Chareidim Arois

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60 Responses

  1. SM says:

    Haredim have made it clear for the last 50 years that they want nothing to do with Federation. R. Moshe Feinstein ruled that it was forbidden to give money to Federation. Why should Federation type organizations include haredim when the latter have shown that they have contempt for Federation-type organizations and their leaders.

    As for MK Cohen, have you spoken about how the haredi press demonized De Hartoch for months, referring to him with the most evil terms. And this is a frum Jew they are talking about. And what was De Hartoch’s crime? He was simply trying to enforce the laws of the country.

    One of those laws is that guys in kollel have to learn 45 hours a week. The haredim were going wild about this. It turns out that many kollel guys are only learning 35 hours a week, and when De Hartoch tried to tell them that this was unacceptable, and that the government will not fund them if they don’t learn more than this, he becomes a Nazi in their eyes. But talk about the chillul ha-shem when haredi newspapers are defending kollel guys who only learn 35 hours a week. Are we supposed to be proud of these kollel guys who lern less than the average worker works? We need a non-haredi to tell the haredim that 35 hours is not enough?

  2. Ori Pomerantz says:

    I’m showing my libertarian leanings, but what’s the big deal about the JPPPI? Other than a fancy name and the ability to get somebody to pay for a conference, what does it mean? It can issue recommendations. So can you. So can I.

    Having said that, it’s true that the rest of the Jewish people does not listen much to charedim. It is also true that charedim tend not to listen to the rest of the Jewish people. There is a huge difference between fealty to “The Jewish People” (meaning, roughly speaking, Jews who lived up to a century ago and those who will live up to a century hence) and fealty to “Am Israel veTorat Israel” (meaning, if I understand it correctly, Israelites from the giving of the Torah to the coming of Mashiach). These frames of reference are so different that there is little to discuss at the leadership level.

    If any progress towards unity will be made, it will be at the grass root level. Artscroll probably does more towards Jewish unity than JPPPI could dream of doing.

  3. Garnel Ironheart says:

    I myself have noticed the exclusion of chareidim and right wing Modern Orthodox speakers from public forums for years now. Whenenver a secular magazine runs an “expose” on an event from the Bible (for example, years ago Time’s lead store was: Did Avraham really exist?), scholars from all walks of life, secular, Muslim, Christian, Reform and Conservatism, are invited to comment. One never actually sees comments from a Jew with a kippah or beard though. They might actually say something like “Well, of course he existed. The Torah is God’s word, after all, which is truth.”
    In my own town, the JCC/UJA goes out of its way to welcome new families to our small community which makes one wonder why my family wasn’t welcomed when we arrived. Or several of the other frum families that have arrived since we did.
    The only religious speakers that are allowed to address public forums are generally those who are so far to the left as to be indistinguishable from their audience except perhaps in their dietary choices. These speakers are likely to affirm what the audience already “knows” and are therefore welcome. A Chareidi or MO rabbi who is likely to emphasize Torah and mitzvos observance as a method for ensuring Jewish continuity is not.
    In the end, here is my thought on the subject: They have conferences. We have babies. Whose will endure?

  4. Moishe Potemkin says:

    As we mourn the destruction of the Temple in these days leading up to Tisha B’Av, it behooves us to ask if that hatred is solely a result of what we are doing right – i.e, our faithful adherence to Torah – or whether some of it is a result of what we are doing wrong.

    I think your phrasing (“whether some of it“) is particularly apt. Some of this animosity is the natural yet deplorable human tendency to deride those that are different. (This tendency probably powers some of the anti-chiloni sentiment found in the charedi world as well, of course, but it’s indefensible in both directions.)

    On the other hand, some of it is probably a consequence of the phenomenon observed (and condemned) by R’ Eliezer Berkovits, namely the preference of many charedi rabbonim to “sit back in their easy chairs and write verbose protestations”, rather than to actually join in the building of Eretz Yisrael. When a group is widely seen as being disinterested in the needs of the broader community, it is unsurprising that its input would not be sought.

    To be sure, this is a shame. But it’s not a shock.

  5. Bob Miller says:

    What exactly are “the councils of the Jewish people” ?

    Groups like JPPI are councils of Jews clueless about the Jewish people.

  6. Bob Miller says:

    Looks like it’s really JPPPI. And there should also be a fourth P for Pompous.

  7. Steve Summers says:

    Isn’t it a bit disingenuous to leave out the facts that De Hartoch is himself frum and the son of a Holocaust survivor and that MK Cohen called him “worse than the Nazis”?

  8. Garnel Ironheart says:

    > The most astounding thing about this incident was the reaction of the Israeli media and leading public figures. Maariv columnist Ben Caspi went on air the same day to say “he could have hugged De Hartoch” and to express regrets that he had not broken any of MK Cohen’s bones.

    To be fair, is it possible that the reason people were so supportive of De Hartoch is not because Cohen is a Chareidi but because he called him worse than the Germans?

  9. HILLEL says:


    The Chareidi-Orthodox Jew is the “elephant in the room” that all the other non-Orthodox Jews are desparately trying to ignore.

  10. Henry Frisch says:

    You say Commentary published its consideration of Jewish belief about a decade ago. I remember its having been done in August of 1966, when I was still a regular reader. Back then I believe nobody would have thought to publish “Chareidi Beliefs.” Did they follow up more recently? Would they include such a Chareidi thinker in a grouping to be published today?

  11. meir says:

    Dear Cross Currents,

    These articles do not help to fix or even alleviate the problem. The fact remains that the Charedi World is growing tremendously. The fact also remains that the are thousands of jews who need assistance to return to their sources. The factis that there needs to be a positive bridge between both worlds. Only a positive link can work. Deeds speak more than a thousand speeches and eloquent articles.

    Wemust build ourselves stronger and stronger in all aspect: internally (and that entails listening to the constructive criticism, even when they offered by our worse enemies) and externally creating more and more avenues to reach out and reach in to all thousands of souls that are yearning for Hashem Echad Ushmoh Echad.

  12. Duvie says:

    Can you please explain to me why haredim, who are very makpid on mitzvot, adopting all sorts of chumrot, are not machmir when it comes to living in the Land of Israel? Why isn’t there as strong a movement in the haredi world for aliyah as there is for cholov yisrael?

  13. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    I have very little to quibble about in JR’s analysis of how Charedim are being ignored in the conferences of the world. However, I think it’s a little foolish to expect that Charedim will ever be invited to speak at federation events. We don’t give money to the federation, so why should they listen to us? The federation is one place where money talks over and above everyone and everything.

    With regard to Cohen and DeHartuch, I have little to quarrel about when JR discusses the double standard that applies to Charedim calling others “Nazis.” But on the very considerable other hand, why should we be stooping to use such language? Even if others do, why should we let them set our standards?

    Another thing. DeHartuch as proven to be an equal opportunity basher. He has gone after Chiloni allocations with as much zrizus as Charedi. He is a civil servant doing his job. He is not making war against the Torah, and accusing him of such only cheapens our voice in the general debate. He was wrong slapping MK Cohen, but we must admit that MK Cohen’s was wrong to call DeHartuch “worse than the Germans,” even if it fit within what would be acceptable bounds for a non-charedi Israeli politician. If we keep using this kind of language, no one will ever take us seriously.

  14. cvmay says:

    Valuable article.
    My husband was principal of a large Torah Day School in the Midwest, the Jewish Federation of that city was the major contributor to the Day School’s budget. My husband joined the Federation, and was the only Torah true (charedei) voice on the panel. He was welcomed respectfully and with hesitancy, he considered it a learning experience for him (& them).
    Do Charedeim join or are encouraged (by rebbeim & roshei yeshivos)to belong to Federations? Are Charedeim found on the board and panels of many Jewish Federations? Why would they be asked to speak, if they are not involved on a day-to-day basis? IMHO, when individuals are not part & parcel of an organization, their opinion or voice has no value. Do our Torah organizations (Agudah, National Council, Yeshivos) invite “strangers” to offer suggestions and solutions at their annual conventions?
    This is an ongoing dilemma, that needs a solution!

  15. ClooJew says:

    Reb Yonasan,

    An excellent piece. The fact is that the Chareidim will continue to dominate the realities of Jewish life, even as they are ignored (or, more likely, condemned) in the general conversation. In truth, that conversation–the conferences, the organizations–don’t amount to much. What happens at the grassroots level–in the schools, shuls, and homes–is what propels Klal Yisrael forward.

    At the same time, Chareidim have to recognize their role and behave lifnim mishuras hadin, in all matters public and private, political and professional, financial and societal. True, much of the criticism against the Chareidi world is overblown and exaggerated, but there are also valid contentions which get tossed aside by knee-jerk defenses and denials. It is critical to vigorously defend what is defensible, but also to acknowledge the shortcomings.

  16. HILLEL says:

    Here is the perfect complement to your article:
    The dilemma of American Jews
    By Yair Sheleg
    About four years ago, Shoshana Cardin, former chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, made a revolutionary proposal: a renewed educational campaign against mixed marriages, after it was revealed that only a minority of the children of these couples receive a meaningful Jewish education.
    The proposal was nipped in the bud by the leaders of American Jewry themselves…

    They talk about the importance of preserving Jewish identity, but the practical decisions of most American Jewish leaders attest to the fact that for them, what is important is their status in American society….

  17. Rav Yaakov B says:

    Dear Rav Rosenblum

    You are 100% about the discrimination that Torah Jewry faced in the planning councils of those who claim to be our leaders. Unfortunately, you chose the worst possible example to prove your point – the punch thrown by attorney De Hartoch at MK Cohen. Why a lousy example – because you selectively told the story, and omitted what led to the punch. Attorney De Hartoch is himself a Torah observant Jew, but it is his job to ensure that all schools that receive funding follow recognized accounting procedures. Needless to say, he has been at loggerheads with the chareidi representatives for years. During the sessions, MK Cohen called him “WORSE THAN NAZIS” – someone who is a son of survivors. R. Rosenbaum – yes, Aloni should have been tried for incitement, yes some secular Israelis have sick fantasies about punching hareidim, and yes, attorney De Hartoch should have controlled his temper (I don’t know that I could have if I was in his situation) etc. But don’t complain that people use weak excuses to exclude hareidim like “chareidim tend to use violent language” and then prove it with a disgusting, vile, and sick outburst by MK Cohen – it only proves the point. Next time – let’s see some moral backbone and acknoledge the grosteque behavior of one Jew towards another – even if MK Cohen has parlimentary immunity and wears a black hat!!
    Rav Yaakov

  18. Baruch Horowitz says:

    “The Chazon Ish once told Moshe Shonfeld that the hatred directed at the chareidi community can be a badge of pride for one’s adherence to Torah. …As we mourn the destruction of the Temple in these days leading up to Tisha B’Av, it behooves us to ask if that hatred is solely a result of what we are doing right – i.e, our faithful adherence to Torah – or whether some of it is a result of what we are doing wrong.”

    I agree. One should see if there is anything reasonable to learn from criticism, even those expressed in over the top language, and if there is, one can accept the reasonable portion, and reject the rest(this is true, as well, as far as any Charedi critiques of other ideas or people that appear intemperate, and out of proportion).

    Also, especially when criticism is expressed appropriately, it can be helpful and invaluable to enter the mindset of the critics and to see where they are coming from, even if one feels that such criticisms come from a different hashkafa(ideology), and that one would therefore be justified in rejecting the critique because they are a result of “our faithful adherence to[a particular understanding] of Torah”.

  19. YoelB says:

    Lawrence Reisman was wrong to characterize DeHartuch as a “basher,” equal opportunity or not. As he said, Dehartuch was a civil servant doing his job–in this case, safeguarding the public purse, which if I’m not mistaken is an important mitzvah. The problem is not just that MK Cohen used language that shouldn’t come from an erliche Jew’s mouth “even if it fit within what would be acceptable bounds for a non-charedi Israeli politician.” It’s that he used that language in defense of crooked behavior on the part of religious schools.

    But back to Jonathan Rosenblum: rather than raising the level of discourse he is raising the bloody shirt of Uthman when what Mr. Reisman and the non-charedi media report as a “slap” becomes, a “punch” or a “slug.”

    A slap is bad enough and not only DeHartuch but the Israeli taxpayer has paid for it in DeHartuch’s ban from the Knesset. Will MK Cohen, who called an honest man a destroyer of Israel “worse than the Germans” continue to represent the charedi community?

    As Rosenblum rightly concludes: “As we mourn the destruction of the Temple in these days leading up to Tisha B’Av, it behooves us to ask if that hatred is solely a result of what we are doing right – i.e, our faithful adherence to Torah – or whether some of it is a result of what we are doing wrong.”

    Unfortunately, when charedim do wrong and then the charedi community, or its public face, rationalizes and minimizes that bad behavior, or worse, just keeps it up, it reflects badly not only on the charedi world but on the Torah. What I keep hearing in the chiloni antagonism to charedim is the bitterness that comes from repeated disappointment.

  20. Joe Fisher says:

    What a nice article.

  21. Dr. E says:

    I believe that the situation in Israel is different from that in the U.S. In the U.S. there are Orthodox academic types who do participate in these types of conferences, whether or not they are expected to present the Orthodox point of view in those forums. In the Federation world as well, Orthodox Jews have been involved either by invitation or registration. Perhaps, there are more modest expectations of being accomodated in terms of Shabbos and kosher. But they do participate. In Israel, things are far more polarized. Whether not being invited, not paying the registration fee, or probably more likely refusing to enter into a forum with non-Chareidim each contributed to the lack of representation.

    There is a tendency for Chareidim and even “U.S. Yeshivish” to not accept even good ideas from others (non-Orthodox or Orthodox non-Chareidi for that matter). If they didn’t think of it, it must be inherently krum, flawed, or could compromize Chareidi values/sensitivities. So, there is no real reciprocity going on either. So, regardless of the relevance of the theme of the conference, it is only logical that Chaereidim would not be there.

    So, JR is really setting up a straw man here. I would venture to guess that if the question of “should/can we participate in such a conference?” was posed to Daas Torah, the answer would be ‘no’ anyway. And whether or not the question was asked, someone would manage to put any participating Chareidi in cherem for “collaboration”. So, any critique of the conference or its organizers for not being inclusive is simply disingenuous.

  22. S. says:

    Did Commentary really ask no Chareidim in their “state of J. belief 1996” issue, or did no one they ask respond?

    I ask, because conceivably no Chareidim felt that they could write about Jewish beliefs alongside Reform, Conservative and who knows what else representatives. It’s certainly a possibility.

  23. David says:

    IMHO the only valuable part of this article is the final sentence.

    We can complain all day about how the chilonim don’t like us, but that’s really being very childish. We should be focusing our attention on trying to improve our image, rather than just kvetching. UNfortunately, we are way too busy blaming the rest of the country for everything, rather than making an effort to contribute to the state in a visibly meaningful way. We just hide in our frum communities and yeshivos and come out only to yell, scream and complain, and then we get mad when they don’t listen to us.

    Of course, not all of the hatred toward us is our fault. But some of it is, and that’s the part that we can do something about. Sadly, few of us are, and that’s one thing I’ll be crying about this Tuesday.

  24. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    Yoel B. says I was wrong to characterize DeHartuch as a “basher,” equal opportunity or not.” I did it because that is how too much of the Charedi community is characterizing him, and I don’t want to get into the argument is he bashing or not. I just wanted to make the point that he is not out to get just the Charedim, but to get everyone who misappropriates public funds.

    I quibble with JoelB’s statement that MK Cohen “used that language in defense of crooked behavior on the part of religious schools.” I think “crooked” goes too far, but neither of us disagree that Cohen was way out of order using it.

    As to the last paragraph, JoelB and I are in full agreement. I wish that Charedi politicians would show a level of maturity over and above everyone else, rather than letting the lowest level of Israeli political behavior define what is acceptable to them. Barring any information as to MK Cohen’s record in the Knesset otherwise, I would rather see DeHartuch allowed back into the Knesset building than see MK Cohen continue as a member of that body.

  25. Steve Brizel says:

    Yes, the powers that fund and run studies of this nature exclude and ignore speakers and spokesmen for the Charedi world and even mainstream MO leaders in favor of LW MO leaders who can be counted on to bash the rest of the Torah observant world with a now familiar intro that sounds like “we’re not like those..” OTOH, it is well known that R H Neuberger ZTL sat on the Federation Board in Baltimore and achieved much for Ner Yisrael and the Torah observant community in that capacity-even when he disagreed with the views of the heterodox majority. Perhaps, if the Charedi leadership on a communal basis sought to become involved in the Federation world, its views would be solicited. In Baltimore.the presence of R Neuberger ZTL helped keep a JCC closed on Shabbos. IMO, one can accomplish a lot more as an insider and team player on these issues than by standing on the outside and complaining about the communal status quo.

  26. HILLEL says:


    De Hartog is not a “selfless, dedicated, even-handed public servant.”

    I have been following this brouhaha in the Israeli Hebrew media, and MK Gafni has laid-out a long bill of particulars against De Hartog, from which it is clear that De Hartog is abusing his position of authority, in order to cripple the Hareidi schools.

    Many of you have overlooked the fact that many Kippa-Seruga-wearing people in the Dati-Leumi community deeply resent the inroads that the hareidim have made on their “turf.” The Mizrachi party was the dominant religious party in the early days of the State; now they have been eclipsed by Shas and Aguda.

    As a community activist, I have organized many “code enforcement” actions to drive slumlords off their property. I did everything according to the letter of the law. But I knew that, if the letter of the voluminous real estate law is enforced in every detail, no landlord can survive.

    De Hartog is conducting a “code enforcement” campaign against Hareidi schools. No, he isn’t doing anything illegal. He’s just combing through the rulebooks looking for any excuse to deny the schools the allocations that are justly theirs.

    If he can’t find a rule, he sometimes makes one up, by reinterpreting an existing rule in a new way, even when the Education Ministry tells him that that is not what the law was meant to do.

    He is an evil man, who demonstrated his violent nature publicly, in the Knesset. Had he struck Olmert or Barak or, Heaven-forbid Peres, he would have been fired instantly.

    I quote Rav Eliashiv: “Until now, we know him BeKisO; now we know him BeKaasO!”–Until now we knew his vil way with money; now we learned his evil way with uncontrolled anger.

    Here is a secular reporter who pretty much agrees:,7340,L-3425272,00.html

  27. Lawrence M. Reisman says:


    You’d have to show me that he goes after Charedi infractions more aggressively than others. Can you do it? However, eihter you are missing my point, or I have failed to make it sufficiently. The answer to DeHartog is to point out where he has been unfair to the Charedi community in his enforcement of the law. It’s not to call him “worse than the Germans” or any of the other things Charedim have called him.

    I read the article you cited, and the only thing he talks about is the reaction to DeHartog’s having slapped a Charedi (the subtitle “Israelis back official who hit religious MK. But what if he had slapped a leftist?” says it all). Elitzur does not deal with DeHartog’s alleged biases in the performance of his duties. So sorry, but Elitzur does not agree with the gist of your post.

  28. YM says:

    I was intrigued by SM’s comment (#1) – SM, are you an insider? It seems like you know a lot about this dispute. I mean, I didn’t realize that Chinuch Atzmai has Kollel’s. I thought that Chinuch Atzami was a network of elementary schools. In addition, the context of MK Cohen’s remarks need to be understood. When you add the effect of low birth rates and intermarriage together, it does seem like it could be that more than 6 million Jews have been lost. Both intermarriage and the decision to practice birth control within marriage are linked to one’s level of observance, which is linked to the level of Jewish Education that one receives. When one deprives Chinuch Atzami of funding, one is really, in an indirect way, contributing to losses in the Jewish People. Not the same as the Nazis, but for someone who considers the spiritual life to be the life that really counts; if one considers a Jew who lives a “frei” life as someone is really dead (while they still physically alive), it is understandable.

  29. al says:

    Most chareidi in the US are survivors or descendants of survivors . The fact that the Federations were callously indifferent to shoah must have some affect on relations.

  30. moshe says:

    R’ Jonathan, are you aware that HaModia, in reporting the incident, completely left out the insult that Cohen threw out to De HArtuch? Yated also seems to distort the events. How is it that the secular media can honestly report De Hartuch’s wrongdoing (even as they take his side), while the charedi press do not report Cohen’s wrongdoing?

  31. dovid says:

    “Until now, we know him BeKisO; now we know him BeKaasO!”

    HILLEL, did Rav Eliashiv state the above in connection with this incident, or you applied his quote to this incident?

  32. Moshe P. Mann says:

    I am a next door neighbor of de Hartoch in the Ramot neighborhood of Jerusalem, and I know him to be a very gentle and friendly person. In fact, someone who worked for him commented on how pleasant the experience was, as you can see for yourself at

    While I am not condoning the slap, we must ask ourselves if it is occassionally necessary to slap people who make deliberately offensive comments back into place.

  33. HILLEL says:


    My source is Mishpacha magazine in Hebrew. They detail chapter and verse on Mr. DeHartog’s novel and contradictory interpretations of the law, with repect to Hareidim, and they quote directly from Rav Eliashiv.

    Rav Eliashiv does not speak LoShon HoRa. So, we can can rely on him to correctly asess the kinf of RoSha tha t DeHartog is.

    By the way, DeHartog slapped Cohen so hard that he fell to the floor. It was more like a punch, with full force. DeHartog called Cohen an “animal” for daring to complain about his policies at the Knesset.

  34. Chaya says:

    On comment #3 above, about not being welcomed into a community when moving there. Using the cliche about what goes around, comes around, and given the rather sad state of affairs between various groups – The poster laments not having been welcomed into their new community, apparently because they are chareidi or frum. Would you have welcomed the non-chareidi or non-frum? Were they perhaps leery of approaching you because of prior rejections by others they perceived to be similar to you? I only looked at this comment because of reference to it in the next blog item. The quote there seems really odd – implying that you can have brains or babies, which is not at all what the comment is saying.

  35. Miriam Shear says:

    To Rosenblum and Schmidt: There is no reason to be upset about this rejection. It is valid for the simple reason that their honest and forthright explanation to Schmidt is correct: We are worlds apart. We do not speak the same language; we do not share the same values; we do not have the same goals; we do not have the same level and intensity of committment. That’s fine: their approach will produce one kind of result and ours will produce a different kind of result. To put it bottom line terms: We have a better chance than they do of having Jewish grandchildren. That’s not arrogant speculation – it’s a fact born out by the statistics and polls they themselves have conducted. Is it sad that we can’t sit together, that they don’t want to hear what we have to say? Yes, for all of us, but mostly for them. Remember: only 20% of the Jews came out of Mitzrayim.

    About 15 years ago, the Federation of a midwest city sponsored a leadership training conference to develop leaders in the secular community with the goal of promoting more Jewish identity in the community. To their credit, the Federation recognized that the Orthodox community was very organized; had a strong contingency of women who actively nurtured the growth and infrastructure of their community; and were pros on nurturing volunteerism. Federation handpicked 12 women from the Orthodox sector whom they believed had demonstrated strong leadership skills and would be an asset in assisting their program’s efforts in developing their own handpicked candidates. I was one of those from the Orthodox sector. I was quite surprised when I received this invitation as I had been very public about my views on the distorted ideology of the Reform and Conservative movements – even going to Israel on a speaking tour on the Who is a Jew issue in 1988 – and was not considered “friendly” to these groups. They assured me there was no mistake and, with much optimism and zeal, began taking time from my business to attend these meetings.

    It soon became apparent that this was a waste of time and money. While paying lip service to the importance of fostering strong Jewish identity, they wanted to hold our lunch meetings at non-kosher establishments. When we politely suggested that we use a kosher vendor instead, we were told that this would amount to approximately $5 more per head and that “nobody’s going to go for that”. When I asked one of these women, “What kind of handbag is that?”, referring to her purse, she coyly replied “Gucchi”. I’ve never owned a Gucchi bag but I have seen the price tags and, at that time, you couldn’t touch one for less than $250. When I pointed out to her that this seemed to be the handbag of choice with its price tag of $250, I really didn’t think an extra $5 was going to break anybody’s budget, I received a cold retort that “You are expecting too much when you want people to reprioritize what they feel is important to them”. I asked, “But isn’t this what our conference is about – reprioritizing our values?” From that point on, I got the cold shoulder. I refused to attend any function with them held at a trayfe place. Unfortunately, the other Orthodox women were not willing to stand up for their principles – they continued on. Bottom line: Nothing went anywhere with this program. They never graduated their new “leaders”. It was a failure. A new agenda is pretty hard to swallow when chewing on trayfe and talking about “Jewish identity”. It’s a bad joke. My Orthodox sisters criticized me as “being too principled and being short-sighted”. Time would tell if they were right but my sense of intellectual honesty was not going to have me sitting around with a bunch of Jewish women eating trayfe while speaking starry-eyed of their “bright Jewish future”.

    To make another point: I don’t know of any chareidi group that would invite a Reform or Conservative Jew to participate in their program. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong – it’s just the reality. So, I really don’t know why Schmidt is offended.

    Besides, we’re not, for a large part, setting any kind of good example to others about continuity, communication, identity, etc when we have too many incidents of behaving contrary to Jewish values ourselves. Let’s clean up our own act first; learn how to live without violence amongst our own; learn how to respectfully agree to disagree. Then, maybe, others might be interested in our input.

  36. Lawrence M. Reisman says:


    Mishpocha details “DeHartog’s novel and contradictory interpretations of the law, with repect to Hareidim.” It’s been shown that he has been hard on non-Hareidim as well. Is Mishpocha claiming that he has been harder on Hareidim than he has been on others? If applies the same “novel and contradictory interpretations of the law” to such organizations as HaBima theatre or National Religious insititutions (and there has been indications that he has) then he’s not anti-Chareidi in his job, just thorough, difficult, and ornery.

  37. Bob Miller says:

    We have another discussion thread here about the use of English. Shouldn’t we settle on one correct spelling for Mr. De H.’s last name?

  38. anonymous says:

    sorry you feel so excluded Mr Rosenblum.Why doesn’t Agudas charedim invite modern orthodox leaders to speak and participate with them

  39. Mark says:


    “Would you have welcomed the non-chareidi or non-frum?”

    Please remember that the JCC represents the broader Jewish community and should not be reflecting personal bias’s. Whatever Garnel would have done for a non-frum family is irrelevant. He does not represent the entire community. The JCC does and it should extend the very same courtesies and services to the Frum as the Non-Frum.
    Incidentally, where I live the JCC does exactly that and are to be greatly commended. They’re very sensitive to the needs and sensibilities of the frum community and they receive much support from them as well. It is an all-around positive and fruitful relationship and the same goes for the Federation.

  40. HILLEL says:

    Mr. Reisman:

    I am satisfied that Rav Eliashiv, who is a great Torah leader, clearly implied that DeHartog is attacking the Hareidi community. That’s enough for me.

    However, for your information, MK Gafni submitted a very detailed bill of particulars to substantiate his claim that Hareidi institutions are being UNFAIRLY targeted and denied funds that they were specifically allocated for Jewish education.

    (That does not foreclose the possibility that non-Hareidi institutions are being FAIRLY denied funds they are not entitled to. I presume that DeHartog would stop bank robbers from doing their work, regardless of their religious orientation.)

  41. Elliot B. Pasik, Esq. says:

    To Hillel and Jonathan Rosenblum –

    The olam needs some clarity here, or at least I do.

    Until now, I never read that MK Cohen fell to the floor, as you write Hillel. Can a face slap do that? Source please, from you or anyone?

    JR says that MK Cohen was “slugged”. Never read that either, only that he was slapped. Source please, again from you or anyone?

    I too believe the slap was wrong, no question, particularly comong from a lawyer. But he was greatly provoked, in the incident itself, and it was ongoing for years. The provocation goes to mitigation of punishment. There is also tradition to a slap in the face, which is also a mitigating factor. A potch in the punim is a common Yiddish phrase. Parents slap children. Rebbes slap talmidim. A lady slaps a vulgar man. A gentleman removes his glove, and slaps his opponent in the face with the glove. These things mostly don’t go on today, but they used to have some acceptabiity in certain circles.

  42. Chaim Wolfson says:

    Anonymous (#38),
    Agudah doesn’t invite MO speakers to their conventions for the same reason Mizrachi wouldn’t invite an Agudah speaker to their conventions. You don’t ask someone with a different ideology to address a forum where the focus is your own ideology; the speaker has to match the agenda. However, Agudah organizes numerous conferences that have nothing to do with Agudah ideology per se (business and medical ethics, etc.), and to these they invite MO speakers all the time. Attorny Ben Brafman, for example, has been a featured speaker at many an Agudah-sponsered conference, and he is not a Chareidi. That is just one example off the top of my head. I’m sure there are others.

  43. Michoel says:

    Elliot B. Pasik Esq,
    “There is also tradition to a slap in the face, which is also a mitigating factor… These things mostly don’t go on today, but they used to have some acceptabiity in certain circles.”

    Right before Tisha b’Av you were m’kaim bim’lo hamuvan “Kal ha’m’lamed zchus al chareveiro, Hamakom y’daneihu l’chaf z’chus!”

    Slapping wives also used to have some acceptability in certain circles.

  44. HILLEL says:

    To Elliot Pasik:

    The detailed blow-by-blow account is in Mishpacha magazine (Hebrew edition) of last week in an article written by their political reporter Yossi Elitov. He writes that Cohen blacked-out after the slap/puch and was taken to Hadassah/Ein Kerem hospital, hardly characteristic of a mere “slap.”

    Here is an article which hints at what really happened:,7340,L-3423581,00.html

  45. YM says:

    Moshe P. Mann, I find your comment offensive. There is no excuse for what Mr. De Hartoch did. As Frum Jews, we look at the spiritual world as the real world, and physical existence as a means by which we develop and express our spiritual achivements.

    Here is an excerpt from Sara Yocheved Rigler, interviewing Rebbezin Chaya Sara Kramer:

    She asked me about my background. I told her about the ashram. Then I asked her about her experiences in the Holocaust, a subject which had always absorbed me. She described how, on that first night in Auschwitz, a veteran inmate had pointed to the smoke issuing out of the chimney of the crematoria and told her, “That’s your parents.”

    Nevertheless, she asserted, “Auschwitz was not a bad place.”

    What? I must have misunderstood. I asked her to repeat her statement.

    “Auschwitz was not a bad place,” she repeated clearly. “There was a group of religious Hungarian girls. We stuck together. And all the mitzvot we could do, we did do. For example, one girl kept track of the days, so we knew when it was Shabbos, and we avoided doing any forbidden work whenever possible. On Passover, we didn’t have any matzah or wine, of course. But one of the girls had memorized the Haggadah. She would recite a line, then we would all repeat after her. In this way, we were able to fulfill the mitzvah of reciting the Haggadah.”

    The holy woman fixed me with her pale blue eyes. “A bad place is a place where Jews can do mitzvot, but don’t do them. For you, the ashram was a bad place.” (

  46. YM says:

    By this definition, Mr. De Hartoch was what Mr. Cohen called him. Granted, he shouldn’t have called him that, but by the way we look at the world, he is acting as such.

  47. Steve Brizel says:

    Chaim Wolfson-Many MO Jews participate in , speak and do what they view as outreach at General Assembly confabs. Chabad also participates. I think that the sucesss that R H Neuberger ZTL achieved in Baltimore is a model and road map for other leaders in the Torah observant world.

    Venues over lunch meetings can be negotiated without compromising Halacha or appearing triumphalistic. Have a meeting at a neutral venue and allow everyone to order in-like a regular business luncheon. This way, the subject is business rather than the quality of the meal or the cost of a pocketbook.

  48. Steve Brizel says:

    FWIW, the OU has always had speakers and presenters at its conventions ranging from Charedi oriented personae such as JR ( and many other rabbinical leaders) to the LW of MO.

  49. Jacob Haller says:

    To anonymous and Chaim Wolfson,

    An FYI that during the Agudah convention the last Shmita year, one of highest attended speeches was from a clean-shaven Kipah Srugah outfitted Israeli farmer (also a Ba’al T’shuva and spoke in Ivrit) who detailed the unique challenges of keeping shmita and for the first time in his life.

  50. ben-aharon says:

    Jonathan Rosenblum bemoans the fact that a major conference on Jewish continuity, four years in the planning, made no attempt to invite the Chareidi community’s participation. He also accurately concludes that programs which do not recognize the centrality of Torah in maintaining Jewish survival are essentially a waste of time.
    When all is said and done, one group of Jews knows what works and another group does not. Shouldn’t we be asking the opposite question? The real issue is not how come they don’t want us; it’s how do we get to them? The disconnect and mischaracterization of each group is profound and ought not be accepted as “reality”. Irrespective of what another does, each one of us has a personal responsibility to act rightly. The truly disheartening aspect of the Cohen/de Hartoch affair is that they are BOTH Torah observant and BOTH behaved badly. And the non-Orthodox observers are supposed to understand what exactly? That Shomrei Mitzvot can be as uncivilized as they are? I don’t think that is the best approach for finding commonalities.
    Miriam Shear points out that only 20% of the Jews left Mitzrayim, the remainder lacking the faith and commitment to Hashem perished there. I hope this fact wasn’t meant to be a forecast of our future. Before considering abandoning other Jews who certainly lack the education and awareness those with Torah knowledge possess, we ought to rethink the obligation we have to present Torah in the most noble and honorable way we can. At least let other Jews see what great heritage they are missing before we move further away from them.

  51. Moshe P. Mann says:

    YM, read my quote again: ” I am not condoning the slap.” That does not sound like an excuse to me. And my I ask what does Mrs. Rigler’s Holocaust story have anything to do with the subject?

  52. dr. william gewirtz says:

    IN response:

    “but we must admit that MK Cohen’s was wrong to call DeHartuch “worse than the Germans,” even if it fit within what would be acceptable bounds for a non-charedi Israeli politician. If we keep using this kind of language, no one will ever take us seriously.

    Comment by Lawrence M. Reisman — July 18, 2007 @ 11:49 am”

    I pray that you want to reword that!!! Calling someone worse than the Germans over the issues involved constitutes a desecration of the memory of the Kedoshim. When that type of language is used purposefully, many would accuse the speaker of anti-semitism. In any case, referring to it as acceptable for a non-charedi politician is among the most intemperate comments I have seen. Let me be dan lekav sechus and assume MK Cohen (and De Hartoch) acted in a moment overcome by passion / shigayon. Perhaps blogging may have a similar defense??

  53. Lawrence M. Reisman says:


    You write that “MK Gafni submitted a very detailed bill of particulars to substantiate his claim that Hareidi institutions are being UNFAIRLY targeted and denied funds that they were specifically allocated for Jewish education.” I suggest that someone publish that bill ASAP so as to document Mr. DeHartog’s bias. It would certainly clear a lot up.

  54. Lawrence M. Reisman says:


    One more thing. You note that “non-Hareidi institutions are being FAIRLY denied funds they are not entitled to.” Your list had better prove that Hareidi institutions were being unfairly treated as opposed to the others.

  55. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    Dr. Gewirtz:

    “Calling someone worse than the Germans over the issues involved constitutes a desecration of the memory of the Kedoshim. When that type of language is used purposefully, many would accuse the speaker of anti-semitism. In any case, referring to it as acceptable for a non-charedi politician is among the most intemperate comments I have seen”

    I am only observing what passes for acceptable language in Israeli political discourse. Ben Gurion used to call Jabotinsky “Vladimir Hitler.” In our time, Shulamith Aloni and Yeshayahu Leibowitz both used the metaphor with abandon. I can agree with you that it desecrates the memory of the kedoshim, but in the context of present Israeli society, it has become acceptable. If you want to get Israelis to stop using it, I applaud you. For my part, I’d just like to get Chareidim to stop using it first.

  56. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    Dr. Gewirtz:

    Please allow me to expand on my comments. I do not believe that using the Nazis a a point of comparison is desirable or, on an objective basis, acceptable. But it is still part of the fabric of Israeli political discourse. Chilonim use it regularly. But since I am not Chiloni, I do not consider it my place to tell them to stop. The religious Zionist movement has used it, especially since Oslo. I am not a member of that community, and I don’t consider it my place to tell them to stop.

    I am, however, nominally part of the Chareidi community, in my synagogue affiliations, where my children have gone to school, and in my other activities. I have written actively from the Chareidi viewpoint, including two articles in the Jersusalem Report. As such, I feel I am entitled to comment when someone from that community uses the Nazi language, and to say that it is inappropriate, no matter what anyone else does.

    In his original post, Yonason Rosenbloom wrote “When Rabbi Yisrael Eichler referred to former Meretz Party head Shulamit Aloni as a Nazi, he was hit with a libel judgment of hundreds of thousands of shekels. When Aloni referred to Binyamin Netanyahu and others as crypto-Nazis and fascists, she was awarded the Israel prize.” His implication was clear: It’s acceptable for Chilonim, why not for Chareidim? And that was what I was trying to answer.

  57. Sarah Elias says:

    We have another discussion thread here about the use of English. Shouldn’t we settle on one correct spelling for Mr. De H.’s last name?

    Comment by Bob Miller — July 19, 2007 @ 2:39 pm

    I believe the correct spelling is De Hartog, pronounced Hartokh. De H.’s family is probably originally Dutch.

    The version of the story that was published in the local paper is that Mr. Cohen asked De H. why the animosity to to the frum, to which De H. responded, “You’re an animal, like the Nazis.” So Cohen fired back, “And you’re worse, because the Nazis wanted our bodies while you want to take Jewish souls.”

    Yeah, it wasn’t nice to call De Hartog worse than a Nazi, but De Hartog’s language was certainly no nicer and having made the comment he did, what exactly was he expecting to hear in response?

  58. Loberstein says:

    Not all communities are identical. I gather from this discussion that the Baltimore model is not the norm.Here, due to the leadership of Rabbi Herman Neuberger for over half a century, we have achieved a level of respect and accomodation with the organized community i.e. Federation. Rabbi Neuberger was active not only on narrow orthodox isues but participated in the whole range of issues. Even those who disagreed with him, respected his integrity and the fact that he could not be “bought”. One case in point, he told the Baltimore Jewish Council that if they supported gay rights as a communal issue, he would have to resign. They tabled it and never passed it, even though the majority favored gay rights as a Jewish issue. In their constitution the made him a permanant life member of the board, an honor only given to one other man, a old time leftist.
    Over the years, this approach his not hindered the growth of our frum community and it is a respected segment of the overall community. You can be a team player without compromising your prinicples.

  59. Loberstein says:

    R. Moshe Feinstein ruled that it was forbidden to give money to Federation.
    I am satisfied that Rav Eliashiv, who is a great Torah leader, clearly implied that DeHartog is attacking the Hareidi community. That’s enough for me.
    These 2 statements are very troubling. I have never heard of this psak by Rav Moshe and it certainly isn’t the norm in Baltimore, where many frum Jews are active in Federation. Could he have been speaking in a different context about a different set of circumstances?
    As one who has always been raised to respect gedolim, I do not grasp the phenomenon called “Rav Elyashiv”. It seems to me that we are not talking about one man here but a mind set that uses his name as its hechsher. Every day a new ban comes out and this man is used as the shield, is he really the instigator of all that is said in his name. Is it possible that others are misusing a great man’s honor in his extreme old age and creating a chilul hashem? I don’t know. Every godol I ever met was kind and tolerant and loved all Jews, I think RavElyashiv the man is like that too, but not the movement that uses his name.

  60. dochesed says:

    In a reply to Shira Schmidt’s post on the JPPI meeting, Avi Biti states: “Also I heard an organizer of the conference say on the radio that while they think they could have done a better job, several invitations were in fact sent to Haredi educators and communal leaders who simply never answered.”

    This article seems to imply the opposite (“Only one group was not represented: the chareidim. In the four years of planning leading up to the conference, it apparently did not cross anyone’s mind that it might be a good idea to seek figures from the chareidi world to participate.”)

    What are the facts?

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