Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chareidi consensus? Jonathan Rosenblum


[...] But it is absolutely false to state that there is any kind of consensus that the mother is innocent or a categorical rejection of the claims of Hadassah. In yesterday's Mishpacha, by far the largest circulation haredi weekly, Rabbi Mordechai Gotfarb of the Toldot Aharon community is quoted, "Of course, if she were diagnosed with Munchausen, then we would understand that the child would have to be taken away."

Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, head of the Eda Haredit rabbinical court, did not reject out of hand police claims in a statement issued last Friday: "If their allegations are true, this woman deserves the appropriate medical treatment, but not to sit in a prison cell with such subhuman treatment." He went on to categorically reject "any talk of boycotting the hospital" as "against Halacha and self-damaging" in light of the fact that "many in our community receive their services with great care."

That does not mean, of course, that every claim of the hospital and police is accepted at face value. Many haredim would still like to know what were the presenting symptoms when the boy in question was placed in Hadassah's children's oncology ward, and how his mother could have prevented him from eating under the noses of the hospital staff during the nearly seven months he has been hospitalized. But there is a willingness to wait until trial for the full presentation of the facts.

IF THERE is one thing, however, about which there is a nearly unanimous agreement across all sectors of the haredi community, it is condemnation of violent actions, such as throwing stones at police and burning garbage cans. From the beginning of the Shabbat demonstrations, after Mayor Nir Barkat's bombastic announcement of the opening of a municipal parking lot, as if he were the secular Saracen recapturing the city from the haredim, Sternbuch has issued countless public proclamations stating clearly, "Anyone who commits acts of violence declares that he doesn't belong to our community."[...]

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