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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
When one nut tries to speak for the neighborhood
As we returned home from lunch Saturday afternoon (actually it was already evening), the first day of Rosh Hashanah, I noticed something on the front porch. My wife picked it up, and turned out to be two pieces of paper stapled together. The top piece was a typed (or printed, more likely) letter, from a neighbor whom we had never met, dated the current day. The letter was an apology for the noise the neighbor had made during the day repairing a major sewage break to the tune of about $5,000. He said that he did not intend to disturb the tranquility of the holy day, and that indeed he had moved into our neighborhood because he is Jewish, albeit non-observant.

This letter was a response to the second piece of paper, a photocopy of a hand-written, obscenity-laced tirade that was apparently delivered anonymously earlier in the day. This missive slammed the neighbor for using "jackhammers" on this "holiest day of the year" in our "Jewish neighborhood." After calling the homeowner a number of foul names, the author concluded, "Why don't you just move?"

Hopefully it should be obvious to anyone that the tone and language used in this letter is not what one would expect from a member of the orthodox Jewish community, which overwhelmingly gives our neighborhood its Jewish feel. In addition to that important point, I should note for the uninitiated that writing is forbidden by Jewish law on Rosh Hashanah and many other holidays, as well as on Shabbat. Saturday was both Shabbat and Rosh Hashanah. Lastly, if this nutjob had been in synagogue where he belonged, he wouldn't have heard a thing!

(For the record, no one in our household heard anything, synagogue or no synagogue.)

I was mortified when I read this - a true descecration of God's name, even though to me it was clear that it was not written by a Torah-observant Jew. The recipient wouldn't necessarily know that! I went by the house in question and found the owner sipping a glass of wine on his front porch. I profusely apologized - not that I had done anything wrong, but sort of for the neighborhood as a whole, though I suppose no one elected me to such a task. I tried to explain how this note was anti-Torah in the ways I described here above. He was very understanding, and actually apologetic if he had disturbed anyone. I told him that the letter was ridiculous and preposterous. That of course he is welcome in this neighborhood, even if he weren't Jewish (again, I hope this is obvious to you, Dear Reader). After a bit of small talk, he thanked me for coming by and I returned home.

On Monday there was a For Sale sign on his lawn.
Ralphie...that's what I call an ending with a twist. How truly sad. But I have a question...how do you know the letter writer wasn't a torah observant Jew...are you inferring that only a Jew who is not torah-observant would write such a letter? Just wondering.
Some of the most religious people I have known (Jewish, Christian, Catholic, etc)...have been some of the most morally bankrupt people I have known. Religious does not equal moral, ethical, or well-mannered for that matter.
As Ralphie pointed out, an observant Jew would not have written on Shabbat or Rosh Hashana (and it was both).
That's so sad. Maybe he'll change his mind... : (
Wait, there's a house for sale in Pico Robertson? What's he asking?
I empathize. Conservative Christians have the exact same problem. If you can't control your road rage, for goodness sake don't display a "Know Jesus, Know Peace" bumper sticker!
CM - anonymous is correct. Maybe I should have written something to the effect of "outwardly observant" or something. I mean, if the person in question would not write on the holiday but instead went in person to scream profanties at the poor homeowner, I'd like to say that the screamer is not Torah observant - because of the atrocious behavior. So I guess it's best to say that the two acts - egregious behavior and writing on Rosh Hashanah/Shabbat - are both prohibited by Torah (and I dare say the former is worse than the latter, though both are required). As opposed to characterizing the person himself.

Either way it's not an identity I'd like our neighborhood - or any neighborhood - to have.
anonymous - forget about it. I hear they have plumbing issues. Plus, the block has a noise problem...

Kiwi - I felt similarly in the weeks following 9/11. I had a little American flag on my car window, and I couldn't stand it when another flag-bearer would cut me off or otherwise drive in an obnoxious manner...
Wait a second. I was certain that the last line was a funny but fictional twist thrown in strictly for the har-dee-har. You're serious? The sign went up the next day? That's totally humiliatingly terrible. Maybe he was planning to leave for other reasons. It's hard to imagine making the decision to leave overnight, much less having time to buy the sign.
Nope - it's for real. I had the same reaction, however- how do you get a sign in your lawn the first day? Maybe it's for-sale-by-owner (I'll have to take a closer look). Maybe the crazy writer person stuck it in their yard? Maybe it was the plumbing?

The only reason I don't think it was already in the works is because I figured the homeowner would have said something to me about it, since it was very in-context...
It's a real, bona fide realtor For Sale sign. Should I bother asking the guy if he's moving in response to the note? I'd feel kinda foolish.
Yeah. Ask. At least if he says "I've been planning this for 6 months, you'll feel a lot better about it."
Why would he say, ""I've been planning this for 6 months, you'll feel a lot better about it."?
C*$p. I put the end quote in the wrong place. Make that:

Yeah. Ask. At least if he says "I've been planning this for 6 months", you'll feel a lot better about it.

But you knew that.
I would like to wish everyone Jewish an easy fast, and to every friend of this coffee house a gut, gebensht yohr -- a good and blessed year.
I'd like to think it's a plumbing issue, but who knows. It's hard to believe someone would uproot his whole life over one stupid letter.

I agree, the letter was abhorrent. But this guy went to a lot of trouble to let everyone know that he received it and to put his own spin on the situation.

I don't think we have all the information here.

Gmar Chatima Tova!
Dipwads. I can tolerate anyone's religious beliefs- but if you start acting like a jerk all tolerance is out the window. I hope the guy gets a good price and moves to a nicer neighborhood.
Hey - that's my neighborhood you're talking about. I don't think this is a tolerance issue. It's a nutjob issue.
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