Sunday, January 15, 2012

Haredim protest arrest of scam suspects; 3 detained

5:30 Sunday afternoon - I am sitting in my car in front of Manny's in Meah Shearim as I post this with the aid of a wireless modem. There are no signs of any riots and people are shopping as usual.
Three haredi (ultra-Orthodox) demonstrators were arrested in Jerusalem's Shabbat Square on Sunday afternoon.

Hundreds of haredim had gathered to protest the arrest of six men from Mea She'arim for alleged involvement in a financial scandal earlier that day. The protesters threw rocks, calling police officers Nazis. A cameraman was reportedly injured.


  1. The Jewish Press:

    "Dear Brother: Who Are You?

    By: Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman

    Published: January 11th, 2012

    Hey Yankel, how are you doing? Thanks for the pics you sent me. You and your son really look well fed and robust. However, since you asked me how I am doing, I have no choice but to be honest.

    Hey Yankel, how are you doing?

    Thanks for the pics you sent me. You and your son really look well fed and robust. However, since you asked me how I am doing, I have no choice but to be honest.

    Yankel, I have known you all of my life; after all, you are my older brother and I have always attempted to emulate all your ways.

    I live in “treif America”; you settled in Eretz Yisrael. While I use English as my spoken language, you insist on exclusively speaking Yiddish. While I wear “Western style” clothing, you are obsessive in maintaining what you emphatically describe as “authentic Jewish” dress.

    Although sometimes I kidded you for your obstinacy, in truth I envied you for what certainly seemed to me at the time to be your “more Jewish” lifestyle.

    You are living in Meah Shearim; you have the freedom to teach your kids the way you want to; you are protected by the state; and for the most part no one — and I mean no one — interferes with your life.

    When I would visit you I was always amazed by your financial stability and the growth of your neighborhoods. You now have air conditioning, cell phones and beautiful Shabbos clothes. You purchased apartments for all your children when they married.

    In short, you were blessed by He whose blessings count and I was happy for you.

    Even though you complained at times about all the Americans who come through your neighborhood, privately you admitted to me that it was those American dollars that pour through the shops and collectors of your streets that enable you to make beautiful weddings for your children.

    I remember how at the last wedding of your daughter you had two videopeople – one for the women and one for the men. It did make me wonder why you needed that – after all, I (the Modern American) had no videoperson at my son’s wedding while you had two! However, I let it pass and was happy for you."

  2. "Dear Brother: Who Are You?

    By: Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman

    When the incidents occurred in Beit Shemesh, I believed what I read in the haredi media: that this was not indicative of the feelings of most “authentic Jews”; that this was the work of a “fringe group.”

    Perhaps I did not really believe this, but I so wanted to believe it was true that I let it pass.

    All that was before Motzaei Shabbos week before last, when I turned on the computer and there you were with your son – my nephew – Yossele.

    Yankel, how could you do it? And how could you do it to our Yossele?

    Look at your smile, Yankel, as you proudly set your eyes on your son whom you manipulated to raise his hands in a grotesque, sickening pose, mimicking the iconic photo of a young Jewish boy being rounded up by Nazi soldiers.

    Yankel, I am sending you a copy of the authentic (as I know you always want that which is authentic), original photograph of that scared little boy. He is terrified, not knowing what life has in store for him.

    Look at the other people in that old photograph (I know, most of them are women, but let’s be honest, Yankel, you must have studied this photo intently before you offered your son on the altar of hate) – they are petrified and to be pitied.

    Look now at yourself, Yankel, and at the other people in the picture from Motzaei Shabbos. All of you are dressed in your Shabbos finery, and none of you appear frightened.

    Yankel, what did you say to little Yossele before you sullied him with the badge of hate?

    What words of chizuk did you offer to his pristine neshamah as you told him to pose in that position of mockery?

    After that Motzaei Shabbos demonstration – and you often pointed this out to me – no one can claim you are “just a few fringe people.”

    There were hundreds if not thousands of people involved in the planning and execution of that event.

    You had women sewing the concentration camp uniforms. You had technical assistance in surfing the web to get the best Holocaust pictures. You had people printing and translating your signs into Hebrew and English.

    And as you noted to me many times, although we have seen rabbinic bans and protests against concerts and books and women rabbis and individual authors, there has not been a single signed pronouncement appearing with the names of any prominent haredi rabbis protesting or denouncing your actions.

    All that being said, Yankel, the reason I am writing to you is because you are my brother and I do love you dearly.

    I love you with all my heart and soul and I cherish the good and wonderful and spiritual times we spent together singing and discussing Torah.

    About the Author: Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman is rav of Congregation Ahavas Israel in Passaic, New Jersey."

  3. "Setting the Record Straight

    by Etana Hecht

    My name is Etana Hecht, and I moved to Bet Shemesh with my family 7.5 years ago. Since then, I've gotten married and tried out several communities before settling with my husband and 2 children in the Sheinfeld area of Bet Shemesh. Sheinfeld is an amazing community, a yishuv-like feeling within a city. As many of you have been seeing in the media, there is a group of troublemakers trying to run our beautiful community out of town. Now that you have a little background of our city, you can understand why we're fighting so hard to save it.

    In a series of articles covering the entire situation here in Bet Shemesh, Ami Magazine interviewed the Mayor of Bet Shemesh, Moshe Abutbol. The Mayor has been studiously ignoring a volatile situation in our city for months, thereby enabling grown thugs to continue their daily harassment of little girls (and women) who were walking home from school. With the media outbreak of our Bet Shemesh "story", he has been forced to address the issue, at last.

    In the interview I refer to below, he straight out lied on numerous issues. I immediately wrote to the editor to set the record straight, and got a response that with a little tweaking, he'd publish my response. A couple of days later, I received a letter from the editor stating that he would not be publishing any material on the Bet Shemesh issue. Having received that, I must get my response out there to set the record straight, specifically about one man who the Mayor slandered who has done more good for this city than any other individual. Below is my response:

    To Whom it may Concern,

    As a Bet Shemesh resident, I'd like to address numerous factual errors in your column entitled "Q & A with Beit Shemesh Mayor Moshe Abutbol" Issue 52.

    1- Abutbol stated the following: "If it would have been designated as a boys' school, the charedim would have been able to accept it and restrain their opposition. The entire outcry began the moment it was designated for girls." He then continues on to say that if the two buildings would simply switch places, the entire issue would be solved.

    This is false. When the boys' school opened 3 years ago, there were protests and vandalism to the building as well. The reason they were able to keep it going this year, was so that they could hide their real agenda under the cries of 'tznius'. In addition, they harass the the girls as they leave and walk up the block to the buses or their house, which is the exact same route that they would take if the buildings were switched, as they're right next door to each other."

  4. "Setting the Record Straight

    by Etana Hecht

    2- (Ami reporter) Sam Sokol asked why we haven't seen any protests from the Chareidi part of Bet Shemesh against the extremists, to which Abutbol answered as follows: "As I said before, the Chareidim do not want to be seen as supporting the construction of a girls school in the middle of the Chareidi neighborhood".

    I have two issues with this statement.

    Number one, all we were looking for was a condemnation of violence from as many frum leaders as possible, in order to alienate and malign the extremists. No politics necessary in said condemnation.

    Number two- the school in question is NOT "in the middle of the chareidi neighborhood". It is on the border of three Dati Leumi neighborhoods that have been around for decades, and a few RBS B buildings which sprung up 5 years ago. In no way can it be described as it was, "in the middle of a chareidi neighborhood".

    3- Abutbol mentioned Dov Lipman numerous times. As a resident for the same amount of time that Rabbi Lipman has been here, I can attest to the fact that there is NO ONE in this city who has given of himself in the form of time and energy the way he has.

    There was much negativity towards him in the article, but I'd like to address one specific sentence which will capture what needs to be said about the rest of the comments aimed toward Rabbi Lipman.

    Abutbol stated "For three years Lipman fought against every building that went up to house chareidim. He fought the growth of chareidim day and night".

    Nothing could be further from the truth. It is easily refutable, as in every single interview Rabbi Lipman has given, as well as in every talk I've personally had with him on the subject, he CLEARLY states that his goal is equal affordable housing for ALL populations. He's been working tirelessly to mitigate the damage of the extremists, and Abutbol should be grateful to Rabbi Lipman for doing what Abutbol should have been doing all along, instead of calling him a "thorn in the side of Bet Shemesh".

    Etana Hecht
    Bet Shemesh"

  5. Thank you Mrs. Hecht, do wish your words can be available for a more public view.

  6. Iknow you probably won't print this, but trust me based on my bitter personal experience, Eisenman in Passaic is a wolf in sheep's clothing!

  7. "Iknow you probably won't print this, but trust me based on my bitter personal experience, Eisenman in Passaic is a wolf in sheep's clothing!"

    Why should anyone trust an anynoymous poster's alleged personal experience?


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