Jul 30, 2010

Ir Ha'Kodesh?

Photo taken from kumah.org via Google Image Search.
Another Shabbat has come, another week has passed, and I've officially been (Hebrew calendar) married for 2 months and 1 day. Tomorrow, on the Gregorian calendar, actually marks the two-month anniversary of my being wedded to the man, the myth, the legend, Tuvia (a.k.a. Evan). It feels like boatloads longer that we've been hitched. We got married, settled quickly, and finally having all of our stuff in one place has helped us feel like an old married couple. We have a home. A home in Teaneck, New Jersey. So?

See, there's one thing I can't get over: When people ask me how I like living in Teaneck, it's always with a tinge of hesitation, like it's a loaded question. And when I say it's wonderful, facial expressions almost turn into a question mark. As if to say, "wait, you like it there?"

So what is it. What do you know/think about Teaneck? What is your impression of Teaneck? Have you heard about this city, its Jewish population, its rep in the greater Jewish world?

Tell me about it. Let me know what you think about this city I now call home, this city that I absolutely love.

And with that, I bid y'all a Shabbat Shalom!


Anonymous said...

It where all the kosher restaurants are located.

Ansky said...

Just to set the record straight, Teaneck is a township not a city. With that said, I've been living for the good part of 37 years. It has changed a lot since my family moved here in the early 1970's. Some of the changes are good. Some, in my opinion, are not so good. There are plenty of kosher restaurants and shops and it's easy (most of the time) to get to the city via public transportation.

There are many aspects of Teaneck I don't like but I'm not going to get in to them here. I think the fact that I've spent most of my childhood and adult life in Teaneck is enough. Glad to hear that you are enjoying it too.

Leah Sarah said...

I live in Teaneck. I have for a year now, as a non-married woman.

I have to preface it that way, because a lot of my negativity of Teaneck stems from the fact that I am not married or part of the 'young marrieds' group here, even though I live in the "Teaneck Apartments" on Walraven... Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of wonderful people in Teaneck. However, the closest shul on Shabbos(TABC's shabbat minyan) is very cold and unwelcoming the few times I have went. Other shuls, you sort of get lost in the mix, which is totally fine with me, but there's nothing overly welcoming about it. They are also a lot further, the closest being Rinat at .8 miles away(and I think Beth Aaron is a similar distance).

The Teaneck apartments host lots and LOTS of young marrieds, and I think the community in general is very accommodating to young marrieds. Both of my bosses lived in Teaneck when they were newlyweds and loved it, although the wife of one of my bosses hated Teaneck prior to being married. I think Teaneck houses both young marrieds and older, richer, more established families with children(on the other half of Teaneck). It's just not a community for me right now. I get it, married couples are at a different time in their life, especially newlyweds who want to focus on each other and want to spend time with other couples in the same phase of life.

On the other hand, there are many kosher restaurants that, B"H are thriving. There are several kosher markets with kosher butchers. There's even a kosher dunkin donuts!! There are stores for your every need as a frum Jew, which is really nice. There is a variety of choices for shuls to attend, many yeshivas nearby to send your kids to, and lots and lots of Jews. That's the upside -- It's a huge Jewish community, and enough of one to be able to support the Jewish business. This is something you can't find in places like Springfield, Elizabeth, West Orange etc... There aren't enough Jews in any individual place to support it.

I currently live here because it's cheap and convenient for where I work and attend classes, but I don't "love" being in Teaneck.

Anonymous said...

Things I love about Teaneck: The restaurants. The fact that I can live somewhere that has a large population of Black people and Jews (and of course some people who are both). The large number of shuls to choose from. The community-wide events like the huge Birkas HaChama thing last year. Saying "good shabbos" seventeen times on my way to shul. All the trees (it's beautiful for a suburb, with minimal strip malls and lots of greenery). I <3 that there's a Muslim mayor and an Orthodox deputy mayor.

Things I dislike: My Other Half having been raised in Teaneck, I have heard a lot about the resentment old-time Teaneck people have for the influx of rich NYC frummies. I don't really want to raise kids in a place where they can easily be completely isolated from non-Jews or people of different ethnicities and class backgrounds. I hate that the Jewish community is so upper-middle-class-to-wealthy and often kind of snobby. As Teaneck has moved to the right religiously, unfortunately there has also been a movement away from Jews having relationships with their non-Jewish Black, white and Latino neighbors. Growing up my friends who are Jewish and have always lived here had lots of friends from different backgrounds, which was encouraged by their parents. This has changed for the worse. I have heard horrible stories from non-Jews in Teaneck (especially people of color) about neighbors who don't even respond when they say hello, etc. It also seems like in Teaneck if what's right for your kid is public schooling (as is often the case with kids who have special needs, since yeshivas around here are notorious for not being able to accommodate them) you will be looked down upon by your entire community. It didn't used to be that way - My Other Half grew up going to public school with a bunch of Orthodox kids. I also can't stand the overwhelming conformity.

I could say much more, but basically I feel grateful to be in this area right now and I think it's a great place to have young kids, but I dread the thought of being here for the rest of my life (which I'm hoping won't happen).

07666er said...

Hey Chaviva - If you want to get a sense of the conflicts and issues described above check out: teaneckprogress.blogspot.com

Shades of Grey said...

Having recently spent a lot of time in Teaneck (I have a number of friends living there), I like the convenience of all the kosher food, shuls, etc - but the whole "Ir HaKodesh" moniker really disturbs me. Especially as someone who spent a significant amount of time in Yerushalayim while studying in Israel, I find it horribly offensive to even compare the two haphazardly by calling Teaneck "Ir HaKodesh." Teaneck is a great place, but "Ir HaKodesh" it certainly is not.

Chaviva Gordon-Bennett said...

@ShadesOfGray I don't think I mentioned it in my post, but I wasn't calling it that -- other people have called it that jokingly when I tell them where I live ... which, to me, is bothersome as well.

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