Thursday, March 13, 2008

A new "crisis" in the community

I'm a bit late in reporting this since it's been discussed in the Yated for a few weeks now, but there is another crisis in the frum community. This crisis has no name (or atleast I didn't see any official terms). This crisis is about the many people who are apparently leaving Brooklyn and moving to Lakewood. All the frummies leaving Brooklyn are leaving the yeshivos making the Brooklyn schools empty. This exile to "Ihr HaTorah" is apparently putting the "established shuls and yeshivos " into danger- they may not survive the "loss" of all the people.

Yes, this is the new "crisis." Lakewood is taking people away from Brooklyn, and people actually care! In my opinion it would be alot better if all the psycho lazy (yes, I called them lazy) kollel yungerman, and general pro-kollel people move away from Brooklyn. Fewer nut jubs coming up with crazy chumras in a location that actually effects me...hey, maybe people will stop complaining about Kosher cheeseburgers if they all leave to "Ihr HaTorah"

Anyway, the Rebbeim as well as many Jews who fear change, are pretty stubborn about staying in Brooklyn, and they're trying to show the benefits of living in Brooklyn. One guy mentioned that while real-estate in Lakewood is a lot cheaper, the transportation to and from the city is very expensive. He also mentioned that Lakewood does not have "corner stores" in which the residents can just buy things real simply, but the shopping requires the use of a car- and a car costs money, it is a depreciating asset, as well as a liability (gas price, insurance).

As much as I would love if they all move to Lakewood, this guy made a very good point, one that I cannot refute. I for one, think that the NYC or any city area is the best place to stay for financial reasons. More job opportunities as well as investment opportunities. In Brooklyn for example, after a real-estate slump the price of a house does not diminish as much as it does in non-city areas. In Brooklyn a house would go down only about 20% as opposed to somewhere "out-of-town" a house can go down as much as 40-50% (don't ask where I get this, I read way to many business journals). So, aside for the cheaper transportation, real-estate is definitly something to think about, because while it appears to be cheaper in Lakewood, Brooklyn has a more stable real-estate market.

Another guy said that "During the two thousand years of golus, it has often happened that Jewish communities had to run away from persecution, abandoning the towns they lived in. But why do we have to voluntarily abandon our established communities, without any signs of persecution or natural disasters? There is no apparent reason"

Now this guy is just so easy to attack its not even funny. Firstly, change is essential to life, so is growth and progress. Progressing to a town that is called an "Ihr HaTorah" is something that should not be taking a backseat to a town that isn't as full of Torah learning (Brooklyn). If one has an opportunity to move to such a "holy" city (next in-line after cities in Eretz Yisroal) then why shouldn't they? Who cares about establishments. We're Jews. We're the nation without a land. Our nationality isn't "physical" but rather spiritual. Shouldn't these guys give up on the gashme of Brooklyn and move to the spiritually filled town of Lakewood?


Secondly, this guy doesn't understand the concept of evolution. People as well as animals and plants tend to evolve. This evolution is something that is good. Us Jews have finally evolved into recognition of the perputual hatred we have towards us. We have finally realized that we should abandon our communities BEFORE we are forced to, by war or by pogroms. So this guy should really think long and hard about man's progress, and think about if he really wants to wait for persecution, or beat the next pogrom.

So readers, the Yated calls this massive migration of Jews to Lakewood the new crisis. But is it really?

18 comments:

Jessica said...

Everyone should get out of Brooklyn. Not necessarily to Lakewood, but if it is just the people that treat you like you either don't exist or that you're dirt beneath their feet for having thoughts of your own, that's fine.

Orthoprax said...

Seriously, who reads the Yated?

"I for one, think that the NYC or any city area is the best place to stay for financial reasons. More job opportunities as well as investment opportunities."

Hum? These Lakewood kollel folks generally don't work or invest so the financial bonus is all one way. And, simply, if you're not trying to make your millions on the markets and simply want to own a home then the real estate in Lakewood isn't prohibitively expensive the way it is in Brooklyn.

So spending ~$5K on a car each year (assuming a LOT of driving and some mechanical issues) is definitely an easier burden than plopping down the ~$100+K you'd need for a down payment on a house in Brooklyn.

mlevin said...

1.No, it These Lakewood kollel MAN folks who generally don't work. But WOMEN do work.

2. It costs $1,000 per year to commute to work if one lives in the city, commuting from Lakewood is more then $5,000. You have to take into account tolls, gas, parking, and car expenses such as maintenance and insurance.

So those extra 100+K one needs for down payment in Brooklyn gets paid off very quickly.

But of course to realize all those things one need to have logical and independent thinking skills. And knowing simple arithmetics is always necessary. Neither skill is being tought in BY/Yeshivah world today.

But I'm all for dumb sheep moving out of Brooklyn. More room for the rest of us.

Orthoprax said...

Mlevin,

How many commuters into the city are there from Lakewood? I think it's more a case of them going once in awhile for shopping than a daily commute to work.

And I don't think it would get much above $5K/yr even for a daily commute. Maybe 6 or 7K.

All the same though, it's an easier proposition economically. Housing is extremely expensive in Brooklyn and we're talking about folks who are planning for large families.

Lubab No More said...

Like Orthoprax said, the cost of buying a home in Brooklyn can be prohibitive. But there is also a difference is cost (lower) of utilities, groceries, taxes, and other expenses in Lakewood.

mlevin, at risk of blowing your mind I want to suggest that people don't have to work within the 5 burrows. Just a thought.

mlevin said...

Lubab no more - have you compared property tax in NYC to Lakewood.

Orthopax - My girls both had/have teachers who commuted from Lakewood to NY. And it's not only teachers who commute. There are many jobs and choices in NYC, less in Jersey City and a lot less in Lakewood. It is not not as uncommon as you'd think

Lubab No More said...

mlevin,

> Lubab no more - have you compared property tax in NYC to Lakewood.

According to http://www.city-data.com/ the real estate property taxes paid for zip code 11219 (zip code for "corner store" Amnon's pizza in Brooklyn) in 2000 was: $1,888 or 0.7%
City-data said the real estate property taxes paid for Lakewood (zip code 08701) in 2000 was: $2,942 or 2.3%

So, looking at property taxes alone it is $1,054 cheaper to live within walking distance of Amnon's pizza for a year than it is to live in Lakewood. (About $87.84 cents a month cheaper).

That's swell, but property tax is just one cost when you buy a house. Let's look at the cost of a mortgage in Brooklyn vs. a mortgage in Lakewood.

According to City-data the estimated median value for a house/condo in Brooklyn (11219) in 2005: $631,967
Let's say you put 20% down (yeah, right) your mortgage is: $505,573.60
Assume an interest rate of 6% over 30 years, your monthly payments will be:

$3,031.17 a month in Brooklyn.


Take the average cost of a house/condo in Lakewood in 2005: $263,281
Put 20% down. Your total mortgage is: $210,624.80
Assume an interest rate of 6% over 30 years, your monthly payments will be:

$1,262.80 a month in Lakewood.


This makes it $1,768.37 cheaper PER MONTH to live in Lakewood. The savings you keep on one monthly mortgage payment in Lakewood is greater than the savings of a YEAR of property taxes in Brooklyn.


Money saved living in Lakewood vs. Brooklyn over a year ($21,220.44) minus the higher cost of Lakewood taxes ($1,054) = a total savings of $20,166.44 per year!!!

It's a no brainer.

Moshe said...

Yeshivos may not survive the loss of people? Well then, stop throwing people out and refusing entrance to people who don't conform to your "high" standards and those yeshivos will then survive.

frumskeptic said...

Orthoprax:
"Seriously, who reads the Yated?"
My family :). We don't take it seriously, we read it for entertainment, every shabbos. The readers write forum is hilarious.

"These Lakewood kollel folks generally don't work or invest so the financial bonus is all one way. And, simply, if you're not trying to make your millions on the markets and simply want to own a home then the real estate in Lakewood isn't prohibitively expensive the way it is in Brooklyn."
Well, many of the women in these kollel marraiges do work. And the "crisis" doesn't only extend to the kollel guys, but to the earners who move there as well so that they can learn in a more holy environment. Anyway, my point wasn't that they'd invest to make millions in the markets, but rather that while it seems to be cheaper, in the long run, when it comes to sell the house, and retire, Brooklyn may just be the better investment. After 30-40 years, the house in Brooklyn will be sold with a greater return.

Moshe:
"Well then, stop throwing people out and refusing entrance to people who don't conform to your "high" standards and those yeshivos will then survive."
I agree with you. These schools have to become more openminded in their admissions policies. People aren't cookie-cutters!

Ortho, Lubab, Mlevin:
I'm so staying out of this one!

Child Ish Behavior said...

"He also mentioned that Lakewood does not have "corner stores" in which the residents can just buy things real simply"

Oy, but thats the best part of Lakewood, no shmutzy magazines like the Jewish Press to corrupt your children's minds.

And as for property values, if your in kollel you cant afford a house anyway. If your not in kollel you can afford the commute.

And the biggest reason this is the biggest crisis is not because of the people who stay in Brooklyn losing out on the bench warmers. The biggest issue is the Brooklyn people corrupting the holy Lakewood yungerlait.

Orthoprax said...

Mlevin,

I'm someone who's been keeping a casual eye on the housing markets and it seems to me that living in Jersey gets you more bang for your buck. That includes the costs of commute which simply isn't a sticking point for many people.


FS,

"Anyway, my point wasn't that they'd invest to make millions in the markets, but rather that while it seems to be cheaper, in the long run, when it comes to sell the house, and retire, Brooklyn may just be the better investment."

Well, that's one point I guess. But I think you'd be more concerned on your actual living arrangements for the 30-40 years you plan on living in a home than the amount you can flip it for when you intend on retiring. Like I intimated above, you can get a really nice home in Jersey with a large front and back yard for what you'd pay for a small house in Brooklyn.

The Babysitter said...

Almost all the girls in my grade that got married moved to Lakewood.
Interesting point childish behavior made. I was in Lakewood recently and I was so surprised, the people there still have issues in frumkeit their struggling with. R' Simcha Bonim Cohen gave this mussar speech to woman there about tznius. So apparently all these Brooklyn people moving to Lakewood is starting to make it not so "holy" anymore.

AidelKnaidel said...

lol. That is hysterical.

But I really wanted to thank you for your comment, and for that essay. It was really meaningful, and exactly summarized or paraphrased what I am feeling.

frumskeptic said...

Aidel: No Problem. :-)

Lvnsm27 said...

I understand that they feel that it might hurt the yeshivas and shuls. But not everyone is leaving, just some. And so there should still be a good amount there.

I'm in Los angeles, but the block I'm on, especially the one north of me, is like brooklyn lol

ProfK said...

The yeshivas and shuls in Brookyn are guilty of knowing nothing about economics and market theory. They assume that because growth has been at X for a certain amount of time that it will continue to be X. They aren't looking at market saturation. Flatbush and Boro Park have pretty much reached their saturation point as far as housing for the frum. Unless you assume that all non Jews will move out of Brooklyn, there aren't enough homes available for young couples. And whatever homes there are are not affordable. The pat answer would be for those who no longer have children to move out of areas around a yeshiva, and that isn't going to happen.

The answer that some young couples are giving is to move to Lakewood. Others are moving to different areas of New Jersey such as Edison and Passaic. Others are moving to previously not frum areas, such as Marine Park in Brooklyn, and establishing new communities. It's a fact of life that when a bottle gets full you have to start filling another bottle.

Yehudi Hilchati said...

I am so glad I don't live in Brooklyn OR Lakewood. Brooklyn was a great place to grow up till my early teens when Flatbush started turning into Boro Park.

I live in the midwest, in a city that has a respectable Orthodox community and a day school. We even have a kollel. And you can buy a 3 bedroom house inside the eruv for $150K. That's the whole price, not the down payment.

The whole brooklyn/lakewood debate is a bizarre symptom of people who have no idea that frum communities exist in other places.

If men really want to learn in kollel, how about joining an "out of town" kollel, where the memebers learn most of the time, but also give shiurim, do kiruv, and provide other services for the community? Look up "community kollel" on google and you'll find links to kollels similar to the one in my community that actually do something for the Jews around them.

mlevin said...

Back in ’91, my husband and I had to make a decision of where to buy a house. At this point we knew that we had to stay within a commutable distance of NYC because my job is linked to Wall Street. We quickly narrowed it down to Brooklyn or Bergen County. Here are some pros for Brooklyn

Substantially Less property taxes
Limited car usage (less insurance, maintenance, one car is enough, etc.)
Convenience of food shopping and such
Close to old relatives = free babysitting in dire emergencies
Attached houses = less energy spent on heating.
Cheaper commute
Fewer long distance phone charges (no longer applicable today)
Houses come with a second apartment so tenant helps with mortgage payments.
Garage and driveway can also be rented out for extra income
Pay less money for garbage collection, water, and etc.
In case of emergency easier and faster to reach a hospital.

In the end it came out cheaper to buy a house in Brooklyn. I never regretted that decision.

Yehudi - not everyone can move away from this area. With some jobs were are literally tied here.