I speak as someone who has lived in Lakewood for nearly 30 years.
I’ve been wanting to talk about this for a long time, but yesterday’s Scoop article about a new shop opening in town prompted me to write this.
I happen to know which shop it was referring to, and as someone who has lived in Lakewood this long and watched the deterioration of kedusha in general, I have to say I (not a ben torah sitting and learning all day, but a regular balabus) was quite surprised as well.
But this letter isn’t about this shop specifically, it’s about the general level Lakewood has fallen.
Yes, this is still a great makom torah and there are dozens of schools and yeshivas, tons of chesed all day and night, but the old Lakewood is gone, and it will unfortunately never be the same again.
I won’t even go into the gashmius we are seeing which was unheard of back in the day, I can handle change, but I’m specifically referring to the level of tznius. We have lost the sensitivity as a Klal. I cannot pinpoint one specific issue and say this is what caused it. It just got worse over time. Perhaps it was the influx of residents who moved from out of town and brought along a lot of their town’s mentality with them, but that could just be the ‘maka b’patish’ as they say.
It still brings me great joy when I walk by batei midrashim and watch yungerleit walking in with their gemaras in their arms, it reminds me of the good old days when most of the town looked that way.
Again, I love Lakewood, the place I’ve called home for so long, but we need a lot of improvement. Perhaps each rav of their shul can address it and bring back Lakewood to the way it was back in the day. I know it’s a longshot, as there’s probably no way to go back, but I was just speaking my mind out of pain.
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