OJPAC filed a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request with the Town of Monroe for all marriage certificates that were filed from year 2009 through 2018. It shows that 70.9% marriage certificates filed in the Town of Monroe in 2009 were from Kiryas Joel. By 2014, it was 78.1% of all town filings. By 2016 it was 84.1% of all filings, and last year it was 88.5%. This data debunks the widely held myth that Hasidim have only a rabbinical certificate.
The filings by Hasidim in the Town of Monroe are mostly by people who got married in KJ, and also from a limited number of people who got married elsewhere such as in Brooklyn but moved to KJ right away and thus filed locally. Many people from Kiryas Joel move away after their marriage but clearly only after filing their marriage certificate.
The records reveal that 320 marriage certificates were filed in the Town of Monroe in 2009 of which 227 (70.9%) were by people from Hasidic-populated Kiryas Joel. In 2014, there were 444 filings in the town of which 347 (78.1%) were from Kiryas Joel. In 2016 the filing total was 550 of which 463 (84.1%) came from KJ, and last year in 2018, the total filing was 601 of which 532 (88.5%) came from Kiryas Joel.
The Census survey shows that 98% of the Kiryas Joel population lives in married couples households, as illustrated in an OJPAC video released early July 2019. Despite this fact, many people came to our Facebook page to claim that Census data is just a survey and it can’t be trusted. As such, OJPAC FOIL’ed the hard data on actual marriage certificate and the results reinforce what the Census shows. Namely, that virtually everyone from Kiryas Joel files for a legal marriage certificate.
Yossi Gestetner, Co-Founder of OJPAC, said: “It is strange for people who use Census data as a stick against the Hasidic Community regarding income and poverty to then dismiss Census data which debunks a widely-held myth regarding Hasidim and marriage. Therefore we FOIL'ed the actual marriage records, but it should be on those who make claims against Hasidim to present facts rather than Hasidim needing to FOIL records to debunk those claims."