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Sunday, April 05, 2015 

The growing defections from Haredi communities

The UK Guardian wrote about former Haredis making exoduses from their communities like the Satmar, and the troubles they face, like losing contact with their children. Here's something worth highlighting:
Many Hasidim, in the face of pressure from the rise of communism in the Soviet Union and the tragedies of the Holocaust, were intent on preserving their original way of life in the US. Yiddish is the common language in schools and at home, while the dress, modest and simple for both men and women, is strict. Women wear wigs, unless they are of the highly insular Satmar congregation, in which women shave their heads and cover them with scarves. Men wear beards, broad-brimmed felt or round fur hats, and long side curls called payos that are sometimes gelled with a popular wax called Dippity-Do.
Interesting they cite communism, because despite everything, there's something they took along with them that both communists and nazis supported: socialism. Specifically, living on welfare at the expense of taxpayers, doing little or no work in legitimate employment, and not serving in the army if they live in Israel. Nor do they help to build Israel genuinely, and clans like Satmar have many of their subjects living outside the country because they don't want to recognize it.

There's also another part here that's mind-boggling, and not just because of the paper's unfortunate, but unsurprising, swerve into attacks on "right-wing":
The rabbis made it clear there was no room for 32-year-old Leah, whose name has been changed to protect her identity. “At first it was just this thing that didn’t have a name, ‘I don’t like my husband’. Then I learned the name of it: I was a lesbian,” she tells me.

In the hopes of a sympathetic ear, she met a rabbi “who seemed cool and liberal”, believing he would be more accepting than someone from the right wing of Orthodoxy – but it made no difference. “He told me I can identify as a lesbian but not actually act on it. He wanted me to be celibate for the rest of my life,” she said. Leah now has trouble trusting people after experiencing what she described as “rape by the community” after her husband forced himself on her because his rabbis told him “that was the right thing to do”.

The Torah does not forbid homosexuality, but it bans any homosexual acts. Although the role of sex is emphasized to strengthen marital bonds and growing families, many young Hasidic Jews are not well educated when it comes to sexuality.
Oh good grief! This is just so muddled. When the Torah speaks against homosexuality, it means those very homosexual acts they speak of. Of course, in ancient days, it's not like you had as good a psychology industry as we have today (except in Haredi communities like Satmar, of course), so I have no idea how they could help gays and lesbians then to mend their mindset. But today we have that, and where these dummies screwed up big time was when they wouldn't ask the woman to try psychological therapy, and worse, they approved of raping her. That's marital rape, and it's sickening. Thanks to that, it should be no wonder the woman's view of homosexuality could be solidified for an epoch.

All that aside, why do they think, say, that an isolationist clan like Satmar would be "right-wing"? Religion doesn't have to ascribe to just one side of a political spectrum. Let's also remember their socialist leanings, which are anything but conservative, and only hurt rightists.

At least they got it right some Haredis aren't well educated on issues of sexuality. If they had been, it could help to understand everything a lot better, and manage themselves far better than they are now.

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  • I'm Avi Green
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