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November 30, 2015 / 18 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘tolerance’

DM Ya’alon Advises ‘Zero Tolerance’ on Violence Against Hareidi Soldiers

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon advised the government Thursday to show “zero tolerance” when dealing with violence against IDF soldiers from the hareidi community.

Hareidi-religious recruits are almost always immediately ostracized for enlisting in the IDF. They face rejection, vicious criticism and sometimes outright violence from their communities of origin when they pass on the street or share public transportation with other community members.

Speaking to reporters about the issue on Thursday, Ya’alon labeled the violence against hareidi soldiers “intolerable.”

He added that he is calling upon “heads and leaders of the hareidi community to act towards eliminating this unacceptable trend from within their community, as well as expelling the violent perpetrators.”

The IDF began several years ago to mandate service from within the hareidi-religious population as well as from the secular sector.

Service for those who are observant Jews is a much more complex matter, however, due to restrictions on relations between the genders, kashruth parameters and other Torah observance issues.

There have been cases of officers who do not allow the accommodations for the hareidi-religious soldiers under their command as they are required to do under IDF regulations. This has created untenable situations for the soldiers in a number of instances and difficult dilemmas for everyone else as well, politically and militarily. As a result, many hareidi rabbonim still advise the yeshiva students in their communities to avoid army service if at all possible due to the difficulties involved.

Extremist factions within the hareidi communities have attempted to enforce those edicts with violence.

Working Toward Abuse-Free Yeshivas

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

What can a yeshiva do to institute practices that will help prevent any form of abuse?

Our community has become a focal point of scrutiny for not responding with greater fervor to the allegations and occurrence of sexual abuse. Not only does this create pain and suffering for victims and their families, it greatly undermines the very institutions built to help protect them. Yeshivas are bedrocks of our community, not only for education but also as a safe harbor for our children.

The following suggested course of action, though by no means comprehensive, provides a frame of reference for yeshivas, day-care centers and similar entities to adopt or to strengthen current action plans.

Establish standards: This gives principals, deans, executive directors and boards of directors an organized plan and a system to implement for both prevention and response.

In May 2003 Torah Umesorah issued its Statement on Behavioral Standards on the Prevention and Response to Child Molestation. Torah Umesorah reissued this in July 2007. Professor Aaron Twerski and I prepared these behavioral and reporting standards at the behest of roshei yeshiva “for principals to implement in their yeshivas and day schools, which, it is hoped, will strengthen the protection of students.”

Create a zero tolerance mindset: The proliferation of drugs in public schools in the 1980s led to the popularization of the drug-free school concept. This involved the development of a strong and active plan by administrators, faculty, parents, police and the community and greatly strengthened the ability to keep drugs out of schools, thus keeping children safer.

Key points of an abuse-free yeshiva include: training faculty in prevention and response; sending a clear message to students and parents that disclosure of any inappropriate conduct will be confidentially investigated; letting victims of abuse know they will be supported; and fostering a perception and understanding that perpetrators will be reported and prosecuted. All this creates a clear mindset of a zero tolerance policy.

Fingerprint all faculty and employees of the yeshiva: This is currently required in public schools, though not in private schools. True, it is an added expense, albeit an important one. This system would immediately alert the school of any employee previously convicted of any crime, including sexual abuse, as well as notify the school of any arrests that occur while s/he is in their employ.

There are too few child molesters in our community who have been arrested and prosecuted and few are registered sex offenders. Thus we are far away from a foolproof system. Yet if we collectively implement the fingerprinting of all yeshiva faculty and employees, yeshivas over time will become safer havens to teach and nurture our children.

Elliot Pasik, Esq, president of the Jewish Board of Advocates for Children (JBAC) has long advocated for fingerprinting in schools and he stresses that one should not underestimate how favorably parents will view yeshivas that voluntarily undertake this important step as an additional measure to protect their children.

Follow the law: The Torah Umesorah guidelines state that when there is reason to believe such a violation has occurred, the reporting of fondling, touching or any form of lewdness is not considered mesirah.

Kol Tzedek, a program under the purview of the office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, is a good resource for training faculty or providing guidance on mandated reporting law.

It is known that child molesters groom children, which first involves gaining their trust. This opens the door for the molester to abuse the child, subsequently instilling shame or fear in the youngster and inhibiting the victim from coming forward.

Following the law opens the door on reporting, thus hopefully closing the door on abuse.

David Mandel is chief executive officer of OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services and can be reached at dm@ohelfamily.org.

EJC’s Kantor Unveils Model Bill for Europe on Regulating Ritual Slaughter

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor unveiled a model bill designed to set “strict legal terms” on religious freedoms for the continent.

Kantor, who is also co-chairman of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation, or ECTR, presented the model bill on Oct. 15 at the European Parliament.

Designed to delineate the legal boundaries of tolerance in light of “anti-Semitism, racism and attempts to limit freedom of worship in Europe,” the document proposes to enshrine Jewish and Muslim religious slaughter practices, shechitah and halal, as well as ritual circumcision. It also recognized the state’s right to regulate the practices.

Citing “overriding” public safety reasons, the bill proposes to ban burkas and other face-covering headgear. Kantor said he hoped the parliaments of European Union member states adopt the principles laid down in the model bill in legislation, as “only by defining the boundaries of real tolerance can we ensure it.”

The model bill was co-authored by Aleksander Kwasniewski, a former Polish president and co-chair of ECTR, a Brussels-based NGO comprised of Nobel Peace Prize laureates, several former heads of states and others recognized for urging tolerance.

Under the model bill, “migrants who refuse to learn the local language may face deportation due to their unwillingness to integrate,” said Yoram Dinstein, one of the documents’ co-authors and an Israeli expert in international law.

“Many support tolerance as an abstract idea but find it hard to specify how it should be applied,” Dinstein told JTA. “This document tries to translate aspirations into practice.”

Using Donkeys to Kill Sacred Cows?

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Some 5,000 people marched in Jerusalem’s “Gay Pride” parade on Thursday, upsetting many residents and contributing very little to the spirit of tolerance. While in Tel-Aviv the parade enjoys massive local support, the insistence on conducting it in the holiest city in the world regularly upsets even liberal minded religious Jews.

Some Orthodox Jewish men gathered in the Meah Shearim neighborhood to protest the parade with a counter-parade featuring a small herd of donkeys adorned with sheets with the slogan: Proud Donkey. (We could have used the other, legitimate English word for Equus africanus asinus, but there must be several considerations of good taste and proper style why we shouldn’t in this context.)

Mahmoud Abbas’ Adviser Visits Auschwitz

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

An adviser to Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas visited Auschwitz on Friday.

Ziad al-Bandak, a Christian who advises Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Christian affairs, visited prisoner blocs, gas chambers and a crematorium in the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex in Poland, The Associated Press reported.

He visited at the invitation of a private Polish foundation that promotes tolerance.

In 2007, the Palestinian and Israeli ambassadors to Poland made a joint visit to the memorial, according to the Huffington Post.

Al-Bandak, who came at the invitation of a private Polish foundation promoting tolerance, laid flowers at the Death Wall in Auschwitz, where Polish resistance fighters were summarily executed and placed a light at the monument to the camp’s victims.

Let’s Connect…Diversely

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Living in 2012 means being ‘connected.’ We are ‘connected’ to our cell-phones, our emails, our Facebook ‘Friends’ , and various email lists of interest.

In a world of so many ‘connections’, it’s hard to believe that connecting to our own family- our fellow Jews, would be such an elevated challenge. Indeed, on one such email list, the following story was posted on a few days ago:

” ….my grandchildren, who look quite obviously Haredi, came to visit me in my town, which is overwhelmingly of a National Religious character. My 13 year-old son took them to the park and immediately, the resident children at play, began to shout epithets at my grandchildren, ‘Stinky dirty Haredim,’ they cried. ‘Go play in your own parks.’…grandchildren who immediately left the park and returned to my home to spend the rest of their visit indoors and safe from the hatred extended toward them during what should have been a pleasant visit to Grandma.”

While kids will be kids (and yes, kids can be cruel even if their parents are far from it), and while the same has happened in (so-called) Haredi communities to those not complying with their local fashion of dress, and while these may just be isolated incidents in a park that usually portrays unity and friendliness, I am still profoundly appalled and disturbed to read of such an event.

“Why bad things happen to good people” is the cardinal question to which even Moshe Rabbeinu didn’t get a clear answer (according to one opinion in Tractate Berachot 7a). Thus, I am not about to say that the above incident is a ‘heavenly sign’ of sorts. However, when bad things occur, all will agree (ibid, 5a) that it’s a good time for a wake-up call – to ask if our actions, deeds, educational system, and general behavior is where is should be.

While I feel remain deeply privileged to be part of such a special community, “perfection” is a word that only exists in the dictionary. As we head deeper into these Three Weeks of mourning, a time still upon us due to the “Sinat Chinam” – senseless hatred – that dominated the eve of the 2nd Temple destruction (Tractate Yoma 9b), allow me to bring up three issues that I humbly believe should be reiterated, and refurbished in our actions, when such an event can transpire during such a sensitive time of the year:

Tolerance to some – Jews have usually been tolerant to groups that stand far from their own vantage point and lifestyle. Thus, I can naturally see the very same kids in the park acting cordially to secular Jews, and even to non-Jews as well. Ironically, the “challenge” of tolerance begins when we meet a group of people who share 85% of our own lifestyle; they daven thrice daily, they keep kosher homes, they devote time to learning Torah, they adhere to a standard of modesty and of course, they are Shomer Shabbat. It’s here that, for some reason, we don’t have the same “tolerance” that we bestow upon those that seem far our own lifestyle! Is it a sense of danger, lack of self-confidence or something else, that naturally allows us to be “tolerant” towards groups far from where we stand, and yet so judgmental and intolerant towards ones that are so similar? If we are to be tolerant, then it should be directed to all sides of the spectrum, especially those that are within the realm of Shemirat Torah Umitzvot. Yes, the 15% of dressing differently, our relationship towards the State of Israel, secular endeavors, joining the army and more, will still be “dividers” between our respective communities, and strong debates will yet go on. But will our level of tolerance towards groups who have passed the 15% mark be extended to those closer to it?  If we believe in Tolerance, it can and should run the entire gamut.

Diversity is not a dirty word – Beyond the need for tolerance towards those closer to us, I believe a deeper challenge lies before our communities, one that is not being spoken about enough in the “heat of the debate” in Israel of late; diversity is not a “b’diavad” – it’s not an Ex Post Facto of “three Jews, five opinions,” or the hardships of our long exile! Rather, it’s my view that, after accepting and fulfilling the “Yoke of Heaven,” – the dictates of Jewish Law -that God never intended for all of us to be the same:

How to Handle the Current Market Volatility

Monday, July 9th, 2012

When you opened your morning newspaper recently (or these days clicked on the headlines), what did you see? Let’s take a look at some of the things that you might have noticed:

  • According to a report in The Wall Street Journal on June 21st 2012, the United States … unemployment rate went up by a tick to 8.2% – the first such increase in almost a year.
  • Greece threatens to default… again!
  • Facebook IPO stalls

None of this news exactly inspires confidence in world markets. If you are the kind of person that gets seriously worried by news events, it may be difficult to smile. However, before you call your money manager to sell your portfolio, remember that today’s news becomes tomorrow’s history, and that no one can predict tomorrow’s news. For all you know, next week’s headlines may be a lot more optimistic.

For this reason, instead of basing investment decisions on today’s headlines, it might be wise to think about the fundamental reasons why you invest. How do you decide what stocks and funds to buy? On what do you base your investment decisions? Are they based on how many Americans are going to be working this year, or on where the world will be in five years?

Ask yourself two things: 1. What is your tolerance for risk? Can you hang on through the ups and downs? If no, don’t get involved in the market in the first place. 2. Do you need risk? Depending on the amount of money you have and your expenses, you may not need to take on so much risk.

If you have both tolerance for risk and your financial plan calls for risk, learn about stocks in the online stock course at www.LearnAboutInvestments.com. If you lack either or both of these traits, that’s fine. It just means that the stock market might not be the right place for you. It’s not for everyone.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/goldstein-on-gelt/how-to-handle-the-current-market-volatility/2012/07/09/

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