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Tuesday, August 02, 2022 

Yes, antisemitism against ultra-Orthodox in USA is troubling

Irit Tratt, a writer living in New York, says that while the Haredi harassment of Conservative congregationists at the Robinson's Arch stand near the Old City's Western Wall is offensive, most activists opposed to it in the USA should also be concerned about antisemitic attacks on Haredis stateside:
While the June 30 episode deserves condemnation, the Jewish community’s swift reaction to harassment leveled at non-Orthodox Jews differs from the relatively muted response following assaults against the US ultra-Orthodox community, whose neighborhoods are witnessing rising antisemitism.

Hassidim in Brooklyn are routinely subjected to attacks similar to the one that occurred last April, where assailants repeatedly punched a haredi male, resulting in injury. On another occasion, a hassidic Crown Heights resident was kicked and beaten by a man hurling antisemitic epithets. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), of the 51 total antisemitic assaults that were reported in New York state in 2021, over half (34) took place in Brooklyn.

Yet despite the alarming uptick in violence, Jewish groups like the JFNA continue to emphasize hate crimes aimed at non-Orthodox Jews and other minority groups. Online statements decrying antisemitism amplify “from Pittsburgh to Colleyville” yet fail to mention Crown Heights, Brooklyn and Williamsburg, where antisemitic violence is frequent.

With the haredi manner of dress and degree of observance far different from the majority of US Jews, the mainstream Jewish community’s refusal to seriously confront the slew of attacks in haredi neighborhoods reflects a level of indifference with which they view their Jewish counterparts.

Incidentally, undermining the fight against Jew hatred is the current politicization of antisemitism. It bears mentioning that in many cases, crimes against haredim residing in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods are perpetrated by minorities.

Perhaps fearful of offending the left-wing sensibilities of their congregants, Jewish leaders instead focus on crimes that both target nonobservant Jews and are committed by offenders with links to right-wing extremists
. Calling attention to the violence spreading within ultra-Orthodox communities would also potentially complicate the relationship between Democrat lawmakers and liberal-leaning Jewish institutions.
Well they're right about the serious concern of kowtowing to leftism, to say nothing of the oblivious attitude towards left-wing extremists like Antifa. Of course, if this is the Satmar clan we're talking about, how can you possibly think it's so easy to speak in their defense when they're hardly grateful for it, no matter who they vote for in the USA? The Satmar are anti-Zionist themselves, and not all that different from the Reform movement, as a result.

She goes on to note:
Spitzer points out that the JFNA, the ADL and AIPAC have virtually zero haredi representation.

The ADL’s recent appointment of Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker as special adviser on security confirms Spitzer’s assertions. Andres Spokoiny, CEO of the Jewish Funder’s Network, admitted in an interview for ejewishphilanthropy’s Daily Phil that one of the challenges of integrating haredim is that “you would need segregated spaces. Are you willing to do that? I’m not, but that’s a dilemma.”

While disappointing, statements underscoring the exclusion of haredim from Jewish communal life are also a departure from courtesies extended to the religiously unaffiliated by the ultra-Orthodox community. In 1965, the late hassidic Rabbi Hershel Weber founded Hatzalah, the largest nonprofit ambulance service in the United States. The mostly Orthodox volunteer force fields over 70,000 calls a year and responds to emergencies regardless of victims’ religious persuasion.

Similarly, in 2005, two members of Brooklyn’s hassidic community, Mordechai Mandelbaum and Alexander Rappaport, opened Masbia, the New York-based nonprofit kosher soup kitchen and food pantry, where everyone is treated like a mensch. Masbia provides over 2,000,000 meals yearly to Jewish and non-Jewish families.
Let us be clear. Of course it's admirable if certain movements in Haredi society are running businesses like these, which I'm guessing include mainly Chabad. But when it comes to isolated sects like Satmar and even Skver, what are they truly contributing? A distinction has to be made, and I'm not sure the writer's done that. And even then, it's honestly insulting if any Haredis are demanding segregation, or even modest dress for women, and oppose hearing ladies sing music. That's something defenders of Haredi communities have to answer about: whether it's a positive example, which it most definitely is not.
IN FAIRNESS, US Jewry’s reluctance to condemn antisemitism within ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods and a failure to acknowledge their goodwill does not excuse the abhorrent behavior witnessed at the Western Wall. Yet disaffected Jewish pluralists must recognize that trust is rarely built on policies tinged with paternalism.

To some degree, haredi disruptions are motivated by progressive approaches to Jewish traditionalism. In just over 30 years, the US Jewish community has successfully lobbied to liberalize prayer in Israel. Such inroads now include allowing women to read from the Torah and don a tallit while at the Wall.

The Wall is considered a holy site and acts as a synagogue. Those protesting its restrictions would likely think nothing of covering their heads or removing shoes before touring other religious destinations, such as the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. For its part, Israel should be weary of embracing an American brand of liberalism that, demographically speaking, is something short of a success story.
Now there's a legitimate concern. Do the complainants at the Western Wall have any issues with what Islamists demand when it comes to mosques? Do they have any issues with the Religion of Peace at all? If not, then it definitely does undermine their positions. Ironically, even the ultra-Orthodox ruffians at Robinson's Arch likely don't give a damn about Islam's demands for modesty either, nor the antisemitic verses in the Koran. That's why Haredi extremists and Reform Judaists aren't all that different in some regards.

And while we're on the topic, there was more commotion by Haredis against the Women of the Wall during a Bat Mitzvah:
An American teen held a protest bat mitzvah ceremony at the Western Wall in Jerusalem Friday alongside the Women of the Wall activist group, braving Haredi protesters who sought to disrupt, sometimes violently, the female-led Torah reading.

No injuries or arrests were reported during Friday’s confrontation, which came during the observance of the start of the month of Av and a month after a major incident at the egalitarian section of the Western Wall garnered international attention.

On Friday, thousands of black-attired young yeshiva students, both male and female, swarmed a group of about 100 women and a dozen men who accompanied them to the Western Wall, where traditional prayers were to take place at 7 a.m., ahead of the bat mitzvah of Lucia da Silva, 12, of Seattle, who came to Israel with her parents and godparents to celebrate the event.

Each month, a group called Women of the Wall attempts to read Torah at the Western Wall in violation of the rules of the site’s main plaza, which bar women from carrying and reading from the Torah. Only at a nearby site, known as Ezrat Yisrael or Robinson’s Arch, can women read from the sacred scroll.

Da Silva opted to celebrate her coming of age with the group, reading from scripture amid the throngs of often vicious protesters against such female-led services.

Her mother, Ada Danelo, had prepared Lucia ahead of time to think of the Western Wall as a soccer arena. In this scenario, da Silva was the star kicker, and the crowd included both hooligans and supporters.

“I looked at them as fans who came to cheer me on,” Lucia said of the commotion that encircled her as she read from scripture at one of Judaism’s holiest sites.

Ushers working for the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, a state-funded institution, attempted to direct the women into a dedicated lane leading to a fenced-in corral but Women of the Wall refused. Instead, they headed to the center of the women’s section, adjacent to the men’s section of the wall to hold their service.

This form of protest occurs at the start of every Jewish month, in this case Av, as the start of a month, known in Hebrew as Rosh Hodesh, is considered a holiday with feminine undertones. The start of the month of Av also marks the start of the nine days leading up to the Jewish day of mourning, Tisha B’Av, which commemorates the destruction of the two Jewish temples, and this period is generally seen as a time for introspection and repentance.

Clutches of girls dressed in black set upon the women, calling them whores and heretics and hollering that they should burn in hell. When confronted by Women of the Wall activists and asked for their names, three of the girls in unison replied, “I’m a minor.” Others blew whistles to drown out the women.

From a raised platform behind the women’s section, young men taunted them with coarse gestures and insults, and were occasionally herded away by police. Photographers practiced in the monthly ritual came equipped with noise blockers.
The WOTW may be a galling bunch of leftists, but that's still no excuse for this incident either, as it only lends further credibility to the concerns by movements like the Conservative sect. The Haredis who pulled this hollering horror have no business calling themselves loyal Judaists, and should get out of the lifestyle to boot, since it's clearly not influencing them for the better.

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