Readers’ Scoop: Pizza Or Pritzus?

(As always in the Readers’ Scoop, the Letter below is an uncut and unedited letter from one of our readers. TLS welcomes your letters at [email protected] . The views are solely those of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of TLS).

Dear Editor,

Can you please post as I’m eager to hear the thoughts of others on this matter. I’m one that rarely goes out, yet for our anniversary my wife and I decided to go somewhere local. It was motsoei shabbos and we were going to a local pizza shop. We parked our car and headed to the store. We saw this huge crowd in front and at first thought it was a line to get in. As we got closer we saw a bunch of goyim hanging out in front. I turned to my wife and asked why are there goyim hanging around in front of a yiddishe pizza shop? She looked at me surprisingly and said those are yiddin! I said huh? And her response was get with the program those are yiddin.Let me explain what I saw; there were a pack of boys with out yarmulkas in a cloud of smoke speaking quite loudly. They were talking to a pack of girls that some were wearing pants, some sleeveless t-shirts and let’s just say neither was acting anything close to looking Jewish. I just stood there caught in my tracks and couldn’t move. I really thought my wife was mistaking. Then on a second look I did notice some boys with yarmulkas. I was in a daze the rest of the evening. Was I so mufkah and this is what’s going on?? The next day I called some friends to confirm. I was shocked to hear that yes this is what’s going on yet some were taken aback to the extent. My concern was two fold; 1. How did these yiddishe neshomois fall so low and 2. Is this what our kids are seeing when we let them go the pizza shop. To this some responded that it’s better to have these chevrah hang out in yiddishe places rather then c’v other places. My question; is it morally correct to jeopardize innocent neshomas to save these neshomas (do we sacrifice one neshoma for the other)? Or should we have these chevrah removed to some other place where it won’t have an effect on others?

I’m curious to hear your readers view.

A concerned parent .

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  1. efsher if the oilam was mekarev the chevrah instead of being merachek them, we wouldn’t have such tzoras in klal yisroel!
    – Z.B.

  2. Hey how about thinking about those that are not so way off and by letting them hang around they may slowly drift back

  3. hey concerned parent

    your clueless, and so are the parents of these kids. get your nose into the real world and out of your daled amus. maybe, just maybe you would know how to respond to your own children and not just say
    eh, efsher you should go learn a little more
    your being this naive is somewhat criminal

    Naive sometimes connotes a credulity that impedes effective functioning in a practical world

  4. You were pretty conservative the way you described the scene. I’ve been there on many occasions and there’s a lot more then just talking going on it’s a busheh

  5. I heard from a friend of mine how these chevrah were harassing her daughter that came to get a slice of pizza. They borrowed her cell phone unknowingly to her they retrieved the number and then sent harassing txt everyday. It got to a point where they needed to switch numbers…and you want these animals to keep on hanging around?

  6. Whats the matter, does it hurt that much, have your finally realized that lakewoods system has come home to roost ?
    yes my friend, the yeshiva goose no longer lays the golden egg

  7. Rabosai this is not a joke…you’d be shocked to know how many are laideh going off. The ones you see are still hanging around how about the ones that are gone way gone. You should be mekarev them.

  8. I think we need to discuss this openly with our kids and enough of sweeping everything under the carpet. There’s nothing wrong with explaining to them how unfortunate these kids are. How they would like to come back to norm. but maybe they don’t have whom to guide them. Let them know they are loved and can always come to you for anything that’s on their mind. I’ve observed where innocent kids stop by these type groups just to see what’s going on and possibly get in on the action. Kids are kids and they don’t even realize how they can get sucked in. It’s important to give them a strong back bone

  9. Dear All,

    Why don’t u open your eyes to 2009 and maybe it is better for them 2 be by the pizza shop then other places.
    Think judge for the best how would u feel if your son hangs out there and this is what you see posted. Would this rip u apart??
    Maybe learn to care about the person next 2 u instead of talking keep your mouth shut and pray for your own kids. Maybe don’t make such a big deal if a kid smokes or where’s a colored shirt. Let it be nice then they won’t want to prove them selfs further with drugs and No Shabbos Maybe Maybe CARE JUST CARE BY SHUTING YOUR MOUTH!!

  10. to anon 6:56

    with all due respect to your comment..would you like your daugthter to be hit on by some of these chevrah when she goes to buy a slice of pizza or would say neh lets be accepting of them?

  11. Hey G

    the way I read this post this wasnt a case of colored shirt or white shirt, this sound more like no shirt. Cant you see the diff???

  12. Dear Choshhuv,
    If all you can do for a special person in your life is take her to a pizza shop, then your kids see how special the pizza shop is and they hang out there with their ‘special’ people.
    The kids grow in the same way as you LIVE day to day, not by what you or their mentors PREACH to them.
    If you are ‘machshiv’ life (both ‘olam hazeh and olam habah’), the
    children will be ‘machshiv’ life as well. It makes no difference if that life is a learning life or if it is a ‘suppoting’ life.
    If you are ‘mevatel’ those who ‘sponser’ the learning ‘show’ then your chances of your offspring surviving this mean world are slim. As you have seen this first hand.
    When the “gemora” says: one must teach his kid a ‘omnos’, it does not mean that he must go out to work, it means he will also consider a support role as an alternative. But if you are ‘mevatel’ all and every other role of life, if the kid sees nothing but ‘yeshiva’ then yeshiva it is.
    Sometimes the yeshiva will be on 7th street with a ‘cahver’ ETC. and sometimes the ‘yeshiva’ will be outside outside the pizza shop with a ‘chaverah”.
    Wake up!!!

  13. There are very dedicated people in the community that are working on these people and these situations. I happened to be there last week and I saw the one from the “Kollel” hanging around there so he can cultivate relationships wih some of these boys and girls that are desperately begging for attention and love. B’H here in Lkwd we have two wonderful organizations that dedicate themselves literally 24 hours a day to helping these CHILDREN OF HASHEM. Yes,they are all children of Hashem. To the post above that we should remove the hechsher…don’t you realize you will not be solving the problem,they will only move onto somewhere else. Oh,in case you wonder wher they would head to next,yes,it will probably be worse. What does this have to do with the owner who is an ehrliche Yid and who himself tries to help these poor souls out?? I’m sure this eats away at his heart when he sees this developing in front of his store.

  14. I believe in order to fix this problem we are dealing with is not to deal with each individual rather to get to the bottom of this & take care of it once and for all weather parents or rabbeim, but for us to sit & discuss is a waist of time.

  15. To all those who can’t offer any help —
    How about supporting Minyan Shelanu?
    Minyan Shelanu is “THE only place in Lakewood” where EVERYONE can, and does, come for any sort of help or support!! Be it a yeshiva-man, parent, teen, layman, yeshivish, not yeshivish, litvish chasidish, sefardish, etc.
    Minyan Shelanu is currently having a raffle – Please show your support, and help them help you.

  16. Rav Wachtfogel ZT”L was against having a pizza establishment or a restaurant in Lakewood, and for good reason. Once he was niftar, Lakewood became more hefker and people do whatever they want. The town was definitely more heilig years ago.There definitely has to be some sort of kiruv for these kids.It’s a good idea to have take out pizza only with no seating and separate doors for men and women.

  17. The whole world was more ‘heilig’. We did not have bnei chom for Rosh Hamedina. It was before “pigs flew” (I mean swine flu).
    All kidding aside, I’m sure Rav Wachtfogel ZT”L would not approve of you commentingviewing the internet.
    But, since – as you said: ‘Once he was niftar, Lakewood became more hefker and people do whatever they want.’
    I guess YOU are one of the causes for the kids at the pizzaria.

  18. In the mountaiuns these kids used to hang around the pizza shops and everyone screamed. So what happened the kids went away. To WHERE??????? Monticello gambling and drugs and other ‘gitte zachen’ let them be and let the ‘askonim’ deal with them and it might not be such abad idea for you to say to them a ‘vasrma’ git voch’. I am sure you heard the story of R Aharon Shechter shlita on Friday nigh walking home and he bumped into these kids how he was mekarev them. A gadol doesn’t mach evek yidishe neshomos! Us in Lakewood strive to be a ‘godol’ that also includes the mitzvah veohta leracho komaicho!

  19. Att: Mr. May 03 2009
    I take offense at what you said. I for one do not eat out or frequent pizza shops. I only access Kosher web sites and why are you on the internet youyrself, if it's so bad. maybe you are the cause of such kids hanging out. None of my children B"H do this kind of stuff bli ayin horah. I am not blaming it on the parents, but, on the society we live in in general. We don't need all those eateries, what's wrong with home cooked food? Back in the good old days of Lakewood, before Pesach, Rabbi L. used to have a pizza truck where one could get a ready made pizza. You could get take out at R&S and Bookman's, for convenience, but, who says one has to eat out? We are copying all the goyish gashmeius, no wonder our kids are trying to be like them also.

  20. In rspns to dear choshuv

    I think its time for you to wake up it sounds like your talking in your sleep, have no clue what you’re trying to say. I respect them for staying local. How about the fact that he had the decency to take his wife away…is it that more chushuv to take her to Prime Grill and spend $200 on the meal $50 on parking and $50 on a babysitter come home tired and kill the next day? or do homework with the kids, put them to sleep and stay local so the next day you can be a mentsch. I think its time you get your priorities in check.

  21. ask yorself this question . if your daughter and son were part of this goyishe chevra as you called them . would you rather they stay next to a kosher environment or go elseware?

  22. Anon 7:49

    I was the one who posted remove the hecsher. I work near by and visit that shop frequently. I know the owner and he’s a good Jew however I invite you to come some late nights and watch what goes on. There’s a difference to having some rowdy chevrah which most can handle then having people who don’t have regard to common decency. These are kids who come dressed worst then goyim (I’ll leave that to your imagination, the description in the post was mild) and act worst as well bfarhesiah. It’s a difference living with a cold or a disease. What I meant by removing the hechsher was there needs to be some means of controlling this otherwise this will be another Woodbourne. I’m not blaming the owner but someone needs to control the matzav.

  23. Anonymous May 4, 2009 12:19 AM

    No one would like to think that way but I’m sure there are ways to keep them occupied but not on the expense of other innocent kids. In NY for example they have special activities, pool halls etc…

    Ask yourself this question. If your daughter and son were going to buy pizza would you want them hanging out with these goyishe chevra. Or would you rather they sit in a kosher environment without all this stuff dangling in front of their eyes?

  24. I think its time we stop talking about the problem of drugs as the big problem and concentrate on the issue of boys and girls hanging out and doing even worse that’s what makes them fell like garbage not people looking down at them (witch I don’t think is the truth anyways)not people not appreciating them (witch is not the case either ) not people not understanding them (we all understand teivos most of us had some self control and nobody to blame our downfalls on ) but the reel fact of doing something to make u feel like garbage will lead to but one thing trying to find a way to pick your self up some of us will look to teshuva but unfortunately some don’t have the will power to resist and will look to artificial pick me ups let it be smoking looking cool prescription drug abuse recreational drug abuse and that’s just the beginning of the end for them so let’s stop placing there downfalls on everyone else but them selves
    And remember if a small piece of unkosher meat falls in a pot of kosher it can render the entire pot unkosher so let’s not take the chance and bring unkosher meat into our midst

    May hashem have rachmanus on thes lost neshomos and lead them back to there fathers ways

  25. Att: Mr. May 03 2009
    I do not take offense at what you said. But I will have you in mind the next time I say ‘choneinu mey-itcha…’
    I for one do not have my own access to the internet (not from home, office, or cel,phone).
    I do not access any (Kosher?-Was that meant to be a joke?) web sites. Internet is terrible! This is being written at a friend’s office on a public computer in his office. (I agree-it’s STILL wrong!)(All office staff have FULL access to view the goings-on) maybe you are the cause of such kids hanging out. None of my children (or their parents) B”H do this internet stuff bli ayin horah. I am not blaming it on the parents, but, on the society we live in in general. We don’t need all these KOSHER(?!)web sites, what’s wrong with getting news from the mikva or coffee room? Back in the good old days of Lakewood, every erev shabbos, we went to the mik. where one could get the hottest and freshest news. If you were more into it, you could spend more time -daily- in the coffee room, for your convenience, but, who says one has to be a yenta and waste his life (the life of his child’s parent)finding every piece of info/loshon hora/ MVA / DOA / ADD/ DUI / DWI /LSW / ADHD / AA /NA /QPS / on the stinky smelly ewwey internet? We are copying all the goyish gashmeius, no wonder our kids are trying to be like them also.

  26. to May 4, 2009 12:34 AM and To all those who can't offer any physical help —

    Minyan Shelanu has made numerous Melava Malkas on sporadic Motzoei shabbosim. There were large turnouts. They have a shabbaton with numerous inspiring rabbonim and askonim in attendance. There are daily – TWO minyanim for shachris, a minyan for mincha, night seder with chavrusos and maariv. THERE IS NOT ENOUGH ROOM HERE TO ELABORATE ON THE MANY ZECHUSIM AND HATZOLAS NEFOSHOS that The Minyan has done and continues to do.
    The minyan is a place where you may see a boy with long hair saying yehei shmay rabbah 'bekol koichoy'! Yes THOSE boys at the pizza shop are OUR boys, OUR children, OUR klal Yisroel,OUR MINYAN– where every yochid feels that he CAN belong, and that belonging can keep THEM all afloat in order to keep THEM as part of US!!

    Remember: These are OUR children! YES, OUR children! Not from NY or elswhere.No parent should have to ever experience these trying situations.

    So, please, open your hearts and support OUR (yours & mine) Minyan Shelanu?
    Minyan Shelanu is "THE only place in Lakewood" where EVERYONE can, and does, come for any sort of help or support!! Be it a yeshiva-man, parent, teen, layman, yeshivish, not yeshivish, litvish chasidish, sefardish, etc.
    Minyan Shelanu is currently having a raffle – Please show your support, and help them help you.

  27. Dear Letter Writer,

    WOW! Are you clueless!
    How old are your children? I hope not teenagers! With clueless parents such as yourself, I’m afraid to think where they are hanging out on Motzo’ey shabbos.
    And by the way, the ones you see hanging out by the pizza shops are just the losers, the ‘wannabees.” You don’t want to know what the ‘real’ chevra are doing.

  28. as a “goyish” looking boy who wears jeans and goes to the pizza shops on motzai shabbos, I can say a few things.
    The People who react like “I was in a daze the rest of the evening” after seeing “”goyish looking kids”, Who do you think you are????!! you are the reason many teens in this town act the way they do, Because you and others look at them like they are animals, murderers, and drug-dealers. not every teenager who wears colored clothes is a bad person!. if you are such a good and frum jew then you definitely heard of “al tistakel bakankan ela be-ma shyaish bo אל תסתכל בקנקן אלא במה שיש בו”. it kills me to see people like you who think they are a better person then others just because you learn in kollel the whole day. it is not as easy for everyone to do that as it is for you.
    If you only tried and walked up to any of those boys and just said hi or even showed more interest and invited them for shabbos, you would see how much small things like that can make an impact on lost teens.
    Finally, to all those who are scared of sending their ‘innocent’ daughters to buy a slice of pizza because they will be ‘hit-on’… dont worry if your daughter is really that good and frum looking she shouldn’t get any attention, FROM ANYONE!. The girls who get ‘hit-on’ are usually dressed or act in a way that they are just asking for it.
    We are all jews and we all have a “yetzer-hara” some bigger and stronger then others. but dont forget; a nice word would never hurt. but talking trash about them will.


  30. PLEASE censor the comments!!! It is very much disgusting to c some of the comments, like the one about the mikva, and one about yeshivas rooster. Please!! don’t even post this I’m not seeking attention, or trying to bash.

  31. Dear ‘in response…choshuv,

    It sounds like you got married at the ‘Rov’s’ office with just a minyan. I’m sure you were not tired the next day and the only ‘shevah brochos’ you had was on shabbos in your home with 8 other people coming for ‘benching’.
    There were no issues, band or photog, menu or who to dance with. You had no issues where to seat people etc.
    Jewelry and clothing seem to be a non-issue for you too.
    I respect that. But kids of such a union have no chance of being ‘normal’. Yeshivish or otherwise. They most likly will end up right outside that same pizza establishment.
    There is ‘mila d’shmaya’ and there is ‘mila d’alma’. If you want respect for your ‘mila d’shmaya’ you better see to it that your ‘mila d’alma’ partner is respected in a ‘mila d’alma’ way.
    Otherwise your ‘mila d’shmaya’ will end being like your vision of ‘mila d’alma’.
    Nobody said you must take your wife out, but if you do, do it like a ‘mench’. Yes, pay for the babysitter.Yes spend $$$ for a dinner. and yes, you don’t have to pay for parking if you stay away from mahattan. Ther are plenty of super kosher spots to go outside of NYC.
    Guess what! You may get some more respect from the people around you and they may emulate you instead of rejecting you.
    enough said….


  33. If anyone wants to know the distinct problems that the Lakewood community has with “Kids at risk” should read this comment thread. It is the people that started this thread and the commentators that cause these boys and girls to go off the derech in the first place. Every word in your article makes me feel embarrassed to say that we share the same g-d. you should all be ashamed of yourselves! if perhaps you showed some love to ONE of these children, if perhaps you would pass by and say “gut voch” instead of staring with your chin on the floor, than maybe they would respect you.

    How do you expect any of these kids to want to have anything to do with this community if everything that they do is not good enough for you? How come ME as a frum balabus, who davens 3 times a day and has a regular seder CAN NOT walk into the grocery store without someone staring at me because im wearing jeans and a t-shirt? Am I less frum than you? Am I machshev Torah less than you? Does my Shacharis not count as much as yours?

    Open up your eyes! How many more tragedies does Lakewood need before you realize that there is a serious issue at hand? When will Lakewood realize that you are breeding this! You created this! Instead of blogging go out and do something. Invite one of these boys for shabbos. Invite one of these kids to one of your sedarim.

    Until the Lakewood community learns to accept these kids as one of ours as part of Am Yisroel than the pizza shops will always have a crowd in front of them.

  34. Just curious to all those that insist we must respect these children and not look down at them I would just like to know why it doesent work the other way around why don’t they have to respect us and not look down at us
    It just comes down to the originality of the problem they can do what they please where they please to whom they please and no one is allowed to say a thing for fear if offending the poor souls
    Wake up call life is a two way street what goes around comes around

  35. To anon 10:40 and the rest of the comments that missed the boat.

    I suggest you don’t snap to conclusions. Lakewood is very accepting of these unfortunate children and there are many many local people, askonim and mosdos involved with these kids on a daily basis giving them the caring they need. There’s is so much chesed going in this community no one can deny.
    Your big mistake is that you need to differentiate between dressing not like the typical kid and down right disgusting with no regard to common decency. No one is looking at you awkwardly if you walk around in a jeans and t-shirt or like some of the other comments mentioned because you are wearing a colored shirt that’s non sense. Stop trying to bad mouth Lakewood. What the concerned parent is trying to say I think is that there’s a disease here and we need to isolate it from spreading. We are talking about girls walking around in sleeveless shirts barely covering their private parts. Now if you can’t differentiate between that and a pair of jeans and t-shirt then check yourself in.

  36. To: May 6, 2009 1:33 AM

    Red Moon Pizza on Kennedy Blvd. I think they even sell things that “look” treif! (check hechsher before going)

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