The Rockland Journal News, AKA LoHud.Com wrote an Editorial about the rift between the many communities in Rockland County, specifically in the Town of Ramapo. Here Is a section of the Editorial:
While the competition over education and land resources feeds tension, cultural differences further divide. There is little intermingling in day-to-day activities. Shopping can even be a segregated activity. Recently, a group went to a local kosher supermarket to “shop” and send a message. “We’re basically saying to the Hasidic community that we are here and we’re not going anywhere, so it behooves both of us to coexist,” the Rev. Weldon McWilliams IV told The Journal News during the July “stop and shop” demonstration organized under the auspices of a group called “Wake Up Rockland.” The effort seemed to cause more confusion than build any bonds. (more…)
Community leaders are urging calm amid an already tension-filled climate between Ramapo’s Orthodox Jewish community and immigrant and black communities over zoning and public school funding issues.
“I don’t want people to get over-excited,” said Yossi Gestetner, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish Blooger. “It’s a serious case. It’s not a joke. But I don’t’ want people to push buttons that will not be helpful and will divide our town and community more than it already is.”
Yossi Gestetner, who provides public relation services for Orthodox clients and writes news commentary for Kol Mevaser, a Yiddish-language news outlet, said that photos of the billboard have made the rounds and that people have been talking more about the topic, but he doesn’t expect what he called an “in-your-face tactic” to have any real impact.
“Your average Hasidic guy is not persuaded by what signs on highways have to say,” Gestetner told the Forward. “You need to have a broad effort to reform the system. Putting up a sign is not going to reform the system.”
In the NYT: Yossi Gestetner, who does public relations work for ultra-Orthdox groups and businesses, said that Mr. St. Lawrence had done a good job of navigating diverse interests, and that critics were mostly just fighting change and growth.
“Once upon a time Manhattan was not developed either,” he said. “Is there a rule on the books that a certain place needs to be rural from now to eternity? (more…)
Arutz Sheva’s New York correspondent spoke to author Yossi Gestetner, who addressed the burning of mezuzot in an apartment building in Brooklyn this week.
11 mezuzot were burned in Brooklyn on Monday, as Jews around the world marked Yom Hashoah, the Holocaust Remembrance Day. Police have arrested Ruben Ubiles, 35, who they said has more than 50 prior arrests, as a suspect in the act.
Gestetner told Arutz Sheva that while there have been incidents of vandalism in Brooklyn, this incident was unprecedented and he could not recall a similar one occurring in recent years. (more…)
In the ultra-Orthodox communities near Monsey in upstate New York, stores are swamped with anxious shoppers.
“Basically if you go to the gas stations you can think we are now in the 1973 embargo,” said Yossi Gestetner, an Orthodox political blogger… ‘If you go a grocery you can think it’s a Friday afternoon, an hour before the store’s closing,” Gestetner said, referring to the pre-Shabbat rush. “And the hardware stores make you think it’s erev Pesach,” Gestetner added, referring to the shopping season before the start of the Passover holiday.
Gestetner added that there are far fewer Orthodox Jews in the Catskills now than when Irene hit last summer, as the Catskills vacation season has ended.
In the Brooklyn-based 7th District seat where Rep. Nydia Velazquez has a competitive challenge, reports Yossi Gestetner, Hasidim could amount to 25 percent of the vote.
“If both sides of Satmar in Williamsburg in addition to the smaller Hasidic sects bring their herd to the polling places, it may produce more than 9,000 votes,” writes Gestetner, a Hasidic operative. “This will be 25% of the 36,000 voters that may show up on Tuesday.”
For the record, total turnout was 24,279 votes and more than 9,000 Hasidim voted; making them more than 30% of the vote.