MAILBAG: Stop Calling us Rednecks, Stop Calling us Anti-Semites

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ywnlnGreetings, readers.

I am among the people of Bloomingburg who supports challenging the voter registrations. I am neither a redneck, nor an anti-semite. I accept and welcome Jews of all kinds—including the Satmar—to Bloomingburg. Furthermore, I accept that the village will inevitably evolve into a Satmar enclave not unlike Kiryas Joel. If not during this election cycle, certainly following the next.

There are some bigoted people in the village, but they are the exception and not the rule. The impassioned response to Shalom Lamm’s aggressive, underhanded, secretive and most likely illegal attempt to influence elected officials is something that no one—including Satmar Jews—should accept.

Bloomingburg is a poor rural town and not prepared for imminent change. It was unbeknowingly cherry-picked by Lamm as a site for a Satmar community because the voters weren’t paying attention to what was happening in village meetings. Lamm has brought a massive amount of his own money, and presumably money from other wealthy people outside of the village, to intentionally overwhelm the modest resources of his opposition. He and his development are entering this once peaceful village on the worst of terms.

To the Satmar who will obviously vote and develop a community in their own extremely narrow and culturally isolated interests, I appeal to you to do the minumum favor of accepting that your neighbors who have lived in Bloomingburg for generations will grow to accept the changes and would like to shop in your stores, walk on the sidewalks with you, play in the parks, drive on the streets and do all things that AMERICANS do together, united.

PLEASE! I implore you: stop calling us rednecks. Stop calling us anti-semites. Stop assuming that the village is out to get you. This kind of misinformation is divisive and not reflective of the deep faith you claim to have in your deity.

Respectfully,
A cautiously optimistic neighbor.

EDITORS NOTE: The letter above was published as a comment on a YWN article.

 


6 COMMENTS

  1. There is a tendency for many in our kehilla to use the “Anti-Semitic, Jew-hater, Destroyer of Torah” card whenever convenient or if circumstances do not work out as desired.

    Perhaps it is about time that we do some self-reflection. What would be your personal view if a large group of ‘Religious Families (evangelists, baptists, islamic) bought property in your township and will be “sharing'” (or taking over) the towns’ services? Hum….

    Does this Jewish writer believe that the Satmar kehilla will peacefully share the parks, open spaces and shops with the old timers?? Check out Kiryat Yoel, do you have Monroe families coming and sharing services?

  2. Indeed all sides must be respectful and communicative with each other. Obviously the vast majority of residents of Bloomingdale are not anti-Semites other than a notable number of exceptions and provocateurs who are motivated by bigotry and who have taken the reigns in fighting Jews from moving into town because they are Jewish and religious. Many of these bigots are from outside of the village.

    There is no doubt that everyone must live harimoniously with each other. Jews, including Orthodox or Hasidic, have as much right to move into any village or town in America as does African-Americans or Hispanics. Imagine the uproar, and rightfully so, if a group of townsmen were to fight a group of African-Americans who purchased a plot to build homes in a town. Imagine that some existing residents started railing about how African-Americans are welfare queens, commit fraud and raise the level of crime in town. Everyone from the Attorney General to the Department of Justice would be opening criminal investigations to stop anyone from preventing blacks from moving into “their” town. And rightfully so.

    Here, too, we are witnessing the same things. We hear false accusations of that this is a community engaged in fraud, welfare and every other bigoted caricature they can conjure up in the worst set of Jew-hatred imaginable. Again, this is a small subset of the general population but they are the most vocal and putting up the largest fight to “keep the Jews out”. Most current residents don’t support such tactics. But they are making general and sweeping accusations against a community. Something that would not be tolerated if it were made against Hispanics or blacks.

  3. Regarding the actual dispute, the developers crossed all the t’s and dotted all the i’s and did everything by the book, in accordance with local law, and was legally approved and upheld by the courts.

    They got approval for 396 homes not the 125 claimed by opponents. There is not a single piece of paper anywhere in the record or history that indicated anything less than 395 homes approved. Right from the earliest stages of the process. The 125 fiction comes from a disgruntled former investor (and former town supervisor) who has sued the developers when his relationship went bad, that now is making unsubstantiated, unproven and undocumented allegations that the original proposal was for only 125. All the paperwork going back years and on the record indicate 396.

    As far as the newly registered voters, they all live in town for the past few months and are eligible to vote. There has not been a single point of proof made otherwise other than “it can’t be”. Well, it is. Their right to vote as American citizens and Bloomingburg residents cannot be infringed upon or they disenfranchised.

  4. Thanks YWN for stepping up doing the right thing by posting this article.
    The Bloominburg residents are certainly NOT ANTI-SEMITES. We are a nation that was always very careful not to make a Chillul Hashem and we must continue that way.
    No one in in the Satmar community would love that all of the sudden Hundreds of Goyim making their new living between us, and no one would love to be called with Anti-Jewish Slurs because of that.

  5. zionflag …

    I am the writer of the letter above and I’m not Jewish. I’m an athiest who was brought up in a (barely) protestant household.

    I’ve heard and read negative things about Kiryas Joel and Ramapo and other places where Satmar have moved in and taken over. I know many of the other homeowners and residents of Bloomingburg have too and it’s a source of their anxiety.

    But I’ve also been around Hassidic Jews, shopped in their stores, hired them to help me with things, etc. The other day I met a Hassidic Jew who asked me a question on the street and I had a very nice conversation with him and he was very friendly, grateful and humble. He made me feel the same way.

    I’ve never read Torah and much of the Jewish faith is a mystery to me. When I think of Jews, I mostly just think of all my friends who are “plain old ordinary” Jews. The Hassidic people are an inward-looking people so far as I can tell. However I do believe that peace and good deads (Mitzvahs?) are part of ALL Jewish faith and culture. This is the source of my optimism.

    Peace can only come when all parties in conflict decide they will GIVE it. It’s something that’s GIVEN, not taken. This will be how I interact with my new neighbors. It’s my hope that this small but important act of giving on my part will help us to coexist with seemingly irreconcileable cultural differences.

    Respectfully
    EdgarB

  6. Edgar, Thank you for keeping an open mind.

    One small point I’ll make on your recent comment is point out the difference you’ve described between the negativity you’ve heard and read about Hasidim versus the actual positive experiences you’ve had first-hand interacting with Hasidim.