The following is a letter by OJPAC co-founders Aron Spielman and Yossi Gestetner to the Chronicle Newspaper which is circulated in Orange/Sullivan Counties of New York
Good day Editor,
In a letter by Rich Freidfeld dated August 23, 2019, with the headline "Hasidim should treat their neighbors like neighbors," your paper gave space for wide-brush and unsubstantiated accusations against Hasidim as the reason why, according to the writer, Hasidim are "disliked and opposed from every community they try to enter!
The letter presents Hasidim as bumping into people in stores; not saying sorry when they do and failing to say "please" and "thank you." There is no evidence that this happens by Hasidim any more than in does by anyone else. It's 2019. Everyone has camera phones. There would be a dozen new video evidence of this daily, but there are no such videos because it's a baseless, bigoted accusation. Even IF Hasidim behaved this way at a higher rate than people from other communities, it is bigoted to hate on all Hasidim due to the actions of some or many Hasidim.
Freidfeld claims that Hasidim "continue to live off the tax base of the communities that they continue to degrade." Well, when Kiryas Joel broke away from the Town of Monroe last year, the town upped tax by almost 10% and reduced services. Both were done to cover the net tax loss that the town had from Hasidim leaving. This means that Hasidim are, in fact, a net tax contributor to local governments.
As for "communities that they (Hasidim) continue to degrade." Well it is not Hasidim who sit on Facebook groups where administrators and commentators by the hundreds degrade their neighbors as it is done to Hasidim on a daily basis, and it is doubtful that Hasidim submit letters to your paper smearing Chester residents the way Friedfeld did to Hasidim.
Since the writer listed false and wide-brush excuses to trash Hasidim, it is likely that Friedfeld's hate for Hasidim is in fact based on his bigotry against friendly, job-producing, taxpaying people who simply dress different than he does. Finally, if the target of the letter were Muslims, African Americans or Hispanics, you would likely not publish it but since the target are Hasidim everything goes and normalizing the inflammatory rhetoric of that letter likely leads to physical attacks on Hasidim.
Aron Spielman and Yossi Gestetner,
Co-Founders of the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council (OJPAC)
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