2007-08-31 / Letters

Orthodox Community Is Exclusive,Not Inclusive

Dear Editor,

I've waited to respond to Howard Schwach's Editor's Desk column to see the responses he received. As I assumed, they were very negative.

Whether all the incidents he wrote about were absolutely correct I cannot say. However, I am constantly in the Five Towns (I have family living over there for over 60 years) and I work in a religious institution nearby, so I have some knowledge of what has been happening and I'm not very encouraged by what I see.

It's wonderful that the Orthodox community has found the Five Towns. They have moved in, enlarged the homes they bought, but have not become part of the community. They do not shop, socialize, or have much to do with anyone who is not Orthodox. For the most part, they keep to themselves and have very little to do with anyone else, and in that way, discriminate against others. If you don't keep your shop closed on the Sabbath, they Letters

if the owner is Jewish. I know personally of a situation where two Orthodox men came into a well-known Cedarhurst shop and asked if they would close on Saturday and open on Sunday instead. When the owner asked them why, they said because it was their Sabbath and they don't shop on the Sabbath. The owner repeated what they had said and asked if they were okay with his being open on Sunday. Of course, they agreed. Well, he wasn't going to do that, he told them, because he was Christian and Sunday was his Sabbath, and if they didn't like his answer they could leave his store and not be so insulting. He literally threw them out for such a suggestion. The older of the two men came back later and apologized for what they had said, but the damage was already done.

This is just one example of how the Orthodox community does not want to be inclusive, as some of the Letters to the Editor suggested last week. They do not want to be inclusive, they want to be "exclusive," and exclude anyone who is not like them. They want to do what they want to do, and everyone else stand aside. This is their general attitude and it is not very becoming. I hate to say this but they are creating a very expensive "ghetto" in the Five Towns.

It hurts me to write a letter because

I believe that

everyone, black, white, Christian, Jew and everyone else, should be treated the same way. Unfortunately, that no longer happens in the Five Towns.

SHARON GABRIEL

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