Chillul Tefila Bifarhesia, as well as halachicly challenged verbiage and dress, are external manifestations of a critical lack of personal yiras shomayim which has lethal consequences.
“Pluralism” has a reassuring tone. “Live and let live,” people tell each other, and many religious groups – including Orthodox Jews – have flourished in America as a result.
But pluralism has a cost. Even as I am entitled to my space for worship, so is the other fellow, no matter the inconvenience to me. I must listen patiently as bells peal the hour, and expect he will not object to my siren on erev Shabbos. As I said, live and let live.
In countries where pluralism never took hold, clashes sometimes occur within a denomination as well as between religions. We watch with horror as Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims kill each other, and the history of Europe is largely defined by wars over differing expressions of Christianity.
For the most part, the civilized world has sought to move beyond this internecine conflict. Different Christian sects in Jerusalem are careful not to encroach on each other’s property and privilege, no matter the vehemence of a historical claim or intense the remembrance of an injustice.
Similarly, the authority invested in the Waqf by the Israeli government represents an earnest desire to calm religious tensions there.
But even as efforts are made to avoid interfering with the rights of Muslims and Christians in Israel, there seems to be increasing disregard for the rights of Orthodox Jews. Nor are we talking about tenuous claims that trace back into the distant past.
Practices, rights, and a modus vivendi that were unquestioned – almost inalienable – just forty years ago have suddenly been abrogated.
Consider first the status quo in Israel. A little over sixty years ago the creation of an independent state was far from certain. Britain’s historic love affair with Arab oil, Europe’s recent emergence from World War II, and Arab nationalism created a fiercely hostile atmosphere worldwide. A wealthy, politically well-connected and vocal Reform Jewish community fought the establishment of a Jewish state, as did the small but highly motivated Neturei Karta and its allies.
As expected, unequivocal support for a state came from Zionist groups. But it was only after being assured the religious status quo would be an integral part of an independent State of Israel that the support of Orthodox Jews (with some notable exceptions) was forthcoming. It was this broadened base of support that encouraged David Ben-Gurion to declare a state and influenced President Truman to recognize it.
It comes then with poor grace, effrontery even, to disrupt this status quo. Genuine democracy respects the rights of the minority and is true to its antecedents. Creating the Karta parking lot in Jerusalem paved over rights enshrined in the very founding of the State of Israel. Force majeur (greater force) creates reality, but it does not create right; no one ever imagined that Israel would evolve to the point where “might makes right.”
The same is true of the controversy surrounding the Intel plant in Jerusalem. The status quo of Jerusalem is clear: a factory such as Intel should not be operating on Shabbos. No argument regarding unemployment, no show of force by local police, can create a new morality that transcends the sanctity of Shabbos. Nor can anyone abrogate the validity of the status quo agreement that was adopted as a covenant with the ground, even according to those who do not recognize the supremacy of Torah.
Finally, a conversation with the Women of the Wall must take place in which we explain why we believe they have no claim to the moral high ground. Calmly, we would remind them that the Western Wall is a holy site whose traditions and rituals had been enshrined through more than 2,000 years of practice.
Surely all would agree that freedom of religion calls for preserving such prior practice and rules of order that trace to antiquity.
And to those who cherish the principle of pluralism, we would point out that while pluralism speaks to the right to practice as they wish, it does not grant them the right to practice where they wish. Not in America and not in Israel.
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France 2 and Enderlin must have their press accreditation revoked and be thrown out of Israel.
Slaughter is a routine, widespread practice among many Moslem families.
parently an affront to J Street’s worldview, the focus of which appears to be the creation of a Palestinian State, whether or not that will bring peace.
My mother, the eldest daughter of Reb Yaakov Kamenetsky, zt”l, was niftar last month at the age of 92. She took her last breath in her home in Efrat, Israel, next door to the shul that was my father’s for 24 years before his passing in 2007.
It comes down to his being famous.
Following the Boston Marathon bombing, one crucial point will likely remain overlooked. The most loathsome aspect of this or any other terror bombing attack on civilians will always lie in the inexpressibility of physical pain. While all decent people will abhor the idea of bombs expressly directed at the innocent, whether here or in other countries, none will ever be able to process the very deepest horrors of what has been inflicted.
It’s only natural to see increasing evidence of Jerusalem’s glorious Jewish past being unearthed, quite literally, under modern Israeli sovereignty. The new archaeological finds are also very timely – as the Arab onslaught attempting to detach Jerusalem from its Jewish roots gains steam, the facts on the ground, or “under” the ground, show quite otherwise.
The Talmud (Berachot 26b) says, “tefillot avot tiknum” – “prayer was established by the avot.” The Talmud then uses the following verse (Bereshit 19:27) to prove how Avraham established prayer: “Vayaskem Avraham baboker el hamakom asher amad sham et pnei Hashem” – “And Avraham got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood before God.”
Nearly 13 years ago, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak journeyed to Camp David to end the conflict with the Palestinians. With the approval of President Clinton, he offered Yasir Arafat an independent Palestinian state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza and in part of Jerusalem. Arafat said no.
The news that the Internal Revenue Service unfairly targeted conservative groups has brought renewed spotlight on a 2010 lawsuit filed by the pro-Israel group Z Street, which alleges it was also singled out by the IRS when applying for tax-exempt status.
In an editorial last week (“Circling the Wagons”) we noted the efforts by the administration and its supporters to dismiss allegations that the government’s spin on the Benghazi attack was designed to shield the president and that the IRS was improperly used to stifle opposition to Mr. Obama’s reelection.
As the controversies besetting the Obama administration continue to grow in number and intensity, the prospect that President Obama would seriously consider military action against Iran, should that country continue its drive to become a nuclear power, becomes more and more remote. So we welcome the current enhancement of sanctions against Iran on the federal and New York State levels.
To his parents’ friends, he was “Mrs. Greenberg’s disgrace,” but to sports fans he is one of the greatest – if not the greatest – Jewish baseball players of all time. Long before Sandy Koufax, Hank Greenberg excited Jewish sports fans with his prowess on the baseball diamond.
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