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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
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A World Untouched by Civilization

The way of Meah Shearim is the way of the Mafia. Not civilization.
Machane Yehuda

Machane Yehuda
Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

These people are so isolated from the rest of the world that they have no clue about sharing it with others. They see the world only through their own eyes. If they are going to venture out into the world, they are going to try and impose their ways on it so that their sensibilities will not be assaulted.

Modesty is a very important trait of the Jewish people. We would all do well to be modest in all our ways, including the way we dress. But that does not mean we impose our desire for modesty on others. Certainly not through intimidation. That is not the way of a Jew. It is the way of the uncivilized. That is what these people have missed out on by being so isolated. Treating others with dignity. The way of Meah Shearim is the way of the Mafia. Not civilization.

We all live in a world with many different people, cultures, and values. Civilization teaches us to get along with each other. Even when we don’t agree. Even if immodesty dressed. You do not tell people to cover up in public when their manner of dress is modest by most societal standards. It is insulting and counter-productive. And it makes an enemy of a fellow Jew.

Last year there was a counter demonstration by women who were constantly being verbally assaulted by people like this in the streets of Jerusalem. After one of them finally got fed up with it and organized a protest. Women who sympathized with her joined her in dressing provocatively in the most immodest of ways and paraded themselves through the streets of Jerusalem. That too isn’t right. But, I can’t say that I blame them. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen next in Machane Yehuda.

Visit the Emes Ve-Emunah blog.

About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.


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6 Responses to “A World Untouched by Civilization”

  1. Elise Ronan says:

    The obnoxiousness of the cheredi is nothing new…20 years ago walking past the diamond district in NYC wearing long sleeves but a miniskirt I was spit on by a cheredi man. Their intolerance is so very un-Jewish and why so many of our young want nothing to do with them.

  2. Muriel Coudurier-Curveur says:

    They should watch out. There is an article about an Iranian girl who beat up a cleric when he told her to coverr u. One day Jewish women may also do this. Haredi should shun sciences: it would teach them that, for each action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. They want respect? Well, then, they need to show it to others too.

  3. Muriel Coudurier-Curveur says:

    sorry: a few typos. I meant to say that they should NOT shun science

  4. I was based in the Shneller base in the heart of Geula during my service with the IDF. It was the first time I ever had contact with Hassidim. I got to know some of them during my two years in their neighborhood. They have a special place in my heart. I would never dream of offending them by wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt while walking through their neighborhood. It saddens me to see that the only contact some secular Israelis have with them now is negative.

  5. Liad Bar-el says:

    “If I recall correctly it is not far from Meah Shearim.”.
    About one mile apart from each other. Not close, IMO.

    “Meah Shearim residents shop there.”.
    Some do, many don’t. The Bucharine shuk is closer to Meah Shearim.

    “Rabbi Aaron Soloveichik from whom I received my rabbinic ordination.”.
    IMO, you should have passed this article of yours before Rav Soloveichik before publishing it for he would never have stated “The way of Meah Shearim is the way of the Mafia. Not civilization.”

  6. Liad Bar-el says:

    During the time of “the spies” who denigrated the Holy Land of Milk and Honey (Israel) there were no Yeshivot, IDF, EL AL, Israeli Government, etc all of which we at this time of Jewish history, we are to be thanking HaShem for; yet, Harry Maryles and YNet chose to continue the sin of the spies. Abraham taught Ishmael, Isaac taught Esau, Rabbi Aaron Soloveichik taught Harry Maryles … all “leftists”.

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