Satmar: Do They Take Us For Fools?

I was puzzled by the anguished responses of some of my friends to the videos of children at two Satmar camps being indoctrinated in the fine art of hatred of Zionists. Publicized on Yeshiva World News, the leaked videos showed children chanting slogans like “A Jew is not a Zionist,” and at one of the camps, all of them pelting a vehicle they were led to believe contained PM Netanyahu with eggs.

Sure, I was disgusted by this on many levels. How many enemies of our people would argue that Jews are no better than Hamas, whose summer camps teach thousands of children in Gaza to murder Israelis? (To be fair, in the Hamas camps, the kids are throwing grenades, known to be unsafe to humans and other life forms. Satmar’s eggs could probably, at worst, elevate cholesterol levels for a short period of time.) How many more Satmar kids will be taught not that they are proud bearers of their communities banner, but that they are the only authentic Jews! How unthinking of the organizers of these activities not to take into account how they embolden those whose intentions are nothing less than genocidal!

But was this really the worst that we’ve seen from Satmar? What about public demonstrations at the Israeli Consulate in NY – at a time that Israel was under intense pressure in the world community – in front of the watchful eyes of the world? Does anyone believe that people have not tried again and again to elicit some responsibility from Satmar leadership, and always come up wanting? Why the surprise? Move on. There is nothing the rest of us are going to do about it, other than being better examples of Jews to our friends and neighbors than they can be.

Yet this episode did irk me considerably. Surely whoever was responsible (and it was assuredly not all of Satmar; Jerusalem Post published dissent within the community) must have known about the battle Satmar is facing with the State of New York over its disregard for state law about providing secular education to children. Parents and other interested parties, both in Satmar and those who bolted from it, pushed the State to enforce the current statute, claiming that Satmar non-compliance was sentencing children to a life of poverty and reliance on the public dole. Without minimal skills in English and other parts of a core curriculum, a new generation of Satmar Chassidim will remain unemployable in all but a small number of occupations.

Satmar was clearly worried. They convened a very visible conference on updating the secular curriculum in their schools. None of us outsiders knows whether they were serious, or this was a staged event to signal the State that they were prepared to address their concerns, even if they were not. Either way, they were worried that there could be untoward consequences of losing the battle with the State.

How, then, could the Satmar spokesman in Israel come up with a statement so crass, cynical and unbelievable:

“This is very respectable,” Yitzhak Weiss, a supporter of Zalman Leib and a spokesman for the Satmar Hassidim in Israel told The Jerusalem Post, regarding the camp affiliated with his faction. 

“They are showing them democratic values so when they grow up they can express themselves and demonstrate. We teach them freedom of speech.” He said the children are taught the values and principles that belong to their community, saying it is a “beautiful thing” that it is their right to protest a state and prime minister who, for instance, “force their brothers to go to the army.”

Was there no worry that such a statement would intensify all the pushback against Satmar’s refusal to provide minimal education to their children? No concern that the camp activity would convince people that living in enforced isolation from the rest of us was the incubator of attitudes that they saw in the videos? That somehow Jews who lived with some degree of connection with the external world developed more tolerance? 

Did the author of those lines take us all – the State, and the rest of us non-Jewish Jews – for utter fools? Or, perhaps he knows that Satmar, as one of the last groups with guaranteed bloc voting, has enough influence with politicians that it can say or do anything it wants? In which case our confidence in the American political system – complete or limited – actually does make us fools?

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93 Responses

  1. david z says:

    Appreciated. Couldn’t help but chortle at from of speech. ūüôā though the kids will surely be ready flee veneers if buffer education with anti Israel demonstrations, safe spaces, and “freedom of speech.” Maybe that’s their answer to New York legislators.

  2. Y. Ben-David says:

    It is typical of totalitarian ideological systems to keep their population permanently mobilized against largely imaginary enemies by constantly repeating the claim that “we are surrounded by enemies that want to destroy us, we must constantly give uncritical support to our leader who are protecting us from this threat, any dissent from our propaganda line is an opening for our enemies to destroy us from within, etc, etc, etc”. All this does over time is to breed a corrosive cynicism which will eventually boomerang against those who are propagating this line. History has proven this.

  3. David Ohsie says:

    “Does anyone believe that people have not tried again and again to elicit some responsibility from Satmar leadership, and always come up wanting? Why the surprise? Move on. There is nothing the rest of us are going to do about it, other than being better examples of Jews to our friends and neighbors than they can be.”

    Rabbi Adlerstein, I think that your second instinct (which was to publish this) was correct. ¬† As you note, there are people within Satmar who want to make changes. ¬†The fact that they know that there are people out there “on their side” provides them with moral support. ¬†Protest against the Soviet Union could accomplish little, but dissenters like Solzhenitsyn appreciated them anyhow.

    “In which case our confidence in the American political system ‚Äď complete or limited ‚Äď actually does make us fools?”

    I don’t think so. ¬†Democracy, even the representative kind, is subject to the whims of the voters. ¬†If the “right” result is unpopular, then the right result has to lose. ¬†The alternative is to subject ourselves to tyranny by a few¬†who think they know what is right (which we also have to some degree). ¬†Unless the secret ballot has been undermined in Satmar communities, it is up to the members to vote for change.

  4. joel rich says:

    Interesting question – what actions or beliefs on the “right” flank (e.g. Satmar, Lubavitch) would be required to elicit a¬†public community (e.g. Agudah, RCA) rejection?


  5. mycroft says:

    Why the surprise-it is far from just Satmer it is pandemic in much of Chareidi community. I was visiting my wife’s cousin in Kamenetz -his children not knowing I know Hebrew were referring to demonstrations that they attend and the police as”naziim”. We have very little ¬†achdus as a people-many simply don’t recognize anyone else as their allies being part of am echad. I happened to be in Israel when Rav Moshe Twersky was murdered. I attended the levaya in the crowd outside-once one eliminated the press, police one noticed that non chareidi attenders outside could be counted on fingers- this for a murder. During the Shalit demonstrations the demonstrators were by visual appearance 99 percent or so chiloni. Look at words used by those who go to mainstream Yeshivot in the US referring to people in Israel well they’re “frei” .

    AM Echad is a nice slogan but unitil we see even the basic of concern for all Jews -never mind the concern that we should have for all born Beselem elokim we have  a lot to answer for. Satmer is just a little more open about their feelings-perhaps they can be open because they are at least consistent in general refusing money from the State of Israel.




    • Steve Brizel says:

      Actually, there was a huge outpouring of Chesed from outside the Charedi community for the families of the Arbah Kedoshim of Har Nof and the Charedi community showed its solidarity with the rest of Am Yisrael during the events that led to the war in 2014  and support for the IDF as well. Counting heads at  a funeral is by no means the only way of showing chesed and solidarity.

      • mycroft says:

        I was at the levaya and made a shiva visit. I was in Jerusalem during the time period-know the reaction of non Chareidi schul when one member referred to it.

        On what basis do you say there is solidarity? Obviously, it makes a better story-but simply there are different communities. I am not saying it is desirable or good. Re counting heads at funerals I didn’t see any objection to that message when big numbers attended Rav Ovadya Yosephs levaya or the numbers at numerous other gedolim.

        BTW how many chareidi Rabbonim attended the Ravs levayah at Maimonides School?

      • Steve brizel says:

        I saw a lot of evidence of solidarity by the Charedi world with the IDF during the 2014 war that was reported on in the American Charedi media.

      • Steve brizel says:

        I think that the attendance at the leviah of any Gadol reflects Kavod HATorah by the community who was influenced the most by that Gadol as opposed to an ideological litmus test.

      • dr. bill says:

        enough with your attempt to justify the indefensible. ¬†many know of chareidi gedolim who told people not to attend the Rav ztl’s funeral, wrote the obnoxious JO article, stopped refering to the Rav by his initials only when someone now famous retorted “AK,” etc.etc. ¬†i appreciate letting bygones be bygones, but an attempt to whitewash them is rather unseemly.

        the rav does not require a hechsher from anyone.  while there were greater talmudists, scientists and philosophers, there has not existed a person with his knowledge of talmud, science and philosophy since Rambam.

        those who have seen his kever will note the “extra” heh. ¬†but imho, it is entirely understandable.

      • Steve brizel says:

        Wasn’t counting heads but I didn’t see any. Then again I didn’t see many MO at the levayah of RMF which drew a huge crowd to the LES on a weekday


      • Steve Brizel says:

        I think that solidarity and achdus is demonstrated in this way-I know of more than a few sefarim that quote the views of RYBS, RAK and many other Gdolim on the same inyan-that IMO is far more a sign of achdus than looking for faces or headcoverings at a levayah.

      • mycroft says:

        Even the few non black hats at the levaya outside were people who had a connection with Rav Moshe Twersky’s parents-including PhDs from Harvard program of Prof Twersky.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      There is no doubt that the “shittah” of Satmar has a huge impact in the Charedi world in EY, which should never be confused with the Yeshivish and non Satmar Chasidish worlds in the US. In ¬†the US you will find favorable depictions of the IDF in Charedi media which was evident during the 2014 war, depictions of Charedi soldiers in the IDF on Charedi websites, but not much discussion of the very similar views of REW ZL HaShem Yimkam Damo vis a vis Zionism of all stripes and the very negative views that REW had of RAYHK ¬†in his essays. I have heard that when HHH, a wonderful friend and supporter of Israel, was ¬†then running for president in 1968 or later visited the SR, the SR refused to allow any discussion of the SR’s shittah on Israel, and maintained that the same was an internal machlokes but one to be aired in the public.¬†Like it or not, if you have ever spoken to anyone raised in the Satmar world, and I have encountered a few in hospital wards, you will learn that the SR was very emphatic about two issues-being anti Zionist to the extreme and an equally extreme concern for Bikur Cholim. I would add that such important concerns such as Hatzala, checking for Shatnez,¬†and Bikur Choklim¬†etc all had their points of origin in the Satmar world. One has to wonder why the disputes about real estate in the Satmar world have to play themselves out in the secular court system, as opposed to seeking a Din Torah from a properly constituted Beis Din. It remains to be seen whether the courts in the US will continue to honor the desire of Satmar and similar groups to build their enclaves and seek municipal services.

      • Reader says:

        ”¬†I would add that such important concerns such as Hatzala, checking for Shatnez,¬†and Bikur Choklim¬†etc all had their points of origin in the Satmar world.”


        1) Shatnez awareness was raised by Mr. Joseph Rosenberger z”l. According to his Wikipedia entry (, he came from Austria. Seems like he may have been a Viener (non-Hasidic from Vienna). Not Satmar.

        2) Bikur Cholim wasn’t invented by Satmar. Satmar didn’t build any of the Jewish hospitals far and wide in the country. Not one of them. Which are the essence of bikur cholim.

        They came afterward and started a new, ancillary project, for things such as bringing chicken soup and ‘heimish’ food to patients (Satmar often didn’t/doesn’t accept kashrus of others).

        3) Of the three things you mention, Hatzoloh may be the one they have more of a claim on. The name for it was given by the Satmar Rebbe R. Joel Teitelbaum. And it was started by a man (Mr. Weber) in Williamsburg.



      • Steve brizel says:

        Building hospitals is one aspect of bikur cholim .making sure that people have kosher food and have a shul as well as a hospitality suite was not exactly what was intended by the founders of most hospitals with Jewish founders

        The home office of the Shatnez lab was on Lee Avenue.

      • Rachel W. says:

        The Shatnez Lab began in the Agudah Offices on Bedford Ave in Williamsburg.

        Hatzolah was started by Satmar Chassidim, not necessarily by the Satmar leadership.  However, it does show something that it was a Satmar Chassid who thought of the idea and founded such an important communal mossad.

        The Satmar Rebetzin was indeed the first one to introduce the concept of bikur cholim in its present form: visiting hospitals and providing the sick and their families there with food and other needs.  Also, interceding with doctors and hospitals on behalf of the patients.

  6. Eli Blum says:

    Yes. Or they don’t care what we think, as we (non-Satmar) aren’t really Jews.

    V’Haryah, Agudah runs to them for support, never the other way around.

    Perhaps Rabbi Shafran could comment.

    Or maybe it is time to treat the “innovators” on the right similar to the OO “innovators” on the left.



    • mycroft says:

      The same way Prof Kaplan did in showing Revisioism by both right and left against the Rav

  7. dr. bill says:

    Satmar does not surprise me.  If change happens, it will likely not be peaceful or gradual or the result of the efforts of other jews.  However, I am outraged by the respect they receive in mainstream jewish circles.  I cannot square the acceptance of al hageulah veal hatemurah’s view of ramban’s views on Eretz Yisroel as a result of eilu ve’ailu with rejection of those promoted by modern orthodox thinkers.
     When I read of a current dispute between two contemporary gedolim in Israel if ben gurion or hitler caused more evil to befall jews, I realize the slide to the right is at least as dangerous than any slide to the left within the so-called orthodox tent.
     As I strongly believe, we will be judged on where we focus, not just on what we do.  If the right only looked to its right and the left only to its left, the likelihood of creating useful boundaries around orthodoxy would improve.  looking the opposite way, is just a prescription for interesting but fundamentally useless rhetoric.

    • ISteve Brizel says:

      Dr Bill-It is very simple. The Ramban’s view of Yishuv EY is well known to any Bar Bei Rav DChad Yomah. What the SR rejected ¬†and what is still viewed with extreme skepticism is that a secular Jewish state would result in the normalization of relations between the Jewish People and the nations of the world. You and I both view the State of Israel as a great gift from HaShem which led to the revival of Jewish identity in the post Holocaust world but the SR and the Charedi world has never viewed the establishment of the State of ¬†Israel as a means of normalizing relations Bein Yisrael LAmim. ¬†The bottom line remains that Yom HaAtzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim are wonderfully important days in our time, but we should never think that a Melech Evyon takes precedence or be viewed with more enthusiasm over that which we observe by dint of its being given to us by the Melech Elyon-namely Taryag Mitzvos.

  8. Arthur says:

    What they say, however disingenuous and ridiculous,¬†simply does not matter because right now in NYC and NYS they have the¬†muscle and certainly don’t require the good graces of RCA-camp bloggers.¬†¬†Anyone who doesn’t recognize that, well . . .

  9. Toby Katz says:

    It is against the halacha to waste food — bal tashchis.¬† Throwing eggs at anyone for any reason is an aveirah, and that is what Jewish children should be taught.¬† Think how a single egg can save the life of a starving person.¬† Think what a Jew in a wartime ghetto or concentration camp would have given for a single egg.¬† The Satmar Rebbe zt’l would have been absolutely appalled by the camp activity of throwing eggs.

    • mycroft says:

      I would hope that Mrs Katz was just using the egg example to add the Baal tashchis addition. I assume that she would also believe it isassur to throw anything at people even waste products which not have the Baal tashcgisaddition.

    • mb says:

      Toby Katz,

      Suppose they were rotten eggs, would the SR be absolutely appalled? Satmar don’t do anything he opposed.

    • Arthur says:

      The eggs could have been spoiled or otherwise inedible.

      I’m also sure one can think of situations in which¬†throwing an egg at another person would be permitted.

      A starving person’s life¬†won’t be saved by a single egg.¬† At best he’ll¬†die a little bit later.

      However, it’s appalling to mistreat an SUV like that.

  10. Natan Slifkin says:

    “Move on. There is nothing the rest of us are going to do about it, other than being better examples of Jews to our friends and neighbors than they can be.”

    I think that it would have been appropriate to protest the Satmar anti-Israel hatefest in Manhattan, which was attended by many non-Satmar rabbonim. The RCA protested it.

    • mycroft says:

      once you permit “hate fest” for any disagreements, hashkafa, believing someone else isakofer, heresy, one accepts the actions-it is then just a matter of what one believes is beyond the pale to permit “hatefests”

  11. Shalom says:

    The only fool is YOU. Satmar has different shittos for you Rabbi Adlerstein to not understand them after fifty years, makes you the fool.

    • mycroft says:

      Satmar about once a month comes to my morning minyan to collect. I’ve often wondered what re the odds they would let a MO person collect for their mosdos in a Satmar schul?

      • That, my friend, is very easy to answer. 1) The Satmar Rov, zt”l, was incredibly generous to all, including to people far from his shitah 2) I won’t name him, but I can point to a Satmar posek who insisted that local gvirim give generously to local day-schools in the US, even if they were pro-Zionist 3) All Satmar gvirim I’ve met make no distinction in their tzedakah, but give with incredible generosity

  12. Steve Brizel says:

    One can argue that Satmar’s response and long standing and well documented “shittah” on all matters relating to the State of Israel unfortunately has ripple effects in the Charedi world, and especially in the EY Charedi world, which should not be confused with the yeshiva and non Satmar Chasidish worlds in the US. You can find some discussions if you look for them of REW ZL’s very strongly held views¬†on Zionism and on RAYHK ZL¬†more so in EY than in the US where Charedi media during the last conflicts/wars in Gaza had numerous articles about the IDF and discuss economic integration of Charedim into the Israeli high tech workplace. When all is said and done, it cannot be denied as a young Satmar avrech once told me that the SR was extremely insistent that Chesed and anti Zionism were two cardinal aspects of the Satmar POV. I would add that there is a well known story involving a visit of then Democratic candidate HHH to the SR and the SR refrained from making anti Zionist statements in his presence-which the SR explained that disagreements between Jews about Zionism and the State of Israel must always remain an internal disagreement, whereas if the same were ever employed in political discourse, the same would be viewed as anti Semitism writ large. Like it or not, regardless of the SR’s views on Zionism, there are numerous positive developments that one must acknowledge ¬†had their origins in Satmar such as Hatzala, checking for Shatnez , and an incredible devotion to Bikur Cholim.

    • mb says:

      Steve Brizel,

      The Samaritans were stricter than the Pharisees on many halachic issues. A deviant sect, is still a deviant sect.

      And as for that old saw about HH and other so called loving stories, if that truly was the SR’s position, Satmar would never dare deviate from it.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        MB-if you had the following limited choice -where would you daven-Satmar or an OO affiliated institution?I would note that even in the Litvishe bastion of Lakewood, there are Satmar affiliated chaderim and shtieblach. The story that I have heard about HHH comes from an inpeccable source, and I stand by my comments on the contributions of Satmar to the entire Jewish world-regardless of their shittah on Zionism.

      • mb says:

        Steve Brizel,

        I also know the impeccable source. This supposedly happened in 1968. check out the career of the source. Besides there are differing versions of this story from Satmar.

        Are you asking me would I daven at YCT if the only other option was a Satmar Shul next door? If so, YCT. Satmar’s shittah on Zionism is beyond the pale to me, however, there are several other issues too. Just too far removed from normalcy. Remember, Karaites were the majority of Jews at one time. And they had great scholars too.Size means nothing.


      • Steve brizel says:

        I have known this impeccable source for almost 50 years. While I disagree with some of his political stances he and his family are amazing Baalei  Chesed who have had a marked impact on anyone who has attended a Shabbos meal at their office especially many BTs wanting to see what a Shabbos meal was for the first time.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Like it or not, one cannot dismiss the devotion to and the results of Satmar’s focus on Bikur Cholim and other certain mitvos which know no hashkafic boundaries. There are shuls, hospitality suites , patient advocates and Shabbos elevators in most, if not all major NY hospitals thanks to Satmar. Shatnez is no longer a Mes Mitzvah and Hatzalah has saved thousands of lives over the years.That hardly strikes me as the actions of ¬†a deviant sect. I think that the uncompromising way ( for which they get much ridicule) for their adherence to what they perceive as a uniquely Jewish levush ¬†has not just become an illustration in a Haggadah as to how Jews supposedly have always dressed, but a signal that Jews are supposed to dress ¬†in a dignified manner that does not draw attention to themselves in a way that shows a lack of self respect for either gender.

      • Mark says:

        But what made them deviant was not their being stricter. The divide between Agudah and Satmar is over interpretation and application of accepted¬†principles. The divide between OO and the rest of Orthodoxy is over the principles. That’s what makes them deviant.

      • ISteve Brizel says:

        Excellent point! That’s one of the reasons when we were in NH on vacation years ago, we had no hesitation in eating and ¬†buying food for Shabbos at the Arlington Hotel in Bethelem which was ( and is under CRC ( Hisachdus [Satmar] hashgacha) even though they davened Mincha on a weekday well after what is Zman Mincha according to the Gra .

  13. Bracha says:

    Here are just a few things that Satmar has been in the news for in recent years –

    Satmar has amazing PR – just read any official statements put out by them and you will be blown away by their amazing “spin”. Yitzchak Frankfurter also does a great job defending everything Satmar in his job as editor of Ami Magazine. He actually published an article AFTER weberman was convicted trying to demonstrate his innocence and tzidkus (I haven’t read the magazine since then.)

    I wish David Rosenfeld would write a book demonstrating how Satmar is doing what OO is but worse (as some others mentioned above).

    In addition to Rabbi Adlerstein’s suggestions, individuals looking to help those looking for an alternative derech to Satmar, can support Project Makom. It’s an amazing organization that helps people who have left chassidic communities find their “Makom” within authentic Judaism (before now most have left observance completely as demonstrated by the study discussed here a few months ago).

  14. Ben Waxman says:

    “Move on. There is nothing the rest of us are going to do about it, other than being better examples of Jews to our friends and neighbors than they can be.”

    I don’t understand why Satmar’s actions get a “move on, nothing we can do” response while Open Orthodoxy’s approach (or the approach of some of their members) to Israel has been condemned regularly on these pages.

    • Three reasons: 1) People have done their due diligence with Satmar. They’ve tried for decades. At some point, you move on 2) Those of us who disagree and reject some Satmar principles see them as profoundly wrong – but not heretical, as parts of OO are. 3) Most importantly, Satmar is not much of a threat at all to communities outside of themselves and parts of other communities where they have long established sympathetic following. There is not going to be much of a realignment. OO rejection of Mesorah, coddling of heresy, woeful unlearnedness, and jettisoning of the hashkafic content shared by a broad consensus of the legitimate Orthodox world positions it to be a threat to those in the Orthodox world who may not know the difference

      • mycroft says:

        To the extent that groups take public positions that are a threat to the physical security of whole Jewish communities they are a stronger threat to Klal Israels existence then what some people may or not believe. Even assuming arguendo that OO is equivalent to Conservative Judaism-which is debatable at best- Conservative Judaism is not a threat to The existence of Jews -it may even give a place for those who are turned off for whatever reason by Torah true Judaism to be part of the Jewish community. We have survived approximately 90 percent of the Jewish community rejecting Torah minhashamayim. It is a tragedy but they do not go around killing Jews. Does anyone believe that RL if those who take comfort from the aid and comfort given by Jewish groups to those opposed to the existence of the Yishuv that nothing would happen to the Jewish chareidi inhabitants, they’d be able to do what they do even now and that all would survive shaken begofo.

        I am not saying I agree with OO -personally to the extent that I even care what they stand for I am probably opposed to well over 90 percent of what makes them unique-but to make them the bogeyman and ignoring self hating activities of those whose kashrut and gittin one trusts is IMO incomprehensible.

      • No one is ignoring the misdeeds of Satmar, and the damage they do to our fragile, embattled Jewish State and yishuv. I think that was the point of writing the post – and the intent of all those who forwarded it to their friends.

        As far as the threat of neo-Conservatism, you have an arguable position. It just happens not to be the position of some Torah luminaries both in the YU and haredi worlds. There may be some Torah luminaries on your side – but I’m still waiting to find out who they are.

      • mycroft says:

        There is evidence that both the Rav and RAL would have taken my position that Conservative Judaism is not the enemy. IIRC RAL wrote a phrase that we are not better off if a Jew in Dallas and Dubuque goes nowhere To a synagogue rather than a Reform/Conservative synagogue. Rav soloveitchik in a letter to the President of Rabbi Shubow’s synagogue congratulates ¬†them helping bring Judaism to a new section of Boston- the Rav does make it clear that he can’t attend the event because he is opposed to mixed pews but we have it clear the mixed reaction by the Rav to Conservative/Reform Judaism.

        there is a major difference between the Ravs approach to non Orthodox streams and Rav Moshe’s. Rav Moshe treats them as reshayim ¬†the Rav as mistaken. There are a lot of differences in practice between the two of them-at least partially explained by this fundamental difference.

        That YU Torah luminaries take opposing positions is just another example of how 3 decades after the Rav stopped active leadership his positions are often unknown by even many teachers in RIETS. The reasons for that are probably beyond the areas  where C C would desire to have discussed.


      • I can’t deal with “evidence” that is not presented. And this would not be the place for it to be discussed.

        As far as why Torah luminaries feel the way they do, we arrive at the famous maamar Chazal of Yiftach b’doro. My challenge still remains to point to people of real Torah substance who believe that OO is anything but neo-Conservative.

      • ISteve Brizel says:

        Take a look at the second and third generation of CJ and compare their level of commitment to the first generation. Look at how CJ’s rabbinical students view Israel today as compared to the past. ¬†I think that you are looking at today’s CK based on what you recall about CJ from the 1950s.

      • mycroft says:

        CJ by 1950 had certainly made its break with anything closely remotely traditional Judaism. A “Halacha” decision allowing driving to synagogue on Shabbos was just the most obvious. There were plenty of polemics against CJ in the 40s already. I believe in Jewish Life for starters-you are certainly closer to the OU than I am. Their publications among others showed the distinction-in the late 50s early 60s Tradition had published various articles against R, C and IIRC Reconstructionism.

      • dr. bill says:

        Mycroft, In the 50’s the Rav could find many conservative rabbis to serve on batei dinim he would recognize. ¬†in the 80’s Tradition still published an article by Prof. Weiss Ha-livni showing the existence of mishnaic like texts in Hashmonai times. ¬†(prof. Noam’s study of DSS texts on taharot confirms that.) To this day seforim by another of the Grash ztl’s famous talmidim are still are found in almost every chareidi BM. ¬†The publisher told me that he does not think anyone knows.

        who has moved further?  in the US the conservative movement wins the movement (to the left) race by a landslide.  in israel, charedim (moving to the right) win by a landslide as well.  the israeli conservative movement is slowly moving right; in a few more years their RW and the OO LW will be not be that distinguishable.

      • ISteve Brizel says:

        Take a look at the leaders and membership of a group that bills describes itself as “Rabbis for Human Rights.” Its leaders and membership are IIRC predominantly if not all affiliated with CJ and RJ and are quite vocal in their opposition to the IDF and IMO are perilously close to threatening the existence of the Yishuv both inside and beyond the Green Line. IMO, both Neturei Karta, who should be distinguished from Satmar and RHR deserve the condemnation of anyone who supports the existence of the Yishuv.

      • dr. bill says:

        i tend to agree with your 3 points. ¬†however, two provisos.¬†1)¬†it is one thing not to condemn, it is quite another to participate or even celebrate together. ¬†2) the equivalents to the OO in Israel, exhibit not what you call “woeful unlearnedness” something with a few exceptions i agree with, but remarkable depth in talmudic and halakhic knowledge. ¬†i don’t know if you have heard the oft-repeated claim of where to find the most advanced beit midrash in jerusalem. ¬†no one would have the chutzpah to make such a claim in the US. ¬†and in israel their numbers are an order of magnitude or more larger than the OO in the us. ¬†imho, oo is developing in israel in numerous places and organizations, immune to attack.

      • I think you are mostly correct – and therefore do a great disservice to those in the DL community who indeed are much more learned than their counterparts here, and also more responsible (in some cases; I would not extend that to Beit Hillel) about the types of change they are slowly introducing. Then again, they do themselves the same disservice by allying themselves with OO in the States, which instantly means that they set themselves up as opponents of traditional MO here as well as the much larger haredi community.

      • dr. bill says:

        beit hillel and the vibrant world of academic jewish studies is where we part company. ¬†it will surprise people that a member of beit hillel was RAL ztl’s best talmid and the person RAL always trusted to edit his shiurim for publication. ¬†in terms of academic scholars, there remains perhaps the one person who RAL thought of an unerring yoresh of the Rav ztl in terms of his deep knowledge of both talmud and philosophy. ¬†and there are dozens of others who do not see OO as that threatening, albeit too interested in garnering attention.

        while you may be correct that they do themselves a disservice, they also may provide a path the unification of what in the US has become too politicized.

      • ISteve Brizel says:

        Look at the members of Beit Hillel on its website-the membership except for a few Yoetzet Halacha reads looks quite similar to those who are affiliated with and support the POV of OO. Name one world class Talmid Chacham who even remotely approproaches RAL and/or Posek affiliated with Beit Hillel. Where is R Michael Rosensweig or R Yosef Tzvi Rimon-nowhere to be found.

      • mycroft says:

        “it will surprise people that a member of beit hillel was RAL ztl‚Äôs best talmid”

        Per their website Rabbanit Esti Rosenberg is a member of Beit Hillel-certainly very close to RAL ZT”L.

      • Ben Waxman says:

        I didn’t mean to ask about all the issues surrounding Open Orthodoxy, just their attitude towards Israel. There is no heresy involved there (AFAIK). Yet that attitude has come under attack on these pages.

        As for Satmar, fine, there is no heresy issue involved here. But Satmar (and¬†fellow travelers in the Eida) have been attacking Chareidi soldiers regularly (in print and in action). They’ve had violent demonstration after violent demonstration on issues having nothing to do with Synagogue and State. The language they’ve used to describe even fellow Charedim is “tat rama” (to say the least). ¬†They are every bit a threat to other communities.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Simple litmus test-Compare anything written by anyone affiliated or identified with OO, and ask yourself whether the author reconciles the same not with the Ikarim , but rather a much simpler criteria- does the author accept as binding the statements of Malchiyos, Zicronos and Shofaros as set forth in the Mussaf of RH as a bedrock statement of Emunah and the nusach of any Birkas Hamitzvah ( Asher Kidshanu Bmitzvosav Vzivanu). I remain to be convinced that anything published by OO meets that litmus test.

      • Ben Waxman says:

        “3) Most importantly, Satmar is not much of a threat at all to communities outside of themselves and parts of other communities where they have long established sympathetic following.”

        I read this answer and shortly afterwards read the article in Kikar Shabbat about  a woman in Beitar who was fired from her position as a teacher (in a Chareidi school) because she got a drivers license (so that she could transport her crippled daughter).

        Everyone will ignore this story, no one (not Shas, not the DLs) will go to bat for her. I just am left with an extremely bad feeling in my stomach, that we are unwilling to confront the Chareidi world for all sorts of reasons and as a result, innocent people (especially women) will pay the price.

      • Please enlighten us as to what kind of confrontation would be effective. Find one, and lots of people in the charedi world will join you. But if by confrontation you mean to shine a public light on them, all that will happen is that they will laugh at you – and go right on their way, even more convinced than before. (Unless it is a school that collects funds in the US, in which case many potential donors might want to know about it.)

      • R.B. says:

        It’s a terrible story. Awful and horrendous!¬†But you ignore the fact that she did ask a shailoh and she and her husband obtained a heter to drive. The rogue here, it appears, is the menahel. How is that proof of a need to confront the Chareidi community, and not just this moron of a menahel?¬†Are you going to confront the Chareidi community because a few Chassidishe kehillos in C”L and EY don’t allow women to drive a¬†vehicle, something that these communities have not permitted for decades now?¬†And what the heck does this have to do with Satmar? In fact, as far as I am aware, Satmar women are not banned from driving!

  15. Steve brizel says:

    It is unfortunate that the above video is viewed as Chinuch in satmar when in reality it reminds me of Japanese soldiers who hid in the jungle for decades after the end of WW2 fighting a war that had long ended. However I still think that the hashkafic impact of Satmar and the similar views of REW ZL are viewed as extreme if not ignored in the American Yeshiva and non Satmar chasidishe worlds than in their far more religiously intense counterparts in EY. If one travels to my old neck of the woods you will see yeshivishe and chasidishe families who own summer homes and who patronize Walmart Staples and a huge outlet mall with their families and who spend money there because they work.there are scores of summer camps whose young men and women also spend some of their income there as well . the Charedi world in EY is just beginning to realize that not everyone can or should be learning 24/7 with no other options for support of their families


  16. ISteve Brizel says:

    Unfortunately you consistently only quote half of the letter of RYBS re the C house of worship, but neglect to quote that RYBS explained in the same letter why he would nopt attend their dinner-so as not to grant them legitimacy.

  17. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft- between Chabad and a wonderfully successful community kollel , there are numerous places for a currently non-observant Jew of both genders to develop a sense of Jewish continuity that leads to observance, especially in Dallas and in many other communities as well. I know of many people in many similar communities whose level of community started with an exceedingly minimal degree of commitment and knowledge and who today are full fledged members of the Torah observant community , who are Kovea Itim , support Israel and whose children are Shomrei Torah Umitzvos.  Viewing the options in Dallas or in any similar community as CJ or nothing really requires some revising of the demographic and sociological realities especially when a community like Dallas sends almost a planeload to a Siyum HaShas and has all sorts of shiurim and outrreach programs for all ages and genders. The issue is not the future of C or R and /or whether they are mistaken or worse , but rather whether Orthodoxy, whether MO and Charedi can reach in a non judgmental way the vast majority of Jews who are now unaffiliated as a port of entry for the unaffiliated and their children, who are walking away en masse from any affiliation whatsoever.

    • mycroft says:

      There are approximately 57,000 Jews in the Dallas area? Dallas has one of the most successful community Kollelim. What percentage of the 57,000 are served by Orthodox institutions? The question alone is good enough reason not to treat R and C Judaism as our enemies. It is certain better for aJew IMO to be served by Jewish identification instruments than served by no one. It is clear that the RAv and RAL and others would agree. I suspect RMF might disagree.

      • You don’t mean that it is “clear” that the Rav and RAL would agree. It is not clear at all. You mean that you suspect that there might be room for such an argument. Let’s be clear about this!

        Truth be told, I used to think as you do, at least before I got involved in the kiruv world. Then I saw the other side of the argument. Indeed, C and R kept many, many Jews loosely within the fold for a generation or so. Many who returned would not have had it not been for those institutions. (I am not saying that these facts justified the existence of those movements. I’ll leave that to the Ribbono Shel Olam to decide.) But I also came across many, many Jews whose exposure to Yiddishkeit was through C or R, and it was devastating. They reasoned that “If this is Judaism, I’m outa here!” And they left. I’m not sure how many Jew-Bhus there would be (since they tend to be far more spiritually oriented than ordinary non-affiliated Jews) were it not for the heterodox movements.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Theologically and halachically, either C and R are enemies, especially today’s permutation of C and R, which are far more radical than what RYBS dealt with or what RAL wrote about, ¬†or grossly mistaken, to use the most charitable terms. ¬†C and R are also failing by their own admission to appeal to the next generation and basically have adopted a radical political agenda with a patina of slogans such as Tikun Olam. The Dallas Kollel contains numerous programs that appeal to the unaffiliated. Will it reach everyone? No-but that is highly unrealistic-but it will reach many who are walking away from any affiliation whatsoever and offering them a pot of entry into Torah observance. We have never been and should never ascribe Am Yisrael as interested in purely quantitative success. ¬†This week’s Parsha spells that out in exquisite detail. There is a Midrash quoted by Rashi that 80% of Klal Yisrael never left Mitzrayim because they failed to accede to Moshe Rabbeinu’s instructions during Makas Choshech, and the Dor Yotzei Mitzrayim was not the Dor that entered EY.¬†As R Y Emden ZL, the greatest miracle in history is the survival of Am Yisrael against all odds to the contrary.¬†Thus, to measure continuity solely by numbers affiliated with any Jewish institution strikes me as highly questionable in terms of how the Torah and Chazal understood that term. ¬†The question you should be asking is why MO has morphed into a movement that wants to ensure that today’s MO communities remain that day without dealing the twin scourges of the next generation either going OTD or flipping out but without really setting forth what could be a crucial message-that one can be a committed Torah observant Jew in the 21st century with a college education despite all of the challenges presented by the secular world around us. At least, community kollelim, and Chabad programs offer the alternative for portals of entry by which many have been inspired by to be committed Torah observant Jews. I would suggest that untill you meet, as I have, residents of out of town communities whose lives have been demonstrably changed by community kollelim, that any comment that community kollelim do not reach the unlettered and unaffiliated Jewish community find their way to a port of entry into Jewish observance is utterly without foundation and awareness of the facts on the ground. The success of such programs should never be subjected to a percentage test as if that is one of the measures of success or support.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        We err communally and individually if we view the role of both MO and the Charedi worlds in terms of percentages of persons reached who become observant-We all an obligation to explain why one should be observant, as an aspect of the mitzvos of Tochacha , Ahavas Yisrael, Hashavas Aveidah,¬†and ¬†Kiddush HaShem-yet nowhere are we told that the kiyum is dependent on our “success.” Whether a person moves towards observance at all is an individual decision, rooted in his or her choice, and a whole series of considerations that each person must make, depending on his or her age, education, occupation and a comparison of the risks, positives, gains and negatives of being a committed Torah observant person, as opposed to ¬†R “L a Jonestown cult with a mass ideological committment.¬†Since the receipt of Luchos Shiyos, we know that the dual role of the individual and the community means that while the community has obligations towards its members, each individual has its own responsibilities and obligations as well.¬†The messages of the mistaken strategy of Bnos Lot after the destruction of Sdom vAmorah that the salvation of the world justifies transgressing any mitzvah should be rejected as that of a false messianic complex-all that any of us and our institutions can do is be a port of entry¬†that properly provide an inspired means¬†for exploration.

        That being said, one should never confuse today’s C and R which are struggling to retain members, closing and/or merging houses of worship and partnering with NCSY to turn Friday night into Shabbos and where many Jewish teens first get their Jewish names on an NCSY ¬†summer program with the strong CJ of the 1950s and first meet other Jewish teens ( at NCSY’s Yarchei Kallah-an event for public school teens from all over N America, I met Jewish teens from Argentina who had no idea that so many other Jewish teens actually existed) and the equally strong RJ of that generation (¬†which had Orthodoxy on the defensive untill RYBS publicly took a stance on mixed pews and took other equally unpopular views on such subjects as a JPS Tanach and ecumenical interfaith dialogue and which IMO gave the Charedi world much needed respectability)¬†but whose institutions are failing-whether one mentions JTS ( and its truly superb library) , the Schechter schools, the decline of any halachic standards in USY¬†and its camps -where many BTs first experienced Shabbos decades ago. Both MO and the Charedi worlds can offer their competing visions of a committed Jewish life together with Chabad, NJOP, Aish , etc, but to think that results are indicated by percentages runs contrary to what the Torah tells us-we are a stubborn people and only a mitzvah by mitzvah acceptance on a one person at a time is the only road map that we have ever had as a people. We should never let success rates or percentages dictate our thinking on this issue.

  18. DF says:

    The Satmar PR and justification method is no different, and actually quite comparable, to the PR and justifications given for numerous initiatives on the opposite (left wing) side of the spectrum. To wit: “We need it for the children “; “it’s in the interest of safety/health”; and, of course, the all-purpose tolerance/pluralism card. All such justifications are accompanied simultaneously by claims that anyone who opposes them is a racist/misogynist/bigot, etc. That type of PR has been operating regularly on the other side for more than a generation. So I ask the same question¬†you: asked: Do these leftists take us for fools? Do they really believe ¬†what there saying? Is Satmar any different?


    • dr. bill says:

      i really don’t care much about the rhetoric; it’s the behavior that must be evaluated. ¬†both the OO and Satmar have commendable programs. ¬†i personally benefitted more than most from the joint program they run with the breuers and square communities. ¬†the OO attract individuals who might otherwise be lost.

      I understand why satmar davens mincha after the requisite time and insist on metzizah be’peh. ¬†their society is governed by tradition more fundamentally than halakha. ¬†the religious role of the rebbe and conformance are valued beyond what most of us would tolerate. ¬†as many other jewish communities seem to increasingly value that type of tradition, perhaps that explains the reason they seem to be getting along better than ever. ¬†If you have any doubts compare pictures of talmidim at telz of old to those today.

      • DF says:

        I don’t agree with your statement that “the OO attract individuals who might otherwise be lost.” But as a general observation, yes, certainly, actions count more than rhetoric.¬† My comment was addressed only¬†to the title of this post, and RA’s wonder at Satmar’s use of “free speech” to justify their awful behavior. Whether they take us for¬†fools or not, their form of propaganda is no¬†different than the propaganda fed to us¬†daily from the¬†liberal left.

      • mycroft says:

        There is no doubt that OO attracts some individuals who might otherwise be lost. The question is it worth it.  The question for those who believe that OO is not a legitimate choice is what is the alternative for those who go to OO. How many are they taking away from schuls like mine? I doubt many . An empirical question which is tough to determine. Once you get the data or guesses in  a roughly Bayesiian approach the question is what value one attaches to each of the outcomes. Way beyond my pay grade.

      • Mine too. But the answer does not lie in a cost/benefit analysis alone. There are fixes and curative balms that can’t be used, even for those who need them. ◊ź◊°◊ē◊® ◊ú◊Ē◊™◊®◊§◊ź◊ē◊™ ◊Ď◊Ę◊¶◊ô ◊ź◊©◊®◊Ē
        That can apply even when you are not looking at an issur of avodah zarah, but at ◊ď◊Ę◊ē◊™ ◊õ◊ē◊Ė◊Ď◊ē◊™

      • mycroft says:

        Rabbi Adlerstein:

        i agree there are red lines that one can’t violate-what they are in practice will often depend on the poses.

        Thus, I suspect you will agree that one will try and maximize results subject to  constraints and certainly a yehareg  Val yaavor is a constraint.

      • DF says:

        You say “there is no doubt OO attracts individuals who might otherwise be lost”, but in fact, I¬†do doubt that, very much.¬† Regardless, as RA already responded, it is a moot point, because even if you are right, the ends do not justify the means.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Why do you so easily disregard hashkafa which really is a nice way of saying ideology? Clearly, Hilcos Teshuvah tells us that ideological views should never be taken lightly or tolerated without some serious inquiry as to their compatibility with traditonal Jewish views on any subject. You tend to focus or fixate in a dismissive way on the role of the rebbe in Satmar when it is an undeniable fact that there were and have always been very first rate Talmidei Chachamim in Satmar such as the Divrei Yoel, Zl and R Harfness. It is well known that when the RIETS kollel was learning Hilcos Mikvaos years ago, R B Simon visited with the Satmar Poskim to learn and discuss the shittos of the Satmar Rav ZL in Hilcos Mikvaos.

        Noone has ever accused Satmar of not subscribing to bedrock components of emunah. Like it or not, there are numerous mitzvos that are defined and described as a “seder’ ,meaning that performing the same by all of us is what counts, as opposed to your resort to a critique based on “conformance”, which Dr. Judith Bleich demolished in her article in the O Forum book on spirituality. OO, ¬†based on its writings and gatherings, is ¬†akin to a rock concert given by a superstar of the 1970s-a revival meeting for those who were attracted to the leaders of OO back in the 1970s but who never graduated from there.

      • mycroft says:


        it is trivially obvious ” thatOO ¬†attracts¬†SOME¬†individuals who might otherwise be lost” I can give two examples which is all I need to show truth of ¬†some. IMO it would be preferable if OO did not exist but it does and exaggerations do no one any good. They are not AZ and certainly so far have not gone as far as the Conservative movement certainly went no later than late 40s under the influence of Rabbi Gordis mid 40s article. Does that mean they won’t go as far as CJ has gone open question.

        I hope they don’t go that way I hope others hope so too.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        I never said AZ. However, the issue of writings from OO affiliated views which any reasonably intelligent individual can conclude that they are well beyond any traditional POV, even a minority view, raises issues of a unique combination of kefirah, apikorsus and am haaatzus that simply cannot be denied and ignored.

      • Steve brizel says:

        Look at the facts on the ground.CJ today should not ever be confused with the CJ of the 1940s and 1950s-it is far more radical and detached from any pretense of adherence to basic halachic norms. Officers in USY can be the product of an intermarried family


  19. Steve Brizel says:

    I will be leaving from my office directly for a chasunah in Williamsburg right in the heart of Satmarland. It is an easy subway and bus ride from midtwown.There is no more fascinating bus ride than the B44 which you take after getting off the train at Marcy Avenue. You will see Hispanics, African Americans, Chasidim, foreign tourists, hippsters and guys like most of us who post here.. Last summer, two clearly German tourists were sitting behind me as I rode that bus-I thought that their puzzled reaction to the street scene on Lee Avenue and the cross streets in late Av was a fascinating and compelling reversal from the years when Yidden were pushed onto trains to Auschwitz by German soldiers.

  20. M Halberstam says:

    I would argue that the approach of Satmar, which is unfortunately being adopted by too many others, is that it is not enough for a person to be secure in his approach to Avodas Hashem, he must also understand that everyone else is wrong. If the other guy is not wrong then I am doing something wrong in educating my children. This is a farce, and people need to understand it for what it is.  To the extent that it has permeated parts of our Chareidi world, it is equally wrong and needs to be criticized.

  21. Steve brizel says:

    Mycroft- look at the history of was strongest in the 1950s as the Jewish community looked for an option between RJ and a not yet Americanized MO and Charedi alternative in the flight to the suburbs. RYBSs public advice to stay home rather than to hear shofar in a mixed seating house of worship was directly in response to the power and attraction of CJ and its theologians.

  22. Steve Brizel says:

    It is highly ironic, and almost hypocritical that those  attack the admittedly ugly video of a Satmar camp, have rarely, applied  the same level of discourse to RHR, whose leaders and members have the express goal of interfering with the goals and strategy of the IDF in fighting terror, many of whom are avowed pacifists, but especially when the operations of the IDF are concerned, and whose members are all R and C( but not without some documented sympathy from OO affiliated individuals),

  23. Steve Brizel says:

    Invoking the views of RYBS and RAL without substantiation for their views beyond one portion of a letter of RYBS that consistently ignores the bottom line thereof and RYBS’s other forcefully stated views on issues of¬†ecumenical¬†theological dialogue and against a JPS translation of Tanach and some essays of RAL do not strike me as persuasive proof.

    WADR, RAL ZL lived in Israel since the early 1970s, and still included two very trenchant essays about the present level of Avodas HaShem ¬†and future¬†correctives needed of MO therein which seem to be avoided ¬†by many champions of RAL ZL’s views ¬†as if they mysteriously are Batul Bshishim if not viewed as merely unrepresentative of his views.

    There is a well known view expressed by R Chaim Ozer ZL that the Lithuanian Gdolim refrained from openly criticizing the views and ¬†moves of RSRH because RSRH lived in Germany as opposed to Lithuania, and German Jewry required a different hashkafa than Lithuanian Jewry ( aside from R Baruch Ber ZL’s view that TIDE was a horaas shaah, which should be compared to the views of RYBS and R Dessler ZL that TIDE never produced Talmidei Chachamim)¬†.

    Similarly, one wonders why so many queries about the strategy , tactics, advice and Psak are sent to the Gdolei EY about such issues in the US when there are venues for the answers to the same in the US in the MO and Charedi worlds. The real issue is that about having a familiarity with the issues on the ground-ask yourself whether any RY in EY, regardless of his hashkafa, who comes to the US to recruit and raise funds and speak before certain audiences ala speaking to the converted, really has a feel for what Gdolei Talmidei Chachamim and Rabbonim all over the US see and hear all the time in terms of halachic and hashkafic issues-For instance, RHS spends much of his time giving shiurim, answering many halachic inquiries, and spending Shabbosim all over the US and in the summer learns bchavrusa , goes on tours with and participates in chaburas given by members of the NCSY Kollel. R M Willig also gives shiurim all over the world, writes prolifically and spends his summer giving shiurim in the RIETS Kollel located in the decidedly MO setting of  Camp Morasha.

    R Shmuel Kaminetsky and the BMG Roshei Yeshiva spend an enormous amount of time on the road, not just raising funds, but spending time in many different North American communities.  WADR,I question whether the well intended views of any Gadol BaTorah on halacha and hashkafa that are expressed from his predominant viewpoint in EY, Charedi and/or RZ, should be automatically applied with a POV that they are meant to have equal application for very different NA communities.

    • mycroft says:

      I have quoted RAL and RYBS. There is a record of what the Rav said bechayev. I treat as reliable articles written before 1974 or so- the Rav was aware of what was written then-certainly quotations of the Rav when he was with us are reliable. Quoting what the Rav supposedly said which contradicts other recollections that were first written/disclosed decades later are much more questionable.

      Read the book of the Ravs letters-besides his letter to the President ofRabbi Shubows synagogue there are polite letters to Conservative Rabbis. An intriguing vignette which I heard from someone I treat as reliable-the Rav when he had to write a letter to a Conservative Rabbi preferred to write it in English- he felt more comfortable writing Rabbi in English but if written in  Hebrew the title would be Rav which he felt uncomfortable using such a title for a Conservative Rabbi. In the Ravs mind it was much easier to write in English Rabbi writing in Hebrew Rabbi rather thanRav would have been too insulting. This story shows the complexity of the Rav Рpolicy was complex for him. The Rav would not have written if stuck with Hebrew the name and Rabbi transliterated into Hebrew that would be insulting he would have written Rav but to avoid that he would write in English.


      • Steve brizel says:

        Don’t confuse politeness with a sense of profound disagreement which RYBS had both publicly and privately with the leadership of CJ.

      • Steve brizel says:

        So RYBS shiur on gerus and Talmud Torah which was given in 1975 has zero or limited value as well as anything between the 1950s and 1970s which is in the public domain but which you claim without any basis should not have been so available is worthless or close to worthless? What an example of anonymously based moving back the goalposts to suit ones own image and conclusions






    • mycroft says:


      you like the hashkafa of Rabbi Schachter and Willig and thus follow their viewpoints- those who prefer others will ask questions f others whether in US or Israel. I don’t see the antagonism towards those who would ask Sheila’s of Rav Chaim Kanievsky, I see people quoting theChazon Ish who never lived in the US . The Chafetz Chaim ¬†never lived in the US no one has a problem with considering his guidance. Yet you criticize those who will quote liberal aspects of American trained Rabbonimwho made aliyah.

      • Steve brizel says:

        The views of the CI are considered important regardless of where you live because the CI wrote on and discussed all of TSBP in his writings and viewed halacha as the departure point for any discussion on the authentic Jewish view on any issue and who really unraveled many areas of halacha such as eruvin that many Acharonim had not done so with sufficient clarity in prior generations. R Chaim Kanievskys views are simply because there is no one on this planet who learns more Torah and is devoted to Limud HaTorah than RCK and understands the views of both the Steipler and the CI with as much clarity as RCK and whose dirah is a remarkable address for  chesed for anyone who walks thru the front door.

      • Steve brizel says:

        I follow the piskei halacha of RHS and RMW because I am a talmid of both and I would go through a pillar of fire for either based upon their impact myself and my family and their efforts for Am Yisrael.

      • Steve brizel says:

        That is because any rav Charedi or “liberal” who lives in EY and whose awareness of the facts on the ground is limited by the limitations that I described really has a very limited sense of what confronts American Orthodoxy ¬†Charedi or MO.

      • Steve brizel says:

        The CC did write seforim IIRC that were for all Jews regardless of their station in life and by sheer weight of his Lomdus Tdidkus and Yashrus was viewed by the yeshiva world and the CI who disagreed with the CC as the Posek Acharon

  24. Ben Waxman says:

    The “there is nothing we can do to influence Satmar so why bother writing about them” approach misses the point. Correct, there is nothing you can do. But is there anything you ¬†can do to influence YCT? Do you really believe that the articles here are going to push YCT rabbis or members to reconsider their positions on any subject? The target audience isn’t them* but those centerist Orthodox, somewhat left of center Orthodox who may be influenced by OO and YCT.

    Similarly, there is nothing to be done about Satmar. But what about those in the Chareidi world who may be inclined to support them, financially or otherwise? They would be the target audience, not Satmar.

    So the question returns: Why let Satmar off the hook if you can potentially hurt their base of support, even a little?

    *Unless you do believe that all of these articles will get YCT rabbis to rethink their positions. In which case, the indictment against the Chareidi world is even worse. YCT can be brought back but Satmar is hopeless?

    • I’ve spoken with fed-up friends many times about what can be done, and each time we come up blank. They don’t rely upon us for money, and have enough clout merely by numbers to be able to call the shots in community kashrus.

      The target of all the material about OO’s break with Orthodoxy is in fact the rest of the community. But I don’t consider the entire OO world hopelessly incapable of returning to mesorah. Large parts of Satmar will likely arrive first, however, although not through our prodding. Familiarize yourself with how many sub-groups in Satmar are quietly taking substantial liberties – some of them toxic, some of them healthy, lots in between. I hope that all of us have enough wisdom to guide them to a place that ruach chachomim nocheh heimenam.

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