Photo Credit:
Rabbi Shneur Kotler

What this has wrought in my view is an unhealthy obsession with Frumkeit. Not observance. But Frumkeit. The kind that has little to do with Halacha but has everything to do with ‘membership’. If one wants to be considered a member in good standing of the Charedi world, he can no longer be an individual. He must do as he is told or he is out! And as we all know membership has its privileges. If one is a Charedi and is thrown out of the club – there can be no greater punishment than that. He will be an outcast that will not even get the benefits of charity if he needs it.

Think this is ridiculous? A canard by the Charedi bashers to make them look bad? Think again. From a translation of a Charedi editorial:

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The editor of the the weekly Charedi newspaper בקהילה, Avraham Dov Greenbaum, called on the Charedi charity organisations to not help help families where the parents did not vote for a Charedi party, either because they voted for a different party or didn’t vote at all.

You read that correctly. If you didn’t vote for a Charedi party, you have put yourself ‘Chutz L’Machaneh’ – outside the camp! You have no food on the table? Too bad. You didn’t listen to the Gedolim and voted wrong – or didn’t vote at all? Goodbye. Have a nice life!

This is sick! And yet a mainstream Charedi editor is advocating it.

Lest anyone say OK, this is Israel. US Charedim do not behave like that. Perhaps not. But it is not unreasonable to assume that they may act that way in the future as the right keeps turning to its right and looking to Israel as its model. This is already happening in education where some Charedi elementary and high schools in the US have abandoned any secular studies programs. And while others still have them, they are often degraded by their Rebbeim as a necessary evil forced upon them by the government.

Oh how I long for the days where we were normal. Not that I advocate going to the left. They have their own problems. But why can’t we strive for the golden mean? That point in the middle where normalcy lies? The point where our illustrious ancestors in Europe really lived? And not how the extremists of the right say they lived.

We need to get back to that. But as long as the right ignores the truth of history and looks Eastward for its paradigm we may as well start buying Burkas for our wives.

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Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.