Thursday, March 17, 2016

Opinion: pushback against the pushiness

 Recent Op ed in Hamodia By Rabbi Avi Shafran 
"Because acting in ways that give people who don’t like Jews in the first place reason to resent us, aside from being wrong, well, gives some people who don’t like Jews in the first place reason to resent us."
Case in point: Several suburban frum communities are expanding greatly these days, attracting Torah Jews from near and far. The law of supply and demand won’t be violated, and what ensues are increased property values and willingness, on the part of some long-time homeowners, to “trade up” to larger homes in other areas. That’s fine and good; and so is the effort by real estate agents to make the case to residents of such communities that they can benefit financially from the new desirability of their dwellings by putting their houses on the market.

What isn’t fine and good, though, is pressuring residents by visiting them, unbidden, to make that case. And what’s even less fine and good is doing so on non-Jewish holidays, when residents are be more likely to be home but are undoubtedly more likely to resent uninvited guests.

Such solicitations have caused some towns, including Toms River, New Jersey, to update their “no-knock” rules and related laws, adding real estate inquiries to measures that already limit other types of solicitations.


An Associated Press story about that particular New Jersey town was recently widely published by media here and overseas. It may be a local story, but when an item involves Jews, money and irate neighbors, it somehow tends to… hold… special interest.

The news article quoted one Toms River resident who claimed to have been badgered by an aggressive real estate agent to sell his home. In local media, several others complained about feeling pressured by Orthodox Jews’ overtures. The fact that a “no-knock” ordinance was unanimously endorsed by the local Township Council itself indicates that others had, or feared, similar experiences — and should be a wake-up call to us all.

Yes, to be sure, some of the pushback against the pushiness might be tainted with pre-existing resentment of Jews. But that’s really beside the point. In fact, it intensifies the point. Because acting in ways that give people who don’t like Jews in the first place reason to resent us, aside from being wrong, well, gives some people who don’t like Jews in the first place reason to resent us.

There is no doubt that the great majority of frum real estate professionals in Lakewood and elsewhere hew to high standards and promote their services in proper manners, using advertisements and mailings. But the small number (it may in fact be only one, but that’s one too many) who feel that it’s “just business” to be aggressive and intimidating toward potential clients are causing ill will against the entire community.

And they should know, too, that the truest measure of Jewish success is acting “with pleasantness toward others,” in ways that make others say “Fortunate is his father who taught him Torah” (Yoma 86a).

1 comment:

  1. Wow the poop sinks to a new low desperate for clicks they posted a video that has no shaychus to lkwd news just for entertainment. The video is a bluff all they did is turn off the machine from beeping.

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