Friday, August 10, 2007

recreating a shtetl in upstate NY

A local newspaper carried an ad which amazed me. On the left side of the ad was the pasuk “nos’im anachnu el hamakom asher amar Hashem oso eaten lachem…”, but this was not an aliya campaign – it was an announcement by a certain chassidic group celebrating the “establishment of a new XXXX shtetl” in Ellenville, NY.
Yes, the good old shtetl, where you could work sunrise to sunset as a tailor, woodchopper, or water carrier, where you never saw a secular book, where indoor plumbing did not exist, and where once a year you could count on the goyim to put on a nice pogrom (maybe they can hire some goyishe hicks upstate to ransack the town once in awhile just to get the right feel?). And forget Eretz Yisrael – this is where Hashem wants us to be.
Gosh, people, didn’t you ever see Fiddler on the Roof? Trying to turn the clock back 150 years is probably not a good strategy to solve the “youth at risk” problem, much less a good way to deal with reality.

7 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:24 AM

    Jews can mtaken the world by learning Torah and praying. You don't have to live in New York City to be a good Jew. Why should they unnecessarily put themselves at risk?

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  2. Bill Selliger9:42 AM

    I didn't know you had sarcasm in you Chaim! I'm proud of you!

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  3. I don't think that criticism is fair. It seems to me that for people that are not going to make aliya, any effort to alleviate the super-expensive housing prices and pritzus of New York City for young families trying to make it is praiseworthy.

    I wish other communities would pick up and move blocs of people to faraway cities as a group. That would allow young families to survive without working insanely to afford the unbelievably expensive housing prices. Let's move 50 families from your community of Cedarhurst to Dubuque, Iowa! I think it's a great idea.

    I know many people that have spent time in New Square, and they say it is a very nice place. What's wrong with creating another one?

    I know the "Shtetl" language bothers you, but it could be more of a reference to having a "Jewish town," and not a desire to turn the clock back 150 years. We can live a modern life, but why does it have to be in a big expensive city that overburdens people's pocketbooks?

    Good Shabbos!

    -Dixie Yid

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  4. Dixie Yid, the world "shtetl" is a loaded word and the co-opting of a pasuk referring to eretz yisrael is what I take issue with, not coming up with a better housing plan outside ny, which is a great idea.

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  5. I'm not comfortable with the E"Y pasuk either. I certainly wouldn't have done that if I was promoting the Dubuque idea! Though I chalk it more up to bad taste than an equasion of Ellenville with E"Y.

    -Dixie Yid

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  6. Anonymous3:16 PM

    Oh you must mean the Yekkis in Washington Heights and monsey(;

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  7. Just as there are some strange Jews that feel comfortable in Berlin, there are those that feel that Ellenville is the promised land. The charade that all Orthodox Jews share basic hashkofos is a fraud that we all knowingly participate in.

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