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June 30, 2016 / 24 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘point’

Hooligans?!

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

They keep saying that they are working to change things. But I don’t believe a word of it. According to the Jerusalem Post The Meah Shearim crowd is working with Charedi volunteers in the fire fighting establishment to prevent such occurrences in the future.

What kind of occurrences? These:

Haredim physically assaulted a female firefighter in the Mea She’arim neighborhood of Jerusalem, Israel Radio reported Thursday. The woman was working in a group of firefighters to put out garbage fires when the haredim threw objects at her, hitting her back and very lightly injuring her.

I’ve heard it all before. I know all about it. “These are hooligans no less than any society’s hooligans.” That is the cry of the apologists among us. I do not buy that argument. Never will. These people may be hooligans in the sense that they perpetrate violence against innocent outsiders whereas most of their society would never do that. But they are not hooligans like any other society’s hooligans. Certainly not in their Hashkafos which is what motivate their actions. These people were raised to believe that certain behavior is unacceptable. One cannot allow mingling of the sexes for any reason. Female firefighters working with male firefighters is therefore a violation of Halacha as they understand it.

That most of these people would not necessarily act this way on those beliefs is beside the point. There are some among them who believe they have an obligation to act on it. One can call them misguided. One can call them hooligans. But one cannot deny their motives. They do not just attack random people. They attack only people whom they feel violate their community rules. Rules which the rest of civilization does not have. Including the vast majority of Orthodox Jews. Including most normal Charedim.

Hooligans of the type that apologists compare these people to do not attack others based on the ideals learned from their religious leaders. The hooligans of a Chicago street gang are an orders of magnitude different from the Shomer Shabbos Charedim who threw objects at a female firefighter. The hooligans of Meah Shearim are meticulous about a great many Mitzvos – including going beyond the letter of Halacha in their observance of them.

They have beards, They have Peyos. They wear Chasidic type garb so as to differentiate from the secular world. They take pride in their isolationism for purposes of not being influenced by it. In short they are Frum to the point of being “Lifnim MeShuras HaDin” (beyond the letter of the law) in many aspects of their lives! I doubt for example that any of those hooligans have ever eating anything that did not have an Eida haCharedis Hechsher. To compare these people with the street gangs of Chicago or New York is completely disingenuous.

I realize of course that these people are probably dysfunctional. I also realize that they do not have the approval to do what they do from their rabbinic leadership. They do all this pretty much on their own. But they also know that their gender separation goals are very much appreciated by that very same leadership.

That is the core issue. It is the issue now with respect to that innocent firefighter and it was the issue last year with Naama Margolis, the 8 year old who was severely harassed on her way to school by the “hooligans” of Bet Shemesh. I’m sure those people too eat only from the Eida Hacharedis Hechsher.

In other words, they are all coming form the same place, Hashkaficly.

I have absolutely no confidence on things changing in those communities. The Charedi hooligans of Meah Shearim (and Bet Shemesh; and where ever else they can be found) who have lots of time on their hands will continue doing this type of thing unless their leadership cracks down on them. That means that they would have to violate their concepts of Mesira (informing on – or testifying against one of their own to the secular authorities). The Israeli government is not only a secular authority, they are considered a virtual enemy!

The bottom line is that this community can “Shrei Chai V’Kayom” – they scream until they are blue in the face about stopping this from happening again. They can say it is only the hooligans and that every society has hooligans. They can say all day long that they will work to change things. I don’t believe them. Until their leadership (like the Toldos Avraham Yitzchok Rebbe – pictured above) recognize that the problem starts with them – nothing is going to change.

What can we do about it? Not sure. But at the very least we ought to know the truth about what the real problem is.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Harry Maryles

No Room for Moderate Palestinians

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Today there is almost no room for moderates among the Palestinians.

Any Palestinian who dares to talk about compromise and peace with Israel, or even meet with Israelis, is immediately denounced as a “traitor” and “defeatist.”

Take, for example, the most recent case of Munib al-Masri, a wealthy Palestinian businessman from Nablus (Shchem), the largest city in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria -Ed.].

Known as the “Palestinian Rothschild,” al-Masri has drawn strong condemnations from many Palestinians for hosting Israeli businessman Rami Levy at his home.

Even Palestinian journalists have joined the campaign against al-Masri. Some 70 journalists signed a petition calling on the Palestinian media to stop calling calling al-Masri’s palace by its name, “The House of Palestine.”

Inspired by Andrea Palladio, the most influential individual in the history of Western architecture, The “House of Palestine” is the most expensive palace in the West Bank.

It was in this palace that al-Masri met with Levy and Palestinian, Arab, Islamic, U.N. and E.U. representatives to find ways to “break the stalemate” in the Middle East peace process.

The main purpose of the gathering was to “create an Arab-Islamic-Jewish alliance to impact decision-makers by launching an initiative to break the stalemate,” according to a statement issued by al-Masri.

Palestinians representing various political groups have since condemned al-Masri for promoting “normalization” with Israel by inviting an Israeli businessman to the meeting in his palace.

The widespread condemnations forced al-Masri to issue a “clarification” in which he reassured Palestinians that he was “totally opposed to any economic relations with Israeli businessmen as long as Israel continued to occupy the 1967 territories.”

The “clarification” is yet another sign of how moderate Palestinians succumb to threats and calls for boycott.

A few days later, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas underwent the same experience.

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 TV station, Abbas stated that he did not want to return to his birthplace of Safed [in northern Israel], triggering an unprecedented wave of denunciations from many Palestinians who accused him of relinquishing the Palestinian refugees’ “right of return” to their former villages inside Israel.

Like al-Masri, Abbas later reassured Palestinians that he remained “committed to the right of return” and that he would never compromise on the rights of the refugees.

Obviously, the Palestinians have been radicalized to a point where they are not ready to hear about any concessions to Israel or tolerate the presence of an Israeli businessman in a Palestinian city. This radicalization is the direct result of decades of anti-Israel incitement and indoctrination in the Palestinian territories — a campaign that has been spearheaded, ironically, by the “moderate” Palestinian Authority leadership that is publicly talking about making peace with Israel.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Khaled Abu Toameh

A Thank You from JewishPress.com

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Dear Readers,

We would like to thank everyone who has opened their hearts and offered to open up their homes this coming Shabbat to residents of the south . We received close to 100 hosting offers, and given the short notice this is truly a great accomplishment and a tribute to all our readers.

We have worked very hard with many of the organizations taking part in this to match up households with guests, based on availability and other parameters such as family sizes, region, etc. There are many organizations working on this and we shared lists to try for the greatest chance of success.

If you were not contacted at this point than you will probably not be for this coming Shabbat (I may be wrong).

If you were contacted – lucky you – I am envious. Please write us and tell us how it was.

We will keep all your names on file for a few weeks in case the need is still there. Should you be needed in the future you will be contacted (you can always decline at that point).

Thank you again for being the wonderful people you are and for being loyal readers of the Jewish Press.

Shabbat Shalom

Dovid Schwartz
Publisher
JewishPress.com

Dovid Schwartz

Road To Recovery

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Dear Brocha,

As I write this letter I am overcome with emotions. Relief, fear, trepidation, elation…the feelings are all jumbled up inside of me.

Please allow me to back track.

My daughter, who recently turned 20, just left to rehab. After four years of denial, lies, manipulation, anger and chaos she finally admitted she has a problem with alcohol.

Her drinking started at a school Shabbaton. Some of her so called friends brought liquor and they drank that Shabbos away. Since then she has been continuously sneaking drinks.

It took my husband and me a considerably long while to fully grasp the severity of the problem. Eventually, we finally emptied our house of all alcoholic drinks, informed the local liquor store that she should not be permitted to purchase any alcohol (evidently, there are various frum liquor store owners who will permit under age children to purchase alcohol if they say it’s for their parents, without any verification) and limited her access to money.

At that point, out of desperation, she figured out how to replace straight alcohol with mouthwash. What a nightmare! The mouthwash abuse was impossible to control! Additionally, it seems that it was much more damaging to her liver than regular alcohol. Recently, with Hashem’s help and the involvement of both a rav and an interventionist, she was able to admit that she had a real problem and to enter rehab.

While I am hopeful and happy that she is in a rehab, I need to know if you can advise me on how to deal with the phone calls. My daughter keeps calling and telling me how awful the food is, how she doesn’t like the other clients, feels restricted and various other complaints. Almost every time I see her phone number on the caller ID I start to cringe wondering what the issue is going to be.

By nature I am a very giving person. When she complains about the food, I try to send her home cooked meals. When she gets into arguments with her roommates I try speaking to her counselors about switching her room. The list goes on and on.

I am unsure if I am helping or hurting when I try interceding on her behalf. I am hearing terms like co-dependent and enabler and am very confused. At what point does helping become unhealthy?

This has become a major point of contention between my husband and me. He is more of a disciplinarian and feels that I need to take a tougher stance with our daughter.

Please advise.

A Giving Mom

Dear A Giving Mom,

Congratulations!

You should be very happy that your daughter is finally on the road to her recovery! She still has a long and difficult road ahead of her. She will need to learn more about herself and retrain her self-perception. She needs to learn how to be real with her emotions and to be in control of them and not vice-versa. She needs to learn how to live, laugh and appreciate life again.

Most people enter the rooms of recovery kicking and screaming. They are usually upset that they “were caught” or “trapped” and now have to learn how to live sober.

It is hard work. Very hard work!

There is shame, guilt and various other forms of emotional pain they now have to learn to deal with as opposed to numbing themselves.

On the other hand, you should be using the time your daughter is in rehab to learn more about yourself.

For the past few years your daughter’s issues have been the sole focus of everything. If there are other children at home you should be spending considerably more time with them.

Additionally, you mentioned the terms co-dependent and enabler. The truth is that many loved ones who live with addicts inadvertently assume that role.

The addict becomes the drug.

Our “high” comes when there are no incidents and they appear to be doing well. Then, when they fall, we fall with them.

Your job is to learn how to live in peace and serenity, independent of the addict. You should be looking for Al-Anon meetings in your area. Your entire immediate family needs to find recovery.

Brocha Silverstein

A Small Jewish World

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Two recent experiences served to drive home the point to me that – with apologies to the popular Disney musical boat ride “It’s a Small World” – it really is a small Jewish world.

On August 23, together with five other members of Kesher Israel Congregation, my wife Layala and I attended the Cantorial Council of America’s 52nd annual dinner at Kutsher’s Country Club in New York’s Catskill Mountains. At the dinner, KI’s beloved cantor, Seymour Rockoff, was awarded the Dr. Karl Adler Memorial Award for the Preservation and Enhancement of Jewish Music Education.

Everything about the program was wonderful, especially hearing Cantor Rockoff’s childhood friends and cantorial colleagues reminisce about their shared yeshiva experiences of so many years ago.

The evening began with the Minchah service. I was a bit surprised when one member of our shul’s contingent handed me a Hertz Chumash instead of a siddur. Seeing my confusion, he opened it and pointed to the Kesher Israel Congregation dedication sticker on its inside cover.

What on earth was an old Chumash from KI (donated by one of our shul’s most beloved Sisterhood presidents, of blessed memory) doing in a Catskills hotel?

Then it hit me. About four years ago, the shul decided there was no reason why hundreds of our older Hertz Chumashim should remain unused and stored away in boxes. KI’s board authorized me to find Jewish institutions that might be able to put them to use. Eventually I found homes for most of those Chumashim in synagogues, college campuses, Jewish camps, and retreat centers across the country.

That night in the Catskills, KI’s contingent had chanced upon some of our old Chumashim, the pages of which were once again being turned by worshipers eager to follow the weekly Torah reading.

I know that books are inanimate, but it was almost as if our KI members heard those Chumashim saying, “Thank you for taking us out of those storage boxes and putting us back into circulation. We were meant to be held and used by Jews of all ages. We’re enjoying the Catskills, and some of our friends are having a great time at the Princeton Hillel. Thanks for realizing that we still have plenty of life left in us.”

That same month, my wife and I enjoyed a visit to the beautiful state of Colorado. The vistas around us were breathtaking, and it was wonderful to recite together a special berachah while gazing out at God’s magnificent Rocky Mountains.

Near the end of our stay, while taking in the sights of Cheyenne Canyon Park (near Colorado Springs), something caught my eye. There are so many sheer rock faces in Colorado that it attracts many rock-climbers, and we saw them everywhere.

But what was it I had noticed? We had just driven past a group suiting up to climb a canyon wall. Like all the other climbers in the park, they were loaded with gear: ropes, packs, carabiners, helmets, etc. However, each climber in this particular group was wearing an OD (olive drab) green military uniform. I knew right away that those uniforms were definitely not current U.S. issue. I had a hunch they were Tzahal (Israel Defense Forces) uniforms, but what would Israeli chayalim be doing in the middle of Cheyenne Canyon Park?

We turned the car around and pulled up to them. I quickly spotted the embroidered “Tzahal” tabs above their breast pockets. I jumped out of the car and began shaking their hands.

“I’m Akiva and this is my wife, Layala,” I said. I told them about my two brothers living in Israel; they told us where in Israel they lived, and we enjoyed a short, friendly chat.

We asked them why they were in the middle of Colorado. They were pretty tight-lipped; and all they told us was that they were in the park to practice rock-climbing skills. As they clearly were not able to share too much information, we wished each other well and parted ways.

I immediately called my brother Josh in Israel (he served as an IDF combat medic) to ask if he could make any sense of why we had just stumbled upon a group of uniformed Tzahal chayalim in the middle of Colorado. He told me that after a helicopter full of IDF personnel had crashed in Romania a few years ago, Israelis demanded to know why their husbands, sons and brothers were training in a foreign country. At that point word got out that the IDF sends select units of soldiers all over the world to train (unarmed) in the environments of friendly nations.

Rabbi Akiva Males

No! No! Don’t Rebuild Galut!

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

I know that I promised to lay the sledgehammer aside for awhile, but a few of yesterday’s news items made me batty. In one of them, the UJA-Federation of New York announced it was earmarking ten million dollars in emergency hurricane relief to its local network agencies and synagogues. Chevre! Chaval al hakesev!

Another thing that made me bonkers was the video appeal of Mordechai Ben David showing his damaged recording studio and asking people to donate money to rebuild his battered hometown of Seagate.

When will Diaspora Jews get the message?

Now, don’t accuse me of not having compassion. I sympathize with Sandy’s victims as much as the next guy, believe me. That’s not the point.

The point is that Jewish life in the Galut is supposed to come to an end. If Hashem has smashed things down, why rebuild them? The exile is a curse. A punishment. By definition, it’s not meant to last forever. We’re not supposed to make exile in foreign lands into our permanent home. So if Hashem knocks down a Diaspora community, or a recording studio, why rebuild them? So that the next hurricane, or earthquake, or pogrom can smash them down once again?

Brothers and sisters of New York and New Jersey– rebuild your washed-out communities in Israel! Mordechai Ben David, Avraham Fried, and Shwekey  – we have beautiful recording studios in Israel, as dry as can be! Instead of coming here for concerts on Chol HaMoed Sukkot and Pesach, come here to live, and give your holiday concerts in Brooklyn instead! It’s a lot safer living in Israel!

“It can never happen inAmerica,” they always claim when we warn them.

Pay attention, my friends. Hashem has many messengers. The Almighty can use anti-Semitism and persecution to shatter the fantasy of galut, or He can use fires, earthquakes, and floods to drive his recalcitrant children back home toI srael. The destruction that the shiksa Sand yhas left in her wake is just a warning. Brothers and sisters, we have been saying it all along. Life is much more dangerous in America than it is in Israel. Wake up! Read the writing on the wall before it is too late! Your bastions of Yiddishkeit, and friends in high places, and Jewish Federations won’t help you. Not in Seagate, Englewood, Long Island, or even in Boca. Don’t make the mistake by pretending that this hurricane was just a freak outburst of nature. Everything that happens in the world is from Hashem, and it’s all for the sake of the Jews. So take some good advice and sell your houses now before there is nothing left of them. Come home to Israel while you can.

Get the message?

Tzvi Fishman

So Now What?

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

There it is: four more years of Barack Obama. What does it mean for Israel?

The bilateral talks with Iran run by Valerie Jarrett will continue. One can hope for the best, but it is very unlikely that an agreement will be reached that will include the effective dismantling of Iran’s bomb-building capability. It’s not at all comforting to think that Israel’s security will be in the hands of Jarrett, Obama’s Chicago fixer. One can speculate what Romney might have done differently, but that is not an option now.

It’s certain that the Iranian regime will not abandon the goal which will bring it geopolitical primacy in the region and for which it has striven (and its people have suffered) mightily, except if it is forced to do so by a credible threat of force. Will Obama make such a threat? What if the Iranians call his bluff? Will he be prepared to take action that would triple the price of oil, and destroy any chance of success for his domestic agenda? Will he be prepared to risk American lives in what would be called a “war for Israel?”

He will make a deal, a deal that will be satisfactory for the US and for Iran. For the US, it will have to appear as though the Iranian program has been derailed, or at least put on hold for the foreseeable future (a few years, in today’s world). For Iran, it will have to allow the regime to continue to put the pieces together to allow a rapid breakout as a nuclear power. It will naturally include a relaxation of economic pressure on Iran — the only thing more important for the regime than getting nuclear weapons is staying in power.

As far as Israel is concerned, nothing is as important as the Iranian question. It’s unlikely that a US-Iran deal will satisfy Israel, because Israel is not at the table. The question originally posed by Ehud Barak will remain: when will Iran enter the “zone of immunity,” when will it reach the point that no practical Israeli action can prevent the Iranians from obtaining nuclear weapons? The deal may change the point at which this occurs, but it will not change the logic of the situation.

The deal will bring prestige to the Iranian regime — it will be played as though Iran forced the Great Satan to blink — and will improve their economy, thus making regime change less likely. Obama may have succeeded in holding off an Israeli strike against Iran so far, but it is still almost certain to occur.

I doubt that Obama will do much about the Palestinian issue  the short term. He must understand by now that there is simply no overlap between Israeli and Palestinian positions of such things as refugees, Jerusalem and the continued existence of a Jewish state. On the other hand, there is a danger that unfettered by electoral considerations, he and his advisers will give free rein to their undisguised pro-Palestinian ideology, and  move even further in their direction. I think it’s harder to predict what the administration will do in this area, because it is almost entirely determined by ideology, and not perceived interests. The administration does not appear to see the fate of Israel as especially relevant to practical US interests.

I do expect continued pressure for ‘regime change’ in Israel. Obama apparently feels that PM Netanyahu is an obstacle, and will do his best to help the opposition. His poorly-hidden dislike and disrespect for Israel’s Prime Minister is remarkable, especially compared with his attitude toward other foreign leaders, especially Islamists like Turkey’s Erdogan and Egypt’s Morsi — not to mention his remarkable obeisance to the king of Saudi Arabia, one of the countries whose political ideology and human-rights behavior is about as far from American ideals as can be imagined.

In these areas, I think a Romney victory would have made a significant difference. Romney clearly understands the Palestinian lack of interest in coexistence — he explained it eloquently at one point — and apparently has a warm relationship with PM Netanyahu. He does not appear to share the academic leftist view that characterizes the Obama Administration, one in which Israel plays the role of a colonial power, and the main cause of conflict is Palestinian ‘rights’ rather than Arab rejectionism. But again, this is not an option now.

Vic Rosenthal

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