Friday, January 6, 2012

It's Not An Aberration

I would love to get back to topics relating to Rationalist Judaism - I have a number of posts planned. But when I see certain claims being made about the situation in Bet Shemesh, I feel compelled to respond.

A commonly-heard refrain from Charedi apologists is that the appalling events surrounding the Orot school in Bet Shemesh are merely the aberrant actions of a tiny number of crazy people, termed Sikrikim, who are not remotely representative of the wider Charedi community. As such, it's as ridiculous and offensive to expect Charedim to condemn them, or to perform a cheshbon hanefesh, as it would be to expect Jews to have a particular obligation to condemn Madoff or to perform a cheshbon hanefesh as a result of his crimes.

This apologetic was made a little more difficult after hundreds of people in Ramat Bet Shemesh-Bet rallied around in support of these thugs, including rabbonim in that neighborhood. So the apologetic was adjusted to it being just an aberration of that particular neighborhood, who are not remotely representative of the wider Charedi community.

This apologetic in turn was made a little more difficult after the rally in Mea Shearim in defense of the Jerusalem thug who was jailed, where people desecrated the memory of the Holocaust martyrs. So the apologetic was adjusted to it being just an aberration of radically anti-modern Mea Shearim types, who are not remotely representative of the wider Charedi community.

But what about the events in Ponovezh yeshivah a few years back? According to news reports, "the yeshiva’s administrative director, Aharon Gertner, was arrested after police claimed he attempted to assault members of Rabbi Markovich’s faction with an ax." And "Rabbi Haim Peretz Berman, the new yeshiva head... was assaulted with sticks and hospitalized. Berman was replaced by Rabbi Haim Shlomo Lebovic, whose first lecture was held under heavy security of dozens of policemen. Upon returning home that day, he found an explosive device waiting for him at his doorstep." As a result, "the district police chief summons the yeshiva’s leaders to his office once every few weeks for a talk, which is usually followed by a short-lived truce that ends whenever a new conflict – over the distribution of food or rooms in the yeshiva for instance – emerges." Can anyone imagine this happening in a Modern Orthodox or secular institution of higher learning?

Fine, the apologist says, so maybe it's just an aberration of Israeli charedim - after all, they live in a rough country, and it presumably rubs off on them. But it's not remotely representative of the wider Charedi community!

But what about the events in New Square, where the Rebbe's assistant tried to set fire to the home of a person who did not abide by the community's policies? According to residents of New Square, he was "part of a network of up to 40 men and boys who defend the Skverer Rebbe with intimidation and violence."

Fine, the apologist says, but that's just an aberration of a Chassidic American community. But it's not remotely representative of the Litvish American charedi community!

Well, it's true that I don't have any stories of violence in the Litvish American charedi community. But are they really such a distinct and different entity from the American Chassidic and Israeli Charedi community that they have no need to condemn them, and no need to do a cheshbon hanefesh regarding charedi isolationism, disregard for civil law and civility, and devaluation of outsiders?

And violence is itself just one part of a spectrum of problematic behavior. Other forms of problematic zealotry and intolerance are vastly more widespread. There are simply countless examples of harassment of people who don't toe the Charedi line, in cities from Kiryat Sefer to Bayit Vegan to Beitar to Bet Shemesh - and I presume that there is also no shortage of such stories in the US.

If people are going to seriously deny this, then I will have to collect and publish a long list of examples. For now, I will just cite one particularly striking example of how this problematic attitude becomes endorsed at the highest levels. A recent work, Vayishma Moshe, reports that an avreich consulted Rav Elyashiv after "a spirit of zealotry" entered him and he "embarrassed" a couple on a bus (not even a mehadrin bus) who ignored his request to move to the back. According to the avreich, Rav Elyashiv told him that he acted perfectly appropriately! Of course we have no way of knowing if Rav Elyashiv did indeed say this. But the fact that such a sefer exists, and that it bears the haskamah of Rav Elyashiv and his son, shows that such behavior is considered by many to be acceptable.

At the risk of stating the obvious, I certainly do not believe that all or even most charedim support spitting at people or cursing them. Rather, my point is that such behavior is an extreme but predictable manifestation of an attitude that is, unfortunately, pervasive.

There is a general attitude in the Charedi world of thoroughly delegitimizing all those who do not follow the One True Charedi Way, and having no respect for such people. It is found in the leadership, in the charedi media, and in the street. If people challenge this statement, or claim that it is no more true of Charedi society than of Modern Orthodox society, then I am ready to back it up with countless examples. (It is especially ironic that a recent apologist on Cross-Currents, who claimed that the extreme zealotry is an aberration, is himself a person who has called for homosexuals to look into the option of suicide, and who has zealously maintained a blog entirely dedicated to delegitimizing me!)

Now, some might claim that this problem is inherent to religion itself. I don't have arguments on hand with which to counter that, but I would instead say that if that is indeed the case, then the further to the right one is, the more one has to be careful about this problem!

There are several aspects to charedi society which exacerbate the problem of delegitimizing others. If a person is of rabbinical stature, then people will not protest his expressing intolerance. There is a social structure in which the most zealous, intolerant people wield the most power. In the charedi educational system in Israel, sports and physical activity are frowned upon, leaving no kosher outlet for males to let out their pent-up energy. And there is violent language used and endorsed in Charedi society at the highest levels. The book Chaim B'Emunasam, written as a response to my books, and bearing especially glowing haskamos from various Gedolim, called for the execution, "by any means," of people who believe the Gemara to contain scientifically-inaccurate statements - i.e. me! Do those Gedolim really bear no responsibility for the terrifying and menacing phone calls that I have received?

It is obvious to many people, some of whom are even in the Charedi world, that recent events are but an extreme reminder of a widespread problem. It is tragic that some refuse to acknowledge it.

86 comments:

  1. Funny. In attempting to comment on Cross Currents - Dovid Kornreich article. I receiveD an email from the Cross Current Editor (I am assuming its Kornreich) with the following:

    "I don't believe it is fair or appropriate to make a challenge, demanding answers to questions (several of which were already answered, IIRC), without signing your real name"

    HERE WAS MY COMMENT BELOW THAT IN NO WAY ATTACKED HIM:

    YM or R’ Dovid – I respectfully request that either of you please present concise answers to the following:

    1) why the mainstream chareidi rabbonim in RBS – REFUSED to sign the petition launched at the beginning of the school year by the Orot community. Was it because it was started by more modern Rabbis? see:
    http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2012/01/letter-of-community-rabbis.html

    2) why the mainstream chareidim (who are always easy to rally to any
    cause) did (and still wont) not publicly walk down to Orot en masse to walk a kid to school?

    3) The Dati Leumi community is obviously hurt by all this. why then to this day has there been no attempt made by the chareidi Rabbonim of RBS at achdus, reconciliation with the Data Leumi community?

    4) why the inaction on nums 1 and 2 above, coupled with the chareidim as usual resorting to blaming the media – should NOT be interepreted by any human with a partially functioning brain as a) incompetence b) lack of leadership c) gross insensitivity d) indifference e) complicity (perhaps with the the goals of the wackos) via silence

    Finally,

    5) Bmkom shein ish – in light of the recent madness, calls for achdus etc. what advice would you give the mainstream RBS chareidi Rabbonim in how they can assist in routing out the bad guys, fixing this mess and thus be better perceived?

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  2. CONTINUED....

    So being that DOVID KORNREICH wont respond to my respectful request on CC, and has chosen instead to be hostile to me, I will hope you post this here - because I know that he has a "thing" for you Natan, and is probably watching your blog very closely.

    Of course Kornreich hadnt addressed any of those issues in his mean spirited diatribe. Rather he continues to defend.

    His response to me indicates he has none of the answers, or no good ones. How courageous of him to sidestep the issue...

    Hey Dovid - your emperor has no clothes!

    As far as my pseudonym of Velvet Kippah. How do you know thats not my real name?

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  3. "Well, it's true that I don't have any stories of violence in the Litvish American charedi community. But are they really such a distinct and different entity from the American Chassidic and Israeli Charedi community...?"

    They're modernish.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Your comments are correct, yet misleading. Because it would equally be accurate to say that "Charedim are the most peaceful people in the world." I lived in a major community and people parked their cars with keys in it (it was this annoying, weird parking lot system they had), you could feel comfortable leaving your house unlocked, let kids play around outside, walk around late at night - without worrying about a thing about your Charedi neighbors. That's besides the fact that the level of Chesed, Tzedaka, and Gemachs was unmatched anywhere in the world.

    Everything you write is true. But so is everything I wrote.

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  6. You distinguish between chasidim and Lithuanian chasidim in America, but seem to group all chareidim in Israel together. I am curious - who are the main actors in Beit Shemesh? Do the two groups work together or are they distinct groups?

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  7. I believe there are a few issues here.
    1. Perhaps the biggest problem is, an inability for Charedi society to accept mussar from outsiders. Instead of klapping al chet, we say "who are they to criticize, the seculars are worse, these extremist aren't our type of charedim etc." We must accept criticism from everywhere it may come from, and even if it isn't 100% accurate.
    2. "Pray for the peace of the government, for without it man will swallow his brother." Being too anti Zionist, runs the risk of creating anarchists. It creates a hostility to government workers who are out to help us. Police officers, soldiers. I once asked a frum Israeli yeshiva boy at a chof nifrad, why he was able to understand R Akiva Eiger, but not able to understand not to go farther than the flag. One need not believe that the medina is atchalta degeula, but just plain law and order, is necessary to have a normal society.
    3. The Charedi world is under this impression that all secular Jews are out to make them secular. We have got to get this anti shmad idea out of their head. Even the most anti charedi in Israel, couldn't care less what charedim do, provided that it does not affect him, or his wallet.
    4. A bit of secular studies would help. Some science, literature, and history would help them understand their society around them. A little understanding of democracy, religious rights would make us more tolerant of others.
    (I use the term we, because I am part of this world, and yes, I am upset.)

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  8. BTW did you notice that kornreich invented a new hashkafa? He called it chillul kedusha. Gedolim only protest things that cause physical danger to everyone. This list is decided al pi kabballa. He decided that included is chillul Shabbos, gay pride parades, and moving graves. Of course he showed his lack of scholarship by paskening from the pashkevillim, as moving graves for the public need is a complicated question, and there are many who permitted it (Yerushalmi, Ramban, Tur, Nodeh Biyehuda, Igros Moshe just to name a few). He also skipped the obvious one, like the chillul kedusha in studying Rishonim who don't have yeshivish views. They too must be put in cherem, or at least any book that quotes them.
    And by the way, he doesn't think that anarchy, creates a physical danger!

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  9. The Mishnah says, "On three things the world stand, Torah, Service to God and righteous deeds to others." Remove the pillar of Gmilut Chasidim, in an effort to strengthan Torah and Avodah, and the whole ediface collapses.

    Torah and Avodah without Gmilut Chsidim equals Chradism.

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  10. I am so tired of hearing people speak of that "one spitting incident", when I am fuly aware that the problem of haredi hooliganism is deep and widespread. However, I cannot make an argument without solid facts. I would really appreciate seeing a comprehensive list of all campaigns of harassment and/or violence that have been occurring. Could you please provide a list or a link to one.

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  11. and how would you categorise this incident ?


    http://kodesh.snunit.k12.il/b/r/r2101_009a.htm

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  12. Bravo! Standing Ovation!!! Thank you for having the courage to say it like it is.

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  13. I don't think any Hareidi apologist denies there are problems of intolerance and lack of mentchlichkeit in Chareidi society. The objection is that such problems lead inexorably lead to violence and lawlessness.

    You can cite as many examples of Chareidi violence as you want, but without statistical analysis and comparisons with the statistics of other societies, the examples cannot prove that Chareidi society is more prone to violence because of its ideology.

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  14. Ruvie - "I presume that there is also no shortage of such stories in the US."

    Not sure if that is accurate. There the kiryat yoel incident but that intra community dispute of the same group of people (sect). As well as other intra or inter Hasidic sect violence. But rarely to my knowledge is there anything similar to what is going on between hareidim and the DL community ( or the religious coercin to secular society)

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  15. I would like to add a few points for discussion (not currently well formulated, but initial ideas):
    1) There are countless acts of zealotry in torah and later literature. The example has been set to oppose in very strong terms acts that are perceived as anti-torah.
    2)The American Litvish Charedi community is indeed quite different. Even in much of the other groups that you have quoted there is a split. There are without doubt a large group that have an underlying 'kannaus' whether expressed or not, but a very strong contingent that are quite accepting and peaceable.
    3) Religion by its nature tends to cause a spirit of kanaaus to arise in people
    4) The gemarah says: any tzurbah meirabanan that isn't fired up isn't a tzurbah meirabanan (need to find the exact quote, IIRC eruvin 56a)
    5) I don't have an opinion on this subject, just throwing in the other side of the argument.

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  16. interestingly a recet article in cross currents (http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2012/01/03/whose-problem-is-it-anyway/) tries to argue that the chareidi community is so internally fragmented that they really cannot have widespread influence on each other. I feel,however, they manage to unite and apply pressure when they want to...

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  17. If people challenge this statement, or claim that it is no more true of Charedi society than of Modern Orthodox society, then I am ready to back it up with countless examples.

    If you expand your definition of MO to include Religious Zionists and hilltop youth, then you may not find yourself with an easy task.
    If you will exclude them from your definition, they you open yourself to be similarly accused of rolling back the goalposts.

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  18. The Gedolim who gave haskama for Chaim B'Emunasam and its author have a din of a rodeif. So people are obligated "stop" (by any means) them to protect your life. R Slifkin do you have any followers of yours that can do the dirty work?

    Pinchus

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  19. Much as I like to avoid the term, it seems that it's "hashgacha pratis" that you live in Bet Shemesh.
    On another note, in this weeks [English] Mishpacha, they categorized some residents as "Modern Chareidi" - I got a good laugh when I read that - are they referring to you and your cronies?

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  20. Your comments are correct, yet misleading. Because it would equally be accurate to say that "Charedim are the most peaceful people in the world." I lived in a major community and people parked their cars with keys in it (it was this annoying, weird parking lot system they had), you could feel comfortable leaving your house unlocked, let kids play around outside, walk around late at night - without worrying about a thing about your Charedi neighbors. That's besides the fact that the level of Chesed, Tzedaka, and Gemachs was unmatched anywhere in the world.

    Everything you write is true. But so is everything I wrote.


    There's a lot of truth to what you write, and I'm glad you pointed it out.

    But there are also other dangers to people in the charedi community, which could be mentioned, but which I'd rather not bring up for now.

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  21. If you expand your definition of MO to include Religious Zionists and hilltop youth, then you may not find yourself with an easy task.

    There is indeed a problem in the Israeli right-wing Religious Zionist community (which I would never define as MO). But it is not as extreme as that in the charedi community - and in the RZ community, there is no shortage of leaders who are aware of the problem and who attempt to solve it.

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  22. 1) There is definitely no greater connection between chassidic american Jewry, and litvish american Jewry. Chassidim are chasidim, and they don't really change so much depending on where they live.

    Every knows that Israeli chareidim are more extreme than american chareidim...its part of the general extremism that exists in Israel.

    2) Here is Rehovot, I can say that the chareidim are for sure more moderate than in other places. We don't have riots, spitting, garbage cans on fire, pashkevilim, etc.

    I assume that there are other places in Israel like that also.

    My conclusion, and point is, that it is certainty tenable to posit that there are pockets of extreme groups which are not reflective of the mainstream.

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  23. there is no shortage of leaders who are aware of the problem and who attempt to solve it.

    You can start with Rav Riskin of Efrat (http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/a-hanukkah-letter-to-the-hilltop-youth-1.402209)

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  24. The Litvish American community really does not have these problems. You can come over and see for yourself. They (I am not one of them) are quite as normal and menshlach as can be desired.

    Some Chassidic communities in America have these sorts of problems, and some don't. Satmar and New Square do, Bobov doesn't. Chabad has really ugly verbal politics, but actual violence/intimidation is almost unheard of. My impression is that Belz and Toldos Ahron in Israel don't have these problems either.

    Each community has a unique culture. It is unfair to say that being charedi or chassidish makes you corrupt. I think that the explanation for the Litivish Israeli community's behavior has something to do with the enforced poverty.

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  25. Yet again, people are not reading what I wrote.

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  26. I had the distinct pleasure of attending a "town hall meeting" last night.

    This meeting was the brainchild of Rav Yaacov Haber.

    Rather than issue statements or condemnations Rav Haber said the time has come to work on making a Kiddush HaShem and brining some "nachas" to Hashem.

    The entire atmosphere was positive with many people offering a 1 minute "elevator pitch" as how to address the issues.

    Kol hakavod to Rav Haber, one of the few true leaders in the community.

    One presenter remarked that he moved to RBS because of the beauty of having Charedim to Chilonim, Ashkenazim to Sefardim etc. all living harmoniously together. He felt that we should emphasize that to the outside world.

    I am in full agreement with him. I have the honor of running one of the greatest examples of achdus that Bet Shemesh (and perhaps the Jewish world as a whole) has ever seen.

    As director of Lema'an Achai I work with a staff and volunteer comprised of Charedim, Dati-Leumi, Chardal, Chiloni, men and women, ashkenazim and sefardim, etc., etc.

    And what do we do?

    Help fellow Jews in need whether they are Charedi, Chiloni, DL or Torani, men or women, Sefardim or Ashkenazim.

    It is a beautiful example of what is right about Jews and what is right about Bet Shemesh.

    Our rabbinic guidance comes from a broad scope of the local rabbonim representing every stripe of Torah Judaism.

    I am honored to be involved in such an organization and everyone in Bet Shemesh and Ramat Bet Shemesh should be equally honored and do what they can to support it.

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  27. The Litvish American community in the Aguda statement has already condemned this behavior,so, no, they don't need to do it again at this point.

    I was responding to your idea that they need to do a "cheshbon hanefesh." I really think that they are 100% fine. They do obey rules and laws and they are not really isolationist. They have normal jobs and everything. They don't use the internet or television (for the most part) but they are friendly to non-Jews and other kinds of Jews.

    Do you want Rav Feldman and Rav Kotler to get on planes and attack the sikrikim with baseball bats? Should they confront Rav Elyashiv and give him a piece of their minds? What more do you want from them?

    I was also trying to say that New Square has nothing to do with the Litvish Israeli community. At all. Bringing the chassidim into this is mixing apples and oranges.

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  28. Rabbonim such as Rav Feldman and Rav Kotler use a different form of "baseball bat" against their perceived enemies.

    Just ask Rav Slifkin what the baseball bat of cherem and bitul can accomplishment.

    Rabbi Leventhal posted about his organization, Lema'an Achai, which I agree is a jewel in the crown of chesed.

    However, Rabbi Leventhal should know that there are rabbonim (and their followers) who bdafka dislike Lema'an Achai because their spectrum of rabbis and that they help all those in need.

    As a matter of fact one of their biggest detractors is Rabbi Kornfeld, the son-in-law of "heavy hitter" Rav Feldman.

    IMHO it is the bias and lack of respect on the part of these rabbis toward the DL that is much more dangerous than the spit and eggs of the kannoim.

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  29. This was written over a year ago, due to the news in America at the time, but it really applies here just as well.

    http://jihadiyehudi.blogspot.com/2011/01/ending-cult-of-condemnation.html

    Kal yisroel aravim ze l'zeh. It is time to stop pointing fingers and to start apologizing for each other.

    You will find no end of Americans apologizing for other Americans. http://articles.cnn.com/2011-05-06/opinion/martin.trump_1_birther-movement-donald-john-trump-president-obama?_s=PM:OPINION

    Pointing fingers does nothing.

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  30. I had a conversation with my next door neighbor a few years back that I think exemplifies the mindset of the average Haredi today. For most of the conversation we talked about the problems of the Haredi world; the discrimination against Sfardim, the mehadrin buses, the thuggish control askanim exert over Haredi (and in some cases even mixed) areas, the mafia-like corruption and under-the-table deals made by Haredi politicians and rabbis , the way state services here in Brachfeld are often doled out to loyal families who then turn their mandate into a personal fiefdom to do with as they please - be it the post office, schools, etc, (and most of all the hatred the Haredi public shows not only to non-Haredim but towards other Haredim they dont agree with, whether on ideological grounds or not. He railed against all of the above, yet towards the end, when we discussed a nearby National Religious town, he waved them off as "hilonim. Mizruchnikim are basically hilonim". It was a knee-jerk reaction rooted in the Haredi mentality that is ingrained from birth. While in the very some discussion earlier he condemned the way Haredim lack respect for other Jews, that subconscious patronizing view of non-Haredi orthodox remains.

    In my mind this is an example of the consonant dissonance that affects the vast majority of Haredim, particularly in Israel. As individuals they see how wrong many things that go on in the Haredi world are. On the other hand the deep-seated sentiments that are taken as a given in Haredi discourse, that are stated in outlets like Yated as unquestionable fact, remain in the Haredi subconscious. Yes, they shudder when they see zealots throwing stones at secular Jews or spitting on little girls. But at the same time subconsciously they feel superior, even with regards to other frum Jews who merely aren't in their camp.

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  31. This common theme of "I'm not even going to address it because it has nothing to do with me" has been the excuse of many for not speaking out. R. Malinowitz was both quoted in the Jpost today and wrote a letter to his congregation this week using that as his excuse for his inaction.

    J. Rosenblum's current article in Mishpacha (also published on Cross Currents) sings that song as well.

    Here's the comment I submitted to CC in Response to Rosenblum:

    [Quoting Rosenblum)"That demand appears to us no more reasonable than demanding that President Shimon Peres disassociate himself from the actions of a motorcycle gang or a family crime syndicate, just because the members are also secular Israelis."

    This is not a valid analogy. Secular Israelis do not represent a group with shared ideology, modes of dress, religious practices, etc. While Chareidi extremist behavior is relatively rare, the ideology behind it is less so. And that ideology exists on a broad continuum from very moderate to very extreme.

    A more valid analogy would be if secular (or any Israelis) were traveling abroad as an identifiable group and behaved in an abhorrent manner. Then, yes, government leaders would be expected to (and have) publicly dissociate themselves from such actions.

    The issue is not whether you associate yourself with the extremists, but that they are associated with you. Further, as much as the vast majority of fine, wonderful, Chareidim say and feel that these extremists are not "Chareidim", they are, in fact, Chareidim. Jonathan admits as much when he states, "...if we do not condemn their actions because we do not want to criticize fellow chareidim"

    They may not be behaving as one would want Chareidim to behave, but that doesn't, in and of itself, strip them of their label. Just as those marauding Israelis abroad don't lose their citizenship just because we don't like their behavior, they remain Israelis and we have to deal with it.

    In light of this, Jonathan's Catch-22 breaks down and so too any basis for not condemning the actions of the extremists.

    That said, just as I would not think it's incumbent on each and every Israeli to condemn those marauders, so too it's not every Chareidi's obligation to make a public statement. In both cases that responsibility falls to the leadership. And, on a positive note, it's heartening to see more and more of the Chareidi leadership assuming this responsibility.

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  32. There is a major difference between Israeli and American "yeshivish" types. Americans are much lower-key about all of these things.

    R. Slifkin, you grew up in England; do you remember these sorts of nefarious activities going on among the "yeshivish" element there? I doubt it.

    The problem with Israelis of all stripes is that they need a good dose of Anglo-Saxon prudence, temperance and level-headedness. Most non-Israeli Jews today live in English-speaking countries and have been inculcated with those attitudes to a greater or lesser degree (notable exception being Chasidim). I believe that's what God gave us the British Empire for.

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  33. R' Slifkin -- I am pretty sure I know of the "other dangers" you speak of, and sadly they too are true.

    BUT, being that you admit that there is much truth to what I wrote, I ask you to reconsider how you write. If I am not mistaken, at a point you yourself were drawn to that community. Don't treat them as "The Other." Don't just become another Heretic/Charedi bashing Blog. You and yours are supposed to be honest, rationalist, and thoughtful. I am not asking you to stop writing what you have -- you must continue. But you also must make sure that you don't sound as if you are joining the chorus of Charedi Bashing. It's not enough to throw in the disclaimer that it is not all or even most Charedim. You must try to remember and remind others of the sense of community, Chesed (which includes tremendous Chesed to those outside its community, examples easily available upon request), simple kindness and compassion that can be found among Tens of Thousands of people in that community. You must have felt it & experienced it. I know going through what you did it is alot to ask for, but that is what distinguishes you from the rest.

    The way I heard it this week from a Rabbi that resonates with me is that it is specifically the Charedim that are known for Chesed and study of Mussar and looking for growth in Yiras Shamayim that should understand that introspection is called for. Without making these points you are just preaching to the choir and adding to the voices of Sinah between brothers.

    The Charedim are not others, they are our fellow (religious) Jews.

    And tens of thousands of them are the kindest people you will ever meet.

    Also, it must be pointed out that although I am sure you can find some example among the American Litvishe Yeshiva world, the simple truth is that they ARE different. They don't have this same tradition of Kannaus.

    That doesn't take away from anything that you wrote & must continue to write, including that the American Yeshiva world also needs a Cheshbon HaNefesh. But please, be fair and honest by giving a full picture, we need to lower the flames of Sinah.

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  34. You are absolutely correct. Point well taken!

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  35. I once asked a frum Israeli yeshiva boy at a chof nifrad, why he was able to understand R Akiva Eiger, but not able to understand not to go farther than the flag. One need not believe that the medina is atchalta degeula, but just plain law and order, is necessary to have a normal society.

    This is an excellent point, and many "chareidi" Jews in the United States have the same attitudes, but to a lesser degree (as do certain extremist non-Jewish groups in the United States).

    Even attitudes toward things like vaccines are disturbing, and I am not going to go into detail about attitudes towards paying taxes.

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  36. You are 100% right. The trick is, how does one admit the charedi world has a problem, without appearing to make the secular world look good by comparison? Because it is equally true that world, dominated by the left-wing and liberalism, has no less problems than the Charedim and probably more.

    It's a problem of optics, in other words. To solve it partially, charedim will/must emphasize at each occasion the truth that their attempts at self-improvement stem not from proddings of the irreligious, but from internal chsehbonos. Realistically they will also engage in some left-wing bashing while they try to clean up their act, for bona-fides purposes. This will seem grating or mealy-mouthed to some, but it's the only way to do it.

    On that note, RNS, you should probably make it clear yourself - if you agree - that your criticism of the charedi world in no way implies any superiority on the part of the secular. Even if you've said it before, it bears repeating. That world has big-time problems. Religious Jews should be very glad that, as a whole body, they try very hard to fix their genuine shortcomings. I've yet to see leftists show any reflection for the massive problems wrought about by affirmative action, feminsim, homosexual infatuation, big government, and more

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  37. > Now, some might claim that this problem is inherent to religion itself.

    Not religion per se, but dogmatic belief systems that claim a monopoly on “truth” and insist that everyone must recognize it. Most religions fit that description, but so does communism, extremist environmentalists, etc.

    I think that a good dose of humility would do the world a lot of good. It’s a lot harder for someone to be an extremist if he acknowledges the possibility that he might be wrong.

    koillel nick said...
    > The Charedi world is under this impression that all secular Jews are out to make them secular.

    The Chareidi world believes that there is a huge conspiracy trying to kill religion in general and Yiddishkeit in particular. It’s the conspirators that claim the world is billions of years old and fabricate dinosaur skeletons to put in the museums.

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  38. koillel nick

    "BTW did you notice that kornreich invented a new hashkafa? He called it chillul kedusha."

    Now, now. Let's not exaggerate. Google returns 408 results for "חילול קדושה" including one sefer from the 16th century, Sefer Likutei Amarim - Tanya, and the Kli Yakar (most of the results, naturally, are Chabad oriented). If you remove the yud - "חלול קדושה" - there are three results on Hebrewbooks.org. Clearly Kornreich didn't invent anything and in fact Chillul Kedusha is a longstanding issue in Yiddishkeit, and in fact, that is all the Gedolei Yisrael of all generations ever dealt with. The entirety of Jewish history teaches this.

    As for the issue of kabbolo, don't you know that the Gemara itself says that Maaseh Merkava is the big thing, while the hevayos Abbaye and Rava are the little things?

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  39. I posted the following comment to the Cross Currents Dovid Kornreich article. It has not been allowed through the censor:

    “they are all forms of protesting one overall principle: “Chillul Kedusha”. . . ”

    I’m not sure how you define “Chillul Kedusha,” which is a halachik category that I have never encountered. If it does not include books about gedolim of the past that fail to toe the Chareidi party line (ie “Making of a Gadol”), or books accepting the scientific consensus on the age of the universe and accepting the shita of many rishonim that Chazal were fallible with regard to science (Rabbi Slifkin’s books), or other non Chareidi shittos (eg Rabbi Steinzalts), or separate seating concerts (Shwekey, Avraham Fried, MBD, and others), then your distinction does not hold up.

    The Litvishe Gedolim indeed did publicly protest Rabbis Kamenetzky, Slifkin and Steinsaltz, and separate seating concerts. They also protested against Israeli Yeshivos that offer secular education.

    Now, perhaps you will say that those examples indeed do constitute “Chillul Kedusha”, but public violence against women and girls does not. In that case, I ask you: what other public wrong does NOT constitute “Chillul Kedusha,” for which we should expect no protest?

    Are you not even a (tiny little) bit disturbed by the silence regarding public displays of extremism?

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  40. You can cite as many examples of Chareidi violence as you want, but without statistical analysis and comparisons with the statistics of other societies, the examples cannot prove that Chareidi society is more prone to violence because of its ideology.
    ======================
    1. Who within the chareidi (or any orthodox)community is collecting this data for analysis? (ans-no one, we're all afraid of what it will show)
    2. Who cares how we/they compare to others? They/we should be comparing to what we expect of ourselves.
    KT
    Joel Rich

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  41. "Can anyone imagine this happening in a Modern Orthodox or secular institution of higher learning?"

    I don't know, but I just have to share something my friend just wrote:
    "Applying for a professor job yesterday (online), the form had only 3 spots for university and graduate degrees but 5 spots for previous convictions, felony or misdemeanor - what is wrong with this picture?"

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  42. These are pictures from what seems to be an official Eidah HaChareidis demonstration (note the thousands of people present):

    http://www.bhol.co.il/Article.aspx?id=36291&cat=23&scat=181

    Note the extensive use of Nazi imagery. Anyone who thinks this is an 'aberration', with a few unrepresentative people, is deluding themselves.

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  43. Great post.

    Can you please scan and post the quote from "yaishma moshe" that you refered to? or at least give a more precise source? or email me the page?

    Thanks.

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  44. it would equally be accurate to say that "Charedim are the most peaceful people in the world." I lived in a major community and people parked their cars with keys in it (it was this annoying, weird parking lot system they had), you could feel comfortable leaving your house unlocked, let kids play around outside, walk around late at night - without worrying about a thing about your Charedi neighbors. That's besides the fact that the level of Chesed, Tzedaka, and Gemachs was unmatched anywhere in the world.

    You must try to remember and remind others of the sense of community, Chesed (which includes tremendous Chesed to those outside its community, examples easily available upon request)…

    …the Charedim that are known for Chesed…


    Yitzi7 –

    Although I agree with some of what you wrote, I would like to remind you that although on an individual level most Charedim are peaceful, kind and practice chesed, and that chesed is a strongly held value, on a communal level chesed for an outsider is in fact not a strongly held value unless it is with the intention and with the possibility of bring those that the chesed is provided for closer to observing Torah and mitzvos.

    An example of this is the numerous number of teenagers who are “Off The Derech” in Brooklyn and Monsey and who live on the streets with no food or shelter, because they have been kicked out of their Charedi homes due to their lack of compliance with the Charedi lifestyle which their parents wish to maintain in the home.

    There is little to no hope of these children being drawn back to Yiddishkeit, and there are no well funded Chesed organizations which are publically supported by the Charedi masses to clothe, feed and house these kids.

    I am sure you would agree that food, shelter and clothing are the very basics, and come before tablecloth gamachs, wedding clothing gamachs, or chairs and tables gamachs.

    There are plenty of funds being poured into “Kiruv Rechokim”, but there is a gross shortage of funds being provided for basic living necessities of Jews who no longer are Charedi, or who are unaffiliated with no interest in being Charedi.

    And about the Charedi neighborhood you lived in, would you not agree that almost all incidents of domestic violence within Charedi families (whether violence to spouses or children) are kept completely secret, for deep fears of maintaining reputations and shidduchim? There are many non-Charedi non-Jewish neighborhoods which also have the kinds of open-door, keys in cars atmosphere. IIRC statistically violence from strangers is not the main source of violence in non-inner-city neighborhoods, although it IS the most fear-inducing type of violence, and the one that makes the most headlines.

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  45. Continuation of above

    That's besides the fact that the level of Chesed, Tzedaka, and Gemachs was unmatched anywhere in the world.

    Have you lived everywhere in the world? My non-Jewish boss just made a birthday party for her 7-year-old son. They are not wealthy, but they decided as a family that he has enough toys and does not need any more, and so in the birthday party invitation they put a request for anyone attending the party who wants to bring a gift, to instead bring new children’s pajamas or new children’s books, which they are donating to a homeless shelter via a program that provides these items to homeless shelters around the country.

    Additionally, the 2 owners, one who is non-Jewish, the other who is non-Charedi, of the privately owned company I work for - not a wealthy company (as controller, I know the financial standing of the company) - annually donate a tremendous amount of goods and services for which they receive no tax-deductible benefit. They do this simply because they feel that “giving back to the community” is important.

    There is certainly a very strong and safe sense of community within Charedi communities. I lived within the community for most of my life. However, that sense of belonging usually only goes so far as complying with religious communal beliefs and quickly disappears when someone is no longer deemed to be “one of us”. Rejection from the Charedi community can be very swift, and it is almost always devastating as it is most often all-encompassing. If this is not physical violence, it is certainly “emotional violence” and possibly just as devastating to an individual, if not more so.

    Additionally, in certain Chassidish neighborhoods (in the USA), communal norms ARE in fact maintained by a “Tznius police” and those who take it upon themselves to slash the tires and otherwise violently harass those who are not in compliance with what is expected of them.

    The Charedim are not others, they are our fellow (religious) Jews.

    How I wish Charedi leaders would say this about the rest of world Jewry – Reform Jews, Conservative Jews, Reconstructionist Jews, or completely Secular Jews (who are not open to efforts to make them frum). And because Charedi leaders do not say it, you will find very few Charedi Jews who will publically say it.

    This exclusion of “the others” coming from the Charedi camp as a whole, in my mind and in my experience very much outweighs the chesed that Charedim value doing for each other.

    There is much good in Charedi lifestyles, but there is much that is wrong and hurtful to others. Calling out those things, especially those that affect world Jewry, should not have to be considered as fanning the flames of Sinah.

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  46. In defense of (some of) these Israeli Haredim, bear in mind that, as R. Slifkin has reported, a very skewed version of current events is being reported to them. If our news sources were reporting the same information as theirs, we might consider their reaction much more reasonable.

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  47. "There is indeed a problem in the Israeli right-wing Religious Zionist community (which I would never define as MO). But it is not as extreme as that in the charedi community"

    Not as extreme? The violence and discrimination perpetrated by right wing religious zionism is orders of magnitude worse than that perpetrated by charedim. It's simply the fact that it's not directed at you which makes it seem benign.

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  48. "I've yet to see leftists show any reflection for the massive problems wrought about by affirmative action, feminsim, homosexual infatuation, big government.."

    Sound the alarm. Everyone is becoming gay. Pretty soon, there won't be any children any more.

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  49. I never understood this whole suicide homosexual thing, doesn't the gemara in gittin commend the suicide of the girls who were taken to Rome, and make a "kol shekain" to men? Tosafos in fact proves from this gemara that if someone feels he will be nichshal in certain things, it is permissible to kill himself).

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  50. "If you expand your definition of MO to include Religious Zionists and hilltop youth"

    The leading RZ rabbis condemn the actions of the Hilltop Youth.

    "I've yet to see leftists show any reflection for the massive problems wrought about by affirmative action, feminsim, homosexual infatuation, big government."

    I've yet to see the massive problems!

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  51. An example of this is the numerous number of teenagers who are “Off The Derech” in Brooklyn and Monsey and who live on the streets with no food or shelter, because they have been kicked out of their Charedi homes due to their lack of compliance with the Charedi lifestyle which their parents wish to maintain in the home.

    Wow - that is heart breaking. It seems almost unimaginably cruel that a parent could do that to their child. I would speculate that some of these parents feel helpless. The whole family will be ostracized if they shelter the wayward kid.

    From personal experience, I know of the dread that some Haredi mother's face where the issue is a health problem of one of the children. If word gets out that one sibling has diabetes (for example), then all 10 siblings are severely demoted in the shidduch rankings. Because of this, many Haredi children with diabetes are sworn to secrecy and thereby feel stigmatized, in addition to physically endangering themselves.

    If such a mundane health matter takes on such dire consequences, we can only imagine what damage one OTD kid will do to their "shidduch score".

    Caveat - I'm not in any way condoning the act of tossing an OTD kid in the streets!

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  52. "Now, some might claim that this problem is inherent to religion itself."

    Of course it is, because when you believe you are acting on God's direct orders, you are a lot more likely to go against what general society deems proper behavior if you think God has ordered otherwise. That's why no amount of soul searching from the outside will make any dent on the types of behavior in the haredi world that you write about, very insightfully and truthfully in my opinion. But only the haredim themselves can do this. As outsiders, we can only hope that the Rabbi Adlersteins of that world win out over the people that blame the media for all of their problems, the people that compare Israel to Czarist Russia when the state tries to impose basic core curriculum requirements on state-subsidized cheders but cry bloody murder when the state reduces child subsidies for a society that came to depend on them because of its inability to provide its children with an adequate education, and the people that are callous enough to blame the victims here in the Orot situation rather than, chas v'shalom, signing a simple petition against violence that all the local non-charedi rabbaim were willing to sign. Oh, and I guess as outsiders, we can also support laws that would outlaw harassment of women on buses, something that has been going on for years, long before the media got hold of it, contrary to what some apologists have asserted.

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  53. a youth of hilltopsJanuary 8, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Just want to point out to all those quick on the condemnation trigger galutniks, that we do not heed the advise and hysterical cries of pseudoscholars who condemn us for defending ourselves and our homes from attack by arabs and by the army/govt. Chassidim are NOT under attack by little girls or by dati leumi women who wear colorful outfits. We ARE under attack by soldiers who come in the dead of night to destroy our property and render our families homeless while abusing and molesting us for resisting. Big difference.

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  54. Michapeset -- I have obviously not lived everywhere in the world. But I currently live in a nice completely secular suburban community, spent years in a Modern Orthodox community, and spent years in a large American Yeshivish Community. Of course each one has their strengths, but the level of Chesed, Tzedaka, Safety, and Gemachs is not even close.

    If you read my comments you will see I acknowledged the dangers, but asked that the strengths are acknowledged so much of what you wrote is irrelevant to the point I was trying to make. That is: by reading the current news and blogs you get a VERY incorrect impression of what they are like.

    Also your point that CHAREDIM do treat us as the other is also not relevant. That is the part of the point being made by R' Slifkin and others. My response was we should not do the same to them and that is what is in danger of happening to tend of thousands of kind, innocent people. So what's your point? That we SHOULD treat them as the OTHER, because their leaders do so to us?

    So these points its not a matter of disagreement but rather that you completely miss the point. But I also disagree. With off the Derech kids, as long as they aren't completely going out of their way to mock their community they are treated well. I know many who still live at home. And in general with the American Litvish community they got along just fine with the minority of none Charedim who lived their. The Modern Orthodox worked as doctors and lawyers in the community and were treated just fine.

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  55. By the way, sorry for some poor spelling and grammar. Difficult to comment from a phone.

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  56. I now want to address the charge that they do Chesed only for their own.

    When I was in a large Yeshiva in this Ameerican Litvish community, Jay Feinberg, with his very small Yarmulka and Modern Orthodox dress came in to promote a bone marrow drive (I think for himself). The Yeshiva allowed him to promote it in the Yeshiva and after first Seder far more than a thousand people filed out and went directly to be tested. They were led by prominent Rashei Yeshiva and Rabbanim from the community. The bone drive organizers also made known that testing cost a lot, and many of those tested wrote out checks covering the costs. (I still remember the Rosh Yeshiva joking that the organization name was so long there was no room for him to write it on his check.) More impressive was the fact that the Yeshiva gave out Kollel checks that day, and many people simply signed over their much needed Kollel checks to the organization.

    Of course, Charedi founded organizations like R' Firers Ezrah Lamerpeh in Israel, Chai Lifeline, Hatzalah, and dozens others help all. And I can give you names of YU students who will sing the praises of Satmar Bikur Cholim for what they did for their family when they spent months in a NY hospital with their baby.

    I can list dozens more examples.

    But let me be clear - I am not trying to convince anyone that over all Charedi society is superior. I currently am involved with Conservative Jewish organizations and they are wonderful. I love dealing with my Chinese, Indian, and secular neighbors in my suburban community. My secular Jewish neighbors are wonderful people and wonderful Jews. I could go on. All I ask is that the tens of thousands of kind, wonderful Charedi Jews are not demonized and are given credit for their truly amazing attributes. ESPECIALLY at a time that we are criticizing them.
    If we want to focus on the negative, we can discuss the negatives of Modern Orthodoxy, secular society too. But I have no interest in doing so. I am asking the Rationalist, tolerant crowd to show fairness and tolerance to their wonderful Charedi brothers by criticizing them out of a sense of brotherhood. (This is besides the fact that True tolerance is being tolerant of those who are less tolerant than you.) R' Slifkins points are true as I acknowledged. But the way things are being portrayed in the news and on blogs is completely unfair and without any sense of rationalism and proportion as to who these "horrible Charedim" truly are. It is so sad that the break is so strong that some can't bring themselves to acknowledge the good with throwing in everything negative they ever heard or experienced.

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  57. Charedim/chasidim cannot be compaired to the modern religious, secular, and/or any non-charedi jewish sect you can name, (which many of the commentators herein are trying to do) because for the simple fact, no one but the charedim claim, or I should rather say, "state as a fact" that they are more righteous then the rest.

    They believe and try to make others believe that they are the only ones acting in accordance with what is stated in the Torah and therefore is what God wants.

    Given the fact that they adhere to a higher standard (in their minds), then all of us others except to see them to act in a true righteous behavior.

    When their righteous behavior is absent. They open themselves to a more severe,and well deserved level of criticism.

    How much more so when they trample on the rights of other Jews.
    o

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  58. Yitzi7

    "True tolerance is being tolerant of those who are less tolerant than you."

    That sounds really nice, but I'm not sure it's true. It's somewhat similar to the question of whether true democracy ought to include anti-democratic parties whose goals are to destroy democracy. Maybe in principle, yes, but not when these non-demoractic parties actually pose a credible threat to democracy. That's not "true democracy," that's foolish policy.

    In this case, some feel that we are engaged in existential questions about the future of Orthodoxy, Judaism, Israel, etc. and if that's the case, maybe now true tolerance isn't being tolerant of the intolerant, or more especially, not being tolerant of their intolerance.

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  59. S -

    I am pretty sure that my definition of tolerance is the one followed by classic liberals (in theory) and the ACLU.

    Your argument is used by those who want to take away Civil Rights from those they disagree with.

    But in any case, being intolerant of their intolerance is certainly the way to go. But God forbid to demonize entire groups of Jews. And win the battle for Orthodoxy by teaching, writing, and living a passionately tolerant Jewish life. Take on Artscroll by writing popular alternatives not by bashing etc.

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  60. The book Chaim B'Emunasam, written as a response to my books, and bearing especially glowing haskamos from various Gedolim, called for the execution, "by any means," of people who believe the Gemara to contain scientifically-inaccurate statements - i.e. me! Do those Gedolim really bear no responsibility for the terrifying and menacing phone calls that I have received?

    Rabbi Slifkin, are you saying that you never received any significant amount of threatening phone calls before the publication of this sefer?
    If you did, then your connection doesn't hold water.

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  61. Isaac wrote: Charedim/chasidim cannot be compaired to the modern religious, secular, and/or any non-charedi jewish sect you can name, (which many of the commentators herein are trying to do) because for the simple fact, no one but the charedim claim, or I should rather say, "state as a fact" that they are more righteous then the rest.

    They believe and try to make others believe that they are the only ones acting in accordance with what is stated in the Torah and therefore is what God wants.

    Given the fact that they adhere to a higher standard (in their minds), then all of us others except to see them to act in a true righteous behavior.

    The Arabs do not think any differently...nor do any group that believes it has a divine mandate. In Fact, Son of Sam (David Berkowitz, do any of you remember who he is) also said that G-d told him to commit murder...in his mind he had a divine mandate.

    OY! There is only one way to combat that attitude, and it is not through reason. The rule of law must prevail. people who break the law should be handcuffed, arrested and prosecuted... In fact, THAT would be more in line with God's Torah than being concerned with where people are riding on the bus, or how many inches below the elbow is that little girl's sleeve...again, as I have stated before...some people just have TOO MUCH time on their hands....

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  62. With all due respect to S., I disagree with him on two points.

    1. Just because a search engine manages to find examples (mainly chabad) of the words "chillul kedusha" together, does not mean its a recognized concept. It is not. The apologist on Crosscurrents even admitted he was just trying to come up with justifications for the failure of his rabbis to speak.

    2. S. Says true tolerance does not mean tolerating others less tolerant than you. That is so cynical it is almost Orwellian. S can say he doesn't believe in the whole notion of "tolerance", that would at least be intelectually honest. But one cannot piously proclaim himself a liberal tolerant fellow, and then selectively determine which favored group he wishes to tolerate. This is rank hypocrisy, plain and simple. It shows that one's acceptance of certain groups comes not from the vaunted notion of "tolerance", but rather from the lack of conviction in one's own group. What these people call "tolerance" is really only a reluctance to stand up for principle. It is one of the reasons liberalism is such a discredited notion today.

    Having said this I do think these chareidim are nuts and out of control.

    Lurker

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  63. Note to those submitting comments about hilltop youth - sorry, but I'm not posting them, it takes the discussion off-course.

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  64. Rabbi Slifkin, are you saying that you never received any significant amount of threatening phone calls before the publication of this sefer?

    Correct.

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  65. "Youth of the hilltops" - I already allowed you to respond, and you even had the last word.

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  66. But God forbid to demonize entire groups of Jews.

    All I ask is that the tens of thousands of kind, wonderful Charedi Jews are not demonized and are given credit for their truly amazing attributes. ESPECIALLY at a time that we are criticizing them.

    I am asking the Rationalist, tolerant crowd to show fairness and tolerance to their wonderful Charedi brothers by criticizing them out of a sense of brotherhood.



    Yitzi7 –

    I hear what you are saying, but I respectfully disagree.

    Rabbi Slifkin’s blog is not the news, and I disagree that he is demonizing Charedim by not pointing out their positive attributes.

    You speak of “brotherhood” but when was the last time you criticized your brother for hurting your other brothers, together with hurting your entire family’s reputation, and at the same time heaped praises upon him out of a sense of fairness and tolerance? It is BECAUSE there is a sense of brotherhood, and it is BECAUSE we are family, that we take this so seriously and scream and loudly protest our brothers’ deplorable and disgusting behaviors (which I might add also reflect upon us, as a family). When our brothers are out there doing the most disgusting things, that is not the time to stroke their egos out of some skewed sense of brotherly love and fairness. We know they are our brothers, and if there is anyone who cares enough to try to stop someone from acting in a disgusting way, it is a brother.

    The rest of the world, frankly, couldn’t care less. For them it is the news of the day, quickly forgotten when tomorrow’s news is reported. The rest of the world cares as much about Charedi issues as they do about human rights issues in Africa. It’s disturbing for the 2 minutes that they read about it, and then they go figure out what to eat for dinner.

    It is only a brother who cares enough about what his brother is doing, who will obsess over it for weeks and months on end. It is only a brother who will try to get through to his brother any way he can, even if it means going out of his way to scream from a rooftop with the hope that his brother will hear him. And it is only a brother who cares that the family reputation is being smeared by the deplorable actions of his brother.

    I might add that the issue of brotherhood is ironically one of the crux of the matters. The Charedi brother who is currently acting in deplorable ways does not pay heed to us as his brother, as he does not consider us a “real” or “legitimate” brother, or he considers us a “wayward” brother. Whatever the case may be, blogs are not the news. Blogs are mostly private forums – it’s the opinion pages – where individuals get to voice their opinions and concerns.

    And I do not think it is “Demonizing” to pronounce from a blog that that brother of mine is acting in a way that I strongly disagree with right now and inasmuch as he is my brother, I do not want to be associated with his current behavior as I am opposed to it.

    If the blogs are failing in any way, maybe they are not making clear what we take to be obvious – that we are brothers and part of the same family, and BECAUSE of that reason, we have a right and a moral obligation to publically declare when the actions of our brothers and other family members are not reflective of our family as a whole or of our branch of the family.

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  67. Continuation of above

    But the way things are being portrayed in the news and on blogs is completely unfair and without any sense of rationalism and proportion as to who these "horrible Charedim" truly are.

    You ask for tolerance to be shown for intolerable behavior! We are criticizing the BEHAVIOR of Charedim which right now is especially intolerable. We, too, have Torah morals and ethics we need to stand up and protect. Tolerating unethical behavior is not tolerance.

    And win the battle for Orthodoxy by teaching, writing, and living a passionately tolerant Jewish life.

    Many of us have been trying, but we’re still not winning. If you study history, you will find that it is often the bullies who win. It is a sad but true reality of the world that the more aggressive of two parties is the one that usually wins.

    Take on Artscroll by writing popular alternatives not by bashing etc.

    Most individuals do not have the ability or the means to start a competing publishing company. Nor do most individuals who would start a publishing company fund it with non-profit funds donated to a sister-organization set up to pay for the translating of ancient Jewish texts.

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  68. http://www.vosizneias.com/98410/2012/01/08/new-york-mbd-the-satmar-rebbe-was-right

    Shal we pray that the Satmar Rebbe was right and that all the Charedim will flee Eretz Yisroel to start a new state with their new religion?

    Ofcourse, they should only be refering to the Sikirim and not Charedim in general. As this blog post so nicely points out.

    I'm glad the conversation here before on the topic has not proven worthless.

    http://www.jewinthecity.com/2012/01/whats-in-a-name-a-call-to-re-brand-the-extremists-in-israel-from-ultra-orthodox-to-sikrikim/?mid=570

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  69. Yitzi7,

    Do you live in RBSA?

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  70. Michapeset -

    The main points have been made by both of us, so I will not go back over them all, the reader will choose.

    But as a side point, I believe that if you look at Mussar Seforim, look how Yaakov starts rebuking Reuven and Shimon and Levi, look how Moshe rebukes Kelal Yisrael, how Yaakov rebukes the shephards (all as understood by Chazal and classic commentaries) it is clear that it is specifically at a time of rebuke one must be extra careful how one speaks and to emphasize good. And not to pile on every negative.

    An Ayin Tova is the essence of a Jew. An Ayin Ra'ah and Sinas HaBrios take a person out of both worlds.

    This is exactly what we are fighting against the fanatics. Let's not use their tools, their Kelay Chamas. As Rav Kook writes the righteous fight darkness with light.

    Besides anything else, the Charedim seem to have taken away the ability for others to view them with any positive light. How sad.

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  71. Although I agree with most of your points, I object to the use of the word "Gedolim" for the rabbis that signed haskamas on the book Chaim B'Emunasam. Assuming, as you say, that this book "called for the execution, 'by any means,' of people who believe the Gemara to contain scientifically-inaccurate statements," I firmly believe that calling such people "Gedolim" is no more accurate than calling buses on which men feel empowered to scream at and assault women who are sitting in the front of the bus "Mehadrin." If, for reasons of clarity, you insist on calling these people "Gedolim," I suggest that you at least use quotation marks, or preface the term with a qualifier, such as "reputed" or "so-called."

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  72. "Note to those submitting comments about hilltop youth - sorry, but I'm not posting them, it takes the discussion off-course."

    Or perhaps in a direction you don't like. Fundamentalist religion fosters an us vs them mentality. Haredim express it one way and religious zionists another, and far more nefarious, way.

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  73. No, I just don't want the discussion to go off-topic. (I hate it when people make assumptions about my beliefs.)

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  74. I apologize for that then. It's just that we've been treating another people literally like animals for decades and somehow that's off-topic in our discussion of religious extremism? I don't mean to make assumptions about your beliefs, but when you write that RZ misbehavior "is not as extreme as that in the charedi community" you open yourself up to "misinterpretation."

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  75. Lurker

    "1. Just because a search engine manages to find examples (mainly chabad) of the words "chillul kedusha" together, does not mean its a recognized concept. It is not. The apologist on Crosscurrents even admitted he was just trying to come up with justifications for the failure of his rabbis to speak. "

    Sorry - apparently I forgot to put on my satire tages. I thought it was plainly obvious that I was trying to be humorous. I thought no one could possibly believe that because the Kil Yakar and the Tanya uses a term, and a measly couple of hundred results turn up in Google, that it shows that this is a fundamental of Judaism.

    "S. Says true tolerance does not mean tolerating others less tolerant than you. That is so cynical it is almost Orwellian."

    Maybe if you read my entire comment? I said that tolerating intolerance in an existential period is no better policy that allowing a party dedicated to destroying democracy to participate in the system when it as about to do destroy it.

    I remind you that tolerating intolerance here means letting people get away with bullying other people and forcing others to adhere to their standards. Is that the way to be marbeh tolerance? Since you invoked George Orwell. . .

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  76. Rob -

    No, I don't live in RBS.

    Like I wrote, I currently live in a secular American Suburban Community.

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  77. R' Natan
    To this list you must add the judge's epilogue in one of the (many) cases relating to the Satmar power struggle.

    Such statements are rare, but sadly the judge felt required to say something about the chassidim's behavior in litigation.

    The quote below is from
    Application of Congregation Yetev Lev D'Satmar, Inc. v. Kahan, 799 N.Y.S.2d 159 (2004)

    Epilogue
    Throughout the litigation of these actions and pendency of the motion, there have been many incredible and outrageous attempts by certain individuals purportedly involved with and/or close to those involved the factional Satmar dispute to discredit, intimidate and improperly influence this Court. We think it would behoove the District Attorney of Kings County or any other entity charged with such authority to investigate and take every appropriate action against those involved in such activity.
    Expenditure of vast sums of money and the exercise of enormous power have been the hallmarks of the above fight which have resulted in the following:
    Continuous hearsay claims of bribery throughout the course of the many hearings published on internet chatrooms sites, in newspapers and phone calls.
    An individual who purports to be a pious members of Satmar in the forefront of the factional dispute is a former convict who served time in Federal Prison for swindling and may now still face other criminal charges. He has inundated the fax to our Chambers and to top officials throughout the State and the Office of Court Administration with false, incredible stories claiming “deals” “bribery” etc. involving this Court and its staff.
    Retired judges, and other high profile attorneys were retained, not all for substantive purposes but rather for window dressing and in order to present an aura of the ability to legally maneuver the case in their respective favors. One such individual, who never appeared to argue substantive law, once stood up and asked to make a sealed motion for the Court to recuse itself. When the Court demanded that he state on the record the basis for his request, he responded that it was based upon double hearsay allegations that a tabloid newspaper was inquiring about. Some ten months after making that request, he has yet to file such a motion. This individual had failed in his several previous attempts based upon spurious grounds, on both administrative and appellate levels, to move this case to another Judge.
    There is little doubt that the motivation of the individuals responsible for the acts described herein is to intimidate the Court and prejudice its decisions. False accusations concerning members of the Court's chambers have been published by fax, on the internet and members of the staff's family have been harassed at home as well. Chambers have been daily inundated by calls from individuals using pseudonyms and falsely claiming to be reporters or attorneys who are tangentially involved in the case seeking information.
    *14 Those who would hopefully investigate this matter should note that there are judges who would prefer to decline any assignment involving members of this group of litigants. The integrity of the Judiciary must be preserved.

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  78. Fine, I'll leave out the hilltop youth part of my comment.
    The rest of my comment was directly relevant to your claim @Jan 6 and said something like:

    How anyone can disassociate Religious Zionism from Modern Orthodox is beyond me. The Bnei Akivah movement and summer camps like Moshavah comprise exclusively of Modern Orthodox youth.
    There is explicit Religious Zionist indoctrination going on in every Modern Orthodox school on the planet. The connection is undeniable.

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  79. There's explicit Charedi indoctrination going on, too. It doesn't mean that MO are charedim.

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  80. …look how Yaakov starts rebuking Reuven and Shimon and Levi…it is clear that it is specifically at a time of rebuke one must be extra careful how one speaks and to emphasize good.

    Yitzi7 -

    You must be joking with regard to “Birchas” Yaakov and what Yaakov said on his death bed to Reuven, Shimon and Levi. Not only does Yaakov cut into them in the sharpest way, but he "rebukes" them about events that happened many years earlier. What happened to forgiveness, letting bygones be bygones, and not holding a grudge? And if there is a concern for "Ayin Tova" the Torah does not illustrate that concern. In most of Bereishis people are being judged and punished by both man and G-d with a harsh eye for their wrongdoings. And this does not end with Sefer Bereishis.

    all as understood by Chazal and classic commentaries

    I’m not sure which “Classic Commentaries” you refer to, as there are very many to choose from. And I am not sure if any of the "Classic Commentaries" you refer to claim that the pshat is not what occurred - how Yaakov sharply, directly and publically (not to mention eternally) tells off Reuven, Shimon and Levi - but I just want to point out that “Classic Commentaries” understand Yaakov’s dying words to those 3 sons of his as “Brachos” - calling those statements "Birchas Yaakov". I don't know about you, but with Brachos like that, and if those are coming from an "Ayin Tova", then I wouldn't want to hear the Klalos, or the words from an "Ayin Ra'ah"!

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  81. Not joking at all. In order to understand my point you have to learn Chazal and various Meforshim in depth and with subtlety and try to understand what they are coming to teach us. To explain it all I would have to give a Chumash Shiur, but here are a few very quick points made (many more available) off the top of my head - try to understand what Chazal and Meforshim are trying to say on these points.

    Yaakov starts by saying "Gather together" the Torah ends by saying "These are ALL the Shevatim of Yisrael." Each one was BLESSED according to a blessing fitting for them. It is said about Yaakov that Mitaso Shelaima. They all call out "Shema Yisrael." He only rebuked towards the end of his life. Only rebuked their anger. Complimented them for being worthy of being called brothers. Gave them the job off being worthy of teaching Torah to the Jewish people. Acknowledged Reuven is certain aspects is indeed the Bechor. Much more. Open up a Sha'arey Aharon or Torah Shelaima to start. The Torah indeed speaks harshly, but always a subtle point and lesson being made. See Rav Hirsch (one of the champions of acknowledging faults) on the critique of Avraham at beginning of Lech Lecha. If you don't understand my point that's fine, but anyone who wants to will find plenty to think about even in these few points and sources above.

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  82. Not Surpised said:

    No longer can the Eidah be accused of sitting silently while the Sikrikim wreack havoc. They are no longer silent . . . . but have expressed their condemntaion of the chilonim and unqualified support of the worst of the lot!


    http://www.bhol.co.il/Article.aspx?id=36608&cat=23&scat=181

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  83. There's explicit Charedi indoctrination going on, too. It doesn't mean that MO are charedim.

    You mean to say there's explicit indoctrination to be intolerant of other Jewish groups, isolationism and disregard for civility and civil law?
    Remember, I'm talking about high schools staffed and run primarily by M.O. teachers and parents.
    Not the Post-High school year in Israel programs which are completely run by Chareidim.
    If they aren't taught these Chareidi values, (and I don't think they are in these high schools), then in what way are they getting Chareidi indoctrination?

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  84. Yitzi7 -

    I hear what you are saying. I guess it depends on how much you want to find something positive out of something that is so clearly negative. I understand the motivation, but don't agree with the distortion of reality. We feel the need to tell ourselves and believe these were "Shivtei Ka" regardless of what the Torah or Yaakov say about them.

    We have much to be proud of, both in the Torah and in who we were and are as Jews. But when there is negativity, when there are problems, and when there are condemnations that need to be made, refusing to see the negative in the name of tolerance and brotherly love, is not only NOT the Torah way, it is not brotherly, not love, and not healthy.

    This is where we seem to disagree. But it was a pleasure having this respectful and dignified discourse with you. How nice that we can peacefully agree to disagree, and still be brothers. (Even while I know I'm right ;)

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  85. does NO one disagree with my post?! Sure you R' Slifkin disagree as you mentioned the suicide rumor so caustically?!

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  86. In the late 1950s, when I was a Talmid of Yeshivas Ner Yisroel in Baltimore, one of the Talmidim was construed as having said something against the Rosh Yeshiva - although I don't think it was particularly negative. Anyone, that night a few of the Eltere Bochurim (i.e., the"senior students LITERALLY tarred and feathered him, requiring him to go hospital emergency room to get the tar off him. He left the Yeshiva immediately thereafter. I will grant you that this was an unusual occurrence, but still ...

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