May 20, 2024
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May 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

When the Rambam, zt”l, advised us to walk the shvil hazahav (the golden path), he certainly did not mean what you see in Teaneck these days.

Especially on Shabbos and Yom Tov, Jewish pedestrians of all ages can be seen clogging up the roads, sometimes alone, other times in groups of six or more across.

Smack in the middle of the asphalt. For no reason.

This behavior is unacceptable. Especially at a time when we should be extra-conscious of the image we are presenting to the non-Orthodox and non-Jewish residents of Teaneck, this conduct needs to stop.

In addition to being dangerous, it is a tremendous chilul Hashem. Granted, not many cars go down, say, Hudson, on a Saturday, but those drivers who do are enraged by our unnecessary roadblocking. Not too long ago, I witnessed a driver race past a group doing this and scream an obscenity about the Jewish community—a terrible and unnecessary occurrence.

Additionally, it’s not just the smaller streets. I’ve even seen teenagers walking down Sussex and West Englewood (busy thoroughfares seven days a week) in this hazardous fashion.

“Some Teaneck roads don’t have sidewalks,” you may protest. This is true. Walk on the side of the road in those cases. There is no need to stroll down the center of the avenue. Ever. Under any circumstances. Even when there are no cars. And when there is a sidewalk (i.e., most of the time), use it.

Orthodox Jews are not the only people who live in Teaneck. The recent town elections should have cemented that fact. This isn’t Ramat Beit Shemesh or B’nei Brak. Sometimes people will be driving on these roads. Yes, even on Shabbos. Be they non-Jews, or even Jews, perhaps doctors or EMTs heading to an emergency, it doesn’t matter.

Get out of the way.

This is not acceptable or excusable behavior. It shows a lack of basic consideration.

Parents, speak to your children and make sure they are not doing this. Or if they are, tell them to stop. Set a good example for them, and don’t go out and do it yourself.

Finally, rabbis, please urge your congregants to be good neighbors and to project a positive community image by not walking in the middle of the road. It has gotten out of hand, and your intervention is unfortunately necessary for what should be basic common sense.

I wish we didn’t have to air our dirty laundry in the middle of the street, but, regrettably, that’s where we are.

Name Withheld Upon Request

Teaneck

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