I live in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn on 4th Avenue and 101 Street. Not far from here we find Borough Park one of the largest Orthodox Jewish communities outside of Israel, with one of the largest concentrations of Jews in the United States and Orthodox traditions, rivaling many insular communities. Since the average number of children in Hasidic and Hareidi families is 6.72, Borough Park is experiencing sharp growth. It is an economically diverse area, with rich, working class and poor people living side-by-side and going to the same schools and synagogues. Its heart lies between 11th and 18th Avenues and 40th and 60th Streets.
Another very large Hasidic community, on the other side of Brooklyn, is Williamsburg - which is more ethnically mixed, and is known to attract people from the creative community who cannot afford to live in the city, and often come here for readings.
Both areas, like much of all Brooklyn and its four neighboring boroughs, are going through major renovations with property values leveling off during the recession, and expected to increase afterwards.
The Hasidic are a close knit community in Brooklyn, who like many other groups, have those who remain steeped in old world traditions, and others who leave to become part of the secular world.
Through the years, men and woman from the Hasidic community have come to see me, for a reading, as I grew to understand their customs and traditions. Growing up Jewish in Brooklyn, I understand the Yiddish language which creates a bond of kinship and trust.
The rabbis I have read, surprisingly understand about end times and esoteric thinking, one cantor teaching me about kinesiology which he practices in Borough Park with great success.
Like any community, there are positives and negatives, such a marriage as early as 18 and the creation of large families, which are not easy to support in today's economy. Can you image a 20 year old 'boy' coming to see me, who is married with a child and wants to see about his future and ability to support his family as another baby is on the way.
Marriages are often arranged - (I hate that) - therefore when men come here and talk about cheating on their wives, it is of no surprise. Women and men are supposed to be virgins until they marry. Young men cannot have sex until married, even if it's as late as 30. How outdated are these traditions in today's world, especially in NY? I would say the women adhere to virgin rule, but not the men. I have wondered about gay men, as I am told they are part of the community. Though I have not read any, it would seem they either leave the community, or marry, have children and then have relationships outside, a growing tradition. By the way - any couple can divorce, but most don't.
One male client I read from time to time, has 2 sets of triplets, as his wife had fertility problems after her first child was born. I feel like I've seen those triplets go from infants to teens who I suppose will marry in the years ahead.
Do you know how expensive an Hasidic wedding can be? As many as 400 can be invited, so do the math. Oy vey! And what about the triplets? Their father owns a grocery store and works very hard - a sweet caring man. How can he afford all those weddings and accompanying gifts?
Hasidic women are changing. They tell me they don't want large families, but prefer to go to college and have a career. They practice birth control, not the men. They also drive, and often don't wear their wigs outside of the community, spend time on computers, but TV's are still banned in some homes, which seems ridiculous as it's all on the computer. Wearing a wig in the summer would drive me nuts! Traditions are changing as nothing stays the same ... in time.
Many families in the Hasidic community, spend summers in the Catskill mountain bungalow colonies, especially in Monticello in Sullivan county, where I spent all of my summers from ages 5-11 and remained connected until recently - and also in Monsey, New York.
Currently I visit Borough Park to buy fabric, as I still like to sew, though since I started Crystalinks, have little time. While in Borough Park, I am either well received by those who know me, or of me, and ignored by the others, who wait on other customers as if I am not there, until I protest. It's easy to spot me as I am the lady wearing pants, often jeans ... a no-no for women. Other stores, especially along 13th Avenue, have ethnic food, pastries, books and other things that belong to the traditions of the community. One thing that can be said about the community is - people tend to look after each other.
Inherited emotional problems exist in the Hasidic community as they do everywhere, sometimes pushing a person over the edge. So now we arrive at the murder and dismemberment of Leibby Kletzy, a sweet little boy who got lost walking home from day camp on a very hot muggy day in the city Monday and asked the wrong person for help. How many times have children everywhere been warned not to talk to strangers? Leibby was supposed to meet his parents about seven blocks away, but did not show up. It was the first time the boy had been allowed to leave the camp on his own, Kelly said. We know he was murdered by 35 year old Levi Aron, but what was the motivation? Was there a sexual assault? Aron's confession makes no sense.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the Kletzy family. A friend in the community told me, "It's a terrible story!!! Everyone I talked to cried and cried. I sobbed. How innocent he was!" If you are a Medium, you can see his soul, still not understanding that he has crossed over. Truly sad. If you have lost a child to foul play, this story may bring up unresolved issues, that hopefully will allow you to move on. One never stops mourning a lost child, which brings lessons about one's emotional issues, before and after the child died. On the global front, do you know how many children die each year in war-torn countries, to violence, disease, famine, and more? Hundreds of thousands ... Children are often victims of the insanity of the world.
Boy, 8, Mourned After Horrific Killing NBC - July 14, 2011
Slain Brooklyn boy alive for hours after disappearance, suspect allegedly says MSNBC - July 14, 2011
"Due to traffic, I got back around 11:20 p.m. ... so I brought him to my house thinking I'd bring him to his house the next day," he added. "He watched TV then fell asleep in the front room. I went to the middle room to sleep." 'I panicked'. The next morning, Aron said, the child was still sleeping "when I was ready to leave. So I woke him and told him I'll bring him to his house ... when I saw the flyers I panicked and was afraid. I was still in panic ... and afraid to bring him home. That is when I went for a towel to smother him in the side room. He fought back a little bit."
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