Lakewood's Orthodox Take Aim at a Tent City; Anti-Semitic Cyber-Stalking
In this week's Reporters Roundtable podcast, host Josh Nathan-Kazis is joined by Forward fellow Seth Berkman to discuss his story about a tent city in Lakewood, New Jersey a town with a large, dominant Orthodox community.
Join the discussion below, or Read more at Forward.
#1 Feb 22, 2013
Pay attention to how things are said, even in a presumably non-editorial podcast; some examples: The host said "Lakewood is a fast-growing Orthodox town...". Sounds OK on the surface, but hints at a serious underlying problem in Lakewood,NJ, which is a major factor in problems such as lack of fair housing, true democracy, etc.- including the conflict over `Tent City'.
While Lakewood has a large and growing population of Orthodox Jews, it is not an `Orthodox town'- it is a town within Ocean County,NJ, the State of New Jersey, and the United States of America. People are generally free to choose with whom they share a living space; it is immoral and illegal to keep people from buying housing merely because of their religious beliefs or lack thereof. It is common knowledge that it is made extremely difficult for anyone who is not an Orthodox Jew to buy housing in the downtown Lakewood area. As the guest said, many Orthodox Jewish residents have long pressured township officials to take numerous actions - some of questionable legality - against the homeless, shelter-deprived people of `Tent City'.
Why don't they go to shelters? Ocean County adamantly refuses to have even one emergency housing public shelter; it prefers to spend larger amounts of taxpayer money housing some people at a greater cost in distant slum-like hotels, coercing people into demeaningly restrictive and regimented programs with the promise of a chance at thereby getting housing, and waging a high-taxpayer-cost legal campaign to evict the people who have no better option than to live in a camp in the woods.
This podcast asks if the Tent City issue is "seen by some as a sign of the broader conflict between the non-Orthodox community and the quickly-growing residents?". Although there are some other people in Lakewood who object to some things about Tent City, it is well known that the pressure is coming largely from some in the Orthodox Jewish community.
It is good that we live in a country which allows people to have and express all manner of belief about religious and spiritual issues; it is un-American for any group of people to discriminate against others - or to exert illegitimate influence over public officials to impose their will on others.
#2 Jun 16, 2013
The similar social conflict occurs in Lakewood, New Jersey. Knowing more about Lakewood I should say that community was a well functioning town until 1980. That was when Lakewood was poor and poorly governed. Heroin, crime, official misconduct was widespread. Slowly the Conservative and Reformed Synagogue were bought by Orthodox and the change of governance to a more "rigid" structure in favor of religious rule developed. But, lets go back. The government failed Lakewood in so many ways I can't number because Ocean County couldn't govern. There were no housing rules (that couldn't be corrupted). Today, it is much the same. A weak governor, poor infrastructure, and a stagnant economy with a stack of legislature bills proposed but not one approved (like a commerce transportation center bill). Of course there's a lot of tension as each ethnic group tries to grab power and control. I guess its because democracy is failing to assert itself. That's not a religious issue but a governance issue.
#3 Jun 18, 2013
The only thing that will fix Lakewood is a Kristallnacht.
#4 Jun 30, 2013
they not only run a Lakwood ,Brooklyn and Monsey N
Y but the Washington and the USA and Europe and in near future the World.
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