Bothered by the Lakewood Matzav?

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    From another frum website, posted for comment:

    Dear Editor,

    It was with utter dismay that I viewed recent ads directed at the Lakewood community. I wondered to myself: Who are these people trying to attract?

    The truth is that these specific advertisements are actually only a microcosm of what has happened and is continuing to occur in Lakewood. Lakewood is a town that was established with the Yeshivah at its core to accommodate bnei Torah who strived to raise their families in an atmosphere of Torahdike hashkafos and dikduk hamitzvos. A beautiful community was established and bnei Torah were able to live lives that put limud hatorah and kiyum hamitzvos as the priorities without having to cope with the various social pressures of some other places.

    * 2) The second result of this phenomenon may even be more detrimental for the future of the Lakewood community. Many of the people who have moved into Lakewood do not share the same hashkafos and outlook as the bnei Torah who lived in Lakewood before them. These people who have moved to Lakewood do not act or dress like much of the Torah community. These people are quicker to frequent the food establishments and clothing stores than the many Batei Medrash located in Lakewood.


    It’s very true but…

    don’t even get me started on this!

    The only way to prevent this would be the following.

    Lakewood should be a gated community (town)

    with guards posted at every entrance!

    (How normal does that sound?)


    i don’t know the author of this long diatribe but does he realize that without all of these newcomers that he so dislikes, he would not have a cent to live on? These “baalei batim’ (and others like them) are the ones who keep the yesivah going. Waht happened to hakoras hatov?


    obviously bein hasedorim left the cr. does anyone here know how he had ansered my Q

    bein hasedorim submitted comments prior to your comments being reviewed and approved.


    Didn’t Lakewood have an Orthodox community before the Yeshiva was established?


    Rav Aharon Kotler ZT”L was against Lakewood becoming a frum town to begin with. Once everyone had to live in Lakewood, of course grandparents would move in. and of course others would want to move in, attracted by the idea of an Ir Torah. Perhaps the Lakewood bubble is about to burst, and people start moving to remote communities to recapture some of the temimus of the original Lakewood. That’s not a bad thing.

    This piece reeks of kinah and sinah. I spent time in kollel in a neighborhood surrounded by people making much more than me with different standards. Deal with it. Hashem loves every Jew, even the ones who aren’t tzurvei merabbanan. Don’t compromise your standards, but don’t hate the ones who aren’t on your madreiga. Or maybe join an out-of-town kollel where you can start your own enclave and keep it pure.


    adding on to what i said before. Does BMG own Lakewood? Anyone can move into lakewood.


    I agree with torahis1 & poverty. If the yeshiva wanted to move it could do so. Since it does not move, they have to expect what comes to them. If they want to recreate their original character of limud without gashmius (which I guess they don’t), they would move somewhere further out, maybe Harrisburg, Albany or Richmond VA.

    Oh well.


    GAW, how could the yeshiva possibly move after having sunk millions into the infrastructure? Among other things…


    No place stagnates really – life is about change. Life is about adapting to change. With change comes both positives and negatives.

    Now Lakewood is not my ideal community, but it is a great place for many people. My sister and her family moved there because my brother in law got a job nearby. They aren’t part of the yeshiva, but they follow the rules and laws of Lakewood. They got a “heter” to have internet in their home. They are 100% tzanua (not that they wouldnt be out of lakewood); they have excellent middot; they personally don’t drive fancy cars or have a fancy house – they are just wonderful frum people who need a place to live. They send their kids to one of the newer schools which is closer to their hashkafa. Hey, at least they aren’t “polluting” the other schools with their kids right?

    “and have completely different priorities than those who associate themselves with the Yeshivah and consider themselves serious bnei Torah.”

    I think this is what sums up the letter best – they consider THEMSELVES true bnei Torah and not others. There are many paths to Hashem as true Bnei Torah, and sitting and learning full time is only one of them. Its times like this that always remind me of how good we have it in America – the more anti-semitism there is, the more we band together. The less there is, the more divided we are.


    There is nothing left to say after reading such a post.


    Mrs. tzippi:

    Since when is infrastructure a reason not to do what is right (as well as their homes,etc). If the “Ir Hatorah” is not right for the yeshiva, let them move & be done.

    The answer is they are accepting of the turn to Gashmius. If you want a non-gashmius yeshiva/community, perhaps lakewood is not for you; go OOT!

    Besides, the housing costs saved by such a move would overwhelm any losses by sale within the frum community.


    I’m stunned. Every single thing that Jothar wrote is true. So then you got this guy complaining that it is Kinah. Then you got the guy who says he should have Hakoras Hatov because…totally unfathomable what he is taking about. Oh, and the guy who says …so move out…..or the Yeshiva should move if they don’t approve…….totally clueless to the changed society. Wild stuff. Sorry it is not an Ir hatorah anymore. And all you guys who we are supposed to have hakoras hatov for. Sure, just keep assuaging you conscience by donating with the funds….that you partially acquired from yeshivaleit that in desperation are buying your overinflated priced housing for fear that next year will be worse. The resat are from the people Jothar is writing about.



    I know nothing about Lakewood. Can you please explain why the yeshiva can not move?



    I did NOT write the piece. I lifted it from another website and posted it here. I also vehemently disagree with it.


    If Lakewood wants to have complete control over the seviva, they can try forming a vaad ha’ir like they have in Eretz Yisroel. Otherwise, they have to accpet that Jews like clustering in towns and cities, and Lakewood’s growth as a frum city will naturally attract people. If you want to push lifetime of learning, then you will attract rich people as mechutanim to talmidim. And they’ll want to move near their kids and grandkids. And others will move there as well. Hashem loves all Jews and looks for the good in everyone. That was Hashem’s lesson to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. That doesn’t mean Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai had to lower his standards. But it’s possible to love other Jews even when you have hashkafic or even halachic differences.


    Even though the letter writers points are good ones, his bottom line is wrong. It is wrong to disassociate with other Yidden on a lower madreiga than yourself.



    You vehemently disagree that the environment has changed or you just couldn’t care less as it doesn’t impinge on your lifestyle?


    The infrastructure involved would be almost impossible to replace as this would involve creating basically a town and mosdos. The size of the Kollel is in the thoasands


    GAW, BMG owns a number of buildings. Not only that, but there are thousands of kollel and rosh chabura, maggidei shiur families that would have to decide if they would pick up and move. Wherever they would choose to move to, they would need to have a similar infrastructure in place. This is a mega undertaking but hey, if that’s what they’ve got to do so be it.


    Per point #1: Gateshead is probably a good comparison (community built around a Yeshiva). Gateshead set up a vaad which establishes the price of homes based upon the prices in the neighbouring non Jewish areas.

    This ensured:

    1. That the yeshiva families would not be priced out by baal habatim


    2. That people would be less likely to buy as an investment and more likely to buy with intentions of living there.

    At this point, however, any idea of setting up such a vaad in Lakewood at this stage would likely fail.

    Eitzehu Chachom HaRoeh Es HaNolad (The wise person sees what will unfold)


    Mrs. tzippi, nishtgeshtoigen:

    How many of the members of the kollel will be willing to move? All the Roshei Yeshiva have to say is THEY are moving; either others will follow or not. The ones who remain can use the current facilities.

    If BMG has to restart with 20 Kollel men (not bochrim) to get its bearings back (if it does need to do so), then so be it.


    I may be castigated for saying this, but I think that BMG would do very well by moving out to some new boondocks (and perhaps setting up some ground rules there based on hindshight). You say that thousands of kollel families would be burdened by this? Yes – and that is exactly what a kollel family should WANT to do in order to maintain their tranquility and isolation (which is the ideology of BMG no matter what you and I feel about isolation). It has become very easy to settle into Lakewood – both as a kollel family and as a “balaboose”, which is not exactly how Lakewood was founded.

    Pick up and move, and see who follows. Those people are the true bnei torah. And the burden is far less than what has been asked of bnei torah historically. Those left behind can continue to learn, but whatever is left will be no different from any other yeshiva in Brooklyn. After all, Lakewood is merely a geographic location – it is the yeshiva and its principles that make it an Ir Torah.

    The day they opened the Verazano Narrows Bridge was a sad day indeed for BMG.


    You vehemently disagree that the environment has changed or you just couldn’t care less as it doesn’t impinge on your lifestyle?

    I’m not Jothar, but I disagree that just because people aren’t associated with BMG or following certain “standards” (especially non-halachic ones), that the newcomers are on any less of a madreiga. Just because you learn full time in BMG and have been there for 20 years, doesn’t automatically make you a chashuv person. You may be, but its not automatic. And you may be no better (or even worse) than the man who moved to Lakewood and goes to work every day. That isn’t your cheshbon to make.

    I would compare what is happening to Lakewood to what happened in Monsey. Monsey started as a town based a lot around Bais Medrash Elyon and then flourished from there. While Monsey has many problems, it now hosts many frum Jews all over the spectrum. Learning to live in harmony with people with different hashkafas is not always easy, and sometimes causes isolation. But no group is really better.



    And I have just the place to do it. Wickliffe, OH?


    1: Cheap housing (due to the subprime crisis)

    2: Declining yeshiva building that needs people (Telze)

    3: Jewish community within driving distance provides kosher food & other needs.

    The other good option is Detroit.

    Anyone in Lakewood to bring it up with the Roshei Yeshiva?

    Also want to point out the current location can be used for the boys who are dating, only Kollel men will be invited to the “higher institution”.


    I did not read through all the comments, but I’ll copy and paste my comment from the site this letter was taken from:


    To the OP-

    I once had a Fundraiser for a Lakewood girl school come knocking on my Brooklyn door.

    I sat him down, gave him a drink; He gave me his Spiel how wonderful and Chashuve his school is.

    I asked him if this school accepts working parents, or fathers who wear colored shirts.

    He could not give me a straight answer.

    I could not give him a check.

    The only way for these families who moved in to be accepted, is by you getting off your high horse, and make them feel welcome.

    By you staring at them with a look of distain on your face will not help the situation.

    You reek of Kinnah, which for someone as holy as you, is uncharacteristic.


    Mod 39 – “Gateshead is probably a good comparison (community built around a Yeshiva). Gateshead set up a vaad which establishes the price of homes based upon the prices in the neighbouring non Jewish areas”

    Actually, I think Gateshead is very different and that is exactly why they suceeded and Lakewood didn’t in this aspect. Gateshead was not opened by the Yeshiva or around the yeshiva. Gateshead is one community with one rov. The community was started with certain standards and all the institutions which opened up thereafter opened as subordinate to the one Rov. I remember hearing that when R’ Rakoov became the rov, all the roshei mosdos got together with him and all of them, most of whom were years older than the new Rov “pledged their allegiance” to him.

    Lakewood on the other hand is a yeshiva which moved to a community and although it has accounted for most of the growth in lakewood it never had the supreme, central authority which Gateshead has (or had 13 years ago when I was there)


    is a sit down eatery the same as a restaurant or is this something unique to lakewood?

    never heard that term before

    Dr. Pepper

    With all respect to the opinion of the one who wrote the article;

    I read/ heard recently about the life of the first kollel yungerman of the yeshiva. (As a side point- he never left the yeshiva, he went on to work for the yeshiva for the rest of his life. When he passed away he was also the person with the longest affiliation with the yeshiva).

    What I found very interesting was the amount of mesiras nefesh he put in, not only for his own learning but for the well being of the yeshiva. Besides for learning a full day in the yeshiva, during bain hasedorim he would ride his bike to different hotels in the area (he didn’t own a car) and raise money from the Jewish people vacationing at the hotel. (This was in the 1940s when kollel was virtually unheard of in the U.S. Imagine how hard it was to explain to people on vacation what he was raising money for.)

    He supported his growing family on the meager stipend the yeshiva provided at the time. That was sincere mesiras nefesh for learning.

    When his kids got older he moved them to New York where they would not have to attend a coed school. He commuted to Lakewood during the week and back to New York for the weekends until the yeshiva opened the New York office and he got a job there.

    I’m curious to know if the writer did any research for the article.

    Contrary to what the author wrote- Lakewood was a resort town when Reb Aaron Kotler decided that he wanted his yeshiva located there. He wanted it at least three hours away from the distractions of New Yrok (as Squeek hinted to above). It was not “established with the Yeshivah at its core to accommodate bnei Torah”. With no separate schools, Lakewood was definitely was not a place “to raise their families in an atmosphere of Torahdike hashkafos and dikduk hamitzvos”.

    I hope I don’t get in trouble for writing this but from what I understand the purpose of the yeshiva was for bochurim/ yungerleit to learn for a few years with all their needs provided and no responsibilities to distract their learning. In the early days of the yeshiva the bochurim were not charged tuition for that reason. Reb Aaron, if I remember correctly, was against talmidim taking support from the government for then the time one was able to spend in yeshiva would seem infinite and the talmidim wouldn’t give it “their fullest” compared to if they knew they only had 6 to 12 months left and they had to “chap arayn”.

    As this is a sensitive issue, I sincerely hope I did not offend anyone. Please forgive me if I did.


    The matzav definitely changed. It’s not the gohr yeshivish crowd it used to be. That doesn’t mean the Jews moving in deserve vitriol. Either switch to a different kollel or learn to accept other people while not being jealous of their money.

    I know someone who lived in Lakewood in the R’ Shneur days. R’ Shneur used to go to any wedding where the resident was from Lakewood. Like incognito said, there was a frum community then which had nothing to do with the yeshiva.

    Moving to another community may be a temporary solution if the whole yeshiva goes, or if the main roshei yeshiva go:

    1. Everyone goes there.

    2. Parents move in to stay close to children and grandchildren.

    3. Others move in to be close to parents, or to join the new “happening” community.

    4. Vitriolic letter likes this comes out again. Lakewood moves elsewhere.

    Solution: learn to maintain your standards while accepting people of other standards. The Brisker Rav ZT”L was uncompromising in his Yiddishkeit but raised every shtuki and asufi left by his doorstep, and was supposed to be well-liked even by the frei. Reminisce about the good old days but don’t hate the newcomers. Lakewood is a victim of its own success.Mourn the loss but don’t hate other Jews.



    Accepting and tolerating and chashuv have absolutely nothing to do with the issue. I myself am an out of towner and working…But I recognized that I am obligated to recognize and conform to yeshiva standards. Be it Tznius, chashivos Hatorah etc. One shouldn’t come here on the account of waiting to be accepted or even demanding acceptance and accommodation . (I mean after all: the churban, sinas Chinum, gaavah,…. blah, blah, blah) One should need to recognize what Lakewood stood for and strive to grow accordingly.


    the only comment you’ll get from the peanut gallery here is that one of my family members calls Lakewood “the mafia”. I won’t go into details and I won’t offer my opinion on whether I agree or not. Once I get started here…. I better get out of this thread before I regret every word



    If the new area is not commutable to NYC, and is somewhat exclusive, then it has a much better chance of remaining a Kollel town, populated by those who are Mistapek B’muat.

    Doesn’t make a difference. The Roshei yeshiva are happy with the current situation. Similar to the Makkah of Dam, its easy to ignore when it doesn’t apply to the top.


    Dr Pepper put it eloquently. If one wanted to be ironic, one could even compare the treatment that the letter writer is complaining about to the treatment that the members of the “Old Shul” received when developments reached that area….


    I recognized that I am obligated to recognize and conform to yeshiva standards.

    Please explain to me far the Kollel power extends. Is it 1 mile? 10 miles? 50 miles? Where is the doctrine that explains this?

    A MO friend of mine grew up in Lakewood. She certainly didn’t conform. There was a small MO community there and I think even a coed day school. Did BMG have the power to shut them down? Did they try?

    My sister moved into a neighborhood that was not really populated. I think there were 20 families when they moved in. Most of them had not even learned in BMG. So what requirements were there for them to follow the Kollel? Incidentally, the Kollel did not like the Rav who tried to establish himself there (I don’t know the backstory), so the community listened and got a new Rav.

    They also didn’t try to send their kids to one of the schools that didn’t hashkafically fit them – they didnt try to come in and say “Hey I’m here get used to what I do.” They chose an appropriate area and appropriate schools for them. I don’t in any way see how my sister and her family are bringing down Lakewood. I would put my brother-in-laws learning up against any of the people in kollel (he gets up at 4 am most days to be able to learn, go to minyan, put in a full days work, come home, spend time with his family and then go to maariv and more learning). He is an amazing person that Lakewood is lucky to have. I’m sorry if some people cannot see that because he wears a blue shirt to work.

    I’m trying to figure out what Lakewood stood for that the newcomers should be striving for – is it discrimination against people who have slightly different hashkafa or a halachic psak? I was under the impression that Lakewood stood for Torah, not pettiness.

    Realize, that if the kollel had the power you want them to (or think they have) and the Kollel thought the restaurants were inappropriate, they would be able to close them down. Who gives the hechsherim to restaurants in Lakewood anyway?

    Remember, this is a letter written by an “original” Lakewoodian looking down on newcomers – not a newcomer saying “I want to be accepted.” Maybe the newcomers don’t need your acceptance. Does that bother you?


    GAW, surely the Roshei yeshiva would have noticed deteriorating standards in their neighborhoods. Lakewood is anyway getting too big. Some top Roshei yeshiva have to get together, move further out of town to start a new elite yeshiva, and they will enjoy about 20 years until they grow into a large community.


    Jothar: well put, but if its Elite & Far enough, they can keep it to be just that.


    Just a quick rejoinder about gateshead….The only reason why gateshead is fairly successful in its purpose to be a “pure” city is because NO ONE moves there. it is in a very poor part of england and very few people ever want to move there. The ONLY people who actually live there are the ones who work in the ywesivah and around it. Some people who have accepted the more moderate derech have stayed there. The vast majority of Englanders move out and move to London or Manchester. So, the comparison to gateshead is not valid.


    There is still one thing i don’t understand about lakewood. IN lakewood the people who are in kollel are considered first class. Why are the people who are mosar nefesh to go work and make a living and still are kovea itim letorah considered 2nd class??? These are the people who are supporting The people in kollel? Are you trying to throw them out of the town of Lakewood?? I’m sorry to tell you that BMG DOES NOT OWN LAKEWOOD. Lakewood is a flourishing frum community and ANYONE has every right to move there. It happens to be that most of the young couples the husband is in kollel. But if someone goes to work he ISNT second class!!


    Lechvod the CR:

    As i sit here reading these comments, it sort of struck my funny bone that this is what the ‘YESHIVA world’ (People, not organazation) feel about, Lakewood, a Makom Torah.

    It isn’t about a power struggle.

    (“How much power does the Yeshiva have anyways?”)

    It isn’t about being jealous of others money.

    But maybe, in my humble opinion i can offer a small comparison.

    If you’ve ever gone to Meah Shearim you will found many signs that state:

    “Please do not come into our community if you are not dressed tziniusly. You’re elbows and knees… not too tight…”

    Could you imagine someone saying:

    “Well EXCUSE ME!! What gives Meah Shearim the right to say that to me? DO they think they can tell me what to do? If they don’t like the way i dress, they can move!…”

    We all know- When in Rome, do as Romans.

    Bottom line, if you make the decision to move to Lakewood and live there you DO have to respect there spoken ans unspoken wishes.

    And although i DO NOT agree with the last few lines of the letter, and for sure one has to respect everyone regardless of hashkafa, the other way around is true too.


    GAW: Cleveland? Detroit? Maybe if as RoB suggests, they move to the inner city, where no one else is moving. There are already beautiful, well established communities there. There are many yeshivish people too, but out of town yeshivish wouldn’t necessarily cut it in Lakewood. No judgment in those last few words, just stating a reality.


    Perhaps those unhappy with the newcomers to Lakewood ought to move to Monroe or Williansburg and get a taste of their own medicine. There they would be considered “Goyish” and not seeing the light…..


    poverty: I must’ve missed something,

    what question?

    If you want me to clear up my view on the topic,

    regardless to my personal opinion,

    my point was this cannot be avoided.

    Policing religious yidden, (allbeit not on ur frumkeit level)

    from moving into your neighborhood or starting a kosher restuarant,

    or business!!!!!!

    my personal opinion is complex, though I understand the frustrations

    of a ultra frum person feeling their ruchnius safe haven being

    penetrated by those who aren’t sensitive to their way of life.

    However I cannot condone a holier than thou attitude, towards

    the working class Balei Batim. (i’m NOT generalizing)

    I was trying to avoid this.

    My point is there are a few, very few from both sides

    who arent behaving with sensitivity towards the other.

    those few cause a big stir & make everybody look bad.

    Not every working guy by defaults wife dresses not tznius.

    Not every learning guy wife dresses tznius.

    Dont label people!

    I hope I’m being clear in my point.


    onlyemes: wow! I couldn’t of said it better myself.

    Incognito: good point! true, we all have to work on that.

    Ahavas Chinom!



    Could we be confusing cause and effect? Gateshead remained a poor area due to the enforcement of the rules. The Lakewood “boom” (rightly or wrongly) occurred due to the lack of rules which enabled developers to come in and people to purchase as investments.


    moderator- gateshead was/is a very poor community (very working class) regardless of the Jews there. Northwest Engalnd is poor in general. It is not an idyllic place like lakewood- with trees, parks, etc. Hence, people in general left gateshead as soon as they could. It just isn’t a great place to live.Compare it to Gary, Indiana which is a ghost town today.

    So, the few families who stayed were either people attached to the yeshiva or the few who accepted the local rules.

    This approach would be virtusally impossible in Lakewood where everyone can settle and is actually a nice place to live in.


    But realize, if the Yeshiva did not support the idea of restaurants, there would probably be no restaurant. What mashgiach would give his hechsher on a place that BMG was against?


    Am I missing something here? There was a full fledged (Modern) Orthodox community in Lakewood before the yeshiva started. Most have them have since left, as their community grew smaller and smaller, but the biggest change to Lakewood has been the Yeshiva. Maybe they think the Yeshiva “ruined” Lakewood. Although I’m sure none of them would write such a letter, because aren’t we all Jews? Does the letter writer really believe he is the ultimate Jew and all others must be like him or leave? At least I am comforted by the fact that most comments don’t seem to agree with his holier than thou attitude. There is hope after all. May we merit the coming of mashiach very very soon.



    Yes, i meant inner city. The communities already there will provide a needed base of operations (food, mikvah, etc.)

    It fits in with ROB’s point.


    If you mean the inner city, after you 😉

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