July 13, 2024
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July 13, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Until two years ago most of us had never heard of Jo-Ann Hans. An event that took place on the corner of Westminster and New Bridge Road shook the community and radically changed the lives of the Hans family. It was September 15, 2015, Rosh Hashanah morning, that while doing her duties as a crossing guard at the corner of Congregation Beth Abraham Jo-Ann was hit by a car. Her life and that of her family will never be the same.

It is now two years later and we are still waiting. For one thing we are waiting for the county to do something about this corner, which is a constant accident in waiting. We have been told that something will be done about it and we can only hope that “something” does not mean that someone will be hit again or killed before the proper action is taken. We are sure that many have driven down North Dean Street in Englewood and passed pedestrian crossings that are well lit with flashing signs They shine off and on throughout the day. Is there something wrong with our city and/or cities? It is fortunate or should we say unfortunate that now that an FDU student was killed crossing River Road in Teaneck that a yellow flashing light is being installed at that corner. We are aware of the fact that there is a great deal of red tape involved and many different elements of local and county government must pool their efforts to get the show on the road. Yet every time we cross that corner, which for Mordechai going to shul is each day, and for the throngs of people that cross there on Shabbat and the Chagim is several times a day as well, we silently pray that nothing tragic will occur.

Each week we read in our shul bulletin a plea from the rav that people should not go out at twilight or in the evening without wearing safety sashes. Frequently on Motzei Shabbat one of us drives a friend or grandchild after their late Shabbat visit at our home. There are still lingerers who are walking the streets or running out of the shul. No one seems to believe that anything could possibly happen to them—all dressed in black or dark suits it doesn’t even enter their minds to turn and look to see if a car is coming and it is nearly impossible to see them. Several times Nina has stopped her car, opened her window and patiently tried to express her concern for their safety explaining that the driver has no way of seeing them. Total indifference is shown in most cases. It is almost as if they are doing her a favor by even listening to her request. They have much more important things on their mind.

We have reached the point where we are almost deciding not to go out on Shabbat night. Walking home on totally unlit streets, on sidewalks that are broken make anyone’s chances of having a fall that much greater. We know that we are in a different stage of life than the many young families who live in these communities. We realize that young adults give little thought to these mishaps. Believe it or not young people fall also. Darkness on streets scares children. Leaves are slippery. Ice is even more slippery. What has to be done to light the streets of our community? Does no one else notice this? Whose responsibility is it to rebuild the sidewalks? We do not know if individual home owners must take care of their own property. If that is the case why is no one in the cities we live in enforcing these rules?

If there are other people concerned about the conditions of our sidewalks and the darkness of our streets we would appreciate hearing from you. We cannot be the only people who feel this way.

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

 

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