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February 7, 2016 / 28 Shevat, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Secular Jews’

The Problem Of Peace

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

The world is demanding (again) that Israel make peace with its terrorist neighbors. Almost no one is demanding that the Arab neighbors make peace with Israel. Everyone realizes that Israel wants and needs peace and everyone realizes that no Arab state is genuinely interested in making peace with Israel.

It would seem that the Arab concept of peace in the Middle East and how it will be achieved is to destroy Israel, expel the Jews and have the Middle East populated only by Arabs. The concept is simple but the Arabs are sure that the world will eventually force all of the Jews out of Israel because peace is more important than justice. Many European and several American leaders seem to believe that we must sacrifice Israel and the rights of her people for the sake of world peace in our time.

Europeans seem to not realize that Europe is already squarely in the sights of the Muslim Arabs and that a well-planned mass immigration into Europe by Muslim students and “refugees” has progressed to the point where population characteristics are slowly being modified.

News reports do indicate that some Europeans have begun to realize that this Arab immigration plan has begun to reduce the Christian majorities in Europe, but it may be too late to reverse the process. In just a few more years the Arab plan will have achieved its goal. An understanding of the invasion plan seems very simple. The European non-Muslim birthrate is usually less than two per couple while the Muslim birthrate can reach four to 14 children per couple. The cleansing of Europe of its non-Muslim population will be accomplished in another two or three generations.

Unfortunately, the same is true in Israel, as Jews have fewer and fewer children and Arabs maintain their high birthrate. Visit any Israeli hospital maternity ward and see with your own eyes the simple truth. Most of the women in the ward are Palestinian Arabs. Too many secular Jews are also opting to emigrate to Europe and America, thus further reducing the Jewish population of Israel. Only one group of Jews is growing faster than the Arab population and that is the ultra-Orthodox. Unless there is another huge influx of religious or non-religious Jews to Israel, similar to the recent Russian immigration, the ultra-religious Jews and the Muslim Arabs will be the only remaining residents in Israel. Our only hope is that the modernized Muslims reduce their birthrate and that the ultra-Orthodox continue to multiply.

Americans are also beginning to realize that with Europe succumbing to the burgeoning Muslim population, America is next. In the past, immigration laws made it difficult for Muslim to immigrate to the U.S., but under President Obama and the loosening of the immigration laws, the Muslims are now also “invading” America in ever greater numbers. Some American cities are already witness to public Muslim prayer on main thoroughfares where Arabs come to demonstrate their growing power.

The statistics are scary and the Muslims have the patience to wait until they outnumber the native population. They also do not adapt, as previous immigrants have, to the American culture. The UN estimates that Europe will be 55 percent Muslim within 20 to 30 years. England already has more Muslims than does Lebanon or Syria.

How can we fight this trend? First we must have the will to fight. Europe is almost lost. America, if it does not wake up soon, will be next.

Revolutionary Marriage Reform Law Spells End to Haredi Domination

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

The Knesset voted Monday night in favor of a bill sponsored by the Jewish Home party that in effect breaks the grip of Haredi rabbis on marriage permits in the country. It easily passed on second and third readings in the Knesset with the only opposition coming from Haredi Knesset Members.

The “Tzohar Law,” named after the organization of modern orthodox rabbis who have been vying for more influence in the country’s religious establishment, will allow couples to register for marriages anywhere they want.

The change is not minor. Certain cities are known to be a nightmare for couples who are often faced with local rabbis’ extreme demands concerning their being Jewish, their lifestyles, and also touching on customs that vary in different communities, such Sephardi and Ashkenazi, and which are not required to be observed by everyone.

One rabbi who has performed dozens if not hundreds of marriages told The Jewish Press that one city, which is not being named here in order not to blemish its name, is a known problem because of local Haredi rabbis’ conditions that often are “unreasonable.”

Now that a prospective bride and groom can register wherever they want, Haredi rabbis will lose any influence, good or bad, they once had over secular and non-Haredi religious couples. If the Haredi establishment had been a bit more flexible in the past decade, it could have won the respect of tens of thousands of Jews who might have been swayed to become more observant.

Instead, their insensitivity to Israeli’s desire for tradition without coercion has cost them their dominance and has allowed modern orthodox rabbis to take over as much more widely accepted role models.

The winners of the new law are the Tzohar rabbis and the Jewish Home Party, which is rapidly shaking off its predecessor’s National Religious Party stigma of representing only observant Jews and those that believe that Jewish development in Judea and Samaria is the only important issue for the country.

The party has attracted non-observant supporters with an election platform that supported civil marriages, and the Tzohar law is bound to attract more non-religious supporters who want to marry according to Jewish law without having to be subservient to Haredi rabbis’ ultimatums.

“We have opened the religious services market, “ said Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett.

The Tzohar rabbis recently lost an important battle with the Haredi establishment, which elected Rabbi David Lau as Chief Ashkenazi rabbi instead of Tzohar Rabbi David Stav.

The new law will also create a computerized database for the registrations, making the records accessible to all of the registrars.

Peres’ Eulogy: Rav Ovadia Was ‘My Teacher, My Rabbi, My Friend’

Monday, October 7th, 2013

President Shimon Peres  eulogized Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Monday evening, stating, “A few hours ago I went to the hospital to say goodbye to my teacher, my rabbi, my friend Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. It was a difficult time. Tears filled my eyes and my throat was choked with emotion. I held his hand which was still warm and kissed his forehead.

“When I pressed his hand I felt I was touching history and when I kissed his head it was as though I kissed the very greatness of Israel.

“Immediately after the fall of the Second Temple there were two greats of the Torah – Yochanan ben Zakai and Yehuda HaNasi. I mention them because they came to the conclusion that for the Jewish people to survive we need to study.

“Rabbi Yosef symbolized that and acted upon it, he was simply a great man. His greatness wasn’t measured but rather it was felt as a spiritual wind in every corner, lighting up the darkness in unexpected places. When I met him I sensed he was a great man with an unbelievable memory and the wisdom to share his knowledge with others. His contribution was his love for Israel and he solved problems no-one else could solve using his wisdom and spirituality.”

Rav Ovadia Calls Tzohar Rav Stav ‘Evil’; Tzohar Replies: Repent

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Revered Sephardi Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, a spiritual head of the Shas party and a former Chief Rabbi, castigated Chief Rabbinate candidate Rabbi David Stav in unprecedented terms Saturday night, calling him “evil” and a “danger to Judaism.”

The Tzohar rabbinical group responded by calling on Rav Ovadia, who by all accounts is one of the most brilliant Torah sages today, to “repent” and “ask for forgiveness.”

The epithets  by Rav Ovadia may boomerang and give Rabbi Stav sympathy support that could make him Israel’s next Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi.

They also give anti-religious Jews, both inside Israel and in the Diaspora, plenty of ammunition to fire back in their campaign against leaving authority for Israel’s religious affairs in the hands of orthodox Jews, Haredi or not. One can hear the refrain already, “And you call these people spiritual leaders?”

Rabbi Benny Lau, a national religious rabbi and the nephew of former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, told Voice of Israel public radio that despite Rabbi Ovadia’s constant antagonistic comments in  his weekly Saturday night sermons, he once realized the greatness of the man when he spoke  with him in person.

But Saturday night’ wild attack on Rabbi Stav left Rabbi Lau without any explanation for his behavior.

Rav Ovadia’s weekly speeches are often geared for his Sephardi audience, many of whom see themselves as having been discriminated against for decades under the domineering thumb of Ashkenazi rabbis for years.

Even taking that into account, Rabbi Lau’s inability to explain Rabbi Ovadia’s venom points in one direction: Aryeh Deri, the Rav’s favorite political leader and who rules the Shas political party.

Deri has been trying to torpedo a bill that would allow Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar to seek a second term. The reasoning is that since he is Haredi, his selection would create more pressure to accept a non-Haredi Ashkenazi rabbi.

Deri, a crackerjack if not ruthless politician, simply had to turn to his trusted rabbi, Rav Ovadia, to help make sure Rabbi Amar will not be selected and thereby prevent the election of Rabbi Stav.

It is open to question how much Deri and other aides close to Rav Ovadia have sheltered him from reality and have fed him the news they want him to read.

Regardless of who is to blame, when a  rabbi, especially one as distinguished as Rav Ovadia, states that appointing another rabbi to the Chief Rabbinate is like bringing idolatry in the Holy Temple, it only takes a look at the calendar to realize how deep and slimy the pit into which the campaign for Chief Rabbi has fallen.

Next week, Jews being the tradition “three weeks of mourning” that concludes with Tisha B’Av, marking the destruction of the First and Second Temples.

The Second Temple is said to have fallen because of “loshon haRa,” literally the “evil tongue” by which Jews slander other Jews.

The Tzohar rabbinical organization accused Rav Ovadia of doing just that and accused Rav Ovadia of incitement.

When respected rabbis feel the need to call on a rabbi as revered as Rav Ovadia to “repent,” it is clear something is not kosher.

Rabbi Stav has conducted an unprecedented self-promotional campaign to become Chief Rabbi, but it can easily be argued there is no other way to change the outward face inward soul of the Chief Rabbinate in Israel that has managed to distance secular Jews instead of drawing them closer to Judaism.

In a pitiful understatement, aides to Rabbi Amar have charged that political elements are sowing the seeds of hatred between Torah sages.

The group of Tzohar Rabbis protested what they called the incitement of Rabbi Yosef against “another great rabbi in Israel whose entire life has been dedicated to love of the Torah by the People of Israel.. [His comments] prove the need for an urgent change in the Rabbinate of Israel.”

Shas officials insisted on the last word, which gets worse every time they speak. They  said it is “not respectful to respond to words of a heretic by people who call themselves rabbis but are worse than non-Jews.”

One Shas source, compared Rabbi Stav with Korach, who challenged  Moses’ authority and whose followers died when the ground opened up and buried them alive. ” When Rav Ovadia says he [Rabbi Stav]is evil, there is no need to explain,” said the source. Now , it is clear that all of them [Tzohar rabbis] are evil.”

Rabbis and Secular Jews in Petition War over Jerusalem Area Mall

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Ten rabbis have signed a petition to boycott a mall in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot because of “issues of modesty” while secular residents are organizing a demonstration in support of the shopping mall.

The petition alleges that Haredi rabbis in the Ramot area struck an agreement with the mall developers on rules concerning modesty, according to the Globes business website.

The rabbis charge that the mall owners have gone beyond the agreement on the assumption that the Haredi community in Ramot has not alternative but to use the mall for immediate necessities.

The rabbis urge a total boycott of the mall except for the pharmacy and bank.

The Jerusalem party in the municipality’s city council said it will hold a pro-mall rally on Friday.

Jerusalem Residents Protest Plan to Close Cineplex on Shabbat

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Approximately Jerusalem residents, including Meretz party supporters, protested on front of City Hall Saturday night against a plan to close a new movie theater complex on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.

The complex, which includes restaurants and a 15-screen movie theater, is set to open this summer. It will close on weekends in keeping with an agreement between the Finance Ministry, the property developer and the Jerusalem municipality.

Among the groups protesting were Awakening, the Meretz political party and Be Free Israel.

 

 

Anorexia And Corrupt Dating Values In Our Community

Monday, April 18th, 2011

   The article last week in The New York Times concerning the explosion of anorexia and eating disorders in the Orthodox community highlights a tragedy that has long been buried.
 
   In November 2006 I wrote a column about an eighteen-year-old girl my daughter knew at a seminary in Jerusalem who died of anorexia (www.jewishpress.com/pageroute.do/19839). The seminary shrugged off any blame in the matter and cited some other illness, even though the girls at the seminary watched her wasting away with the administration seemingly oblivious.
 
   The tragedy is not only the danger posed to religious girls with eating disorders but also the growth of corrupt values in the Orthodox community. The Times article highlighted how matchmakers are calling about girls and asking what dress size they and their mothers are. What does this have to do with Jewish values? Sure, a man has to be attracted to a woman. But the narrow definition of the body as the only ingredient of attraction is a betrayal of the traditional Jewish definition of feminine beauty.
 
   Time was when a Jewish woman’s comeliness was determined holistically and based on five key components: her body, her mind, her heart, her piety, and her personality. Now, it’s been reduced to her dress size. Stick-thin scarecrow-like features are the foremost determinant of attractiveness.
 
   Being overweight is not healthy. But women who focus only on their bodies to the exclusion of their souls are equally unhealthy. And men who have practiced Judaism their entire lives but are blind to a woman’s righteousness and virtue, focusing exclusively on her form to the exclusion of her substance, are even more unhealthy.
 
   The crisis in Orthodoxy today is the practice of Jewish ritual to the exclusion of Jewish values. And in no area is this more evident than in the increasingly shallow dating preferences that are coming to define our community. King Solomon’s ode to the eishes chayil – the wife of excellence – we chant every Friday night risks becoming an empty refrain, with men paying lip service to its central proclamation that “physical beauty is misleading, but a woman who fears God is truly to be praised.”
 
   I never would have thought Orthodox Jews would arrive at a stage where our young men of marriageable have become so one-dimensional that their superficiality would begin to literally kill our young women. That their mothers – women themselves – are colluding in this corruption by calling the shadchan to ask a girl’s dress size in the same breath as asking about her level of Torah observance is doubly tragic.
 
   The Times article also cited the immense pressure Orthodox women feel to marry at a very young age and how they feel themselves to be failures if they are in their mid-twenties and not yet married with a few children.
 
   I have long advocated marrying young – for Orthodox and secular alike – because it allows a couple to grow up together and solidify their union with life’s formative experiences. But this has to be balanced against the benefits of young women being educated and using their minds, not just their wombs. It’s a beautiful thing to see Orthodox seminaries for women bursting at the seams. Jewish women today are being exposed to the great texts of Judaism, from Talmud and Midrash to halacha and chassidus. Stern and Touro are graduating Orthodox girls with degrees in international relations and public relations, girls proficient in the sciences and mathematics.
 
   Secular Jews have long dismissed the Orthodox attitude toward women as demeaning and misogynistic. They argue that we treat our girls as baby-making machines who belong in the kitchen. But the highly educated Orthodox Jewish woman gives the lie to these malicious accusations. Should we be so stupid as to prove our critics right by making women feel so much pressure to be married by the age of twenty? Is it not our responsibility to demonstrate that a woman can maximize her fullest intellectual potential alongside having a family and that she need not choose between them?
 
   I am, thank God, the proud father of nine children. I want my daughters to marry young and to marry virtuous men. I shudder at the idea that after my wife and I raised them to embody the virtue of the Jewish matriarchs, my daughters will meet Orthodox suitors obsessed with their external beauty to the exclusion of their inner spiritual commitment.
 
   I have spent my life critiquing the secular culture’s attitudes toward the feminine, especially in my book Hating Women, where I decry the reduction of women to a libidinous man’s plaything. But we in the Orthodox community dare not make our own mistake in reducing our women to pretty baby-making mannequins.
 
   Yes, family is the most important thing in Jewish life. And dating recreationally for ten years – as is common in secular society – is scant preparation for the lifelong commitment of marriage. I am a counselor to secular singles who suffer the effects of the recreational dating culture. They often experience the pain and heartache of endlessly going in and out of relationships.
 

   Orthodox Jewish life is meant to offer a radical alternative. But viewing women as frum Barbies, whose foremost responsibility is not learning Torah and practicing mitzvos but going on the treadmill and pumping iron, or seeing a woman’s education as inconsequential and making her feel old and discarded if she is not married by her early twenties, is hardly an attractive alternative.

 

 

    Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is the bestselling author of 25 books, most recently Honoring the Child Spirit” and Renewal: A Guide to the Values-Filled Life.” Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/anorexia-and-corrupt-dating-values-in-our-community/2011/04/18/

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