web analytics
March 4, 2015 / 13 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


Abusing Clout

When Chassidim make a request to a government official, he pays attention.
Women in the back of the bus.

Women in the back of the bus.
Photo Credit: Uri Lenz / Flash90

Last year the city’s Commission on Human Rights issued complaints to Chasidic stores in Williamsburg that demanded that Halachic norms of modesty be followed by a customer or they would refuse service. One can debate their right to refuse service to anyone they choose for any reason.  There is a legitimate argument to be made for opposing views on this issue. But one cannot debate the negative image this projects to the world about religious Jews discriminating against non Jews or non religious Jews.

They are pressing for public libraries in their neighborhoods to be open on Sundays at taxpayer expense – since they cannot be used on Shabbos. (Which raises the question about what kind of books public libraries carry that are appropriate for Chasidim anyway… but I digress.) Do they really need the library to be open on Sunday?

And then there is Metzitza B’Peh (MbP) – the practice of drawing out the blood of a circumcision wound orally by direct contact with the mouth. Based on the studies done by national health officials New York city’s health officials consider it a dangerous practice. They wanted to ban the practice. Chasidim believe that without MbP the circumcision would be invalid. Despite the fact that there is an abundance of opinion that this is not so… and that the requirement of Metzitza could be fulfilled in sterile ways.  Nonetheless, city health officials decided to allow the practice if it included a warning about the possible health consequences. That outraged Chasidim. Now – some mayoral candidates seeking their vote are in favor of rescinding that requirement.

The Times article puts this issue in a nutshell:

The remarkable rise in the population and the influence of Hasidim and other ultra-Orthodox Jews has provoked repeated conflicts over revered practices, forcing the city into a balancing act between not treading over constitutional lines by appearing to favor a particular religious group and providing an accommodation no more injurious than suspending parking rules for religious holidays.

The bottom line is that Chasidim now use a subtly intimidating approach on elected officials to get what they want. Which can easily generate resentment.

On the one hand something like requesting a female lifeguard for a beach frequented exclusively by Chasidic women does not seem like an unreasonable request. No one is harmed by it, and Chasidic women will benefit. But when taken in the aggregate, it makes for a lot of pressure on an elected government official. New requests no matter how innocuous – now seem like demands.

This enormous  power – far beyond their percentage of the general population – can easily feed all the anti-Semites of the world and their canards about Jews controlling the government.

I therefore believe that the Chasidic community should re-think when and how they use their clout. They ought to not seek to satisfy every religious whim they can think of. They should instead deliberate very carefully – weighing need against negative consequences before making a request. Because feeding the anti-Semitism that their clout might generate if used too frivolously could backfire on all of us.
Visit Emes Ve-Emunah .

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.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “Abusing Clout”

  1. Chaiya Eitan says:

    As long as they stay there….

  2. Concerned Jew says:

    The N.Y. Times is owned by the Sulzberger family, formerly reform Jews who converted to Episcopalian.
    The motto of the Times “All the News that’s Fit to Print” can be restated: If the News Fits Our Agenda, We Print It.
    Or as Jewish philanthropist Sam Zell remarked when he became publisher of the Chicago Tribune: When he read the N.Y. Times, he cannot distinguish between the Front page and the Editorial page.

Comments are closed.

Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
Current Top Story
PA/PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas addresses Central Committee convention in Ramallah.
Abbas Underscores PLO’s ’3 NO’s’ in Ramallah Rant
Latest Blogs Stories
Palestinian Authority Funded Terror

The Palestinian Authority, led by the “moderate” Abbas, and murderous terrorism are synonyms.

Obama Bedelia

Kerry…and Bide…and EVERY DEMOCRAT just happened to be unavailable to meet with Netanyahu.

Doug Goldstein

Why is it necessary to be accountable in business and in life? And how does it differ from guilt?

Americans have a more favorable view of Netanyahu than they do of Obama.

I’d rather you label me a concerned Jew, an Israeli. Someone who cares about the future of my nation

Goldberg chose to believe two impossible things before I had breakfast this morning.

The State Department claims Bibi revealing details of the bad Iranian deal to Americans would be a “betrayal”.

“Please stop shushing me” They kept shushing! Shushing seems to be how Leftists do Israeli politics!

Labor-Livni post-Zionist party’s campaign based on their claim they know how to keep the US happy

Mentioning genocide in the same breath as Susan Rice crosses a redline about Obama’s foreign policy

What are the ramifications of giving up your US citizenship? Would it effect your visiting the US?

Chasidim believe that Metzitza B’Peh (MbP) is an essential part of the circumcision ritual.

AMERICAN INTERFERENCE in ISRAELI ELECTIONS is IMMORAL and 1000% CHUTZPADIK!

Extremism from Jews is considered a “danger;” Arab extremism and anti-Jewish terror is “legitimate”

It was in fact Israel, not Palestinians or journalists, who began spreading the older photos, in order to generate credibility for the “slander” angle.

Next week we celebrate Purim, more relevant and illuminating in light of current events than ever

More Articles from Harry Maryles
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Mentioning genocide in the same breath as Susan Rice crosses a redline about Obama’s foreign policy

brit mila at French jewish community

Chasidim believe that Metzitza B’Peh (MbP) is an essential part of the circumcision ritual.

Lapid is not anti-Haredi; He’s pro-Haredi in his way, wanting them to flourish. and join society

If Bibi is in the US already Pres. Obama MUST meet with the leader of America’s closest ally!

Sherut Leumi is the national service many women choose in lieu of military service-

My understanding of Footsteps is that they have no religious – or anti-religious agenda.

A violent confrontation between 2 groups erupted at the Ponevezh Yeshiva; dozens injured

There should be more information about intimacy disseminated to young people before they get married

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/abusing-clout/2013/08/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: