Inter Alia

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32 Responses

  1. Ben Chorin says:

    YA, you are quite right that the decision was outrageous. But all the mush about rights is par for the course for Israel’s Supreme Court and breaks no new ground. In that respect, they hit bedrock long ago. The real chiddush here is imprisoning citizens who are not even (and could not be) respondents in the original petition.

  2. L. Oberstein says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein, you are exemplifying the crux of th issue. You know all this legal stuff and you also know a lot of Torah. Why aren’t there more people like you in Israel? When I look at you , I don’t see some kid climbing a pole with long sidecurls and a mode of dress that is so “18th century”, a kid who can’t do basic elementary school math skills, never learned a word of science and certainly knows no literature. In Los Angeles, religous Jews are not opposed to work, to secular education, to full participation in the life of the community. The picture I see is of hundreds of thousands of people who form a seperate and very un-equal community. Is Israel going to be a developed modern country or is it to become a third world country. How long can a country survive if it is anti-democratic, does not allow freedom of the press or of speech, relies on a small coterie of hangers on to tell us what the supreme leader thinks and is at war with every advance of technology.Perhaps Israeli chareidim fit in too well into the region.Defending them is not the same as defending Hashem or His Torah, maybe they are not the only authentic way to be a good Jew.

  3. Esther says:

    L. Oberstein, your ahavas yisroel is exemplary.

  4. dr. bill says:

    Rabbi, i am totally ignorant or legal history ands also prefer conceptual categories and decision rules. But case law and ambiguity at the edge, has a long history, perhaps one that should be replaced. The Israeli supreme court does appear to operate from precedent not principles and does seem at times to “make it up” in accord with their view of how to extend precedent based on a less than clear sense of justice. In this case however, from the court’s perspective, its previous orders were not obeyed – it does not get any clearer than that. In different contexts (including halakhic ones) it is the ruling not the rationale that tends to be primary.

    Despite all this, I hope and pray, I do not hear you joined the ACLU!!

  5. YM says:

    L. Oberstein, the Slonim parent’s don’t want their kids to be anything but what they are. If you say that parent’s in Israel shouldn’t have the right to educate their children the way that they (and their Rabbinical poskim) see fit, then Israel is as bad as all the other places in Jewish history where the authorities interfered with, or tried to interfere with, Jewish education. And if you try to argue that the government shouldn’t have to pay for Slonim style education, then are you in effect saying that as soon as the Charedim become 50% plus one of the voting public, anything they want to impose is ok?

  6. Barzilai says:

    Well, Rabbi Adlerstein, now you’ve done it. When you next step onto Israeli soil, you may be arrested for infraction of Article 255 of the Israeli Penal Code, which criminalizes anyone who writes… something about a judge with the intention of harming his status or undermining his judgment. The sentence can be up to three years in prison. Clearly, your comment about citing night-stand reading material offends the dignity of the court, and does not fall under the exception for courteous criticism.

    Furthermore, please realize that we can perceive Hashem’s hand in this event, falling as it does during the week of Parshas Balak, in which, famously, a “mule” does talk. In contradistinction to the subjects of your article, Bilaam’s donkey, was clearly a “smart mule,” a euphemism which, while necessary, loses some flavor.

  7. L. Oberstein says:

    Accusing one of lacking ahavas yisroel is only possible if you know the person and it is consistent. Having a differing opinion is not a lack of ahavas yisroel. The State of Israel faces many exernal and internal crises. If the chareidim continue to grow in numbers , they will be essential to the survival of the state.They cannot remain outsiders in their own country. Does anyone disagree with that? The fact is that chareidi society in Israel is far different from anything that ever existed in Jewish history. It never ever was the norm for people not to learn a trade, to live on charity as a “L’chatchilah”. If chadorim do not teach basic skills, in what way do they prepare their graduates for earning a livlihood. I am worried for the future of the Jewish People and it is a shame that a large segment that could do so much to help is isolated and alienated. There should be a core curriculum in all schools, there should be exemptions only for those who are truly shteiging in learning and not condemn hundreds of young people to a life of poverty and force many of them off the derech out of anger at being deprived of basic skills. How can anyone who knows anything about Jewish History think that what goes on today in Israel is normative ?It is an aberation and at some point will collapse under its own weight.
    Do you not see the cynicism in putting pictures of Litvishe Gedolim on an ad and promising that Rebbetzin Kanievsky will daven for your children when she lights candles if you give to this tzedakah. Do you honestly believe for one minute that these gedolim are willingly participating in this travwesty that turns Judaism into a belief in segulos. There has to be a better way to preserve Judaism.

  8. Simcha Younger says:

    quidquid latine dictum sit altum videtur

    [YA – That translates into: “anything said in Latin sounds profound.” Personally, I would prefere Yiddish. But, as they say, de gustibus non est disputandum.]

  9. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    The Supreme Court decision can be looked at in two ways. One is that is a thinly veiled attempt to “get” people who are both hareidim and settlers, doubly hated by the leftist elite. More charitably, one could suggest that they assume racism because they don’t really understand why religious values could really be that important to anyone, since they, the judges, as well as the media establishment, are ultra-secular. Even a judge with a kippa like Levi has really bought into most of their ideology without realizing it.

  10. mb says:

    lex naturalis

  11. Tal S. Benschar says:

    “In this case however, from the court’s perspective, its previous orders were not obeyed – it does not get any clearer than that.”

    Dr. Bill, sorry, the apologetics fail here too. The school was the defendant in the suit, the parents were mere witnesses. I have never heard of a Court having jurisdiction to order a witness to do anything, other than to testify truthfully. Perjury can be contempt, true, but there is no basis to hold the parents in contempt for transferring their childrens elsewhere.

    Not to mention that parents have fundamental rights to educate their children as they see fit. As I already commented (which seems to have impressed R. Menken), in the U.S. courts routinely ordered schools to integrate, but they NEVER ordered parents to send their children to a particular school. Many parents pulled their children from public schools and sent them to private ones to avoid integration.

    Fundamental rights limit what a court can do as much as they limit what a legislature can do. This is what is outrageous and appaling about the ruling.

  12. Tal S. Benschar says:

    “The Supreme Court decision can be looked at in two ways. One is that is a thinly veiled attempt to “get” people who are both hareidim and settlers, doubly hated by the leftist elite. More charitably, one could suggest that they assume racism because they don’t really understand why religious values could really be that important to anyone, since they, the judges, as well as the media establishment, are ultra-secular. Even a judge with a kippa like Levi has really bought into most of their ideology without realizing it.”

    The problem with this “charitable” view is that judges are supposed to be detached from the case and view the facts dispassionately. Most Americans, and certainly most Supreme Court justices, would find the Amish theology hard to understand. Yet the U.S. Supreme Court in Wisconsin v. Yoder managed to find their insistence that their children not be educated past 8th grade to be worthy of constitutional protection.

    I am sure you can find things in the Moslem, Christian or Bahai faiths that are equally hard to understand as what the Slonimer, lehavdil, wanted to do here. But I am willing to bet that the Israeli Supreme Court would be much more deferential than they were in this case.

  13. Mr. Cohen says:

    I personally witnessed both of these incidents:

    Last year, someone suggested that the daughter in law
    of a very pious Ashkenazic Rabbi was really Sephardic.
    The Rabbi reacted as if his daughter in law
    had been accused of being a prostitute or whore.

    In 1989, a six year old child came come from his yeshivah in Brooklyn.
    His father asked: What did you learn in school today?
    The child said: Chassidim worship their rebbes, and Sephardim are not Jewish.

  14. Sarah says:

    So Mr. Cohen, what exactly is that supposed to prove about the Emanuel case? What is the point of bringing up these irrelevant anecdotes, especially one about a six year old who more likely than not misunderstood his teacher. You really think the teacher told the kids that Sephardim aren’t Jewish? Give me a break.

  15. Bob Miller says:

    What judge needs law clerks or law itself when judges are allowed to impose their rule arbitrarily? When will the other governmental bodies put a stop to this? Or are they all being held hostage by the “justice” establishment?

  16. Ori says:

    Bob Miller: When will the other governmental bodies put a stop to this? Or are they all being held hostage by the “justice” establishment?

    Ori: Given the large number of criminal investigations of Israeli politicians, that may be true. They may indeed be held hostage. Or they might be secretly hoping for Baga”tz to win, even when they cannot afford to support it openly.

    In democratic governments the supreme court is the most conservative element, by design. This means that when you quick demographic change, as Israel is experiencing, it is the last bastion of the old elites.

  17. dovid says:

    Sarah: “What is the point of bringing up these irrelevant anecdotes, especially one about a six year old who more likely than not misunderstood his teacher”

    The anecdotes are very relevant. A child doesn’t discriminate. Adults do. The boy heard the anecdotes from adults. Some adults try to achieve superiority over others by putting them down. That’s the source of disparaging comments about Chasidim, Litwaks, Sefardim, baalei tshuva, guerim, you name it.

  18. dovid says:

    Sarah: “You really think the teacher told the kids that Sephardim aren’t Jewish?”

    I am acquainted first hand with a Charedi community where the children are taught that you and I, and the majority of k’lal Israel are not Jewish. So, don’t be so surprised. It can be true.

  19. Simcha Younger says:

    As to the main topic of the thread..

    This thread seems to oddly parallel many previous discussion here about Daas Torah, except that the sides seem to be reversed.
    Is it that everyone agrees there must be some supreme council which stands above debate, and the question is who should recoginzed in that position?
    Or perhaps this is a function of how one defines their primary society, and wherever it is, the decisor of the laws of that society stand above?
    Or am I wrong, and thoise who do not agree with the concept of Das Torah are also those who reject the court’s claim of social supremacy?

  20. dg says:

    Sad to say but the Israeli Supreme Court, with this decision, shows itself to be more of a national humiliation than the French Soccer team. Speaking also as a (non-practicing) lawyer, the decision is a classic example of starting with the assumption that there is a wrong and trying to back into some expression of what it must be.

  21. Ori says:

    Simcha Younger: Is it that everyone agrees there must be some supreme council which stands above debate, and the question is who should recoginzed in that position?

    Ori: It’s not a matter of being above debate, but of having to have an ultimate arbiter. If we don’t have an agreed ultimate arbiter, we might have disagreements that will have to be resolved with violence (such as the one in the US in the 1860s).

  22. Moshe says:

    All these arguments are very nice, but the bottom line is, that one of the requirements of the chasidish track, was that the Girls speak only ashkenasis in the home. It is problable assur to make such a demand of sefardim and certainly discriminates against them. There is nothing frumer about ashkenazis by any standard.
    Further, the school demands that families submit to the authority of their ashkenazi posek.

    in other words, on sefardim who are willing to “convert” to the “true religion” are well come.

    The Supremes here in israel may leave a lot to be desired, but they certainly got it right here.

  23. Shachar Haamim says:

    Prof. Adlerstein,

    It is unfortunate that as an orthodox Jew – who presumably has some degree of fluency with Jewish sources in the original Hebrew – that you still have to read the decision in English rather than the original Hebrew. This is a reflection of the sad state of affairs in terms of contemporary American Orthodox Judaism.

    I am quite certain that the judges did not use “inter alia” in the original Hebrew. This is probably a translation of “lerabot, bein hayeter” which is better translated into the Latin rather than some awkard English phrase. This is quite common in translating Israeli judicial and legal documents (including contracts). Israeli judges largely stopped using Latin decades ago. Now to be fancy they use – Aramaic formulations based on the Talmud or plays on Hebrew phrases based on verses in Tanach. Really – you should try to read the original. As a talmudic scholar and Rabbi you might enjoy it better.

    I want to add that I am not Haredi and I largely disagree with the deicions and find the contempt ruling to be one of the most activist rulings ever issued by the Israeli HCJ. It will be critiqued for years to come.

  24. rachel w says:

    Going back to Mr. Cohen-if the Rabbi had been of Polish origin, and someone had suggested that his D-I-L was Hungarian, he probably would have reacted the same way. Ditto if he was from a family with great Yichus and was told that she came from a very simple background. Do you get my drift? I am disappointed that Cross Currents would post such petty hearsay. (Who is “Mr. Cohen”? Where did he personally witness this-assuming that is was not taken out of context.)

  25. Steve Brizel says:

    See my comment to R d Landesman’s post on this issue. If Robert Bork and Ruth Gavison view the Court as overly activist and involved in issues that it should not be deciding, then the Court, as was the case with the US Supreme Court, as one can find in any law review or editorial page, simply has opened the floodgates to criticism of its modus operandi.

  26. Steve Brizel says:

    R Adlerstein deserves a major Yasher Koach for his cogent analysis of this decision and the quality of the same, which confirms that the Court is a post Zionist, post Oslo defender of the secular Ashkenazic sensibility of what it means to be an educated Israeli. It is a classic example of legislation by judicial fiat, which American legal scholars have long described as “substantive due process”, wherein courts inject themselves into the issues and roles best performed by the legislative branch.

  27. Simcha Younger says:

    Moshe:
    There was no halachic problem with insisting in praying with a Ashkenazi pronounciation, since the Sephardim had a good school to go to which did not make this demand, and they were under no pressure at all to accept it.
    Also, as I just posted on a nother thread, even the Bagatz did not consider this to be discrimination, see the decision in linked the beggining of R’ Adlerstiens post, p. 27, paragraphs 20/21

  28. Chaim Fisher says:

    My son will always remember how when he was twelve years old he saw another boy the same age dancing on a truck bed with his hands in toy handcuffs, thrilled that his father was going to mekadesh Shem Shamayim by going to jail at the hand of the wicked court because he wanted the best Jewish education he could get for his children.

    My son and about a million other Charedi boys.

    Who proved to these children how sick the Israeli court system really is? The judge himself. Thanks for telling it like it is, Judge Levy!

  29. Moshe says:

    Simcha,

    I did not see any such statement in the Bagatz.

    As for the Halacha, the factors mentioned are irrelevant. The question is under what circumstances can a person abandon “toras imo” and change his or her style of pronunciation in davening?

    In either event, the fact is that , the chasidim here did want their children to have anything to do with girls who of Sefardic practice, now matter how machmir or frum they may be. This is the ugly bias against Sefardim, rife in the chareidi world in Israel, at work. R. Adlerstein himself has acknolwledged this bias and compared it to Anti-Semitism.

  30. Simcha Younger says:

    #
    Ori
    June 22nd, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Simcha Younger: Is it that everyone agrees there must be some supreme council which stands above debate, and the question is who should recognized in that position?

    Ori: It’s not a matter of being above debate, but of having to have an ultimate arbiter. If we don’t have an agreed ultimate arbiter, we might have disagreements that will have to be resolved with violence (such as the one in the US in the 1860s).
    ——————————
    The need for an ultimate arbiter is limited to a moment in time, and is limited to practical, but not moral, acceptance. There is no need for an ultimate arbiter who cannot be criticized or removed. (Thats the argument for abolishing monarchies, and still seems pretty popular on that topic.)
    Also, especially in a democracy, the ultimate arbiter is the people. They must accept the decisions of their highest court for as long as they want to continue to give power to the court, but they should never be restricted in replacing it as their ultimate arbiter.

    I feel that many people responding to this story feel that the court is not only an authority on a practical level, but that its conclusions should not even be questioned. This is the attitude I was addressing.

  31. Steve Brizel says:

    I would urge all readers and potential posters to read all three opinions that comprise the court’s decision-but especially Judge Melcer-it is a rant predicated on feminist theory and the notion that only rights that “afford” dignity to all, including women, are worth preserving, and a deliberate slap at the free exercise clause of the First Amendment and a well known Supreme Court case that protected the rights of the Amish against Wisconsin’s mandatory education laws. It is quite akin to the argument that freedom of speech is worthless without being afforded cradle to grave economic protection by the state-which AFAIK, is socialism writ large.

  32. Ori says:

    Simcha Younger: I feel that many people responding to this story feel that the court is not only an authority on a practical level, but that its conclusions should not even be questioned. This is the attitude I was addressing.

    Ori: Good point. I wonder if secular Jews inherited this attitude from their religious ancestors. A lot of things in Israel are traditionally Jewish, with the religion rubbed off.

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