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My father has a joke that I don’t think is particularly funny, but it has a grain of truth to it:

Sometimes, if you’re walking around Lakewood, you don’t know whether you’re in Jersey or in Tel Aviv.

It’s not funny because Lakewood doesn’t look like Israel, geographically. What my father was referring to, however, is that the place has a lot of people of the orthodox Jewish faith. So, if your cruising up Route 9, through Lakewood, you’ll see a lot of bearded guys in black suits and broad rimmed hats. One especially sees this on Saturday. There’s a number of synagogues, and Lakewood is the only town I’ve seen so far were Hotels advertise on their marquees and billboards their ability ot host Bar Mitzvahs. Even the Exxon gas station has literature published in Hebrew. So, if Jewish people are not in the demographic majority, they have to be very, very close, numbers wise.

There are likely many reasons for this. Lakewood is home to one of the biggest Yeshivas in America: Beth Medrash Govoha. So, the town is a center for Rabbinical studies. Oddly enough, not far away, a mostly female-student Catholic institution, Georgian Court University, stands.

Lakewood is also industrial, to an extent. WIthin it’s town limits, there’s a number of warehouses and factories. Church and Dwight, for example, manufactures — among many things — deodorant. I know because two summers ago, I worked there through a temp agency and got fired after two days. My problem? I didn’t get a long with my co-workers and couldn’t follow directions well. Why? Everybody there spoke Spanish and I couldn’t. However, now I’m off topic….

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