Posts Tagged ‘diasporas’
Bloomberg’s Freeman Klopott takes a look at the unpleasant conflict in the New York village of Bloomingburg between Hasidim and non-Hasidim over development in the community. Tension between fast-growing Hasidic populations looking for inexpensive places to live–cheaper places than Brooklyn–and non-Hasidic populations disliking rapid change has occurred elsewhere.
A plan to build 396 townhouses for ultra-orthodox Jews in a rural New York village is pitting residents and local officials against a developer who says he’s a victim of an anti-Semitic plot.
Opposition to the project is so strong that Bloomingburg, the village in the Catskills, is considering dissolving its local government, which could allow the larger surrounding town to block the development. Voters will decide Sept. 30 whether to fold their municipal government into the Town of Mamakating, whose population is 30 times larger.
Shalom Lamm, the developer seeking to build townhouses and amenities meant to draw Hasidim, accused officials in a federal lawsuit of misusing building codes to keep Jews from moving to the area and violating the rights of the plaintiffs under the U.S. Constitution. Town officials say the issue is about preserving Bloomingburg’s rural character, not about religion.
“I want the village to be like it was eight years ago when I moved up here,” said Mayor Frank Gerardi, who signed a petition calling for the dissolution. “It was a quiet place, a nice little town. Now everything has changed. There’s hustle and bustle, a lot of housing changes.”
Bloomingburg, home to about 420 residents 78 miles (126 kilometers) northwest of Manhattan, sits in the farthest reaches of a culture war raging in New York City’s exurbs as the largest Hasidic community outside of Israel leaves gentrifying Brooklyn in search of lower-cost housing. The fight has increasingly entangled state agencies and Governor Andrew Cuomo, a 56-year-old Democrat facing re-election in November.