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By October 19, 2017 Read More →

#JewishDayOfRage Challenge – Understand ‘Charedim’ and Stop Bashing Them

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Today has been coined, the ‘Jewish Day of Rage’ by certain sectors within the Charedi community, and as a result, on social media a considerable amount of ‘Charedi bashing’ has been taking place using the hashtag, #JewishDayofRage.

I literally have 5 minutes to write this between switching clients, but I want to make the following points:

-I’m not out in any way out to defend the disgusting behaviour of the Charedi Yeshiva Bochrim who as we all saw on the video clip, harassed and spat on the female soldier.

-I’m not out in any way to defend the way we hear the words, ‘Nazim’ shouted by them at the army who come to defuse their stupid demonstrations.

-I’m not out to defend in any way their demonstrations which involve garbage burning and waste our time sitting in buses and traffic, waste police time and cause a chilul hashem in the eyes of many.

-I’m not out in any way to excuse the normative line of the Charedi leadership, who term the need to conscript to the Israeli army, ‘ Gezerat Hagiyus’, the decree of enrollment in the army. The mainstream Charedi attitude to the army stinks and is immoral and unethical.

-I’m not out in any way to defend the Anti-Zionist stance of the mainstream Charedi leadership who continue to live in total utopia.

I’m out to make the following 6 points:

There is complexity, plurality and division in the Charedi community  which reflects things are changing on the ground, hopefully for the good. You can’t generalize and whitewash all, ‘Charedim’. There are more liberal elements who do support being more part of the State, including doing national service and working. As far as I understand, Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman is part of this trend, as well as other Charedi Gedolim. They have realized that the existing model simply doesn’t work and has no future.

Charedi Hi-Tech is booming in Israel. Go and see how many Charedi men and women do work and are succeeding despite their lack of initial school education. Many have had to retrain later in life, and still have been able to make careers for themselves. At times,  I have worked alongside Charedim and their discipline and quality of work is very impressive.

-Let’s not forget or take for granted the contribution the Charedi sector makes to Jewish learning and culture in this country. Their commitment to learning, chessed, modesty and family values. Yes, there are serious problems, but we have lots to learn from them too.

The previous generation of Charedi leadership, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach z’l for instance, did show recognition towards the State, including supporting serving in the army and working and forbade demonstrating and public disturbance. Since his death, Rav Shlomo Zalman’s son Rav Shmuel, leads the extreme sector, who provoke their students to go out and demonstrate. But, there are equally, other Charedi Roshei Yeshiva who forbid their students to demonstrate.

– Despite what many think, living the ‘Charedi Yeshivish’ lifestyle is miserable for many of them. Many of those learning do not suit learning all day and are bored out their minds. The families live in poverty and women are not given the opportunities they want. The problem is in the leadership, not with the people.

The Charedi leadership are trapped in a rarefied mindset when they are attempting to re-live life in the shteitel in Poland here in Israel, when it wasn’t so good there either! The problem is with the leadership – Empathize with the regular people. 

I know I have just tipped the iceberg here and if I more time to write I would, but please today, instead of slagging off hundreds of thousands of Jews, spend the day trying to understand and yes, even feel sympathy for the fact that they are trapped in a system they never chose to be in and doesn’t suit the majority of them.


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