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December 28, 2014 / 6 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘yeshiva students’

Rabbi Auerbach: Army Service Means Eradication of Judaism

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

Speaking on Saturday night, Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, one of the leading Lithuanian poskim (halachic authorities) for Haredi Ashkenazi Jews living in Israel, pursued his hard line on military service for yeshiva students: “This means the uprooting of religion, this problem concerns ‘klal Israel’ (all the Jews),” Kikar HaShabbt reported.

“I’m not here to deliver sermons,” Rabbi Auerbach opened his speech, calling for Haredi Israelis to “stand guard without any changes, because this is one of the fundamentals of the faith, in the category of ‘ye’hareg v’bal ya’avor’ (a commandment one must obey even at the cost of their own life).”

“If we wanted to compromise, we could have done it 2000 years ago, and yet throughout all those years many gave their lives for the sake of Torah. If we stick to our position, it will influence those who are far away from us as well, ” Rabbi Auerbach stressed.

“If we stand up for ourselves and make it clear that there is nothing to compromise about, then everyone will understand it. There’s no room for compromise on matters of ‘ye’hareg v’bal ya’avor.’ The Torah is the foundation of the existence of Israel. The Torah is the breath of our noses and we literally depend on it. The issue at hand is nothing short of eradicating our religion, which concerns all the Jews and we must stand as a bulwark to prevent it,” Rabbi Auerbach concluded his harsh message.

According to Kikar HaShabbt, prior to his attack on any attempt at instituting an “equal burden” regarding military service, Rabbi Auerbach had spoken at great length with Rabbi Yizhak Tuvia Weiss, head of the Haredi court, at Auerbach’s residence in Shaarei Chesed, Jerusalem, and it can by surmised that the unrelenting position expressed Saturday night represents a consensus with the Haredi world.

Almost at the same time as the Haredi leader’s speech, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was meeting with President Shimon Peres on live television, decrying the fact that his two largest potential coalition partners, Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett, were “boycotting” the Haredi parties and refuse to sit with them in his government.

Netanyahu blatantly accused the two parties of “baseless hatred,” which is easily as harsh a statement as Rabbi Auerbach’s, seeing as our tradition blames the destruction of the second Temple on baseless hatred.

For their part, Lapid and Bennett are arguing that it makes no difference to included in a government that sets out to reform Haredi enlistment the very parties that would do everything in their power to jeopardize such a reform.

Exclusive: Grad Lands In Naveh, Near Shocked Yeshiva Students

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

JewishPress.com received an eye witness account of a Grad missile that landed in Naveh, a mere 100 meters from the Otzem (Atzmona) Premilitary Academy.

Shocked yeshiva students had just finished lunch and were outside when the rocket slammed down in front of them, with shrapnel landing a mere few yards away from where they were standing.

No “Red Alert” siren sounded ahead of the attack.

The site is now teaming with IDF personnel, and all the yeshiva students have been ordered into bomb shelters.

It is suspected that this rocket may have been launched from Sinai, which would possibly explain why the “Red Alert” did not sound.

 

 

IDF to Recruit 8,000 Haredim Each Summer

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

The State’s response to petitions taken up by Israel’s Supreme Court regarding the IDF Haredi recruitment program reveals a plan to enlist yeshiva students en masse into the army starting in the summer of 2013, Ynet reported. The revised draft law will apply to all 18-year-olds, so that in two years some 14 thousand Haredim will be drafted.

At the same time, absent alternative legislation to replace the Tal Law, which expired a few months ago, tens of thousands of 19-30-year-old Haredim will receive a final exemption from military service.

The petition was filed with the high court by the Movement for Quality Government and other organizations.

The state’s response also reveals that the IDF has already begun the process of sorting yeshiva students born between 1994-1995, whose past legal definition used to be “Their Torah is their profession.” According to the recruitment program adopted by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, if the Tal Law is not replaced, these Haredim are expected to enlist as early as next summer and serve three full years.

The plan is to stagger their recruitment, to allow IDF manpower officials to study the process and draw conclusions, with the expectation that by 2015 full Haredi recruitment will be possible.

The IDF planners have been looking at placing the recruits in four combat battalions, including three battalions that will be established exclusively to absorb Haredi recruits. In addition, recruits will be tested for service in technological facilities, as well as non-military service in the Defense Ministry, the Ministry of Public Security, the police and the GSS (General Security Service or Shabak)..

New Israeli Haredi Consumer Is Savvy, Wielding Purchasing Power of $2.6 Billion

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Haredi consumers are not, by and large, part of Israel’s social protest movement, but their shopping savvy, it turns out, according to Globes, is evolving constantly.

“The Haredi consumer pays less for the same product” as his or her non-Haredi counterpart, says Ronen Gross, host of a daily show on finance titled “Mamonot” on the Radio Kol Chai station. This is because commercial vendors speak to Haredi consumers “at pocket level.”

Gross says that the Haredi consumer “examines with a microscope the price of each item, and has no problem skipping from one supermarket to another if they knows the same product is cheaper there. Every shekel is calculated.”

Gross argues that the fact that the Haredi consumer prefers to sign checks using the Hebrew date, in the end the Jewish holidays guide their decision on when to buy a new product and when it is discouraged by Jewish tradition to do so.

During periods in which tradition demands a particularly sober and restrained behavior, in memory of past troubles, Haredi consumers purchase mostly just basic goods.

“The Jewish calendar leads the Haredi pocket,” says Gross, commenting that “In general, the first priority is not money, but values and faith.”

But other elements in the Haredi sector insist that the consumption habits of the ultra-Orthodox society are starting to resemble those of secular society. Haredim take a vacation once a year, buy brand names and drink quality wine.

Yaakov Stern, CEO of Haredi ad agency “Meimad,” told Globes: “There is something new under the Shtreimel. The Haredi sector is dynamic, it isn’t not stagnant and it isn’t shut off in the past, as is commonly believed. Global trends do not skip it. The Haredi world is changing and its consumer behavior evolves constantly.”

Stern added that despite the stigmas attached to them, “the average Haredi is not just looking for cheap prices. They are aware of and consume brand name products, and will not compromise on quality.”

According to accounting firm BDO Ziv-Haft, the purchasing power of the ultra-Orthodox sector, which constitutes 11.3% of Israel’s population, is estimated at 10.5 billion shekel, or $2.6 billion per annum. With such buying power, it’s no wonder that commercial companies have been investing considerable resources and strategic efforts in the Haredi consumer in recent years.

Stern told Globes that Haredi consumers trust their newspapers, and so print ads yield good results. But some argue that the best Haredi promotion is still “AAA”—acronym for Isha Achat Amrah—This woman told me, meaning word of mouth.

But according to Stern, despite those quaint assertions, the Haredi advertising market rolls $184 million annually, reflecting an increase of 12.5% compared with 2010.

No one beats the Haredi consumer for brand loyalty, even if said brand is more expensive that newer alternatives. In 2010, the newspaper Ha’Mevaser published a survey showing that 38% of Haredi consumers said they prefer Coca Cola as their soft drink. Only 8% said they prefer a cheaper brand.

And 68% preferred the well established brand Osem for their snacks, compared with 18% that went with a cheaper brand.

Retailers agree the Haredi consumer is evolving. Avishai Fadlon, owner of apparel store “El Nino” in prestigious Herzliya, told Globes that “Haredim still buy white shirts, but the symbol on the shirt, the brand, has become important. If three years ago they would have bought three shirts for 100 shekels, today many are willing to pay 300 shekels for one name brand shirt.”

Doreen Trotzmn – Baruch, owner of the wig brand “Doreen wigs,” asserts that “in the past two years, awareness of quality wig which are more expensive has increased. Today, Women are willing to spend on a wig from 6,000 ($1,500) to 12,000 shekel ($3,000), and replace it every year or two, based on fashion, which was not the case five years ago.”

Haredi consumer savvy is reflected in the search for different ways to reduce the cost of goods, by joining clubs and organizing on a community basis.

“Every Haredi community Tzedaka Gabais, social activists, if you will, who obtain consumer goods, especially food, at good prices, by buying directly from the manufacturer,” Chaim Kliger, chief marketing officer for the newspaper Hamevaser and presenter of the “Friday Night” program on Radio Kol Chai, told Globes.

Kliger says you can always find classified ads that read: “Next week there will be a sale of meat,” and then “a truck will arrive at a particular location, where the driver will sell the reduced price products. Many come by and save as much as 30%,” Kliger says, adding, “this selling method is in high gear before the holidays.”

Another way to buy cheaply is offered by the “TaTim,” the Tomchay Torah – supporters of Torah organizations. According to Kliger, “these are organizations of yeshiva students who manage to obtain clothing and footwear for their fellow yeshiva students, especially young men who are about to get married, at cheap rates of as much as 40% below store prices. Before the holidays it becomes a whole industry.”

The “Chinese auctions,” so popular in Orthodox communities in the U.S., have found their way to Israel, too. These are sales fairs, organized by various charity organizations, which raffle off electric appliances, furniture and baby products.

According to Globes, Israeli Haredim remain frugal in one notable area: vacation. Only 10.9% of the Haredi population have opted to travel abroad for their vacations in 2010, compared with 47% who vacationed in Israel. At the same period, 43.6% of secular Israelis vacationed abroad, and 59.8% vacationed in Israel.

The Soul of the Stranger

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Israel faces a genuine dilemma about the best way to handle the influx of African refugees and migrants. Many people are already debating the policy decisions that will need to be made in this regard.

Of greater concern to me than the specific arguments in this debate, is the shocking naked racism and hatred for Africans that it has exposed across all levels and sectors of Israeli society. From elected officials to people in the street, from the highly educated secular upper class to yeshiva students to the working poor, numerous Israelis seem to share a lexicon and intellectual framework which denigrates and dehumanizes Africans, belittles their suffering, and trivialized their plight. This in and of itself should sound an alarm for all of us that something is seriously amiss in the core of our culture and society. When the tone set by such speech boils over into outright acts of physical brutality, how can we fail to realize that we must, as a society, engage in introspection and self-evaluation?

I hesitate to write the following lines because I believe everything I have to say should be self-evident. There is something inappropriate about writing a formal religious discourse about a matter of values that should be so elementary as to require no explanation. In light of the apparent need for this article I have elected to compose it; I do so with a heavy heart. I also regret that I have little novel to write. Most of what can be said on this subject should be familiar to anyone with a passing familiarity with Jewish texts.

The Torah tells us that God chose Abraham because he was confident that he would instruct his descendants to follow a path of righteousness and kindness (Genesis 18:19). The midrash (Devarim Rabba 3:4) takes this further, and says that there are three distinctive characteristics of the Jewish people: they are meek, merciful, and perform acts of kindness.

The Torah reiterates on many occasions that Jews should be especially sensitive and caring towards the stranger in their midst, for we ourselves were once strangers in the land of Egypt. Rashi (Exodus 22:20) understands that the salient feature of a “stranger” is that he is displaced from his homeland. That is why he is deserving of special compassion, and that is the basis of the comparison between strangers in Israel and the Jews’ status in Egypt. Other rabbinic interpretations focus this message on the convert to Judaism, but Rashi’s simple reading of the verse stands: in a majority Jewish country, we must be especially sensitive to the rights and feelings of minority groups, because of our own unique history of oppression in alien societies.

Performing acts of kindness in a discriminatory manner is seen as a sign of corruption. The chasida (commonly translated as stork) is singled out as a non-kosher bird, even though its name means “the kind one,” because, according to our rabbis, it is kind only to its own species. The kindness for one’s own species is transformed into a perverse act when it is part of a pattern of abuse towards outsiders.

Above and beyond imploring us to perfect our actions, our rabbis were concerned with the nature of our speech. They repeatedly implored us to speak respectfully to, and of, every person. In tractate Avot, they reminded us to greet every person first and with a welcoming face, and that the most honored person is the one who accords others honor. The right path that a person should choose, they instructed there, is one which engenders the respect of God by those who observe it.

In tractate Yoma (86a) they went much further, singling out the public disgrace of God’s name as one transgression that cannot be atoned for, even through repentance on the Day of Atonement. What constitutes such a transgression? A person known to be devout and pious, who does not speak gently with others and conduct his affairs with integrity. Outrageous racist statements, parroted from the most disgraceful historical antecedents, certainly run afoul of this teaching.

Building Israel as a utopian Jewish nation should not entail inflicting suffering on others. Rambam (Hil. Melachim 12:4) writes that the sages and prophets did not desire the messianic era of Israel “in order to conquer the entire world, or to oppress the gentiles…,” rather only “to be free to study the Torah and its wisdom without persecution and interruption, and thus merit the world to come.”

Israel’s Supreme Court Dismisses Law Absolving Yeshiva Students from Army

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

A majority of Israel’s Supreme Court judges on Tuesday accepted petitions against the Tal Law, which provides an exemption from military service to yeshiva students. The ruling also reveals the sharp differences between outgoing, activist Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch, who advocated nullification of the law, and the incoming president of the incoming, conservative Chief Asher Grunis who sought to reject the petitions.

Beinisch wrote: “Time has proven that the law has not fulfilled its underlying purposes, and, in fact, anchored the law, almost entirely, in the deferment arrangement that existed prior to its enactment and vice versa.”

The new Chief Justice for his part, wrote: “I would have preferred that the court avoid the issue altogether, leaving it in the public sphere, outside the realm of the court.”

Yair Lapid Laments Possible Tal Law Extension on Facebook

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Former media personality Yair Lapid has again used Facebook to elaborate on his political platform, this time focusing on the controversial Tal Law that exempts draft-age yeshiva students from military service for a certain period of time.

Lapid wrote, “Warning. They are going to deceive you! By the 31st of July, they will call this by another name and take their time, but behind our backs, as always, they will extend the Tal Law again.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/yair-lapid-laments-possible-tal-law-extension-on-facebook/2012/02/07/

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