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April 30, 2016 / 22 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘chareidi’

London Ultra-Orthodox School to Shut Down for Being Too Jewish

Saturday, January 16th, 2016

The ultra-Orthodox Talmud Torah Tashbar school at 1A Rookwood Road in Stamford Hill, north London, with more than 200 students, was ordered by the Department of Education to shut down next month, after Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) inspectors had announced it was not meeting minimum standards.

Ofsted inspectors said that the school curriculum created “cultural and ethnic insularity because it is so narrow and almost exclusively rooted in the study of the Torah.” They added that they found the school to “severely restrict the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils,” not allowing them to develop “a wider, deeper understanding of different faiths, communities, cultures and lifestyles, including those of England.”

Among other things, the school was cited for not teaching in English “as a matter of religious principle.”

The British Humanist Association, which makes it its business to do away with faith-based schools, was delighted with the decision: “We’re glad that the Government has now moved to shut this particular school down… However, there are clearly many more out there just like it. The situation revealed by these reports is simply outrageous and those in government who have failed to act in the past ought to be ashamed of themselves for standing idly by while thousands of children have their childhoods stolen.”

A Department of Education spokesman said: “It is a criminal offense to operate an unregistered independent school. This school’s application for registration has been rejected and on 30 December it was informed of this decision. It has been told to close by 12 February.”

According to the Jewish Chronicle, the head of Ofsted Sir Michael Wilshaw has been leading the charge against illegal schools, urging tougher action from government after three unregistered Muslims schools were discovered in Birmingham in recent months.

The ultra-Orthodox school has the right to appeal the decision but has not yet done so.

Jewish Press News Briefs

A Poisonous Atmosphere

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Yesterday, one of my Charedi critics that lives in Israel accused me of ‘rank anti-Charedi hypocrisy’. That’s because I have been critical of how the Meisels seminary issue was being handled by a Beis Din in Israel and because I disagreed with the 5 American rabbinic leaders who came out in support of that Beis Din. I found it odd that I was so viciously attacked as blatantly anti Charedi and a hypocrite – since I was not siding with anti Charedi forces but with Charedi ones who had a different view.

I don’t know what it is. But the classic sentiment in the Gemarah that Avirah D’Ara Machkim (the very air in Israel makes one wise) seems to no longer be true. It is almost as if the reverse is true. I say this with a heavy heart because I know many American Charedim who live there. They are all lovely people. But their Hashkafos seems to have dramatically changed – and along with that, their tactics.

Dr. Moshe Shoshan who resides in Bet Shemesh emphasizes this for me in his guest post on Cross Currents. It is a heartfelt complaint about the lack of an appropriate response by Charedi leaders to the literal terror tactics by some of the more extreme and radical Charedi elements among their people. Among them were terror tactics aimed at Charedim that joined the IDF. There have been more than a few Charedi personalities in America that justifiably were outraged by this and said so. But in Israel, it is an entirely different story. From Cross Currents:

At the end of last month, an IDF officer in uniform, on leave from combat in Gaza, entered a shul in Ramat Beit Shemesh with his two young sons, to daven maariv. They were almost immediately expelled by a group of kizonim (radical charedim) who proceeded to surround them outside the shul preventing them from entering their car and then smashing its windshield.

Fortunately someone hearing the noise thought it was a terrorist attack and called the police, who soon arrived to rescue the soldier and his children. A few weeks before, a solider was attacked in broad daylight by a mob on a main street in Ramat Beit Shemesh. There were many bystanders but only a religious Zionist women who happened to be in the neighborhood came to the soldier’s defense.

That this happens in is and of itself a terrible commentary on the communal mindset of the Charedi world in Israel. But the lack of outrage by this community is the most troubling of all. As Dr. Shoshan notes:

To the best of my knowledge, until this most recent incident not a single leading Ashkenazi charedi Rabbi or spokesman has stood up to condemn this treasonous behavior. Indeed, while covering an earlier incident in Benei Brak, the respected Israeli journalist Razi Barkai reported on his radio show that his staff had contacted all of the many charedi public figures who appear frequently on his show to articulate the positions of the charedi community and their Gedolim.

But, with the exception of Aryeh Deri, they all refused to comment on the attack against the soldier. Following this most recent attack, Yaakov Litzman, a senior Knesset member from the Yahdut ha-Torah party, at long last issued a perfunctory condemnation of the attack to a local non-charedi newspaper.

More from Cross Currents:

Last year, Chaim Walder, perhaps the most beloved religious children’s author in Israel, wrote an editorial the Hebrew Yated Ne’eman, the official organ of R. Steinman’s faction of the Yahadut ha-Torah political party. Walder’s column unequivocally and unapologetically compared Yair Lapid to Adolph Hitler yemach shemo ve-zichro… (But) no public condemnation or criticism was forthcoming.

Harry Maryles

Jewish Entertainment

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Some Chareidi entertainers thrilled the crowd on Jerusalem’s Ben Yehuda Street with some Jewish entertainment.

 

Jewish Entertainment 2

Jewish Entertainment 4

Jewish Entertainment 3

 

Photo of the Day

First Day of School

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

It’s Rosh Chodesh Elul, and that means school has begun in the Chareidi school system.

Photo of the Day

UPDATED: Possible Kidnapping in Binyamin Area

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

8:19 pm The boy who was thought to be Ultra-Orthodox, turned out to be a Palestinian boy. The alert has been called off.

8:01 pm The Palestinian car has been spotted and stopped by the security chief of Alon, in Ayin Mavoah.

7:30 pm An Ultra-Orthodox boy who was hiking in the Alon area of the Binyamin was spotted in a Palestinian car. The car, a silver Kia, has fake license plates made of cardboard.

The boy was seen waving for help by residents of Alon.

IDF and security forces are currently searching for the vehicle and the boy.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

‘Judaism Rejects Zionism’

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

On a beautiful Sunday morning in May, I was driving south on the West Side Highway in New York City, heading towards the Israel Day Parade. As my car made it’s way along the mighty Hudson river, I marvelled on how awesome this city is. I saw myriads of buff joggers, happy barbecues taking place on well-tended Riverside park lawns, and of course, the imposing, surreal, gigantic skyscrapers that adorn this world-capital metropolis.

I travel often to New York to promote a stronger connection between North American Jews and Israel, and to encourage Aliyah, and every time I go I am struck by the thought: How is the Aliyah idea going to compete? This place just has too much of a magnetic pull and Jews have everything here – financial success, the best of world culture, freedom to worship, and all in relative safety, in the shadow of this great city.

While I was pondering this, I saw an airplane flying low over the Hudson River, at first thinking it was a WWII relic. But then I realized it was one of those propeller planes that tow a sign for people to read at the beach. I could make out the first letter was a “J” and so I guessed it was Christian advertising promoting you-know-who. “New York is still a non-Jewish town, and Jews will never feel fully comfortable here” I thought. But as the plane got closer, the sign said something else, something very Jewishy indeed.

It read: “Judaism rejects Zionism and the State of Israel -NK, USA.”

Yup, Neturei Karta rented a plane and flew an anti-Zionist sign from the Rockaways all the way up past Manhattan – all in an effort to push back against the Israel Day Parade. Now I felt totally dejected, because I realized how doubly hard it will be to detach Jews from New York. Not only is the city tantalizing, but there is a conscious effort being made to disconnect Jews from Israel.

You may argue that Neturei Karta is an extremist group and is unrepresentative of American Jewry, and that is true. But they are not the only ones mounting a distance-yourself-from-Israel campaign. On both ends of the Jewish political spectrum there are movements which seek to disengage Jews from Israel.

For some in the Progressive movement it has been in vogue to see Israel as immoral, repressive, racist, as an apartheid state, and even equivalent to the Nazi regime. In a recent article featured on Tikkun Magazine’s website, reprinted from Haaretz, the writer asserts:

“The practice of denying the Palestinians their basic civil rights in the occupied territories under the army’s colonial regime – exemplified by the scandalous policy of administrative detentions and the disappearing of people in Israeli prisons for years because of their opposition to repression and humiliation – is frighteningly similar to the persecution practiced by the dark regimes of the 20th century against their opponents.”

These Progressives may believe they are helping Israel through their criticism, but the real effect is that Jews who come in contact with them are distanced from Israel. Israel is decidedly not their country because it does not meet their progressive Jewish moral standards, or in other words: their Judaism rejects Zionism. “Forget it man, Israel is a mess,” says the liberal-minded Jewish student on campus.

The ultra-Orthodox Chariedim may come from the polar opposite world view, but they too have a Jewish moral reason to get some distance from Israel: Israel is not religious enough, not Torah enough. According to this doctrine Israel was built as a secular State by those antagonistic to Judaism and today is still run by those antagonistic to Judaism. The coercive secularism of Zionism is at the root of the real Israel, and the advent of Yair Lapid only prove that nothing has changed.

Hamodia, the self-described, “Daily Newspaper of Torah Jewry,” had this as the opening line of a recent article: “Secular politicians in Israel — not all of them, but those who are leading the campaign for an ‘equal sharing of the defense burden’ — want to deal the chareidim a crushing defeat.”

How ironic. Both of these Jewish groups could see Israel in a totally different light if they only chose to.

Yishai Fleisher

Stop Deriding Black Hatters!

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

One of my many goals in life as a Jew is to contribute to the unity of the Jewish people. All Jews share the heritage of the Torah which is what defines us as Jews. That heritage belongs to all of us as was so eloquently stated by newly elected Knesset member Ruth Calderon when speaking about her love of the Talmud. For those who choose not to follow all – or even any Halacha they are nevertheless fully Jewish – af al pi she chotah, Yisroel hu (even though he sinned, he is still a Jew).

Among those of us who are observant – unity should be natural. There should be a very strong common bond no matter what our differing hashkafos are. I often say that what unites us is far greater than what divides us. We are all shomer Shabbos and Yom Tov. We all keep Kosher. And we all eat matzah and do not eat hametz on Pesach.

But if one were to look at the enmity between religious Jews of differing hashkafos one would think we live on different planets the residents of which are enemy alien creatures. Unity is the furthest thing from our minds.

Which brings me to a very poignant article by Yael Farzan published yesterday in The Observer – Yeshiva University’s student newspaper. Let me say at the outset that I agree with her. She laments the fact that there is so much bias against the “Black Hat” (Haredi) community by members of her own Modern Orthodox community.

What precipitated her article is an experience she had on a recent Friday night. During a conversation with a group of friends someone slipped a derogatory comment about Haredim that generated derisive laughter from the other members of the group. She cringed!

I for one am happy to see a natural reflex like that from a Modern Orthodox Jew. It shows me that there are people who indeed believe that what unites us is greater than what divides us. The laughter from others in her group is unfortunately a more common reaction. If not overtly then covertly. This is nothing but pure prejudice for no reason. Laughter is not criticism. It is a form of expressing one’s feeling of superiority over others. And it shows an attitude that is so ingrained that no one there – other than the author of this article – gave it a second thought. It is just a given – natural part of their worldview to look down at the Haredi world.

This is wrong. It is as biased as is being anti-black. Which as Ms. Farzan points out is the furthest thing from a Modern Orthodox Jew’s worldview. The typical Modern Orthodox Jew would be appalled (rightly so) if someone used a racial epithet against a black person. If a crude racist joke were made there would very likely be no laughter – but righteous indignation. As there should be.

But when it comes to one of our own, there is no such thing. Laughter is the appropriate response (unfortunately) to an anti-Haredi or anti-Hasid joke.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being Haredi or Hasidic. We can disagree with them on hashkafic issues or be critical of some of their choices. But we must never deride them or think less of them as human beings or Jews just because of hashkafic differences.

I criticize the Haredi and Hasdic world all the time. But it is not a criticism of their lifestyles or their Hashkafos. Even as I believe that my worldview is the correct one, I concede that there are others who see things differently than I do… seeing their own worldview as the correct one. In the spirit of “elu v’elu” (“these and those”) we should just agree to disagree and respect each other’s views and lifestyles as long as they do not impinge on the rights of others.

So if a Haredi has a large family, or wears a black hat, or sees the goal of Jewry expressed only in terms of Torah study, or does not see any value in the study of mada (secular studies), or even chooses to live his life in isolation, sheltered from all outside influences – that is his right. It should not detract from the sense of unity that observant Jews have. We are all believers in the Torah and the obligation to follow Halacha. And we all fail sometimes in those goals, whether it is bein adam l’makom (between man and God) or bein adam l’havero (between man and his fellow). Our commonality should supersede any differences between us. We should respect those differences even as we disagree with them.

Anyone of us who therefore smirks at derogatory Haredi or Hasidic comment or laughs at a derisive joke ought to be ashamed of themselves.

The only legitimate criticism of anyone should be in behavior that is a hilul HaShem (desecration of God’s name). It doesn’t matter what the hashkafa of that person is. Even if we speculate – as I sometimes do – about the reasons for some bad behavior stemming from what is perceived as a flaw in the way some hashkafos are carried out – that does not mean that an entire group should be looked down upon or that the entire hashkafa is wrong. Criticism should be looked at as a means of trying to rectify a flaw, not as a put-down of the entire group.

To the extent that some of my more critical posts generate comments that are sarcastic and contemptuous toward the entirety of Haredim or Hasidim I apologize. It has never been my intent to do that. My intent is to improve, not to deride. And yet some of those posts bring out the worst in us.

I should add that is not a one way street. The behavior of many Haredim and Hasidim towards Modern Orthodox Jews is just as bad. The exact same essay in The Observer could have been written about a group of Haredim in the ‘back of the Beis HaMedrash mocking Modern Orthodox Jews. The things being pointed to are different. As are the reasons for their sense of superiority. But the attitude is the same. And my critique would be exactly the same.

But I fault Modern Orthodox Jews more than I do Haredim. Not because our jokes are meaner. I have heard equally scornful comments from both groups about the other – albeit in different ways. But as Ms. Farzan points out – Modern Orthodox Jews are supposed to be the open minded ones. The tolerant ones. The ones who try and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. It’s time we acted like that about our own.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Harry Maryles

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/stop-deriding-black-hatters/2013/05/01/

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