Readings — From the March 2004 issue

G-d Damn Hipsters

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From a prayer distributed in January by Hasidic Jews at a demonstration in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Between 1990 and 2000 the median monthly rent in the area increased by 67 percent, more than anywhere else in New York City. Williamsburg is reputed to be home to the highest density of artists in the world. Translated from the Hebrew by Steven I. Weiss.

for the protection of our city of williamsburg from the plague of the artists

Master of the Universe, have mercy upon us and upon the borders of our village and do not allow the persecution to come inside our home; please remove from upon us the plague of the artists, so that we shall not drown in evil waters, and so that they shall not come to our residence to ruin it.

Please place in the hearts of the homeowners that they should not build, God forbid, for these people, and strengthen their hearts so that they can withstand this difficult test and so that they will not sell for the lure of money.

Please, our Father God of Mercy, have mercy upon our generation that is weak, and remove this difficult test from these people, these immoral antagonists that by their doing will multiply, God forbid, the excruciating tests and the sight of the impurity and immorality that is growing in the world.

And here we live in fear that owing to the encroachment of these individuals upon our community we will not be able to teach our sons and daughters according to the methods of Israel.

Please, our Father of Mercy, for the sake of our fathers and our sages who gave their lives to allow religion to remain upon the lowly American soil, and for the sake of their merit, preserve the residence, do so for your love of those who came from the dust. Please, our Father of Mercy, do not give the aggressor the portion that you have acquired and that you have freed from slavery with your great strength.

And we know also, we know that we have no strength other than our mouths, and if we have brought on a decree from you, please repeal this harsh decree, because we lack strength and may not be able to withstand this difficult test, God forbid.

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