IT’S VERY SIMPLE, JUST FOLLOW THE RULES
Questions over what constitutes fairness and what constitutes bias or bigotry have plagued our local communities in recent years, with many longtime residents claiming that residents of Kiryas Joel frequently do not follow rules, and residents of Kiryas Joel claiming that the community’s other residents are biased. In fact, both sides claim bias against each other. And in fact there are some in the area who harbor hate, with no rhyme or reason. In the Village of South Blooming Grove yet another instance happened this past month in which a shuttle bus company chose to ignore the very rules they had just agreed to. Now the issue will be decided in the county’s Supreme Court. This is not the first, nor will it be the last time that one group of residents, often with different language and customs, understands rules differently, or not at all, or chooses to ignore them. In order to make the point of fair and equal treatment of all, breaking the rules must be identified and corrected in each and every instance, otherwise rule breakers will think they can sneak through.
What was different in this instance, however, shows that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel. A group of the new residents calling themselves the Peace and Justice Coalition has been holding meetings, formal and informal, with residents and officials. They offered to come to village offices and translate the codes to Yiddish. They have come to love the country life in the area that they recently moved to, and show a willingness to adapt to many of the ways of the people who lived there before. It was not easy, not easy on either side. There were many citations issued because of people ignoring maintenance rules, trash requirements, building requirements and more. Now the Peace and Justice Coalition is teaching their new neighbors about Hasidic traditions, and learning the codes and ways of the village.
What will happen with the buses, we don’t know. But to see the longtime residents of the village, and its new members chatting amiably, and even laughing together at times shows there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that we CAN get along if everyone makes the effort.
Often in life, all we need is HOPE!