politicians are bluntly hateful in their views of Haredim.

Tiberias mayor says there are enough haredim in his city

“I want the haredim to continue to develop -- outside of Tiberias,” he said during his interview on Sunday -- JPost (2018)

And this video, by Israel’s Avigdor Leiberman, compares the Haredim to Muslim terrorists.

Secular Israeli Fear of the ultra-Orthodox Has Turned Into Hatred -- Haaretz

Israel has, at times, been rather rough in dealing with Haredim.

In Lakewood, New Jersey, where the Haredim have become a majority, school funding has been brutally gutted. Yet, ironically at the same time, funding is provided to send Jewish kids to private Jewish schools in gender segregated buses.

As Lost Messiah -- a website run by Jews -- had noted, Lakewood continued to bus Jewish students to yeshivas, even after Lakewood public schools were shut down due to funding problems.

Lakewood, NJ -- Interesting How the Board Voted to Continue Busing Yeshiva Kids to the Yeshivas -- Post Shut Down -- Lost Messiah (2019)

As if to add insult to injury, in 2017 cash-strapped Lakewood hired an attorney from the Lakewood Jewish Community, at a breathtaking rate of $600 thousand per year.

If all of this were not controversial enough, Lakewood’s Haredic community is outgrowing its municipal borders and considering expansions into nearby communities like Toms River and Jackson. This has provoked more panic among the locals… which has again spurred countercharges of anti-Semitism.

To be fair, this unscruplous manipulation of demography was not invented by Haredim. It was invented by James Michael Curley in Massachussets, who held a grudge against the WASPs of Boston. He so egregiously manipulated public funding in favor of immigrant communities that the WASPs moved out of Boston, giving him an electoral lock on the city. It is called the Curley Effect, and it is a weakness in democracy which is hard to counter, without doing more damage than good.

The Haredim have astoundingly high birth rates, with their population doubling every twenty years. So while this issue is now primarily confined to the northeast -- Brooklyn, Monsey, NY, Lakewood, New Jersey, etc. -- it will soon explode in other parts of America, unless it is addressed. Los Angeles has a thriving Haredic community, and already fault lines are developing. Indeed, within two generations, given their spectacular birthrate, the Haredim will be a national power bloc. In New York and New Jersey, they already are.

Meanwhile, the town of Monroe, New York, allowed its Kiryas Joel neighborhood to secede and create a new town called Palm Tree. Palm Tree is America’s first Hasidic Village.  However, the new town has not yet fully met its legal requirements to set up judges and a municipal court. So adjacent towns have to handle traffic matters for them, which is aggravating the surrounding communities.

Palm Tree still has no courtroom, so it’s unclear when the town court would begin operating. Town Administrator Gedalye Szegedin said Wednesday that town officials hope to buy or lease space for a court outside Palm Tree -- which he said had no suitable spots -- and will need permission from the host municipality. -- Record on Line (2019)

Clearly, prejudice is not the answer to this issue. In New Jersey, court cases are pending against Jackson Township for discrimination on the part of politicians who tried to create laws to keep the Haredi out.

Violence is ongoing in Brooklyn (where it has reached crisis proportions) and has reached suburban Lakewood, NJ, and  The worst case was the horrific attack in Monsey, NY last year.

But the tension is not easily amenable to correction. The way to integrate a community is by integration. Making friends, eating together, going to public gatherings together. Sharing something in common. But the Haredim want to dwell apart.

We are trying to find a solution for the future. The less they know [of] the outside world, the better it is -- Haredi spokesman on Fox News.

This is not helpful. Isolation is not the way to make friends and influence people. The Haredim want to use the freedoms of a republic to isolate themselves from the citizenry of that same republic. Nor is it helpful that some Haredi have openly anti-Gentile theology.

If the Israelis have issues, then this is clearly not a case of classic anti-Semitism. Some Haredim do have cultic practices.

Clearly violence is unacceptable, as are discriminatory laws -- which are always overturned and cost the offending community in fines. But also unacceptable are some of the practices of the Haredim. The state should not be paying for gender-segregated busing, nor should it tolerate the gutting of public schools.

To their credit, Haredic communities do have a history of moving into poorer communities – they cannot afford the richer ones -- and building them up. In 1971, Lakewood had ethnic riots. So some allowance has to be made for Jews who revive decaying communities. As whites abandoned the inner cites, Haredim moved in. Other times, the Haredim will move into rural communities, where prices are cheaper, and they can get the isolation they seek.

The solution to this is to require that Haredic communities obey the laws and not skirt around them, while at the same time prosecuting hate crimes against them.

Given the demography, this will not go away with time. This is one case where the Gentile community has some legitimate grievances; but hate should not be allowed.

America is experiencing a developing crisis concerning anti-Semitism against members of the Haredic Jewish communities. It has already become big news in the northeast.

These Haredic Jews (also called Hasidim) are often called Ultra-Orthodox -- they do not like that term -- and so I will respectfully refer to them generically as Haredim (which means those who tremble before God).

America’s historically tolerant attitude toward the Haredim may be about to change. In the northeast United States, the spur is demography. Haredic groups have started to move into towns and -- for want of a better term -- take them over.

Once in the majority of a town, the Haredim -- who send their own children to private schools -- often get control of a school board and defund the schools to the fullest extent allowed by law.

The new [Haredic] majority on the board cut taxes and budgets, angering the public-school community. Some of the decisions they made -- to lease two public-school buildings to yeshivas, and then put them up for sale; to clean out the district’s reserve fund during a deepening recession -- provoked... outrage -- New York (2017)

Sometimes, the state has to step in, as in the case of East Ramapo, New York.

[T]he District’s non-Orthodox residents say the Orthodox board members have gutted the public school system and diverted money from public to private schools.

In 2014, the resulting decline of the District’s public schools led to the appointment by New York State of “monitors” to oversee the district’s finances. -- Times of Israel (2020)

Given the high birthrate of such observant Jewish communities, they quickly outgrow municipal boundaries, and are soon looking to move to adjacent towns. The adjacent communities see the handwriting on the wall and will often react with illegal and discriminatory regulations.

In the case of East Ramapo, New York, the observant Jews wanted an eruv (a wire allowing Jews to walk locally on the Sabbath) extended to nearby Mahwah, New Jersey. Mahwah residents mobilized to counter what they saw as an opening move of a demographic threat to their town and their school system. Soon enough, charges of anti-Semitism were made.

But is this classic anti-Semitism? Haredic behaviors can produce criticism not only among the Gentile community, but even among secular Jews.  And the Haredim have made enemies even in Israel.

Some Israeli politicians are bluntly hateful in their views of Haredim.

Tiberias mayor says there are enough haredim in his city

“I want the haredim to continue to develop -- outside of Tiberias,” he said during his interview on Sunday -- JPost (2018)

And this video, by Israel’s Avigdor Leiberman, compares the Haredim to Muslim terrorists.

Secular Israeli Fear of the ultra-Orthodox Has Turned Into Hatred -- Haaretz

Israel has, at times, been rather rough in dealing with Haredim.

In Lakewood, New Jersey, where the Haredim have become a majority, school funding has been brutally gutted. Yet, ironically at the same time, funding is provided to send Jewish kids to private Jewish schools in gender segregated buses.

As Lost Messiah -- a website run by Jews -- had noted, Lakewood continued to bus Jewish students to yeshivas, even after Lakewood public schools were shut down due to funding problems.

Lakewood, NJ -- Interesting How the Board Voted to Continue Busing Yeshiva Kids to the Yeshivas -- Post Shut Down -- Lost Messiah (2019)

As if to add insult to injury, in 2017 cash-strapped Lakewood hired an attorney from the Lakewood Jewish Community, at a breathtaking rate of $600 thousand per year.

If all of this were not controversial enough, Lakewood’s Haredic community is outgrowing its municipal borders and considering expansions into nearby communities like Toms River and Jackson. This has provoked more panic among the locals… which has again spurred countercharges of anti-Semitism.

To be fair, this unscruplous manipulation of demography was not invented by Haredim. It was invented by James Michael Curley in Massachussets, who held a grudge against the WASPs of Boston. He so egregiously manipulated public funding in favor of immigrant communities that the WASPs moved out of Boston, giving him an electoral lock on the city. It is called the Curley Effect, and it is a weakness in democracy which is hard to counter, without doing more damage than good.

The Haredim have astoundingly high birth rates, with their population doubling every twenty years. So while this issue is now primarily confined to the northeast -- Brooklyn, Monsey, NY, Lakewood, New Jersey, etc. -- it will soon explode in other parts of America, unless it is addressed. Los Angeles has a thriving Haredic community, and already fault lines are developing. Indeed, within two generations, given their spectacular birthrate, the Haredim will be a national power bloc. In New York and New Jersey, they already are.

Meanwhile, the town of Monroe, New York, allowed its Kiryas Joel neighborhood to secede and create a new town called Palm Tree. Palm Tree is America’s first Hasidic Village.  However, the new town has not yet fully met its legal requirements to set up judges and a municipal court. So adjacent towns have to handle traffic matters for them, which is aggravating the surrounding communities.

Palm Tree still has no courtroom, so it’s unclear when the town court would begin operating. Town Administrator Gedalye Szegedin said Wednesday that town officials hope to buy or lease space for a court outside Palm Tree -- which he said had no suitable spots -- and will need permission from the host municipality. -- Record on Line (2019)

Clearly, prejudice is not the answer to this issue. In New Jersey, court cases are pending against Jackson Township for discrimination on the part of politicians who tried to create laws to keep the Haredi out.

Violence is ongoing in Brooklyn (where it has reached crisis proportions) and has reached suburban Lakewood, NJ, and  The worst case was the horrific attack in Monsey, NY last year.

But the tension is not easily amenable to correction. The way to integrate a community is by integration. Making friends, eating together, going to public gatherings together. Sharing something in common. But the Haredim want to dwell apart.

We are trying to find a solution for the future. The less they know [of] the outside world, the better it is -- Haredi spokesman on Fox News.

This is not helpful. Isolation is not the way to make friends and influence people. The Haredim want to use the freedoms of a republic to isolate themselves from the citizenry of that same republic. Nor is it helpful that some Haredi have openly anti-Gentile theology.

If the Israelis have issues, then this is clearly not a case of classic anti-Semitism. Some Haredim do have cultic practices.

Clearly violence is unacceptable, as are discriminatory laws -- which are always overturned and cost the offending community in fines. But also unacceptable are some of the practices of the Haredim. The state should not be paying for gender-segregated busing, nor should it tolerate the gutting of public schools.

To their credit, Haredic communities do have a history of moving into poorer communities – they cannot afford the richer ones -- and building them up. In 1971, Lakewood had ethnic riots. So some allowance has to be made for Jews who revive decaying communities. As whites abandoned the inner cites, Haredim moved in. Other times, the Haredim will move into rural communities, where prices are cheaper, and they can get the isolation they seek.

The solution to this is to require that Haredic communities obey the laws and not skirt around them, while at the same time prosecuting hate crimes against them.

Given the demography, this will not go away with time. This is one case where the Gentile community has some legitimate grievances; but hate should not be allowed.