Answering Daniel Gordis

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10 Responses

  1. Bob Miller says:

    What is the Shalem Center’s mission, and how is their Senior VP furthering it?

    Here is part of their president’s statement as posted at their web site:
    “The response must come, first of all, in the realm of ideas. It is crucial to develop an understanding of Jewish thought and tradition that can serve as the basis for unity in Israel and throughout the Jewish world.”

    What I see in Gordis’ approach as quoted in the above article is anti-unity in a divisive spirit that contains actual hatred for one sizable category of Torah Jew.

  2. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    I think you should not only write these columns, you should sit down with Daniel Gordis over coffee or whatever and discuss it with him, if he agrees to meet with you. Ask him why he, like many other opinion-molders, don’t bother to talk face-to-face with members of the hareidi public before forming opinions about them. As a communications person himself, Mr. Gordis should be a little more sophisticated about swallowing other people’s opinions whole.

  3. lacosta says:

    don’t forget that dr gordis was a C rabbi in LA before moving….

  4. irwin lowi says:

    Stop looking for nachas from people like Gordis who are not shomer Torah or Mitzvos. (It’s hard enough from those who are!) As a key component of the conservative movement here in L.A. he follows the other “philosophers” who morph into their own religions. Call him friend if you will, but you get what every other well meaning Orthodox person gets from the left, compassion when you take a view they agree with and spit when you don’t.

  5. Chaim Fisher says:

    Thank goodness someone had the fierce commitment and ability to delve into all this and write such a clear and convincing refutation of our enemies’ accusations.

    We must bond as tightly as we can. The dangers from outside are too great.

  6. dovid 2 says:

    If until recently, mainstream Israelis viewed Charedim with indifference, it is common for them to see us today with alarm as unbending, hostile, fast increasing crowd, unwilling to shoulder the financial responsibility related to our own upkeep, and unwilling to shoulder the burden in defending Israel from Muslim onslaught. They are concerned that the long-term trends are not sustainable both from economic and defense perspectives. They view us the way Muslims are viewed in France and other Western European countries. Since it’s impossible to quantify the effects of Torah learning and the performing of mitzvos on the nation’s material wellbeing and its security, secular Israelis are skeptical of our claims. Given that we start from an almost zero base, R’ Jonathan’s statistics of changing trends (“8.4% increase in male charedi employment and 6.5% among women since 2002, with the rate of increase accelerating.”) are too minuscule to register on the radar. It really amounts to only 1.01% per year for males and 0.79% per years for females. For such a small change to make its effect discernible, it may take more than a generation. While we expect or even demand that secular Israelis change their attitudes towards the Charedi community, we don’t have similar expectations of ourselves. Secular studies are not taught to high school bachurim. The Charedi world to this day takes a dim view of a male or female who goes to college to acquire a profession, as well as of a young man that joins the army. The 900 Charedi men that joined the army that the article was referring to, did so in order to acquire training that leads to well paid jobs in the private sector. These tasks are in demand also from the secular sector, which means that there are limits as to how many Charedim can the army absorb. The reality is that most tasks in the military have little applications outside the army. What can a soldier who served for three years in the infantry or tank corps do with the skills he acquired, besides the real danger to life in limb that serving in such units entails? The bachurim in Nachal Charedi (infantry) are still regarded as nebach cases who didn’t make it in the yeshiva world. Many of their own family members are bashful about the whole affair. In addition, mainstream Israelis are rightfully disgusted that their just or unjust criticism is often met with epithets such as Nazi, self hating Jew, etc. Only this week, a comment in a Charedi blog related to Israeli police brutality called the Israeli prime-minister Reichfuhrer Netanyahu. Rabosai, Israeli police brutality is a reality that must change and we must do something about changing it. But it’s not going to change by calling the cops and the politicians Nazis.

  7. Adam says:

    dovid2 – excellent posting. It is this kind of self-examination that the rest of the Jewish community look for in us. Most people, even the irreligious, lok to us as the (supposed) Jewish ideal. It is only by demonstrating an openness and willingness to examine ourselves that we may win back some respect.

  8. Dovid says:

    The article by Danny Gordis typifies the new level of vitriol that otherwise “moderate” secular intellectuals have recently taken to using agains the Charedim. In addition there is an attempt now in secular intellectual circles to provide “objective” quantitative evidence that the Charedim will “ruin” Israel.

    The vitriol I believe comes to a significant extent because secular Israel today faces a severe identity crisis and therefore they lash out in jelousy at those that have the strongest identity: The Charedim. Both the vitriol (comparisons of Charedim to cancer in this case) and the alleged statistics serve to avoid having to look inside the secular community for issues. They provide a clear external enemy and, in their minds, a clear reason for the superiority of their system.

  9. Leon Zacharowicz says:

    I wonder what the reaction might have been if Daniel Gordis had called any other group an existential threat to Israel.

  10. dr. bill says:

    I guess stanley fischer agreed. he is a rather clear thinking apolitical figure. sadly he reported the problem getting better for israeli arabs not charedim. think carefully about your statistics that say otherwise. if you are filling at hole a foot an hour and increase your ability by 50% to afoot and a one/half but the rate at which the hole deepens is growing to 2 feet an hour, which way are you going?

    i am more encouraged by efforts to fix the problem at its core – elementary school education – that is happening in some chassidic communities.

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