Sunday, July 9, 2017

Correspondence Between Lakewood Resident and Professor Heilman

The APP quoted extensively from Professor Samuel Heilman. I sent the professor an e-mail to question some of those quotes, and to his credit, he responded immediately. Below, is the correspondence between myself and the professor.


To Professor Samuel Heilman,

I read some quotes that were ascribed to you in the Asbury Park Press. I know that the press tends can on occasion, take quotes out of context, so I do not know if the quotes reflect your actual views or not. What I do know, is that those quotes do not portray an accurate picture of American Orthodox Jewry in the United States, or Lakewood. As a resident of Lakewood for the past 20 years, and an Orthodox Jew, I would like to clarify some if the points that were raised.

I quote from the APP “The Orthodox members ………. separate themselves from American laws and societal norms, Heilman said.” This is factually incorrect, Orthodox Law clearly states that “the law of the land, is the law”. It is true that Orthodox Jewry has laws in addition to U.S. laws, however that cannot be considered a separation, as Orthodox Jewish Law, is purposely inclusive of U.S. Law.

In regards to “separate themselves from ….societal norms” It would be interesting to know which specific societal norms you were referring


Another quote “"It's hard to persuade them that they're no longer living in a world where they want all the Jews dead,". I don’t want to assume anything, but I would imagine that this statement was made with some hyperbole. I was never raised on the presumption that all non-Jews wanted Jews dead. Growing up, I played ball daily with my Jewish and non-Jewish neighbors alike, and we were very friendly and respectful of each other.

The APP further quoted “Heilman said 50 to 65 percent of the Orthodox in Lakewood live below the poverty level. In many ways, the Orthodox are impoverished by choice — many are not college educated, most marry early, have large families and don't see public assistance as an embarrassment.” There are many people in this country who do not go to college, there are also many who attend college, yet spend their time in college on liberal arts coursework that do not create a path to financial success, would you suggest that all these people are “impoverished by choice”. Aside for that, there has recently been an upwards trend in the number of Orthodox Jews in Lakewood in attending college, or college accredited programs.

Agudah, an Orthodox Organization, has programs were they partner with various colleges, and offer programs that lead to degrees. In one such program, they partnered with Farleigh Dickinson University on a program that the students would major in accounting. The Lakewood students who took that course last year, had the highest first pass rate on the CPA exam in the State of NJ.

Finally, the last quote “"Why don't they get a job? Why don't they have fewer children? Those are legitimate questions," Let’s examine each of these point individually. Firstly, “Why don’t you get a job”, well that would be a legitimate question if the majority of Lakewood residents did not get a job. The truth is the vast majority (I would estimate 95% or more) of Orthodox Jews in Lakewood do get jobs.

Lakewood, has the fastest growing hub for UPS in the entire NJ, due to all the Orthodox Businesses that have opened and are continually opening, I have heard this from multiple UPS employees. I have heard the same from the freight carrier that I use. The Lakewood business parks are full of Orthodox Jews who own or work in businesses there. There are multiple daily busses and carpools from Lakewood to Manhattan for people who commute to work.

What is most common amongst the Orthodox Community in Lakewood, is that when a couple first gets married, and the expenses are low, the wife will work to support the family, while the husband will study in Yeshiva. Often, even while in Yeshiva, the student will have an eye towards their future, often take courses, and in my case, rehabbing foreclosed homes in my spare time. Once the family starts growing the husband will seek a job. Twenty years ago, when the cost of living was lower, the average time a husband would learn before pursuing his career, was about 5 years. Recently, as the cost of living has increased, it seems like many, if not most, are going to work after a year or two. As far as the size of the families, do you have the same concerns regarding practicing Catholics?

The comment regarding the “moral blindness” I found personally upsetting on many levels. For one, during my time in Yeshiva, I likely spent thousands of hours studying ethics. A repeated theme of my primary rabbi in Yeshiva, was that a person needs to be a giver, not a taker. I currently own my own a successful growing business, I work many hours, often 18 hours a day. I pay approximately $10k a year in property taxes, the majority of which goes to the public schools, which my children do not attend. I also pay income tax at about a 40% rate, I am extremely honest in business and have never mistreated a customer or vendor. I am not an anomaly in my community, if I was, perhaps I would be in the news. After all, it is the anomalies that make for a good story.

Respectfully,


Sam


I suggest that you write your letter to the newspaper. I'm not responsible for what a reporter has understood and written after interviewing me. If you are interested in my understanding I suggest you read something I have actually authored, of which there are considerably many books and articles. If you have questions about those I'm happy to respond. 

Samuel Heilman 

Sent from my iPhone

















28 comments:

  1. This Sam Heilman guy says he's not responsible for "what a reporter has understood and written after interviewing" him. Well, if he would be a man of any credibility, he would not want his opinions/positions misconstrued. Is this man for real?? On the one hand, he won't refute that which is ascribed to him, but on the flip side, he's too ashamed to admit that this is what he actually did say - because he knows too well how false and ridiculous his statements are. What a creep!

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    1. Alumni Beis EliyahuJuly 9, 2017 at 11:23 AM

      Considering that many Roshei Yeshiva including Rav Shneur and Rav Elya amongst many others worked with him I find ur remark uncalled for

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    2. ABE

      You must be confusing Heilman with Helmreich. And giving interviews does not equal "working with"

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    3. they worked with helmreich. not heilman.
      being an ignoramous is clearly uncalled for.

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    4. Alumni Beis EliyahuJuly 10, 2017 at 10:00 AM

      I stand corrected

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  2. Sam,
    As an insider of the orthodox yiddin of many years, i will say that both of you are right and wrong for the most part.

    There is a concept of the "Rule" and the "exception to the rule"
    The professor is talking about the rule and youare taking about the "exception of the rule"
    I understand that the truth hurts but lyda lyda its true for the most part of the points brought up by the professor.

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    1. wrong. you are clearly no "insider"

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    2. I agree with insider.
      I have been around the block many a time and hsve seen how things were in the 70's till today. The problem we are discussing didn't happen in one day , week or year.
      It slowly brewed, both good and bad unfortunately.
      Many,many things got pushed under the rug and many things continued both the good and the bad because of social pressures. Social pressures exist in the entire world. Buy when it comes to Orthodox yidden, social pressures can have a devastating effect. Hashem yerachem alaynu

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    3. You are making accusations, yet you did not refute any of my points. I have a very large family from both my side and my wife's in Lakewood, the majority have been in Kollel for varying amounts of time. We all have jobs or businesses, some are very successful others less so.

      As far as those who mentioned paying in cash, for the majority of businesses in Lakewood, that isn't even an option.

      If you sell an Amazon, it's not an option, if you sell business to business, it's not an option. If you are a contractor that works with developers, it's not an option.

      I recently had some minor repairs done at my place of work, and the worker asked for cash, guess what, he wasn't Jewish (and no, he was not an illegal either). Doesn't work for me to pay him in cash because every penny I get is on the books.

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  3. I find these defenses ridiculous. Any individual can talk about how important it is to follow the law and dina d'malchusa and how many people go struggle to get a job. However, I would like to know if there is any individual in Lakewood who has not been asked to "pay in cash" or is not otherwise aware of people around them taking liberties in dinei mamonos with the government. It does not mean everyone is commenting welfare fraud, but we all know that skirting the line is common (and not just with government, it is true beineinu as well that people dont follow allah chumras).

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    1. Every has station has a different price cash or credit, is it now illegal to pay for some thing in cash?

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  4. You are being motzei shem rah on an entire community. No wonder they hate us if our own talk like this about us

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  5. Get it through your head . Lakewood is NOT a community any longer, if it ever was one.

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  6. Get it through your head. The comments here refer to the shomrei Torah who live in Lakewood. Whether they are a community or not ,the authorities are specifically targeting only shomrei Torah and specifically looking away from all,others and the commenters here are targeting the same group.

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  7. The Mah Yoffiss'niks think that they will be exempt when they come for the rest of us.

    The truth is that businesses in Lakewood do not operate illegally. An immigrant, without permission to work, cannot find any work in town. I know someone in a desperate situation who tried. Nobody is foolish enough to run a business under the table. The onerous rules make life annoying, but people comply. Someone in the political class decided to target the community, for their own reasons and the latent antisemitism amongst the rednecks of New Jersey only helped.

    And to all those self righteous amongst us, did those whose cars were burnt last night also have it coming?

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    1. You can thank the vaad spokesman for validating the atmosphere helping fuel this.

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  8. Refuting what sam wrote by telling us mostly about "your" personal life and about "your" family and what a ups driver or worker told you is beyond laughable. Its obvious to anyone reading this that you are simply grabbing on to straws trying to refute sam. But it just isnt working.sorry buddy!

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    1. I wrote the letter, I live in Lakewood, have lived here for 20 years. I know the community better then the professor and clearly, better than you do.

      I wasn't only talking about my family, I have many neighbors and know hundreds, if not thousands of people in Lakewood.

      UPS and freight companies happen to be very good indicators of business activity.

      If you doubt my comments, drive around the Lakewood business parks, if you are really motivated, maybe do a business by business survey of the Jewish employees and business owners at these parks, and Jewish businesses are not limited to the Lakewood city limits.

      I am sure nothing would convince you, as you appear to have already formed your opinion based on the APP comment section.

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    2. Straight from the mouth of the usps sales rep, his region is #2 in the country, his words "lakewood is the ecommerce capital of america.
      I have also heard the same sentiment expressed by our UPS rep.

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    3. No one is disputing that lakewood has a large e commerce .E commerce practically did not exist in lakewood only until a hand full of years ago. So telling us about 20 years ago and throwing im e commerce is disingenuous to say the least.Also e-commerce is not reserved for yidden. Plenty large goyish business in in e commerce. . Stop hocking with your non sense

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    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. You literally make absolutely no sense. My comments were directed at accusations that people in Lakewood do not work. E Commerce is only one sector in which people in Lakewood work. Incidentally, e-commerce has been a part of my business for 10 years.

    No objective person who knows anything about Lakewood can deny that businesses here are booming, and Orthodox Jews are driving it.

    Your comments either reflects a very insular life, where you know very little what goes on beyond your apartment, or some deep rooted hatred for Lakewood and the people living in it, that is causing you to ignore the facts on the ground

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    1. Thanks for editing and reposting your original comment. Now you make sense.

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    2. http://nj1015.com/why-one-family-is-getting-a-38000-bill-from-a-new-jersey-school-district/

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    3. Just had another conversation with a sales rep from a large national business to business company who visited me today, he told me that due to the growth in Lakewood, he now spends a good portion of his time dealing just with Lakewood businesses

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    4. Your point is?

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    5. If you read the article, and don't understand my point, then I can't help you.

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  10. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate
    your efforts and I am waiting for your further post thanks
    once again.

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