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Friday, November 17, 2006

Building Like Frum Jews Should

B"H the Frum community is experiencing tremendous growth. People are having many children, life expectancy is rising, and there is an influx of Ba'alei Tshuvah.

This in turn has generated an explosive rate of construction specifically designed for the Frum community, in Brooklyn, Monsey, Lakewood, & elsewhere.

However I discovered a very odd and troubling phenomenon. Almost all new construction I have seen is being built with porches on different sides of the building to allow for people to build Sukkos without being directly under the upstairs neighbor's porch. This is especially accentuated in the new complex Vizhnitz is building in Monsey on Rt. 306, where the porches are being built like sideways steps, with each one moved over from the one below it.

There is one glaring exception. Lakewood, NJ.

Queen's Garden, Washington Square, the new high-rise apartments on Madison & 9th, you name it. All the porches are being built one on top of another!

What will be Sukkos time? A family from the fifth floor will have to keep shlepping up and down five flights of stairs? What about ground floor space? Many of these new apartment buildings simply don't have enough room for all the Sukkos on the property around the building! And even if there was enough space, just imagine the terrible breach in Ma Tovu Ohalecha Yaakov resulting in tens of Sukkos side by side? Is this the way Frum Jews should build?

Hopefully enough indignation can be generated to get these builders and developers to take notice, and start building like self-respecting Frum Jews should (and do in other places)!

19 Comments:

Chaim said...

Good point...man...you're always on the mark.

Anonymous said...

I definitly agree that porches should be made to accomadate sukkos.However I don't think eating in a communal sukkoh is a breach of 'Mah Tovo Oholech Yaakov'.Rather if you have a good relationship with your nieghbors and are all being m'kayim the mitzvoh together its 'heney mah tov u'mah noam shevesh achim gam yachad'.

Sara with NO H said...

Wait a minute...are you really suggesting that people should build their buildings to compensate jews? If someone finds themself living in a building where they have to walk a few flights of stairs for sukkos, maybe they shouldn't move there. You can't expect the world to compensate your or our needs. First comes to worse, go away for sukkos. But you can't possibly be complaining that you can't find room to comfortably build a sukkah when you decided to move to the place you're at. Gut voch.

Independant Frum Thinker said...

Anonymous, I beg to differ. In my opinion families eating together is a serious breach of Tznius. There may be nice parts to it, but from what I've heard the bad outweighs the good.

Sara (yeah, no H), I'm talking specifically about buildings built by Frum Jews for Frum Jews. The same way they make the kitchens with two sinks, they should put a little more money into making Kosher Sukkah porches, like is being done everywhere else.

anonym00kie said...

they have special buildings built by frum jews for frum jews?!

Independant Frum Thinker said...

Yup!

Nice Jewish Guy said...

Whoa. "Families eating together is a serious breach of tznious"? According to whom? There are innumerable frum communities around the world where several families come together at one's home for a Shabbos meal. Fine places ( I live in one of them), with fine shuls and "rabbonim".

And you call yourself an "independent frum thinker"? Please. I didn't want to post my first comment as a flame, and I don't mean this personally, but you're just parroting the same farfrumteh BS that the Charedi oracles in Lakewood, Monsey, and similar places are spouting. If you were truly an independent, critical thinker, you would ask yourself objectively what halacha (not chumra) is being violated by several families who conduct themselves appropriately sitting around a table sharing a meal and divrei Torah.

Regarding the building issue- the world does not revolve around the Jews. Some frum communities seem to have adopted this "inzereh" mentality, and think that local political, zoning, and other instutions should cater to them; but the reality is, we're not any more special. If zoning ordinances preclude building porches a certain way, tough; sukkos is one week out of 52 a year; if you have to walk a few flights of stairs to get to your sukkah, or (gasp) God forbid share a sukkah with another family, then deal with it. The world isn't perfect.

Anonymous said...

Nice jewish guy,
Although I personally don't feel that communal sukkos are a serios breach of tznius;your kneejerk personal attacks on anyone who thinks they are and your uncalled for and unjustified ad homien attacks on Lakewood /Monsey is absolutly unbecoming for someone who calls himself 'nice jewish guy'.
Another point.Has it ever occured to you that someone can feel behavior is inappropiate out of conviction and not because he is closeminded?Although I'm aware that in certain circles (particularly the blog world)the threat of being called close minded is enough to manipulate someone into thinking anything and conversly the brilliant feeling of being openminded seems to allow people to justify anything(haskafa or actions)one doesn't get that attitude through limud h'torah.

Yona said...

Leave these guys alone. If they feel it inapproriate to dine with another family on shabbat or a chag-let them not do it-that's all. There over 5 million Jews in the USA and maybe 15% are Orthodox. We come in many stripes. Do what you want, Go where you want with whomever you want. There's a spot for every Jew where he and she can fit

Independant Frum Thinker said...

Nice Jewish Guy, all I can say is that when families get to know each other that well, things tend to happen. You can disagree, fine. But from what I've heard and seen, it generally isn't worth it. And no, I do not what to go into specifics. If you consider that close-minded, so be it. We are all entitled to our own opinion.

As for the Sukkah issue, perhaps I wasn't clear enough. I'm talking about Frum builders who CAN build Kosher Sukkah porches, but don't, simply because it makes the building plans a tad more complex. That, in my opinion, is wrong.

Thank you for stopping by and leaving your comment. :)

Nice Jewish Guy said...

Well, while we're at it, why not build a complete second kitchen for Pesach as well? Sure, it'll jack up the price of the dwelling by at least 10K, but hey-- mah tovu ohelecha, right? And, let's prewire every circuit with a shabbos timer. And a shabbos hot water reservoir. And let's also put a mechitza down the middle of the dining room on a track, in case someone wants to have another family over for a meal.

Maybe it's just not feasible to build sukkah porches within budget. Maybe there are zoning, building, and fire codes to consider. How do you know? Maybe the average buyer just doesn't care.

"all I can say is that when families get to know each other that well, things tend to happen. You can disagree, fine. But from what I've heard and seen, it generally isn't worth it."

You make no sense. "That well"? What well? How is spending two hours or so once every two months at a table over cholent and kugel, with everyone's kid playing together in the other room, the recipe for disaster you are making it out to be?

Do unseemly things happen in frum communities? Sure. Relatively infrequently. And these things would have happened wether or not meals were shared; you can't isolate yourself from everything. People encounter each other in shul, in the grocery store, in the pediatrician's office, and at the PTA. Not sharing meals because someone might have an affair is like.. well, you may as well not ever leave your house. Ridiculous. It's an unecessary geder that undermines social and community interaction, which is a cornerstone of Judaism. That I should be deprived or limited of the opportunity to have the mitzvah of hachnasat orchim, or to bentch mezuman, or to increase the avirah of Shabbos by having guests-- because some flawed and unhappy human being did something somewhere once? Having guests is the most basic mitzvah, and was personified by Avraham Avinu.

Independant thinker? Sorry, sounds like the usual Chareidi trying to put everyone into smaller and smaller boxes. 'Serious threat to tznious'... good lord.

Independant Frum Thinker said...

I think you're going to far.

Hey, if I'm not "independent", you certainly aren't "nice".

Don't take it personal, I'm only kidding. :)

Anonymous said...

I have a different question? who in their right mind will live in Queens Garden next to the bus station.Have you seen the people who hang around there all day & night.

Nice Jewish Guy said...

It's not personal. And I really am nice.

And you, my friend, are not invited for Shabbos. Things might happen.... ;)

Too bad, I make a pretty good cholent...

Limey2001 said...

the majority of people that are being targeted to live in queens gardens and washington sq are newly weds who would never thing of making yomtov........ on madison and ninth they are staggering the porches a bit (somersets thing)
anyway its cheaper to build one on top of the other and its all about th ebuck anyway

Limey2001 said...

Communal sukkas work in Washington Heights....
I like the part about pesach kitchen and timers etc. i wish my house came "frum"

Independant Frum Thinker said...

limey2001, Queen's Garden has up to four bedroom apartments, and Washington Square has up to three. It's not only "newlywed" material. It's all about money as you said, and that's why I feel its just not right.

nice jewish guy, hmm....we'll have to figure something out.

Anonymous said...

re: communal sukkahs not being tznius

On the Lower Eas Side, communal sukkahs have been used by the kehillah for over 50 years. This includes the zman when R' Moshe ztl
was alive.

And, R' Dovid & his family(wives, daughter & daughters-in-law included) regularly eat in a communal sukkah with other unrelated families.

Perhaps one of the poskim that regularly post here can contqct him & alert him to the inherent dangers of eating in a communal sukkah?

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Anonymous Dec 11 -
Good point.
However, there are differing standards in different communities. Noone is questioning what R' Moshe Z"l did, or what R' Dovid still does, but in Lakewood people don't live that way. Builders should be attuned to that, and build accordingly.