A Hasidic exodus from Outremont and Mile End?

Hasidic procession

The Gazette reported this weekend that the Hasidic community in Outremont and Mile End is suffering from a housing shortage. In 2002, there were about 4,200 Hasidim in the neighbourhood; today there are more than 6,000. Rising property values mean that many new Hasidic families are finding themselves priced out of their own Montreal heartland. Apparently, the hunt is on to find a new neighbourhood with suitable and affordable housing.

If the Hasidic community does move on, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time a Jewish community has come and gone. The entire swath of city from Chinatown right up to Little Italy is littered with former synagogues that were abandoned when the original Jewish community moved west. But it wouldn’t be a good thing if the Hasidim leave.

First of all, a Hasidic exodus would be a disaster for the neighbourhood’s economy. Hasidic Jews make up more than 25 percent of Outremont’s population, and even if they have their own Yiddish bookstores and kosher eateries, they still rely on non-Hasidic businesses for everything else, like drugs, hardware, stationery and fresh fruits and vegetables. Most of those shops are on Park Avenue; imagine the impact if they lost a quarter of their business. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that one out of every four shops on the street was vacant, a situation rectified in large part by the growth of the Hasidic community.

Then there’s the question of streetlife. If the Hasidim left, Mile End and Outremont be far less lively and down-to-earth. What would replace all of the Hasidic fishmongers, shoe stores, chocolate shops, jewellers and supermarkets? Who would make up for the constant foot traffic generated by a community of people that almost never leave the neighbourhood? They’d likely be replaced by affluent professionals who work elsewhere and don’t spend much running errands on foot.

There’s also the question of tolerance. By living in such a compact, high-density and ethnically mixed neighbourhood, the Hasidim come into regular contact with non-Hasidim, which causes some friction but also some mutual understanding. (I doubt I would know anything about Hasidic Judaism if I hadn’t spent so many years living on Park Avenue.) The Hasidic community might be insular, but it would be even more cut off from the rest of the world if it moved to a self-sufficient colony like Kiryas Joel.

Unlike Brooklyn, Montreal hasn’t seen any serious conflict between Hasidim and non-Hasidim; the biggest problem has to do with parking, minor zoning violations and Outremont borough councillors who don’t like the looks of sukkot. So let’s hope the Hasidic Jews stick around for awhile, if only because they play such a big part in making Park Avenue, Mile End and Outremont the places they are.


  1. I’m certainly not against the Chassidic community or any other community, despite their deplorable views on women – similar to those our Québec society as a whole was afflicted with a couple of generations ago. They make an important contribution to the fabric of these central neighbourhoods in many ways – one as you say is ensuring their walkability and the presence of small neighbourhood businesses, whether Chassidic or not.

    But I’m very much against government funding to private religious schools of any confession that preach the inferiority of women and that our only role in life is popping out vast numbers of children. We got enough of that crap from the Catholic church in the day. When this antiquated view of women is contrasted with the very high average educational level of other Jewish women, whether secular, Reform or Modern Orthodox, it is even more galling.

    It is certainly true that a Chassidic exodus would fuel not only gentrification but homogenisation, with more chains and fewer Cheskies (a rare Chassidic business that is very welcoming to non-Chassidim, whether Jewish or of other faiths or none).

    By the way I’ve found one former synagogue up here in the western part of Little Italy – the semi-industrial area between St-Laurent and the railway viaduct – think it is a Buddhist temple now. Haven’t found any others yet.

    Lesley Lutsky who hosts Jewish Digest on Radio Centre-Ville is the expert on historic synagogues, whether they are currently functioning as such, have become places of worship for other faiths, or are used for non-religious purposes.

  2. Mile End has gotten too expensive for everyone! Many of my friends are now obliged to look elsewhere for living arrangements. Ironically, I have heard life-long Mile End residents say that only the Hasidic community can preserve the neighbourhood feel of the area. One of my friends says that he is a real J-E-W: he has gone from Jeanne Mance to Esplanade to Waverly!

  3. Yeah, I don’t think there’d be any “tolerance deficit” in the area if they Hasidim left — I think you’re reaching there, Chris. This ain’t Kentucky, after all. It’s a lively very multicultural area and will remain so.

    I would be concerned about the impact on real estate prices if there was a mass exodus as you describe it. But that’s highly unlikely. The community may have reached its growth limit in Mile End-Outremont, but there’s no realistic chance they’ll vacate entirely. They’ve got too much money of their own tied up here.

    Don’t worry, Chris. You won’t lose your Hasidim.

  4. This is terrible news. I hope they don’t leave. I live on Hutchison and love having them as neighbours. They make the neighbourhood safe, their children play up and down the sidewalks and alleys, and the women are friendly if you get to know them. They seem to rub the francophones the wrong way (I can’t tell you how many anti-hassidim petitions I’ve been asked to sign) and they may be remote, but I find them genuine, interesting and gentle. I’ve never heard a parent utter one harsh word at a child. For that alone, I stand by the hassidim.

  5. If they settle elsewhere I think only part of the mile-end community would move. It would be more of a split than an all-out exodus I think.

  6. Why don’t the Hasidim & their buddies start putting out anti-hipster petitions? “Save the Hasidim.” Yes. I’d sign.

    Are we to appreciate them only if they have European-like views of masculinized women? A culture can only be if it is mined of its own content to suit our whims? What if I like pre-feminist women?

    Also – will we start applying our standards of “human rights” to practices of routine infant genital mutilation as well? Or do infants only have the right to bodily integrity when they’re girls and muslim? (How daringly PC)

    The tolerance-o-meter just exploded in its own contradictions.

  7. Interesting perspective and I liked the linked article as well. My only complaint about this community is that I wish they were a bit more aesthetic minded. They seem to prefer working under harsh flourescent lights and having their children play on empty concrete spaces.

    What really blows my mind is how they do manage to keep themselves isolated from the rest of the world around them. I find it hard to believe that any 15-year old boy could grow up in Mile End surrounded by all those hot Montreal women and not start to question his upbringing and maybe want out. But you never hear about it happening. They must be doing something right! :)

  8. I like this posting. Hopefully if they move elsewhere (like Laval), it will only be as a place for the “overflow” of their population. The rest should stay in a wonderful neighbourhood that is Greek, Hasidic, French Canadian, and, yes, “hipster” (plus many other groups).

    Leila’s point about them keeping streets safer is so salient. There are few places in the city where there are constantly dozens of people looking out over the streets. That’s an almost extinct commodity that Jane Jacobs was lamenting over nearly 50 years ago.

    Shawn doesn’t really have a right to discuss tolerance if he is saying things like this:
    “They’ve got too much money of their own tied up here.” I hope I caught that out of context, Shawn. The truth is that the Hasidic community is not very wealthy at all.

    See page 14 of this report:

    Between 30%-40% of Jews in Outremont and Park Ave/Ex (primarily Hasidim) in 2001 were living in poverty. These rates are said to have grown worse since then. Contrast that to around 22% poverty rate among the overall population of Montreal.

  9. I never said they were rich, John. I’m saying that they’re property owners (like me) in the district and they’re not going to exit the city en masse just like that. They own homes and businesses here like everyone else. I don’t know what everyone’s pining about. Hasidic Jews are not about to desert the area. Relax.

  10. Masculinised women? What century are you living in, OLDmontréal?

    That is about the worst sexist crap I’ve ever read on this forum, and it wasn’t from a Chassid, a fundamentalist Muslim or some other member of a “non-mainstream” group.

    NEU (Alt), I’ve had the chance to meet women in feminist movements around the world, really from all continents, and not all were privileged intellectuals by any means – some were peasants from the Philippines and Senegal, entre autres.

    I really wonder where your odd obession with “hipsters” comes from, especially as those are a transient group of people that will all be something else in 10 or 15 years.

  11. I don’t want to speak for Shawn. However, my understanding of what he wrote is not that of intolerance at all. I believe he was referring to the resources the Hassidic community put into the area. For example the numerous synagogues, schools, yishivas etc… If they decided to vacate en mass, these institutions would need to be recreated at great cost.

    For those worried about the Hassidim leaving completly, I believe this is an exaggeration. I can’t imagine that all of them would leave. I believe that wherever they choose to establish themselves will serve more as an escape valve on their housing shortage rather then as a complete move.

  12. “preach the inferiority of women and that our only role in life is popping out vast numbers of children”

    Hmm… I have no hassidic friends, but I have too much faith in humanity and our innate desire for freedom and equality to believe that this is how the hassidic women view themselves, and I doubt it’s because they’re kept in the dark and can’t think for themselves.

    I would say that societies and religions that have clearly defined roles are less flexible and less forgiving of differences. However, don’t forget that people who do fit in (or at least pretend to in public) can find great comfort in ritual and belonging and in fulfilling a role predetermined by God (or at least the rabbi :)

    I bet if you talked to these women you’d find them quite proud of the role they play. I bet a few envy the freedom of the women they see around them and would like to see their religion loosen up a bit. I bet a few have sexist jerks or religious zealots as husbands and suffer. But I bet that most are probably pretty happy with their religion and probably have quite a decent home life with pretty good husbands trying to do their best to help bring up their family and that more than would admit it bend a few rules here and there when convenient and the blinds are shut.

    My personal belief is that such strict rules don’t get us any closer to God — merely being human is good enough. However, I also so believe that we should not condemn others, even if we do so in the name of freedom and equality. If you like your way of life, enjoy it, and let others find their enjoyment in their own way.

  13. I’m not a sexist, I just believe in the dignity of all persons (boys too) and the irreconcilability of cultures (and that hapless hipsters play a role in the celebration–destruction of difference). I’d love to debate this more but I gatti go

  14. I’m not condemning the Chassidim, I’m condemning our government for providing funding to religious schools (whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish or whatever) that preach the inferiority of women, contrary to the Québec and Canadian charters. We need secular, public education as in France. There are ultra-Orthodox there too and they live with it, and with attending school with children of other religions (or levels of orthodoxy) or none.

    NEU, your crap about “Masculinised women” is about as sexist as sexism comes. Nobody said anything against the dignity of boys – I certainly am not of that “men are inherently rapists” tendency – that has never been big in Québec anyway, that so-called “radical feminism” had more of a presence in the US, and don’t think it is much of a factor even there any more.

    We had the same restrictive sex roles and obligation to produce great broods of children in the majority Catholic Québec society a couple of generations back – I have aunts who produced 12 and 14. Sure most people accomodate to the way of life in their culture, but there was a great wave of liberation here called la Révolution tranquille – I’ve observed the same thing in Italy, and the same occurred in Spain – from very high birthrates to very low.

    I have spoken to Chassidic women. In general I very much liked the ones I met. I’m talking about structures and strictures, certainly not about disliking or condemning anyone. Cultures are not irreconcilable; I’m sure even their culture is changing. My comments are addressed to OUR government funding confessional schools and flow from secularism, not intolerance.

    Michael D, that is also how I read what Shawn said; I really didn’t think it was a matter of any stereotype about “wealthy Jews”, but of creating community infrastructure over the years.

    A difference for example with the Italian and Lebanese churches near where I live (Notre-Dame de la Défence, St-Georges and St-Nicolas) is the fact that many parishioners there have now moved elsewhere but return to worship by car or public transport on their day of worship. Strictly Orthodox Jews do not get into cars or onto buses or métros on the Sabbath unless it is a matter of life and death. There is actually a lot to be said for that, and it is one of the reasons they have created such a dense, walkable community.

  15. La Presse columnist Rima Elkouri has weighed in on the issue of public funding for schools segregated by religion (and sex). She is mostly talking about the Cégep programmes for young Chassidic men, but she also touches on schools for children and teens, whether Chassidic or of any other confession: http://tinyurl.com/Elkouri-segregation

    Christopher, if you are in town these days you might be interested in interviewing Lesley Lutsky who has a wealth of information. I also have his e-mail if you send me a PM. Lesley has actually taken part in some of those Chassidic parades – he has a most “catholic” interest in all facets of Jewish life and culture here. I believe those people are celebrating the Torah as “Queen Torah”.

  16. While I would be sad if the Hassidim pulled up stakes and moved out (I agre that they contribute greatly to the neighbourhood’s healthy cultural diversity),it’s not the first time a Jewish community moved on from this neighbourhood. The Ukrainian Hall was a synagogue. The Greek Church at Hutchison and Villeneuve was a synagogue, and the synagogue that was just up the block is now a private residence. One of the College Francais buildings was a synagogue (the B’Nai Jacob) and another was the Jewish people’s school. The Christian church on St-Urbain just above Laurier was a synagogue. The list could go on, but my point is that when one group moves out, someone else moves in. It’s not like Mile-End would sustain a vacuum. Even the Hassidim are relative newcomers to the neighbourhood. Neighbourhoods evolve and sometimes rising property values play a part in that, like it or not.

  17. Just to pick up on what Maria has said. My family has been part of most of the major migrations of Montreal Jews going back a century or so. In fact, my dad moved us to DDO in 1962 as one of the very first Jewish families and was instrumental in bringing Rabbi Zeitz to Beth Tikvah. Zeitz really built a Jewish community from the ground up, out in Anselme Lavigne’s old farm fields.

    Anyhow, all these migrations happened naturally, as people naturally wanted to find a better place to raise kids, etc. What Chris is talking about is a kind of planned community-wide move that we haven’t seen, as the Montreal Jewish community has historically NOT had a particularly large or influential Ultra Orthodox community, until quite recently.

    I bet we lost a 100,000 members of the Jewish Montreal community starting in the 70s. Of my generation of about 20 cousins in MY family, I think there’s about 3 left here, including me.

    While secular or mainstream Jews like us have been leaving or at the very least, not growing as before, the Orthodox have expanded their presence dramatically.

    So I guess what I’m saying is that none of the previous incremental migrations are any indication of what might happen here. But I still hold to the view that these folks have real jobs, businesses, mortgages and lives like everyone else. They’re not going to just up and vanish tomorrow.

  18. Maria, I am as non-religious as anyone, but I am willing to respect people who do have religious beliefs. I find that many people here have replaced the religious “dogma” of the Catholic church with just another form of “dogma”: that any form of public display of religious belief is inappropriate. I am sorry, but this in not religious tolerance.

    Public funding of confessional schools is a very complicated topic. The state certainly has a role in determining what is taught in schools, but there is a wide range of possible roles in this….

    The people in the picture are most likely celebrating ‘Simchat Torah’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simchat_Torah . The text on the float says “Give honour to torah [learning]”

  19. Yes, that is the festival I was referring to.

    I think public display of religious belief – as in such festivals, as in how people dress etc – is definitely appropriate and even if it weren’t, it would be abolutely none of our business, because people are free to express their beliefs, whether religious, non-religious or anti-religious.

    I don’t think public funding of confessional schools is either complicated or negotiable. But I take a pretty hard line on secular education, and on schools respecting the Charter. Would we allow them to teach that so-called racial groups are inferior or evil?

    greynotgrey, I love that tiny synagogue house on Hutchison just south of Villeneuve.

    Shawn, as you know the Chassidim are organised as a community (or rather communities, as there are different Chassidic groups in the area) in a far more far-reaching sense than any of the many earlier Jewish migrations to Mtl had been, which were a combination of typical labour migrations and fleeing various degrees of anti-semitic persecution or discrimination.

  20. I believe they are great and for some reason i find incredibly easthetic the hasidic-children that play with their bikes…i want to write a short story about it.

    hey, but what i dont like..actually what is STARTING TO DRIVE ME F#$#@%$# CRAZY… is the way they double-park routinely…the way they keep their cars IDLE…the way they dont stop before the pedestrian crossings (some do stop, but 1cm away from the crossing…which kind of stresses me out!)…

    has anyone tought of heard or implemented cool art-based non-violent prjects or campaigns to battle-up these tendencies?? because i mean, im sure that these habits are not religiously-based!! but for some reason all the close-calls i get on my bike are wth hasidims.
    From champagneur street…goodnight.

  21. I’m unclear why it’s likely that Hassidim would be “replaced by affluent professionals who work elsewhere and don’t spend much [sic] running errands on foot.”

    Is it really that hard to find a place in Mile End or Outremont now? If the Hassidic community left the area and businesses suffered, is it not logical that the area would lose some of the sheen that the current wave of gentrification has brought, deterring those affluent professionals to other areas?

    I don’t think this blog needs to reaffirm its anti-yuppie, anti-gentrification stance at every turn, especially when it isn’t relevant (or contradicts) the topic at hand. Undoubtedly, Montreal faces a lot of problems as a result of ongoing and impending gentrification and urban renewal, but I feel like Spacing is on a Where’s Waldo hunt to find it at every turn.

  22. If they leave, they would be quickly replaced by a multiethnic population which would keep spending in the neighborhood, no disaster in sight. They have nothing to do with the revival of the Mile End.

    As for their contribution to the neighborhood economy…when’s the last time you saw one of them at Jean Coutu or your neighborhood coffee/library/ethnic restaurant/clothing store…enough said. Insular indeed.

  23. Scott they are some of the worst drivers in the world, I agree wholeheartedly. Sorry folks: it’s true. I saw a Hasidim almost hit a kid outside Cheskie’s and laugh it off. It’s another reason I’m a bit impatient with the whole “have you hugged a Hasid” tone of Chris’ piece. It’s like they’re hobbits, or something, mystical creatures of lore about to vanish into the grey havens.

    They’re an insular fundamentalist community with a shitload of flaws, too.

    I’m a Jew and I don’t think I’d want them living next to me, necessarily. Or pulling crazy u-turns when I’m on my bike. Call me what you will.

  24. Les hassidims peuvent prendre leur sexisme (et leurs demandes de seulement faire affaire avec des policiers masculins) et crisser le camp. Je vais pas pleurer.

  25. Yes, the Hassidim have to be the worst drivers in the neighbourhood and, like Scott, all my close calls are almost always with Hassidic drivers. Second worse, though, is young women on their cellphones. Are we going to stereotype them as well? Well sometimes I want to, but that is another story. My take with Hassidic drivers is the same with taxis and trucks: don’t trust them! Works most times.

    As for them spending their money in the neighbourhood, have you not been up and down Park Avenue? They are in Jean Coutu, the grocery stores, 4 Frères, etc. Everywhere I shop, they shop.

    Officially, I am sick of this whole “hipster” derision scene. What the hell is a hipster anyways? I’ve been living in the Mile End since I was a student in the 80s, renting dives. I still live here but now I have a kid and own my own apartment. Am I a hipster? Have I ruined the neighbourhood? Have I drained it of local colour and character? Finish with the anti-hipster crap. It’s meaningless.

  26. Many of them definitely learned at the ‘god is my co-pilot’ school of driving. Either that or the they trade driving tips with the local taxi drivers. I do not understand how they can be such unattentive drivers, especially with all of the children running in the streets.

    Try crossing at Hutchison & St. Viateur. Possibly the most unpredictable intersection in the city, and it is not only the Hasids doing the round-abouts in the middle. At least no one is going fast….

  27. “Jean Coutu or your neighborhood coffee/library/ethnic restaurant/clothing store…enough said. Insular indeed.”
    This is borderline racist, frankly. maybe you should check out more of the fine kosher groceries and restaurants in the neioghbourhood.

    “As for them spending their money in the neighbourhood, have you not been up and down Park Avenue? They are in Jean Coutu, the grocery stores, 4 Frères, etc. Everywhere I shop, they shop.”

    Agreed and agreed. I routinely see the young mothers trying to push their strollers through the narrow aisles of the PA, in the Jean Coutu though for some reason they seem to favour the Uniprix (wider aisles? ;) ) and pretty much everywhere I go. I don’t see them in the cafés or cool kid stores because I don’t hang out in the cafés or cool kid stores either.

    I do see them in the parks playing with their kids, because I too play in the park with my kid. I see them when I’m walking down the alleys with their families because I walk down the alleys with my family.

    Don’t judge a group’s integration into the neighbourhood based on your lifestyle. There are lots of different kinds of lifestyles this neighbourhood supports.

  28. In years past, the Uniprix had a lovely pharmacist who spoke fluent Yiddish with the Chassidic customers. He was Jewish (I presume) but not at all ultra-orthodox. That gentleman was among the pharmacists who could advise people as well as an MD could. I presume he is retired or dead now.

    That Uniprix also carries “confiserie” – things like sweet and salty biscuits and other snack foods – that are strictly (Glatt) kosher.

    Chassidic ladies won’t patronise non-Chassidic cafés because they obey a very strict set of Kosher rules (Glatt). so just not eating pork, seafood and meat + milk together, or the normal MK symbol on so many foods, is not enough.

    I often see them in Outremont parks, and certainly in the dollar stores. And men shopping in grocery stores all along that area and up to the Loblaws at Parc and Jean-Talon.

    Grey, Shawn is Jewish – I do believe we should take him at his word about that – he is the poster who used the term “insular”. And calling people “insular” is not racist. It is alas a widespread human trait among people of all races, creeds and nationalities, who either retreat into themselves out of fear or are uninterested in other cultures.

    I’m very hard on all kinds of religious fundamentalism (especially among the Abrahamic monotheisms, as I’m not so familiar with other religions) and refuse to give any a pass about how they treat women – or gay people, for that matter. These creeds are more similar than different. But I’m also very conscious of the woeful tradition of Western Christian antisemitism so I’ll tend to leave the harsher observations to my Jewish friends and dump on the fucking Vatican (and the Protestant fundies, though that is yet another tradition).

  29. I did say borderline racist… perhaps xenophobic would have been a better choice of words. Jewish or not, there’s discrimination within any identifiable group between its perceived strata.

    Maybe I’m just a little jumpy because of all this “bad driver” stereotyping going on in this thread. Here’s some news, folks: about half the population of Montreal are terrible drivers. If a quarter of a neighbourhood’s population is a visible minority, it doesn’t mean that visible minority are all bad drivers, that’s just how demographic averages work.

    Good point on kosher rules in any case – you can’t be just a little bit treyf, after all – you’re either kosher or you’re not.

  30. Just to pick up on what Maria has said. My family has been part of most of the major migrations of Montreal Jews going back a century or so. In fact, my dad moved us to DDO in 1962 as one of the very first Jewish families and was instrumental in bringing Rabbi Zeitz to Beth Tikvah. Zeitz really built a Jewish community from the ground up, out in Anselme Lavigne’s old farm fields.

  31. Salutations
    Les motifs évoqués ne sont pas probalement les bons puisque trop axés sur ceux de la minorité viellissante canadienne-québécoise de 8% (les Hassidim (…..08%).
    L’expansion et les déplacements de population du peuple juif, des hassidims remontent au pogroms polonais et russes, la venue en Amérique et pour des questions de concentration de population et les intérets des hassidims; ils le comprennent que leur viabilité s’inspirera des Loubavitch.
    Les hassidims ont un choix à faire et ils devront tenir compte de la géopolitique comme leur histoire leur conseille. Combien de ces gens-là auraient pu être hébergé au Canada lorsque les nazis vous annoncait leur mort. King le premier-ministre élu par la majorité anglophone n’en voulait pas au Canada.

  32. I grew up on Hutchison Street between St. Viatuer and Fairmount. I left in the early 90s. We had the a Jewish Orthodox family live on the 2nd floor of our
    duplex. My neighbours on one side were of British descent and on top of them
    were a family of Italian descent. I’m of Chinese descent. Moreover, on my stree we have a few Portuguese kids and a family from Trinidad (actually they lived on Durocher Street. There was a German man by the name of Fred (we called him Opa until we were too cool, old, to call him that) that looked after the kids playing in the back lane between Hutchison and Durocher. Opa taught use to throw the frisbee, toss the football and play darts. He would step in to the lane way traffic to slow cars down and remind them that there were kids playing. Hey Opa, I miss you. The last that I heard you moved to Deux Montagnes. Opa, thanks for being there for the kids.

    We had great neighbours. I would never give up my Montreal childhood neighbourhood for anything.


  33. Very informative exchange, I most enjoyed Maria’s comments, her depth of knowlegde and explanation of the top was very engaging.

    Being from a small French Canadian town, I’m always interested in learning more about different cultures, ideas, and mentalities.

  34. I read many comments posted above and enjoyed the original article itself. I myself am a montreal Jew. My great grand parents landed here with my infant grandparents and like many jews at that time in montreal were located in the mile end outremont burroughs.

    You cannot open up a new synaggogue in the city of montreal. there are many socio-economic reasons for this. Let us just say this will keep hassidic jews limited to at least moving to places where synagogues already exist.

    The jewish people who originally moved out in the first exodus of mile end would mostly like myself, secular jews. Hassidic jews are more than likely to remain and perhaps the many apartments they rent to students and young families will be in the future kept for hassidic peoples instead…

  35. I would be so sad if the Hassidic community left the Mile End. Having children running and playing in the street is hopeful and beautiful. They are an important ingredient in making this neighborhood one of the best in the world.

  36. Hey all; it appears to that many of you people are just not comfortable in your own skin. No one denies that we have some people that drive like crezy and that should have never been granted a drivers permit. Yes there are some women and men to who envy some of the freedoms thier non-jewish neighbers have, and perhaps thare are some youth at risk as well. However when we look at our sucssess versus the failure of todays society, we stand free. you tell me how many charitable organization do you people have that could mesure up with what we do. Do you have organization reaching out to the people who seek to distroy you? What about the Jewish Hospital, Project Pride, and other organization that are here to help anyone? If you would call Hatzolo will they not respond with dedication and try to save your life? I am questioning if you would run in the hight of a blizzard to save the life of a person that is buzy condeming your way of life and trying to undermine you. We know that your (i mean those who are busy bashing others) way of life if full of crap too, and all you do is try and dig a hole to put us into so that we will stand higher. It is time to respect each other an realize thatwe are part of Montreal and we have our way of life that we ask you respect. If you find somthing wrong that you would like to see changed, you can call a meeting with the community leaders and explain yourself and together we can work on a solution.

  37. I don’t believe the Hasidic community will be leaving Mile End anytime soon.

    Just last year they built a brand new community center on Parc Avenue near my home! Also, as another poster mentioned, many Hasidic families own building in the area and rent out apartments to young students and families. Thus, if they really need the room, they can stop renting these and pass them on to young family members or friends who are starting a home themselves. It seems highly unlikely that we will see them move anytime soon!

    Interesting discussions.

  38. Economic disaster, seriously? If they left, their houses would be snatched up very fast by new residents eager to live in that area or investors who would rent them. The area would get over it very fast.

    They live in a parallel economy with very little interaction with the majority of residents so if they would be replaced by people who integrate better in the society, the area would be more lively, not less. As for tolerance, it goes both ways. There will always be differences that we have to tolerate be it cultural, religious or others.

    I lived in the Mile End before it became hip and back then, the Hassidic community was still everywhere but the area was desolate. It is the young affluent professionals as you call them who brought life to St-Viateur, Parc and Bernard.

  39. “The entire swath of city from Chinatown right up to Little Italy is littered with former synagogues that were abandoned when the original Jewish community moved west”… Littered? That’s an odd choice of words.

  40. Hello Maria Gatti,

    After reading your post, I was surprised that this is your opinion on the treatment of the woman in the “Chassidic world’. You might want to look into the rights of a woman in the Jewish families. we, actually come first in all aspects of life.
    The “ktouba” the Jewish marriage contract, will shed some light on this issue. Hope you will find the reading interesting.

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