Friday, April 07, 2006

Worlds collide, NYC edition

This week has been, uh, interesting in Brooklyn. (Not our borough.) On Tuesday evening, police arrested a 75-year-old man Chasidic man in Borough Park who was cellphoning-while-driving, then refused to pull over, the works. According to witnesses (other members of the Chasidic community) he was "manhandled" during the arrest. Two younger men tried to intervene on his behalf; they were also arrested. This sparked rioting in the 66th police precinct, with lots of bonfires and damage to two police cars.

There's been a lot of fallout from this. A very high ranking officer, who came to the scene, was later accused of using profanity, which may or may not have included an anti-Semitic epithet. Orthodox leaders, in a breakfast meeting (debriefing perhaps?) with the police commissioner, praised how the riots were handled, but there is a lot of grumbling elsewhere that it was allowed to continue for hours basically without repercussions...whereas protesters at the overwhelmingly peaceful and nonviolent 2004 Republican National Convention were arrested at the drop of a hat.

So it's been a little bit of a minefield. To tell the truth, I catch such small snippets of the news that I barely paid attention to this one. Until...

Wednesday afternoon I was listening to the radio, a popular "Top 40" station that I don't even like that much (although it's often good music to exercise too, back when I did such a thing). Miss M was in the mood to "dance!" and I couldn't stomach another go-round with Bert & Ernie, so we compromised on Z100, because they usually play Sean Paul at least once an hour. Nobody can make her shake her little booty like Sean Paul. So as I am listening, I hear a "shout-out" to the (I kid you not) "Chasidic community in Borough Park," with best wishes for a peaceful day from the DJ. It was sweet, in a totally bizarre, misguided way. Because, I've got to tell you, the chance of anyone from that community listening to Z100 at any time is approximately nil.

Then the DJ played a "King without a Crown" by Matisyahu, which is a crazy story in and of itself. Basically, lost young Jewish soul finds Chabad, then plugged it into reggae to express himself. He's in his mid-20s, has a recording contract, and is performing to sell-out crowds in small-to-medium venues...with songs that are spiced with phrases like "We want Moshiach now!" He makes videos. I can't tell you how much I wish I knew what the mainstream "Brooklyn" crowd thinks of him..because, like I said, this is not the crowd that listens to Z100. Would they play him on OU radio?

Such wonderings! I had better slink away before the other NYC moms decide I have to be banished for listening to Z100....

No comments: