Sunday, January 1, 2012

Essential Reads on the Charedi Controversy

Rabbi Ron Yitzchak Eisenman of Passaic has issued a moving statement on the events in Bet Shemesh, including a wonderful, monumental story about Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld having nothing but blessings when facing a mixed group of secular Israeli youth. Especially notable in Rabbi Eisenman's statement is his saying that the possible unfair extrapolation and haredi-bashing is "not his issue." Exactly; the more that the charedi community ignores its own problems and just whines about being persecuted, the more they justify the generalized criticism towards them!

Meanwhile, VosIzNeias is showing photos of the charedi demonstration in Mea She'arim where they dressed as Holocaust victims. Check out the comments section, which shows how many frum and charedi Jews are utterly nauseated by it. Some of them are also wondering why the Gedolim, who are vocal on so many issues, are not saying anything about it. And check out Rabbi Adlerstein's brief but sharp headline and critique.

I was also sent the following comment which was submitted in response to Rabbi Menken's post on Cross-Currents but which, inexplicably, was not approved:
Nobody, including Tzipi Hotovely, is protesting the “voluntary separation of genders in public spaces.” What they are protesting is the INvoluntary coercion of others to abide by it. If Chassidim don’t want to sit behind women, this still does not give them the right to force unwilling women to sit at the back. I can’t understand how you can possibly argue otherwise.
It is likewise incorrect to state that “the only Charedi leader who legitimately should have done more was Mayor Abutbol.” How about the entire body of Chareidi rabbonim in Bet Shemesh and Ramat Bet Shemesh, not one of whom was willing to publicly condemn the extremists or express sympathy for the Orot school?
If you ever submit a comment to Cross-Currents and it is not approved, feel free to send it to me, and I may include it in a post.

And if you didn't read my post on Friday about the charedi reaction in Bet Shemesh, or Tuesday's post about how spitting on girls is not the main problem, allow me to recommend that you do so!


  1. You wouldn't be able to publish the stuff I sent Menken. You won't publish foul language.

  2. If I a not mistaken R' Eisenman is a YU grad

  3. A simple stroll though Geulah and Mea Shearim will show you that the chareidim have no problem in using the strongest possible language to condemn what they don't like. the heavens are shaken at this great evil in our midst someone appeared on TV to speak to secular Jews to return in Teshuva. This particular post stated a whole war of post in Mea Shearim. the next day appeared You hypocrite --how did you know i appeared on TV . you were watching. This went on for weeks back and for which each group that supported one putting the other in cherem (excommunication). But so far about people acting unkindly towards little girls there has not been a peek except for the outrage that the New York times revealed to the world the rot in the Chareidi world.

  4. if you read you'll see that not everyone is disgusted. i assume that the not disgusted writers are a small percentage, but they do exist

  5. How does one distinguish between voluntary and involuntary segregation in public or on buses?

    Is there some special police force, or tax agency which is able to compel people to walk or sit in one place or another?

    If I think the person sitting next to me smells funny, am I able to get them to move? If the only seat left is next to this smelly person, am I allowed to ask others to move so I can sit elsewhere? Do I have any options other than trying to convince such smelly people to move somewhere else?

    I think we should be honest, and say that people want the main bus company lines, to be mixed, open, and free seating, and don't want there to be any pressure for anybody to do otherwise.

    The people of Israel want Eged or Dan to lose money from Charedim who demand segregated seating, and want Charedim who want segregation to have private buses. I don't see how it can be any other way.

  6. I'm staying in Geula visiting from חו״ל. I saw the demonstration last night. Very few idiots wearing yellow patches. Most people at the demonstration were curious spectators. Not more than a couple of hundred actull demonstrators maximum. Maybe 20 with badges. The whole thing seems to be a media beat-up.

  7. Nice job. Rabbi Menken has published most of my occasional comments, but for the sake of my own blood pressure, I plan to stop reading his columns, which seem more and more to be an exercise in scapegoating and paranoia. Sure, the secular media is biased - although I've seen some perfectly fair articles in the Jerusalem Post and elsewhere - but it's no more biased than the haredi media (e.g., Yated, and that local Beit Shemesh paper, whatever it's called). What difference does media bias make to the issues? Intelligent people like yourself and Rabbi Adlerstein seem to be able to cut through the media haze to address the real issues. It's a shame Rabbi Menken, and all the other people screaming about anti-haredi bias, can't or won't.

  8. Thanks for the great links.
    A short comment on your sentence: "Exactly; the more that the charedi community ignores its own problems and just whines about being persecuted, the more they justify being persecuted!"

    That last phrase can be interpreted two different ways, I believe. One was was intended, and one I trust not.

  9. God knows why, but I unfortunately followed your reference to the Menken article. I would say you missed another repellant outbreak of Nazi imagery, this time issuing from Menken's little CC nest of aggressively odious apologists. Note the title of Menken’s piece of work “They Will Come for You, Too”

  10. not everyone is disgusted

    Indeed. Read the comments from "Shvigger" under Rabbi Eisenman's poignant words.

    I quote (excuse me for repeating these vile words):

    Frankly, I marvel at the self control of the masses in Beit Shemesh that they don’t run Mrs. Margolese out of town. In my book, she is out of the machneh, farther out than the spitter, whom I can at least classify as a lunatic.

  11. the comments in the VusIszNieasz gives me hope.

  12. CC took two of my comments on R'Adlerstein's essay. The third comment was a response to an out of line comment by someone else; rather than printing my comment they deleted the inappropriate one.

  13. Have any of the Israeli "gedolim" responded publicly yet?

  14. Excuse me but there are non mehadrin busses and mehadrin busses. When I want to sit next to my husband on a bus I go on a mixed one.

    Everybody has rights to be comfortable and that is why there are two kinds of busses. Live and let live.

  15. @ Talmid Said

    I think you are misreading the media and the general anger in the wider Jewish world.
    All you are doing is dissecting the minutae of a subset of the problem that the media is focusing on. In other words, you only want us to consider a single protest out of context because it suites you, of several hundred protestors (out of 10,000's of Charedim) and of the 800+ protestors, only 200 were 'really' vocal, and of the 'really' vocal only 25 wore yellow badges and they were mostly children - therefore it is a media beat up of Charedi children(shame on them for beating up on kids)

    Above & beyond reporting the actual events, the reports consider the issue as a whole and the anger is directed at the wider Charedi community and specifically the Charedi 'Gedolim'.

    How can the rest of the Charedi community sit by and NOT react against these animals? The answer is clear - because they either truly believe in the same nonesense or they are petrified to stand up against these radicals.

    I personally believe it to be the former position as the Charedi community as a whole are more than happy to protest a wide spectrum of things around them that they don't like or agree with. In this case, the silence is deafening.

  16. Tzemer Upishtim - A lot of us feel uncomfortable having charedim on the bus. Do we have a right to have Egged buses on which Charedim are not allowed to enter?

  17. In societies where women have influence these kind of extreme acts do not happen. Its only where men hang around by themselves stewing in their own juices where this kind of nauseating behavior happens. This is no different from the Islamic world and the poor ghettos in the United States. Without strong female role models (as well as male ones) men do not seem to be able to moderate their behavior. Yeshivah culture seems to be not much different than Frat culture.

    It is for this reason that Orthodoxy must promote equality for women even if this means doing things that are not very traditional. As long as they are halachically tenable new ways must be adopted for their own sake.

  18. I stopped reading Menken when his dishonesty became obvious. In one of the rate instances in which one regrets emulating Mechy Frankel, I too meandered over there. Oh, well.

  19. You know, for a blog where "editorial control is extremely loose" -- as claimed in their "About Us" section -- Cross-Currents sure does seem to censor a lot of reasonable comments.

    And for a blog which demands comments be "civil and collegial, in both tone and choice of words" -- as claimed in their "Comments and Tips" section -- one of their main writers sure seems to be prone to using a lot of sarcasm and vitriol.

  20. "Excuse me but there are non mehadrin busses and mehadrin busses. When I want to sit next to my husband on a bus I go on a mixed one."

    Huh? The buses are the same company. There is no company policy on any egged buses mandating separate seating, on any buses. The buses go by the number. For instance, "the 15 bus" or the 34 bus. If you are looking for one of those buses, you stand at the bus stop and wait until a bus with that number pulls up. Then you get on. There is no choice involved.

    And customers who ride a certain bus, even if they are the majority of people riding that line, do not decide a company's policy. The bus company decides. Not customers.

  21. Now I ask you, is this due to media incitement?

    Or will you say this is a normal occurrence not caused by the media blitz? If so, should there be rallies against public exclusion of yeshiva boys or are secular leaders beating their breasts over this?

    I obviously don't excuse any violence done in the fake name of "modesty" and I'm against the thugs in bet shemesh, and also against the thugs in police uniforms who won't do anything to stop it. But for those who think the orchestrated media blitz that made charedi misdeeds a national scandal is just a ok, what do you say about incidents like this?

  22. "(shame on them for beating up on kids)"

    the kids have no adults backing/encouraging them them?

  23. "Excuse me but there are non mehadrin busses and mehadrin busses. When I want to sit next to my husband on a bus I go on a mixed one."

    There is no line that has all the same stops, but some buses are one way and other buses are the other way. Please don't pretend otherwise.

  24. When Palestinians complain about aprathied, I am encouraged to want to start treating them harshly.

    Now that some leaders want to pretend they are victims of Nazis, I think it's time they lost all government funding and were required to go to the military.

    I can not believe what they have done, and expect the rise of holocaust denial, using these pictures as proof. "They were just protests"

  25. I have a problem with the R. Chaim Sonnenfeld story. These things are all well and good; today Rabbi Adlerstein's posted a related story about the Satmar Rav. Being able to hold such nuanced (schizophrenic?) positions is described as "gadlus." Unfortunately when you teach that Zionism is a maaseh satan, that the chilonim are reshaim, etc. maybe the gedolim at the top are capable of some kind of paradoxical nuance, but what are the masses supposed to learn from what they teach? Of course they take the extreme message in its unuanced form. I'm not sure exactly who was responsible, but when young men burned Rav Kook in effigy 80 years ago (including one who grew up to one of the most famous Chareidi politicians) what exactly were their elders saying and teaching that would have led them to believe their behavior was wrong?

  26. If Rabbi Meir Kahane HY”D would be around, he would be protesting for the rights of any Jewish institution – regardless of what level of Judaism being represented. In the early days of JDL, Rabbi Kahane held a demonstration in front of a Reform temple against the anti-Semites who had attacked this place, for the simple reason that anti-Semites were targeting a Jewish institution, regardless of its halachic standards. How many of the rabbis in question can even name one book that Rabbi Kahane authored, let alone if they ever even opened one such book – one book that would show them the truth if they truly wanted to know and act upon Torah truth?

  27. As someone who knows Rabbi Eisenman of Passaic quite well: Beware of a sheep in wolf's clothing. If you'd like more details I'd be glad to provide them.

  28. Thank you for posting this. I linked it in a post on my blog - I hope you don't mind.


Comments for this blog are moderated. Please see this post about the comments policy for details. ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED - please use either your real name or a pseudonym.

Tech Tzorress

It has come to my attention that there is a problem with the mailing system for my blog posts. A number of people have been spontaneously de...