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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘haredim’

‘Common Enemy’ of IDF Draft Brings Vishnitz and Gur Together

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

The rabbinical leader of the Vishnitz Chas – the new Knesset law that Haredim must serve in the army just like every Jew in the country.

The two rabbis spoke for approximately 15 minutes, a relatively long time, and spoke “words of Torah and subjects that are on the agenda,” the Haredi website Kikar HaShabbat reported.

The “agenda” is the draft, which has deeply disturbed the Haredi community, and the rabbis expressed their sorrow that the government is trying to take young men out of yeshiva and away from their families to serve the country.

Hareidim Beat Out Hare Krishna in Measles Outbreak

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Of the 175 cases of measles in the U.S in 2013, a mere 23 were connected to Hare Krishnas in North Carolina. The 175 cases were triple the national average in previous years.

Embarrassingly enough, the largest group of people infected with measles came from our very own anti-vaccination cult of Brooklyn Hareidi Jews.

Thirty cases of measles were diagnosed in Williamsburg, and another 28 were diagnosed in Borough Park, accounting for one-third of the cases in the US in 2013. It was the largest measles outbreak in 15 years.

Talk about Jewish over-representation in the medical field.

The original outbreak came from a London ultra-Orthodox community, which also refuses to stop endangering everyone else. An intentionally unvaccinated Hareidi teenager brought the disease back with him to the US.

In July of 2013, the NYC Department of Health said that outbreak was over.

But it was hardly the only case. there was a measles outbreak in these communities in 2011.

And in 2010, another child brought back the Mumps with him from England, infecting fellow Jewish campers in upstate NY, who brought the disease home with them to Monsey and New Square, resulting in over 300 infected people.

 

Livni, Bennett Back Bill to Pretend Jews Need Only One Chief Rabbi

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Jewish Home chairman and Minister for Religious Affairs Naftali Bennett unveiled the outline Monday morning of their new bill to eliminate the system of a two-headed Chief Rabbinate and replace it with “one rabbi for one people.”

Modern Israel always has had two chief rabbis, one for the Ashkenazi community and one for the Sephardi community. Each community has vastly different traditions and different rulings on Jewish laws. Within each community there are several sub-cultures. There are “Yechi” Ashkenazi Jews. There are many different Chassidic sects, and there are “Litvak,” Misnagim,” Lubavitch-Chabad, Ger, Neturei Karta, Vishnitz and a host of others.

In Israel, there is no lack of different synagogues representing the origin of their worshippers’ families. There are Iraqi, Iranian (Parsi), Egyptian and Yemenite synagogues, to mention a few.

Livni, who is secular, and Bennett, who is modern Orthodox, each believe that one chief rabbi is enough for everyone,

Their bill would clear the way for a single chief rabbi in 10 years, when the next election will take place. Three months ago, Haredi Rabbi David Lau defeated national religious Rabbi David Stav to head the Ashkenazi rabbinate. Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef was elected Chief Sephardi Rabbi.

Both of the new chief rabbis are sons of two of the most popular men ever to serve as chief rabbi – Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau and the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who was highly controversial among those outside of Sephardi circles. Each man is a legend, and the thought of a single chief rabbi would have been unthinkable under their charismatic leadership.

Livni and Bennett insist they are not retrying to blur the lines of tradition. A single rabbi undoubtedly would save money, but finance is not part of their agenda.

“There is one prime minister, one president, one supreme court and one IDF Chief of Staff,” Livni said. The time has come that there should be one rabbi for one people, The time has some that Israel has one chief rabbi to unite all segments of Israeli society, [The time has come for] a rabbinate that will serve all religious sectors instead of a county that retains the separation of communities. It is possible to respect tradition in the house without separating religious authority,” she said.

Bennett chimed in, “This [bill] is an important step that symbolizes unity. The appointment of one rabbi is one of those subjects that raises the question, ‘Why wasn’t it done sooner?’ Today, when an Ashkenazi and Sephardi marry, there not two rabbis. Today, there is one army, and there are no separate positions for Ashkenazim or Sephardim.”

The idea sound so nice. All of the People of Israel will unite together, holding hands, dancing the hora and embracing each other with whole-hearted acceptance as a person and not as a “Sephardi” or “Ashkenazi.” Peace and love all wrapped up in a stewing pot of melted Jews.

Judaism has survived and blossomed since the 12 Tribes of Yaakov (Jacob) because of their unity as Jews and differences of character, personality and customs.

“One rabbi for one people” would discourage diversity. Obviously, a single chief rabbi would be an expert in different customs and would not issue a ruling that would violate a community’s customs. Sephardim would not be told to give up “kitniyot” for Passover and Ashkenazim would not start rising before dawn to recite Selichot prayers during the entire Hebrew month of Elul before Rosh HaShanah.

Regardless of whatever merits there may be to the bill, and despite probable enthusiasm from Israel’s leading secular media, the bill will have tough going.

Overcoming centuries of tradition in one Knesset session is a bit too much for Livni, the darling of dwindling leftist-center secular Israelis who did not vote for Yair Lapid and a villain to national religious Jews, including Bennett except for the one-rabbi bill. Bennett is riding a wave of secular support for his Jewish Home party, the inheritor of the old Mafdal crowd.

If the bill gets to the Knesset floor, it will provide lots of colorful copy for journalists. Shas will go berserk, and the United Torah Judaism party of Haredi Ashkenazi Jews will be able to sue Bennett for Livni for causing them a collective heart attack, God forbid.

Hundreds of WOW Pray Peacefully

Monday, November 4th, 2013

In a display of the changes the group has experienced this year, Women of the Wall held a peaceful prayer service under police protection at the Western Wall to mark the group’s 25th anniversary.

Absent from Monday’s service, which the group said drew at least 800 worshipers, were large crowds of Orthodox girls who had packed the women’s section in previous months.

For the first time in recent memory, Women of the Wall occupied the majority of the section, with a crowd of male supporters stretching back into the plaza.

The group has met for a women’s prayer service at the wall at the beginning of each Jewish month for the past quarter-century, but has seen rapid change in its status during the past six months.

Until April, women in the group who donned prayer shawls or sang too loudly often would be detained by police. But that month, a Jerusalem district court judge ruled that the group’s practices did not violate any of the wall’s regulations, and since then the police are protecting the women rather than arresting them.

“We’ve come a long way, baby,” Women of the Wall Chairwoman Anat Hoffman told JTA during the service. “It shouldn’t have taken 25 years. It should have taken two weeks. But we’re now where we should be.”

Several dozen Haredi men came to protest on Monday, but aside from a few token disturbances, the service continued uninterrupted.

The past half-year has also seen a compromise solution from Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky. An outline Sharansky released in April called for a significant expansion of an area to the south of the plaza called Robinson’s Arch that is now used for non-Orthodox prayer.

After backing away from the plan, Women of the Wall endorsed it last month, agreeing to move to the new section should a list of conditions be met.

Brandishing the Western Wall regulation that forbids the group from bringing a Torah scroll to its services, Hoffman told JTA that Women of the Wall has yet to reach all its goals. She said, though, that given the relative calm at the Wall, the group will now be turning its attention to negotiations with the government about the Robinson’s Arch plan.

“We’re not scared of jail and arrests — we’re scared of negotiations,” Hoffman joked. “Can we get the maximum? We won’t be suckers.”

Haredi and Zionist Beit Shemesh Residents Demanding a Split

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Three days after the municipal elections in which incumbent Shas Mayor Moshe Abutbul defeated Jewish Home candidate Eli Cohen, the protest storm in the city of Beit Shemesh has not subsided. Thousands arrived at City Hall Thursday night to protest what they have no doubt was a fraudulent election.

It’s true that police discovered in one Haredi-owned apartment in the city hundreds of ID cards belonging to Beit Shemesh residents living abroad – suggesting that some Haredim did embrace the concept of voting early and often. Also, in some voting stations in the city, the voting percentage exceeded 100%, which is an electoral miracle in anyone’s book.

Oh, and according to Channel 10 news, in a few voting booths they ran out of Jewish Home’s Eli Cohen voting tickets, which can really be annoying.

Channel 10 interviewed Beit Shemesh Resident Menashe Elias, who took part in last night’s rally, who said: “We protest because they stole the election. They stole it from us with forgery, with double voting, with forged ID cards. They stole our city.”

That last sentiment, about their city being stolen, has been the broadest common denominator for all the non-Haredi residents of Beit Shemesh. They have all seen, five years ago, how the sweet mannered, inclusive, jovial Shas candidate Moshe Abutbul, sold out their city to the Haredim. In cartoon fashion, Beit Shemesh has since turned from a normal Israeli city where Haredim and their neighbors find ways to get by (as we do in Netanya, my home town), to the center of Haredi intolerance, complete with spitting on little girls, shaming women, segregating the sexes, attacking uniformed IDF soldiers, the works.

Another accusation made by the protesting residents was that the incumbent has imported some 3,000 yeshiva students from Bnei Brak, who voted in Beit Shemesh without establishing residency.

All of the above accusations will surely be investigated by the authorities, but the city of Beit Shemesh would be equally split and politically paralyzed should an investigation discover that, indeed, the non-Haredim have won. At this point the enmity between the two groups – Haredim and the rest of the world – has gotten to the point where governing both groups under the same executive just doesn’t make sense.

According to several media sources, both secular and religious, the one thing protesters in Beit Shemesh seems to agree on is the need to break up the city. It would require a Knesset legislation, but in Israel that process can be amazingly speedy if everybody wants it.

And everybody will lose.

beit shemesh vote

Veteran Haredi journalist Israel Gelis told The Jewish Press that Beit Shemesh, from its inception, has been a traditional Jewish town. Very few in Beit Shemesh are bona fide secular – the town has very little to offer someone who wants to go out and see a movie on Friday night.

Gellis continued on to say that over the past decade, however, two extremist groups have settled in Beit Shemesh: Toldos Aharaon Chassidim, who are, basically, Neturei Karta – and knitted yarmulka American Jews, who are looking to establish a more “progressive” Jewish life in this sleepy city. Those two opposing camps, each in its manner (YY: meaning the American Zionists don’t spit on people or slap women on the street, but the Haredi zealots do), have been weighing down on the system and calling in the media to create a fuss.

Meaning it would probably be simpler to just chase the extremists out to the hills and go back to a life of peace. but that’s not going to happen. Short of that, the city fathers will do well to resist the urges of the extremists and activists, and to find ways to bring back the religious harmony that used to prevail in Beit Shemesh.

There are roughly 85,000 residents in Beit Shemesh, and I suspect most of them have no interest in joining either extremes. But Mayor Abutbul, who has been belittling the complaints of his citizens who voted for the other guy, will do well to work on outreach instead. For one thing – should the city be split, it’s doubtful whether Moshe Abutbul could be re-elected. He’s just not Haredi enough.

200 WOW Drowned Out by 10,000 Seminary Girls

Friday, October 4th, 2013

The first day of Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan (which is, really, the last day of Tishrei) was yet another eventful installment in the lengthy and often repetitive saga featuring:

The Kotel (a supporting wall for the King Herod-renovated temple)

The Women of the Wall (a group of largely Reform and Conservative women who have been attempting to conduct their distinctly unorthodox services at the site practically since the crusades)

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the Kotel Rabbi, who, after having fueled the WOW campaign and giving it life for years has finally decided to leave them alone—about a decade too late

And 10,000 lovely, cheerful, sweet seminary girls, who told everyone they were there to pray for the recovery and well being of the ailing mega-scholar Rav Ovadia Yosef.

Look at the funny ladies with talitot and teffilin…. Photo by: Miriam Alster

“Look at the funny ladies with tallitot and teffilin…” Are the onlookers amused, angry, or both? Photo by: Miriam Alster

According to Haredi reports, the WOW just disappeared in the enormous crowd of youthful young ladies. Talk about integration!

According to Israel Radio, things had gone a little out of hand near the end, and the WOW had to sneak out of there through a side exit, as Haredi men were cursing them out and one man was arrested on suspicion of spitting and throwing stuff at them.

Religion brings out the best in people.

The email from the WOW read: “Nearly 200 Women of the Wall prayed this morning in the women’s section of the Kotel—out loud and as a group, with tallitot (prayer shawls) and tefillin (phylacteries). The multi-denominational prayer group prayed without police enclosures and restrictions, for the first time since April 2013.”

OK, very positive, so far. Not for long, though:

“This great achievement was tainted by the incited, abusive behavior of some of the women and girls who came to pray at the Kotel this morning,” the email continues. “Of thousands who came to pray for the health of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, there was a large group of women and girls who surrounded Women of the Wall, cursing, spitting and yelling throughout the prayer.”

Also: “A mass prayer was led by Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Yitzhak Yoseph, over loud-speakers, drowning out women’s prayers.”

They should join forces with Jerusalemites who are exposed to Mosque loudspeakers drowning all other sounds five times a day, every day. Let’s ban all megaphonic religions!

“Despite the provocations of the girls and the loudspeakers, out of great respect, Women of the Wall stopped their prayer to listen and join Rabbi Yoseph’s prayer for his father. The women added “amen” and continued the prayer only when his was finished.”

That’s a hopeful sign, then. Let the man go first, especially if he owns the decibel machine…

“It was a trying and emotional morning for the women many of whom left the Kotel in tears, saddened but also resolved to continue to pray at the holy site,” says the email.

Women of the Wall Blame Gov’t for Their Damaged Torah Scroll

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Women of the Wall now are blaming the government for inadequate storage for their Torah scroll that the group said sustained damaged due to dampness, making it unfit for reading.

Women will gather at the Robinson’s Arch at the Western Wall on Friday, the first of two days that mark the beginning of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan, but they will pray without a Torah scroll.

After years of being banned by the police and the Western Wall rabbi from changing the status quo that preserves Orthodox Jewish tradition at the Western Wall (Kotel), authorities earlier this year finally arranged a compromise whereby the women can pray in their minyan and with a Torah scroll, but only at the Kotel’s southern section, known as Robinson’s Arch.

The women’s own Torah scroll is stored there, along with other scrolls that belong to the Conservative movement of Judaism, but it was lent out for use during the recent Jewish holidays and was found to be unfit to use because of mold.

“The Torah is being carefully cleaned and fixed by the leading authorities in Torah scroll repair and maintenance,” according to Women of the Wall spokeswoman Shira Pruce.

She placed the blame for the damage squarely on the government and Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz. His “discrimination against women’s prayers and the lack of an appropriate immediate government response in the matter has cause damage to a Torah scroll, an escalation from the previous blatant disrespect, shown by Rabinowitz and Haredi protesters, of Jewish ritual items, including siddurim, prayer shawls and tefillin,” she said.

After being told about the damage to their scroll, The Women of the Wakkl notififed the Conservartive Movement to schek their scrolls to see if they aslo has been damaged, Pruce told The Jewish Press Wednesday.

Pruce unintentionally made a comment that raises an interesting question about whose ox is being gored.

In her argument that women should be allowed to pray in the women’s section of the main Western Wall Plaza, on the women’s side of a separation barrier, Pruce noted that men are not allowed in the Women of the Wall minyan. One primary reason is that there are many Orthodox Jewish women in the movement and they abide by the tradition that the sexes should not mingle during prayer.

Isn’t that discrimination against men? How can the Women of the Wall rightfully complain that Haredim are discriminating against them by barring them from the  more popular part of the Western Wall, while they discriminate against men who might want to join their minyan?

Pruce  answers that there is a difference. She argues that the main plaza is a public place and not a “synagogue” and that it must be open to everyone, regardless of sex.

Granted that there really is no reason to forbid the women form praying as they wish at the main part of Western Wall, except for their being a nuisance to other women who object to the whole concept of a women’s minyan and Torah reading.

Granted that Rabbi Rabinowitz should have kept quiet and let the women who object to WoW chase them our out, or simply let the Wow pray and as they wish and be done with it.

But if it is a public place open to all, and the Women of the Wall can keep men out of their minyan at Robinson’s Arch, what happens if a group of Muslims decide they want to pray to Allah at the Wall?

Or perhaps a bunch of Christians want to pray to “you know who” at the Kotel?

Or maybe some  “cultural Jewish cult” wants to express their faith in God by a belly dance?

Is it kosher to keep men out of a women-only minyan but not kosher for the authority over the Kotel to keep out women who do not respect  a centuries-old tradition?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/women-of-the-wall-blame-govt-for-their-damaged-torah-scroll/2013/10/02/

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