Kiryas Joel, New York

Kiryas Joel, New York

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Kiryas Joel (Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

: קרית יואל, "Town
Town
A town is a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city. The size a settlement must be in order to be called a "town" varies considerably in different parts of the world, so that, for example, many American "small towns" seem to British people to be no more than villages, while...

 of Joel
Joel (prophet)
Joel was a prophet of ancient Israel, the second of the twelve minor prophets and the author of the Book of Joel. He is mentioned by name only once in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, in the introduction to his own brief book, as the son of Pethuel...

") is a village within the town of Monroe
Monroe (town), New York
Monroe is a town in Orange County, New York, United States. The population was 31,407 at the 2000 census. The town is named after President James Monroe....

 in Orange County
Orange County, New York
Orange County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. It is part of the Poughkeepsie–Newburgh–Middletown, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area and is located at the northern reaches of the New York metropolitan area. The county sits in the state's scenic Mid-Hudson Region of the Hudson Valley...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The great majority of its residents are Hasidic
Hasidic Judaism
Hasidic Judaism or Hasidism, from the Hebrew —Ḥasidut in Sephardi, Chasidus in Ashkenazi, meaning "piety" , is a branch of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality and joy through the popularisation and internalisation of Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspects of the Jewish faith...

 Jews who strictly observe the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

 and its commandments, and belong to the worldwide Satmar Hasidic dynasty
Satmar (Hasidic dynasty)
Satmar is a Hasidic movement comprising mostly Hungarian and Romanian Hasidic Jewish Holocaust survivors and their descendants. It was founded and led by the late Hungarian-born Grand Rebbe Yoel Teitelbaum , who was the rabbi of Szatmárnémeti, Hungary...

.

Most of the village's residents speak Yiddish as their first language. The village has the youngest median age (15.0) of any population center of over 5,000 residents in the United States. Residents of Kiryas Joel, like those of other Haredi
Haredi Judaism
Haredi or Charedi/Chareidi Judaism is the most conservative form of Orthodox Judaism, often referred to as ultra-Orthodox. A follower of Haredi Judaism is called a Haredi ....

 Jewish communities, typically have large families. Kiryas Joel is the place in the United States with the highest percentage of people who reported Hungarian ancestry, as 18.9% of the population reported Hungarian ancestry in 2000.

Kiryas Joel is part of the Poughkeepsie
Poughkeepsie (city), New York
Poughkeepsie is a city in the state of New York, United States, which serves as the county seat of Dutchess County. Poughkeepsie is located in the Hudson River Valley midway between New York City and Albany...

Newburgh
Newburgh (city), New York
Newburgh is a city located in Orange County, New York, United States, north of New York City, and south of Albany, on the Hudson River. Newburgh is a principal city of the Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown metropolitan area, which includes all of Dutchess and Orange counties. The Newburgh area was...

Middletown
Middletown, Orange County, New York
Middletown is a city in Orange County, New York, United States. It lies in New York's Hudson Valley region, near the Wallkill River and the foothills of the Shawangunk Mountains. Middletown is situated between Port Jervis and Newburgh, New York. The city's population was 25,388 at the 2000 census...

, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area
Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown metropolitan area
The Poughkeepsie–Newburgh–Middletown Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is an area consisting of two counties in New York's Hudson Valley, with the cities of Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, and Middletown, and the Arlington census-designated place as...

 as well as the larger New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

Newark
Newark, New Jersey
Newark is the largest city in the American state of New Jersey, and the seat of Essex County. As of the 2010 United States Census, Newark had a population of 277,140, maintaining its status as the largest municipality in New Jersey. It is the 68th largest city in the U.S...

Bridgeport
Bridgeport, Connecticut
Bridgeport is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Connecticut. Located in Fairfield County, the city had an estimated population of 144,229 at the 2010 United States Census and is the core of the Greater Bridgeport area...

, NY-NJ
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

-CT
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

-PA
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

 Combined Statistical Area
New York metropolitan area
The New York metropolitan area, also known as Greater New York, or the Tri-State area, is the region that composes of New York City and the surrounding region...

.

According to 2008 census figures, the village has the highest poverty rate in the nation. More than two-thirds of residents live below the federal poverty line and 40% receive food stamps.

History


Kiryas Joel is named for Rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

 Joel Teitelbaum
Joel Teitelbaum
Joel Teitelbaum, known as Reb Yoelish or the Satmar Rav , was a prominent Hungarian Hasidic rebbe and Talmudic scholar. He was probably the best known Haredi opponent of all forms of modern political Zionism...

, the rebbe
Rebbe
Rebbe , which means master, teacher, or mentor, is a Yiddish word derived from the Hebrew word Rabbi. It often refers to the leader of a Hasidic Jewish movement...

of Satmar and driving spirit behind the project. Teitelbaum himself helped select the location a few years before his death in 1979. Joel Teitelbaum, originally from Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

, was the rebbe who rebuilt the Satmar Hasidic dynasty in the years following World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. The Satmars who established Kiryas Joel came from Satu Mare, Romania.

In 1946, Teitelbaum originally settled with his followers in the Williamsburg
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Williamsburg is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, bordering Greenpoint to the north, Bedford-Stuyvesant to the south, Bushwick to the east and the East River to the west. The neighborhood is part of Brooklyn Community Board 1. The neighborhood is served by the NYPD's 90th ...

 section of the Brooklyn borough of New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. By the 1970s, however, he decided to move the growing community to a location that was not far from the commercial center of New York but was also more secluded from what he saw as the harmful influences and immorality of the outside world. Teitelbaum's choice was Monroe
Monroe (town), New York
Monroe is a town in Orange County, New York, United States. The population was 31,407 at the 2000 census. The town is named after President James Monroe....

. The land for Kiryas Joel was purchased in 1977, and fourteen Satmar families settled there. By 2006, there were over 3,000. When he died in 1979, Rabbi Teitelbaum was the first person to be buried in the town's cemetery. His funeral reportedly brought over 100,000 mourners to Kiryas Joel at that time.

It is widely believed that no candidates run for the village's board or the school board unless first approved by the grand rebbe Rabbi Aron Teitelbaum. In 2001, Kiryas Joel held a competitive election in which all candidates supported by the grand rebbe were re-elected by a 60–40% margin.

Friction with surrounding jurisdictions



The village has become a contentious issue in Orange County for several reasons, mainly related to its rapid growth. Unlike most other small communities, it lacks a real downtown and much of it is given over to residential property, which has mostly taken the form of contemporary
Contemporary architecture
Contemporary architecture is generally speaking the architecture of the present time.The term contemporary architecture is also applied to a range of styles of recently built structures and space which are optimized for current use....

 townhouse
Townhouse
A townhouse is the term historically used in the United Kingdom, Ireland and in many other countries to describe a residence of a peer or member of the aristocracy in the capital or major city. Most such figures owned one or more country houses in which they lived for much of the year...

-style condominium
Condominium
A condominium, or condo, is the form of housing tenure and other real property where a specified part of a piece of real estate is individually owned while use of and access to common facilities in the piece such as hallways, heating system, elevators, exterior areas is executed under legal rights...

s. New construction is ongoing throughout the community.

Population growth is strong. In 1990, there were 7,400 people in Kiryas Joel; in 2000, 13,100, nearly doubling the population. In 2005, the population had risen to 18,300, a rate of growth suggesting it will double again in the ten years between 2000 and 2010. In 2006, village administrator Gedalye Szegedin stated:

Local impact of growth


Monroe
Monroe (town), New York
Monroe is a town in Orange County, New York, United States. The population was 31,407 at the 2000 census. The town is named after President James Monroe....

 also contains two other villages, Monroe
Monroe (village), New York
Monroe is a village in Orange County, New York, United States. The population was 7,780 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Poughkeepsie–Newburgh–Middletown, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the larger New York–Newark–Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA Combined Statistical...

 and Harriman
Harriman, New York
Harriman is a village in Orange County, New York, United States. The population was 2,252 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Poughkeepsie–Newburgh–Middletown, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the larger New York–Newark–Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA Combined...

. Kiryas Joel's boundaries also come close to the neighboring towns of Blooming Grove
Blooming Grove, New York
Blooming Grove is a town in Orange County, New York, USA. The population was 17,351 at the 2000 census.The Town of Blooming Grove is in the central part of the county, located southwest of Newburgh.- History :...

 and Woodbury
Woodbury, Orange County, New York
Woodbury is a town and village in Orange County, New York, United States. The town population was 9,460 at the 2000 census. The village was incorporated in 2006 and comprises all of the town that is not part of the village of Harriman. The region was once called Woodbury Clove...

.

Residents of these communities and local Orange County
Orange County, New York
Orange County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. It is part of the Poughkeepsie–Newburgh–Middletown, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area and is located at the northern reaches of the New York metropolitan area. The county sits in the state's scenic Mid-Hudson Region of the Hudson Valley...

 politicians view the village as encroaching on them. Due to the rapid population growth occurring in Kiryas Joel, resulting almost entirely from the high birth rates of its Hasidic population, the village government has undertaken various annexation
Annexation
Annexation is the de jure incorporation of some territory into another geo-political entity . Usually, it is implied that the territory and population being annexed is the smaller, more peripheral, and weaker of the two merging entities, barring physical size...

 efforts to expand its area, to the dismay of the majority of the residents of the surrounding communities. Many of these area residents see the expansion of the high-density residential, commercial village as a threat to the quality of life
Quality of life
The term quality of life is used to evaluate the general well-being of individuals and societies. The term is used in a wide range of contexts, including the fields of international development, healthcare, and politics. Quality of life should not be confused with the concept of standard of...

 in the surrounding suburban communities. They view it as a prime source of suburban sprawl (most land surrounding it is largely undeveloped). This designation is questionable, because the high density townhouses and condominiums of Kiryas Joel take up much less space per person than the typical suburban community. Only 5.4% of housing units in Kiryas Joel are single, detached houses, a lower percentage than the Bronx (where 5.8% of housing units are single detached houses). (Detached single housing is a component of sprawl, but not the only component.) Other concerns of the surrounding communities are the impact on local aquifer
Aquifer
An aquifer is a wet underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock or unconsolidated materials from which groundwater can be usefully extracted using a water well. The study of water flow in aquifers and the characterization of aquifers is called hydrogeology...

s and the projected increased volume of sewage reaching the county’s sewerage treatment plants, already near capacity by 2005.

On August 11, 2006, residents of Woodbury voted by a 3-to-1 margin to incorporate much of the town as a village to constrain further annexation. Kiryas Joel has vigorously opposed such moves in court, and even some Woodbury residents are concerned about adding another layer of taxation without any improved defense against annexations. Sometimes lost or ignored is the fact that the main reason for the creation of the Village of Woodbury was to prevent another village from being created within Woodbury. The Village of Woodbury also protects growth by keeping the zoning in the hands of the Woodbury zoning and planning boards. Also residents within a village can vote in town and village elections but residents in the town would not be allowed to vote in the village election.

In March 2007, the village sued the county to stop it from selling off a million gallons (3,780 m³) of excess capacity at its sewage plant in Harriman. Two years before, the county had sued the village to stop it from tapping into New York City's Catskill Aqueduct
Catskill Aqueduct
The Catskill Aqueduct, part of the New York City water supply system, brings water from the Catskill Mountains to Yonkers where it connects to other parts of the system.-History:Construction commenced in 1907...

, arguing that the village's environmental review for the project had inadequately addressed concerns about the additional wastewater it would generate. The village is appealing an early ruling siding with the county.

In its action, Kiryas Joel accuses the county of inconsistently claiming limited capacity in its suit when it is selling the million gallons to three communities outside its sewer district.

Local politics



Critics of the village cite its impact on local politics. Villagers are perceived as voting in a solid bloc
Voting bloc
A voting bloc is a group of voters that are so motivated by a specific concern or group of concerns that it helps determine how they vote in elections. The divisions between voting blocs are known as cleavage...

. While this is not always the case, the highly concentrated population often does skew strongly toward one candidate or the other in local elections, making Kiryas Joel a heavily-courted swing vote for whichever politician offers Kiryas Joel the most favorable environment for continued growth.

Kiryas Joel played a major role in the 2006 Congressional election. The village sits in the 19th Congressional District, represented at that time by Republican Sue Kelly. Village residents had been loyal to Kelly in the past, but in 2006, voters were upset over what they saw as lack of adequate representation from Kelly for the village. In a bloc, Kiryas Joel swung around 2,900 votes to Kelly's Democratic opponent, John Hall in that year's election. The vote in Kiryas Joel was one reason Hall carried the election, which he did by 4,800 votes.

Large families


Women in Kiryas Joel usually stop working outside the home after the birth of a second child. Most families have only one income and many children. The resulting poverty
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

 rate makes a disproportionate number of families in Kiryas Joel eligible for welfare benefits when compared to the rest of the county; and cost of welfare benefits is subsidized by taxes paid county-wide. The New York Times wrote,

Litigation


The unusual lifestyle and growth pattern of Kiryas Joel has led to litigation on a number of fronts. In 1994, the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 ruled in the case of Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet that the Kiryas Joel school district, which covered only the village, was designed in violation of the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering...

, because the design accommodated one group on the basis of religious affiliation. Subsequently, the New York State Legislature established a similar school district in the town that has passed legal muster. Further litigation has resulted over what entity should pay for the education of children with disabilities in Kiryas Joel, and over whether the community's boys must ride buses driven by women. A case against the village is currently pending in federal district court; plaintiffs, who are asking for the village to be dissolved, say that Kiryas Joel is a theocracy
Theocracy
Theocracy is a form of organization in which the official policy is to be governed by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided, or simply pursuant to the doctrine of a particular religious sect or religion....

 whose existence violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering...

, where local government leaders abuse the laws, such as those for tax-exempt status, zoning, and sanitation, to favor members of their own sect and persecute other Orthodox Jews. They also say that the leaders commit vote fraud by intimidating dissident voters and busing in non-residents.

Geography


Kiryas Joel is located at 41.340020°N 74.167229°W.

According to the United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

, the village has a total area of 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2), and only a very small portion of the area (a small duck pond in the center of the village) is covered with water.

Demographics


As of the census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

of 2000, there were 13,138 people, 2,229 households, and 2,137 families residing in the village. The population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 was 11,962.2 people per square mile (4,611.5/km2). There were 2,233 housing units at an average density of 2,033.2 per square mile (783.8/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 99.02% White, 0.21% African American, 0.02% Asian, 0.12% from other races
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

, and 0.63% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.93% of the population.

Kiryas Joel has the highest percentage of people who reported Hungarian ancestry in the United States, as 18.9% of the population reported Hungarian ancestry in 2000.

The 2000 census also reports that only 6.2% of village residents spoke English at home, one of the lowest such percentages in the United States. Over 89% of residents spoke Yiddish
Yiddish language
Yiddish is a High German language of Ashkenazi Jewish origin, spoken throughout the world. It developed as a fusion of German dialects with Hebrew, Aramaic, Slavic languages and traces of Romance languages...

 at home, while 2.3% spoke Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

. Of the Yiddish-speaking population in 2000, 46% spoke English "not well" or "not at all." Overall, including those who primarily spoke Hebrew and European languages as well as primary Yiddish speakers, 46% of Kiryas Joel residents speak English "not well" or "not at all."

There were 2,229 households out of which 79.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 93.2% were married couples
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 living together, 1.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 4.1% were non-families. 2.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 5.74 and the average family size was 5.84. In the village the population was spread out with 57.5% under the age of 18, 17.2% from 18 to 24, 16.5% from 25 to 44, 7.2% from 45 to 64, and 1.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 15 years. For every 100 females there were 116.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 118.0 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $15,138, and the median income for a family was $15,372. Males had a median income of $25,043 versus $16,364 for females. The per capita income
Per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...

 for the village was $4,355. About 61.7% of families and 62.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 63.9% of those under age 18 and 50.5% of those age 65 or over.

According 2008 census figures, the village has the highest poverty rate in the nation, and the largest percentage of residents who receive food stamps. More than five-eighths of Kiryas Joel residents live below the federal poverty line and more than 40 percent receive food stamps, according to the American Community Survey, a U.S. Census Bureau study of every place in the country with 20,000 residents or more. A 2011 New York Times report noted that, despite the town's very high statistical poverty rates, "It has no slums or homeless people. No one who lives there is shabbily dressed or has to go hungry. Crime is virtually nonexistent."

See also


  • Hasidism
  • Shtetl
    Shtetl
    A shtetl was typically a small town with a large Jewish population in Central and Eastern Europe until The Holocaust. Shtetls were mainly found in the areas which constituted the 19th century Pale of Settlement in the Russian Empire, the Congress Kingdom of Poland, Galicia and Romania...

  • Mea Shearim
    Mea Shearim
    Mea Shearim is one of the oldest Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, Israel. It is populated mainly by Haredi Jews and was built by the original settlers of the Yishuv haYashan.-Name:...

  • Bnei Brak
  • Yeshivish
    Yeshivish
    Yeshivish , refers to a sociolect of English spoken by yeshiva students and other Jews with a strong connection to the Orthodox yeshiva world.-Research:Only a few serious studies have been written about Yeshivish...

  • New Square, New York
    New Square, New York
    New Square is an all-Hasidic village in the Town of Ramapo, Rockland County, New York, United States located north of Hillcrest; east of Viola; south of New Hempstead and west of New City...


External links