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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Signs for Ramat Beit Shemesh

I don't usually tell the ills of Jewish society on this blog.  There are a myriad of other blogs for that.  However, an exception should be made here.  At a time when Jews who claim to represent the Torah are acting contrary to it - and this news is making its way around the world - not just Israeli news - this is something that needs to be protested.  I was disgusted by the news report, which I first saw on Rafi's blog, and then on many other blogs, including Akiva's blog, where he confronted the extremists and drew a map of the area.  As we are all responsible for each other, this behavior must be protested to the fullest extent possible. 

I am also worried about the perception of all Hareidim based on the actions of the few.  Secular Israelis, who should know better, and the world at large now think that all Hareidim act this way.  Haaretz, of all places, has a pretty good article that understands that it's not all Hareidim.  However, most don't make such distinctions, so the Torah and Hashem's Holy Name are being desescrated.  We need to make it clear to everyone that although we are responsible for all Jews, they do NOT represent Torah.  The Belzer Rebbe and R' Aryeh Deri have been good here in showing what is right.  Update: I'm also glad President Peres is calling for an end to incitement against the entire Haredi community.

Below are a few signs I created online using and

(I know.  This was the only picture they had.)  See also R' Yaakov Horowitz


At Tue Dec 27, 02:06:00 PM 2011, Blogger Cosmic X said...

Love those signs! Happy Hannukah!

At Tue Dec 27, 02:57:00 PM 2011, Blogger Daniela said...

I have been born in a xian country where public school was for me a nightmare. Later on, I have traveled quite a lot, and sometimes found myself in unpleasant situations (I have been in muslim countries too). I am not embarrassed to say I was spit at, thrown junk at, and as a child, even beaten. I was also robbed a number of times by ordinary criminals with a weapon. I have been taught not to confront, but to try to get away safely, if necessary with a smile or an apology, and protect my life and health, which is more important than those despicable beings, may them be wiped away soon.

I have christian friends and some muslim friends too. I realize that the fact that "A" who is muslim spits and curses, and the fact that "B" who is muslim is a potential suicide murderer who would like to G-d forbid butcher my children, has nothing to do with "C" who is a decent person.

There is no reason not to extend the same courtesy when we replace "muslim enemies" with "jewish brothers". Those who think this reflects badly upon "all haredim" or "all jews" are in bad faith. No exception. Period. And if you are in doubt, a simple and quick question will dispel uncertaincy: ask them if they have at least one xian or muslim friend.

At Tue Dec 27, 05:23:00 PM 2011, Blogger Neil Harris said...

Love the post (and the middle sign).

At Tue Dec 27, 08:31:00 PM 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

its a small incident blown out of proportion as always done when the religious do something. its wrong and i am sure the people there can solve their problems without the biased media's 'help'. they tried TA demonstrations. it did not work, now a couple of incidents are being used to create something . if we were to list the deplorable happenings in the rest of the world , all the religious blogs will not have space for it. and i am not a jew, so dont call this blind support. i am a noahide and i have seen worse, far worse in other countries and they dont even make it to the press.

At Tue Dec 27, 10:06:00 PM 2011, Blogger Daniela said...

Yes of course people spit upon each others and insult each others and sometimes hit each others in many political demonstrations all over the world, and the newspapers don't even mention. OTOH these people that I saw in videos, do not really look to me like reshaim who deserve to be beaten or locked up or at the very least excommunicated by their rabbi (assuming they have one), they look like they could use a good doctor and some medication, which unfortunately in certain groups of society is frowned upon. While we must not use psychiatry for enforcing law-and-order, we must not use police to treat mental health issues either.

At Wed Dec 28, 12:10:00 AM 2011, Blogger Neshama said...

Didn't like the signs. Not necessary.
Yes, Haaretz did write some good coverage.

At Wed Dec 28, 02:35:00 AM 2011, Anonymous Anglo said...

> its a small incident blown out of proportion as always done when the religious do something.

No it's been going on for months and it's a religious school.

Try to imagine what it would be like if your children were harassed going to/from school everyday. Would you just say la-dee-dah minor incident???

At Wed Dec 28, 04:05:00 AM 2011, Blogger Daniela said...

Anglo: if anyone would spit upon my child and my child told me about it, I would in the privacy of my own home, point out that the world, which is big, large and wide, contains all sorts of people, including people like that, and others which are worse. Then, the following day, *we* would accompany the child to school, and *we* would handle in first person the harasser in whatever manner is needed. Parents who allow a timid 8-year old to be insulted and spitted upon repeatedly, and leave her alone facing such a thing for days and days, but then are quick to call the press, do not exactly have my respect and admiration.

At Wed Dec 28, 12:59:00 PM 2011, Blogger vincent said...

This week's hafthora
Ezekiel 37:15-28
seems very apropiate
started reading this also recently as an interested noahide, not disapointed

At Thu Dec 29, 10:23:00 AM 2011, Blogger Zach Kessin said...


If you have not been paying attention this is not one guy who spit on a kid once, but a part of a larger movement to harrass all non harradi residents of RBS. This has been going on since September with dozens of thugs outside the school each data. And yes the parents have been escorting the the kids into school each day

At Thu Dec 29, 10:43:00 AM 2011, Blogger Daniela said...

Zach I understand it quite well, in fact I have left the country years ago, because of disgust. I am equally stomached by these people and by their secular counterparts (what about the arrest for "sexual harassement" ie insults during a confrontation?). That said, a sane adult tries to avoid provocations, and even more, does not involve a child. There are many neighbourhood, cities and countries in the world where "modest clothing" is not enough, and normal people don't make a big deal, just avoid moving there, and if visiting, cover themselves like the locals, *regardless* if they are required to. Only a tiny minority of these places are Jewish, but of course, elsewhere, these "heroes" would never dare.

At Thu Dec 29, 01:58:00 PM 2011, Blogger Zach Kessin said...

I don't live in Beit Shemesh, but I have friends who do, and who send their daughter to that school

First of all Beit Shemesh started out as a mixed city. The Haradi elements are infact rather late arrivals there. And if a group moved into the area where I owned a home and started attacking my children I would use every option I had to fight back. As for avoiding provocations, if you try to drive me from my house I am not going to just pack up and leave and say "Please don't hurt me".

Who said that the most extreme element gets to set the tone of a city that they just moved into?

At Thu Dec 29, 02:29:00 PM 2011, Blogger Daniela said...

We all make decisions and I have not written they should move out, in fact, if you reread my message, I used the expression "handle in first person the harasser in whatever manner is needed." IF a person decides it's worth picking a fight (it's not me who has to decide) then this person - not a child - goes and takes the heat, be it that the other people give him/her a good beating (or break a bone), be it an arrest or jail time. IF a person decides it is not worth or if for whatever reason they don't want to, then this person needs to raise her back and get it moving: surely can not leave it upon the child to try moving the attackers to compassion. One may try to talk to someone those people respect and see if someone among their rabbis is willing to mediate, or give in and dress differently, or even move elsewhere (which BTW there are people who are forced to, for all sorts of reasons - from border adjustments to government changes - happens to jews and nonjews, and they don't get a great deal of sympathy). This is what adults do.

But.... that a person, who is cowardly enough not to do face these people and put them in their place, would send a child to go through this? It's despicable beyond words. That a person who is not willing to compromise on different clothing (which trust me, in Dubai or in Orissa she would do right away, and with respectful silence!) would call the TV and play the role of the heroic anti-haredi mama who fights for the religious zionist dream? LOL.

Yes, demographic is in favour of the haredim. Happens all the time everywhere, that some groups have a higher birth rate, which, naturally, we may not like; but we all have to put up with it, e.g. in Europe with minorities from Africa, Asia, South America, former Eastern Europe. That we have to hear secular "jews" stating that haredim breed like giukim? You realize that if anyone said so about Bedouins, no one would tolerate this (and I agree it must not be tolerated).

At Thu Dec 29, 11:23:00 PM 2011, Blogger Leah Goodman said...

Daniela - It's not a few individuals. It's a mob. Parents take the children to school each day and protect them as much as they can.

The issue is an existential one for Israel. We have to decide whether this extremely vocal wildly extremist minority will be allowed to take over cities or whether they will be opposed and silenced when they step over the line.

Right now, there is a quandary. If the children stop attending the school, then the Modern community is giving the extremists the message that they can be intimidated. On the other hand, is it fair to make our children fight existential battles? The reality is that if we don't fight this battle with everything we have, very soon Israel will become an extremist religious state. Moreover, if parents "deal with" the spitters, they will be legally liable and will end up in jail, unable to help their children.

While it is designated as the Jewish homeland, it is meant to be a home for all Jews, not a few extremists.

Daniela - I agree with your analysis that many of these extremists would be helped very much by some heavy antipsychotic medications. In the original news broadcast, they interviewed a man who was sitting in a car. The man's body language and tone was similar to other schizophrenics I've seen.

There's probably also an element of the sociopath. That's where the incredible arrogance comes from.

I have a problem with anyone - individual or group - who says that they know G-d's will to the point that they feel they have the right to persecute someone who doesn't follow their beliefs. The arrogance is incredible.

At Fri Dec 30, 06:06:00 AM 2011, Blogger Daniela said...

I agree with you, Leah, that this is about the very identity of Israel. Which has been a confused and self-contradictory one. Perhaps there were too many wars to pay attention to that? But, now that the Arabs have problems everywhere, the PA is silent as no one supports them, and the Israeli non-jewish minorities bless their luck, tensions are rising. The modern orthodox people are upset. They don't like the changing demography: they had no problem when it was in their favour, i.e. when the number of hilonim decreased and when economy hit them very hard; but now that number of haredim is increasing and plenty of money is flowing to them, Israeli MO are upset.

If the building were not a modern orthodox school, but a nightclub or a church, a solution would have already been found. Be it arranging relocation, or reserving a street or sidewalk for access, with panels and signs. The fact that no agreement is even discussed shows that there is no dispute, only reciprocal provocations. Nobody here is fighting a battle of truth and justice. Good luck, keep destroying the Medinat at full strength, lest "extremists" are accommodated (Arab towns are accommodated! Russian "lo kasher" pork meat stores are accommodated! Christian churches are accommodated, complete with rioting priests and their brooms! Missionaries of any religion are accommodated! Sex shops and illegal gambling casinos are accommodated! Human traffickers are accommodated too! But "religious extremists" - insert missing keyword "jewish" - they must be fought at all costs...) Or should I say, "my way or the highway". Sorry Leah, I don't like your dream country. This is why, even though I am no haredi, I left.


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