Monday, June 8, 2009

We Are Normal

Tonight, the Satmar Rabbi, Aaron Teitelbaum, marries off his granddaughter, Bluma Ashkenazi, in Kiryas Joel.

Mazel Tov to you too.

But not without incident, that is.

One of the founding principles of the Chassidic movement is that regular folk marry off their children modestly according to fixed spending regulations, while rabbis throw extravagant weddings. There are several ways to uphold this treasured tradition. Prevalent custom among contemporary rabbis is to decorate with ornamental lights all streets leading to the various dining rooms and ballrooms where matrimonial festivities are to be held. Nobody questions whether this is really necessary. Certainly, like all traditions, it is rooted in our holy past.

Of course, not every nook and cranny in the outdoors belongs to a certain Chassidic sect, but that’s why we have invented laws of eminent domain. Our boys are free to hang electrical wire wherever they see fit. No questions asked.

Apparently, utility companies disagree.

And it came to pass that Orange and Rockland Utilities dispatched a couple trucks to take off wires illegally strung on their utility poles by Satmar Chassidim in Kiryas Joel, Times Herald Record reports.

Before long, they were surrounded by a mob of zealous young Chassidim. How dare they remove the wires? What do you mean these are your poles? I mean, we did make you guys pay to move the poles away from the curb in a successful litigation where we argued the poles are yours, but that doesn’t mean we cannot use them the way we want to.

So the boys block the technicians, the technicians call the cops, the cops order the crowed disperse, the crowed instead barricades the trucks, the trucks are escorted by police, police are barricaded too, and get some eggs and plastic bottles hurled their way as well.

Police clash!

Mazel Tov again.

Wait. Isn’t this all about God? To most VIN commenters it is. Everything we do either sanctifies the name God or desecrates it.

If we serve the police kugel, God is great, and if we have an argument, His name is disgraced. Now, what will the gentiles say? That Chassidic teens occasionally quarrel with police? You mean just like teens in Newburgh, Middletown, and elsewhere?

What a chillul haShem that is.

I don’t care whether O&R Utilities should have been more sensitive and waited another day to remove the decorations. Neither is it relevant to ask why the KJ Public Safety couldn’t coordinate with police to prevent this from happening.

I want to know why an offense against Police and the People of New York is turned into an offense against God. Why do we have to be better than everybody else?  Why do we represent God more than any other religious group? What has this to do with faith at all?

And if it does, isn’t it enough that crime statistics are lowest in our neighborhoods? Do we really need to be picture perfect? Who raised the bar that high?

Yes, our teens are rogue. We even have a few real criminals.

We are normal.