Out Of The Mailbag – To YW Editor


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Dear YW Editor, Below is an actual letter published in the online version of The Journal News today. (The bold and underlines are my edits.) Could it be any more clear… that some people want Rockland to be free of Jews?

Rapid Ramapo Building Must Stop

The town of Ramapo and all its constituents seem to be letting the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) get out of hand. Has anyone ever sat on Route 59 on a Thursday afternoon around 2 p.m. or later? Well maybe you should start. You cannot move going westbound towards Monsey or north on Route 306. The school bus and car traffic is an abnormally high volume. Try getting anywhere on a Friday as well. If this overbuilding does not stop, Rockland County will soon be overcrowded with multi-family homes as seen along 306 and also many other places. As I travel these roads everyday, it is starting to look like New York City outskirts such as Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and so on. This was once a beautiful place to come to live. Now it is being overrun with religious schools and student housing on the property. Why do they not build parks on these properties so their children can play during school breaks? Put recreation on the property as well. Bottom line is, the overcrowding and population explosion in Ramapo has to stop. Build more homes that have beautiful property to enjoy, or leave the untouched land alone and keep Rockland/Ramapo beautiful. No more synagogues / student housing in Ramapo. The taxes are high enough now, imagine more homes and schools that are tax-exempt status. Guess who foots the bills for all the services provided. You guessed it, we the real taxpayers do.

Joseph Fonseca


  1. I hate to say this, but I agree with some of the things this guy wrote. Traffic is indeed too congested on Rte 59, and I don’t like the way they are building some of the multiple-family homes either.

    In particular, the gratuitous destruction of trees and wildlife erks me. When they built at Bates and Horton they created a desert with nothing in it. Why did they have to destroy all the trees, and change the nature of Monsey?

    I’m okay with yeshivos, and even with homes (and no one really cares anyway what I’m okay and not okay with), but please let’s not turn Monsey into a replica of congested Borough Park.

  2. Yidden pay attention – the slogan “keep Rockland/Ramapo beautiful” and yes also “preserve ramapo” = no synagogues, no religious schools i.e. JEWS NEED NOT APPLY!

    nonbody complains that Sal’s army in Suffern is not paying taxes, nor are all the churches in rockland, nor zitas on grove & saddle river.

    the comment that should be the most telling is that last sentence where we are referred to as parasites and leaches. after all only the “real” tax payers contribute to the society the rest (read the Jews) drain society.

    most of the preserve ramapo people are smart enough to at least try to hide their hatred to anything that has to do with Torah true values – not the author of this letter.

  3. reb_motcha – and can you certify that no trees lost their lives when your house and your development was built? oh, yeah that’s right, it yours so you are OK with it.


  5. I don’t comment often but this really irked me. It used to be mandatory to have 1 family dwellings in the Monsey I grew up in as a kid. It was suburban, it was nice, quiet and yes, frum.

    I do agree that this man is taking religious Jews to task much more than needed BUT I do think we’ve created this sorta thing. yes, I find the city-like multi family dwellings with no grass and trees, AN eyesore and the garbage doesn’t help.

    Even from a frumkeit aspect, Monsey is not what it used to be- a lot more city-like

  6. I should think that people have better things to do with their lives than search for anti-semitism (maybe learn). It’s clear that this is exactly what ny100k is doing.

    Additionally, our editor’s bold comments about the fact that this place is not beautiful anymore, is not anti-semitism – it’s a fact. While you may appreciate Jews over greenery, for someone else not to does not classify him as an anti-semite.
    The reason that people complain about the large amounts of shuls that are being built and not about the large amounts of churches being built is simply because there aren’t many churches being built!

    Streets are ridiculously congested, especially over the weekend, and the solution definitely isn’t to build more.

    Also, mdlevine, it’s a pretty big accusation to accuse preserve ramapo people with being against torah values, when you consider that many of them are frum Jews.

  7. It is no different than the traffic in Lakewood or anywhere else that frum Jews have found to their liking and started moving there in droves. But, the taxes should get lower not higher even if tax exempt schools and shuls open up, because of all the large homes being built that are heavily taxes and because none of our children attend public schools which our taxes pay for. These people who complain about us, only see the bad side, not the good. Who’d pay for their scohools if not our tax money?What would happen if all a suudden 10,000 Jewish children enrolledin public school? How would they foot the bill? What about all the Jewish businesses that add to the economy? I too would like to live in a more rural surrounding, but, that’s progress.

  8. Basically, he’s saying, “those haredim make areas congested and more urban. What happened to the scenery?”

    I’m not from New York, but this has honestly been my impression as well. Am I wrong?

    Yes, I’m haredi.

  9. Shevach – read what it being written by their supporters. no more synagogues. overrun by religious schools, population exposion, and real tax payers.

    turn back the pages of time and all you will find here is wooded areas and some farm land. people started buying the land and developing it, otherwise you and I would not be living here. I guess the question is when is OK to destroy nature to build housing? the common answer of the keep rockland/ramapo beautiful and preserve ramapo crowd is: it is always fine to destroy nature, up until the point that I get mine – after that, it must stop!

    re: Frum Jews support Preserve Ramapo – they should look to see who they are marching with and decide on which side they want to be on – the side that advocates Shuls and Yeshivas or the side the author of the letter published above.

    b/t/w if you read the entire article, you will notice that it was the person who sent it to YW that put the comments in bold not the YW editor.

  10. I have lived in Monsey for 30 years and am just as sick with the expansion. It is one thing to have single family homes, but now they are building 6 family homes were there was one before. You do the math.

  11. Hi. I live in Monsey since 1976 and daven by a chasideshe shul in Forshay and go to the Mikvah every day and agree 100% with this article. As a matter of fact they have printed at least 4 of my letters regarding the same items in the past. I have also been interviewed by the New York Times last week regarding the upcoming opening of the new Wal Mart. Yes, it will open, it’s only a matter of time. Am I anti semetic? Not at all! Why can’t these people in Tartikov just understand that there are no resources in Pomona such as water or sewers to support such an influx of people. Not Jews, people. There is so much overbuilding going on in Ramapo, and so much extra traffic that it is only a matter of time before disaster will strike. R”L kids can get hurt in the morning getting on or off school buses or even worse. No, this is not Jew versus goy or the opposite. Where in the article does it say “No more Jews”? It is just common sense. If there is no more room here you can’t just take a shoe horn and stick more and more in.

  12. There is truth to both sides. However, with few exceptions (reported on YW), whenever a meeting has been called one of the sides did not show up. In my own limited experience, it was the people against expansion who did not show up.

    YW reported a beautiful article several months ago about a Yeshiva that worked with the neighbors to arrange fencing, lighting and parking to everyone’s satisfaction.

    If people aren’t mature enough to talk, they are just as much at fault.

    (The letter to the editor with anme on it may be an exception – he is willing to stand up for his views and use his (presumably) real name)

  13. I agree with those who don’t like what’s happening in Ramapo and elsewhere, wherever Jews are seemingly taking over the countryside. I am not a self hating Jew, but, maybe when a town has reached the saturation point, a new area should be considered for development and congestion should be halted. All this building IS destroying our beautiful rural areas. I moved from the city to my town which very small and although I like some of the growth here, I now think it has overgrown and it’s time to start somewhere else.

  14. I also agree agree with the article 100% although
    I am yeshivish/chasidish.
    Monsey’s infrastructure (as opposed to Lakewood’s)
    not having streets in a grid system rather a few main arteries makes it a nightmare of congestion for all of us that need to travel the roads. It is
    extremely selfish to use yeshiva’s and religious use laws as a front for overdeveloping to make a profit.
    It’s all about making maximum money any which way possible utterly disregarding the adverse effects & harm done to the greater tzibur.
    Of course there is a need for more housing as families & generations grow. This needs to be in new specially designed & developed areas (towns) structured for multi-family housing.
    That would make it both more affordable & less stressful for all.
    We already have enough multi-family dwellings in greater Monsey – enough – shoin genug.
    We need to vote those into office that don’t cowtow to greedy developers.
    I am not an anti-semite but I can see how easy it is to become one.

  15. mdlevine: You missed my point. Of COURSE some trees have to be taken down for building. But why take down all the trees in an entire area where you are building NOTHING?

  16. if it in inherent in my posts that those yidden that oppose expansion more than what was necessary for their developments and their style of housing are self hating Jews – please forgive me. that was not my intentions. My intentions are solely to point out with whom you are choosing to keep company with.

    If you do not like having additional Shuls or Yeshivas in town {or even a walmart}- for logistical reason, or you are opposed to multi-family units – for logistical reasons (again) that in itself in no manner calls into question your level of frumkeit or Torah values AND certainly does NOT make you a self-hating Jew. If I implied that it did, once again – please forgive me.

    I think it is important to add,however, that to openly work hand in hand with the author of the letter (and I make the connection between him and the keep rockland/ramapo beautiful campaign as well as the preserve ramapo group) who makes an open declaration that 1) Monsey is now an ugly place to live because of all the Religious schools 2) NO MORE SYNAGOGUES and 3) REAL tax payers support these “other” people —> it is not a good thing.

    to quote {out of context – but relevant anyway} kolisrael (above post #8) “ASK YOURSELF THIS QUESTION DO YOU THINK THAT THE SATMAR REBBE OR RAV MOSHE ZL WOULD DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT I DON’T THINK SO” —–> you are correct – The Satmar Rebbe ZT’L would NEVER advocate joining hands with the non-jews to advocate against Jewish organizations. He cancelled a demonstration by the Israeli consulate because non-Jews were going to join with the reasoning simplistically stated (if I remember the idea correctly): we have reasons – they just hate us.

    To al my friends have a pleasnt Shabbos and a good Chodesh.

  17. Whew! I’m glad to know I’m not alone in my views. Before elections I often see handouts and flyers urging everyone to vote for the politicians who support expansion. What’ll you bet that these flyers were created by developers?

  18. basmelech, you said it best…..What would happen if all a sudden 10,000 Jewish children enrolled in public school? How would they foot the bill?
    I think in both MONSEY and LAKEWOOD – a movement should be started ASAP to at least threaten (by ‘enrolling’ our kids into public schools, or at the very least flood the school boards phone lines with enrollment request forms) to lower property taxes OR ELSE WE WILL ALL ENROLL OUR KIDS IN PS!!!!! (let the LAKEWOOD “VAAD” actually ‘do’ something for the community, instead of them just using their political clout for their own personal gains!!! )

  19. sounds like a great topic for mishpacha magazine- expansion vs. quality of life. when & where do you draw the line? i live in monsey just a few years & things have certainly changed in a short time. i still can’t compare living in monsey to brooklyn.
    just having a driveway to park in & malls that have adequate parking is already an improvement. however,
    i certainly see where main roads in monsey cannot handle the increase in traffic. if expansion is to
    continue, there must be more attention paid to the
    main roads monseyites travel on.
    and i must add that whatever quality of life you aspire to, we yidden have it pretty good here in golus. though we are here physically, our hearts
    should be in eretz yisroel.
    there they just want peace – they would put up with all
    the inconveniences of traffic, crowded neighborhoods,etc. just to have that peace of mind
    that they can go about their daily lives without
    the fear of terrorism.

    gutten shabbos & chodesh.

  20. Question: What would happen if all a sudden 10,000 Jewish children enrolled in public school? How would they foot the bill?
    Answer: there would be a special district wide assessment to raise the additional cash they say will be required.

    however. you can’t bluff what you can’t do.

  21. It is interesting how misleading the poster of this article is – trying to portray the writer as being against synagogues in general by making the word synagogue bold in “No more synagogues / student housing in Ramapo”. insinuating an anti-semitic motive when all he stated is that he is against using synagogues/schools as a front for “student housing” which we all know is often a farce & loophole for bypassing zoning laws.
    He may indeed be against synagogues in general – I don’t know – but he certainly did not state that in any way & to implicate that by making the word synagogue bold is wrong in my opinion.
    It shows there is an agenda of accusing anyone opposed to any expansion as anti frum. Not true!
    We have enough real anti-semites let’s not generate more by false accusations.

  22. The problem with Monsey as I see it, as opposed to Lakewood, is the type of homes that are being built. The zoning laws should not allow such overcrowding. (I know Kaser has it’s own zoning, and I think they ARE overcrowded.) When new buildings go up they should also be more aesthetic and blend in with surrounding rural look. The problem is no one can afford to leave empty space, empty. Lots should be larger and more space allowed between homes, more trees planted. The streets are unfortunately inadequate to handle all the traffic. If there is a blockage on rte. 306 for example (due to an accident, perhaps) you are really stuck.

  23. mdlevine – no matter the hike its still way cheaper then tuition for a large frum family!! Correct me if I’m wrong, the Kiryas Yoel and /or New Square towns – have “public schools” that are funded by taxpayer $$ but are in essence yeshivos.
    I still maintain a THREAT with ACTION (flooding the school board with thousands of applications) WOULD make a HUGE impact!!! – problem is: all the frum ‘machers’ in politics are too scared to start up, or are in cahoots with their CORRUPT ‘politicians buddies’. Look what happened in Lakewood, they tried to recall Cunliff (who him and bob singer are in known cahoots pocketing UEZ taxpayer monies etc.) but the “VAAD” who has interests of their own (wink wink) look the other way & try to keep it hush hush – as long a they do their “taken care of” – its sickening!! If Reb Aahron ZT’L would know what’s going on, he would NEVER let this “schtik” go on!! Hashem Yerachem!!!

  24. If you would be flooding the schools it would give this person one more item to complain about. So what does rallying to flood the schools accomplish?

    The author is right. People moved to remote areas like Monsey and put up with long commutes to have the advantage of suburbia. Cleaner air, quieter streets, more space (aside – this is also why Catskills residents don’t like the summer visitors). These “country-like” advantages were ensured by zoning laws – e.g. size of lot, ratio of property to home footprint, number of units per home etc. These zoning requirements were changed/bypassed after many people moved in already and these people have what to complain about. Don’t say that they should have spoken up and prevented the change – you complain about high taxes but you aren’t able to do anything about it except complain either, right?

    On the other hand, there are new realities. The US population is getting larger and more affluent and everyone has a car or cars so distance from the city is no longer a deterrent in where to live. There is just not enough space in the immediate area of the city to accomodate everyone so those who don’t like it will just have to move farther away. Space is very valuable and developers make their best money by utilizing space as efficiently as possible so they’re going to do what they do no matter what. If you live there already and you don’t like it then go farther out and pioneer another area. Hopefully that one won’t also be overrun too soon.

  25. basmelech, what are you talking about?? Lakewood isn’t getting overcrowded? The streets (especial Rt. 9 CAN’T handle this expansion) – the scary ironic thing is that the Master Plan Advisory Committee (whose job it is to rezone Lakewood for a better quality of life etc.) is made up of investors and developers!! Almost the whole ‘committee’ is made up of people with self interest$. They’re supposed to design a ‘master plan’ to improve the infrastructure and rezoning of Lakewood?? You trust these guys?? See for yourself all the big familiar ‘names’ on the townships website. Conveniently and coincidently, members on the board voted to change zoning laws to be able to jam in as many town homes could fit on THEIR properties. A huge scandal that is being hushed!

  26. ok, fine it is cheaper. so we will send our kids to mixed schools to learn about evolution and two daddies is normal and other such stuff – yeah, they (the school district) would believe it!

  27. mdlevine — i have for a long time advocated (to no one, cause noone wants to listen) that we should announce that starting next year (july / august), all parents should register their children in public schools. (of course, come sept, cancel the registration).

    watch the politicians RUN to the yeshivas offering them BIG CASH to undo it, to stop ruining their cushy systems.

    the problem, of course, is that yidden are lazy, will not go to register in july / august, and more importantly, the yeshivas (correction — roshei yeshiva; corection — school administrators) will keep the $$$, and will not reduce tuition, and will not spread the money to their rebbeim whom they dont pay.

    look what happened (and is still happening in the five towns)

  28. as for the comments re: “excessive” cobnstrucytion:

    for over twenty years, i have not seen any house built (or renovated, remodeled, whatever) in boro parque unless it is the actual owner doing the work. no one builds houses “on spec” anymore, like they did in bp in the old days. the only real new construction going on in bp, are yeshivot, and mosdot. where are the talimidim going to come from to fill those mosdot? where are they gonna live? in cramped apts??? sure bp is growing out past 40 st, past 60 st, etc. (is the monsey comparison to pomona, airmont, rampao, etc???)

    to their credit, williamsburg has always been building housing on spec, as well as mosdot, but only recently has been expanding past bedford, past flushing ave, etc (but not past broadway, those homes are too expensive, even they’re owned by unzerer yidden)

  29. No more synagogues / student housing in Ramapo. The taxes are high enough now, imagine more homes and schools that are tax-exempt status. Guess who foots the bills for all the services provided. You guessed it, we the real taxpayers do.

    in any normal place when the population goes up the cost per person goes down.
    same for any camp or organization.
    so why in ramapo do people think that when people move in that the taxes will go up?
    the reason could be that they are antisemits, or …
    maybe the reason that people feel that way is because it true. maybe if (almot, and anyway these are the ones people hav a problem with,)every frum building engagement is owned by a shul or yeshiva(adult student housing), and therefore will not pay taxes, maybe people are just concerned that there taxes will go up.
    maybe people are concerned that the drought situation that is experienced every year in monsey will be exasperated by moving thousands more people into monsey,
    and putting concrete and buildings over the grass which absorbs the water that we are already short of