SATIRE: A Version of The History Of Crown Heights 

by Shmully Blesofsky

When Moshe Rubashkin first decided to develop what is today known as Crown Heights, his first priority was to find a proper life coach. Chaim Tashkenter was just starting out with his personal coaching business. He told him, “Buyen! Huben men geboyet in Russland” That day he was released from prison. The Razhag was vehemently against it until 1956-7. The Razhag’s wife (Yoko Ono) was understood to be the driver behind the opposition. V’ein Kahn Mekoymo; as well as unverifiable, v’dal. 

The first buildings in Crown Heights, the reader must realize, were basements.  With all due respect that was in the early – late- mid – to – late  60s and 70s. Then the developer Honorable Rabbi Dovid Mishler collected money from Satmar – pennies and dimes –  because that was after the war and Hatzadik Dovid Mishler built a mikevhe. There were no Yiddin in Crown Heights yet! Not one yid. Nonetheless, never the less, the Honorable Rabbi Dovid Mishler built not one Mikveh but two mikvehs even though the community was against it. Later the price of water went up, but no one saw that coming . Today everybody wants the mivkeh water, but who knew.

President Street was for the rich people while Union Street was for the dregs of society and the horses. Yiddin lived on Utica Avenue until the blackout in 2003.

The law passed by Dovid Chaim Gordetsky said that the Yiddin were only allowed to live within the line of Eastern Parkway. If a yid was caught outside -what we then called- the Pale of Parkways  they would get a parking ticket, however the challenge was that no stores were not allowed there so Yiddin were poor..

However after getting an answer from Kellogs Inc several brave families moved to the basements on Montgomery street, which had a doorman. It had a doorman! People do not grasp the significance of what that meant to the community as a whole. “All the basements in 1950s in Crown Heights, all had doormen!”. 

None of those Yiddin were frum or frei. None of those Yiddin from these days, or these Yiddin from those days, back then, before things were-the-way-they-are- today. I’ll never forget it. 

There was a yid named Bulmie he had a store on Kingston Avenue and he was frei and unfortunately back then he opened his store every single day before 11. Way before 11AM! The Lubavaitchers who just moved in to the neighborhood took issue and wanted him to open his store at least after they get up, but before they daven.  So after a while some buchrim asked him nicely that he should open up later. 25 years later exactly on that day he passed away. Whether one believes that is a coincidence or sheer luck is his own spiritual matter. 

When Gdi Oish’s grandson Chaim Baruch Broin came to the communist bowling alley to give a speech in Choishen Mishpat literally ten Yiddin with hats and rekuls came to demonstrate on Kingston Avenue in front of Hamaifitz.  They told the David Dinkins – which was a very strong and disagreeable mayor – not to listen to Baruch Broin about his wife’s eruv tavshilin and until today she doesn’t keep Rabinu Tams shabbos times in Eretz Yisroel on the second day of Simchas Torah when it falls out in the winter, after dark. Most people don’t know, but frankly most people don’t care. 

After the war BH things were very easy. Very relaxed. Most haimish Yiddin were extra calm, very relaxed; they were totally chilled. Most communities after the war were very open and welcoming; especially to modern cars. Teachers were very kind to their students. Parents only cared about their children’s psychological well being. Children were treated extra delicately. You mamesh couldn’t go to a shul in the 1950s and 60s and not hear all about therapy, healing, breathing, ritalin and self acceptance. In fact, Satmer rabonim established the first inclusive minyan in Brooklyn. 

Chassidm coming out of Russia were motivated by sobriety and very business focused. They rarely drank and were astute in their dress code. They never addressed their friends in harsh tones. People in Crown Heights, especially the buchrim, were very nice to each other.  In Crown Heights the Shabbos day seudah was the cornerstone meal looked forward to all week.  Yiddin and members of the black community worked together.

Lubavitcher’s especially were super into learning. Gemarah was a big focus those days, after the war. The Rov of Crown Heights – Big Gedalya Fentzter made sure to commit that before a chassid gets married period he must keep yoshon but mainly he must respect other communities. When Shaul Shimon Vechter attempted to print unverified stories in the Jewish Press that he heard -with his own ears- in the mikveh –  Big Gedlia Fentzter stopped the printing and made sure he apologized. On m’yaiytzaiy shabbos kaiydesh he took him to the Pizza Shop in Borough Park with his Station Wagon. This was before cholov akum came out and Yiddin were too rich to live in Borough Park. It was a different era. It was before you were born, so you’re too young to remember it. 


  • Adar simcha

    This was very funny! Especially liked the part about 50 and 60s. Keep them coming!

  • A cousin and fan

    Shmuly! We want a weekly column.
    It is there an undercover one we are missing?

  • Anonymous

    Calling the Rahsags wife by the name you called it is not funny.
    The rashag wasnt your classmate you think you can make funny of.
    This is very much not appropriate.

    • Levi

      I think you’re confused. He references the Razhag – Reb Zalman Hillel G’Lennonovitch – who was the famous m’chaber of G’el Untervasser Shiffaleh.

  • Shtopfeffer Chappenhack

    Eh, there was forgotten to mention how much was the rate of alcoholic consumption intake inhalation that was the inebriation inspiration for this compilation, eh, what? Blesofsky! Zog L’chaim!