Saturday, December 29, 2018



Four members of the “extremist” Jewish sect Lev Tahor were arrested on Friday and accused of the "terrifying" kidnapping of two children, said the Justice Department. 
According to a news release by the Justice Department, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York charged Nachman Helbrans, Mayer Rosner, Aron Rosner, and Jacob Rosner with kidnapping two children in Woodridge, New York, and unlawfully transporting them to Mexico.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “As alleged in the Complaint, the defendants engaged in a terrifying kidnapping of two children in the middle of the night, taking the children across the border to Mexico.  
“Thankfully, the kidnappers were no match for the perseverance of the FBI, the New York State Police, and Mexican authorities, and the children were recovered this morning after a nearly three-week search,” he said. 
The children, aged 12 and 14, were staying with their mother when they were seized. She had fled the sect’s base in Guatemala six weeks before the kidnapping fearing for their safety, according to the release. 
She had been granted temporary sole custody of the children and well as a protective order against their father, who is not named. 
Lev Tahor, which means “pure heart,” is an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect. In 2014 most members fled from their community in Ontario, Canada, to Guatemala, after being investigated for child abuse by Canadian authorities. The sect claims it has suffered religious persecution at the hands of authorities. 

Shemos; Silence Brings Destruction byRabbi Shloime Pollak

The obvious question is: what should איוב have done? Protest the Gezeirah? Cry sympathetically for the Yidden (אז סטוט וויי שרייט מען)?? Well, יתרו didn't cry or protest and nothing happened to him... Apparently, it was clear that they can not do anything to change the decree... So what is wrong with being quiet??...

Friday, December 28, 2018

time for President Trump the great Disruptor to declare victory and retire


Friedman: Time for GOP to threaten to fire Trump

Up to now I have not favored removing President Trump from office. I felt strongly that it would be best for the country that he leave the way he came in, through the ballot box. But last week was a watershed moment for me, and I think for many Americans, including some Republicans.

It was the moment when you had to ask whether we really can survive two more years of Trump as president, whether this man and his demented behavior — which will get only worse as the Mueller investigation concludes — are going to destabilize our country, our markets, our key institutions and, by extension, the world. And therefore his removal from office now has to be on the table.

I believe that the only responsible choice for the Republican Party today is an intervention with the president that makes clear that if there is not a radical change in how he conducts himself — and I think that is unlikely — the party’s leadership will have no choice but to press for his resignation or join calls for his impeachment.

It has to start with Republicans, given both the numbers needed in the Senate and political reality. Removing this president has to be an act of national unity as much as possible — otherwise it will tear the country apart even more. I know that such an action is very difficult for today’s G.O.P., but the time is long past for it to rise to confront this crisis of American leadership.

Trump’s behavior has become so erratic, his lying so persistent, his willingness to fulfill the basic functions of the presidency — like reading briefing books, consulting government experts before making major changes and appointing a competent staff — so absent, his readiness to accommodate Russia and spurn allies so disturbing and his obsession with himself and his ego over all other considerations so consistent, two more years of him in office could pose a real threat to our nation. Vice President Mike Pence could not possibly be worse.

The damage an out-of-control Trump can do goes well beyond our borders. America is the keystone of global stability. Our world is the way it is today — a place that, despite all its problems, still enjoys more peace and prosperity than at any time in history — because America is the way it is (or at least was). And that is a nation that at its best has always stood up for the universal values of freedom and human rights, has always paid extra to stabilize the global system from which we were the biggest beneficiary and has always nurtured and protected alliances with like-minded nations.

Donald Trump has proved time and again that he knows nothing of the history or importance of this America. That was made starkly clear in Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’s resignation letter.

Trump is in the grip of a mad notion that the entire web of global institutions and alliances built after World War II — which, with all their imperfections, have provided the connective tissues that have created this unprecedented era of peace and prosperity — threatens American sovereignty and prosperity and that we are better off without them.

So Trump gloats at the troubles facing the European Union, urges Britain to exit and leaks that he’d consider quitting NATO. These are institutions that all need to be improved, but not scrapped. If America becomes a predator on all the treaties, multilateral institutions and alliances holding the world together; if America goes from being the world’s anchor of stability to an engine of instability; if America goes from a democracy built on the twin pillars of truth and trust to a country where it is acceptable for the president to attack truth and trust on a daily basis, watch out: Your kids won’t just grow up in a different America. They will grow up in a different world.

The last time America disengaged from the world remotely in this manner was in the 1930s, and you remember what followed: World War II.

You have no idea how quickly institutions like NATO and the E.U. and the World Trade Organization and just basic global norms — like thou shalt not kill and dismember a journalist in your own consulate — can unravel when America goes AWOL or haywire under a shameless isolated president.

But this is not just about the world, it’s about the minimum decorum and stability we expect from our president. If the C.E.O. of any public company in America behaved like Trump has over the past two years — constantly lying, tossing out aides like they were Kleenex, tweeting endlessly like a teenager, ignoring the advice of experts — he or she would have been fired by the board of directors long ago. Should we expect less for our president?

That’s what the financial markets are now asking. For the first two years of the Trump presidency the markets treated his dishonesty and craziness as background noise to all the soaring corporate profits and stocks. But that is no longer the case. Trump has markets worried.

The instability Trump is generating — including his attacks on the chairman of the Federal Reserve — is causing investors to wonder where the economic and geopolitical management will come from as the economy slows down. What if we’re plunged into an economic crisis and we have a president whose first instinct is always to blame others and who’s already purged from his side the most sober adults willing to tell him that his vaunted “gut instincts” have no grounding in economics or in law or in common sense. Mattis was the last one.

We are now left with the B team — all the people who were ready to take the jobs that Trump’s first team either resigned from — because they could not countenance his lying, chaos and ignorance — or were fired from for the same reasons.

I seriously doubt that any of these B-players would have been hired by any other administration. Not only do they not inspire confidence in a crisis, but they are all walking around knowing that Trump would stab every one of them in the back with his Twitter knife, at any moment, if it served him. This makes them even less effective.

Ah, we are told, but Trump is a different kind of president. “He’s a disrupter.” Well, I respect those who voted for Trump because they thought the system needed “a disrupter.” It did in some areas. I agree with Trump on the need to disrupt the status quo in U.S.-China trade relations, to rethink our presence in places like Syria and Afghanistan and to eliminate some choking regulations on business.

But too often Trump has given us disruption without any plan for what comes next. He has worked to destroy Obamacare with no plan for the morning after. He announced a pullout from Syria and Afghanistan without even consulting the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or the State Department’s top expert, let alone our allies.

People wanted disruption, but too often Trump has given us destruction, distraction, debasement and sheer ignorance.

And while, yes, we need disruption in some areas, we also desperately need innovation in others. How do we manage these giant social networks? How do we integrate artificial intelligence into every aspect of our society, as China is doing? How do we make lifelong learning available to every American? At a time when we need to be building bridges to the 21st century, all Trump can talk about is building a wall with Mexico — a political stunt to energize his base rather than the comprehensive immigration reform that we really need.

Indeed, Trump’s biggest disruption has been to undermine the norms and values we associate with a U.S. president and U.S. leadership. And now that Trump has freed himself of all restraints from within his White House staff, his cabinet and his party — so that “Trump can be Trump,” we are told — he is freer than ever to remake America in his image.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Trump misleads about military pay raises again


President Donald Trump incorrectly told troops in Iraq on Wednesday that he gave them their first pay raise in more than 10 years -- a falsehood he has repeatedly told.
Speaking to troops at Al Asad Air Base during his surprise visit to Iraq, Trump told troops: "You protect us. We are always going to protect you. And you just saw that, 'cause you just got one of the biggest pay raises you've ever received. ... You haven't gotten one in more than 10 years. More than 10 years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one. I got you a big one."
    In fact, military pay has increased every year for more than three decades. It was raised 2.4% in 2018 and then 2.6% in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act. The 2.6% pay raise is the largest in the past 9 years.

    Tuesday, December 25, 2018

    Trump decision to pull troops from Syria puts pro-Israel groups in a bind

     US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull American troops out of Syria has created a serious policy dispute with Israel, potentially complicating his relationship with the mainstream US pro-Israel community for the first time since he took office.
    The withdrawal of some 2,000 soldiers from Syria will likely make it more difficult for Israel to fight Iranian efforts to entrench itself in the war-torn country and expand its influence in the region.
    Much like Israel’s government, which is faced with trying to preserve its tight bond with the Trump administration despite reports of Jerusalem feeling “betrayed,” the pro-Israel community in the US is also having to find a way to navigate between backing Trump and backing Israel.

    Monday, December 24, 2018


    Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade grilled a White House spokesperson on Monday morning over President Donald Trump’s controversial move to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.
    Mercedes Schlapp, who works as the White House’s director of strategic communications, appeared on the morning program to discuss Trump's recent decisions. When the subject of the president’s sudden move to pull American forces from Syria and Afghanistan came up, Kilmeade pushed back hard.
    “Can you name an adviser the president has that recommended he pull out 2,000 troops?” Kilmeade asked Schlapp.
    Declining to answer the question directly, Schlapp said she was “not going to get into the internal discussions of how the decision was made.” Trump reportedly made the call against the wishes of many top advisers, leading to the resignation of Secretary of Defense General Jim Mattis andBrett McGurk, the U.S. envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State militant group, or ISIS.

    Rep.-elect Green Wrong About Vaccines, CDC Fraud

    fact check

    At a town hall event on Dec. 11, Rep.-elect Mark Green of Tennessee inaccurately claimed that vaccine preservatives might cause autism. He also repeated an unsubstantiated claim that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “fraudulently managed” data that showed a link between vaccinations and autism.
    Both of these statements are bogus:
    • Multiple large studies already have investigated whether any aspect of vaccination — including preservatives — can cause autism and found no evidence they do. The CDC alone has conducted nine investigations into the preservative thimerosal, finding no link to the disease.
    • There is no evidence that the CDC “fraudulently managed” vaccine data. Green said he was referring to an allegation of a CDC cover-up that was brought to the House floor in 2015. Those claims, however, are unsupported.
    According to the Tennesseanwhich first reported the story, Green’s vaccine claims came in response to a question from a woman asking about possible cuts in Medicaid funding. She said she was the parent of a young adult with autism.
    Here is more of Green’s reply.
    Green, Dec. 11: Let me say this about autism. I have committed to people in my community, up in Montgomery County, to stand on the CDC’s desk and get the real data on vaccines. Because there is some concern that the rise in autism is the result of the preservatives that are in our vaccines.

    So, as a physician, I can make that argument and I can look at it academically and make the argument against CDC, if they really want to engage me on it. But it appears some of that data has been — it appears some of that data has been, honestly, maybe fraudulently managed. So we’ve got to go up there and stand against that and make sure we get that fixed, that issue addressed.
    Green is a former Army special operations flight surgeon and a 1999 graduate of Wright State University’s Boonshoft School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio. Green, who is a Republican, previously served as a state senator and was elected this fall to represent Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District.


    bedatz aguna

    Friday, December 21, 2018

    Trump unleashed: Mattis exit paves way for global chaos

    Fox News reported Friday that other officials may quit the Pentagon in Mattis’s footsteps. “More resignations at the Pentagon could be coming,” it said.
    It also said that several potential successors to Mattis would likely share the outgoing defense chief’s positions on US military involvement in both Syria and Afghanistan. Noting that “Gen. Jack Keane and Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., are considered the frontrunners to replace Mattis,” Fox pointed outthat “neither candidate seems likely to embrace Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy and “Both came out against the withdrawal from Syria in strong terms.”
    The defense secretary's decision to quit Thursday was a warning that will ring through history about an impulsive President who spurns advice, disdains America's friends and proudly repudiates the codes of US leadership that have endured since World War II.
    Mattis stopped Washington in its tracks -- even after months of stunning plot twists in Donald Trump's presidency, and as stock markets plunge, a legal net tightens around the White House and the government is about to shut down.
      His recognition that he could no longer work for an erratic commander in chief who decided to pull US troops out of Syria, apparently without consulting anyone, could lead to a new period of global uncertainty as Trump slips his remaining restraints.
      Grave faces on Capitol Hill and the shaken voices of retired military men on cable news reflected the Pentagon chief's renown as more than a decorated warrior, retired four-star general and the most admired Cabinet member.
      He is a talisman.
      For two years, politicians, foreign policy experts and allied diplomats would quietly confide their belief that as long as Mattis was in the Situation Room, alongside the impulsive Trump, everything would be OK.

      Defense Secretary and retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, whose retirement from the Pentagon was announced Thursday by President Trump, is an archetypal American warrior. This country loves military leaders like him who speak their minds without any concern for how it will make the sensitive types feel.
      In more than four decades as a Marine, Mattis’ job was defending our nation and killing our enemies. He was brilliant and extraordinarily effective doing that. One of his more memorable quotes showcases his attitude and persona perfectly: “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”
      Mattis fought bravely in the Persian Gulf War, in Afghanistan and in the Iraq War. Plenty of bad people got what they deserved when he put his plans into action.
      When Mattis was tapped to be secretary of defense by President Trump he received nearly universal acclaim – one of the few Trump appointments that both Democrats and Republicans said was a wise one.
      Mattis and President Trump started out sharing a strong position against North Korea, which was conducting regular missile and nuclear weapons tests and presented a growing danger. They both fired some powerful rhetoric at the regime of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. And they gave the impression that the secretary of defense was ready to put some teeth into those threats if need be.
      But that was about the last of the smooth sailing for the Trump-Mattis partnership. It didn’t take long to see that the two men were not well-aligned on either style of substance.
      It also seemed like Mattis never really felt comfortable in a suit and tie as opposed to combat boots and a helmet. In the early days of Trump’s Cabinet, Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson soon emerged as a sort of counterweight to the president’s more assertive ambitions.
      The Iran nuclear deal soon became a particular sticking point. President Trump had promised to dismantle what he correctly called one of the worst deals America had ever made. Mattis and Tillerson worked diligently and in concert to change the president’s mind and even to slow down the process of withdrawing from the nuclear agreement.
      This eventually angered Trump and in a famous blow-up he reportedly told both Mattis and Tillerson to bring him the plans for pulling out of the Iran deal he had asked for – or heads would roll.

      The president eventually got his way – he is the commander-in-chief, after all. But his relationship with Mattis continued to sour amid disagreements over the policy on transgender troops and Mattis’ concern over Trump’s regular attacks on some of our longstanding allies.

      Thursday, December 20, 2018



      The FBI arrested five leaders of the Jewish extremist cult Lev Tahor in Mexico, Yeshiva World News reported. 

      In a nightly operation and in cooperation with Interpol, the FBI raided Lev Tahor-owned properties in Mexico and is working on transferring the suspects to the US, the report said.

      ‘Fox & Friends’ host rips Trump over border ‘chaos’ and ‘irresponsible’ Syria withdrawal

      washington post.

      Ordinarily, “Fox and Friends” may be a political haven for President Trump, but on Thursday co-host Brian Kilmeade took an unusual double-barrel shot at him.
      After news broke that Trump defied his advisers and decided to pull 2,000 U.S. troops out of Syria — arguing on Twitter that “we have defeated ISIS” in that country — Kilmeade slammed the president’s actions, calling them “totally irresponsible.”
      The co-host said that “in a stunning and, I think, irresponsible move” Trump has “blindsided” Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and national security adviser John Bolton, as well as the State Department, which he said is now “packing their bags.”

      “Why have advisers?” he said, throwing up his hands.

      Trump giving Putin exactly what he wants

      Wednesday, December 19, 2018

      Who’s Responsible For The Measles Outbreak?

      he Terumas HaDeshen (responsum 211) writes that since sakanah(danger) is more serious than issurim (prohibitions), beis din must distance people from sakanah just as they do from issur. Thus, it is clear – as numerous rabbanim have already publicly stated – that every child possible must be vaccinated to stop the deadly measles outbreak in the frum community.
      Yet, some people – even amidst this dangerous outbreak – have embarked on a PR campaign to scare Jews away from vaccinating their children, arguing that vaccines carry dangerous side effects. Some are even downplaying the dangers of measles. How do we account for such irresponsible activism?
      Although I personally have always supported vaccinating children against deadly diseases, I never studied the issue until the recent measles outbreak. With an open mind, I sought out anti-vaccination proponents, some of whom I am quite friendly with. In doing so, though, I was repeatedly shocked by the sheer arrogance and recklessness some of them evinced as well as inconsistencies in their own arguments.



      The resolution voiced “grave concern over the progressive militarization of Crimea” and called on Moscow to “end its temporary occupation of Ukraine’s territory.”

      This vote against Russia came less than two weeks after Russia – which often abstains on votes in the UN General Assembly that are important for Israel – cast its ballot against Israel by voting against a resolution condemning Hamas. That resolution failed to muster the two-thirds majority needed to pass.

      Monday, December 17, 2018

      psychiatric illness and mekach tous - Rav M Willig


      18:50-21:50 into the recording: Rav Willig says that there is no mekach ta'ut in the case of a prominent case of claimed psychiatric illness to void a marriage.

      Thursday, December 13, 2018



      The Moti Elon case shows once again how much work is still needed within the Orthodox community to purge sex offenders and prevent them from repeating their crimes.

      Friday, December 7, 2018

      מסיבת חנוכה בבית החולים הדסה הר-הצופים

      מערך המתנדבים בשבתות ובחגים ערך הערב מסיבת חנוכה חגיגית בבית החולים הדסה הר- הצופים בהשתתפות רבנים ואישי ציבור, 
      גדולי הזמר שימחו והרקידו את המשתתפים 
      בבית החולים הדסה הר-הצופים שבפאתי שכונותיה הצפוניות של ירושלים, התקיימה הערב ליל נר חמישי דחנוכה, מסיבת חנוכה מפוארת בהשתתפות החולים ובני משפחותיהם וצוות המתנדבים.
      שימחו גדולי הזמר החסידי, אמן הקלידים הרשי סגל, והזמרים: אלי מילר, קובי ברומר, אלי הרצליך, יונתן רזאל,ומשה גודמן.
      כיבדו את המעמד בהשתתפותם רבנים ואישי ציבור, ח"כ הרב מיכאל מלכיאלי, סגן ראש עיריית ירושלים הרב אברהם בצלאל, חבר מועצת עיריית ירושלים הרב משה גורא, הרה"ג ר' חיים אהרן יוספי שליט"א, הרה"ג ר' אליהו א

      יעזר שלנגר שליט"א ועוד

      Thursday, December 6, 2018

      Australian sisters trace accused abuser’s steps to West Bank town where she fled

      times of israel.

      Residents of Haredi settlement of Emmanuel only vaguely familiar with, and not particularly disturbed by, allegations against former Melbourne girls’ school principal Malka Leifer

      Do Children Get a Subpar Education in Yeshivas? New York Says It Will Finally Find Out


      In parts of New York City, there are students who can barely read and write in English and have not been taught that dinosaurs once roamed Earth or that the Civil War occurred.
      That is the claim made by a group of graduates from ultra-Orthodox Jewish private schools called yeshivas, and they say that startling situation has been commonplace for decades.

      Tuesday, December 4, 2018

      Israel wakes up to the needs of ex-Haredim

      Leaving the ultra-Orthodox community is nothing new in Israel. Everyone, secular or religious, knows someone who used to be on, but is now “off the derech.” But the phenomenon hasn’t been well studied. Most of what we know comes from individual stories of people making the difficult transition from the insular Haredi world to mainstream Israeli society.

      The Hidden Story of Chanukah

      Monday, December 3, 2018

      Don’t kill the Haredi education revolution

      - David M. Weinberg - -

      Don’t kill the Haredi education revolution

      Published in The Jerusalem Post [1] and Israel Hayom [2], November 30, 2018.
      Over the past seven years, the Israeli government wisely has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in higher education study opportunities for haredi men and women, including gender-separate college programs – and it’s working! It would be disastrous if the Supreme Court shuts these down. This would kill the slow but measurable and exciting movement of haredim into the workforce – which is crucial for the Israeli economy and the future of our society.
      A landmine has been laid against the overall positive momentum in integration of haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) students in higher education. The threat comes from a group of extremist professors who have petitioned the Supreme Court of Israel (in its capacity as “Bagatz,” the High Court of Justice) with a demand to terminate all government funding for gender-separate haredi college programs.
      The so-called “liberal” professors argue that the separation into genders in academia harms women’s equality in the workplace (because female instructors are not selected to teach haredi male classes). They also warn that such segregation, which they call a “distortion,” could become a precedent for other areas, from the army to the job market. And on top of that, they plaint that gender separation is an affront to the “fundamentals” of higher education, such as “openness and pluralism.”
      This week, unsurprisingly, Haaretz backed the radical professors in a lead editorial.
      It is imperative that the High Court reject this dangerous suit. It would be outrageous and calamitous if the High Court shuts down gender-separate college and university programs.
      Over the past seven years, the Israeli government wisely has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in higher education study opportunities for haredi men and women – and it’s working! The number of haredi students in college has jumped by more than 80 percent over this period, to 11,000 each year. And the number of haredi men in the workforce has risen from 40 to 50 percent over the past decade.
      (The employment rate for men is 81 percent in the non-haredi public. The target set by the government for the inclusion of haredi men in the labor force is 63% by 2020).
      In parallel, there seems to be an increasing majority sentiment within Israeli haredi society that embraces higher education and superior employment. Surveys suggest that more than 80 percent of haredi parents want their high schools to teach secular subjects alongside religious ones.
      The reasons for this are clear. Sixty percent of this country’s one million haredim (plural for haredi) live under the poverty line, and 60 percent are under 20 years of age. Most haredim don’t have a higher education and therefore aren’t qualified for more advanced professions; and thus even those that are employed, work mainly in menial or service jobs, or in low-paying religious professions (scribes, rabbis, teachers).
      This situation is crippling for haredi society, and disastrous over the long term for Israel, both economically and in terms of the character of our society.
      Which is why Israel’s most urgent agenda with its haredi population is not propelling them to the front lines against Hezbollah, but pulling them out of the unemployment benefits lineup. Not busing them to Tel Hashomer, but enticing them into higher education and high-tech work.
      In my assessment, it is indisputable that the overwhelming majority of haredim won’t go to study in mixed-gender classrooms and at mixed-gender campuses. The mixing of the sexes is too far a stretch for the very conservative and still quite insular haredi society, which has a hard-enough time approaching academic studies in the first place.
      Thus, the militant axing of gender-separate programs would willy-nilly lead to the exclusion of most haredi men and women from institutions of higher studies. And this would kill the slow but measurable and exciting movement of haredim into the workforce – which, again, is crucial for the Israeli economy and the future of our society.
      The inevitable conclusion: For all the problematics involved, at this time gender-separate classes and campuses for haredi students are an absolute and reasonable necessity. It is no exaggeration to say that the country’s future depends on it.
      IT SHOULD BE NOTED that the Council for Higher Education (CHE) and its parent-body Ministry of Education are funding gender-separate study programs for haredi students at the undergraduate level only and not in all fields. Which is a way of saying that the CHE is making reasonable distinctions and setting limits – which dismisses the concerns expressed about a slippery slope in supporting “segregation.”
      The same goes for the workplace. While some very big businesses in Israel have female-only departments mainly for haredi women, the vast majority of haredim graduating college in computers, engineering, accounting, law and business are working in general, mixed-gender environments. There is no “creeping gender segregation” overwhelming Israel as a result of haredi higher education study tracks.
      The zealous professor’s petition is also dishonest on substantive grounds. After all, have they never heard of gender separate colleges, mainly for women, in that bastion of liberalism and democracy called the United States? Mount Holyoke, Smith, and Wellesley, for example. Why isn’t this considered discrimination against men, or an “affront to the fundamentals of higher education, such as openness and pluralism” over there?
      And if we shut down gender separate colleges, why not shutter gender separate high schools too? Or gender separate synagogues, for that matter…
      ALAS, I STRONGLY SUSPECT that the aggressive opposition to gender-separate study programs for haredi students stems from deeper, darker and illiberal place. The professors and journalists behind this are, I think, frightened by the prospect of haredi integration in Israeli life and economy.
      Of course, this is what they have demanded for decades – that the haredi community get educated and go to work (and serve in the military) – but now that it is beginning to happen, they’ve changed their minds.
      It’s too overwhelming for them, because lo and behold it seems that haredi people can become engineers and even academics without abandoning haredi values and a conservative lifestyle; and this threatens the ultra-progressive and post-modern paradigm that dominates elite Israeli society.
      So better to leave haredim wallowing in poverty and in their medieval ghettos than help them step out into the modern world – the “liberal” professors seem to be saying. Or, let us force them to abandon their haredi mores all-together as the price for entering the hallowed hallways of Israeli academia.
      This is an enormously shortsighted and even fanatic mindset.
      Let’s remember that the haredi world, for all its shortcomings and eccentricities, is admirable in important ways: It models modesty, emphasizes family values, prioritizes spiritual aspirations, and accents charitable works. It is less afflicted by the crime, drugs, booze, pornography, sleaze and slavish devotion to imbecility (the hallmark of most TV shows and movies) characteristic of much of modern secular society.
      And therefore I expect that haredi families will yet retain their core values of religious excellence alongside other wholesome values even as they go to college and work. This should not be feared, but rather welcomed, by broader Israeli society.
      In fact, I pray for greater integration of haredi society on the high end of the Israeli workforce in a way that strengthens, not damages, the conservative values dear to haredi society. My hope is for a healthy process of haredi integration and maturation that will simultaneously preserve and improve haredi society, and perhaps offer new pathways of navigating modernity to Israeli society writ large.
      All this might be possible, if the High Court makes the right decision: To affirm the government’s wise investment in educational study tracks for haredim, including gender-separate programs.
      Article printed from David M. Weinberg:
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      Copyright © 2009 David M. Weinberg. All rights reserved.