He goes on to explain why such people exist. I agree that it is in part the fault of the secular education system which is woefully lacking if – as he says – the typical teenager thinks that Moshe Rabbenu and Moshe ben Maimon (the Rambam) are one and the same person.
Where I part company with Rabbi Feldman here is that a religious Jew should have compassion for fellow human beings. They know about the Holocaust. They are not disrespecting an ancient tradition that they have little if any knowledge of. Ignorance may not be an excuse for secular Jews to ignore Tisha B’Av. But the willful indifference – which this tiny minority of Haredim do when they have picnics on days where the rest of the country mourns is much worse. They are salting fresh wounds.
And just like Rabbi Feldman can justifiably lay some of the blame for secular ignorance about Tisha B’Av or Yom Kipur at the door of the secular educational system, so too should he put the blame for those Haredim whose indifference to the suffering of people who lost loved ones in the Holocaust at the door of Haredi education.
In fact I suggest that the willful and constant condemnations of Israel’s founders and leaders does far more damage to the fabric of Judaism than the absence of religious education in the secular educational system. Not knowing something at least leaves you with a Tabula Raza – a blank slate. A blank slate can learn in unbiased ways. But when one is indoctrinated with hatred – it is much more difficult to unlearn that hatred and becomes sensitive to the feelings of those you hate.
Yes, I know that hate goes both ways. But hate – breeds hate. Besides, the last election in Israel shows very clearly that secular Jews do not really hate religious Jews. The record number of kipa-wearing Jews in the Knesset surely shows that.
I think if Rabbi Feldman would step back; look at two communities objectively and see what I see, he will have a change of heart.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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