Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event
Once again, haredi Jews worldwide were shamed and disgraced by association due to the actions of a few violent criminals.
Two weeks ago in Beit Shemesh, according to reports in Israeli papers, a group of five haredi young men assaulted a woman for refusing to move to the back of a bus whose front seats were reserved exclusively for men. A male soldier seated next to the woman was also assaulted.
When police arrived to arrest the individuals, dozens of other haredi men attacked the officers and punctured the tires of a police car, according to the newspaper reports.
This was the third high-profile incident of brutal violence committed by haredi men on buses in Eretz Yisrael in less than a year. (Editor’s note: see op-ed below by one of the victims.) It represents a colossal desecration of Hashem’s name, especially since the criminals who committed this despicable act claim that their violent actions represent Torah values. Nothing could be farther from the truth. They disgrace our holy Torah and bring shame to all of us.
Two weeks ago, the night the incident occurred, I prepared this column for publication in The Jewish Press. The next morning, I decided not to submit it, as I was reluctant to add to the desecration of Hashem’s name that occurred when the incident was reported in the secular Israeli press.
But last Friday, in an otherwise generally positive New York Times article on haredi purchasing habits, the incident was described for potentially millions of readers. The writer characterized Beit Shemesh as “a modern, attractive town of 73,000 people” and continued:
There is a more secular part, with a large mall, and an ultra-Orthodox district, Ramat Beit Shemesh, which is divided into two. Bet, or B, is very strict, with 15,700 people. Aleph, or A, up the hill, is somewhat more flexible and contains 17,100 people, including a growing number of North American and European Jews who wanted to join an ultra-Orthodox community in Israel.
Though the sections look similar, there are more wall posters and angry graffiti in B, and streets are quieter, with fewer women visible. One spray-painted warning reads: “Going here you must be appropriately attired. Modest attire only.”
The Egged bus company has special routes for the ultra-Orthodox, so that men and women are segregated, sometimes in separate buses. But there have been riots in Ramat Beit Shemesh B over certain bus routes, with graffiti comparing the company and the police to Nazis and calling Israel “the regime of the apostates,” rejecting the government as nonreligious.
On Oct. 21, five ultra-Orthodox Jews assaulted a woman and an Israeli soldier on a bus bound for Beit Shemesh. The men demanded that the woman sit in the back of the bus; when she refused and asked the soldier to sit next to her, they beat them both. When the police came, dozens of ultra-Orthodox men attacked them while the assailants escaped.
Later in the article, there was talk of the tensions between the two ultra-Orthodox communities, and the harrowing experience of Ilan Shmueli, 35, who runs American Pizza in Beit Shemesh A, was described:
He opened in the stricter B in August 2005, based on his work in a Deal, N.J., pizzeria. After six months, he said, “the problems started – they began to throw things at us: tomatoes from the market, hot oil, gasoline.” Some ultra-Orthodox from B were customers, but “the Hasidim, who were a bit nuts” started demonstrations, which became violent. His sin was to sit men and women in the same restaurant. “I went to their rabbi and I said, ‘Look, it’s like the war of Gog and Magog,’” Mr. Shmueli said. “And he said, ‘You might end up dead.’”
He closed at a big loss, then reopened in A last December with his father’s help. “Lots of very pleasant ultra-Orthodox people come in,” he said, “especially new American immigrants.”
I believe the overwhelming majority of haredi Jews feel as I do – disgraced and shamed – when these events occur. We also feel frustrated, as there is little we can do to remove this collective stain from our shirts.
But there is much we can do to distance ourselves from these thugs, to teach our children right from wrong, and, l’man Hashem, to start protecting our women and children.
About the Author: Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is founder and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam and founder and director of Agudath Israel's Project Y.E.S.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
The bad news is that ISIS and Al Qaeda are on the Syrian Golan. The good news is that every terrorist in Syria is killing each other.
The congregants, Ethiopians spanning generations, were beaming with joy and pride.
The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip nine years ago did not enhance Israel’s security.
In 19th century entire ancient Jewish communities fled Palestine to escape brutal Muslim authorities
Responsibility lies with both the UN and Hamas, and better commitments should have been demanded from both parties in the ceasefire.
But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.
If this is how we play the game, we will lose. By that I mean we will lose everything.
Reportedly, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have formed a bloc that seeks to counter Islamist influence in the Middle East.
One wonders how the IDF could be expected to so quickly determine the facts.
While there is no formula that will work for everyone, there are some strategies that if followed carefully and consistently can help our children – and us – gain the most from the upcoming school year.
We risk our lives to help those who do what they can to kill to our people .
Twain grasped amazingly well the pulse of the Jewish people.
Those of us familiar with the do’s and don’ts of accepted practice in the mental health profession saw similar blaring warning lights in our minds, as should have occurred when the facts were made public regarding the accusations against Nehemia Weberman. This case may very well be our community’s most important abuse trial during our lifetimes. It is imperative that we have a huge turnout in support of the victim, a courageous young lady who, may she be gezunt andge’bentched, is determined to see this through to the end so others won’t suffer like she did.
These lines are written in loving memory of our dear father, Reb Shlomo Zev ben Reb Baruch Yehudah Nutovic, a”h, whose first yahrzeit is 7 Menachem Av. May the positive lessons learned from this essay be a zechus for his neshamah.
All responsible leaders in our community have roundly condemned the recent violence in Beit Shemesh and Meah Shearim.
A surefire way to gauge the generation in which a person was raised is to have him or her fill in the following sentence: Where were you when ?”
Baby Boomers would ask, “When President Kennedy was shot?” Thirtysomethings would respond, “When the space shuttle exploded?” Today’s teenagers would reply, “On 9/11?”
One week ago on my website I announced my intention to attend the next court appearance of a man who was arrested last year and is now standing trial on 10 felony charges of child abuse.
Dear Rabbi Horowitz:
We were taken aback when our 18-year-old son just called us from Eretz Yisrael (we live in Europe) and told us that he was coming home and wants to immediately go to work. He said that he is wasting his time in yeshiva, and just can’t take it anymore. He said that he will “run away from home” if we don’t allow him to go to work.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/you-might-end-up-dead/2007/11/07/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: