I am a single Modern Orthodox/Religious-Zionist guy in my late 20s who lives in Lakewood. I have to say that I think Lakewood to me has its ups and downs, positives and negatives. First the positives: I like the fact that there are so many kosher establishments to choose from. I feel safe when walking on the street in frum neighborhoods. Many people are upstanding and nice but here is the downside: I also feel that quite a few people treat me with curiosity at best and concealed contempt at worst. I am a sensitive individual, perhaps more sensitive than i ought to be and I often pick up a negative vibe from people; it’s almost as if the person is telling me, you don’t belong here, this place is only for the black hat crowd. Children don’t seem to know what to make of me. I think it’s lamentable that they are not exposed to the fact that there are many different types of Jews who wear many different types of clothes. I actually overheard 2 little munchkins debating whether i;m Jewish or not, since I wear blue jeans.
My biggest challenge has been finding a place to daven. I’ve tried several shuls and I’ve felt very uncomfortable in all of them. I know that Lakewood does not really have an MO shul anymore (even sons of Israel is composed mostly of charedim now) but I’m looking for an open minded place where people are not judgemental and accept people the way they are with ahavat yisrael. If anyone knows of such a place in Lakewood, please let me know.
Thanks for listening.