The Bedouin and the Haredi

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4 Responses

  1. dr. bill says:

    I agree whole-heartedly. This phenomenon of where people are comfortable and find it useful to spend time and energy and have meaningful interaction and derive support ought to be appreciated more broadly. For example, RYYW ztl’s association with his thesis advisor or the Lubavitcher Rebbe ztl’s assumed life in the Berlin and Paris or Rambam’s interactions with Moslem philosophers, scientists and doctors is often viewed less than positively. Bedouins can find needed support in Hasidic Borough Park, just like others can find it in the Museum of Natural History or in conversation with a philosopher of another faith. There are many such stories in our literature from which we might learn positive lessons about openness.

  2. Miriam says:

    dr. bill writes: There are many such stories in our literature from which we might learn positive lessons about openness.

    Not without an important – and valuable – awareness. The Gedolim you mention undoubtedly gained something from their interactions with non-Jewish society, but only so much as it enhanced their identity based fully upon Jewish-religious values. For a Torah Jew to view the world at large with skepticism (or as you say those interactions are “viewed less than positively”) is correct – not all of it is compatible with our view, and I’m sure Rambam, the Lubavitcher Rebbe and felt the same way.

    Rav Adlerstein’s article gave me a more interesting insight: people with serious religious convictions have an easier time relating to Orthodox Jews… than to non-observant Jews. This could explain why Obama is the first US president to have more of a JStreet approach with Israel – he isn’t very religious, so he and his advisors gravitate toward those with similar sensibilities.

    I also wonder how many people are out there that have a religiously-based Weltanschauung, how many who would feel an affinity for Orthodox Jews and other G-d-oriented people. When I was growing up many of my non-Jewish schoolmates were raised with religious sensibilities but were not as active themselves. Nowadays I wonder how much of a religious basis those kids are getting.

  3. Mark says:

    Having lived outside of the Tri-State area for a good part of my adult life, I can vividly recall numerous instances where I, a clearly identifiable Charedi, have been approached by a religious Christian who desired to strike up conversation with me. Nor was their intent malicious in any way. They believe that we are special and seek our friendship and approval in return. The same is true for many non-observant Jews who were very respectful simply because I was a religious Jew. One does not experience that to the same degree in the Tri-state area, but out-of-towners will know exactly what I mean. The opportunities for Kiddush Hashem are everywhere. The streets are truly “paved with gold” if one knows what gold looks like.

  4. Raymond says:

    While embracing the new for its own sake is usually a major mistake, romanticizing traditional lifestyles can also be to our peril. There is all the difference in the world between the fundamentally morally decent ways of traditional Judaism, as compared to the idolatrous and/or barbarically murderous ways of some of our counterparts in other major, noted religions. Judaism is well worth keeping alive and well, but I seriously question the value of encouraging the more destructive of other religions to do the same.

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