Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Anti-Semitism in the Catskills

I had an interesting conversation with my dad about what is going on in the Catskills. It definitely gave me something to think about.

There is a large amount of development going on...bungalow colonies, yeshivot etc... When these places build, there are many problems that take place. Here are a few scenarios which have happened in the last few years:
  • Group "A" was doing construction, they left piles of junk in front of their buildings, the city government told them that they must transport their stuff to the dump, or they would be fined. (They complied)
  • Group "B" went through the process of getting city approval to enlarge their site (new buildings, etc... Everything they did was not in accord to what was approved. They made buildings that then never said they were buildings, all the buildings that were approved were larger etc... They were fined, and paid it. (But still got away with not following the law)
  • Group "C" requested a certain number of additional buildings, but they have (apparently) added more buildings than they requested and were approved for. (This has just happened...no idea what will be the result)
This doesn't include the generally rude behavior that some of these "summer residents" bring to the area. My mother has been cut off in the grocery line on a Friday afternoon, by someone saying "it is almost Shabbat and I need to get going," rudeness on the roads etc...

Anyway as to the bullet points, my father believes that this causes Anti-Semitism, because people see the "Black Hats" and blame the Jews. I once talked (years ago) to a (non-East Coast) Rabbi who does spend part of his summer here, and he said that the behavior people who come here are enough to make anyone anti-Semitic.

It is really disheartening to see this, but it is true. So what can be done to prevent this? Or how do we make these people see that the "uniform" requires you to realize you are representing a group, even bigger than they realize, and that we are all hurt by their behavior?

And why should a Babka bought in the Catskills cost $15? Well, we can save that question for another time.

2 comments :

Semgirl said...

Aint that the truth. You go to the country to relax and get away from the stress in the city, but its actually more stressful there.
But at least you can meet cute guys on a Moitzi Shabbos in Woodbourne or SF.

PsychoToddler said...

I don't think anti-semitism is caused by Jews, but Jews certainly have it within their power to reinforce it.

I agree--to quote Spiderman--with great power comes great responsibility. If you're going to wear the costume, you have to act like a superhero.

To infinity, and BEYOND!!