Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A Letter to my Charedi Co-Residents

Dear Charedi Co-Resident of Beit Shemesh,

No doubt you are deeply upset about the victory of Dr. Aliza Bloch over Moshe Abutbul in the elections. I remember what it's like to suffer the disappointment of one's candidate losing, in two elections. It's painful, and you have my sympathies. Fortunately, I have some good news to share with you, which should improve your mood.

You were told by the rabbonim to vote for Abutbul, because he would work for the benefit of the charedi community. The implication - often explicitly stated - was that Aliza Bloch would be working for the benefit of the non-charedi community, and against the interests of the charedi community. But that's not what she plans to do. Contrary to what you've been told, her desire is to work for the benefit of everyone.

Now, you're probably thinking, Why should I believe that? Well, first of all, you can listen to what she's actually been saying all along - and not in order to get charedi votes. You can learn about how in general, the approach of the dati-leumi community is to focus on the larger Jewish community, not just their own community.

Furthermore, you'll see how much paranoia and baseless fearmongering has been spread in order to avoid losing political power. They said that Aliza Bloch will have buses running on Shabbos and treif food being sold - you'll see that that won't happen. They said that Aliza Bloch will "destroy Torah" - I don't even know what that was supposed to mean, but I can assure you that she won't be destroying anything. I've seen people claim that when Aliza spoke about tearing down the mechitzot, this shows that she means to remove the mechitzos between men and women in shul! Actually, she was (very obviously) speaking about removing the walls of division between different sectors of society, and the fact that some people think otherwise speaks volumes about the ridiculous paranoia that the charedi political and rabbinic leadership created around her.

There's one fear that you might have which I can't help you with. If you fear that under Bloch's leadership, Beit Shemesh will slow down or cease its transformation into a primarily or solely charedi city, then your fears are probably correct. Still, you might find that it's not so terrible to share your city with Jews of other religious ideologies. You may find that it enables the city to prosper and improve in all kinds of ways.

So, relax. Think about all the thousands of charedim who voted for Aliza Bloch - they are intelligent people who did so for good reasons. Have some bitachon, and look with an open mind at how the city develops. Who knows, maybe in just under five years' time, when the askonim start with the next political campaign for mayor, you'll recall how off-base they were with their claims about this one.


  1. The person you claim to be talking to, who believes the rhetoric about buses on Shabbos, but also reads your blog - I imagine you probably couldn't make a minyan of such people. But I guess maybe I'd be surprised.
    But I'm in the "let's wait and see if Bloch keeps her promises before getting too excited" camp.

  2. Can someone explain to me how municipal governance works in Israel? I understand there's a party system in municipal government -- how many City Councillors would a city like Beit Shemesh have? What powers does the mayor have, beyond what a councillor would have?

    Besides the usual stuff like zoning and garbage/roads/sewers etc., what is the city government responsible for?

    Does the national government ever step in to over-ride municipal government decisions?

  3. No need to worry. Dr. Bloch is going to bend over backwards to keep the charedim happy. Politicians care about one thing - getting re elected. If she wants to be re elected - she best keep the charedim happy. She will always get the non charedi vote either way.

  4. Two comments.
    1. Unfortunately many charedim simply dont view non-charedim as religious as was the case with Aliza Bloch. If you arent charedi then youre not frum and not wanted. Therefore opening up the city to more non-charedim is a threat to charedi nature of the city and may be considered a threat to Torah.

    2. Removing the tznius signs and graffiti from certain neighborhoods will be perceived as an attack on ("True") Torah Judaism and will be met with wide-scale protests. They will see it as Bloch being madlik aish in the center of their Torah communities. To many of them (and i know this personally after being verbally abused for removing graffiti) the tznius graffiti is the "beauty of the neighborhood".

    So either way you look at it, if you arent doing things their way you are a threat to Toyrah!

  5. Re: "I've seen people claim that when Aliza spoke about tearing down the mechitzot...the fact that some people think otherwise..."

    That's not really true. You've seen one person, in a comment on a different blog, make that mistake. Not "people claim" or "some people think."

    You say that this "speaks volumes about the ridiculous paranoia that the charedi political and rabbinic leadership created around her." Does a comment on a blog, made by one individual, really speak volumes about anything?

    This is, as a certain President would say, fake news.

  6. gotta say, I'm an aliza supporter and the patronizing tone of this letter still made me bristle, can't imagine what reading it as an abutbol supporter would be like...

  7. I always wondered who were those people who believed politician's promises.

  8. "They said that Aliza Bloch will have buses running on Shabbos and treif food being sold - you'll see that that won't happen." Here's a difficult question that I appropriated from elsewhere: so would the secular residents of the city be justified in viewing Dr. Bloch in the same way that you viewed Abutbol.

  9. I think this change is minor compared to the political changes that are about to happen on the charedi landscape.


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