Responding to (Some) Critics – Part II

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14 Responses

  1. Garnel Ironheart says:

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with pointing out Israeli misbehaviour during foreign trips. There are posters plastered throughout Ben Gurion 2000 reminding Israelis that they are ambassadors for their country abroad. There are small east Asian nations that have openly contemplated banning Israelis (specifically, not Jews) from entering the country because of the behaviour of post-army young adults. To call attention to that and suggest that there is a need to rectify this behaviour is laudable.

    However, in the previous article there was a sense that secular Israeli youth and their “debauchery” were being compared to the more benign behaviour of comparably-aged religious youth.

    I think this might be why some people rejected the previous article so vociferously. No one likes to be reproved, but especially not by someone from a social group they don’t particularly like in the first place. They might miss the point of the article and focus on the reproof, leading to their forgetting the whole point of it in the first place.

  2. SM says:

    I wonder to what extent the behaviour is caused by an inability to cope with and process what these very young people are seeing and feeling.

    3 years ago I went to Auschwitz with my adult community. Present at the same time were the England football team – a credit to what is supposed to be a bunch of under-educated, over-paid thugs of whom 16 out of 22 had given up their free day to see an extermination camp.

    I spoke to Michael Owen (a star player for anyone from the US) and asked him how this made him feel – he had been asking a number of questions of out guide who was a survivor of Auschwitz itself. He was at that time about 21 – not so far off the teenagers being discussed. He replied that it made him want to play football and score goals (both of which he duly did).

    It was the equation of emotional upset with a physical reaction that struck me. It is possible that these kids simply need to have programmed into their trip an opportunity to let off steam in a physical way.

  3. Steve Brizel says:

    Yasher Koach on addressing the issue of how the Holocaust is treated in the secular Israeli intellectual and cultural milieu. I visited Yad Vashem as recently as last Channukah ( 12/07) and was struck by the impression that it was a secular Zionist theme park about the Holocaust with the contributions of the Torah world almost negated to nonexistence. It is refreshing to read of improvements in that area.

    My question to RJR and DR Zuroff-R E Buchwald pointed out years ago that Holocaust education cannot serve as a positive vehicle for Jewish continuity. A historical period that is marked by persecution, ghettos and death camps simply cannot serve as a reason why someone would want to be a Shomer Torah UMitzvos. Such a message overwhelms all of the positive and powerful reasons that underline why Torah and Mitzvos are the blueprint for all of Jewish continuity. It is indeed a tragedy that more Jews today know more about the events from 1933 to 1945 than about the events and facts set forth in the stanzas of Echad Mi Yodea.

  4. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    Nitpicking: Haaretz’s columnist is named ARI Shavit, not Avi. I think it is not the first time you have made that mistake.

  5. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Steve Brizel: A historical period that is marked by persecution, ghettos and death camps simply cannot serve as a reason why someone would want to be a Shomer Torah UMitzvos.

    Ori: Well said. The way it was taught when I was in a Chiloni high school in Israel (1990-1992) was as a reason why one should want to be Israeli. The essence was: “You’re Jewish, like it or not. You can stay in Israel and accept the attendant difficulties (compulsory military service, high taxes, etc.). Or you can leave, and another Hitler will come and kill you”. For years afterwards I resented Judaism.

    As Steve said, if we want our children to be Jewish, they have to have positive reasons. Scaring teenagers into submission only goes so far.

  6. Menachm Petrushka says:

    They have just discovered a tablet from the time of the firat Beis Hmaikdas which states that when and if Rabbi Rosenblum and Dr Zurrof bury the hatchet, Mochiach will arrive.

  7. David Farkas says:

    I appreciate the humorous tongue-in-cheek opening, “having successfully silenced my critics ” over the conversion fiasco, and salute Jonathan Rosenblum for his good natured acknowledgment of sustained criticism (including my own). A soft response turns away wrath.

  8. Mark says:

    “They have just discovered a tablet from the time of the firat Beis Hmaikdas which states that when and if Rabbi Rosenblum and Dr Zurrof bury the hatchet, Mochiach will arrive.”

    I realize you’re joking but why should JR stop refuting Zuroff’s false and slanderous statements about the frum community and it’s leaders during WW2? I have no problem with him fighting him tooth and nail and applaud him for doing what the rest of us ought to be doing. Zuroff has many reasons to say what he does [$$$$$] while JR has nothing but the honor of the Gedolim at stake.

    Jonathan – please don’t stop countering EZ’s slanderous accusations with the truth.

  9. One Christian's perspective says:

    Has anyone taken the time to talk to the teenagers about the situation to gain a perspective from their point-of-view. This is not to say what they did was right but their may be a deeper underlying cause for their actions. For example, if you focus on the negative aspects of the Holocaust (and there is nothing positive about the death camps)and not on the positive actions of righteous individuals who did save Jewish people and also died in doing so, it may bring some balance (albeit not a large shift) into the picture. Also, the fact that many of these camps are still in existence and maintained speaks of the country’s desire to expose their shame and denial.

  10. cvmay says:

    Anyone who has visited the Yad Veshem Museum will be confronted with the lack of exhibits, videos, writings describing the rich, warm, & spiritual home life of many communities and its people before and during the years of the holocaust. Is this under representation of Religious Jewry an oversight, on purpose, a new rewriting of history or what?
    Several years ago, a granddaughter of Rav Sarna zt”l who is curator and researcher at the Yad vashem Museum was interviewed.(in addition she teaches holocaust studies at Michlala). The question of why the lack of spiritual heroism, lifestyle and community life is missing at the museum was addressed. Her answer was direct, frank and to-the-point.
    (This is a summary of her answer, not verbatim…) After the war, when the State of Israel was established, plans to build a museum was enacted. Press releases through the radio and media requested survivors to contact the so called holocaust committee. Home visits & interviews were held with survivors and their families, calls were made for artifacts, Judaic memorabilia, letters, and photos to be donated. The majority of responses were from secular Jews, the religious population not trusting the purpose of this museum were absent in all areas. The Torah kehilla needed time to digest and absorb the devastation of WW2, silence and numb was the attitude of the day. Much time was needed before it could be spoken of openly, to share their personal thoughts and challenges with a Museum Committee was the last thing imagined. Therefore,,,,,,,,,if you do not participate in the prior plannings you are not part of the final project..
    Currently, this is a problem that the Torah Community faces in many avenues, we enter the scene in the 9th inning and then wonder why we did not win the championship game?

  11. cvmay says:

    Anyone who has visited the Yad Veshem Museum will be confronted with the lack of exhibits, videos, writings describing the rich, warm, & spiritual home life of many communities and its people before and during the years of the holocaust. Is this under representation of Religious Jewry an oversight, on purpose, a new rewriting of history or what?

    Several years ago, a granddaughter of Rav Sarna zt”l who is curator and researcher at the Yad vashem Museum was interviewed.(in addition she teaches holocaust studies at Michlala). The question of why the lack of spiritual heroism, lifestyle and community life is missing at the museum was addressed. Her answer was direct, frank and to-the-point.
    (This is a summary of her answer, not verbatim…) After the war, when the State of Israel was established, plans to build a museum was enacted. Press releases through the radio and media requested survivors to contact the so called holocaust committee. Home visits & interviews were held with survivors and their families, calls were made for artifacts, Judaic memorabilia, letters, and photos to be donated. The majority of responses were from secular Jews, the religious population not trusting the purpose of this museum were absent in all areas. The Torah kehilla needed time to digest and absorb the devastation of WW2, silence and numb was the attitude of the day. Much time was needed before it could be spoken of openly, to share their personal thoughts and challenges with a Museum Committee was the last thing imagined. Therefore,,,,,,,,,if you do not participate in the prior plannings you are not part of the final project..
    Currently, this is a problem that the Torah Community faces in many avenues, we enter the scene in the 9th inning and then wonder why we did not win the championship game?

    Comment by cvmay — July 3, 2007 @ 9:56 pm Your comment is awaiting moderation

  12. Steve Brizel says:

    CVmay-As much as I am a fan of Rabbanit Farbstein’s book, I think that the picture is more complicated than what you mentioned. Yehudah Bauer, who was the head of Yad Vashem, has never been known for his sympathetic views towards Torah life.

  13. Mark says:

    cvmay,

    That response is wholly inadequate. A Museum that seeks to present the facts doesn’t make a one-time attempt and drop the project. It constantly seeks ot update and include all the angles of a matzav. If the Orthodox weren’t interested in 1948 does that mean that they should therefore be off the charts for the next 50 years? If anything, it means that they would have to wait a few years until the situation calmed down and people who could give that perspective were willing to be approached. I haven’t read her book but I doubt that this is her argument and if it is I think I’ll pass on the book.

  14. Jewish Observer says:

    ” It constantly seeks ot update and include all the angles of a matzav.”

    in a perfect world, yes.

    in reality, organizations and people are driven by a strong underlying cultural orientation that is very hard to change. for example, how easy do you think it is for gedolim to influence their charedi constintents to stop the insanity re: shidduchim? how easy is it for CEo’s to promote a work environment of cooperation and collaboration in cases that it is against the existing cultural vogue?

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