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Thursday, November 28, 2013 

National Post correspondents feel extreme Haredi beliefs are just plain wrong

The National Post got some mail in response to their coverage of corruption rampant in the Haredi world. I don't agree with everything said, but it's worth a look. For example:
The photo with this story shows young Jewish girls wearing nun-like habits in black. This photo should be shown beside a photo of Malala Yousafzai, with the caption: “How extremism in religions deprive girls of their childhood and wishes to take away their freedoms in later life.”

All in the name of God.
It's a violation of the Commandment "Thou shalt not use God's name in vain". Another person wrote:
I don’t understand the editorial decision to run a front-page picture and page-two article on the bizarre fringe Jewish sect, Lev Tahor, when there are so many more important domestic and world issues. This handful of eccentric mishaguim (crazy people) should be relegated to the back pages of our society and not to the front page of the National Post. Giving them print time is giving them credence and promotes a Jewish stereotype that is abhorrent. I hope this stupid issue will slip away from your sophisticated pages just as this weird sect slipped out of Quebec — quietly with little trace but with bad taste.
It's all a matter of opinion. What will gall me is if the paper won't run the same kind of coverage on Islamofascism. Another guy said:
I grew up in London as a secular Jew who pretty well became agnostic after bar mitzvah. After reading books by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens, I became a hard-assed atheist. On a recent trip to London, U.K., I took a bus in a heavily populated Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood. A young Hasidic Jew boarded the bus with his wife and baby in her arms. Only one seat was available. He sat down, leaving her to stand holding the baby in one arm and holding a safety handle in the other. I was too choked and disgusted for words, and utterly ashamed that I might have any common ancestors or anything in common whatsoever with these people.

This column, however, really blew my mind, and has left me very saddened, shocked and angry, and has served to remove any last bit of grudging acceptance I have endured for these misguided people.
Any disappointment I could feel that this guy's an atheist is dwarfed by the shock I feel at how the Haredi hubby let his wife stand there in such a burdened situation. I can see perfectly why even some Haredi defects end up becoming atheists - the MO of their belief system is so oppressive in its own way that they just couldn't bear religion any longer, not even the simpler and healthier lifestyles of national religious/non-Haredi Orthodox adherents.

The next letter is by somebody who's got good points:
Kudos to Jonathan Kay for discussing the problems of sex abuse within some ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities. If a Jew reveals to Gentiles not only the pedophilia but also the fanaticism and xenophobia of these fundamentalist communities (which sometimes are known as Haredi), he often is denounced as a heretic by Orthodox Jews.

In my view, the rise of Haredism is the worst phenomenon to occur to Jews since the Holocaust. Haredim are the fastest growing segment of Jews in Israel and the Diaspora because of their huge birthrate. They are destroying Israel because of their refusal to work, to serve in the army or to study English, math and science.

Many proud Jews, such as myself, are embarrassed to associate with the hundreds of thousands of Haredim in Israel and New York, who wear their medieval garb to distance themselves from goyim (Gentiles) and non-Orthodox Jews. It is outrageous that Haredim force Jewish women to the back of their private buses in New York, and spit at “immodestly” dressed seven-year-old girls and elderly priests wearing crosses in Israel.

We Jews must speak out loudly against Jewish Talibanism. For a start, Orthodox Jews must modify or eliminate the two blessings that they recite each morning. They thank God that He didn’t create them as a goy or as a woman. The blessings, which set the agenda for the day, debase non-Jews and women.
Well, I suppose it could be debatable whether the two prayer lines he speaks of should be modified. I'd suggest the prayer books should have lines where a man prays to God that he's proud to be made a man, and for a woman, that she's proud to be made a lady. Being proud of your gender is something that could be very inspiring.

And I won't be surprised if some Haredis from the worst enclaves harrassed Christian priests with vulgarity, which is kind of odd given that Haredism may have borrowed a bit from Catholicism. Non-Haredi Orthodox have to make clear that such lowlife Haredis don't speak for them and have only helped further the bad image any decent Jew could have in the non-Jewish world for all the wrong reasons. It's about high time the true Orthodox disassociated themselves from those backwards ghetto brains.

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