Apr 6, 2009

Haredization of secular neighborhoods

There have been ongoing fights in various places about the "haredization" of the neighborhood. What happens is that housing in a haredi neighborhoods runs short, or it has seen drastic price increases, making it difficult for young couple to rent/buy in existing haredi neighborhoods. They have started a trend of moving to a nearby neighborhood that was not haredi. the prices are generally cheaper and there is plenty available.

The first group is really the one to make the sacrifice as they move to a place with no haredi infrastructure in place. Once they get settled and establish all their needs (be it a mehadrin eiruv, haredi shul, haredi schools, etc.), the influx of newcomers then fill the neighborhood and "haredize" the place and they snap up practically every existing place. Then the old timers start to move out as they feel less and less confortable. etc. etc.

It is really a definition of the free market, and social evolution, and there is no real way to stop it.

The problem is that sometimes the locals do not want to move out, yet they feel threatened by the increasing number of newcomers. Often the newcomers do not respect the ways of the old timers, as they demand their needs be met and impose changes of the local lifestyle to conform to their needs (whether tzniyus, eiruv, etc.). The old timers feel threatened and instead of moving out sometimes choose to fight back against their neighborhood changing.

It can get pretty ugly.

One prime example of how ugly it can get is in Kiryat HaYovel. The fight has been going on non-stop for the past 2 years. The secular residents have been cutting the eiruv strings of the haredi newcomers. There have been scuffles and provocations from both sides. There have been lawsuits from both sides. Now the haredi shul was just closed down due to zoning restrictions and improper use of an apartment (despite it having been used as a dental clinic illegaly for 5 years prior to the shul using it).

On a totally unrelated topic, the Mishpacha magazine ran an interview with a fellow about some communal work he does. At the end of the interview, they asked this fellow where he lives and his community rav.

This fellow said something very interesting, that seems to apply to places with friction like Kiryat HaYovel. he said he lives in Gilo which is also under a process of "haredization" as many young haredi couples move into what was previously a mostly secular neighborhood. He added that Rav Shlezinger, the rav of Gilo, is in constant control of what is going on and he gives them complete direction. Because of Rav Shlezinger's direction, Gilo remains peaceful. They do not preach to the old timers, and theyhave no problem opening shuls and kollels, and building a mehadrin eiruv, etc. It is peaceful because of the ravs direction.

Perhaps in a place like Kiryat HaYovel and other similar points of friction, they would be wise to follow such advice - if they would have a rav to consult with who would let them know when not to insist on something and when they should insist on somethign and how to relate to the old timers, perhaps we would not have to have these dirty fights over who can live where.

4 comments:

  1. The Charedim that "move in"must keep one thing in mind...

    How would they act if this wasn't Israel? Or if this was British Mandate Palestine?

    They wouldn't be able to force their views on their neighbors in those situations so why should they here?

    Mutual respect means MUTUAL respect.

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  2. on the one hand they are not forcing their views on anyone. They are not saying thos epeople have to keep shabbos, have to go separate swimming, have to eat only mehadrin, etc. They are demanding that those people provide, or at least allow themselves to provide, for what they want/need.

    Perhaps the demand is made in inappropriate ways. perhaps it is too much too soon. It makes the locals feel like they are being chased out.

    I actually compare it more to if a secular jew would move into a religious neighborhood. How would he be treated? Would the haredi locals allow the secular jew to drive on shabbos, let the wife and daughters walk around in pants, etc.? Would they let more secular buy or would they put some sort of control on to whom you are allowed to sell your home to, and not allow you to sell to a secular jew?

    Being that most of the time when it works the other way, the haredi community is not open to allowing those rights to others, I find it hard to sympathize for them when they are demanding those rights from others.

    but on the other hand, they have a right to buy a house wherever they want and deserve to be able to live their own lifestyles unhindered.

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  3. Hopefully, it will stay peaceful in Gilo. It all hinges on whether the newcomers continue to listen to the local Rov. as soon as enough "chareidim" move in and decide they are strong enough to try to impose their standards, the peace will fall apart.

    It's a wait and see.

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  4. It's funny, in the USA it's the Charedim that don't trust the eruv (and maybe sometimes vandalize it).

    Rafi - they are not forcing their views on anyone.

    The problem is that many in Israel have experienced otherwise once Charedim have a larger presence in a neighborhood.

    I have a good friend that was literally forced out of his home by his Charedi neighbors. He purchased an apartment in Ramat Bet Shemesh early on (in the area that was billed as mixed Dati Leumi/Charedi), and he is truly an erlich yid, but he is modern orthodox and his wife wears pants. The harm that his Charedi neighbors did to him (physical, including all sorts of vandalism, and mental) was despicable. After knowing the full story of his experience, I would never even consider living in an area that even has a sizable Charedi minority in fear that they might eventually become the majority and force me and my family out. It's really a sad state of affairs when a frum Jew can't live with other frum Jews.

    I feel exactly the same way about some of those Ramat Avivians that were partially successful at chasing out some of the frum folks in their neighborhood a decade or two ago. I prefer to live and let live, or as you put it mutual respect.

    Just to be clear, this doesn't mean that I think that all neighborhoods must have the streets open on shabbat. If a neighborhood clearly is developed from the start only for the frum, and it is clear that the streets will be closed on Shabbat, then any Chiloni that buys there expecting to be able to drive on shabbat unhindered is a fool. Same for the Charedim, if they buy in a Chiloni area expecting the streets to be closed on shabbat, they are fools as well.

    The whole situation is just so sad.

    Mark

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