June 15, 2005

by Andrew Silow-Carroll
The Hasid next door

Peter Applebome asks all the right questions in a debate over the construction of a yeshiva and boarding school in the Rockland County, NY town of Airmont:

Then there's the question of what's a religious prejudice and what's an aesthetic or a land-use one? You don't have to spend much time in Rockland County to realize just how much the growth of dense, cluttered Orthodox towns like Monsey and New Square is the eternal thread in civic discourse. So, you don't have to be anti-Jewish to be skeptical of the school project here.

"I wouldn't want it, and I'm Jewish," said Leo Bellows, an 84-year-old retiree who was waiting for his sandwich at Joseph's Gourmet. "Once the Hasids come in, they want to take over the entire territory."

Then there is Barry Kostrinsky, a Rockland resident since 1987. "I wouldn't want to say anything bad about another religious Jew, but to me, this isn't about religion, it's about people wanting their own space."

So, whether this is really about religion or culture or even class is a little muddy. But even if they don't admit it, what both sides probably agree on is that when people argue about Hillside Avenue, they're really not arguing about Hillside Avenue.

"The opposition is less about what's going to be on this street and more about what's going to be on the other streets around it," Mr. Lynch said.


It seems like the Hasids are leaving New York City and heading for Rockland

Posted by: Kenta Fikkso at May 2, 2009 9:07 AM
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