Speaking to the Other: Recent Bad and Good Examples on Fox and in Mishpacha

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30 Responses

  1. lacosta says:

    one would wonder whether the comment writers at Fox are the usual trolls or reflect american reaction to this element of jewish society. because the jewish hegemony of the tri-state area enables behaviour that is , as RYA points out , legal but malodorious. and the tenor of the comments is that the public dole is allowing these people to breed like rabbits, and then they will try and blockbust your village…. one advantage of ‘out of town’ is that in small numbers it’s harder to pull shtick so haredim will seem less of a scourge. but at a price of not having the amenities that the vast numbers of the tri-state area enables [e g cheaper kosher, schools for the exceptional kids, state govt’s that must yield to such a large voting block, etc ]. it certainly would have been safer to have 300 communities across the country with 1000 frum jews than a couple with a half million…..

  2. Bob Miller says:

    More than ever, we need high-level spiritual guidance. It’s not enough to act like every other interest group toward the government and society. We may be uncomfortable in being held to a high standard by those who hypocritically treat themselves to a low standard, but that’s normal in exile. Of course, our many Jewish organizations and media need to defend us, but they mostly need to inspire and elevate us. Whatever our true mission in exile is, we need to discover and complete it as we ramp up to our redemption.

    As part of this, our political activities need to be above reproach. We don’t belong in anybody’s pocket. We can’t let ourselves absorb bad influences from the people we must deal with. When in government, we can’t back immoral courses of action the leaders try to push.

  3. Steve Brizel says:

    Excellent article. We have ro realize rhe difference between free exercise of religiom and acting like a proverbial chazer.

  4. Weaver says:

    Disgusting. This really makes me wonder how much anti-Semitism throughout history has been self-inflicted.

  5. lacosta says:

    but is not the problem , or part of it, that the lifestyle of contemporary hassidic life, mandates unlimitedly large families and limited professional development options [ see eg program a few months ago on Headlines podcasts
    about the inability of many to use the host’s sponsored job training in Lakewood due to almost total ignorance of anything not limudei kodesh], and the public dole is built into the economic blueprint of much of this society?
    i remember when clinton first reformed welfare, the NYT covered the effect in williamsburg–there someone panicked , since the melamdim were paid using the formula X + welfare= living wage , and cutting welfare would tumble the pile of bricks…

  6. DF says:

    So, Tachlis – what’s the solution here? All of the problems shown in the video have been around for millennia. The original Anti-Semite himself, Haman, already accused us of isolationism and of flaunting the law. That is exactly what he meant in saying עם מפוזר ומפורד…ואת דתי המלך אינם עושים . The Shas itself records for us similar accusations in both EY and Bavel. An honest assessment forces us to confront the uncomfortable yet historical truth that Anti-Semitism is an ineluctable by-product of living a halachic life among Gentiles.

    So what shall we do? We can’t just assimilate. And Halacha itself contributes to the problem. Shall we synthesize Judaism with Civics? Impossible. Synthesis attempts like TIDE and TUM and everything in between were always elitist, and never possible for the average Jew on the street. And the whole thrust of the Law is designed to prevent realistic social interaction.

    So, I’m asking you, RYA, what’s the answer?


    • Aliyah is not a bad option 🙂 And do bear in mind that the Chasam Sofer wrote that people who go to Israel because they have no other place to run are NOT mekayeim the mitzvah of yishuv haaretz. If some of the shenanigans by some in our community keep up (and even if they don’t!) the changing West may not provide any alternative but aliyah. Might as well come when you’ll still get credit in Shomayim!

      I can’t agree with parts of your assessment. It is not impossible to synthesize Judaism with menchlichkeit and sechel. Entire communities have done it, including Yekkes and halachically-committed Modern Orthodox. These were not elitist communities. I also do not believe that the thrust of the Law is to “prevent realistic social interaction,” but to establish guidelines and protections for it. If the thrust would be prevention, Chazal would have done with both Christians and Muslims dictated during the Middle Ages, i.e. to have (almost) nothing to do at all with those accursed Jews. Never eat together. No fraternization. No walking on the same side of the street, etc. The protections that halacha gives us – kashrus in general, plus the specific issurim of pas, bishul, yayin – give a committed ample reminders that his friendship will have limits.

  7. Yossi says:

    What a strong piece. I agree pretty much with the entirety of it, but I will tell you that being a card-carrying member of the Yeshiva world will als I agree pretty much with the entirety of it, but I will tell you that being a card-carrying member of the Yeshiva world whi also learned in Kollel for a while (never on programs), This piece challenges our behavior in a variety of venues

  8. Dr. E says:

    For geographic areas in which there is a high concentration of all of one kind (Chassidish enclaves and among saturated non-Chassidish neighborhoods as well), they have a “we own the place” perspective. All of the people and homes around them are frum. There is a strong infrastructure of frum education, commercial stores, employers, political leaders, and human service organizations which thrive in this insularity, pretty much obviating the need for secular versions of those resources. This has created an entitlement to do whatever they want. The “other” to whom they are occasionally exposed is marginalized as being morally inferior based simply on their association with the rest of the world which is deemed immoral. The elitism manifests itself in public and private speech which certainly is contrary to the way that we (frum) Jews have always wanted to be viewed by others throughout the millennia.

  9. Charlie Hall says:

    I did not see the program as we do not own a television. My problem with Satmar is the anti-Israel rallies they hold — they just filled a 17,000 seat hockey arena for one earlier this month. Was their anti-Zionism mentioned?

    • It was not. It would have been irrelevant to the thrust of the piece. BTW, what is this “television” you refer to? A new kind of iPhone? Whatever it is, I don’t own one either. The series can be viewed through the internet, connection therewith you certainly have!

  10. Leah B says:

    That a spokesperson for Chasidim spoke in such a disgusting way was shocking. His use of foul language (in English and Yiddish) was ironic considering he was critical of non-Jews for cursing.
    How stupid is it to send forth a racist, foul-mouthed spokesperson who has no basic understanding of communicating a sympathetic message?
    “We very much would like to have good relationships with all our neighbors. However, we feel it is very important to shelter our children. We dont allow internet, movies etc so when we tried once to have a joint youth group with non Jews it was problematic because …”
    We all know that making a positive impression is important. So is respecting other people (from all groups). Let’s work on that in all religious communities.

    • Again, I caution you NOT to view the piece as linear, with the spokesman’s responses assumed to follow the questions that are raised. It may not have been the case. We should be able to imagine conversations about related topics in which his actual words would be strong, but not over the top. The blame possibly can be assigned to an editor, rather than the spokesman. We should not criticize him until we hear directly from him. My piece relates not to him, but the impact that the final product will have on the viewer.

  11. leah b says:

    Sorry, no dice.
    The words he used to express himself – which I will not quote here – don’t belong in the response to any question that could have been asked.
    Let’s say it was a direct question about the event – Why did you pull your children out of a joint youth group? What happened at the event? What was the problem with sharing space with Hispanic kids?
    Then the answer is: We want to build community, but unfortunately, some non-Chasidic kids were using curse words and discussing inappropriate topics but we value refined speech and we felt there was a negative dynamic” etc.
    Those words and the message they conveyed by the spokesman were NOT nice, not in any context, not as any response to ANY question.

  12. Steve Brizel says:

    It is not racist to avoid a joint youth endeavor where the values and speech are anithetical to Torah values. Every hadran contrasts Anu amelim vhem amelim
    Every Shabbos where I walk to shul I hear young men playing basketball in a yeshivas playground whose vocabulary and values are antithetical to that of which we should ne aspiring. Thete is nothing wrong in viewing much og contemporary culture as toxic to growth in Avodas HaShem.

  13. shloi says:

    The most insular chasidic communities need a certain degree of antisemitism in order to thrive so that non-jews will not want to have much to do with religious jews, but at the same time keep it to a live and let live attitude that does not lead to discrimination

  14. David Ohsie says:

    For people who want to see the videos, google “fox news community in conflict”. There are actually more than just the 3 part series.

  15. David Ohsie says:

    @Leah b: I don’t agree that his use of profanity was wrong in this instance. He was trying to be concrete about what he claims was said there. It makes much more sense when you just say it than talk around it.

  16. MK says:

    I think there is one horrific statement in the Mishpacha article. It states, matter of factly, that smuggling is no more, or less, prevalent than general society.
    How can that not shock us and not lead to a communal cheshbon hanefesh and serious reflection on our chinuch and on our communal priorities?

  17. Leah B says:

    Hello you all must watch the videos because we are talking at cross purposes. David you missed the profanity I referred to.
    I don’t mean that the spokesman was wrong for being clear and saying “non Jewish children were saying the F word and our children had never heard that word”
    When HE was speaking about other matters, HE used the S word, the B word, the D word (in Yiddish). Ugh!!!!
    HE also made a point of emphasizing the non Jews’ ethnic background when it wasn’t relevant, claimed the nonreligious are “insane” and on and on.
    It was cringe-worthy. Hence this entire piece was written because Rabbi A clearly was distressed by the negative image that was created.
    Can the Chasidim call me next time they need a spokesperson? I am not a professional but I know how to be polite and speak in a refined way!!!!

  18. Allan katz says:

    R’ Adlerstein,
    I was wondering , now that you are living in Israel if you would write the same essay – the reaction of the secular Israeli to practices in the chareid world

    • It doesn’t matter where you live. The parallels can be found. Yet, I think there are important differences. I don’t have the benefit of any solid research, or even a sustained effort at anecdotal evidence. My own sense, however, is that the vast majority of the charedi community does not have contempt for those outside. To the contrary, they are sensitive to the criticism that charedim are not carrying their own weight. They very much believe (with more than significant justification) that the learning and mitzvos they provide has a salutary effect on the rest of the country. They are pained by the fact that the others do not understand that. They are grateful to Tzahal, even as they believe that they would be placing their children in spiritual danger by sending them to serve. What they don’t seem to understand so well is the amount of justifiable antagonism that is reciprocated to them. Charedim tell themselves that they are providing a service, but those to whom they provide it do not see it that way. From their perspective, charedim perpetuate their lifestyle through their taxes, in a burden that they are no longer willing to bear. I don’t see, for the most part, an attitude of “We’ll squeeze every shekel out of them that we can. It’s the American – oops, I mean the Israeli – way.” Maybe with the exception of the politicians, and a vocal minority of the community.

  19. David Ohsie says:

    @Leah B: I wasn’t defending him in toto, just his explicit quotation of the work that the “hispanic” child uttered. But the crux of the problem is not how crude he was, but the fact that the system that he was trying to defend is in some ways indefensible. It would be better to reform things than to do better Hasbara.

  20. David Ohsie says:

    The “#fakenews” commenter you quote in the article lying about Kiryas Joel. He says “he only thing the rabbi can do he can say he doesn’t want you in his school, but you can send your kids in a more modern Jewish School”. This is completely false. Here is what a former KJ Satmar who I know has written elsewhere in response to a similar uninformed comment:

    “If you knew anything about places like KJ, you’d know that there is only one option for school. Families who’s kids are kicked out have two options – keep the kids home, or uproot their family and move somewhere else. Not to mention that kids who are kicked out of Satmar, and even those who leave of their own volition, usually have a very difficult time getting accepted in any other Chareidi schools.
    The [members of] of the vaad [hatznius] are in fact out of control vigilantes will no oversight, who run amok terrorizing residents by breaking into homes, slashing tires, spreading pashkevillin, and so on.
    You are clearly very uninformed about what happens in places like KJ. “

  21. David Ohsie says:

    I got a comment from an authentic Satmar on internet use in KJ: “It’s all hidden, they even forced my [relative] to delete WhatsApp. He got it back eventually but by no means is this open, it’s all hidden. It exists but it’s underground.”

  22. Steve Brizel says:

    Take a look at the latest Jewish Action. There are two articles worth reading on the changes in the Charedi world re hi tech admiration for the learner earner and a fascinating yeshiva on Beitar Ilit whose RY discusded Yom HaZikaron. It is always inportant to remember that changes that come from within kn an evolutionary manner in such socieries are always preferable to changes imposed and directed by those whose views are culturally and sociologically hostile to such societies.

  23. Sarah Elias says:

    @David Ohsie: Why should I believe one anonymous KJ resident over another? Either or none might be correct and unless you yourself live in KJ and know what goes on all over there, you can’t know who’s right. My guess would be that both commenters are half right: there’s more internet and smartphone access than you would imagine but if you’re indiscreet about it, you’ll get into trouble.

  24. MK says:

    The fact that we believe that Torah learning affords protection to Klall Yisroel does not justify the current system in Eretz Yisroel. Such a belief has never resulted in encouraging virtually every man to learn full time as opposed to working. Whoever should be learning full time should and his learning has salutary effect on the country. The rest should be doing what Jewish men have always done, supporting their families and devoting as much time as possible to learning.

  25. mycroft says:

    . “Such a belief has never resulted in encouraging virtually every man to learn full time as opposed to working. “Not so obvious,that is the ideal even for the superior,there were Rabbis in the Talmud, who were choppers of wood and drawers of water.

  26. David Ohsie says:

    @Sarah Elias: Because the former KJ resident who I’m quoting is not anonymous and and neither are the people in the video. I just don’t have permission to post I that persons name FB here. That person has put themselves out quite publicly on this as have many others. The fake news guy is anonymous. I understand you may think I am lying. Read and you can find plenty of these people on your own.

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