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Outremont’s unholy mess

A long-brewing fight over accommodating Hasidim turns ugly


 
Outremont, Montreal, Hasidic Jews

Photograph by Benoit Aquin

Pierre Lacerte rarely leaves his house without a sense of righteous indignation, and never without his point-and-shoot camera holstered on his belt. When he walks through his neighbourhood of Outremont in Montreal, he may take a picture, or seven, of garbage-strewn yards, illegal construction, parking infractions, oversized buses, unlicensed gatherings and any other infraction allegedly committed by the area’s Hasidic Jewish community.

The pictures are fodder for his blog, a mean-spirited take on his Hasidic neighbours and the politicians he says “are on all fours in front of the Hasidim.” Liberal politician Martin Cauchon becomes “Martin Kosher”; Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay is blasted for courting the Hasidic vote during the last election, or “electorah.” Lacerte also attends municipal council meetings with near-religious fervour out of a sense of “exasperation” with the Hasidim, who he believes are making Outremont unbearable for the goyim. “I’m determined, not obsessed,” he said recently from a croissanterie near his home. “They’re a small minority, and already it’s a mess. What’s it going to be like in 15 years when they have doubled in size?”

Lacerte’s diatribes are indicative of the mood in Outremont. The arrondissement of choice for Quebec’s cultural and political elite is synonymous with sidewalk cafés and quiet power. Yet it has in recent years been the scene of a debate over how much leeway should be given to its religious minorities. Many residents think they know the answer: not much. Not any, actually. “Some people just want to make life miserable for the Jews,” says Alex Werzberger, the Hasidic leader frequently parodied on Lacerte’s site.

It has been ugly as of late. In March, anonymous leaflets appeared on lampposts and parking meters decrying an “illegal synagogue” in neighbouring Mile End, and urging Outremont residents to call elected officials to protest. (The building is used as a temporary meeting place for young Hasidic men, Werzberger says.) Then, a couple of weeks ago, vandals broke into an Outremont synagogue and drew swastikas on its bimah, or pulpit.

Council meetings, meanwhile, have become pitched battles between pro- and anti-Hasid camps. Recently, police removed Giselle Lafortune, a 74-year-old retired beautician and vocal critic of the Hasidim, from a meeting for repeated disruptions. Lafortune says police intervened after she called Hasidic spokesperson Meyer Feig a racist, but only after Feig insulted the upbringing of non-Hasidic children. (Feig couldn’t be reached for comment.) “I don’t want it to be like this, but it’s becoming a place where one community is pitted against another,” says Outremont Mayor Marie Cinq-Mars.

Tensions go back a few years. In the late 1990s Hasidim challenged a bylaw preventing them from erecting an eruv, a series of strings hung around a neighbourhood allowing the observant to perform otherwise verboten functions on the sabbath. The eruv, councillor Céline Forget said at the time, would prevent her from flying a kite outside her home. (The bylaw was struck down.) “You see where they’re coming from,” Werzberger says of his critics. Bylaw issues are a smokescreen, he says, for hatred of what amounts to a very visible minority. “They’re scared of what happens as we get bigger, and what will happen if we elect someone to municipal council.”

Not so, says Forget. The battle over bylaws is important, she says, if Outremont is to be Outremont and not what Lacerte calls a “religious ghetto.” In 1999, she successfully lobbied the courts to close down an illegal synagogue; opening synagogues in residential areas, then annexing surrounding buildings, is the ultimate goal of the Hasidim, she says. During the court proceedings, she was assaulted and her home vandalized.

It would have been difficult to fathom such rancour 50 years ago. Roughly 30 Hasidic families arrived from Europe after the Second World War. Attracted by its quiet streets and plentiful housing, they settled in and around Outremont, building synagogues and, much like their French Catholic brethren, reproducing copiously. Outremont practised reasonable accommodations well before it became a catchphrase: according to Cinq-Mars, there has been an unwritten rule for 40 years that says snow removal is “avoided” on certain streets on the Jewish Sabbath.

But as Quebec society became more secular and less fecund, the Hasidic community continued to grow, and to practise a brand of Judaism emphasizing piety, prayer and a certain detachment from non-Hasidim—echoes of the fight over the niqab, the Islamic veil that is Quebec’s perceived threat du jour. The friction was only a matter of time and demographics: today, Hasidim represent 20 to 25 per cent of Outremont’s population of 97,000. For some, their garb—black coats, long dresses and payos braids—is as obvious as their downturned eyes as they walk the streets. “They want to control the environment,” Forget says. “That’s why they live so close together. They think when they control a street they can apply their own rules.”

Not every Outremonter agrees. Kaitlin Jones lives down the street from Lacerte. Sure, her neighbours occasionally hiss at her bare flesh and copious tattoos. “You get over it. I mean, Outremont’s the safest neighbourhood I’ve ever lived in,” she says. The double parking? The loud synagogues? “It’s part of living in Montreal. You’re going to inconvenience someone at some point.”


 

Outremont’s unholy mess

  1. Hey is Macleans giving out bonuses for insinuations of widespread Québec antisemitism again? Martin Patriquin must be saving up for a summer home! Boom, boom, boom he just doesn't stop!

    FYI, Tim Horton, according to B'nai Brith's Anti-defamation league, 52% of Canadian antisemitic incidents in 2009 took place in Ontario.

    Still waiting to read about that story in my favourite newsweekly…

    • More than half of Canada's Jewish population lives in and around Toronto. Of course the percentage of reported incidents are going to be higher in Ontario….
      This article isn't about generic "antisemitism" but a particular, organized kind of tension, which, whether you like it or not, is often exhibited in Quebec municipalities.

    • Well, if you are interested to read the real story about the situation in Outremont, visit my website at accommodementsoutremont.blogspot.com. At least you will have another version than what Mr Patriquin wrote. after he interviewed me for two hours. You will realize that the major issue is about the permissiveness of local and provincial politicians towards fundamentalist leaders that don't have any respect for democracy. With the complicity (or submissiveness) of our own politicians, their sect can live quietly above the law.

      Pierre Lacerte

      • Oh do tell. Because I wouldn't want to be left with the impression you've gone nutbar over just a few strings on trees.

        Sadly, I think you might find more than a few sympathetic ears here at the new Macleans.

      • Another hate blog…
        All you do is complain about how the minority you despise is buying property and doing what they want with it even though, as far as I can tell from your blog, they didn't do anything wrong in acquiring those places.
        I'm all in favour or everyone getting along and making sure everything is done in respect of others, but all you do is complain about the minority, and while I was hoping that you would bring up legal issues, it looks like the Hasidic Jews haven't done anything wrong other than you hating them for no apparent reason!

    • There's a big difference between being annoyed by your neighbour, and being anti-Semitic. If the neighbours were no longer annoyed, they would not care if they're living next to Hasidic Jews. A true anti-Semite actually hates Jews on sight, no matter what.

      This business of labelling any criticism of Israel, or of Jewish practises is a dangerous one; because you are minimizing what a true anti-Semite is. Now – if I criticize the use of a niqab – does that make me anti-Muslim racist? No, I don't think it does. However, if I talk about how Muslims look, and make up vicious stories about them – that would make me an anti-Muslim racist. And anti-Semitic as well. since a lot of Muslims are Semitic people.

  2. I lived in that neighbourhood in the 1960's. The Hasidim is a closed community and intolerant. Not much different than some Muslims. If these strict religious sects want some respect, then they must also show tolerance of their neighbours.

    I remember as a child being derided by Hasidics because I wasn't of "the chosen race".

    • And I've seen a few incidents of other idiots deriding Hasidics for having no soul, etc. As nasty as that kind of crap is, you present a poor picture of how the Outremont Hasidim generally behave. And how closed are they to others? They've become a generally trilingual group without bellyaching about it; they rent apartments to anyone; once, when walking home after 12 on a Friday night (technically Saturday morning), I was politely asked for help from a Hasidic man whose stove had accidentally been turned on. Obviously they live different lives than others, but maybe we can stop being scared of that again.

      The "expansion" fears of their critics are pretty telling… when one wants everyone else to live exactly as they do, one tends to imagine the same of others.

    • Oh boo hoo, you were derided for not being part of "the chosen race" (I think you mean "chosen people"). Get over it!

      • That's an ignorant response. Shows a lot of arrogance.

        • Gee Margaret it might be arrogant, but I don't think it's particularly ignorant.

      • I'm over it, just haven't forgotten it. But I've seen this behaviour from many different strict religious communities, including some Mennonites in Manitoba. They feel that their faith makes them superior to others, and awards them special privileges. They are having similar problems in Israel with orthodox Jews vs secular Jews. The orthodox are intolerent.

    • I lived on Park Avenue in the late 60s, early 70s – saw the Hasids around; but was never bothered by them. I remember talking to a Jewish woman about the importance of education – and my Jewish boss about Israel, going to a fabulous Jewish bakery; but I always felt totally safe around them. So there are differences? So what.

      I don't get the impression that Macleans is talking about antisemitism at all. Quebec is French – they think like Sarkozy – don't want any religious symbols around. I don't blame them either – but it is what it is.

    • All religions do this; some more than others. Don't try to make it sound like the Hasidics and the Muslims are the only ones that do this and I won't bring up Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-CAcdta_8I

    • All religions do this; some more than others. Don't try to make it sound like the Hasidics and the Muslims are the only ones that do this and I won't bring up Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-CAcdta_8I

      • I'm not trying to narrow it down to just these two groups. They are examples of a plethora of conservative religious groups who demand tolerance of their beliefs, dress, customs, etc, all the while practicing intolerance of others. They need to learn that just as violence breeds more violence, tolerance breeds more tolerance. Practice tolerance first, then it will be reciprocated.

  3. What is meant by ‘a certain detachment’? I fear that you incite racism if you don’t qualify what you mean. What exactly comprises this supposed practice of a ‘certain detachment’?

    • Oh for godsake don't be so paranoid. It means they hold themselves apart from other people. I always thought it was just because they liked to be alone, but I suppose they consider the rest of us unclean, or undesirable?

  4. I'm living among them for almost twenty years and I love it. I never had a problem, I don't bother them and they don't bother me. I feel very safe with them, there is never fighting, there are no dangerous kids walking the streets as other areas have, Come and try it out and you'll see it's great.

    • Who said that hassidic kids were dangerous in Outremont? Nobody. If your definition of coexistence is reduced to "don't talk to me, I won't talk to you", your local life must be pretty poor. Stay in your basement and shut the curtains. It's your right!¸I do believe that you love to live among them. You are maybe one of them!

      • So your argument is that they don't socialize enough?

    • Yes, I live near the Satmar sect in MIile End. It's not the Hasidim who are tagging my garage and causing other property damage, nor are they harrassing women on the street.

  5. Back in the 1950s Macleans published an independent Québecois (French-language) edition. I well remember the large photo spreads and bitter articles decrying the weird “otherness” of these Outremont-Mile End pioneers. T'is a pity hacks like Mr Patriquin perceive no historical resonance in these recent events.

  6. To Mr. Lacerte, crawl back to your hole. its the 21s century and people can do as they please. Maybe we should get some religious muslims into your neighborhood also.

    • Now that's a typical Hasid comment. Not that you are a Hasid necessarily. But if not, then you really should become more familiar with the situation in Outremont. I'm pretty sure you are right about some Muslim groups — just as any bunch that is very different risks being incompatible with whomever they are becoming neighbors. I favor separate countries for all nations.

    • Yeah, should be very nice to have a whooooooooole neighbor full of hasidim and muslim people…wow! I wanna see that happen. Than, a couple of months later, we talk again…

  7. I was at the Outremont library, just the other day. There was a man with his daughter and three hassid kids up the sidewalk. The man took his daughter's hand, waved to the kids and carefully walked towards them to introduce the children to each other. The three hassid kids shreeked an and ran across the street, pointing to the little girl as if some monster had approached them. The little girl teared up as her father kneeled softly tried to explain to her in terms a four year old could understand what had just happened.

    This attitude, in Maclean's, becomes "certain detachment from non-Hasidim". Cute.

    I won't deny there is antisemitism in Outremont. I even remember the sons of proeminent Liberal senators and lawyers bragging about collecting yarmukles for sport, back when I was in High School. But to tell this story without aknowledging that the Hassidics are themselves an unapologetically xenophobic sect of Judaïsm is to completely miss the point.

    • In talking with my atheist friends that have children, I think you'd be surprised by some of the vehemence that they're treated with by otherwise nice Catholics. Telling other people children that their parents are going to burn in a lake of fire, isn't exactly what I'd call friendly.

  8. Agree with Mike T – it's a bit weird to devote yourself so fully to complaining about some garbage and zoning laws. I looked at your website Pierre Lacerte and found it to be making a mountain out of a molehill. Some of your content is downright creepy, bordering on anti-Semitism, such as your Rabbin Nez Rouge image.

    • I absolutely hate it when Jews cry "antisemitism" as soon as anyone criticises any thing they do, but how is that blog "borderline"? All it is is hate mongering, it doesn't bring up any actual information other than "they did this, I hate them and it makes living in Outremont awful".

      • Who says I'm Jewish? Is that what you're assuming because I criticized the blog for being borderline anti-Semitic?

        Anyway, if it's HATE mongering (against Chasidim) as you admit, it's not such a stretch to question whether it's motivated by anti-Semitism. I guess I drew the borderline conclusion when I saw the picture of the rabbin nez rouge with whatever comments were added. Not sure if these are the blog owner's or he just posted them. But the way in which the rabbi is made fun of is questionable at best. It just reminds me of some anti-Semitic parodies I've seen over the years. And reading some of the comments, some seem to smack of anti-Semitism.

        By the way, I think it's untrue you make when you say Jews cry anti-semitism as soon as anyone criticizes anything they do. Anything really is a an exaggeration.

        • To illustrate my point and to quote Pierre Lacerte (above): " […] their sect can live quietly above the law. "
          To say that an entire sect of Jews is living above the law is once again, borderline. It has to do with age-old stereotypes of Jews. Instead of saying that some of the Chasidim's institutions are violating some zoning or public disturbance or whatever laws, he sums it up as living above the law.

        • Sorry I guess I should have been clearer.
          I didn't mean to imply that you're Jewish because of your statement, that was clumsy on my part. I've been following a lot of debates around Israel these days and I just get so peeved off when some Israelites simply cry out "antisemitism" and simply disregard the issue at hand, I just had to say it: it was a way for me to express my reservations when dealing antisemitic accusations.
          But even though I have huge reservations about the use of the term I wanted to know what made the blog "borderline", since I had absolutely no qualms about labelling racist.

          I need to express myself better!

  9. There is a dimension in this so called Outremont mess which is not very clear. There was always a current of antisemitism in the area.In the late fifties and sixtys most of the jewish population moved out and built Cote St Luc, Hampstead etc. Many of the so called "green" immigrants newer arrivalls escaping the horrors and persecution of their age old homeland in Europe setteled mostly in The Plateu adjacant to Outremont and many of them they stayed in the area.The big synagogues of the area were closed down. On Fairmount its Colege Francais onWaverly la meme. On St Joseph, Villeneuve Esplanade, St. Dominique, St Urbain etc. etc,.all non jewish places of worship or other uses.
    A small group of baren/childless solitudes are engaged in misguided vendetta. e.g. including Celine Forget, William Morris, Pierre Lacerte,Claude Gladu etc. lonely individuals firedup on their jewish neighbours. Time to settle proplems privately.

    • HI !
      I wonder why Mr. Sandor refers to me as'' baren / childless ": my wife and I had four children. Our youngest daughter, a teacher and orthopaedagog, is the only one living in Outremont. She is also married and has two beautiful daughters.
      My wife was raised in Outremont, the daughter of a Federal judge, on McDougall avenue. She is a writer and poet, I was
      raised, not in Outremont but, inter alia, in Westmount.

      We don't even live in Outremont, but on Ridgewood ave, near St. Joseph's Oratory. We, moreover, don't feel "part of a "solitude".We do not "fire " on our "Jewish neighbours"…We have none.
      My regards to MR Anderson Sandor.
      Please try to get your facts right.

      So long.

  10. I currently live in Outremont (I'm not a hasidic) and while I certainly sympathize with the frustration over the apparent lack of regard for cleanliness, the rules of the road and childrens' safety – although to be fair, there are sooo many children – I take issue with the portrayal of the entire group as xenophobic or hate-filled. My landlady, one of the first-generation children of the original settlers from post-WWII, is highly curious about me and my upbringing, and does not hesitate to converse with me, ask me for advice, and even invited two of her teenaged daughters into our conversation. She and her husband have been polite and professional, and this causes me to be frustrated by the large brush this group is being painted with. Just because individuals dress similarly and have a fairly homogeneous gene pool does not mean that they are identical in every way.

  11. It's amusing to read Maclean's scribe Martin Patriquin tax Pierre Lacerte's one-man crusade as updated on his own blog as consisting of "mean-spirited . . . tirades." Maclean's reporter-on-the-scene speaks as though nothing of the sort would ever be found within the rant-free pages of his employer's magazine. When in fact mean-spirited tirades against Muslims and Arabs, to ID but two huge demographic blocs, have for years been a staple in the columns by Maclean's veterans Mark Steyn and Barbara Amiel. Pot. Kettle. Black.

    • Good point. Hard not to wonder if "mean-spirited ….tirades" are acceptable in the mainstream media provided it's Jews who write them and especially if non-Jewish Middle Easterners are the target. Will be interesting to see how long this immunity from criticism lasts.

      • You're right! Within our multicultural mosaic, there is a pecking order, with some groups protected, while others are fair game, seemingly. Consider these 38 words lifted from a chapter in Elie Wiesel's 1968 memoir Legends of Our Time [Shocken Books: New York, p. 142] entitled "Appointment with Hate." They underscore the primacy of hate, by pointing toward the way Jews ought to relate to Germans: "Every Jew, somewhere in his being, should set apart a zone of hate — healthy, virile hate — for what the German personifies and for what persists in the German. To do otherwise would be a betrayal of the dead." Were we to experimentally replace, say, "Jew" with heterosexual and "German" with homosexual, and then publish the result, this would, I'm sure you'll agree, rightly be denounced as advocating hatred for the members of one group by another. Certainly, if the names Jew and German were reversed in this text, that would, I believe, also be denounced as advocating hatred for the members of one group by another. As it is, Elie Wiesel is touted as an unimpeachable moral authority; which seems to suggest that at least some forms of bigotry are considered perfectly OK. 

    • Big difference. Muslims and Arabs have brought the hate on to them by their own actions, the Hassids have not.

  12. My elderly neighbour recently sold her home to a landlord. The first set of tenants in the house didn't appear to be from any visible minority; they looked like typical caucasion young people. They were an absolute nuisance as neighbours. Loud gatherings. Parking in my parking area without asking for permission (which I would have been happy to oblige on occasion had I been asked politely). I finally had to put up bylaw signage; and I called a tow truck once. Their front yard was a mess with leaves and debris everywhere; and of course, their garbage flew into the nearby yards.
    They were inconsiderate slobs. Finally, (because I think they didn't pay the rent regularly), they went away. Good riddance.

    Fortunately, a group of students (from a visable minority) have now moved into the home. And, oh my gawd, what a difference. They left a note in my mailbox to introduce themselves. They are quiet, polite and tidy.
    I would take ethnic types as neighbours any day of the week over a lot of the lazy 5th generation Canadians out there!

  13. If memory serves, these are the same folks who, in the recent past, attempted to finesse the YMCA just across the back lane into replacing some of the building's clear windows with frosted ones, so as to relieve the Hassid sect of the loathsome sight of shiksa women doing their yoga. But no-one bothered asking the opinion of the women concerned.

  14. Hasidim are above the law? The infamous airhead Celine Forget spent about three quarters of her day heckling, photographing and harrassing her Jewish neighbors. I pray that somebody gets a hold of her file in the police station and sees how many times she has called police on her Jewish neighbors. When the neighbors kids would fall asleep , she would knock up with a broom to wake them,…when her neighbors put a plant on their doorstep she would knock it over. She does not and did not spend her days doing good for humanity. She has used an unimaginable amt. of YOUR tax dollars by calling police at all hours , all days, for the most sick mundane reasons. And her neighbors? You never heard a word from them . They just smiled as she passed and she is regarded by all as a mentally unstable individual .

  15. You need some people from Calgary to come and stay for a while – see what they think. I live in a Jewish neighbourhood in Calgary, and while there are no Hasids here that I know of – it's a peaceful co-existence. Funny thing about Calgary being labelled as redneck – it's actually very tolerant when it comes to cultural differences, as long as you don't wear anything dangerous. We often see Jewish families walking to the synagogue on the weekend – hats and slightly oldfashioned outfits; and it's nice to see people walking to church, as it were. My husband was once asked by a man outside the synagogue to please come in and turn lights on for him, as it was Shabbat; he thought it was pretty amusing, but did it.

  16. Racism and seperation go hand in hand. French Quebecer's have always had an inferiority complex and this is why the would feel more comfortable in their own country. They neeed very tall 'poltical walls' to stop any non white, french speaking, 'pur laine' folks from establishing foot-holds in Quebec and taking over 'their country'.
    They've taken care of the English 'problem' and are moving on.

  17. detachment, separate, above the law – has anyone read how Haman described the jews to the king in the book of Esther?

    been there, done that

    • Exactly. So they violate some zoning laws. They should be treated like anyone else. Let's not get crazy about how we're bending over backwards for them (we're not). Fine the offenders.
      To start saying they're above the law?
      And separate? Who cares if they're separate? That's their prerogative. It's how they maintain a tight-knit community preserving their traditions.

  18. Groups of Christians visiting Israel, as well as Christian clerics, are spat on by orthodox jews. It is so bad that a committee of nonjews put in a formal complaint but I don't know what the outcome was.

    • Irena what is your point? You're talking about something going on in Israel involving different people. Unless there's been a serious problem with Outremont's Chasidim spitting on people, I can't see the relevance. All you're doing is demonizing Orthodox Jews. Well done. But no, I'm sure what you said wasn't the least bit motivated by anti-Semitism.

    • You're right. There was a film by a Swiss TV outfit, "Les Hommes en Noir", which documented well how some Jewish fundamentalists behave (and indeed, contrary to "Jake's" reply to you, they include the same sorts that are now in Outremont) and how even the secular Jews have major problems dealing with them. Outremont's Hasids include at least a few nasties who act similarly toward individuals (esp. women) whom they don't like. (Les Hommes en Noir at least used to be available on Lacerte's blog, accommodementsoutremont.com [not sure of spelling].)

  19. except for a few rabid jew-haters who obviously are born losers with nothing of interest in their lives, most of us non-jewish montrealers living in these areas have nothing but praise for the peaceful, non-violent, and old style family life of chassidic jews.

    we don't have to worry about their kids being on drugs or drunk. no violence, no vandalism or graffitti.
    so we don't invite each other to dinner – big deal!

    i can go on vacation and know my jewish neigbour will keep an eye on my place and even call me if necessary.

    yes they are different culturally while the hooligans a few miles down the road are the 'same'!

    I know which ones I prefer

    • sba
      I'm pretty sure you're correct in your generalizations/stereotypes for a goodly segment of the Hasidic population in Outremont. The problems MAY well arise only from a minority of Hasids. But that's hard to evaluate without a proper study since small samples (e.g., your neighbors) are never trustworthy as a guide to a whole group — unless the whole group really is like that. IF you are right, then the problems should be easily solved by the Hasidic leadership laying on their congregations and telling them in no uncertain terms to shape up. Someone once said that a good reputation takes ages to establish but can be lost in an instant. Often it takes only one bad experience to taint one's whole image of a group.

    • +1

  20. Outremont is a good example of “diversity” at work — when cultures are different enough to be incompatible. But that's why we have different countries!

    Lacerte's satire: I never saw any illegitimate criticism (maybe Patriquin should lighten up) — which is mostly of elected officials and their favoritism. It's often implied that he or Céline Forget (just elected as counselor) are “anti-Semitic” (some good examples in the above commentaries), but that's a common, if self-defeating, strategy among Jewish extremists – to the great embarrassment of other Jews who fear an increase in hostility toward all Jews as a result.

    Of course not all Hasids are the same, but enough behave in certain ways as to tarnish the reputation of their whole group. Read Israel Shahak's books to find out why they are like that.

    Suggestion to Hasids: obey the laws rigorously on your own initiative, be exceptionally good neighbors, and I'll bet that will end the anger against you. Try it. If you can all vote as a block you can all clean up your garbage and stop bothering your neighbors as a block.
    Charles Winston

    • Charles,

      Have you been there, may I know about which law abiding you're talking about. I wonder if you go knock door by door outermont residents and ask them if they have any problem with their Jewish neighbor not being respectful to them how many negative answer you'll get. of course those decent outremonut residents will not build any website to promote the hasids attitude etc. that's why you don't hear from them, the noise makers are only those few idiots like Forget. Let me tell you I've lived there for 20 years, and it's a beautiful and safe place to live in, no fighting no drugs no graffiti.

      • George,

        Good idea. Someone should do a study (properly, of course: the researcher would have to be independent of both "communities" yet be someone to whom everyone would be willing to express themselves freely and honestly.) But some things anyone can check out by going to Lacerte's site since he photographs everything in his area. And you can go to that area, itself, and look around. Check it out!
        Re "…safe place to live in, no fighting no drugs no graffiti. .." You would get no argument from me there, i.e., I haven't heard anyone complain about things like that. So I remain pretty convinced that if ALL the Hasids would take the municipal regulations seriously and obey them (EVERYONE! all together now!) Everyone in Outremont would quit worrying about Hasids — and, e.g., worry more about how they could imitate the Hasids' willingness to have kids (up to replacement level, but no more) and take really good care of them instead of putting them through divorce and separation, etc.

  21. What poor creature lost it's life for that hat?
    All these ultra religious people including Muslims are brainwashed from birth.

  22. I have been a long time resident of Outremont and have noticed the gradual anti-Quebecism brewing . This particular group of Hasids on Hutchison Street are full of hatred for anyone not from their race. They are very vocal about their hatred towards us ; children, adolescents yell , scream at very high volumes whilst their mothers stand by and giggle in acceptance. This attitude only reinforces that their misguided hatred of others is accepted, tolerated and encouraged by their mothers.
    Anyone doubting the public hatred that this group holds for the non Hasids should take a walk down Hutchison and Durocher with your dog to be mobbed by hate. I question what these children learn in school and at home to make them turn into little people that hate. For hatred is an acquired sentiment as we are not born with any hate. The leaders of this community must take responsibility for their people and teach them they THEY DO NOT HAVE TO LIKE US, THEY DO NOT HAVE TO SPEAK TO US…BUT PLEASE DO NOT VERBALLY ATTACK US

    • This is odd. I've lived in Outremont for a very long time, and still do, and I have never, ever, been verbally assaulted, nor have I ever felt any hatred from the Hassidic community towards me. Indifference, maybe, hatred never. Maybe there is something in your own attitude that elicits something.

      • Bingo!!! If you look hard enough for something to confirm your own prejudice, you’ll find it.

  23. every immigrant is expected to be a canadian except the hasidim if they dont like quebec or canada they need to leave. that is not antisemitism its fairness.

    • What is so very non Canadian about the Hasidic community?  Under what narrow subjective rules do you define a person as Canadian?  Under what narrow subjective rules do you define a person as desirable?  And since when is uniqueness synonymous with dislike of one’s country or one’s province?  The sameness and assimilation being nurtured in this region is both unnatural and destructive.  You know it is.

    • Hell, we make exceptions and exemptions all the time for all the Muslims flooding into our major cities, why shouldn’t we cut a small group that has been comparatively much more peaceful and non-disruptive, not to mention, has been here much longer, a little slack. Truth is, the behaviour of Lacerte and Forget is representative of the increasingly intolerant franco-supremacists like Marois, who try to disguise their bigotry and anti-semitism, in particular, under the guise of civil harmony and secularism. They are the undemocratic guilty parties in this situation, not the Hassidic community, even if a few of them get a bit unruly from time to time. The franco-supremacists have bullied the English in Montreal to the point of near-extinction, but they don’t like it when one of their victims fights back. And, I’m neither religious, nor Jewish.

  24. I’ve been living in Outremont for a year now. Someone I know made an off-hand comment about how the Hasidim were trying to take over the neighbourhood, and I just shrugged it off. It wasn’t until I read the comments that I realized there was this perceived problem here.

    I’ve never been hissed at, I’ve never been looked down upon, I’ve never been mistreated by any of the residents of Outremont. I’ve gone into Judaic shops, I’ve gone into the Jewish bakery, and I’ve never had any problem.

    A lot of the complaints I’ve read here are based on experiences from as far as 50 years ago. Please don’t incite hatred with your aged experiences.

    Are the Hasidim breaking the law? No. Are people trying to create laws to stop them (specifically, as a community) from doing what they’d like (even though it’s not illegal…yet)? Yes. So, who’s causing the trouble here? The people trying to live their lives peacefully, or the people trying to make life difficult for them?

    Bunch of anti-semites.

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