Thursday, December 29, 2011

Necessary Chareidi response to the chilul HaShem of the fanatics

Cross-currents by Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein

The Charedi Spring may have finally arrived. Eight year old Naama Margolese may do for Israel what a Tunisian street vendor did for the Arab world. The wave of revulsion for the behavior of the extremists, if sustained and channeled into focused police work, may release the Israeli public – both secular and charedi – from the tyranny of fanatics whose thuggery and primitivism ran unchecked in Meah Shearim for years.

The price we pay for it is a massive chilul Hashem, as hundreds of millions of people equate Torah with Taliban. The only partial antidote is for the genuine Orthodox world to do what Muslims do not do to their extremists. We must condemn with passion, conviction and without qualification. 

As the numbers of Meah Shearim-grown extremists increased, they sought space in other communities. (It was not only a matter of space. They were repudiated by many in their own neighborhood, including the Edah Charedis, which was still unable to rein them in.) Large numbers settled upon the Beit Shemesh area. Their growing enclave in RBS-Bet gradually spread out, to the point that they found themselves in close proximity to existing neighborhoods of dati Leumi and conventional charedim. Ongoing clashes came to a head with the opening of a frum girls’ school on land the extremists coveted in the dati Leumi neighborhood of Scheinfeld. While the dispute has been going on for months, and while violently imposing their requirements on local businesses has taken place for years, the issue exploded upon the national and international scene through a clip from Israel’s Channel Two that has gone viral. Listening to an Anglo girl dressed in long sleeves and a skirt speak about her fears in simply crossing the street and having to run a gauntlet of taunts, curses, and spittle from bearded adults has turned out to be the impetus to galvanize a country – including many charedim – into taking action. Contrasting her angelic demeanor with the ugly rhetoric of one of the tormentors who is particularly honest about their objectives to take over the entire contributed to the mood of resistance.

14 comments :

  1. Sorry but this is no Chareidi Spring.
    The young girl in question is not Chareidi. The leaders of the protest are not Chareidi. The one statement from the Agudah so far can be summarized as "We agree with the fanatics' goal but not their method" and there is now a statement attributed to Rav Eliashiv reinforcing the dysfunctional rejection of any attempt to improve the living standards of Chareidim.
    The attempt to change the Chareidi community is coming mostly from outside. It would be genuinely refreshing to see one "gadol" show up at the anti-zealot protests.

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  2. Recipients and PublicityDecember 29, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    Part 1 of 2

    First some light digression, there is a famous old video with (rabbi) Uri Zohar acting that sums up the waves of aliya that is so applicable here, see העליה לארץ Parody on Israeli new immigrants (YouTube, 7 minutes -- watch it til the end for the funniest and truest ending) -- just add the latest waves of confrontational Charedim and Modern Orthodox to the list...

    Try as he may, Rabbi Adlerstein's verbal gymnastics are neither accurate nor do they penetrate to the heart of the matter.

    What is needed now is very simple and can be encapsulated in one word: LEADERSHIP !

    Charedi LEADERS, meaning its RABBIS, must come forth and BAN harassment by their own FOLLOWERS from the growing abuse of children, women and men not from their camps, just as they come forth to "ban" the Internet, demand cell phones that are "kosher" and demand adherence to a Charedi dress code and much more. Any Charedi Jew who defies his onw Rebbe is put in CHEREM.

    Until such time as the courts of Ger, Belz, Vizhnitz, Toldos Aron, etc etc etc remain deafeningly silent, then one must assume that they are the ones guiding and encouraging the Charedi harassers and the Chasidic vandals!

    While it is wonderful to see the mass growth of Charedi kehillas and it's a blessing, which is something they are genuinely entitled to be proud of after the tragic losses suffered during the genocide of the Holocaust. but, what is happening literally on the ground is that the population explosion of Charedim is causing a problem of, shall we say "LEBENSRAUM" (i.e. literally, "living room" or "space to live in") as the Charedi population explosion and baby boom moves exponentially outwards that necessitates HOUSING.

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  3. Recipients and PublicityDecember 29, 2011 at 8:24 PM

    Part 2 of 2

    What local Charedim are bumping into in the greater Jerusalem area in particular, and they don't realize it, is another wave that is rising ALIYA of more modern Orthodox couples (mostly from America) who cannot be intimated by Israeli Charedi hard-core tactics and will not be ignored by the Israeli politicians and media the way native secular Israelis would be to mollify the Charedi voting block in the Knesset. The IDEALISTIC and BRAINY and mostly PROFESSIONAL American olim and those who live with them in areas like Beit Shemesh are not going to allow Charedi street thugs (with no known means of real livelihoods beyond largesse from the Israeli government and shnorring) to kowtow them into submission and flee their neighborhoods. Americans in any case are well experienced in fleeing and dealing with neighborhoods that have declined for socio-economic reasons and they will not abandon their hard-earned homes in Israel to apartment-hungry wild-eyed Charedim.

    That is why we have already seen comments from US Secretary of State Hilarry Clinton and why both Netanyahu and Peres are alarmed and are willing to call the Israeli cops in because the American Israeli olim know how to pull strings and contact their American politicians and media back home.

    The Charedi leaders in Israel are missing this and for sure the Charedim beating people up on the streets in front of TV cameras don't get that they have hit a serious barrier to their "normal" way of doing business and getting their way.

    It could and will get much worse. YET, only one thing can stop this mess from exploding even further, if the Charedi LEADERSHIP in Israel steps forth and bans riots, spitting, vandalism, violence and all sorts of mayhem (all of which are taught by out of control teachers in the charedi yeshiva system that preach against "tzioyonim" "misyavnim" and dehumanize anyone who is not like them much akin to cultish indoctrination that is now backfiring badly) in order to get their way with gender segregation on buses, housing and on the streets (as they were shulls that need "mechitzas for davening and learning) clamoring for Meah Shearim-style "segregation" something that cannot work in a country as vast and diverse as modern day Israel with its diverse population of different types of secular and Orthodox Jews.

    welcome to the realities of kibbbuts galuyot as more and more Jews try to squeeze themselves into every corner of Israel.

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  4. "Charedi LEADERS, meaning its RABBIS, must come forth and BAN harassment by their own FOLLOWERS from the growing abuse of children, women and men not from their camps, just as they come forth to "ban" the Internet, demand cell phones that are "kosher" and demand adherence to a Charedi dress code and much more. Any Charedi Jew who defies his onw Rebbe is put in CHEREM.
    "

    But see, this was the problem with banning everyday household appliances and regularly used things which no one was going to stop using. They produced bans that everyone ignores (the big unkept secret). In the process, they eroded their own credibility, so a ban today, a ban tomorrow, who is going to listen to it? It's second nature to ignore proclamations and strange kosher-alert bombardments. The sikrikim will not listen to a ban by gedolim even it's by Rav Eliashiv and Rav Kanievsky and Rav Shternbuch... Will they?

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  5. Well said RaP.

    The question I have: are there any Gedolei HaDor that actually have influence over these extremists?

    It is clear that the Haredi Gedolim do not wish to condemn the extremists, because that would be siding with the zionists. However, they are making a big mistake. The secular world, and the world in general only see these maniacs as being "haredi". Actually, I have not come across any Haredim (or perhaps very few) that would act in such a low manner. So the true Haredim must try to keep their good name, and dissociate themselves from the kanoim.

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  6. We must let everyone know that REAL Charedim love peace and honesty in business; FAKE Charedim do not.

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  7. I grew up with uninvolved Reform parents. When I was little (around 1975), my parents went on vacation in Israel. They drove through Jerusalem taking pictures on Shabbos. They didn't know any better. They were assaulted by shouting haredim, some of whom threw dirty diapers.

    This was my first exposure to the frum world. I think it delayed my religious development by 20 years. My parents still think the haredim are nasty people.

    So this is nothing new.

    The best kiruv is simcha. Spitting and screaming and burning Israeli flags do the opposite.

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  8. Recipients and PublicityDecember 30, 2011 at 9:38 PM

    "Student V said...The sikrikim will not listen to a ban by gedolim even it's by Rav Eliashiv and Rav Kanievsky and Rav Shternbuch... Will they?"

    RaP: Firstly they would listen if the message was broadcast loud and clear and came with real consequences, and secondly, it's not just about the so-called "sikrikim" it's about the entire Charedi and Chasidic community. It is not "sikrikim" that're invading homes and attacking residents in Meah Shearim' Batei Varsha, it's the Ger Chasidim throwing their weight around. They did the same thing in Arad, when Ger Chasidim decided to take over the town they threw their weight around, intimidated local Charedim already there and vandalized shuls and property to get their way so that they could build up the Ger enclave. That's how they do business.

    Same thing with the verbal abuse of women on buses who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time on a bus full of Charedim, any Charedi male is capable of coming forth and hurling vile invective and verbally abusing the women they want to intimidate. So it's not "sikrikim" but a Charedi mindset that's on the war-path against the outside world.

    It's also not just "sikrikim" that smash shop-windows of book-stores they don't like or hurl diapers with feces at passers-by they want to scare off. It's a whole culture of hard-ball players.

    "Eddie said...The question I have: are there any Gedolei HaDor that actually have influence over these extremists?"

    RaP: Yes there are!!! When the Ger Rebbe and the Belzer Rebbe and the Toldos Aron Rebbe and the Vizhnitz Rebbe etc etc etc and various Batei Din and Mosdos etc etc etc and the Roshei Yeshiva and the Moetzes Agudas Yisroel and the Moetzes Chachmei Yisroel and the Rabbanut and Chief rabbis (why are they so meek and silent???) etc etc etc will stand up and speak with ONE voice to condemn all forms of VERBAL ABUSE, SHOUTING OF CURSES, HURLING OF STONES, VANDALISM OF PROPERTY, ACTS OF VIOLENCE against other Jews (all forbidden by Torah and secular law), since every Jew has the Tzelem Elokim MiMaal, then the Charedim and Chasidim on the streets will START acting somewhat normally and hopefully respectfully to their fellow Jews. They think they are still fighting the Cossacks. They are home in Eretz Yisroel that belongs to every Yid!

    The problem runs much deeper because the educational systems of the Charedim, in the chedorim, yeshivas and Bais Yaakov lay the groundwork for this kind of attitude by inculcating utter disdain and even hate for anyone not like them. The "macho" attitude is also part of being in Sabra-dominated Israel and the hot-headed Middle East too, so everyone is geared up for confrontation, and this is where Torah, MUSSAR and real Chasidus are needed.

    "Mr. Cohen said...We must let everyone know that REAL Charedim love peace and honesty in business; FAKE Charedim do not."

    RaP: There is no such thing a "real" or "fake" Charedim, they are all the same. Yes, there are always good and bad people in every group, but right now a tipping point is being reached where Charedim are over-reaching and they are finding out that the world outside is not like Meah Shearim and Bnai Brak, they will have to learn to play by different rules that require getting along with people who are different to you and not revert to the knee-jerk reactions of cynicism, spitting, cursing, intimidation, stone throwing, vandalism, sabotage, and any and all acts of negative anti-social and criminal behavior, or they will land up in jails in large numbers. The patience of secular Israelis should not be tested forever, they have been dealing with rebelling and rioting Arabs for a long time and have experience in how to stop and lock up trouble makers, so let's hope thing will not come to such draconian measures. But it may.

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  9. If this were the time of Rome, leaders like Rabbi Adlerstein would want us to, really, stop all this loud mouthed protest against idol worship. It hurts our standing in the Roman world, they would say. Especially when these Jewish leaders have invested so much effort in putting spin on yiddishkeit so that it really seems they had it conforming to the rules of the gentile world.

    Therefore their shock when along comes a Jewish practice like asking women to ride in the back of the bus -- perfectly kosher according to the rules of modesty -- when the gentiles don't like it.

    Out come the placards! Beat the drums! It is a HILLUL HA SHEM, they scream, if we do not kowtow to the rules of the gentile world. Whatever rules there are today. No matter what the price we pay.

    No Rabbi Adlerstein. We did not bow to the Romans avoda zara. And we do not bow to Mrs. Clinton's avoda zara. We will continue separating men and women according to how we interpret our halacha, even if that means in ways that the gentile world gets all hissy about. It's not really us they hate anyway, it is HaShem and His commandments. And we will not sacrifice our modesty on the altar of getting along with gentiles.

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  10. don't post anonymous comments. I usually just delete them.

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  11. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 1, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    I of II

    "observer said...If this were the time of Rome,"

    RaP: If these "were the times of Rome" then the Charedim would not be getting cheap bus-rides and cut-rate housing in Israel and America (they are experts at extorting this from secular governments in exchange for their "block of votes" in a DEMOCRACY!!!) but instead the Romans would have long thrown the Charedim to the lions, crucified them, enslaved them, burned down all their shulls (like they did to the Bas HaMikdosh R"L) and sent every last Jew out into EXILE. Instead the Charedim get to have free-lunches, cheap bus-rides, inexpensive housing, freedom of religion and can do and say what they want and lots of fun in front of the cameras as they abuse anyone they don't like. So stop spouting your ignorant misguided and illogical shtussim and havolim!

    "leaders like Rabbi Adlerstein would want us to, really, stop all this loud mouthed protest against idol worship."

    RaP: Firstly, Rabbi Adlerstin is not one of the "leaders" he is a writer and teacher. He does not "lead" or "head" any movement and he has no following like Charedi and Chasidic leaders do, or like Israeli political leaders do.

    "It hurts our standing in the Roman world, they would say. Especially when these Jewish leaders have invested so much effort in putting spin on yiddishkeit so that it really seems they had it conforming to the rules of the gentile world."

    RaP: It's not just about the gentile world. This is happening in modern Israel in ERETZ YISROEL, home to almost SEVEN MILLION JEWS and Charedim are a small minority in it, that is home to Jews from over one hundred countries and cultures. It is a KIBBUTZ GALUYOS and at this time (until the true Mashiach arrives) no one group can, will or should impose its one "derech" or will on everyone else. If one group does not like what another group is doing, then it must just move along and mind its own business and not blow up the situation into a riot that will attract the attention of the world's media and backfire on ALL the Yidden.

    "Therefore their shock when along comes a Jewish practice like asking women to ride in the back of the bus -- perfectly kosher according to the rules of modesty -- when the gentiles don't like it."

    RaP: Um, It's NOT a "Jewish practice" to force women to sit in the back of a bus! Where did you get that from? A bus is NOT a shull or bais medrash. The buses are run by and function in a secular society. Which Charedim own any bus companies? Do Charedim own the public streets of Israel? If the Charedim want to set up their own communities with with their own buses that is their choice. So far they have not. They rely on or hire secular companies to run their buses. It is an an EXTREME CHUMRA ("stringency") that most often CHASIDIM ask women to sit in the back of the bus or car -- the same reason that Ger Chasidim require that their own wives and females in their own households do NOT sit at the same table with the men but are seated separately in the kitchen. That kind of CHUMRA and extreme practice cannot be called a standard "Jewish" way of seating men and women. A bus and a street and a store are NOT the "bais hamikdosh" that had a separate "ezras noshim"!!!

    "Out come the placards! Beat the drums!"

    RaP: Um, placards are BETTER than SPITTING, CURSING, VANDALISM, HOOLIGANISM, VIOLENCE, STONE-THROWING, BURNING PROPERTY, GRAFFITI by Charedim of all ages. Such behavior from Torah Jews is unbecoming and yes it is a Chillul Hashem. What sane person would call it, a "kiddush Hashem"!

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  12. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 1, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    II of II

    "It is a HILLUL HA SHEM, they scream,"

    RaP: Because it is!

    "if we do not kowtow to the rules of the gentile world. Whatever rules there are today. No matter what the price we pay."

    RaP: What idiocy are you spouting? Why are you globalizing this into "Rules" -- no one is forcing anyone to eat treif or be mechalel shabbos. No one is telling anyone to violate de'oraisas or rabbonans, these are all social customs that some group practice on buses, streets and in their living rooms and some do not, it's almost NOTHING of any objective importance. The modern world gives Charedi and Chasidic Jews the LIBERTY and EQUALITY to be as FREE as they want, more so than ever in their history. What Chasidim and Charedim do not get is that just as they expect the world to "respect" them, they too must respect the world, especially other Jews, who are not like them, but of course in their eyes, they have a "kumt mir" ("magiya li" or a sense of entitlement) attitude and their educational system teaches that all outsiders are "goyisha enemies" and must be reviled. They should be taught the rules of GOOD MANNERS and CIVIL BEHAVIOR in short DERECH ERETZ or MENTSCHLICHKEIT to ignore and stay away from people they don't like. But in this case, they want to take over entire neighborhoods for their own housing and entire bus-lines for their own needs so they create havoc to frighten away and intimidate people they hate. But it will not work because at some point the other people on the receivng end of the verbal and physical abuse get tired of this and will push back the same way that the Charedim push at them!

    "No Rabbi Adlerstein. We did not bow to the Romans avoda zara. And we do not bow to Mrs. Clinton's avoda zara."

    RaP: Forget Adlerstein and Clinton. You are missing the point. Israel is a small country and it depends on the United States for its strategic support on all levels. Secular and Charedi Israelis all need the money and people from America to support them. There is no need to antagonize them over stupidities. Spitting on kids, throwing diapers with feces in them at passersby not like you, smashing book-stores, cursing women who don't move to the back of the bus, and creating general mayhem and havoc cannot be justified by you or anyone. It shows the world that Charedim are "chayos raos" unruly mobs no different to rioting maniacs anywhere when the opposite should be true and they should be setting a good example by being an Ohr LaGoyim and not by acting like another branch of the (LEHAVDIL) "Taliban" or the "Ayatolas", or the "Skin Heads" or "Hell's Angels" or the "Ku Klux Klan" CH"V that burned crosses and went berserk when Blacks or Jews they hated moved into places or did things they wanted for themselves.

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  13. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 1, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    III

    "We will continue separating men and women according to how we interpret our halacha, even if that means in ways that the gentile world gets all hissy about."

    RaP: Feel free to do whatever you want in your private homes and within your own inner communities. No one wants to go there and change that, but noone cannot force MILLIONS of other Jews in Israel to live by such standards by FORCE and spitting, cursing, burning, stoning that are just the same underlying "weapons" as real ones because the anger and hate is the same. Kol Hamalbin Pnai Chavero Berabim Ke'ili Horgo - "Whoever humiliates his friend in public is as if he murdered him" and the kids and women who are being humiliated by the Charedi and Chasidic THUGS are in this category.

    "It's not really us they hate anyway, it is HaShem and His commandments."

    RaP: Shoin, the ultimate true-believer mantra, as if you have the "most belief" in Hashem. Go on kid yourself, but the news is that plenty of frum and Orthodox people oppose the extreme acts of the fanatics, not just Adlerstein or Clinton or whoever. There is just no excuse for behaving like a rioting behaima, no matter how you are trying to rationalize and defend the indefensible.

    "And we will not sacrifice our modesty on the altar of getting along with gentiles."

    RaP: You don't have to and no one is asking you to do so. You are just setting up a false red herring argument that is not the case here. There is just no excuse to spit on an ORTHODOX little girl whose family is more modern than yours. There is no excuse to smash the windows of a seforim store just because it may sell some seforim that your rebbe does not like, there is no excuse to curse at women who sit on a bus quietly minding their own business and make them feel like "shiksas" or "zonas" because they will not respond to curses and verbal abuse to force them to move because a A BUS IS NOT A SHULL and a STREET IS NOT A BAIS MEDRASH and a STORE IS NOT A YESHIVA !!!

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  14. Rap: Calm down... I'm pretty sure that Observer was being facetious!

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