Haredim Are Not The Big, Bad Volf


Sometimes, you have to step out of the ring to get the best view of the fight.

An article in The New Republic http://www.tnr.com/article/world/100135/tk-haredim is probably the most level-headed and balanced piece you are going to see on Life After Beit Shemesh. It has plenty of blame for all parties, but treats the haredi world much more fairly than others. It even ends on an optimistic note.

Perhaps most significantly, the piece was sent to us by an important figure in the DL community in Beit Shemesh, simply in the pursuit of truth and accuracy. That’s something we need to see more of!

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Baruch Gitlin
3 years 9 months ago

A very good article. I think the article’s conclusion should be studied carefully:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could secure a second term with a more solid majority if he produced a new civic covenant between haredim and Israeli society. But Netanyahu will have to stop acting like a Chicago alderman and start acting like a national leader. Rather than tending his coalition above all else, he must take risks. He should leverage the generous subsidies the haredim currently enjoy to force the rabbis to control the bullies and accept more responsibilities as Israeli citizens. Needed reforms include teaching a core… Read more »

Joe Hill
3 years 9 months ago

There certainly was opposition by segments of Jewry residing in Palestine pre-48 against the establishment of the medina. In fact, it was so strong that they petitioned the United Nations against calling for a Jewish state. Archives from these petitions by Orthodox Jewish groups in Palestine from the 40’s and 50’s are today available on the official U.N. website.

[YA – A good source on the historical background to these petitions remains the Artscroll biography of R Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, Guardian Of Jerusalem.]

3 years 9 months ago

Thank you, YA for “honest reporting”.

Erics of the world need to know the truth and realize that this “Treife State (sarcastic)” is a newer idiom embraced by many.
Rav YC Sonnenfeld allowed chilul shabbos in order to buy properties/homes/real estate from Arabs and Goyim to increase yishuv b’eretz.

dr. bill
3 years 9 months ago

Raymond, I agree. however, finding the shvil hazahav takes time and leadership helps. said otherwise, only modern orthodoxy, i.e. an orthodoxy that operates in the present, survives. (if u read rav hirsch’s attacks on ramabam, there is a lesson on how accommodation by (an eternal) Torah with (changing) modernity operates.) if it is YU, YCT, the programmers/web designers from lakewood or bnai brak, the DL, the sephardi model, the chassidic business men, the grey hats of cross-currents or some yet newer models, only time will tell. it is much easier to say what it will not be than what… Read more »

3 years 9 months ago

“Including those who lived in Israel before 1948, they never asked for, and never wanted, to be part of the state. It is the state that has attempted to impose itself on them”

What you have written in an accurate statement YET is it true? Even in 1948 was there a majority or minority of Jewish residents that did not embrace the founding of the Jewish State? If so, would they agree or be pleased with turning back the clock? Not all residents of Israel pre-1948 were of the Charedei Yishuv HaYashan persuasion. (check out the Rivlin, Kook, etc.… Read more »

3 years 9 months ago

Personally, I think that both the Secular Left and the Ultra-Orthodox do not have both oars in the water. Both sides suffer from excessive narrow-mindedness, with the Secular Left suffering from a bit less depth of thought while the Ultra-Orthodox may be a bit less in touch with the reality of everyday existence. I think that the right approach to life is a reconciliation of these two extremes, the way Rav Hirsch did so, never compromising Jewish values while refusing to be ignorant of what the finest in secular culture has to offer. The Rambam himself would undoubtedly… Read more »

Eric Leibman
3 years 9 months ago

While you are right that the author has many positive things to say, I am troubled by some of the undercurrents in some of his statements. He appears to think that Charedim abandoning their world is a good thing and that balances the scales. In other words, don’t worry, wink, wink, you don’t have to fear being overwhelmed by these people because their kids are defecting to the secular world.

I have spent many years doing what I can to help the state of Israel generally and the towns of Judea and Samaria in particular. But I understand the Charedi antipathy… Read more »

E. Fink
3 years 9 months ago

Good article. Although it is hardly reassuring that we need not fear Charidism because many of their own are escaping the community. That’s a problem or symptom of a problem, not a solution.