Windows and Doors

Windows and Doors

Thousands of Ultra-Orthodox Jews Rally in Support of Racism

Tens of Thousands of Ultra-Orthodox Jews (Hareidim) rallied in both Jerusalem and B’nei B’rak to assure that the schools they attend would continue to segregate students along racial-ethnic lines. It’s hard to know where to begin a response to this ugly and tragic situation.
Perhaps the response lies in noting that with all of the challenges faced by Israel and the Jewish people around the word – admittedly few than past generations, but still real nonetheless, this community mobilized more forcefully around keeping apart Jewish kids whose ancestors came from different countries, than around any cause for which they have come out in years. I guess racism is a central tenet of contemporary Hareidi belief. Sad. And also frightening.
The response demonstrates that more than concern about the safety of Jews around the world, the security of Israel’s borders, or even the crushing poverty in much of their own community, what these people want is racial and ethnic purity. How tragically ironic given that most of their ancestors came to Israel to escape the handiwork of others who wanted the exact same thing!
Of course, I am not calling the Haredim who protested today, Nazis. But it does help explain why they often use that word to describe those with whom they have political and religious disagreements, from women who want to pray while wearing a talit (prayer shawl) at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, to police who keep them from assaulting those women, etc.


To be sure, there are myriad challenges with Israeli public schools which are divided between Arab and Jewish (itself and oxymoron since Jews from Arab lands are no less “Arab” than Muslims and Christians from the same places), so-called religious and non-religious, etc. But unlike these other schools, which students from communities outside the stated target population can and do attend, the Hareidi community wants an enforced ban ala’ George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse doors.
On top of that, they demand public dollars for schools that operate in contravention of the law. If that isn’t; the definition of chutzpah, I don’t know what is.
Bottom line, if these schools do not integrate, they should be closed. And closing them would be a mitzvah. Once they are closed though, the people of Israel better get to the bottom of two fundamental questions.
First, what are the fears and angers that could motivate this kind of racist rage among an entire population? And second, when will Israeli schools begin to insist that the primary social obligation of any school is to produce responsible citizens, not pander to a narrow set of religious or non-religious needs?
Failing to address these questions are far bigger threats to Israel’s survival than most of the stuff which grabs headlines and is often out of our control anyway. Who knows, perhaps that’s why we often prefer to focus on those issues – with little to be done about them, we need not actually solve them. Like I said, sad.

  • Tang

    “It’s hard to know where to start” — try with reading the background to the story.

  • withyobadself

    its just the end of days … all religions are not willing to let go of power they have accumilated of the world.. the more power you have the more hate comes with it.. if you dont have power and you wish for it … hate builds up.. jesus the jewish messiah said have nothing to do with the world… if you live in the world it only makes sense to build a military to kill all enemies…. where does love fit in this??? does god want us to love… love keeps the draw bridge of a castle open for all enemies to invade … why would jesus the jewish messiah that the jews killed say.. learn to let go of the world.. love eachother ..that would mean love your enimes too…. and love god… if one did that one would lose all the power of the world they accumilated… no wonder the messiah of love was killed.. the jews wanted a messiah of war to lead the jews for battle to get thier land back from the romans… god needs to cleanse this world again..

  • Hector

    Can you stop babbling, Withyoubadself?

  • Mark2

    What do you make of this comment? –>
    Shulamit Amichai, the head of the Ministry of Education in 2007, sent attorney Mordechai Bass to investigate the situation. He states, “The division was not ethnic, it was religious. I am convinced that there is no ethnic discrimination.”
    — from

  • baruch

    defund the bigots, who live off the state welfare. Make them work for a living. Then – per the Bible and Talmud- draft their daughters into the army.

  • Michael Leger

    And second, when will Israeli schools begin to insist that the primary social obligation of any school is to produce responsible citizens, not pander to a narrow set of religious or non-religious needs?
    Read more:

  • Michael Leger

    so when are American Politicians going to say this to the yahoos who want to compromise American Public Education with silly creation “science” and with enforcing neanderthalic prohibitions against teaching accurate sex and orientation facts?

  • Nathan Shapiro

    Looking into the background of this story, it seems like the protest was motivated by an Israeli Supreme Court decision denying the parents the right to send their children to private school and not the issue of segregation, which was dealt with by an earlier decision.

  • Joe (Yossi) BARTON, shlita

    How wonderful. The Israeli version of a “Tea Party.”
    On behalf of my very good friends at the RJC, I would like to apologize to the Slonim Hasidim and their haredi supporters for the above blog thread. I am ashamed of Rabbi Hirshfield’s biased and disgusting remarks.
    I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion, of the highest madrega, that people of such piety and devotion as these be subjected to what I would characterize as a Chilil ha-Shem and bigoted anti-tzeniyus shakedown.
    And I KNOW that mama grizzlies like Sarah and Michele agree with me!

  • withyobadself

    how would a jewish family act if thier daughter married outside thier race??? jews are taught when they are born everyone who isnt jewish is beneath them.. what would you call that?? one of the ten commandments??? and since the jews control hollywood you always see jewish couples in movies .. they are not mixed with another race…

  • Daniel Mandel

    yasher koach, Yossi!
    “Tea Party” honcho Steve King (R-Ia) will be asked to introduce a congressional resolution in support of these holy people.
    Readers, please ask your Congress(wo)man to co-sponsor it1

  • Ellen

    I am amazed that any of those of you who commented on the Rabbi’s essay could believe that his comments are biased or prejudicial. And to Withyobadself: Jews are NOT taught that they are better than anyone else, or that others are “beneath them”. Where in the heck did you get that idea? There are several reasons Jews are influenced by their families to marry other Jews: Compatibility in how to raise children, relate to one another, share the same belief system, and so on. Assimilation might result in the disappearance of the Jewish faith from the world; six million lives were lost to the Nazis, and that loss was incredibly damaging to the Jewish people and their numbers. Also, Withyobadself: you sound racist yourself! I take it that you belong to a minority group yourself, and I wonder how you can be so prejudiced against another minority? Don’t you remember what it feels like to be discriminated against, treated as “less than”, etc.? Oh, yes, one more thing: Jesus is not the “Jewish Messiah” – sorry. He’s the Gentile Messiah. We’re still waiting for the First Coming.
    Rabbi, I couldn’t agree with you more. Racism and discrimination is racism and discrimination, no matter who or which group is perpetuating it. I agree with Michael about messing around with education, re-writing history, and so on. The Texas School Board has changed textbooks to better teach their own religious beliefs, and thus their students will need to be taught true history when they get to college. They’re being put at such a disadvantage in comparison with students from the rest of the country. Ridiculous. Truth is truth. One doesn’t change the truth to comply with one’s current ideology.
    In any case, I’m not behind Israel here. It would be so much for Israel and the entire region if the ultra-religious minority parties didn’t wield so much influence over the country. It was such a tragedy when Yitchak Rabin (spelling?) was assassinated; we would have had a peace settlement by now. How sad.

  • Zvi

    Your opinion is based on the assumption that what has been reported in the mainstream media is correct. As the mainsream media tend to be anti- religious in general and anti-Haredi in paricular, the reporting ought to be considered suspect. The truth is that the issue is not about ethnic origins but about a very strict religious lifestyle that the Slonim hasidim follow and wish to pass on to their children. The fact is that a number of girls from Sephardic familes that adopted this lifestyle did indeed study in the hassidic track. To many, this may seem extreme but it is the right of these people to educate their children as they see fit. Another fact that is overlooked by the mainstream media is that the Slonim hassidim in Emmanuel tried to reach a compromise with the authorities on the issue and offered a number of solutions. The Supreme Court (Judge Edmund Levy) refused to entertain any compromise. The court’s approach was to demand absolute acceptance of its ruling or be in contempt of court. The parents, whose religious values made it impossible to accept the court’s ruling, were left with no choice but to reject the court order. It should never have come to this but the fault lies with the court and with a media whose world view informs their reporting.

  • Larry Snider

    Dear Rabbi Hirschfield,
    Both the title of your article and your decision to utilize the word Nazi seem to me to feed the flames and the fears of all your readers. I am sure that you are far better versed than I on the conflict within the Orthodox Jewish Community in Israel between the Ashkenazi and Sephardic in terms of their individual practice of Judaism and the educational requirements for their children. As you know the first Prime Minister of Israel reached an agreement with the leaders of the Orthodox community at the time of the founding of the State of Israel granting them many privileges to bring them into the big tent at a crucial moment. Therefore as a outside observer, (meaning me), I cannot equate the internal conflict between the two Orthodox communities with the civil rights movement in our own country. Further there appears, (and again I am limited), to be some parallels with our own Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and Renewal communities here in the United States and their desire to each present a different, (but privately funded), curriculum to their children as well as the many divisions within the Orthodox community here in America. If it was simple, it wouldn’t be a problem. I personally believe that the Israeli Supreme Court needed to find a way to express its wisdom rather than its power, by locking up a bunch of ultrareligious parents in jail.

  • withyobadself

    why do jews always say the media is always trying to make the jews look bad??? its a fact that the ceo and higher up of ABC NBC CBS FOX CNN are jewish.. and are only letting other jews have jobs in these fields..jews are in control of the american media and hollywood… turn on your tv count how many jews you see.. go to the movies count how many jews you see.. is the american media run by the jews making up lies about the jews for ratings and profit?? who is the real jew ?? the american jew or israelian jew? i get the feeling the israelian jews would kill the american jews if they had the chance..the israelian jews sure dont have a problem killing palastine children while they sleep.. are you jews still waiting for a messiah of war??

  • Beryl Nissan

    Dear Rabbi Hirschfield:
    I would corral all of the Fundamentalists [alias fanatics, alias Nazis], put the on a cattle train, and take them to the “Lager” of their choice:Dachau, Birkenau, Theriesenstadt, strip them all, and give them a “shower”. They are curse of the devil, laid on Israel, bloodsuckers, and worse than Hamas.
    OR, move them all into Gaza, and let Hamas take care of them,
    OR, put them on old transports run by Aeroflot, and fly them to Birobijian, a city that Stalin set aside for a Jewish homelad in Siberia. Let them build their own Kotel, their own Temple, their own priesthood, their own “red cow”, their own sacrifices, and let them drown in their own purity. If Iran wants to run a pogrom, this is a good place for it

  • withyobadself

    beryl nissan… jews have never been able to pass the test god has given them from adam and eve to cain and able to being freed from egypt by mosses only to forget thier religion and enjoy thier freedom just a little to much.. also killing thier messiah they were waiting for.. jesus,the messiah of love.. this is why god punishes the jews from the garden of eden to the holocaust and so on and so on… you jews have cursed yourself.. your messiah that you killed doesnt want you to protect israel.. jesus wants you to have nothing to do with the world.. love eachother and love god.

  • A.W. Bowman

    Why not just expand the Hareidi Shabbat Shul to include a five or six day academic school, and be done with it?

  • alexander

    the problem in israel is that there is too much cultural and religious polarazation. With the palestinians it is more about politics. The question of who is a jew has always been the primary source of contention within the jewish community this is idiotic and there is no need to argue over trivial things like ethnicty or national origin this is agianst everything torah teaches and the rabbis and rebbes know this but, their hearts have been infected with the same disease that the people of the nations are afflicted with, national ethnic pride and hatred. This should not exist at all within jewish communities but, its very sad that it does.

  • Mark2

    Nathan Shapiro starts off with, “Looking into the background of this story…”
    We’re not supposed to look into the background; we’re just supposed to assume that the media’s reports are accurate. Get with the program.

  • charles

    as a 3rd generation reform WestCoast MOT, l find it obhorant that in 21st Century, we are still having the same internal arguement over who
    is a better Jew
    l can grant the fact,that to the ultraorthodox of even orthodox,anything
    less than their rigidity is heresey,but in the end we will all share the
    same ZipCode.
    l have tried over the years to have a discord with my fellow Jews from
    different synagoues,but l hate to use the analogy,but where are we so
    different than the RedNeckWhiteTrash
    happy fathers day

  • epstein

    you say: “To many, this may seem extreme but it is the right of these people to educate their children as they see fit.”
    Sorry, NOT when it is on the public dole. And most haredim in Israel live on welfare. If they want a special private tract for their kids, then they should have to pay for it out of their own pocket!

  • Hector

    Charles writes: “I have tried over the years to have a discord with my fellow Jews”
    You tried to have discord with them? Are you using the right word?

  • Zvi I Weiss

    I do not know where Brad Hirschfeld (and I do not use the title of Rabbi for anyone who disrespects the Rabbinical Poskim as Brad Hirschfeld has done) has received his information. I know that Arutz-7 and Other sources have provided a VASTLY different perspective.
    A. Something like 1/4 of the Slonimer Chassidic Families accused of “Racial Discrimination” are SEPHARDI.
    B. The issues have to do with “standards” that are CLEARLY not “racial” at all. The issue of allowing in students whose parents have TV or Internet is a matter with which I may or may not agree however this is not a RACIAL matter.
    C. The person who brought thi matter before the Israeli Supreme Court apparently does not even LIVE in the affected cmmunity. He is purported to be religious.
    D. There is a specific prohibition for [religious] Jews to bring this sort of matter before a secular court at all. The Israeli [alleged] “High Court of Justice” applies SECULAR standards to matters that are considered religious questions. The purported petitioner has been CONDEMNED by Rav Ovadia Yosef [SHLIT”A] for bringing this matter before the [Secular] Court System.
    E. An attempt was made to develop an agreement to bring this before a Beit Din and WITHDRAW from the Secular System. The purported petitioner — apparently — RENEGED on this agreement.
    F. Virtually ALL religious groups (including “Dati Leumi”) have come out in favor of the SLonimer Chassidim in this case. Are they ALSO willing to condome racism?
    Before you write the utterly hateful words about “racial and ethnic purity” you should have done a LOT more homework. At this point you owe a DIRCT apology to many Gedolei Yisrael or else you will be in serious dnger of violating some pretty serious Halachos about honor of Torah and those who learn it.

  • Paul K. Fauteck

    Those of other religions have committed heinous acts of bigotry in their supposedly pious endeavors. Perhaps the Ultra Orthodox believe it’s their turn. I agree with those who say strip them of their special privileges and powers.

  • j rainey

    We must recall Northern Ireland…finding a way to be christian and irish has taken a while

  • Zvi I Weiss

    Epstein misses a serious point.
    The ONLY reason for action against these
    Chareidm is because of the accusation of “Racism”.
    That is simply incorrect. In addition, he is in error
    about his contentions about “people on the dole”. The
    percentage of Chareidi families where one family member
    works is pretty close to the percentage for secular families.
    What idffers is that it is often the women who are the “breadwinners”
    however, that hardly means that someone is living on the dole.
    Epstein is also unaware of the sslary structure that ends up pushing
    these people into lower paying jobs.
    He is also unaware of the DISCRIMINATION against Chareidi
    candidates by [secular] employers who accept the [secular /
    anti-religious] media protrayal of Chareidim — and therefore do not
    wich to hire them.
    When chinuch Atzma’i was founded — it WAS an independent
    organization. hwover, Menachim Begin realized that a system
    that educates such a large proportion of the Israeli youth
    (and does a very good job, I might add) deserved public support.
    They are NOT fully funded by the government.
    I fail to see why these people who provide a very good
    education for their children should be less entitled to
    support than anyone else — as long as they are not violating
    any law. And, if you follow the reports in media OUTSIDE of the
    [secular / anti-religious] papers such as Ha’aretz, you will see
    that this is simply a case of a SECULAR COURT
    *deciding* that a certain style is not acceptable. The justice(s)
    in the case have no special expertise and are simply bringing THEIR own
    secular biases to this matter.

  • Shmuel

    What a disgusting, hate filled article. It is fully inaccurate to say they were rallying for anything but their right to educate their children as they see fit.
    How do you explain that there are Sephardi girls learning in this school? that seems like an inconvenient fact.

  • Christopher (Kalevi)

    This article is pretty misinformed. I am against the haredim for their Ashkenazic superior attitude, but I don’t think this article represents both ideas. The problem isn’t racial, its cultural. They believe that they are true Jews and us Sephardim and Mizrahim are just wannabes and only good for cleaning the floors in their yeshivas. Unless of course, we want to learn their Europeanization of Hebrew and pray in that lanugage and follow thier European customs and dress like our ancestors came from Eastern Europe and praise their Rebbes. Now I love the Ashkenazim, but the idea that they can recieve government funding and act like this is wrong. Some have suggested that the Sephardim start their own school and that the Ashkenazim go private. The problem is, as always, that rich American and Canadian Jews aren’t going to support Sephardi schools, their going to give to a sympathetic Ashkenazic organization which will help their own. Meanwhile, there are sympathetic Israels, including Russian Ashkenazim who have made it rich in dot coms and other Internet start ups who might and have given to help Sephardim and Mizrahim, but as most of these philantropists are secular, I doubt giving money to a religious, haredi school is going to happen.

  • shmuel

    Arutz-7 is the Charedi version of Pravda.
    If you care so much about following the halachos, what about the halacha in the Talmud that women, as well as men, should serve in the army of any Jewish state?
    Draft the haredim, like everybody else!
    And any rabbinic Posek who disagrees is a shaygetz!

  • Troubled

    This article is sorely lacking in facts. I know people who were in attendance at the rallies in both cities. They were there for one reason and one reason only. They were protesting the fact that the Israeli Supreme Court ruled where (and by extension how) they must educate their children. I dont know the Rabbis personal family situation, but imagine for a moment if he wanted to send his child to school A and the supreme court ruled he MUST send his child to school B and if he does not, would be in contempt of court and face jail time. How would he react and respond?
    I think the Rabbi and author of this article has an axe to grind and is using this situation to do just that.
    Of course he is entitled to his opinion, as wrong as misguided as it may be.

  • izzy

    You disrespect Rabbi Brad; but how many of your glorious Rabbinical Poskim were implicated, in one form or another, in the various Orthodox child sexual abuse scandals?

  • guzzardi

    Dear Troubled:
    If these people are so concerned about their kids’ education, what is stopping them from doing as is commonly done in this country, of home-schooling them or setting up their own private parochial schools, to be paid for OUT OF THEIR OWN POCKET, rather than at taxpayer expense?

  • Your Name

    Dear Guzzardi,
    You ask a wonderful question. However, it has NOTHING to do with what I wrote. The article written here is simply has no basis in fact. It is not a question of “racism” as the Rabbi calls it. (Dont believe me, google it yourself) 27 out of 61 fathers going to jail for not following the courts ruling are Sephardic. How does this fit with the claim made in the opening sentence “Hareidim rallied in both Jerusalem and B’nei B’rak to assure that the schools they attend would continue to segregate students along racial-ethnic lines.” This opening statement shows either extreme lack of knowledge regarding this situation or an extreme prejudice.
    Regarding the point both you and the Rabbi raise regarding not taking money from the government or homeschooling. That is altogether besides the point. The jailed parents are willing to send their children to a different school. The court ruled, no, they can not. Homeschooling is not an option, going to another school is not an option. The court wants them “integrated”, no ifs, ands or buts.
    Why not suggest to the court to do as we do in this country and let the parents send their kids to the school of their choice?

  • David N. Friedman

    From what I have read about this subject, Zvi Weiss is right in his analysis and I would agree with what he has said concerning Mr. Hrschfield. I am quick to add that although I daven and study in an Orthodox shul, I am by appearances a secular Jew but I am an informed one.
    About 28% of the students are Sephardi and the very nature of private education is an open allowance for schools to set their own standards of admission–given certain basic guidelines. It seems our community would do well to protest the Court’s decision and stand with Emmanuel.

  • withyobadself

    so does the guy with the white shaw on his head have a higher rank than the guy with the tire shaped hat??? what about all the normal shaped hat jews , what is thier position in this religion?? thats alot of jews in that picture… how would someone control so many people…its good thing man made up religion to explain rank among the people… i think with the catholics,the bigger your hat is the more rank you have , which gives them first pick of the alter boys…how many jews were killed in the twin towers on 9/11??? something smells fishy… how did the jews know not to go to work that day?? does religion really have anything to do with god??? seems it has everthing to do with money and power of the world… religion is another word for corporation..i think the jews have the best corporation..

  • Zvi I Weiss

    Izzy —
    You show your own ignorance.
    NONE of the Poskim in Israel have EVER been implicated
    in aNY such scandals. I stand by my reference ot Brad H.
    There are very clear Halachos how one is to relate to the Rabbinical Leadership.
    Mr. Hirshcfeld chooses to disregard those in his description and condemnation of
    the situation.
    The fact is that there is nothing currently (based upon the court’s behavior) stopping
    the Court from ordering that all education must be “integrated” with Boys and Girls together
    because it violates the secular norms of the Court. This is entirely unacceptable to
    the religious populace.
    What is REALLY happening is that the Court has now become despised by the Religious population
    as notihmg more than secular hacks seeking to impose their opinion and Justice be Damned.
    I owuld stronlgy suggest that you read the writings of the recently retired Supreme Court Justice
    Barak where he makes clear that it is the job of the “Wise Men” of the court to tell Society how to
    behave. Note, too, that under the Israeli system where Court jsutices are selected by a committee where
    the Supereme Court, itself, has had a “blocking vote” (this was recently modified — but not by much)
    Barak BLOCKED the appointment of a candidate becaues he did not agree with her judicial philosophy!
    So, before making assertions aobut the Chareidim, maybe take a look at WHO is issuing these “decisions”…

  • izzy

    Does the name Motti Elon ring a bell?
    Anyway, in your original posting, you did not specify Israel, just said Rabbinical Poskim. So now you try to backtrack!
    Secondly,in terms of “rabbinic leadership,” you seem to suggest
    that it is against Jewish law to embarrass, let along, gainsay, a rabbi.
    This ridiculous contention goes back to the Mishnah Brurah, whose author, the Chofetz Chaim (1838-1933), in a self-serving ruling, did not allow critical speech except when he himself engaged in it! Jews are not allowed to insult any one- including rabbis- for no good reason. But bad behavior and rulings based on subjective personal preference – rather than what the canonical sources themselves say- should not be tolerated, especially in leadership ranks. Rabbinic ordination, including among the haredim, is a license to practice Judaism, not to violate it.
    FYI: Authentic authority in Judaism derives from interpretation – based on logic, reason and common sense – of shared, public, canonical books (Tanakh/Talmud as codified by Rambam and/or summarized in the Shulchan Aruch), NOT/NOT from charismatic individuals, dynastic cults of personalities, inspired intuition, nor the personal taste of individuals who say “I am a gadol, a holy person (which is why I dress funny, like a mortician, as a badge of entitlement), so do what I say for the simple reason that it is I who say so.”
    To the contrary, “Rabbinic authority” refers to the authority of the TEXT, not the person interpreting it. “Rebbe”-style Judaism – as practiced by Chabad and the other haredim – mimics the magisterium of the Catholic Church, where an elite (such as Cardinals and a Pope) through privileged intuition claims to be able to read the mind of God, giving it the right to impose its authoritarian cultural ideology as binding.
    Your Judaism, that of the black-hats is a narrow, insular, parochial regimen that is both troubling and troublesome in its retrograde anti-gentile, non- or anti-Zionist, sexist and, alas, often even racist, ethos. Not to mention, in numerous cases, unseemly ties to Israeli militant settler extremists, a.k.a. Jew-hadis (sic).
    …Asher natan LANU Torat emet {(God) gave US the Torah}. The Torah was given to the Jewish people as a whole, not to hierarchical bearded wonders.

  • God-fearing Jew

    from the FORWARD’s “sisterhood’ blog
    Haredim’s Cold-Hearted Cause Célèbre
    By Elana Sztokman
    The world has seen some moving mass protests. Anti-war protests, civil rights marches, rallies to release Natan Sharansky from prison. The mass protest has drama, heroism, poignancy and the potential to achieve real results. Consider how Mahatma Gandhi led millions of Indians in protest against British rule through noncompliance. Indian public officials resigned, parents withdrew their children from British schools and participants boycotted British goods. Eventually, around the same time they left Palestine, the British decided to stop colonizing India. They left people to create their own autonomous democracies. These are amazing moments in modern history.
    Watching Haredi protests in Israel over the past few days, with the image of hundreds of thousands of black hats creating powerful impressions of solidarity and determination, it is tempting to invoke the nostalgia from those amazing moments. But here, the cause célèbre that the Haredim are rallying around is the right to be free from the Sephardic girls in their midst.
    Yes, the great evil that they are shaking off is the threat that comes from the presence of a 12-year old girl who happens to pronounce the morning prayers with a guttural ayin. O what men dare do! The insolence! The audacity of the Supreme Court to rule that the racist policy is illegal! We shall not take such oppression! Ah, yes, the right to be completely insular and narrow-minded, the right to live in complete and utter fear of she who is even the slightest bit different — that is the essence of the grand protest.
    This is actually the latest in a long list of loud, public and sometimes violent protests launched by Haredi leadership in recent years — against the police, social workers, the coroner, the legal system, the bus companies, the airlines, women, gays, and now Sephardic girls. I keep wondering how the Sephardic girls feel knowing that hundreds of thousands of Haredim prefer jail for themselves and foster care for their children to the prospect of interaction with Sephardic children in the playground. But then I think, at least the girls are in good company. The entire female population of Israel is pretty much in the same category in the eyes of this Haredi rabble — not to be seen or heard or afforded basic human dignity.
    Let us not get deluded by the suggestion that this protest is about freedom of expression, that everyone has the right to their own educational choices. That’s just a smokescreen. A state-funded institution does not have the right to exclude on the basis of ethnicity any more than it has the right to advocate neo-Nazism. There is no freedom of expression here. This is not about democracy. What this protest is about is about trying to make the Haredi community completely detached from the entire corpus of modern values of equality, democracy and civil discourse. They want freedom from Israeli governmental rule, freedom to ignore Israeli courts, freedom to disobey police, laws, and general civility.
    Let us also not delude ourselves into thinking that this is Judaism or halacha. After all, the girls trying to get into the school are observant, as is Supreme Court judge Edmond Halevy, who told the Haredim, “No matter how much you would punish me, I would never be able to pronounce the prayers with an Ashkenazi accent.”
    Perhaps the courts had options other than to send parents to prison — like, say, completely cut governmental funding to the town of Emanuel or at least to the school in question. But that’s irrelevant at this point. People in contempt of court are sent to prison, period.
    What saddens me most is that the object of their animosity is Israel. Haredim in Israel are happy to take the welfare checks, happy to take the hundreds of millions of shekels for schools and for those who avoid working and army service, happy to serve in the Knesset and in municipalities in order to fund their own infrastructures — milking the system while violently rejecting it. It is completely corrupt.
    What we are seeing here is not divinely inspired, it is not Godly, and it is not an embodiment of Torah or truth or goodness. It’s just cold-hearted mindlessness.

  • withyobadself

    i have to say you jews know how to treat your women…never forget what eve did… she took paradise away… its in womens nature to never be satisfied…why did the devil talk to eve first… the devil knew you can talk women into doing anything…keep the women in the back especially when they are bleeding…

  • Hector

    Izzy writes: “The Torah was given to the Jewish people as a whole, not to hierarchical bearded wonders.”
    Actually, the Torah was given to Moses, who then gave it to the Jewish people as a whole. And chances are pretty good that Moses had a beard.

  • Emily with the Kippah

    …but it was STILL given to the JEWISH PEOPLE as a WHOLE. The revelation at Sinai was a National Revelation.

  • withyobadself

    no emily with a little round hat…man made up the jewish religion to control its people and gain power of the world..your messiah came to liberate the jews from the jewish religion … jesus said god belongs to everyone just talk to him.. jesus meant you dont have to slaughter an animal or follow any other rules the jewish religion tells you…god belongs to everyone… just talk to him…..dont feel bad pretty emily… the christians dont follow any thing jesus taught ethier.. all religions are really corporations of hate greed money and power… dont be afriad to take your hat off… and just be emily

  • Adambagibus

    The instigating article at the spindle of this thread pronounced that “this community (has been) mobilized more forcefully around keeping apart Jewish kids whose ancestors came FROM DIFFERENT COUNTRIES.” This intentionally reasonable pronouncement on a separatist movement was antecedently condemned as a manifestation of ‘racism’, a word whose ‘loadedness’ is a favorite of those for whom sensationalism is a necessary antecedent to rationalism. Wouldn’t the noun ‘nationalism’ have been more proper to the event?
    Adambages Obvos.

  • geller

    As an Orthodox Jew, Joel Pollak supports the practices of the Slonim Chasidim and denounces the secular Israeli court system.
    Pollak for Congress!

  • izzy

    Charedi apologist Hector:
    don’t you know ANY Hebrew?
    as I pointed out in my original posting, the bracha reads:
    …Asher natan LANU Torat emet {(God) gave US the Torah}.
    us: the Jewish people, not Moshe exclusively, or for his own use.
    And show me where it says in the Torah that Moses had a beard!

  • Gil

    In answer to Yobadself’s constant taunts: Don’t worry no woman would consider marrying Yo – she would be hitching up with someone who was beneath her race – the human race that is. Yo seem to have an inherent jealousy with Jewish people. A simple excision could remedy that- that is if you are equipped. And if you are – it appears that there has been a migration downward of viable cellular material – or as it is said – “downward directed.” And as for the charge of deicide – Yo have my permission to kill my God. If the Romans didn’t crucify Jesus – how could Yo be saved from the Original Sin. Your story goes that He came to die for your sins. Unfortunately the story is jumbled – retold and redacted many times and copied from many previous myths. For thousand of years countless tales have been told of virgin births – human mother and god father – coming to “save” mankind. And we blame the Muslims for their Jihads. Enough hatred of our fellow humans – practice what we preach – my earlier introduction was meant to shape up “Yo” so that he could come to his senses. I fear that it fell on deaf ears – or a disengaged brain with mouth.

  • Hector

    Izzy writes: “Your Judaism, that of the black-hats is a narrow, insular, parochial regimen that is both troubling and troublesome in its retrograde anti-gentile, non- or anti-Zionist, sexist and, alas, often even racist, ethos. Not to mention, in numerous cases, unseemly ties to Israeli militant settler extremists, a.k.a. Jew-hadis (sic).”
    And yet he calls me a haredi apologist. Hmmmph.
    “…Asher natan LANU Torat emet {(God) gave US the Torah}.
    us: the Jewish people, not Moshe exclusively, or for his own use.”
    I’m well aware of this blessing, and wasn’t trying to argue against it. What I was doing is implying that your statement, “The Torah was given to the Jewish people as a whole, not to hierarchical bearded wonders” was misguided.
    “And show me where it says in the Torah that Moses had a beard!”
    I never said he did. I only said he probably did.

  • withyobadself

    izzy i was very impressed of what you wrote.. the fyI part.. the way you used your words.. you must be a writer should try hollywood .. your not really micheal moore are you..

  • withyobadself

    gil thats a pretty name,,when you watch any jesus movies the girl that plays mary magdelin is so beutiful… jesus was the jewish messiah of love.. the jews were waiting for a jewish messiah of war to fight the romans to get there land back.. jesus message was god is there just talk to him .. jesus died on the cross cause he didnt have a choice..jesus was trying to tell jews god has always been there .. just talk to him.. man makes religion and tells people god isnt there unless you follow the rules of the religion.. religion only causes evil acts by man… god has always been there for everybody … just talk to him.. there are no rules to follow before you can talk to him.. what color are your eyes… do you live in israel

  • Gil

    Jesus killed two people [Ananias and his wife Soporah] for not turning over all their money received in their selling of property, to the disciples of Jesus. This was written by Luke in the Book of Acts.
    So their goes your “prince of peace.” Messiah or Hebrew Moshiach was a title given to a king or high priest of the Temple. It had nothing to do with a redeemer. The plaque over the cross “INRI” was placed there by the Roman executioners to mock Jesus. “King of the Jews.” Pontius Pilate asked Jesus only one question during his trial: “Are you king of the Jews?” And Jesus answered: “That’s what you say.” Crucifixion was an execution meted out by Rome to those convicted of treason vs Caesar. Can’t have two kings or Caesars in Rome. No history of crucifixion was ever performed by Rome for religious infraction. Withyobadself appears to be a pathetic, illiterate, with little intelligence who spouts anti-Semitic, and atheistic hogwash. Accusing religion of man’s misdeeds is poor foolishness. Accuse the car for reckless and inebriated driving. Everything in man’s universe has both good and bad consequences. It is up to man to seek out and use what is provided for good, positive, and morally correct purposes. As to this idea of love – which can take on many forms and actions – including perversion, beatings [Slavic wives would present a whip to their husbands for ritual beatings to be shown “love”] to even murder. The practicing Jew understands the sometimes frivolous and misunderstood word “love” and prefers to live by the Law given by God in Torah and interpreted by the sages. I know my family, friends, and society loves me by doing nothing to me that they would find abhorent if done to themselves. Jesus is quoted as saying: ” Follow all the laws of Torah,every dot, every stroke of the law. He who fails to follow the law will be found in disfavor in the kingdom of heaven.” The actions of love have to be spelt out in law. For example giving charity is a commandment of God – the same word also means justice in Hebrew. As the prophet Micah said: “And what does thy Lord God ask of thee – love mercy – do justice- and walk humbly in the path of thy Lord God all the days of your life.” The Adam and Eve story teaches us that we all had one original family – we are all brothers and sisters – By your deeds shall ye be known.” So lets all get with it – stop the petty bickering – help a neighbor – help a stranger – there is enough misery and tragedy out their. And if you feel you are something special – keep in mind the dinosaur roamed the earth for 160 million years – homo sapien approx. 100,000 years. And if God loved and loves all his creatures large and small – where is the diosaur today? It certainly could happen to the human race.

  • withyobadself

    gil…. yes jesus probably killed and had sex and cursed at god to leave him alone…jesus was a man who at times didnt want to do what god wanted him to do..can i have your phone number

  • withyobadself

    gil sorry i didnt read all you said i was watching tv..the jewish high priests set up jesus to be killed… pilate begged jesus to please just say your crazy…pilate didnt want to kill jesus.. and then pilate gave the jews a chance to free jesus.. the jews picked the other guy to be freed… romans made up christianty and made up all kinds of things about what jesus said….do you have long hair like mary magdalin…

  • withyobadself

    gil….i never knew religion would try to control love…just more proof religion was designed by man for control over people…i never tried bondage but for the right girl i might…. you can call me daddy if you want…

  • Gil

    Yo – Jesus was a Jewish zealot, possibly of the Essene sect. The “last supper” was a meeting between Jesus and his followers to plot to over- throw the Roman occupation of Jerusalem. The word “AFFOKOMEN” is Greek not Hebrew and refers to the last piece of matzoh to be eaten at the seder. You were required to abstain from any other food. In Greek it means to wander about aimlessly. It was to prevent any of the plotters from attending other celebrations and “spill the beans” of an insurrection. As to religion “controlling people” – yes people need both internal and external controls over their base instincts. Living in a lawless society with anarchy- and everything goes- destroys that society. Watch any of the post nuclear holocaust films to get the message. Jews are made up of many races, cultures, nationalities, and beliefs. If rabbis were out to plot vs those who bring new ideas or beliefs into the fold – they would be consumed with a monumental, and never ending task. Jews are “stiff necked” people that don’t quickly knuckle under to the dictates of any new despot. And those who do pay the price. Jews are not a paragon of virtue. We are human as all other humans of the world – subject to all the frailties and short-comings. But we have a religion that teaches us a code of proper, moral and decent behavior. We are taught that other peoples need but follow the seven Noahide laws to receive the “heavenly rewards” the an observant Jew who is required to follow the 613 commandments. I am truly not out to convert you – just to reset your clock – and hopefully to prevent you from making a fool out of yourself with your jejune and vacuous statements.

  • withyobadself

    gil… your a woman…a dog has more rights then you do in the jewish religion…your acting like that woman that gets beat up by her husband but never calls the police… like a bird in a cage who is released and wont fly away… you need religion to be a good person to others?? really?? yes there are bad people in the world … jesus said there are only two commandments to follow… let go of the world…love eachother and god…not very many people have enough faith not to kill when someone is going to kill you..religion tells you its ok to kill… jesus never said make a religion out of me and call yourself christians… lucifer made all religions…

  • Charles Taylor

    Wonderful to live in a land where neither law nor relegion forbids us from publishing our opinions. Isn’t it?

  • Dennis

    We recover our humanity and our hearts when we realize that we have invented all of our gods and our religions and yet pretend that we did not.

  • Zvi I Weiss

    It is unbelieveable to m that desite ALL of the evidenc ot th contrary, this is STILL depictd as being discrimination based on ethnic lines. Does Brad H BOTHER to look at anything besides the avowedly secular newspapers? How about Hamodia, or Yated — at least to restore some balance?

  • withyobadself

    charles taylor…. wrong… governments are monitoring everything thats being said here.. and if you say something they dont approve of.. they will come and get you…

  • Shmuel

    Brad –
    Please tell us how this is racism or discrimination against Sephardim, when about 30% of the students in the Slonim school are themselves Sephardim.
    I’d like to hear your explanation. It would be interesting.

  • Ben Plonie

    This article would be more appropriately headlined
    “Thousands of Non-Orthodox Rabbis Blog in Support of Ignorance and Slander”
    From a Jerusalem Post article on the topic:
    “When the men got off the bus at Ma’asiyahu, a prison official read off the list of names. “He starts reading: ‘Elmaliah… Biton… Beit Ya’acov…Baruch…’ then he stops and says, ‘They told me we were getting a group of Ashkenazim and I see all these Sephardi names.’
    “We all started laughing. One of the fathers said, ‘In two minutes you’ve figured out what the Supreme Court hasn’t figured out in two years.’”
    Of the 35 fathers who sat in prison, 11 were Sephardim, says Krimalovski. Off the top of his head, he names 10 of them: “Ziv Cohen, Shimon Levy, Meir Elmaliah, Shmuel Naimi, Yitzhak Naimi, Amos Meirav, Rabbi Eliahu Biton, Hanoch Beit Ya’acov, Avraham Baruch and Menashe Alali, who changed his last name to Klein at the request of his in-laws, who didn’t have a son to carry on the family name.” He can’t remember the 11th Sephardi father.
    That has been one of the most overlooked aspects of the Emmanuel affair – that a sizable minority of the separatist “Ashkenazim” are actually Sephardim. In 2008, the Education Ministry appointed a former high official of the State Comptroller’s Office, Mordechai Bass, to examine the dispute, and he found that 27% of the pupils in the breakaway hassidic school were Sephardim. While criticizing the walled division of Beit Ya’acov as illegal and improper, Bass also wrote that it was done “without the intent to discriminate between pupils on the basis of ethnic background, and no such discrimination exists there in practice.”

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  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Julius

    Been teaching secular studies to American Haredi high school students in this country for about three months… have never heard so much old-fashioned racism in my life! And I’m talking about regarding issues in America….

  • Pingback: Long beards and black hats

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Gil From Great Neck

    If we are all descended from a first family, you can transfuse blood of the same sera type from one “race” to another without problem, we are all kindred and related as homo sapiens. Most who believe in a prime source, called the “Creator” “our father.” It is man who has placed all these distinguishing characteristics to isolate, segregate, and slam the door on others. The Jewish concept of a Moshiach Savior brings peace to the world. Where the lion will lay down with the lamb and we will call each other brethren. Nu???

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