web analytics
April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Eytan Kobre’

Of ‘Torah Haters’ and Noah Feldman

Monday, October 14th, 2013

There are two independent opinion pieces in Mishpacha Magazine that I feel compelled to comment upon. One is by Editor in Chief Moshe Grylak and the other is by Mishpacha’s resident pit-bull, Eytan Kobre.

Moshe Grylak’s editorial is actually a description of a wonderful experience he had spending time with Chilonim (secular Jews) in Israel. He noticed something that many of us already know which has been reported in the Jewish media many times. He noticed that Chilonim actually are not anti Torah. In fact it’s really incorrect to define Chilonim as irreligious. Many of them are fact religious albeit not fully observant. He noticed that when he went to the Kotel on fast day of Tzom Gedalia. What he saw surprised him. From the editorial:

At two a.m.on motzaei Tzom Gedaliah, I was at the Kosel. It was an amazing sight — the Kosel plaza was packed with people as if it were midday. So many had come to recite Selichos, you could hardly move. And the lion’s share of them weren’t even frum, according to our accepted definitions of the term — which brings the accepted definitions into question.

Indeed. This was quite an admission from someone who proudly represents the Charedi perspective. I give Rabbi Grylak credit for his intellectual honesty. This is not the first time I have seen it. I recall an earlier editorial where he praised the fact that the Kenesset now has more traditionally observant Jews than at any time in its history. Even secular parties, he noted, seek religious Jews as members of their party.

However there is one part of his editorial I found to be an unnecessary slam at fellow Jews- many of whom might be found among those he saw at the Kotel that day. And even more outrageously at fellow observant Jews. Here are the offending words in the opening paragraph:

While a gang of Torah-haters who are wielding power in the government (for the time being) have caused much pain and anxiety recently with their relentless persecution of chareidi Jewry…

Torah haters? Why does anyone who challenges the status quo of Charedi life have to be labeled a Torah hater?! Especially when some of those who are making this challenge are not only observant, but in one case a self described Charedi and in another a former Rosh Yeshiva. Rabbis Dov Lipman and Shai Piron are surely not Torah haters. How in good conscience can Rabbi Grylak imply that they are?

Perhaps he did not mean them but their mentor, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid. I realize that they blame him for all the pain the Charedi community in Israel is feeling. He is the one who designed the severe budget cuts that impacts on them more than any other segment of Israeli society – and he advocates the future conscription of Charedim into the military.

Even if Rabbi Grylak feels that Lapid is wrong, why assume that he is a Torah hater? Has he not repeatedly said that his goal is not to destroy them but to better their lives? That the Charedi world thinks that his ideas will destroy them doesn’t mean this is his goal. True – Lapid has made some outrageous comments about them. But can you blame him they constantly vilify him – as has Rabbi Grylak right here in his editorial?

Lapid should not be judged by a few offhand comments spoken in angry response to being constantly attacked as a Torah hater. He should be judged by what his stated goals are. Goals that I support… and that Charedim may themselves privately support – that their poverty should be alleviated by being able to go into the workforce better prepared to support their families.

Rabbi Grylak has every right to disagree with them. But he is so terribly wrong for vilifying them. Doesn’t he realize that the very people he praises in his op-ed are those who very likely voted for Yesh Atid… or at least support their goals with respect to Charedim? I think it would be prudent for him to re-think his vilification of themas Torah haters. For the most part they are not. (Although I suppose there may be a few exceptions.) He ought to instead consider their real motives and agree to disagree respectfully. You can certainly win more Chiloni friends and influence more Chiloni people by doing that than by vilifying the people they voted for.

Eytan Kobre’s Anti-Religious Rant

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Once again I am disappointed at the Charedi reaction to a possible draft in Israel. This time it is attorney Eytan Kobre, who reacted in his weekly Mishpacha Magazine column Text Messages. And that’s all it is. A reflexive knee-jerk reaction. It is not any kind of rational argument to make his case that Charedim in Israel should not be drafted.

Unless you consider “Because the Gedolim say so” to be a rational argument. This of course assumes that there is universal opposition by rabbinic leaders to a draft. That would be false – since Religious Zionist leaders are in favor of it. Nonetheless his rabbinic leadership assumes that a universal draft will change the Charedi paradigm of learning full time. Which they consider a Yehoreg V’Al Yaavor.

First, I do not concede that this is a foregone conclusion.  Secondly, I don’t think that is a bad thing if it is done the right way – a position I’ve explained many times in the past but beyond the scope of this post.

My problem with Mr. Kobre is his assumption that anyone who is in favor of a universal draft is out to ‘get him.’  By ‘him’, I mean Charedim.  What motivates those of us who favor equalizing the draft, he says, is our distinct mission to destroy Torah Judaism. That is how he frames the issue.

There is not a single word addressing the question about the lack of equal sacrifice by all. No explanation about why all Charedim should be exempt. For Mr. Kobre it is all about ‘Good versus evil.’ The good guys being the Charedim - and the bad guys are anyone who would dare to suggest that Charedim should not be given an automatic exemption.

What makes matters worse is he impugns religious Jews as the worst among his detractors. He prefers that the opposition were coming from a secular or even anti-religious sources. That would of course make it easier for him to claim that this is all about anti-religious secular government.

His rhetoric is quite angry. He  accuses his detractors of false piety and lying about their motives. As though the true motive was to destroy the Torah!

What prompted Eytan’s rant was an interview in the previous issue of Mishpacha of Aviad Friedman, a Charedi member of the Plesner committee – charged with coming up with a proposal for a universal draft. Which they did.

Mr. Friedman who seems to have impeccable Charedi credentials supported drafting as many Charedim into the IDF as possible.  For this he was vilified and called a liar – applying to him the tired cliche of ‘showing his true colors.’  As if it is impossible to be Charedi and support the draft.

What was his lie? He said that he didn’t think that there is any real hatred of Charedim in Israel.  Really? That’s a lie? Yes – there may be some hatred by a few on the radical left, but for the most part, there is no mass secular hatred. Only a sense that an element of fairness is missing in the way the secular Jew is treated versus the way the Charedi Jew is treated – especially  when it comes to army service.

I take strong issue with Mr. Kobre’s description of religious Jews as the enemy just because they support a universal draft. That is a canard!

Just to be clear I will restate my own position on this issue. Israel should apply its conscription law equally to all demographic segments. Exemptions and deferrals should be applied equally to everyone.  If a solider needs to be put in harms way – every able-bodied citizen – no matter what segment they belong to should be subject to the that possibility. No entire segment should get and an automatic exemption from danger.

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?”

At Least 50 Thousand Haredim Assemble to Decry Dangers of the Internet

Monday, May 21st, 2012

More than 50,000 ultra-Orthodox Jewish men packed Citi Field in Flushing, Queens, on Sunday, for the Asifa, a gathering decrying the dangers of the Internet. Organizers have also rented the nearby Arthur Ashe Stadium for the overflow crowd.

Several key leaders of the Haredi community in the U.S. attended the gathering, including Rabbi Matisyahu Chaim Salomon, the mashgiach ruchani (spiritual superviser) of the Beth Medrash Gavoha Yeshiva in Lakewood, New Jersey, Rabbi Eliezer Zusia, the Skulener Rebbe, Rav Shmuel Dishon, head of Mosdos Yad Yisroel Karlin Stolin, Rabbi Mordechai (Mottele) Hager, the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, Rabbi Zalmen Teitelbaum, the Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Leibish Leizer of Pshevorsk, Rabbi Ephraim Waxman, and Rabbi Leibish Leiser, the Pshevorsker Rebbe.

Critics have called the gathering an anti-Internet rally, but Eytan Kobre, a spokesman for the Ichud Hakehillos LeTohar Hamachane (communities united for the purity of our camp) said the group wants to teach families how to use technology responsibly.

“They’ll make decisions about how much technology they want to allow into their lives and what kind of safeguards they want to apply to that technology,” Kobre told WNYC Radio.

“There is a very significant downside to the Internet,” he added, according to Vos Iz Neias. “It does pose a challenge to us in various aspects of our lives.”

Kobre cited online pornography and gambling as well as the risk of social media undermining “our ability to pray uninterruptedly, to focus and to concentrate.”

Women were not allowed to attend the meeting, but the rally was broadcast live to women who gathered in schools and halls.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/at-least-50-thousand-haredim-assemble-to-decry-dangers-of-the-internet/2012/05/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: