United Torah Judaism on Tuesday posted a new election video which caused a great deal of anger in Israel, mostly because it shows dogs wearing yarmulkes, the message being that the High Court would recognize them, too, as Jews, just as it did this week regarding Reform and Conservative conversions (see Haredim Condition Future Coalition on Override Clause to Erase High Court’s Reform Conversions Ruling; and Uproar as High Court Recognizes Reform and Conservative Conversions).
Opposition leader Yair Lapid tweeted in response: “My father once told me that there was a big sign in the parliament in Budapest: ‘No entry for Jews and dogs.’ Anti-Semites in every generation always compared Jews to dogs. Now United Torah Judaism has joined them. Disgusting.
אבא שלי סיפר לי פעם שעל הפרלמנט בבודפשט היה שלט גדול: ״אין כניסה ליהודים וכלבים״.
אנטישמים בכל הדורות תמיד השוו בין יהודים לכלבים. עכשיו יהדות התורה הצטרפה אליהם. גועל נפש.
זה או ממשלת ביבי, יהדות התורה ובן גביר או ממשלה שפויה. pic.twitter.com/nAF1dUob5J
— יאיר לפיד – Yair Lapid? (@yairlapid) March 2, 2021
The Ne’emanei Torah Va’Avodah movement (lit. Loyalists of Torah and Labor) said Wednesday morning that “another red line has been crossed today in our treatment of our brethren who represent millions of Jews around the world. As an Orthodox movement, we feel extremely concerned. When ignorance and a polarizing discourse combine forces, we reach a low point of brotherly hatred.”
The chairman of the UTJ faction in the Knesset, MK Yitzhak Ze’ev Pindrus, said earlier this week about a female soldier who underwent military Jewish conversion that she is “a shiksa, a gentile, if she converted in an IDF conversion she is not Jewish by the halachic definition. She may be a Righteous Among the Nations, in the end, her father is a Jew and her mother a gentile –her father doesn’t matter, there is the unchangeable Torah of Israel that Moshe Rabbeinu brought down from Mount Sinai.”
Besides insulting an IDF soldier, and mocking the IDF conversions, Pindrus’s assertion is wrong regarding the Jewish halacha’s treatment of the children of Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers. They are considered “the seed of Israel” who must be encouraged to convert to Judaism, unlike complete gentiles who are first refused and rejected before they are allowed to convert. Indeed, the IDF conversion process is largely encompassing soldiers who are blood relatives of Jews and as such entitled to a softer accommodation in pursuing their Jewish identity.
Pindros apologized Tuesday night in an interview with News12, saying, “The word Shiksa was out of place. If I wanted to insult anyone, I should have looked for someone other than a female soldier serving in the IDF.”
Especially not a female soldier who, according to halacha, is entitled to a loving treatment as she seeks to convert. Brush up your Shulchan Aruch.
Finally, UTJ did not make up the Bark Mitzvah concept. According to Wiki, a Bark Mitzvah is an observance and celebration of a dog’s coming of age, like the Jewish traditional Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah. The first recorded Bark Mitzvah took place in Beverly Hills, California, in 1958 (tell me you’re shocked). According to the Beverly Hills Courier, Max and Janet Salter celebrated the coming of age of their black cocker spaniel Duke of Windsor (Windy for short). Janet coined the term “Bark Mitzvah” on the invitations. Over the next 50 years, Max and Janet threw several more Bark Mitzvahs whenever one of their dogs turned 13.
The Bark Mitzvah ceremony may take place when your dog turns 13 months or 13 years of age. During some Bark Mitzvahs, dogs wear a tallit, and male dogs wear a yarmulke. We looked and didn’t find a reference to a Bark Mitzvah dog putting on tefillin. But, again, we won’t be shocked if it’s been done.