Monday, March 3, 2014

The Rally: Kiddush Hashem or Chillul Hashem?

In yesterday's post, I explained why the rally in Jerusalem was a chillul Hashem. It was effectively a statement by the entire charedi community that they demand everyone else to take all the military risks and pay the bills, and that they don't even want to thank them for this or feel indebted in any way.

Not surprisingly, though, people who attended the rally feel that it was a tremendous kiddush Hashem. All these Jews peacefully gathering together to recite Tehillim, purely to show their love and dedication to Torah! How can that not be a kiddush Hashem?

But the common problem with all the people describing it as a kiddush Hashem is that they are using the word "Torah" ambiguously and inaccurately. I've discussed on several occasions how this is a prevalent problem. For example, various statements by Rambam and other Rishonim about the value to society in teaching Torah are distorted and taken to refer to learning Torah. Laws obligating people in the army draft - laws that apply across society - are distorted as being laws against Torah.

And this is exactly the problem with people describing the rally as a kiddush Hashem. Many people attended the rally with good intentions, or with their own ideas regarding what the rally was about, but the actual, effective message of the rally was clear. The rally was not about "showing love and dedication for Torah." The dati-leumi community has plenty of love and dedication for Torah. Plenty of people who serve in the army and work for a living love Torah. Plenty of people who serve in the army and work for a living show dedication to Torah - indeed, it can be argued that they are showing greater dedication to Torah than those who have nothing else to do.

The rally was about no charedi yeshivah students (indeed, effectively no charedim at all) being obligated to go to the army. The government decision that allegedly spurred this rally was not that every yeshivah student must go to the army - just that a certain relatively small number must go. And these people can go to yeshivah before and after their army service. Furthermore, there are plenty of people in charedi society who aren't really learning in yeshivah anyway - and yet the charedi community has never shown any interest in sending these people to the army.

So it is deeply misleading to describe the rally as "showing love and dedication for Torah." Rather, it was making a statement that the charedi community refuses to make any contribution to the army whatsoever. Indeed, as the event concluded, this was the explicit message broadcast from the Gedolim: That no charedim should enter the army under any circumstances, even to programs tailor-made for charedim. They want an army, but they demand that only other communities send their children to it. They demand that only other communities take the risks and bear the burden.

How is this not a systematic contravention of Moshe Rabbeinu's declaration, "Shall your brothers go to war, and you remain here?!" How is this not an expression of sheer selfishness and ingratitude? How is this not a chillul Hashem? Once you define the event and its message with accuracy, the answer is clear.


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63 comments:

  1. You should know betterMarch 3, 2014 at 6:26 PM

    You should really be better informed; no doubt your rejection by the chareidi community and you subsequent hatred of anything chareidi is blinding you to the facts. There were many Dati Leumi rabbanim that not only attended the atzeres, but encouraged their talmidim and congregations to go, for many reasons. But I don't think those reasons would fit in to your very simplistic view on religious understanding, so I guess we'll just leave it alone and not overburden you.

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  2. I know exactly who was there. I believe that those Dati Leumi rabbanim did not appreciate the actual message of the rally.

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  3. As it happened, few if any non-charedim were there. Period.

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  4. "no doubt your rejection by the chareidi community and your subsequent hatred of anything chareidi"

    Do you think that the Gedolim took this into account when they banned his books?

    איזהו חכם? הרואה את הנולד

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  5. Moshe Dick writes:
    I have read the extensive reporting on the rally in many outlets,from Haaretz all the way to theyeshivaworld. The most distressing aspect of this rally fully supports Rabbi Slifkin's contention that the (Israeli)chareid world despises anyone who does not agree with them (including dati-leumi rabbanim) and that they think they are entitled to live off their brethren forever. A classic description of a parasite. It pains me to even write this word because I have lived with chareidm all my life and respected their way of life. However, when hundreds of thousands of people insist that they must-must!- be supported in everything by their brethren, it is a distortion of all that we know from our Jewish traditions. I fear that this march will embolden the anti-religious crowd and that more stringent measures will be taken by the non-religious majority in israel. A religious war is becoming inevitable and I think thsat the chareidim have underestimated the measures that will be tsken by the government. The moderate voices have been stilled. On a footnote- I found it insulting and disugsting that the Chief Rabbis (Lau and Yosef) attended the rally. They are the chief rabbis of all of israelis,not only the chareidim.Time to disband the chief rabbinate?

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  6. You are dealing with different views of reality.
    For example, go and talk with an Arab from Nablus and try and tell him about the Jewish connectin to the Har HaBayis. He'll either roll his eyes or shake his head in disbelief. Are you stupid? Don't you know all that was made up by the Zionists? Never was a Temple there.
    It's the same in this case. Chareidim have been raised for 3 generations to believe that the natural order of the world is for them to receive government support to sit and learn without having to show hakaras hatov. You can't change this attitude quickly.

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  7. While I agree with you, to a certain extent, you have to admit that the fact that there was no violence, that they sang and danced instead of destroying things, is a step in the right direction. Look, the charedim can have the biggest protest ever and not wreak havoc! (Aside from shutting down the city.) That in itself is a kiddush hashem, relatively speaking. Unfortunately. Oh well, baby steps.
    As for your point about the message of the protest - I do a fair amount of charedi-bashing myself, but I feel compelled to defend them here. Yes, that might be what they're saying, and yes, the laws being put forth are more than fair - generous even. That doesn't mean they're not stupid. It's like trying to coax an animal out if hiding and then startling it away just when it starts to trust you. The way I see it, the charedim aren't maliciously selfish - rather, their culture is one built on a thousand years of fear and reactionism. They're damaged. How could they not feel threatened by being forced out of their bubble when they don't know how to breathe outside it and see monsters around every corner? Something had to give, for sure, but it could have been handled a little more delicately.

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  8. @Hanna,

    I agree that this whole matter could have been handled better, but don't absolve the Charedim entirely. They were given plenty of opportunities, before they were evicted from the Government, to work on a compromise more in their favor. Their disdain for, and inability to work with, the System allowed for the System to change to the point where there is little desire to accommodate them.

    When the majority is willing to bargain, only fools refuse to listen.

    Scarred they may be, but at the end of the day they are men and not mere animals.

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  9. You should know betterMarch 3, 2014 at 9:13 PM

    "I believe that those Dati Leumi rabbanim did not appreciate the actual message of the rally"
    Are you kidding me? Do you actually have the audacity to claim that not only are you much smarter than the Chareidi gedolim, but you also know better than major Dati Leumi poskim, including the Rosh Yeshiva of Mercaz Harav? Wow. I am in absolute awe.

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  10. @Avi
    Have you spoken to any charedim recently? It's all "my rabbi" "daas Torah" "TORAH!"
    I just had this really fun conversation with a woman who used to identify as more RZ but switched sides because "TORAH!" Or something like that. I gave up because there was no way I could explain Torah with the richness and depth that I see it. There's a lot of herd mentality. A lot of blindly following the leadership. When it comes to said leadership, yes, I agree with you. But that's part of a larger problem.
    I also used that metaphor because (from what I've seen, correct me if I've been getting my info from charedi propaganda) indicated that the situation was improving, even if not significantly, but now anything that's been accomplished by slow, small changes goes straight down the drain. Ok, so is it horrible of me to relate to them like animals? Like pets maybe? Personally, this mentality of "nothing can change and you can't make us," always reminded me of the dwarves in the last of the Narnia books - they're in paradise but since all they expected to find on the other side of the door they've just passed through is a dark, smelly stable, that's all they can see. No amount of giving them flowers and food will convince them otherwise. "The dwarves are for the dwarves." Pity.
    So no, I'm not absolving them of all blame. Far from it, I think they're dead wrong. But I understand where they're coming from.
    For the record, when I saw the pictures of the signs at the rally yesterday, I was furious. And then really, really sad. Some people can't see past the end of their noses.

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  11. Moshe Dick writes:

    In response to "Hanna"- Can you tell me why, outside of israel, the chareidim (especially the Chassidim)can actually work for a living and the incidence of so-called "kollelnikim" living off others forever is practically non-existent? (Most BMG graduates and the like ultimately get jobs)When was this ever the norm in the hundreds and thousands of years of Jews living everywhere on the globe? "thousands of years of fear and reactionim"??? This is a very modern phenomenon and it is only in Israel that it has become virulent- mainly because the Israeli governments acquiesced over the decades and gave them money. Now, it is time to pay the piper and the piper (israeli governement) is changing its tune.I think that they are maliciously malevolent and that most of the roshei yeshiva are selfish and are only looking out for the money and their jobs.
    To 'should have known better"- add me to those who have 'the audacity' to question the so-called gedolim. I think that most of them act out of their own "negius' (biases)

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  12. Not everyone who serves in army risks his life. Lapid for example, served as military correspondent. If only risking the life considered contribution to the country, then he did not contribute. On the other hand, if other useful things count too, then observing and learning Torah should certainly be counted. Otherwise, why do dati leumi leaders fought tooth and nail to keep hesder army service half the length of everyone else? By the way, it may be out of topic, but if they were consistent, why did not they propose similar arrangement for charedim students? Is Torah learning in hesder yeshivot is more important than in charedi yeshivot?

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  13. Lazar said...
    Not everyone who serves in army risks his life.


    No, but everybody contributes. More importantly, we are not talking about individuals here, but about communities.

    On the other hand, if other useful things count too, then observing and learning Torah should certainly be counted.

    A) They are not a contribution to society
    B) You don't get to choose how you contribute.

    Is Torah learning in hesder yeshivot is more important than in charedi yeshivot?

    It's more valuable to the country. It produces people who are more dedicated, and have a high rate of enrollment in combat units.

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  14. @Moshe
    Huh. I went to Bais Yaakov - in the US - and it was considered an ideal to marry a man learning in kollel and support him (by teaching in BY, of course). True, most work eventually - but they don't feel forced into it by a government they don't trust. Just poverty.
    What I meant by the part about their fear is that European Jewry suffered a lot at the hands of foreign governments. Add that trauma to their fear of the secular zionist movement because it threw Torah out the window, and I think it's pretty clear where their pig-headedness comes from. I think it's worse in Israel because you have to be that much more extreme to deny the reality of the unfolding geulah. In chutz l'aretz, everything is business as usual, but here, in the past 70 years, things are changing. And how could you believe that redemption could happen this way? Instead, you dig your heels in and cling to everything you have to protect yourself. Was full time learning and isolation the norm over the centuries in Europe? Of course not. But you tell yourself it was, because it's become a security blanket.
    And let me re-reiterate: I don't agree with any of the rot the charedim are spewing. I just felt the post was unnecessarily harsh, and wanted to throw my perspective out there.

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  15. Moshe Dick writes:
    to Lazar:
    what does risking his life have to do with anything? Army duty is simply because it is a mitzvah to protect Jewish lives. This supersedes- yes, supersedes- learning Torah (see gemoro Sottah and Rambam). But you are raising a very red herring. I think that Lapid and certainly Bennett would have been very happy to have some compromise or accomodation with the chareidim- but they flatly refused any compromise. Did you read the posters of the "asifah"? it was a flat refusal to do anything for their fellow jew. I think that the governement would be deliriously happy to arrange a hesder program for the chareidim. It is their total obstinacy that will lead this matter to tragedy.

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  16. I watched the rally in Hadassah hospital with a group of arab patients and nurses. I saw the sniles on their faces. This fight by the chareidim gives hope to the arabs. So many jews wont fight in the IDF. We have already lost the demographic war.This rally proves it. Chillul hashem is the wrong word. It needs to be something harsher.

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  17. I liked this article by Moshe Arens I saw in Ha'aretz (it's rare that I agree with anything in that paper):
    www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.577433
    Especially this part:
    "What the legislators should have realized is that a problem that has existed for so long has no instant solution. Moreover, it is not amenable to a solution by law.

    The existing legal situation, wherein the defense minister has the authority to call up young men at the age of 18, or to defer their service, is sufficient to bring about a gradual amelioration of the situation.

    As a matter of fact, recent years have seen a substantial increase in the number of ultra-Orthodox young men reporting for military service. The Israel Defense Forces, by providing incentives for military service and by creating special units that will be friendly to the sector, has clearly brought about a significant improvement, letting things take their natural course without arousing protest demonstrations and raising the specter of fratricidal conflict."

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  18. I wonder if Lazar misunderstands the meaning of "hesder Yeshivot". He asks "why did not they propose similar arrangement for charedim students? Is Torah learning in hesder yeshivot is more important than in charedi yeshivot?"

    It is not proper to contrast Hesder Yeshivot and Charedi Yeshivot. Hesder does not mean Religious Zionist; it means "arrangement". If any Charedi Yeshivah were to enter into a similar arrangement with the Army, it would be a Hesder Yeshivah aswell - a Charedi Hesder Yeshivah.

    The reason there are no Charedi Hesder Yeshivot is that the Charedim rejected the opportunity to establish them. The reason that Religious Zionists attend the Hesder Yeshivot is that they are the target demographic for those Yeshivot that participate in the Hesder programs. If a Yeshivah opened offering a program that appeals to the Charedi ethic and made an arrangement with the Army, you would have a Charedi Hesder Yeshivah. Of course, this is a counterfactual hypothetical as a basic tenet of modern Israeli Charedism is a rejection of any constructive engagement with the State.

    So, it's not a question of Hesder learning being more important than Charedi learning (although it may be); it's a question of Charedi refusal to participate - in anything.

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  19. "They want an army, but they demand that only other communities send their children to it. They demand that only other communities take the risks and bear the burden."

    To be more accurate and less slanted I would rephrase this as follows:

    They want an army, but they demand that it not be used as a cynical tool for breaking down the basic values of their community and that the government/army show a genuine willingness to fully accept their religious standards and norms."

    If these demands and norms (even when factoring out full-time learning) makes army service impractical, whose fault is that?

    The only reason they are demanding financial support and encouraging mass long-term kollel is because you cannot legally work without first serving in the army--an army which is designed to make you conform to IDF mentality, obey the whims of secular commanding officers, and break down your religious values and sensitivities.

    The fact that the Dati-Leumi community has made peace with such an environment is not a source of pride to them. That is the true chillul Hashem--sacrificing religious standards values under pressure. To the extent that Dati-Leumi solders are jailed and discharged for insisting on serious commitment to halacha is where they make a genuine kiddush Hashem. The Chareidim are doing the same thing--only before entering the army.

    It is the height of intolerance to fault the chareidim for insisting on remaining chareidim. Chareidim are more than willing to go to work and make a financial, military, etc. contribution to society--but on their terms and in ways that do not undermine their identity.

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    1. Palease! You know nothing about the hiatory. For hundreds of years after Matan Torah Jews fought battles in a very non yeshiva sh environment. Furthermore, the "gedpilim" tried allowing for more charities units. It was only their constituents, and their lack of "emunas chachomim" and violent threats that put a stop to the gedoilim.

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  20. It's very easy to criticize and very difficult to practice self-criticism. The only and undoubted Chilul Hashem is that the world and our children see how Jews hate each other. Rav Kook wrote: "the pure righteous do not complain of the dark, but increase the light; they do not complain of evil, but increase justice; they do not complain of heresy, but increase faith; they do not complain of ignorance, but increase wisdom".

    No sector fulfills these parameters. From the charedim who beat their peers who join the army, to datim leumim that paradoxically say that whoever does not follow the teachings of Rav Kook can't be a gadol. Owned.

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  21. On the other hand, if other useful things count too, then observing and learning Torah should certainly be counted.

    R'Slifkin They are not a contribution to society

    They do according to Vayikra 26. And if they are not, why Bennett and Co fought for keeping hesder service short?

    @Anonumous I think that Lapid and certainly Bennett would have been very happy to have some compromise or accomodation with the chareidim- but they flatly refused any compromise

    L and B proposed their law without any agreement with Charedim-- they would not need their agreement if they wanted to propose a reduced service term. Bennett wanted to keep reduced service only for his constituents and enact full service for Charedi Torah students.


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  22. When 60 ribo of Jews publicly accept the Yoke of Heaven it is a Qiddush HaShem, by definition

    It is *NOT* rationale to conclude that the performance of a mitswah (Qidush HaShem is a mitswah) is contingent upon it being favorable in the eyes of non (or non observant) Jews.

    When 400-600,000 people demonstrate to express their opinion peaceably (even if you might not agree with their opinion), without violence, vandalism or disorder, no matter who it is.

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  23. Lazar said...
    Not everyone who serves in army risks his life. Lapid for example, served as military correspondent. If only risking the life considered contribution to the country, then he did not contribute. On the other hand, if other useful things count too, then observing and learning Torah should certainly be counted.


    Deja vu all over again. It is fair for everyone to sacrifice their freedom equally to compulsory service. You aren't submitting to compulsory service by choosing yourself to do something that you'd like to do, no matter how valuable it is. There are tons of valuable things, learning include, which don't require a draft to get people to do. That is not shared sacrifice; the sacrifice is of the freedom to do things that you want to do and instead doing the valuable things that you may not want to do.

    Otherwise, why do dati leumi leaders fought tooth and nail to keep hesder army service half the length of everyone else? By the way, it may be out of topic, but if they were consistent, why did not they propose similar arrangement for charedim students? Is Torah learning in hesder yeshivot is more important than in charedi yeshivot?

    If the Charedi Yeshivot had the same program of IDF service as the Hesder Yeshivot, then we would not be having this discussion.

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  24. What nonsense that the Charedim didn't try to compromise. The charedi Knesset members openly agreed that if a guy isn't learning he hen must go to the army or national service. Gafni said it. Shas guys said it. Simple-stop the lies and slander against a community. Lapid and the like want one thing, to destroy chareidi jewry. Piron said it:In 20 years, he wants 1 Israeli-a Zionist. This is about preventing Zionist brainwashing.
    I agree there hould have been more open hakaros hatov however think about zaka-all charedim serving their secular bretheren. Everythime their is a terrorist attack, Zaka is there. They don't only help chareidim rather majority helped are secular.
    Thanks to Bennet and company, now hesder is 24 months. I hope they are happy with their 8 months more service.
    Most army people are jobnikim and many of them perform useless tasks. Obviously the combat units and the inettigence corps, etc do something of use. An so do the torah learners that is unless you are an apikorus and don't believe that..........

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  25. Jewish Observer said...

    "They want an army, but they demand that only other communities send their children to it. They demand that only other communities take the risks and bear the burden."

    To be more accurate and less slanted I would rephrase this as follows:

    They want an army, but they demand that it not be used as a cynical tool for breaking down the basic values of their community and that the government/army show a genuine willingness to fully accept their religious standards and norms."


    The government would be perfectly happy for the charedim to come up with their own army framework. The charedim aren't interested.

    The only reason they are demanding financial support and encouraging mass long-term kollel is because you cannot legally work without first serving in the army

    No, the reason is that they are against secular education and prefer kollel to working.

    Chareidim are more than willing to go to work and make a financial, military, etc. contribution to society--but on their terms and in ways that do not undermine their identity.

    Utter nonsense. You are living in an Anglo-charedi fantasy world.

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    1. You are a brave free-thinker, Natan Slifkin. Thank G-d religious Jewry still has some truly intelligent idealists left. Of everything I've heard and read, only your measured response to the horrifying behavior of the Hareidim has me reconsidering my position that we should now actively encourage their mass y'ridah.

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  26. The charedi Knesset members openly agreed that if a guy isn't learning he hen must go to the army or national service.

    They've paid lip-service to such a notion. They've never made any attempt to actually implement it.

    Besides, what about those who are learning? Why should that make them automatically exempt?

    think about zaka-all charedim serving their secular bretheren.

    Zaka is what, fifty people?

    Obviously the combat units and the inettigence corps, etc do something of use. An so do the torah learners that is unless you are an apikorus

    Not an apikorus, just following the approach of the rationalist Rishonim. I'm not sure which Rishonim you're following, with the notion that anyone learning Torah should be automatically exempt from the army.

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  27. Moshe Dick writes:
    Rabbi Slifkin adequately skewered the arguments that the chareidim wanted to compromise and that the non-learners were encouraged to go to the army. Lip service at best and hypocrisy at worst.
    However, I do want to respond to Jewish Observer and Almoni.
    The facts are not on your side. No one wants to sue the army for changing your beliefs.This is a blatant lie . Tens of thousands of chareidim did go to the army and are none the worst for it.
    The basic fact is that this has become a way of life,indolent, lazy and non productive. Better to smoke cigarettes in the streets of Bnai Braq , letting the women do the work than doing something constructive.
    It is a true disgrace and it will bring ruination to the chareidim.
    Whatever the chareidi members of the Knesset are saying- this law has opened a Pandora's box. Even if the criminal penalties will nor be enforced (I was against them), the budgets will be cut and the money will run out.
    Anyone who davens in a shul in New York is being besieged daily by hundreds of Israeli men begging for money. Zu torah vezu sechuro?
    The chareidim, by their intransigence, have opened the way for the hatred from others and I do beleive this is a watershed moment in our history. And, don't think that the chareidim will win- the government has all the money and all the means.

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  28. I agree that the hareidi leadership have completely missed it on the subject of secular education and the army (along with a number of other things) but I believe changes on those two areas (at least) were happening by ordinary (hareidi) people voting with their feet.

    I think the politically motivated marginalization and demonization of the hareidim that has become so popular recently will actually stem that natural (and healthy) trend and result in a tightening of the ranks. I think it is disgraceful that this is happening in the Jewish State, and I am saddened when I see people I know whom I generally consider sensitive and thoughtful, reacting with knee-jerk comments like "let them go to America" or "there should be more funerals in Bnei Brak".

    Many hareidim whom I know personally and well, have (in their own way, or the way they were taught) dedicated the best years of their lives to God. Protesting how this has been belittled and ridiculed is to me what the demonstration was really about - nothing to do with army service.

    So while I can't say that I particularly support the "official reason" behind the demonstration I strongly support what I see as the sub-text behind it which has nothing to do with army service, work, or leadership. The sub-text may not be acknowledged by (or appreciated by?) the leaders themselves - or at least not to some of the most vocal of them - but I believe it is the real issue, and that this alienation of such a large group of people will achieve nothing and actually set real progress back.

    That is why I attended.

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  29. I agree that the hareidi leadership have completely missed it on the subject of secular education and the army (along with a number of other things) but I believe changes on those two areas (at least) were happening by ordinary (hareidi) people voting with their feet.

    I think the politically motivated marginalization and demonization of the hareidim that has become so popular recently will actually stem that natural (and healthy) trend and result in a tightening of the ranks. I think it is disgraceful that this is happening in the Jewish State, and I am saddened when I see people I know whom I generally consider sensitive and thoughtful, reacting with knee-jerk comments like "let them go to America" or "there should be more funerals in Bnei Brak".

    Many hareidim whom I know personally and well, have (in their own way, or the way they were taught) dedicated the best years of their lives to God. Protesting how this has been belittled and ridiculed is to me what the demonstration was really about - nothing to do with army service.

    So while I can't say that I particularly support the "official reason" behind the demonstration I strongly support what I see as the sub-text behind it which has nothing to do with army service, work, or leadership. The sub-text may not be acknowledged by (or appreciated by?) the leaders themselves - or at least not to some of the most vocal of them - but I believe it is the real issue, and that this alienation of such a large group of people will achieve nothing and actually set real progress back.

    That is why I attended.

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  30. I'll just add that I don't understand how such a spiritually sensitive community has no problem showing complete disrespect for the streets of Jerusalem by leaving them littered with thousands of flyers and other trash. I saw 5 (Arab?) city workers cleaning up one small stretch of street and felt a tremendous sense of embarresment that such a thing could have happened in the name of Torah.

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  31. Protesting how this has been belittled and ridiculed is to me what the demonstration was really about

    But it hasn't been belittled and ridiculed, and more importantly, that is NOT what the demonstration was really about.

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  32. Another example of distorting Torah (halachah) in order to promote their agenda/narrative is the "Psak" given that to recite the bracha חכם הרזים (when one sees 600,000 jews in one place).

    when the numbers where not confirmed (and they still haven't) this should be a classic example of safek brachot lehakel.

    I have never seen charedim so flippant with shem hashem.

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  33. Yes, I have a post planned on that point.

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  34. This link is in Hebrew:

    http://danireshef.blogspot.co.il/2014/02/blog-post_10.html

    The thesis of the writer is that Yeshiva students have the capacity to contribute significantly to the army, since today the army is as much in need of people skilled in high-tech as it is for combat soldiers, and Yeshiva students are well suited to learn programing skills.

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  35. Maybe I should check my facts before saying anything, but I have the impression that the reaction of having such a demonstration was due to bochurim getting arrested for dodging army service. (I don't think if it was just over cutting funding to yeshivas, it would warrant such a response.)

    I think that arresting them was probably a mistake--it isn't difficult to turn those bochurim into martyrs, and say that "we're all ready to go to jail, rather than serve in the army".

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  36. The blessing of Chacham Arazim should be limited to seeing 600k. Thats the plain reading of the Gemara, as Ben Zoma was on the Temple Mount looking down at 600k people.
    As for the numbers, most of the press reported 300k, Haaretz reported 500k. Haredi news outlets reported 600k, and Yated Neeman today reported 800k. The Haredi politicians claim that the cel phone companies reported 450k cel phones in the area, so they are using that and estimate children. I doubt they can be believed (a simple press release from celcom, and orange would suffice). But even if so, I find it hard to count children (and perhaps even women may not be counted). The Gemara says that there should 600k different minds (though we may disagree, but it is likely that Hazal didn't count minds of women), children should not fit the criteria.

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  37. Brooklyn Refugee SheygitzMarch 4, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    I was in Jerusalem at the time of the rally. While the rally was underway I saw a group of charedi high school age students eating in a fast food restaurant.
    Does anyone really think that when these kids hit 18 they will then start thinking that charedi yeshiva students sitting and eating hamburgers in a restaurant in middle of the day - on a work day when most of their contemporaries have been returning to their army bases - is perhaps a chillul hashem? Will that thought cross their minds? are they being trained for that thought to cross their minds?

    Natan Slifkin responded to Jewish Observer's comments adequately. I will just state that the charedi dropout rate itself puts the lie to the claims that the army will cause charedim to abandon their lifestyles. Most charedi dropouts do so BEFORE they go to the army. They do so in the USA or UK where they are no subject to the IDF draft. Even if there is only ONE charedi dropout per year it renders the entire argument moot. Charedim have to learn that they can;t live on planet charedi. They live in God's world - that includes interacting with people that are different than you. and if you live in a country which has a draft, it means being subject to the military draft. Thank God the Jews have thir own country where they can serve in their own army - with kosher food, batei knesset on the base, and other religious goodies.
    Unlike my granfather who served in a foreign european army by force. or finish Jews who fought alongside the Nazis in the finish war against Russia.
    Rav Medan of Har Etzion once wrote that the biggest gift that the State of Israel gave to the Jews was that they no longer had to be impressed into foreign armies to fight foreign countries' wars (though sadly Israel has had to fight some superpower proxy wars) and to see Jews in an army fighting Jews in another army - as happened in WWII, WWI (on a great scale) and other wars throughout history.
    If the USA puts another mandatory draft in place which country do you think the charedim there will emigrate to?

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  38. Moshe Dick writes:
    It is a long time since I, a regular Jew, have been so upset and bothered by an action that I consider so beyond the pale that I am tempted to echo "Queen levine" to let those ingrate leave the country and go to the places they think are better. The hypocrisy and ingratitude that the chareidi tsibuur displayed is breath taking. For close to sventy years, they prospered and grew and now they spit in the face of those who made this possible. It is a vile expression of ingratude. Add to that the vitriol that the chareidi press spews on a daily basis and you have the making of a real crisis. Check some of the comments on other blogs and you will be shocked at the hatred that chareisim have for respectable Rabbonim but who happen to be dati-leumi. A true disgrace.
    Jonathan Green decries the "demonization' of chareidim.How about the demonization of other Jewish voices? The possuk in Ha'azinu "Shomanto,oviso ,kosiso' is so approprirate to the chareidi world todaymwith the consequences to come. They have sown the wind, they will reap the whirlwind.

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  39. BRS, they probably won't put up as much of a fight to over serving in the US military. (Artscroll published the autobiography of a WWII US soldier!) A very large part of this is opposition to Zionism and Israel, not to military service.

    Come to think, when push comes to shove, they'll probably join the IDF too.

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  40. Brooklyn Refugee SheygitzMarch 4, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    And there I barely finished and what did I find.,.
    http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/haredim-being-drafted-to-ukrainian-army/2014/03/04/

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  41. @Micha

    I've heard that sentiment expressed before, but it's simply not true at all. An intelligent person can learn Torah and can learn technology, but learning one does not necessarily improve your odds or give you skills that apply to the other.

    I mostly hear this idea when it comes to computer programming. The logic required for programming is more akin to math (Computer Science is often part of the Math(s) Department in universities). Anyone taking a critical look at Eruvin can easily discern that ChaZaL were able to pick apart arguments and find subtle nuances, but mathematicians they weren't.

    Programming takes a different mindset than understanding a Gemarah. Being able to do one does not imply an ability at the other.

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  42. "The government would be perfectly happy for the charedim to come up with their own army framework. The charedim aren't interested."

    Rabbi Slifkin, you are entitled to your own blog, but not your own facts.
    The facts are that every time the army promised to set up a Chareidi-friendly framework, or even a Dati-Leumi framework, it turned out to be empty promises. Cutting corners in halacha at every turn becomes the norm.

    Read the many testimonials routinely posted on the web.

    "No, the reason is that they are against secular education and prefer kollel to working."

    If chareidim are against secular education in principle, why are so many staunchly chareidi Beis Yaakov graduates so fully qualified in purely secular fields (like architecture, design, law, social work, special Ed, O.T. etc)?

    If Chareidim are against working and prefer kollel in principle, why are there so many popular courses given in safrus, kashrus, rabbonus, dayanus and other WORKING Torah occupations other than strictly learning kollels?

    The facts are very few adult chareidi men remain in FULL time kollel past the age where they can be enlisted. They get jobs in some form or another and are not adverse to working.

    I'm afraid you are simply making up stereotypes here-- examining Chareidi society with extremely jaundiced eyes.

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  43. The facts are that every time the army promised to set up a Chareidi-friendly framework, or even a Dati-Leumi framework, it turned out to be empty promises.

    Again - The government would be perfectly happy for the charedim to come up with their own army framework. The charedim aren't interested. What you wrote does not address this.

    And in any case, even if there were legitimate grievances with the army framework for charedim, this does not mean that they can simply exempt themselves from sharing the burden without being at all indebted to everyone else.

    If chareidim are against secular education in principle, why are so many staunchly chareidi Beis Yaakov graduates so fully qualified in purely secular fields

    Last I checked, there aren't too many male Beis Yaakov graduates.

    If Chareidim are against working and prefer kollel in principle, why are there so many popular courses given in safrus, kashrus, rabbonus, dayanus and other WORKING Torah occupations

    Relatively speaking, there aren't so many. And there are intended for people who absolutely cannot make it any longer in kollel. The ideal is to stay in kollel for as long as you can, and be supported by others.

    I'm afraid you are simply making up stereotypes here

    No, I was part of charedi society for many years, I live in largely charedi town, and I know exactly what I am talking about.

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  44. The thing that makes my blood boil is the following line which i have heard many, many times-- all over hebrew internet discussions on this topic but in person and on signs too:

    "Everywhere in the world Jews are free to learn Torah, why should it be outlawed in Israel?"

    First:
    "learning torah" is not something defined as "torah learned by boys aged 18-23". 15 year olds learn torah. 26 year olds learn torah. it amazes me how in every discussion on this issue everyone older than 23 is routinely ignored. "torah learning protects"-- yes, and (if so) that's why countless non-army-age men who can, should learn torah full time!

    Second:
    pretend "learning torah" is something defined as "torah learned by boys aged 18-23"

    "going to the army" does not equal "outlawing torah learned by boys aged 18-23"
    religious boys in the army learn. i assume particularly intense times can be an exception (although i've read enough accounts of a quick ten minute session of learning in tank on way to battle to suspect even then learning happens). it probably depends on the strength (religious and physical) of the person involved, but overall continuing to set aside some time for learning is encouraged by the hesder yeshivot.

    I'll admit that in the delusional universe where 18-23 are the only years of a person's life where their actions have merit, there will be a lot LESS torah learning.

    however,

    Third:
    It's really ridiculous I need to even say this, but again, I've seen this argument so many times that...
    NEEDING TO DO SOMETHING ELSE DOES NOT EQUAL OUTLAWING SOMETHING.
    if food isn't dropped off at your door a la the midbar and you need to go grocery shopping, is that "outlawing torah"? If the doctor prescribes you a regimen of injections to do once every two hours is that "outlawing torah"? if you get sent to prison and are required to make license plates for eight hours a day, has the prison "outlawed torah"?

    what is this nonsense?

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  45. This was the last straw for me. Haredim are now a minority religion, they aren't Jewish. They are heretics of the worst kinds. I wipe my hands of them and their antisemitism.

    Somebody said that computer programming is like math. As a computer programmer for over 15 years, the last time I did math was in APCalculus.
    I did no math in college, and never use math in programming. I use logic. Logic is not math.

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  46. Brooklyn Refugee SheygitzMarch 5, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    ""Everywhere in the world Jews are free to learn Torah, why should it be outlawed in Israel?"


    This statement shows the charedi leadership's cult-like and inverse Marxist propaganda at its worst.

    The Soviet leadership actually had people walking around saying that the West was decrepit and decadent and falling apart while the Soviet Union was a worker's paradise - i.e. they had people walking around saying things were just great, better than ever; when in reality it wasn't so great. The people who believed this and said this could often be excused as they simply had no way of knowing otherwise (unlike the "useful idiot" communist supporters in the West who did know otherwise).

    The charedi leadership has actually consinced people that a situation for the Jewish people that is as good as it's been in over 2,000 years is - in their mind and way of thinking - worse then it's ever been. They actually ahev their people walking around in a reality that is good - if not great - and saying that it's terrible. This is a recipe for a big collapse of their society...

    Today less Jews are raped, pillaged, murdered for being a Jew, pogromed, exiled, gassed, impressived into servitude, etc etc. - probably than ever before in history. When bad things happen to Jews we have a siveriegn State who can deal with it. The fact that on occassion highly politicized military leadership - such as the security services heads who appeared in the Gatekeepers - refused or delayed using the tools we have to help try and prevent these attacks is a separate issue. The fact is that the Jews have this collective ability to defned themselves.

    Furthermore there has NEVER been more active Torah learning, teching and studying, than as currently in the State of Israel. The budgets of the State that go to support Torah endeavors are well beyond what any other country gives - even calculated on a per capita basis (OK, so maybe the per capita allotment by the State per Jew in Sweden or Denmark to support the Gemeinshaft is higher...but they also pay that in higher taxes...). Definitely not the US. The single biggest donor to the Mirrer Yeshiva in Israel today is...drumroll...the State of Israel which gives over 50 million shekel annually to the yeshiva. Do you see a plaque on the wall honoring the State of Israel? Did the Yeshiva invite the Minister of Finance or the Economics Minister to their annual dinner as the guest of honor? No - in a sign of the middah of hakarat hatov which is very well developned there, they bochurim in the charedi world read propaganda depicting the Minister of Finance and the Economics Minister as SS soldiers burning sifrei torah in front of the Auschwitz gate.

    This type of propaganda will cause great cognitive dissonance in the charedi world and we can expect to see the dropout rate - as well as orthopraxy rate - increase exponetially within a generation.

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  47. "Again - The government would be perfectly happy for the charedim to come up with their own army framework. The charedim aren't interested."

    Please explain what "their own army framework" means. A parallel army with duplicate army, navy ad air force bases that have no female staff, only religious officers and even generals?
    That would be the only arrangement I would imagine as acceptable to Chareidim to serve in I never heard the army offer such a possibility. In fact I've read that the IDF is NOT willing to make such a parallel army structure exclusively for the religious.

    So what do you mean and where did you read about it?


    And you still can't stereotype chareidim as being against secular education if they let half their population become educated in secular fields and contribute enormously to the general Israeli society and the economy etc.

    My point was that you need to severely qualify your blanket statements about chareidim and chareidi society.

    ReplyDelete
  48. This started when you claimed that charedim would serve in the army if the government/army would show a genuine willingness to fully accept their religious standards and norms. That is nonsense. If it were true, then the charedim would make an effort to arrange for such a thing. They haven't tried.

    you still can't stereotype chareidim as being against secular education if they let half their population become educated in secular fields

    Fine, so I will say that they are against secular education for men. Happy?

    and contribute enormously to the general Israeli society and the economy etc.

    Let's not exaggerate. Beis Yaakov graduates are not contributing "enormously" to the society and economy.

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  49. But you claimed something else. You claimed (twice) that "the government would be perfectly happy for chareidim to come up with their ownarmy framework".

    Where is your evidence for this assertion? I have brought evidence against it.

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  50. "Let's not exaggerate. Beis Yaakov graduates are not contributing "enormously" to the society and economy."

    Well.....

    http://judaism.walla.co.il/?w=/2069/2723473

    ReplyDelete
  51. I Know Who You AreMarch 5, 2014 at 8:26 PM

    Jewish Observer, why are you harping on irrelevant minutiae, instead of dealing with the basic issues and the point of this post?

    ReplyDelete
  52. Nachum said...

    BRS, they probably won't put up as much of a fight to over serving in the US military. (Artscroll published the autobiography of a WWII US soldier!) A very large part of this is opposition to Zionism and Israel, not to military service.

    Come to think, when push comes to shove, they'll probably join the IDF too.
    March 4, 2014 at 5:02 PM

    You are bringing proof because on one frum USA soldier. You need a little more than that

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  53. Rabbi Slifkin,

    Because I have been slightly critical of one of your recent analyses regarding charedim and army service, I just wanted to say that, in general, I applaud your efforts in combatting a group of society that takes but refuses to give.

    To be slightly charitable to charedim, I would suggest that government programs often are taken for granted after a number of years ("entitlements") rather than being seen as kind gifts (the same problem exists in America where welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, etc. are now seen as something one is automatically "entitled" to).

    That's why (among other reasons) die-hard conservatives are against them. Howevever, this is only a "dan l'chaf zechus" argument. In reality, before one calls a government "evil" and "anti-Torah" one should use one's brain and realize how one is entitled to nothing. One should then be extremely grateful for what one does get and have the decency to either give back or say "no thank you" to future hand outs.

    ReplyDelete
  54. JO writes "They want an army, but they demand that it not be used as a cynical tool for breaking down the basic values of their community and that the government/army show a genuine willingness to fully accept their religious standards and norms"
    Having just completed three and a half years of service in the IDF, I feel a bit more qualified to weigh in on what service is like than the well-intentioned but painfully ignorant "Jewish Observer" (JO).
    Let me please refer you to an article I wrote years ago, that held true throughout my experience in the IDF. Where else will you find an organization that is willing to put itself into pretzels in order to accommodate a charedi lifestyle? To reorder and reorganize entire units to allow charedi soldiers workspaces without women? To sacrifice hours of work time for Teffila Betzibur, Shacharis Mincha and Maariv, and organize expert Maggidei Shiur for Daf Hayomi? To raise the kashrus standards of kitchens that service literally thousands of soldiers because of the more stringent needs of twenty or thirty? To organize whole days of Torah study with Gedolei Yisrael that ensure that the soldier maintain their identity with them? Even to organize special gender separated fun trips so that the charedi soldiers don't feel that they are losing out by not participating in the mixed-gender trips that the rest of the army goes on? I challenge you Mr. JO to find another organization that is willing to even consider making those kinds of accommodations. And you have the gall to call this "a cynical tool for breaking down the basic values of their community"?!? Shame on you for your ignorance, or worse for your tuning out what many have been saying for a long time - that the IDF is trying it's darndest to accommodate a stubborn and largely ungrateful segment of society.

    I expect to hear the retort "But what about all the stories we here in the news?!?" Well I would like to ask you when the last time the news reported that millions of citizens across the country arrived home safely last night. Is that newsworthy? You and I may think so, but the nature of modern media is to report on items that are sensational, not mundane. Are there places where rules aren't kept and orders are not followed? Of course! The IDF is an enormous organization, and there are places where things are not as organized as they should be. A frum soldier has plenty of recourse before turning to the media, which unfortunately is often not utilized. Every single unit that has Shachar soldiers in it has a representative of that branch of the army’s Shachar office. Then there is the Shachar office itself of each branch of the army. Then there is the central army Shachar office, which has a 24 hour hotline to deal with violations of the Shachar regulations. The army rabbinate that has a similar hotline. And the list goes on and on. A “a cynical tool for breaking down the basic values of their community"?!?
    JO wrote “The facts are that every time the army promised to set up a Chareidi-friendly framework, or even a Dati-Leumi framework, it turned out to be empty promises.” I just don’t know where you get your “facts” from. I think my first hand personal experiences trump your “facts”.

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  55. To Eli Julian:

    The following was posted on "that other website" in response to yours:

    It seems your positive experience comes from the initial launch of your program when the IDF was eager to attract chareidim, but as J.O. mentioned, the army just couldn't keep it up for the long-term.

    Do you contest these facts provided by Jonathan Rosenblum--someone who is very much in favor of Chareidi integration into the IDF?

    "Recent events have exacerbated chareidi fears of the IDF as an instrument of socialization. The uproar over the request of a handful of national religious soldiers to absent themselves from a women’s singing performance was widely perceived as an attempt to force national religious recruits to conform to majority cultural norms. The officers training candidates did not demand that the IDF only provide entertainment in accord with their religious norms, but rather that the IDF accommodate their beliefs, in a context with no conceivable implications for national defense.

    Matters only grew worse, when the chief rabbi of the Israel Air Force resigned over what he described as the IAF’s failure to adhere to various commitments he had made to chareidi recruits in its highly successful Shachar program. Those accommodations go to the heart of the IDF’s ability to voluntarily attract married chareidi men in their 20s."

    Read more: http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2012/06/26/advice-for-the-plesner-committee-minimize-confrontation/#ixzz2vERtjiku
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

    And this:

    "The IDF has shown little interest in religiously accommodating large numbers of chareidi recruits. At present, the number of young men from chareidi homes seeking to enlist is greater than the IDF’s ability to integrate them. The IDF has consistently resisted efforts to expand Nahal Haredi by adding new units, and is turning away potential recruits.

    Rabbi Yoel Schwartz, one of the founders of the Nahal Haredi, told HaModia last week that the IDF has proven unwilling or incapable of living up to commitments to chareidi recruits. For instance, a new elite frogmen unit for chareidi recruits had to be closed very shortly after opening because the IDF did not keep its promises. He also said that the level of kashrus in IDF kitchens is rapidly declining."

    Read more: http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2013/02/26/principle-or-pragmatism/#ixzz2vEUM5Hur
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

    ReplyDelete
  56. “It seems your positive experience comes from the initial launch of your program when the IDF was eager to attract chareidim, but as J.O. mentioned, the army just couldn't keep it up for the long-term.”
    For the full three and a half years that I served, I was stationed on the base in which the vast majority of Shachar soldiers received their training, both initially and in follow up training sessions. As such, I was in touch with hundreds and hundreds of soldiers over those years, all of whom reported similar experiences to that of mine. When there were exceptions it was almost always as a result of the soldier’s unwillingness to turn to the relevant authorities, in which case he has no one to blame but himself. Once again though, the vast vast majority of the hundreds of soldiers I was in contact with had satisfactory experiences similar to mine. Were these reported on by the media?
    I also can’t say for certain what goes on in Netzach – combat units are different than where I was. What I do know is that the rules are the same, and the organizational and monetary resources invested in maintaining those rules are a testimony to the army’s very good intentions, as opposed to the sinister plans attributed to it.
    “I don't think having a hotline for complaints is sufficient assurance. Who says a religious soldier's call to a hotline will be heeded in time--or heeded at all-- to prevent an imminent travesty of halacha?”
    As a mevakesh emes, I am sure you know that anyone can play the skeptic, but that doesn’t help get to the truth. “Who knows?”, “how can you conclusively prove?” et al are questions that may well emotionally undermine any argument applied to. Without any positive evidence to support a different conclusion though, you have not proven anything. Who knows if you and I are really Jewish? Who knows if the world has existed for more than five minutes? The fact is that I have had positive experiences with the hotline, where they intervened both on my behalf and on behalf of friends and acquaintances. They are granted very powerful authority, immediately side with the religious soldier and only afterwards start making inquiries as to the details of the complaint. So there you have it, positive evidence against your “who knows” claim.
    As for the story by the father, after interacting directly with him it was obvious that his son did not take advantage of the resources available to him. Army hotline numbers are published prominently in, among other places, the inside of every toilet stall, so the father did not do the army justice by publishing the story without following up on what happened afterwards.
    Will every story end happily? No, probably not. There are plenty of boys in yeshivas that fall through the cracks too. And, like I said before, modern media, Jonathan Rosenblum included, lives on sensationalism, not on the mundane everyday stories of successful integration. Simon and Garfunkel famously said “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” But there certainly is enough organizational, human and monetary resources invested by the army into ensuring that a charedi soldiers religious standards are not compromised that calling it “a cynical tool for breaking down the basic values of their community” is a distortion of the truth, and thus a travesty of halacha in its own rite.

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  57. Eli Julian: you are nothing more and nothing less than a ...... hero!
    I wish you only success in the future and am proud to be part of a nation that has people like you serving Hashem and his people.

    Thank you!

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  58. Eli Julian writes:

    "I also can’t say for certain what goes on in Netzach – combat units are different than where I was."

    In your testimonial on Cross-Currents, you revealed the following:

    "The program is intended to attract these men to get their job training through the army and then to serve in that professional capacity for some time.

    Shachar offers 26 different vocational training tracks. These jobs range from computer programming — the track I happen to be in — to electrical engineering, technical writing and others. There’s even a course for truck driving...

    ...In addition, Chol haMoed is always off, as well as arvei shabbosos and Yomim Tovim.
    Many of the tracks require the soldiers to be married. Moreover, those who are married, and indeed even most of the non-married soldiers, go home every night."


    Read more: http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2011/08/22/a-second-look-at-the-idf/#ixzz2vVnYh6ny
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

    If I understand your experience correctly, your three years of service in the IDF to shoulder an equal share of the national burden in the defense of the country was primarily fulfilled by attending a vocational school.

    You didn't face any combat.
    You were never in any real danger.
    You didn't have your career track interrupted.
    You didn't even have any disruption in your daily family life!

    I wonder if Rabbi Slifkin would consider you a hero, seeing how he vilifies the Chareidim's refusal to put themselves in danger, interrupt their careers, or disrupt their family life in defense of the country.

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  59. Jewish Observer, indeed you did not understand correctly. The first eight months of my service (during which time I wrote the article) were spent in the army's intensive training course. FYI, the training consisted of no small sacrifice on behalf of the participants. The course, which is located in Ramat Gan, ran from 8:40 in the morning until 7:30 at night. Married folks like myself barely saw our families during the course of the week, getting home tired and worn out after all those hours of course-work. But that aside, the remainder of my service after the eight month training period was spent as a computer programmer in the army's technology corps. Did I serve in combat? Did I face any real danger? No, like the other 70% of the army that serves in non-combat roles I did not. But raising that obfuscates the issue which was the focus of our discussion, namely whether the IDF is a cynical tool consciously devoted to secularizing Charedi youth. It would seem you feel the need to sidetrack the conversation and can no longer prove your point…

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  60. "It would seem you feel the need to sidetrack the conversation and can no longer prove your point… "

    Eli, this is all that the Maniacal Jewish Observer knows how to do.

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  61. "But raising that obfuscates the issue which was the focus of our discussion,"

    I was just following your lead when you raised Nachal Chareidi and the "who knows?" question about the hotline-- which I did NOT comment about here in this forum at all.
    I'm afraid it is you who is obfuscating and has not been able to directly respond to the issue I raised here.

    If you want to indiscriminately cut and paste your comments from elsewhere, be prepared to allow the conversation to wander to more uncomfortable topics.

    ReplyDelete

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