America's First ultra-Orthodox Town: Satmar Village Kiryas Joel to Split From Neighboring Community

Over 80 percent of voters in Monroe supported the establishment of the new town, Palm Tree, named after Satmar Grand Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum

The Satmar town of Kiryas Joel, New York will split from the neighboring village of Monroe in 2020 to become the first ultra-Orthodox town in the United States, the Times Herald-Record reported on Tuesday.

Over 80 percent of voters in Monroe, New York, supported Kiryas Joel's separation and the establishment of a new town, Palm Tree, named after Satmar Grand Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum.

The split is seen as a solution to a conflict that arised between the two communities after Kiryas Joel annexed 507 acres from Monroe in 2015 to accommodate its burgeoning population.

“Today is truly an historic day that will usher in a new era of peace and stability for all the residents of Monroe,” Gedalye Szegedin, an official in Kiryas Joel, was quoted as saying following the vote.

The town made headlines with its annexation efforts in 2014, when ultra-Orthodox proponents of the plan commissioned a map illustrating the location of "hasidic Jewish landowners."

For some residents, the map stirred up memories of darker days in history. 

"It reminds all of us of the 1940s, when the Nazis did exactly this – an account of every Jew, and their businesses," a source who grew up in Kiryas Joel was quoted as saying by the New York Post. 

Kiryas Joel and Monroe are located in Orange County, New York, and have populations of around 23,000 and 39,000, respectively.