For the past few years, on a regular, horrific basis, hasidic children in Brooklyn, Kiryas Joel and surrounding areas have been tragic victims of motor vehicle accidents. And most of those accidents were preventable.
Protect Children From Physical Danger Before "Moral Danger"
By Critical Minyan • Special To FailedMessiah.com
For the past few years, on a regular, horrific basis, Chasidic children have been tragic victims of motor vehicle accidents.
I know of 14 incidents, and I'm sure there are more, that occurred over the past 3 years. Each statistic, each story, represents a young child, healthy and beautiful, with a wide open future, struck down before their life even began.If these were an anti-Semitic incidents, opportunistic politicians such as Dov HIlkind, would be throwing themselves in front of a camera, calling for additional police, additional funds, additional investigations.
Consider in contrast, the reaction, the furor, to the bike lanes that were put up in Williamsburg. Many Chasidic politicians and spokespeople spoke out against the bike lanes, calling them a threat to safety, potentially damaging to pedestrians and to mothers pushing strollers. These efforts are severely, harmfully misdirected. Bicycles don't kill children, motor vehicles do. Focus on that and lives will be saved.
Everyone knows that the battle against bicycles is not really about safety, it's about protecting the community from outside public influences, from change, from modernization. Most Chasidim would love to ride bicycles within their community but avoid it out of shame, or worse, out of extortion from the religious radicals that control the school system and the taxpayer funded disbursements from the Williamsburg Jewish councils.
In the past mayoral election, strong community lobbying was dedicated to removing the bike lane down Bedford Ave. It is even alleged that Mayor Bloomberg removed this bike lane as a political favor to thank Chasidim for publicly supporting him. Shame on Mayor Bloomberg for catering to separatists who want to Balkanize NY. Even greater shame should be heaped on inept, so-called,community leaders such as Moshe David Neiderman, Issac Abraham, Leo Moscowitz and others, who don't care about protecting their children, choosing instead to focus on women bicycling instead of reckless motor vehicle driving.
Rabbi [David] Neiderman [head of a powerful Williamsburg-based Satmar community organization], why were you fighting against a bike lane when you should have been fighting for safer streets? Simon Weiser [a 'modesty' activist in Williamsburg and the man behind the VosIzNeias ban], why are you worried about the grave moral danger of women wearing shorts instead instead of the actual physical danger of cars hitting children? [Satmar community activist in Williamsburg] Issac Abraham, why were you lobbying against a bike lane instead of lobbying for crossover mirrors?
The over reliance on motor vehicles is a hard habit to break. I drive a car as well as ride a bicycle. Cars aren't evil, they just aren't the safest option in crowded communities such as Williamsburg or Kiryas Joel, where children are playing joyfully everywhere. Buses, cars and trucks should be seen as they truly are, grave dangers to safety, accidents waiting to happen. Wise Rabbis should be focused on removing these threats from the streets as much as possible. Preventing another tragedy, another injured child, is worth it.
Critical Minyan is the pseudonym of a regular FailedMessiah.com commenter who is intimately acquainted with hasidic culture in Brooklyn.