Orthodoxy Heads for the Hills
West Side Judaica, the venerable seforim store that has served as a landmark of Orthodox Judaism in Manhattan for well over half a century, just announced its upcoming closure. While the closure of any seforim store – especially one of the last seforim stores in Manhattan – is a sad event indeed, equally sad is the broader picture of urban Orthodox communities shrinking and going out of business, of which the permanent shuttering of West Side Judaica is yet another sign.
There are, thank God, more and more Orthodox Jews all over the place, ranging from startup communities in many Southern and Western cities that heretofore had minimal or no Orthodox presence, to often transient millennials who are popping up in the most surprising of places. (Several months ago, as I was approaching Costco in East Harlem, with just three blocks to go, one such person suddenly emerged from a local (and very non-Jewish!) apartment building and asked me to help put up a mezuzah there.)
Despite this all, urban Orthodox communities are in steep decline and are going under. The young frum people who live in these neighborhoods do not generally stay for protracted periods of time any more, and the long-term, established residents who created and maintain the communal infrastructures are passing on and moving out. There may be more upscale kosher restaurants in Manhattan than ever before, but yeshivos, shuls, kosher bakeries and seforim stores – all components of communal infrastructure – are struggling, downsizing and disappearing.
It is not only Manhattan that has been experiencing this phenomenon. Even Brooklyn, with its bustling religious Jewish life, has seen an unprecedented outward migration of young families to Lakewood, Monsey and elsewhere, as Brooklyn housing is exorbitant and the borough’s sizeable and aging yeshivos no longer enjoy the great popularity and envy of throngs of b’nei Torah in the Northeast. The number of young “yeshiva families” in Midwood and nearby is rapidly shrinking – so much so that two of the area’s largest yeshivos recently erected apartment buildings in order to provide special housing deals for young kollel families, with the hope that these families’ presence will compensate in part for the flood of yeshiva families who have moved out.
This general trend is occurring everywhere, and not only in New York.
What does it all mean? Well, it certainly means larger and more affordable housing for Orthodox families, and increased open space and greenery for those who leave the cities. It also means the potential for further homogeneity and seclusion, as greater amounts of space provide the opportunity to remain apart if so desired and to interact with those of one’s choosing.
But what does it mean? What does the current trend really signify?
As much as I enjoy the outdoors and new and spacious surroundings and edifices, I fear that internal communal cohesiveness and external Orthodox clout will suffer. Centralized infrastructures which have sustained the frum community will be no more, or will be a shadow of their former selves, and the unique opportunity to live in neighborhoods with rich connections to the past will be all but lost.
Just consider: with a few exceptions, the communities and institutions led by the members of Agudah’s Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah no longer represent the most major and upward centers of yeshiva Orthodoxy. This disparity between the long-time centralized establishment, largely concentrated in urban nuclei, and the current and growing trend, is quite significant. Can the communal clout and broader influence, which have played a decidedly positive role in Orthodox life, persist under the new state affairs?
While Orthodox urban life and culture are not for everyone, their eventual disappearance will be a real loss.
great article. of course in the grand scheme of things Jews change neighborhoods or towns when history and economy somehow make it necessary or desirable. Sometimes yiddishkeit is more invested in little towns and sometimes in bigger cities and there will always be a new makom for Torah to replace or eclipse those of the previous generation G-d willing, if not in stature then in contemporary importance. And one could very possibly say that whatever one loses by being in a city one gains many other things by being out of it. Indeed Jews are healthier and happier in general when their lives are not a tiny part of a big goyish trample–especially when rents are so high. It is nonetheless an important milestone to draw attention to and reflect on. And if anything it should lead us to ask ourselves what kind of communities do we really want, because if we want it we can try to get it and build it G-dv willing, in the U.S. or Israel or elsewhere.
This is an article that could only be written by an author from New York. There are hundreds of communities across the US and rest of the world that survive just fine without the intense concentration of Jewish life you refer to. While this will no doubt be a significant change for the communities experiencing this change, this is hardly a significant event for the global Jewish community. I will be surprised if the impact of this migration ends up having any historical significance.
Jewish migration mid twentieth century to the suburbs from inner cities had tremendous consequences. Rabbi Gordimer’s points worth pondering.
As an out of towner, I feel somewhere in the middle. EK – I do not think R. Gordimer was bashing people that leave the city. He was just pointing out something interesting sociologically – that more and more people are leaving NYC where American Judaism mainly started.
Mycroft – at same time, I do not know what you mean by “tremendous consequences”.
See eg decrease in Jewish identity, increase in Conservative movement membership for starters
The C Movement reached its highwater mark in the 1950s-once it started walkinga way from any pretense of committment to Halacha, there has been one long chain or long march of departures therefrom. CJ tpday is the RW of RJ
In US the largest two denominations of Jews by denomination are Reform and Conservative. Obviously, that is not true for KGH , BP, parts of 5Ts, Monsey.. Go to Palm Beach County, go to many states where one will find Conservative and Reform temples. There is no Orthodox unless one includes Chabad as Orthodox.
There used to be a lot of planned blockbusting activity to create fear and panic leading to real estate turnover.
Having lived for a few years as a then young married as a renter and now as a homeowner for many years, having your own home is a major factor that certainly motivates one to move from the inner city to the burbs.
“De Blasio” is doing his best to make city life deteriorate. He is only one example of a disastrous big city Mayor. The idea that such people can so easily become Mayor should be taken as a warning.
If beigeleisen or moznaim ever closed, that would be a disaster. btw today go to koren for a huge sale on Rav Steinsaltz’s seforim. i have also purchased real seforim on amazon and the combination of various sources for seforim online, high speed networks and printing services has allowed me to acquire seforim no longer in print. soon an entrepreneur will innovate further.
and to be honest, those addicted to the current genre of seforim/books are not really my concern.
as to our influence, most traditional communities are in heavily democratic states. seeing them moving to swing states strikes me a a potential new source of influence.
As the closing of Feldheim and Stavsky weren’t disasters? And probably older places i dont remember. West Side stocked a lot of things you won’t find in Eichlers, and not just the heterodox material. Now who’s left with oddball books? Biegeleisen gets some, Tuvia’s of Monsey gets more.
as were otzer haseforim and a seforim store on allen where i bought a set of tanach with a commentary by cassuto over 50 years ago. rents in manhattan do not allow a seforim store to survive; levine owns his building.
for those who want current seforim, various online resources and stores in various suburbs exist. i believe given the growing population, new models of online purchase of less popular seforim/books will emerge.
The LES once upon a time was home to many great seforim stores as described by Dr Bill. The closing of the stores in that once storied neighborhood and the UWS really is a function of demographic change-as more and more Torah observant Jews move to the burbs . My neighborhood has two Judaica stores that chahkasm arban minim and sukkos and current seforim but Dr Bill is 100% correct-Biegeleisen is for those of us who are looking for beyond what passes for current seforim. If you are ever at a simcha at the Atrum in Monsey, check out both Tuvias for seforim you won’t see elsewhere and Lishkas HaSefarim for Sefarim in every Miktzoa of Torah. Z Berman has nice stores and so do Eichler’s but you really have to look around in both to find that which Dr Bill describes as real sefarim. I go every year to the SOY sefarim sale and have bought major sets there at their excellent prices, but if you really want to look for what is not au courant, you have to go to Biegeleisen-which I did at the Sefarim Sale at YU one year when I was shmoozing with two talmidim who were looking for sefarim which weren’t there and I directed them to Biegeleisen. I concur that it would be a communal disaster if RL Biegeleisen closed.
this will be our last tisha b’av iy’h. steve and I agree.
Over fifty years ago you were reading Cassuto on Tanach, maybe now try his grandsons works especially on Talmud Yerushalmi- Reuven Campagnano.
thank you. i will look, iy’h.
fifty years ago while in YC, for 7 semesters, i had the zechut of learning from dr. michal bernstein ztl. given his illness, the few of us in his class assembled around his dining room table. my understanding of tanach grew with his guidance.
Were you soccer to go the minyan in his apartment?
Otzar HaSefarim ( where we bought our Shas) and S Rabinoiwitz, as well as H & M were wonderful stores chocked full with great sefarim. Who doesn’t remember the Baal HaBayis of H & M scurrying around answering the phone, and trying to help anyone who walked into his store on Essex Street? For those of us who wear hats, long before you went to a great store in BP, you shopped on the LES. Those stores are now all memories.
Maaseh Shahay time-Someone who used to live in our neighborhood once introduced R S Siff, the long time rav of the YI on the LES , an old time talmid of RYBS from the 1950s ( who was part of the shiur that demanded more personal interaction with RYBS as a rebbe) and a wonderful rebbe in JSS , as a rav in the ghetto of the LES. R Siff responded by stating that he was a resident of a wonderful community that was populated by such Gdolei Torah as RMF, R Y Henkin and the Kopiznitzer Rebbe Zicronam Livracha-not a ghetto!
100& correct. With the click of a mouse you can download many sefarim that you won’t find elsewhere even without paying the prices for either Bar Ilan or its competitors.
e author states “Despite this all, urban Orthodox communities are in steep decline and are going under.”
He is very wrong. There are strong Orthodox urban communities in Boro Park, Washington Heights, Riverdale, West Roger Park (Chicago), Georgetown (DC), Northeast Philadelphia, Park Heights (Baltimore), West Side (LA), and more.
In several of these communities, a substantial percentage of the established families have moved out and passed on, and have not been replaced, while many of the younger, new residents view themselves there as transient and thus often do not join shuls/pay dues and become part of the necessary long-term infrastructure.
The real issue is that of demographics. Once a neighborhood or community is perceived as a great neighborhood with all of the necessities of a Torah observant life in 2017, as opposed to that of the 1950s, the price of real estate goes up until the community either gets too expensive or the next generation looks for greener grass elsewhere. OTOH, the days of communities literally moving en masse like those in the Bronx ( not Riverdale) Brownsville, East New York and Laurelton, ended when the Lubavitcher Rebbe ZL decided to stay and when the rabbonim in Queens successfully fought the Lindsay Administration to to build a major scatter site housing project in Forest Hills.
I have close relatives living in at leasttwo of those areas. Both are way down in terms of numbers.
The migration of families to more suburban neighborhoods is true. However, there is nothing to fear. The younger generation will built their own community institutions. I think that is a good thing. Young people need to feel like they are building, investing in their community. Like they matter. Our parents and grandparents had that feeling of building a community and a future for Judaism for their children. Let us have that feeling and purpose as well. Thank you.
Orthodox Jewish families have various needs and wants that can drive them to move. Physical safety is only one of these. A better balance between income and expenses is another. Whoever decides to put a stop to migration ought to lay out a very detailed, persuasive case for staying put that steers clear of appeals to emotion. Who is up to that? And we all pray daily for a really big move…to Eretz Yisrael!
The closure of West Side Judaica is not a surprise since their seforim are very expensive and everything is much cheaper online. But the fact that WSJ lost their ability to hold out during their decline emulates central Manhattan’s incompetence at creating a passion for limud hatoireh that reflects the batei midrashos of YU. Rabbi Jeffrey Woolf has referred to this movement as “Manhattan-Style Modern Orthodoxy”, where laxity been much more corrosive to MO than “Open Orthodoxy”
Even decades ago when my wife and I lived in the UWS we rarely bought anything in WSJ it was always much more expensive than book stores elsewhere in the metro NY area. Rents are very expensive where they were located.
The UWS was except for those with the zcusim to rent or buy on a long term basis was at best a transient community. Once upon a time LSS was the shul that singles flocked to-today singles go to OZ. The Jewish Center and the shtieblach on the UWS remain the providence of long time UWS families.
Re Rabbi Jeffrey Woolf and apparent lack of limud Hatorah in Manhattan, one must realize that Manhatan Jewish community is probably more typical of the American Jewish community than where most bloggers in CC apparently live. When my wife and I lived in the UWS the mikvah attendance was much less than the mikvah use in the local mikvah in the suburb where I live with a much smaller Jewish population.
The term MO refers to two different subgroups , depending on whether the M is an adjective or noun.
That’s correct only if you don’t look deeper into the “Jewish geography” of the UWS. There are more than a few well established Shteiblach on the UWS aside from OZ, the JC, LSS and WSIS.
I am not sure. Are you saying the neighborhood isnt up to yu standards, or was this an anti yu slur? Hopefully the former. If the latter, it should have been disallowed on list…
Is question for me? If so, I don’t understand it.
Is question for me? If so, I don’t understand it.
no, addressed to ari rosman’s line—-
their decline emulates central Manhattan’s incompetence at creating a passion for limud hatoireh that reflects the batei midrashos of YU.
— not sure if he is saying manhattan MO is lax, unlike YU; or MO is lax because YU set that tone…
You would think, from the way this is written, that these urban communities referred to have some kind of significant antiquity. That multiple generations have been brought up there with solid mesora standing the test of time.
Whereas they haven’t been large or thriving for more than 60 -70 years at most. Maybe 2-3 generations worth. A mere historical speck in time. What did Jewish Manhattan look like in the 1940s? Outside the Lower East side I mean. And look at the Lower East side now. Mourning the changes in a still young and evolving community makes little historical sense.
For a bit of wider perspective, here’s a teaser. Name any shul in the world which was thriving and full 100 years ago and is still thriving and full. And, conversely, any shul in the world which is thriving and full now and which even existed 100 years ago. The only ones to my mind are some in Jerusalem and Tzfat.
And 100 years is small beans in Jewish history.
So please, step outside the New York bubble and look at the rapidly demographic changes in the entire Jewish world to see how small this article’s perspective is.
There are schuls even outside Centre city that are over 100 years old. Most are not in the same location, but in North America can think of a few on regel achat.
Part of the incorrect myths around American Jewry that there was nothing until essentially the new population came here before and after the Holocaust. The OU was founded in 1898, the OU got into the Kashrut business in 1923, Heinz wanted a kosher symbol without Hebrew letters. MTA Yeshivas HS recently celebrated its 100 th anniversary.
there were many litvishe rabbonim in cities throughout southern new england who arrived during the early part of the 20th century. i remember my rebbe in TV married the daughter of a rav from providence. the Rav ztl considered a Rav from central Massachusetts a Gaon, who he respected. I received a BM gift of a sefer by RSS ztl from a rav who told me he never thought he would give such a gift to a BM boy in america. He arrived in the US in 1910. of course, rabbonim like rav Silver ztl and rav Priel were from outside the city.
unfortunately, many were largely not able to stem a tide that overwhelmed them. some sowed the seeds of success.
Like it or not, Orthodoxy was on the defense and considered on the ropes, if not life support by by eminent sociologists as late as the early 1950s even and despite all of the above important and crucial facts on the ground. The public stances taken by RYBS together with the uncompromising stances taken by the Yeshiva and Chasidic worlds all of which were after the Holocaust and its decimation of Eastern European Jewryenabled Orthodoxy as a whole to go on the offensive and develop the communal and educational superstructure that we have today. If Klal Yisrael is compared to the moon that ebbs and flows each month as opposed to the static position of the sun, then the phoenix like revival of Orthodoxy, despite all of the issues that we have discussed here, in the formerly “treife medinah” is an event that should not be minimized.
It would be a stretch to say that there was “nothing” prior to the Holocaust, but it be an even bigger stretch to claim that what did exist was significant or sustainable. It wasn’t. The OU that was founded in 1898 was instrumental in opening JTS. The Agudas HaRabbonim were initially behind the founding of RIET’s and they soon abandoned it and left it to the OU to support when Dr. Belkin turned it into YU.
Aside from those institutions that were hardly thriving, there were very few other institutions, Jews were abandoning observance in record numbers, most children attended public school, and Orthodoxy was left for dead by most. Dr. Jonathan Sarna in his seminal work makes this point over and over again. Rabbi Beryl Wein in his book explains that the reason he didn’t pursue the rabbinate at first and attended law school was because all the Orthodox shuls were becoming Conservative and his father saw no future for him in the rabbinate.
To claim that Orthodoxy was thriving in any meaningful sense of the word is simply incorrect.
Jerusalem has a couple of big real estate problems, church land, green line. Take the Rakevet Kala to Pisgat Zev and after City Hall stop, most stops are ones you would not want to walk in.
JTS was founded in 1886, the OU was founded in 1898. Thus , OU could not have been instrumental in founding of JTS.
The distance from Agudas Harabbonim from before Dr Belkins presidency when YU musmachim started their own organization, today’s RCA. Interesting today RCA is far from a YU controlled organization.
Of course, most children attende public school, but one could remain Orthodox back then if one went to Talmud Torah. For what it’s worth my mother native Of USA never went to day school and was Orthodox her whole life. My father before age 17 spent most of his years going to public school in Europe. They both were Orthodox their whole lives and both BTW became pretty knowledgeable Jewishly.
BTW the intermarriage rate today of those who went to day schools through grade 12 is higher than the intermarriage rate of the general American Jewish population in the US 95. Years ago.
Let’s not confuse facts with one’s opinions. Here are some facts:
1) Most of the RCA’s officers are RIETS musmachim.
2) It is highly unlikely that most American born children in the 21st Century would and will remain Shomrei Torah Umitzvos without a 365 day immersion in a day school and summer camp environment. I think that your parents were exceptions to the rule, and products of a different era, as opposed to being proof that one could spend K_12 in a public school and thrive as a Shomer Torah UMitzvos.
3) Please provide a link to the survey for which you claim the intermarriage rate is higher for day school products-I would like to see which schools and communities formed the basis for such data before accepting the same as anything but the rejection of day schools by the secular Jewish world.
Historically most of RCA members were by far RIETS musmachim. Thus, certainly probably vast majority were RIETS, remember hearing from then RCA executive director who was RIETS musmach in past 18 years- thus could be one of at least three- that in previous couple of years most new ones were not RIETS musmachim,
Obviously vast majority of American children would not be Shomrei Shabbos if there were no day schools, vast majority today are not Shomrei Shabbos with day schools. If you mean of those children who are sent to day schools, you have no basis to say that.
I picked 95 years ago for a reason, that was a period of very low intermarriage rate. Re today’s figures I told someone who is Orthodox more Chareidi than I who professionally was involved with Jewish communal life. I told him the story of person working in my office who was about ten years younger than I who was married to a Moslem woman from a Pacific Island nation and graduated from same Yeshiva HS that I did. He was first shocked had a tough time believing because historically there was very little of that. He rechecked figures from data of which now would be 25 and 15 years ago and found much less than general population but there were in those Jewish Pop figures a percentage of Jews who spent 12 years in Orthodox day schools who were intermarried. The figures were higher than those of general US Jewish population from 1920.
Do a research internet on Jewish intermarriage in US 1920 will see a very low number. The number for day school intermarriage rate was based on discussion wth leading Jewish communal professional. The professional is certainly Orthodox and was looking at the 1990 and lent decade Jewish population studies . I am relying on his figures. BTW one can think of famous Americans who went to day schools and intermarried.
remember that over the last 60 years there has been a gradual acceptance of jews in the upper ranks of american society. there was a point in the 50’s where alan dershowitz reports he was too traditional to get a job at the top law firms. the Rav ztl was intimately involved in changing that btw around 1960.
now we have two presidential candidates with jewish machatanim, both felons and one orthodox. we have come a far way; intermarriage is a very sad consequence.
then there were less than a handful of academics in jewish studies. now there are at least a few dozen at top level universities. again, a two-edged sword.
claiming what caused what would require more than arm-chair post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning. facts are a great deal easier than causality wrt to the past let alone future prognostication.
That the Agudah’s Moetzes no longer represents the major centers of yeshiva Orthodoxy is more of a commentary on the Agudah than on orthodoxy overall. It’s leaders are largely hereditary positions, the sons or sons in law of figures from previous generations. Lip-service notwithstanding, the yeshivah world populace [and obviously kal vichomer the many other strands of orthodoxy] acts quite independently from its leadership. I value the Agudah greatly. But I wonder if that model will work in 21st century America.
How many people his age spend their time running from simcha to simcha from dinner to dinner and in Moscow as RSK? R CD Zwiebel knows what to say,and when to say it . R Zwiebel is an exceptional Ben Torah and representative of the Charedi world in the public arena.
Precisely why it is very misleading to really understand what happened in the past and accusations of what has changed. It is complex, conditions change. Thus, for example when my mother AH took the SATs she was onetwo students in her city that had to stay over Shabbos in a proctors house and take the exam from 900pm to 300 AM. No Sunday administrations. Naturally one can’t tell what the impact of not offering tests on non Shabbos would be today. I suspect in my Mother’s Day many if not most colleges did not require those tests.
I first raised the question of day schools impact over a decade ago with Orthodox Jewish experts in fields of data analysis and they hadn’t thought of that there are negative impacts of day schools , in addition to the positive ones. There has been very little objective analysis of true impacts, cost benefit analysis of Jewish Rthodox decision making. My pleas is for more of it.
though expressed differently, we essentially agree, i believe. much has changed and a better understanding of causality would be useful. i for one do not believe we even all agree on the facts let alone the accompanying narrative.
TTaking the SATS when I took them in the early 1970s had changed for the better,. All you needed was a rabbi’s letter attesting to the fact that you were a Shomer Shabbos. Only those who seee day schools as “parochial” and who view Jewish education as of minor if not trivial importance today remain implacably opposed to day schools as a major element in the transmission of Jewish literacy and values. The transmission of Torah, Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim should never be subjected to a cost benefit analysis because such a methodology ignores the miraculous and phoenix like survival of Klal Yisrael throughout the ages.
Having once lived in NYC, I don’t know how any family manages to afford to live on the West Side, unless the breadwinner is a partner in a law or investment firm. Or inherited a rent controlled apartment.
In any case, Shabbos in the suburbs, away from the grime, noise, and vagrants is my preference anyway.
When my wife and I live lived in UWS it was a rent stabilized apartment. Not expensive. We didn’t inherit a rent controlled apartment. It was not a fancy building, side street, no doorman.
Did you really feel that you were part of the community or transient? Did you think that you could be involved in any way in any of the shuls in the neighborhood? How long did you estimate or think that you would be staying on the LSS? Did you think that you would want to raise a family and pay tons of money for an apartment near a shul and subway entrance? A professional colleague who lived in Flatbush once explained to me that the UWS for all of its intellectual and cultural bustle was not a cohesive neighborhood or community where you really wanted to raise a family when you compared it either to Flatbush of Queens. It was and remained IMO a pretty valid critique because the UWS was and remained a very transient community unless you had the $ to stay there.
We belonged to two schuls in the neighborhood. I did not live near LSS lived about 1.5 miles from there., walked maybe a few times a year to go there, same was a couple of times a year to go to various east side schuls. It was a transient community, but truth of the matter in my suburban community I can’t say schul is friendlier or more involved with people than it was in UWS.
Which community did or do you feel more a part ?
It was friendlier IMO in the UWS.
I think that many if not most married couples will tell you that they real part of a community where they have bought a home ,belong to and daven at least one shul and are sending kids to the local yeshivos. That is how you meet and develop friendships and show sign of investing in a community and its institutions. Until you cross that rubicon, you are by nature a transient in a ny community.
“I think that many if not most married couples will tell you that they real part of a community where they have bought a home ,belong to and daven at least one shul and are sending kids to the local yeshivos. That is how you meet and develop friendships and show sign of investing in a community and its institutions. Until you cross that rubicon, you are by nature a transient in a ny community.”
You are a transient in that, while one has a child going to school,one by very nature for those years you are involved with people, car pooling,kids playing with each other,once gone that interaction ends. Only interaction is during shiurim but that is also transactional. After minyan if you are lucky for a minute and maybe walk home together.
The following questions IMO remain unanswered:
“Did you really feel that you were part of the community or transient? Did you think that you could be involved in any way in any of the shuls in the neighborhood? How long did you estimate or think that you would be staying on the LSS? Did you think that you would want to raise a family and pay tons of money for an apartment near a shul and subway entrance?”
That is far different than telling is which shul was more “friendlier” or “more involved with people.” Wherever anyone lives with a family, in any community, they decide, not the community, where and to the extent they become involved in the community.
We have lived in KGH since we we got married and we have a great chevra of friends .You have no idea how much hakaras hatov I have when I get off the bus having survived a subway ride that can either make or break my ride home. We have big shuls, shtieblach, an eruv ( the only eruv approved by RMF in writing) , a mikvah , great rabbonim , many familes who are learners-earners regardless where they went to yeshiva, no communal machlokes and wonderful opportunities for Torah education from K to kollel with a campus of Touro ( Lander) Yeshiva Ohr HaChaim and the main campus of Chafetz Chaim as well, and a community where everyone says Good Shabbos to each other regardless of your levush, head covering and whether you utlilize the eruv.
Just to make the point – there is more than one shul in Pittsburgh that has been around for well over 100 years, and still thriving.
In Squirrel Hill or elsewhere?
1 outside squirrel hill, but it is hard to say that one is “thriving”. Otherwise, nearly everything is in squirrel hill, young Chabad couples’ foray into nearby Greenfield notwithstanding. Regardless, Squirrel itself is very urban, at least compared to most Midwest Orthodox community locales.
I question whether the East End of Pittsburg or even McKeesport has had a viable Orthodox presence for decades.
the answer is no, though the 1 shul outside squirrel hill that i referred to is in white oak, a suburb of mckeesport, Gemillas Chessed, led for decades by the great Rabbi Irvin Chinn.
I think this article is grossly overstated. Manhattan is a very bad barometer to measure with. This isn’t the 1960s or 70s anymore. And the points about Brooklyn are greatly exaggerated. They are far from being in decline.
But what this article most misses is the phenomenon called Lakewood. A large majority of the movement of young Orthodox Jewish families out of other centers of Jewish living are coalescing in one place: Lakewood, New Jersey. It really does all boil down to that. The Yeshiva type families this article is speaking of are in huge numbers moving to Lakewood from not just New York but from shrinking Orthodox communities around the country.
If Flatbush, Williamsburg and NP’s very substantial communities next generations move not even en masse but substantially to Kiryas Yoel, the FT, Monsey and its outer communities, Passaic-Clifton and Lakewood and its satellite communities, andQueens follows suit , we are talking about a major demographic change. So far, there is movement but not what can be called abandonment RL of neighborhoods as happened when Brownsville and similar communities basically moved en masse
Which orthodox communities around the country are shrinking? So far as I can see, the orthodox communities of out of town cities (Chicago, Cleveland, Baltimore, LA, etc.) are thriving. My personal barometer of measuring orthodox growth is the “Adlerstein Index”, formulated by west coast scientists – pizza shops don’t lie.
LA will be interesting to see next generation. Both hancock park and beverlywood are in the 2 million plus for starter homes. Only tycoons or their kids will be able to own. The only option available currently, the valley, is a million cheaper and twenty degrees hotter….
Many Californians are leaving the state altogether.
I think that your point is very correct in that all roads in the Charedi community ( Litvishe and Chasidishe) lead to Lakewood. Every week, in the Yated, there are fund raisers or parlor meetings for Brooklyn Charedi yeshivos and Chasidishe mosdos by their alumni who are living in Lakewood.
https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/2017/07/why-a-new-jersey-town-was-wrong-to-prevent-its-jewish-residents-from-constructing-an-eruv/ For more evidence of the NIMBY approach when it comes to the expansion of Torah observant communities to the burbs.
Dr Bill-did you ever go the famous minyan at the Bernstein apartment? Nice Tefilah and even a better Kiddush afterwards!
sadly, no. i did not even know about it. i rarely stayed in the dorm over shabbos.
A similar phenomenon is happening in Jerusalem, where exorbitant housing prices make it extremely difficult for young couples to buy or rent apartments. The population of J-m is actually shrinking, after decades of growth. In some neighborhoods, like Sorotzkin and Sanhedria Murchevet, most of the residents are older people who have lived there for decades, while their married children cannot afford to live in J-m and have moved to Beitar, Ramat Bet Shemesh, Bnai Brak and many other towns.
Jerusalem has a couple of big real estate problems, church land, green line. Take the Rakevet Kala to Pisgat Zev and after City Hall stop, most stops are ones you would not want to walk in.
“Do a research internet on Jewish intermarriage in US 1920 will see a very low number. The number for day school intermarriage rate was based on discussion wth leading Jewish communal professional. The professional is certainly Orthodox and was looking at the 1990 and lent decade Jewish population studies . I am relying on his figures. BTW one can think of famous Americans who went to day schools and intermarried”
Link please? FWIW, the last sentence -of what value is it to the discussion?
Mycroft-no link = no proof. Comparing the Jewish community of 1920 which was still then a largely immigrant community to the Jewish community of the 1990s which is far more assimilated strikes me as a problematic comparison for any purpose other than a historical comparison. I have looked for a link and seen none. If you can provide a link, I will comment after looking at who ran and participated in the study and which communities , if any, were the subject of the survey.
The 1990 day school community general does not have the general same time that their ancestors have been in US compared to general Jewish community. It is in general a much later population. Vast majority of Jews trace ancestry to those who came to US 1880 – 1920. Read stories of those attending day schools and Yeshivas, most are descended from those coming to America post 1933.
BTW people can’t have it both ways attack the Jewish commitment of those in America before end of WWII while simultaneously stating that theiy had lesser intermarriage wo day schools is irrelevant.
The day school establishment has no t done any rigorous studies showing the benefits of day schools. There has been one recently that shows benefits from day schools, summer camps and supplemental duration.
Read your post again-Post 1933 is an improper watermark. Try post WW2.
Why not? Only those who are and were implacably opposed to day school education refuse to acknowledge the success of day school education in helping inculcate the importance of Torah Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim in the next generation.
Mycroft wrote in part:
“Go to Palm Beach County, go to many states where one will find Conservative and Reform temples. There is no Orthodox unless one includes Chabad as Orthodox”
Much of RJ’s numbers includes mixed marriages and patronial rooted conversions and the average R and C house of worship is empty except for one day a year. Why are R and C houses of worship reported repeatedly as seeking mergers and C moving almost to the point of zero halachic requirements for membership. Looking to R and C as the majority of the future is a dubious proposition
Attacking R and C is easy but where are the Orthodox schuls. For our purposes not theological but sociological we I believe will both agree vast majority of Jews gong to Chabad outside NY are not Orthodox.
Orthodox shuls so not exist in a vacumn. They are a major part of an Orthodox community with the superstructure expected of the same-K-12 education, eruv, mikvah , shopping. They should never be compared with R and C houses of worship which are empty except for three days a year.
“. BTW one can think of famous Americans who went to day schools and intermarried”
Link please? FWIW, the last sentence -of what value is it to the discussion?”
You question me when I am combining public knowledge with that I learned from one who had data the two Jewish population studies about a decade apart from1990 and 2000-thus I submit the last sentence as anecdotal showing that day schools may not necessarily even prevent intermarriage
Anecdotal evidence is even more suspect and less reliable than a survey that is biased . That’ sounds like Shabbos afternoon lunch anecdotes.
“Public knowledge” and claims of “data” without a link to a reputable survey is at best anecdotal in nature. WADR, day schools with a commitment by both parents and their children who are the students to observance and reinforcement in the community and during the summer via camping in an Orthodox atmosphere stands a far better chance of transmitting the Mesorah of Torah Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim than by merely enrolling a child in a day school.
Sounds like this might just be mirroring general urbanization trends in America: https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/04/why-is-everyone-leaving-the-city/521844/
Also, what is a “non-Jewish apartment building”? Are there such things as Jewish apartment buildings?
I appreciate the references to my father z”l’s teaching and my mother z”l’s kiddush after shabbos davening. חבל על דאבדין ולא משתכחין.
Mycroft wrote in part:
“You are a transient in that, while one has a child going to school,one by very nature for those years you are involved with people, car pooling,kids playing with each other,once gone that interaction ends. Only interaction is during shiurim but that is also transactional. After minyan if you are lucky for a minute and maybe walk home together”
That’s how friendships develop. Common interests, etc lead to invitations for Shabbos meals, kids go to school together and you are invited to and attend each others’ simchos, etc. People who spend many years in a community are hardly transient unless they have no friends whatsoever.