One Week Later: Time for some Questions

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13 Responses

  1. Mo says:

    A caller to a radio program under frum auspices in NY, by the name of Shlomo, stated on the air that some of the involved youth have recently seen or know of such type of behavior among some of certain Chassidic groups, such as Satmar and Bobov, related to succession issues. He basically said that if kids see that type of thing among their elders, is it so surprising that they reacted similarly ?

  2. Bob Miller says:

    Mo, did Shlomo offer anything more than a personal guess?

  3. Shlomo says:

    “(They certainly didn’t see it in our homes.)”

    I’m not sure exactly what you mean by that. Do chareidi children see their parents denigrate “goyim,” government officials and other authority figures? Are our children raised in insular environments that paint this world as an Us (the holy, righteous and pure) versus Them (the evil, immoral sinners) struggle?

    The youth may not have been taught to protest violently in the streets, but our children have been taught to disrespect gentiles and those in positions of power.

    Unfortunately, until children are taught that the non-religious/non-Jewish have innate value as beings endowed with souls and a tzelem elokim, we will continue to see this sort of behaviour in frum communities.

    I would like to point out that this violence and disregard for gentile property seems to occur with greater frequency (and intensitiy) amongst Chassidic youth (both in the US and Israel), children who are raised with the teachings of the Tanya etc. of the non-Jew being inferior and possessing merely an animal soul.

  4. David Brand says:

    “If the exact same mistreatment of a respected, elderly Jewish individual occurred in the Jewish communities of Scranton, Pennsylvania or Seattle, Washington, would this type of protest occur? And, if you feel that it would not occur, why do you think it wouldn’t?”

    Fascinating question. Perhaps the reasons might have something to do with the reasons why Jews walking the streets of Chicago (and other similar non-New York communities) on Shabbos wish each other “Good Shabbos” even if they are perfect strangers. The same reason that people who aren’t in New York (or Eretz Yisroel, for that matter) don’t shove each other as much in public when trying to get to the same place. There are a lot of Yidden who need to get out a little and see that we’re just a very tiny minority. We wouldn’t take each other for granted. I am reminded of the airport minyanim that I’ve davened in. I have never been happier to see other Jews. I think that a certain mindset filters in when we feel that we’re in the majority, which can only happen when Yidden live in tightly packed areas that are nearly all Orthodox. We fall into the trap of feeling that we run things. Put a Yid like that in Minneapolis, and his attitude will quickly change.

  5. Micha says:

    And during that week we hear stories from Israel promising rioting in Yerushalayim because someone was accused of killing his infant — after teethmarks on that infant match his bite!

    We need nothing less than refocusing our definition of Judaism to remember that derekh eretz (proper interaction in this world) is a prerequisite for Torah.

    It’s a bold statement, but it’s Rav Yisrael Salanter’s — not mine.

    Orthodoxy is no longer fighting for survival. Back when we were in “rebuild mode”, it was natural that we focused on that which defines us in distinction to the non-Orthodox Jewish movements and western civ in general. And so while we all know intellectually that we’re no less obligated to pay our employee as we are to buy an esrog, we do not internalize that in our behavior.

    We need to talk about moral dilemmas at the Shabbos table (with thanks to R’ David Hojda’s recent Jewish Action article), teach the laws of tzedaqah and fiscal honesty starting from early grade school, and in general get our children thinking in terms of interpersonal mitzvos from an early age, so that they’re internalized as part of our gut-instinct level knowledge of Judaism.

    We need to spend time each day exploring our actions and seeing where our middos (sizes of various personality traits) could use work and work on them.

    And we need to remember that we can repent on Yom Kippur for accidentally making tea the wrong way on Shabbos, but we can not for accidentally embarassing another.

  6. Shmuel Friedman says:

    As one who was lives on the same block where the incident occurred, and who was present throughout the evening, I have a unique basis for input with respect to what actualy transpired. This was neither a “community protest” or a “community riot”. This was a situation where a crowd of teenage onlookers gathered in reponse to an unusual incident of an “arrest” in this area. The NYPD then called for a level 1 mobilization which included a helicopter hovering overheaed, which just served to attract more people from blocks away, which in turn called for more police. There was no “riot” or “protest”. The small fires of trashthat were set were presumably by several teenagers, out of the hundreds who had gathered. Aside from these unlawful acts (from a hanfdful) there was no violence whatsoever from the hundereds of people present.

  7. Mincha Man says:

    Rabbi Horowitz –

    To respond further to R’ Spolter’s response, let me say that I witnessed rock-throwing more recently, when I was in Yerushalaim ten years ago. Charedi protesters set fire to some garbage dumpsters, then began throwing rocks at the firefighters who arrived to extinguish the flames.

    The firefighters called for police backup, and when the police arrived, the crowd began chanting, “Nazis, Nazis.” This is what happens when internecine resentments are left to simmer for so many decades.

    Even more recently, this summer, I was in Meah Sheaim shopping for some seforim. A charedi child (no older than 9 or 10) noticed that i was wearing an orange bracelet to show support for the residents of Gush Katif. He said, “Where did you get that? I’d like one like that? Can you get me one?”

    I was stunned. I thought, “Is it possible that he respects me and understands that I’m a decent Jew, despite our ideological differences?”

    I told him I’d be happy to buy him one. He said, “Get a few, because my friends want them, too…”

    I was even further stunned.

    Then he continued. “…so we can burn them!! We’re going to burn them! You’re a kofer (heretic)!”

    The child’s comments began attracting attention from some other nearby youths, and I realized that I could very well end up in the middle of an ‘incident.’ I told the child, “Don’t worry, I forgive you for your behavior and I hope one day you’ll learn about ahavas yisrael,” and then I left quickly.

    So there’s no real solution out there. And the problem is only getting worse, because the behavior seen regularly in Israel is now spreading to Boro Park. What’s next?

  8. Menachem Lipkin says:

    This type of anti-social behavior occurs more often in Israel. Apologists for those who perpetrate these acts in Israel often point to a sour relationship between the police and the Chareidi community. They blame, what they claim, is unfairly harsh treatment of Chareidim by police and other government agencies. (Althogh, as we’ve seen recently, even routine arrests can lead to these mini-riots.)

    This episode in Brooklyn puts a dent in the logic of those who try to excuse this type of “response” by Chareidim in Israel. The orthodox community in NY enjoys a very good relationship with the police and the government and yet the response was almost identical to what you often see in Israel.

    This only underscores the need.that Rabbi Horowitz has identified to look inward in order to reduce this behavior instead of adopting the Al Sharptoneque ideology of blaming everyone else.

  9. David Miller says:

    Discussing the facts of how Mr. Schick was treated distracts from the painful but necessary discussion about how our community responded to that stimulus – and what lessons we need to take from this horrific Chilul Hashem.

    Well said. Amazingly, Mishpachah magazine did the exact opposite. In a single paragraph article reporting on the story, the ONLY thing that they mentioned was how the police officer insulted Mr Schick and had to apologize, with NO MENTION WHATSOEVER of the ensuing riots. Unfortunately this sort of triumphalist martyrdom in place of any cheshbon hanefesh is all too prevalent in the charedi world.

  10. joel rich says:

    In the recently published Orthodox Forum book on Lomdus(the Brisker methodology) one of the authors posited (iiuc) that the charedi learning community could not appreciate R’YBSs extension of the Brisker methodology because it would require a change in the the basic mindset (to a more “polyphonic” state iirc)to move past the simpler chakirah (e.g. seemingly contradictory statements in the Rambam) stage to the (my terminology) broader underlying theory stage (e.g. why did chazal set 2 havdalot). I wonder if the same is true here – that to accomplish what R’ Horowitz describes would require us ascribing a greater value to individuals outside the “unserer” circle than can be sustained by a community that teaches a primarily exclusive value of unserer.

    Just a random thought for discussion.

    KT

  11. Jewish Observer says:

    “this sort of triumphalist martyrdom in place of any cheshbon hanefesh is all too prevalent in the charedi world”

    you win

  12. ja says:

    “In the recently published Orthodox Forum book on Lomdus(the Brisker methodology) one of the authors posited (iiuc) that the charedi learning community could not appreciate R’YBSs extension of the Brisker methodology because it would require a change in the the basic mindset (to a more “polyphonic” state iirc)to move past the simpler chakirah (e.g. seemingly contradictory statements in the Rambam) stage to the (my terminology) broader underlying theory stage (e.g. why did chazal set 2 havdalot).”

    More biases coming as evidence to support the original biases. Academic theories of lomdus, spare us!

    This goes together with the claim that everyone is stealing RYBS’ torah, even though they also are too simplistic to understand it, right?

    What’s actually going on is that people who can learn think RYBS’ was a very fine talmid chochom, but don’t evaluate him in a bubble, and aren’t parochial enough to think he instituted radical advances in lomdus incomparable to anyone else. And they know more about lomdus than the folks you quote, not less.

    The arrogance of this type of analysis is something else.

  13. David Gold says:

    Our marketing campaign is kiruv?!?!
    How about kiddush hashem, and the old-fashioned or la-goyim?

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