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The truth is that Orthodox Jews are all lumped together as having the same attitudes in life. So that for example a Chasidic Jew in Williamsburg will be treated the same way a Modern Orthodox Jew in Teaneck. They are both seen as Orthodox and their worldviews are more or less seen to be the same: decidedly anti-modern. But this viewpoint doesn't reflect the reality.
Fact is there is of course nothing wrong with raising standards of religious observance. As long as it is voluntary. But when schools start making new demands along those lines, they completely ignore individual choice. Being Machmir should be an individual choice and not forced upon anyone. These strictrures have nothing to do with basic Halacha. They have to do with image.
I recently saw a picture of the first Agudah convention taken almost 100 years ago. There were people in all manner of dress: light suits, dark suits, vests… some had hats, some caps, some just plain Kipot. Many clean shaven, few with peyos… All were there and all were the equivalent of the Charedi world we have today. This was the Agudah of Yesteryear.
If the draft is going to be equally applied, religious sensitivities must be guaranteed to all. This means that the infrastructure must be created and enforced so that Charedim will be able to practice Judaism as they best understand it. The bottom line for me is that no Charedi mother should ever be faced by a Chiloni or Religious Zionist mother asking the question, “Why did my son have to die in battle while your son was safe in a Yeshiva?”
As the new school year begins, we parents must gain insight into one of the common causes of youth at risk -- abuse and molestation. It is a highly sensitive issue generally deemed the domain of mental health professionals and community leaders, with a host of significant halachic ramifications, such as raglayim l’davor - meaning reasonable suspicion, which is the halachic threshold to permit reporting to authorities under the rules of mesira.
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