Background: Who Are The Chasidic Inhabitants Of Jersey City?

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JERSEY CITY (VINnews) —  An estimated 100 families from a number of Chasidic sects based in Brooklyn have bought over the last few years a number of large wood-frame rowhouses in Jersey City whose prices are less than half what homes of similar size would cost in New York — roughly $300,000 compared with nearly a million dollars in New York, according to a New York Times report.

These families have caused a significant change in the demographics of many suburban towns. With real estate prices skyrocketing in Brooklyn and Queens, young Chasidic families have been forced to find residence in unexpected places, like Toms River and Jackson Township in New Jersey, the Willowbrook neighborhood on Staten Island and in Bloomingburg, N.Y., in the foothills of the Catskills. These are within commuting distance of the metropolis but are still affordable to such families.

With families usually numbering 6 or 7 children and the ultra-orthodox community in New York alone numbering some 330,000, the acute shortage of affordable housing has forced Chasidic groups, who favor living together in insular zones, to search for innovative solutions.

Yoel Perl, a spokesperson for the Yaazoru committee, which has been helping Chasidim locate properties, said that they are also renting out properties at affordable prices to members of the Chasidic community, with a two-bedroom house going for 1200$ a month.

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Perl insisted that they are not trying to throw out local residents but long-established residents feel threatened as Chasidic Jews seek to establish a foothold for their burgeoning population. Residents complained that agents representing the Chasidic community have been ringing doorbells persistently, offering to buy properties at cheap prices.  Jersey City, Toms River and Jackson have all now passed ordinances barring such inquiries under the threat of fines or have banned solicitations altogether.

The mayor of Jersey City, Steven Fulop, told the New York Times that his town took pride in its diversity but had been concerned about “very aggressive solicitation.”

“They literally go door to door and can be very pushy trying to purchase someone’s house,” Mr. Fulop, himself a grandson of Holocaust survivors and a graduate of yeshivas, said in an interview. “It’s not the best way to endear yourself to the community, and there’s been a lot of pushback.”

Chasidic Jews have been migrating to cheaper suburbs but have also raised concerns as they settle into new communities.

Michele Massey, a former Jersey City councilwoman who is the executive director of an organization that oversees a commercial corridor along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, said that Chasidim had opened a synagogue on the avenue despite a recent zoning change forbidding new houses of worship.

“It’s not because they’re Jewish,” Ms. Massey said of her opposition. “It could have been any other religion or group. It was simply the zoning law. I’m a person of color. Obviously I don’t care who lives where.”

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The Chasidim maintain that they have primarily purchased boarded-up or vacant homes and that solicitations have come from outside investors, not from the families that have moved in. They support the city’s new ordinances and point out that the Chasidic families that have moved into the Greenville neighborhood are just a small fraction of the area’s 47,000 people, half of whom are black.

The Chasidim also insist that all they have opened on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive is a small community center and not a synagogue . However, like many Jewish institutional buildings, it is also used for prayer and study. Next to it is a grocery stocked with kosher foods and Yiddish newspapers, which was the site of Tuesday’s shooting attack.

Some Chasidim noted that within a few blocks along the avenue are a Catholic church, a mosque and a storefront church called the Sanctified Church of Jesus Christ. Those were included under zoning rules and officials are weighing whether the community center violates the rules or could also be included.

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22 COMMENTS

  1. Leave that Rat hole, let those rats live there. I was thougt: never drive down a street named Martin Luther King Dr.or Blvd. or Street, who talks about living there.

  2. Mr. Kapo ‘Schmidt’- as you are a racist rasha, (with a dozen fake VIN names) you are obviously not Jewish. Please post your vile hate speech on InfoWarz or Der Sturmer.

  3. Hey goldenHyena. You the only one allowed to opine , calling people racists and Nazis up and down? You’re not by any chance an angry DemonRat shutting down free speech are you?

  4. What a negative anti semitic “report” about ehrliche Yidden living out-of-town. If this exact report qas written by rise up Ocean County, you would be shouting from the roof tops, but because VIN got their anti Chassidus out in public, suddenly it’s okay. Pheh.

  5. If this former Jersey City councilwoman wants to go head-to-head with the state and federal laws regarding prohibiting houses of worship, she could go right ahead.

    She will end up in the dustbin of history as far as that’s concerned along with folks of other cities.

  6. Wherever one decides that move for whatever reason, one must take into acct the safety of the neighborhood.

    Just as this group moved due to affordability- they can’t afford to be naive about perceptions about them.

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