MAILBAG: All Those “Crazy People” Were 100% Right

Your mailbag letter titled “Adirei Hatorah Doesn’t Fix The Much Bigger Problem In Lakewood” really struck a chord with me. As much as the Adirei initiative is doing, a lot more will have to be done to ensure that yungerleit will be able to remain in Lakewood.

But, it got me thinking. Why have home prices jumped so dramatically? The reason is not simply that there is demand; it’s who is behind that demand. For instance, if only yeshiva families were seeking homes, you wouldn’t see prices where they are now – even if there aren’t enough homes for all of them. Why? Because they can’t afford it.

The rise in prices is a lot more attributable to an increase in out-of-towners moving into Lakewood, and those who would typically move out of the town now staying and buying homes. The people causing this price surge are the baalebatim and generally less yeshivish. This is not an attack on them, it’s just reality.

But why are baalebatim and less yeshivish people deciding to move and/or stay in the Lakewood area? Because Lakewood has become a lot more accommodating to them. The shopping and services which they want are not the same as the stores and services that yungerleit rely on. For example, the numerous fancy restaurants around Lakewood the likes of which were once only found in Brooklyn and Manhattan, are not being patronized by the yeshivish people.

This has me thinking: we all those people we deemed crazy a few years back completely right? I was among the people who, along with many others, laughed at the people who protested every time a new, fancier establishment opened. I remember when a certain lady came to the Lakewood municipal building to protest against a new shopping center – I made fun of her, and so did many others. But she was right; they were all right.

The level of materialism in Lakewood has now jumped to a level never seen before, and most tragically, the price of homes have skyrocketed. Now, not only is Lakewood not what it once was as far as kedusha is concerned, but those who made Lakewood what it was are being forced out of town! The very people who built Lakewood are being implicitly exiled.

All those crazy people were 100% right. We should’ve listened, but now it’s probably too late.

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  1. A great venue to air your strong feelings is at the next Township Committee meeting.

    Over the last few months, the Township approved construction of the shopping mall as well as fancy 8 story office buildings adjacent to each other in the Cedarbridge Campus.

    Literally, not one single member of the public spoke up at these meetings in opposition to these plans!

    Make your voice heard to the Township Committee!

    Let them know that all of their approvals of fancy stores and office buildings are what is driving up costs of housing for yungeileit, ultimately pricing them out of town.

  2. You are probably correct, except for one thing. The Yeshivish oilam is frequenting those establishments. The young kollel wives going out for lunch with their friends, the husband taking out his wife, the fancy baby carriages, etc. let’s not blame just the outsiders. I’m in Lakewood and see what’s happening too. The yungerleit are not the same either.

    • How many yungerlite in kollel have “fancy baby carriages”? How many young kollel wives are going out for lunch at expensive restaurants? There are thousands more who don’t do any of the above. Please don’t make generalizations based on a few people.

  3. The reason the prices of housing is so high because there is a very big demand for housing around the world. Lakewood included. The only way to bring down the price is to build more housing.

  4. As the amount of Yungeleit who are unable to purchase homes in Lakewood grows, it is only a matter of time until someone steps up and opens a new town somewhere in rural PA or the like. IF BMG opens it themselves, that would be most ideal, but mark my words its gonna happen! A real estate agent told me he figures the number is around 300-400 families that would purchase a house if it was in the 400K range, when that number gets to 800 he said that would force a new town!!!


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