Rabbi Adlerstein then lists several examples of how the State of Israel is trying to accommodate Charedi men and women ‘who wish to find ways to enlarge their potential for parnasah, as well as make a contribution to the State (besides that of their avodas Hashem), be it in the military or in National Service’.
It should be clear to any fair minded individual who looks at this objectively that the enemy is not the State of Israel, Nor is Education Minister, Rav Shai Piron, or even Yair Lapid. The enemy is something as simple as daylight. The rabbinic leadership is out of touch with the real world. They suffer from a myopia that focuses only internally. And they seem to have a paranoia about anyone outside their community that differs from them – as out to get them!
Their representatives in the Kenesset just salute and ask them how high up the flagpole they need to go. The typical Charedi in the system is indoctrinated never to question the wisdom of their rabbinic leaders! And the American Charedi rabbinic leaders just rubber-stamp everything coming out of their counterparts in Israel.
The fact is that there are exceptions that do succeed – as Rabbi Adlerstein notes. But there are far more that don’t in a community that is perpetually growing exponentially with each generation.
So here’s the thing. I don’t think there can be a scintilla of doubt about the need for a core secular curriculum. I have presented many arguments for that in the past, including the one made by Dr. Sukenik.
Rabbi Adlerstein is right. There are some politicians that might be called Reshaim. But it is also true that for the most part, it is not government policy. The opposite is true. And I include Yair Lapid in this category.
I think Lapid’s address to Charedi students at Kiryat Ono last year is illustrative of that. He realized that Charedim ‘have won’ and concedes that not only do they have something to offer, but that the secular world would do well to learn some of the same Limudei Kodesh that Charedim do. All he wants to do is bring Charedim into the mainstream of Israeli society. NOT to assimilate them, but to make them more productive and contributory.
But Charedim see red and characterize him as desirous of ripping them out of the womb of Torah and throwing them to the ‘wolves’ of society’s negative influences in order to disabuse them of their religious ways. Now Lapid might think that it would be a good thing if they did that, I don’t know. But I think he realizes that this is not going to happen and that it is not his primary goal in any case. What he wants most if for them to contribute more. If they did that and remained Charedi, he would probably be thrilled, despite some of the rhetoric he might have said to the contrary in response to being so strongly vilified by the right.
If Charedi leadership would stop vilifying him, Rav Piron, and Rabbi Lipman, I think it would go a long way towards the kind of educational compromise that would benefit everyone. But that would take some common sense. And as I have said many times, there isn’t too much of that floating around these days.
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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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