No Disengagement from Another Jew’s Pain

letter-447577_1280

During past discussions here and elsewhere, several writers referred to what they perceived as a strict division between the Chareidi and Modern Orthodox/Religious Zionist groups, especially in Israel. One commenter said, for example, “Each group is focused on its own issues, and has little interest in, or sympathy for, the other.”

An interesting footnote to that discussion arrived in today’s e-mail, in the form of a special Maos Chittim appeal from Agudath Israel. [Literally, Maos Chittim means “money for wheat”; in modern parlance it is a charitable appeal to support Passover expenses for the poor.] As they have taken great pains to point out in the past, the financial situation of those learning Torah in Israel has taken a dramatic turn for the worse, following extreme cutbacks in support for both yeshivos and families with small children while Bibi Netanyahu was Finance Minister.

So in addition to the regular “Overseas Passover Fund” from Agudath Israel, this year they launched a special appeal, as mentioned above — for the evacuees from Gush Katif.

More people than ever in Agudath Israel’s “core constituency” are in need of funds — and their special appeal, “in keeping with a call from the Gedolei Eretz Yisrael [the leading Torah scholars residing in Israel],” is not for chareidi Kollel students, but for the hard-working residents of Gush Katif now searching for work.

As someone said to me, he wished this weren’t even remarkable. But given the perceptions of too many of the religious public (of all stripes), it is a Kiddush HaShem, a Sanctification of G-d’s Name of the highest order.

Indeed, “we must not forget our brothers and sisters from Gush Katif.” And thank you to the Agudah for emphasizing that political affiliation doesn’t determine brotherhood. No one asked me to post this, but here’s how to respond:

Gush Katif Pesach Fund
Agudath Israel of America
42 Broadway, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10004
or call 888-749-8611

They take Visa/MC for charges of $50 or more.

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7 Responses

  1. YosefW says:

    David Miller wrote: “Excuse me? Didn’t UTJ (Agudah) prop up the government for the disengagement in exchange for money for their yeshivos?”

    In response: 1- Agudah in America is not affiliated very strongly with UTJ. Anyone within the community can recognize many issues in which their opinions will differ.
    2- More to the point: what does the decision about the disengagement (made by rhe Torah leaders of UTJ) have to do with helping out those dislocated?! A decision was made that this is the best move for the country; nonetheless (and all the more so) we must help out those hurt by that decision (even though they disagreed with it). There is no contradiction at all! This appeal (endorsed by the major gedolim in E.Y.) can only be applauded.

  2. Bob Miller says:

    Which is more important today, getting urgently needed money to the victims by whatever means or attempting to shame some of the givers?

    “Where were you when X happened? But where were you when Y happened?…” ad infinitum. This divisive type of interaction is a root cause of our present exile. Get over it!

  3. Jewish Observer says:

    “If you want to help through a group that’s been with the people of Gush Katif before, during and after the disengagement, try the National Council of Young Israel”

    but what if one wants to help through a group that is connected with daas torah?

  4. TzviNoach says:

    Maybe they want to atone for having enabled the disengagement. Or maybe they want to deflect attention from that. If you want to help through a group that’s been with the people of Gush Katif before, during and after the disengagement, try the National Council of Young Israel (www.ncyi.org).

  5. David Miller says:

    Excuse me? Didn’t UTJ (Agudah) prop up the government for the disengagement in exchange for money for their yeshivos?

  6. Steve Brizel says:

    This is certainly a step in the right direction. There is a lot of buzz re a parlor meeting for Kehilos HGush in the Five Towns that is sponsored by many of the rabbanim and RY and at which R Krohn and RHS will both be speaking.

  7. Jewish Observer says:

    I agree that Agudah’s efforts here should be applauded and encouraged. if we are really sincere about the actual cause of unity in klal yisroel let us not make Agudah feel “self conscious” about doing the right thing