Jewish Landscape Diversifies in Crown Heights

Not too long ago there were only two types of people living in Crown Heights: African/Caribbean-Americans and Lubavitcher Chasidic Jews. Today, “Hipsters, Modern Orthodox transplants and a growing progressive wing within Chabad are redefining both sides of Eastern Parkway” reports The Jewish Week.

From the Jewish Week by Amy Sara Clark:

When Aimee Rubensteen was growing up in a Modern Orthodox community in Broward County, Fla., she never thought that one day she’d be living in Crown Heights.

“I knew of Crown Heights as the Lubavitch center of the world, and to be frank, I have family members in the Chabad community who have no idea why I live here. They’re very confused,” she said.

But now, at the age of 26, the neighborhood represents something altogether different to her: Jewish diversity.

“When I moved here I was looking for a Jewish experience that had options,” said Rubensteen, an art curator. “There’s Chabad down the street, there’s another Lubavitch congregation that’s closer to Kingston Avenue, there’s [the Modern Orthodox] Congregation Kol Israel. Really, in a 10-minute-walk radius for me there are just so many options,” she said.

Click here to continue reading at The Jewish Week.


  • 1. Sad wrote:

    With so many non-frum people walking around, the modern among us blend in with the landscape: Jew and non-Jew dress the same. Respect for the kedusha of our neighborhood is being trampled daily. How we act affects the next person, whether one believes it or not. … Why do parents expect their children to listen to them, to obey them, when they themselves don’t respect, don’t obey, the Shulchan Orech?? The cornerstone of Judaism. … Hypocritical, NO?

    • 2. Pedant wrote:

      We cannot do anything directly about that and complaining about it makes us seem weak and defensive. It is a function of golus, which we need to complain about bitterly, but don’t get overwrought about symptoms when what matters is the cause.
      What we can do is add in our inyonei kedusha, we can all add in limud Hatorah, in quality and quantity.
      Perhaps a trailblazer among us will conjure a way to make inroads into the Jewish subset of the ‘hipster’ newcomers and we can begin drawing them close to truth and yiddeshkeit, though these days that gets harder and harder as increasingly darkness is taken for light.
      It’s ironic that the more the world decays, socially, politically, intellectually and economically, the more cocksure this new generation of snarky ignoramuses becomes.
      But don’t worry too much, we are eternal.

  • 5. to 1 wrote:

    This is not the way of the Rebbe and Lubavitch, to criticize, to be negative. The Rebbe sent shluchim everywhere, a more diverse CH, simply creates opportunities for shlichus here! And that includes giving of your time, money, creativity, talents etc. to your childrens’ schools, your shul, chesed organizations, and perhaps some new organizations that can meet needs not yet being met. What a wonderful opportunity!

  • 6. cholent mit kugel wrote:

    Move if it saddens you..lots of other chabad communities on the planet

  • 8. no one special wrote:

    I wonder if “ahavas yisroel” is a theoretical concept created for promotional purposes only?

  • 9. Crown heights residsnt wrote:

    Thier is no reason we can’t all live together in piece

  • 10. Shmua wrote:

    So instead of going to Timbuktu you can do Kiruv here in the shchuna. How luck are are you to have such an opportunity.

  • 11. Grant Taylor wrote:

    Wow, such hate between different groups of Jews. I am studying to become a Jew, was attracted to Chabad, but am starting to see a bit of a superiority complex from some, from what I see on line.

    I am very depressed to see such division, even hate when none of you, a flavour, a sect or type of practitioner has the right to say who is more of a Jew. Only G-d knows what is in one’s heart, which I am sure is more important than rituals.

    Shame on you.. Is there not enough hate for Jews in the world, that you are stupid enough to freely hate one another?

    • 12. Pedant wrote:

      Very good, Grant, that’s the best way to come into the fold, with guns blazing, full of righteous indignation and denigration. Welcome!

      We are not stupid nor do we hate one another, nor are we less aware of non-Jewish hostility towards our people.

      If you feel yourself getting worked up about our ‘stupidity’ and our ‘hatefulness’ take a step back from the brink, maybe close out your browser, and perhaps reconsider whether or or not you should join us.

      Ask your Rabbi about the 7 mitzvos.

  • 13. Feigie wrote:

    To # 5. Thank you for saying this. It’s what I’ve been thinking. Do mivtzoim with our own neighbors. Invite them for a meal. Invite them for a cup of coffee. This is basic Chabad teaching.


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