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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

It's Our Block

Back in February, I blogged about how violated I felt when my car was broken into. Since then, there have been a number of vandalisms and break-ins on our block.

Last week, I attended a block meeting with my neighbors, the Alderman, and the police. The meeting was populated by people who lived within a one block radius of my house. Although there were a few familiar faces, I was shocked by how many unfamiliar faces were there. The group was a mix of Blacks, Whites, and Orthodox Jews.

As the meeting began to wind down, several people came over to me and told me that they had seen me walk past their house every week with my children (on my way to shul), but that they didn't know my name. You all know how terrible I am with names, but I made a real effort that night to introduce myself and try to remember some of their names and faces, so that I could greet them more personally the next time I walk past them as they water their lawns.

There was one sentiment that was echoed over and over again by the attendees. Whether they were Black, White, or Jew, they all said the same thing:

This is our block, and we are all neighbors, and we have to look out for each other.

Wouldn't it be great if the rest of the world worked this way?


Irina Tsukerman said...

Do you guys have a neighborhood patrol there?

(In some parts of Brooklyn, we have Shomrim. While I was working in DA's office in the summer, one of them caught a couple of kids who were vandalizing and breaking into cars)

Mirty said...

If the world had a front porch... Isn't that a country song?

Jewish Blogmeister said...

I attended a block meeting with my neighbors....I remember there used to be block parties..did they do away with those and did meetings instead?

PsychoToddler said...

We used to do block parties, in fact, my band played at one of the big ones we had a few years back. One of the things I brought up at the meeting was that it would be nice for us to get together more often when there aren't police involved.

The big issue with block parties is the food, which has to be kosher if the Jews are to show up.

GregoryT said...

It's so nice that you bring up the topic of unity on the block scale, regardless of religion. It's probably because the Jewish community in Milwaukee is smaller than in bigger cities. In Chicago, the Jews on the block usually don't care about the well-being of their "goyishe" neighbors.

Wickwire said...

Gregory, what is goyishe?

PT that would be nice. My neighborhood is fairly close, except for one woman.

I have a "Gladys Kravitz" in mine. At first she was annoying but I feel good leaving the house knowing she's over there watching everything that goes on in her hood.

sh weider said...

where is shomrim when we need them

Ezzie said...


PsychoToddler said...

Irina: Yes we have a neighborhood watch and it is populated by Jews and Gentiles alike. More Jews should get involved, though.

Sh weider: I think that's what the shomrim are. You patrol the neigborhood with a radio to call police if anything suspicious happens.

Mirty: Yes, indeed:

"If the world had a front porch, you'd be my refrigerator"

Wick: derogatory word for Gentile. Gregory isn't being insulting. He's referring to the attitude he sees. Yet another reason not to live in Chicago. Besides bumper to bumper traffic at 11 pm!