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November 21, 2014 / 28 Heshvan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘hamodia’

Rhetoric that Makes their Views Difficult to Respect

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

I could not believe what I was reading. Not that I haven’t heard similar rhetoric before. But somehow this time it got to me more than others. It made me angry!

There was apparently a meeting that took place in Israel prior to the big prayer rally today about drafting Charedim by leaders of all Charedi factions. Rabbinic leaders from all segments of Charedi Jewry in Israel attended. Including those who are at extreme odds with each other about tactics. Differences that were so great that followers of one side resorted to violence against a revered rabbinic leader on the opposing side.

It is extremely difficult for me to understand how any thinking Jew, let alone people who are seen as the greatest leaders of our time by so many… could say the kind of vile and untrue things they have said about those who have been trying to make the draft system a fair one. It is difficult for me to retain my respect for people who say these kinds of things. From Hamodia:

It is not a time to desist, when those from among the government in Eretz Yisrael, directed by the prime minister, rose to rebel against Malchus Shamayim, and intend, R”l, to pass laws uprooting Torah and to impose criminal sanctions on those who are Torasam umnasam, to the extent that they will be thrown into prison.

We fear the terrible chillul Hashem, and the elbonah shel Torah, that this involves. We fear the result and are pained by the continuing harassment directed at the Torah world and the constant efforts to place obstacles before its every step.

How can anyone with a say such a thing with a clear conscience? Let alone rabbinic leaders. Is this not just a wee bit of an exaggeration? Uprooting the Torah? Really? I keep hearing things like this and it gets harder and harder to believe that this has anything to do with Daas Torah – even as Charedim define it!

How they can say any of this when there are probably hundreds of of thousands of religious Jews since the founding of the state that have been drafted into the army; served with honor, and have not left their Yiddishkeit behind. How can they say this when there are probably tens of thousands of Hesder boys who have been drafted since its founding and choose to learn Torah while they serve their country in the most dangerous assignments.

It is hard for me to respect this kind of rhetoric. It is offensive to me. And coming from rabbinic leaders that are so widely respected, it becomes doubly offensive. Because when these rabbinic leaders speak – especially when they speak as one – none of their flock will challenge them.

They have asked the entire world of religious Jewry to participate with them today:

The Moatzos Gedolei and Chachmei HaTorah are calling on all of Am Yisraelwherever they live, in Eretz Yisrael and abroad, to grasp the craft of our forefathers in their hands and to gather “kol haYehudim yachad kol shivtei Yisrael anashim vetaf — all the Jews together, men and children” to call to Hashem strongly — that our Father in Heaven have mercy on us like a Father to His sons. We are hereby announcing that all those who are chareidim lidvar Hashem will come together in an Atzeres Tefillah and mass protest on Sunday 7 Adar II 5774 (error – the 7th is next week, the prayer rally is today – HM). May it be a kiddush Shem Shamayim to counteract thechillul Shem Shamayim carried out by the uprooters of religion.

To make matters worse, there are some Religious Zionist leaders who plan to participate. I don’t know what kind of logic motivates them to participate in an event that is so opposed to their very principles. I guess they believe that Charedim who study Torah full time should be exempt! But even if that’s true, can they possibly believe that every single Charedi Jew that is registered in a Yeshiva should be exempt?

When a Meeting Is an Endorsement

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Today’s Hamodia newspaper attacks NYC Mayoral candidate Erick Salgado and me for sending out press releases claiming the endorsements of prominent Hasidic Rebbes.

The editorial states that “…it is high time for those who serve as liaisons between candidates and our community to put an end to these shenanigans. If and when our spiritual leaders choose to instruct their followers how to vote, they will do so directly and not through the press releases of political campaigns.”  

Since I was the liaison who accompanied Reverend Salgado to both the Skulener Rebbe and the Rachmestrivker Rebbe, and since I served as the English-Yiddish and Yiddish-English translator at both meetings, I would like to clarify the question of endorsements.

First of all, I wish to agree with Hamodia that this business of exploiting the Rabbonim and Rebbes for political gain has gotten out of hand.

It is truly a disgrace of Kovod Hatorah when a politician who advocates public policies of immorality and Toeva—the very opposite of what the Rebbes stand for–has the nerve to come to the Rebbe and ask for a “Brocha.”

The endorsement of a Rebbe should not be cheapened by giving it to every Bill, John, and Anthony who shows up at the Rebbe’s house.

However, for every rule there is an exception–Such is the case with respect to Reverend Erick Salgado, who is running in the Democratic party primary election for Mayor on September 10.

At great personal risk—he has received numerous death threats—Reverend Salgado has spoken out vigorously against the push for the legitimization of the homosexual lifestyle in New York and the indoctrination of our citizens–especially innocent children—into accepting this immoral and perverted behavior as normal and acceptable.

Reverend Salgado alone has stated—clearly and unequivocally—that one of his first acts upon assuming the office of Mayor will be the rescinding of the anti Bris-Milah regulations enacted by the Bloomberg administration, and the dismissal of the Health Commissioner and his bigoted assistants who participated in this fraudulent Blood Libel.

There is no other candidate running for mayor who supports our community’s values as Salgado does.

When I related these facts to both the Skulener Rebbe and the Rachmestrivker Rebbe– both of whom I know personally–they responded enthusiastically.

They expressed their Hakaros Hatov (gratitude) to Reverend Salgado for sticking his neck out on behalf of our community, and they gave him an enthusiastic brocho for success in the coming election for Mayor.

To me, that’s an enthusiastic endorsement!

Hikind Joins Bloggers to Accuse Greenfield as a Phony Blogger

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

“I’m not insinuating that David is the only person that uses the Dov Gordon pen name, but as it pertains to politics, he is far and away the only person writing about inside baseball,” Stefanie Fedak, Greenfield’s former chief of staff, told the CityandStateNY website.

Greenfield laid off Fedak 18 months ago, and now Fedak is spilling the beans.

Greenfield confirmed Fedak’s version, according to a source close to the city councilman and who was quoted by CityandState.

However, an official statement from a spokesperson for Greenfield staged to the website, “Your story is a vicious lie being spread by an obsessed and disgruntled former staffer who was fired nearly two years ago. The Clintons have Vince Foster nuts, President Obama has his crazy birthers and Councilman Greenfield has lunatics who think he writes daily news columns while maintaining a very public 70-hour-a-week work schedule. All of these conspiracy theorists should be institutionalized.”

“Dov Gordon” is a frequent blogger for Yeshiva World News.

State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, far from a close friend of Greenfield, alleged that Yeshiva World’s coverage of him “mean-spirited” and “degrading.”

“You can criticize me; that’s not the issue, we can all be criticized at times,” Hikind said in an interview with the website’s Nick Powell. “This is way beyond that … this is someone with an agenda. … One of the most interesting things is, there’s one person who’s always very popular with Dov Gordon: David Greenfield.”

So who is Dov Gordon?

CityandState searched but did not come up with a final answer.

Powell wrote, “City & State searched public records for people named Dov Gordon, but was unable to identify anyone with that name who admitted to writing for Yeshiva World.

“A report by journalist Ross Barkan refers to a Dov Gordon as the spokesperson for an organization called Save Flatbush, which ran an ad in the Jewish newspaper Hamodia condemning the City Council’s proposed redistricting of south Brooklyn.

“The report, including an interview with this Dov Gordon, was posted on Barkan’s blog in February, two months after Pete Appel had speculated whether Greenfield might be Dov Gordon. City & State sent an email to Save Flatbush asking if the Dov Gordon that worked for the organization also wrote for Yeshiva World, but received no response.

“The Flatbush Jewish Journal also posted a letter to the editor from someone named Dov Gordon in late January. The letter criticizes unnamed elected officials for failing residents in a redistricting process that had allowed the community to be divided up.”

An Autonomous Haredi State: Having Their Cake and Eating It Too

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

The Haredi publication Hamodia (as reported by The Jewish Press) has called for establishment of their own autonomous zone in Israel. The feel that they have been mistreated.

Here is how the Times of Israel put it:

As the Knesset works on legislation that could see most ultra-Orthodox men required to serve in the IDF or other national service frameworks, and planned budget cuts threaten the community’s already strained economy, Hamodia, the mouthpiece of the ultra-Orthodox Agudat Yisrael party, suggested self-rule was the best answer to unwanted secular intrusion.

Hamodia said:

Autonomy means independent administrative rule for internal matters without sovereign political status, with legal and financial independence and police, but without an army or foreign policy.

I find this approach to be both intriguing and at the same time very self serving. And frankly somewhat humorous. I have always thought that places like Meah Shearim ought to be given what they want – complete independence from the State of Israel. They don’t think that the Jewish people have a right to their own state pre-Moshiach? That’s fine. Give them Meah Shearim and they can give it to which ever non-Jews they choose to live under. I hear that there are some Palestinians that might be interested.

But this is different. Hamodia isn’t talking about only the rejectionist Jews of Meah Shearim. They are talking about all Haredim – including those who have in the past worked with the government.

And they aren’t talking about seceding from Israel. They are talking about living there autonomously. They want to build a society of their own. They claim to have the ability to build their own infrastructure. They will have their own judicial system; their own political system; their own electric companies, roads, water works… and everything else necessary for a society to function independently. They look to Haredi cities likes Bnei Brak and Beitar as their models for success.

Really? Hamodia thinks that a society that does not educate their children in anything but Torah study will enable them to build a society that functions? Where are they going to get people with the expertise to build all of the necessary components of a modern society? The engineers, the doctors, the dentists, the lawyers, the accountants, the urban planners, the police, the judges and the myriad other trained people who will be qualified to do the things that a city needs to function? From Brisk?

But let us grant that they will somehow find a way. Maybe they will change the paradigm a bit to allow some of their students to learn those disciplines so that they can have such a society. (Although I doubt it.)

But here is the problem. They still want army protection. That is the advantage of having autonomy. You can then eat your cake and have it too. They will graciously allow secular and Dati Leumi Israelis to put their lives on the line for them. Isn’t this what the whole debate is about in the first place?!

It does not cease to amaze me how clueless some of these people are. How can they think that this would in any way be acceptable? How will this new autonomous entity share the burden? Maybe they think this is all about money… that their offer to live autonomously means that they will relieve the Israeli taxpayer of the burden of supporting them. I don’t know… that is an enticing concept. But if so, where will they get the money to replace what they receive now? How will this under-educated (aside from Torah knowledge) class with little marketable skills survive?

The only way their sincerity about living autonomously can be tested is if we require them to have their own army. That would be fair. Without it… all this amounts to is formalizing the status quo with respect to sharing the burden. Only they will be doing so in the form of an autonomous state. Why would the government of Israel want to do that? In my view it would be an act of true humanitarian nature to deny this option to them. Because they will surely fail – even if they are granted protection by the IDF.

What about Bnei Brak or Beitar? I doubt they could exist as autonomous states. Don’t they realize that?

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Hamodia Calling for Independent Haredi Autonomy within Israel

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

If you ask me, this is the real redemption: Haredi anger over the new government’s attitude towards their interests is increasing every day, and so the Agudat Israel newspaper, Hamodia, published an extensive article calling for the first time to establish a Haredi autonomy within the State of Israel.

The author attacks the behavior of National Religious leaders who have chosen to cooperate with Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, despite the latter’s anti-Haredi stance.

Then he refers to the philosophical differences between the Haredi and Religious Zionist approach to the state – one sees it as an outright danger to the Jews, the other as marking the start of messianic times.

At this point, Hamodia offers a revolutionary idea: “Led by the media and the High Court, which are nourished by left-wing organizations funded by anti-Semites, they choose to deny the hard earned status quo in the relationship between the religion and the state, breaking all conventions by approving fictitious conversions, civil marriage, and interference in the life of the Haredi sector.”

Hamodia threatens: “If there is no turn in our favor, there is an option of last resort we should consider – to establish a Jewish autonomy in Eretz Israel.”

Note the “last resort” thing. Possibly because establishing an autonomy requires work?

“An autonomy means independence in governing our domestic affairs, without political sovereignty, overseeing our own constitutional independence, economics and the police, but without an army and foreign policy,” declares Hamodia.

“If we were able to establish Bnei Brak, Elad Modi’in Ilit, Laniado hospital and Ezer M’Zion, we will also succeed in setting up an electric company, roads, and whatever else is required,” it adds bravely.

The Aguda paper believes that the benefits of the new autonomy would be economic as well, since the Haredim would be able to work and earn a decent living without the need for academic degrees and without modesty issues.

And the Haredi autonomy won’t be wasting public funds on sports, “delusional” Western culture, prisons and rehab centers.

Man, are they in for a couple wakeup calls, at least regarding the prisons and rehab centers, where Haredi folks comprise a nice portion of the population. Turns out Hamodia is perfectly capable of being delusional without the benefit of Western culture.

Incidentally, why would the requirement for academic degrees be such a bad thing? In New York, both Touro College and Yeshiva University are turning out thousands of Haredim with academic degrees who later excel in the professions an in business. Is it because the Hamodia staff are afraid of being replaced by better qualified, eager Haredi journalists?

The Aguda paper promises further that “using wise and prudent management, we will succeed in budgeting one hundred percent of our educational institutions, kollel students will be the darlings of the public (yakirei hatzibur) and will receive respectable scholarships, and we would take care to offer housing at reasonable prices.”

Oh, please God, do it, do it now, don’t hesitate, you’ll be great at it, don’t wait. If you ask me, this is the best Atchalta d’Geulah news I’ve heard in a year.

Why a Burka is Not Modest Enough

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Just when you think tznius concerns cannot get any more ridiculous than they already are, they do.

Original photo (left) by Asaf Abres of the Jerusalem Fire Department. Right side imaged published in Hamodia. Side by side image from YNET.

The photo on the left is a before and after shot of a drawer with some shoes in it. (The baby in the picture is irrelevant to this post.) The before picture is now taboo in the Haredi press for modesty reasons. I kid you not. Hamodia photo-shopped out the women’s shoes in the ‘before’ picture before they published it in its ‘after’ form.

Is there any sane person that can understand this? Is there any more ridiculous tznius precaution than photo-shopping out a picture of a woman’s shoe? Is there a normal – or even abnormal man on the face of the planet that would become sexually aroused by such a picture?

There is no better proof in my mind as to how ridiculous the world of the right has become in these matters.

I’m surprised that women haven’t been barred entirely from the world… to be used sparingly for reproductive purposes. I am also surprised that burkas aren’t standard apparel for the woman in the street.

The fact that even the most Haredi rabbis protested such dress when a group of women decided on that kind of tznius is puzzling – in light of the kind censorship undertaken by a mainstream Haredi newspaper. If a woman’s shoe is considered too titillating for the average man, how can any real woman in the street be any less titillating? The only way a woman should be able to walk in the street is if no one can tell she’s a woman.

In fact burkas wouldn’t even qualify for that. Everyone knows that there is a woman under that burka. And you know what kind of thoughts that conjures up. No… we must devise a way for a woman to become truly and literally invisible. And the same things holds true for any clothing item that has even the remotest possibility of being identified as feminine. Such items must disappear from the public eye, both in the ‘real’ and in the ‘virtual’ (of a photo).

I would even go a step further. I would eliminate the word ‘woman’ from the lexicon. Same thing any words that refer to anything feminine like women’s clothing. For example, the word ‘dress’… GONE! You never know what images will be conjured up in the mind of the normal healthy male when he hears the word ‘dress’.

Only when all these things are implemented, will our community be spared the indignities of immodest behavior and thoughts. How else can we ever hope to achieve our mandate as a Goy Kadosh- a holy nation?

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/why-a-burka-is-not-modest-enough/2013/02/07/

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