But questions remain. Does this really address the poverty problem that is so rampant among Satmar and Hasidim with similar hashkafos? It does address one issue – housing. But only for those who can scrape up the money for a down payment and monthly mortgage. What percentage of Hasidim are actually able to do this? And for those who are able – where do they find the money to pay for other expenses incurred by their increased family size. Expenses for food, clothing, and education for a large family (of 10 – a fairly common family size in Williamsburg) is taxing even on families with good incomes.
Even though I admire the way this community has sought and found a partial solution to the housing problem for their growing public, I think most families are a long way from being able to live anything but a modest and in some cases a near impoverished lifestyle – relying heavily on charity, welfare, and who knows what else. Even if they live in one of these new housing units.
So kudos to Satmar for succeeding to some extent in solving one major problem. But they have a long way to go in my not so humble opinion.
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About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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