We secular Jews do know that Jews have a long history of persecution. As such, we as a group are hypersensitive to the merest hint of antisemitism, regardless of how religious we are. This is why this message must come from Jews, so there can be no hint of antisemitism.
I should state that I fully believe that everyone, including Haredi Jews, is entitled to their own mishigas. I do not hate Haredi Jews. I hate what they are doing. There is a difference. This is about their actions, not about their right to believe, not about hatred for any human beings.
It’s about being moral and decent human beings in a modern world.
What I believe Haredis are not entitled to do is to be bad neighbors. When they leave their homes, they need to be members of modern society in the modern world. They must not expect others to give them special privileges. Nor can they require that others dress according to their standards. Nor can they take over public land. Nor can they vandalize public or private property.
What many of today’s Haredi Jews are doing in the modern world is unconscionable.
I hope that some Haredi Jews will read this and will not hate me for these opinions. I do not hate them for their opinions. I do not hate Haredi Jews at all. I do hate a lot of the actions of the Haredi community, especially the ones that make the news. These actions make me embarrassed to be a Jew.
I also hope that if non-Jews read this, that this will not be a cause of antisemitism. Remember as you read this, even if you find some of these actions as abhorrent as I do that not only are the people committing these actions Jewish, so is the author of this article. There are also many other actions taken by these same people that may be quite beautiful. I am merely criticizing a subset of the Jewish community for a particular type of interaction with the outside world.
1. Haredi Jews do not own the Wailing Wall. Nor are Haredi Jews entitled to vandalize buses when non-Haredis attempt to advertise that others have the right not to follow Haredi laws.
It is unacceptable for the Haredis to take over the entire wall. And, it is unacceptable for the Haredis to vandalize buses.
They have done both. This is not OK.
This site belongs to all Jews and to the state of Israel. Haredis have no greater right to the Wailing Wall than any other Jews.
In fact, the Jews who did not leave in the diaspora and stayed with the old temple were the secular Jews. Secular Jews were in possession of the temple throughout. When more traditionally religious Jews came back and saw the secular Jews in control, they killed and forcibly converted secular Jews. They subjugated the women. They forced men to undergo circumcision at the threat of death. Arguably, it is secular Jews who have proper title to the remnants of the temple. Though, we are probably all equally descendants of both the victors and the vanquished in that bloodbath. So, we should share the site equally.
We even have a holiday to commemorate this wonderful Jew on Jew kinslaying. We call it Chanukah.
By the way, as a secular Jew myself knowing the true story of Chanukah I find it a bit offensive that one group of Haredi Jews has even taken the name of the murderers in that kinslaying, the faithful, the Hasidim. But, since they probably aren’t taught about the real history of who was killed in the temple, today’s Hasidim probably don’t even realize the offensive nature of their name, or at least I hope they don’t.
2. Haredi Jews do not own city streets.
If Haredi men find women so disgusting and unclean that they cannot even walk on the same side of the street, that’s fine. They can have an unwritten guide among themselves that men will walk on one side and women on the other.
But, they cannot and must not attempt to enforce this on others.
From the Huffington Post article, there is the following quote:
Parade organizers have promised to clean up the posters more quickly next year, Metro reports. In addition, they will write only in Yiddish to decrease the chance of misinterpretation.
This is not an acceptable answer. Even during their parade, to which they are completely entitled, they have no right to attempt to enforce this even on non-Haredi Jews capable of reading the sign. I’m sure the rabbi in the community is perfectly capable of telling the congregation which sides of the street to use. Even if only one person not from the community can read the sign, it should not be there.
Keep this misogynistic mishigas to yourselves.
3. Haredis have no right to dictate dress codes for non-Haredis
When modern women dress normally and comfortably for summer and come through public streets of the City of New York, Haredis have no right to say a fucking word about it. These thugs in archane clothing need to shut the fuck up about how anyone else dresses. We don’t complain that you stink wearing dark, heavy, wool clothing in summer (or at least I don’t when I’m not trying to make this point), leave us alone to dress comfortably for the modern world.
Hey Haredis! Did you know it’s even legal for women in the City of New York to go topless? Don’t like it? Try averting your eyes. Or, are you trying to turn Brooklyn into another Saudi Arabia? Get over it. You dress how you want. Let others do the same or we might institute bathing and anti-sweating laws.
4. Haredi men who refuse to sit next to women need to make their own arrangements not to do so.
Haredi men, if you won’t sit next to women, that’s your problem. Don’t make it mine. If you buy airplane tickets and don’t want to sit next to a woman, be prepared to buy up all the seats in your row. If you can’t afford to do so, why not create a website where Haredis can join other Haredis to buy up seats in patterns that ensure that men will never have to sit next to those unclean women. (Unclean? really? More so than your own asshole? Just curious.) You might call the site wanderingjew.com or some such. I don’t plan to create the site, so feel free to use the name free of charge and stop making pains in the ass of yourself to the rest of the modern world. Or, if you want to leave your brain solidly in the 18th century, try … um … well … NOT FLYING!
There is a petition about this if anyone wishes to sign. Of course, I did.
Luckily, there are some Haredi women attempting to step out from under the thumbs of their fathers and husbands.
Yay women!! I don’t really know why any woman would stay in the Haredi community. But then, I never underwent that level of indoctrination. Nor did I ever risk losing my whole family and all of my friends by first becoming an agnostic and later an atheist. So, perhaps I just can’t relate to this level of immersion in a closed community from such a young age.
So, perhaps what these brave women attempting to move the whole community a couple of baby steps out of the arcane past and a bit closer to the present day, is really a wonderful thing.
That said, of course, reading the article, we find that the penised members of the community are threatening the women with excommunication. Excommunication??!!? I was raised Jewish and had no idea that such a concept even existed in Judaism.
Read this quote (emphasis mine) from the article, actual quotes from the
dictator rabbi for the community. Tell me if you think this sounds as you might expect from a pious man. To me, it sounds like a thug. Perhaps he should run for the governorship of New Jersey, which seems to be a good job for a bully.
In response, Rabbi Mordechai Blau, a senior member of the United Torah Judaism party, issued a statement Sunday threatening excommunication to any women who dare buck Haredi political leadership — and by extension, the religious authority of the rabbis who guide them.
“All women who go near a political party that is not under the leadership of the Torah sages” would find her children banned from Haredi schools and her employer boycotted by the community, said Blau.
You could practically hear the “Godfather” theme playing in the background when he warned: “Anyone who dares do this will be taken care of and will pay for it dearly.”
Fuck you Rabbi Blauhard!
5. Eruvs are land theft.
If the properties enclosed are owned by more than one person, then all the properties must be combined by the acquisition or rental of some right to the properties, and the designation of a meal that is shared by all property owners. The designation of the meal is called an eruv chatzeiros (combining of courtyards) and it is from this that the term eruv is derived.
When an eruv is created, assuming it extends even merely to sidewalks and public streets, it is saying that this is part of the Jewish community. This is no longer fully public property. This is land theft. It is taking land by adverse possession. In my opinion, all such eruvs that extend onto public land must legally be removed. I also believe that the Haredis are cheating their own religion in this. Since they don’t own the land in common, and God knows it, they are not fooling anyone. They are breaking their own laws. But, they won’t care about my opinion on that subject.
This eruv in Brooklyn, NY includes parts of a city park and botanical garden, a university hospital, The Brooklyn Museum, and most egregiously, Brooklyn’s Boro Hall. How the fuck does a religious group get to put a claim of partial ownership on Boro Hall??!!? It’s unconscionable that this is allowed. In fact, it’s in direct violation of the establishment clause in the first amendment to the U.S. constitution.
6. Follow the Law of the Land.
In places where laws are reasonable, follow the laws of the land. It is reasonable, and probably even required for a civilized society, to have laws prohibiting child sex abuse. Neither the Catholic Church nor any Jewish organization nor any other organization is exempt from these laws.
And, ignorance of the law is never an excuse.
So, when you are in a position of leadership of a Yeshiva, no, you may not keep cases of pedophilia to yourself and hope to deal with it in your community. You must report such cases to proper legal authorities. Always. Every time. You don’t get to decide you’ll handle it by shaming the induhvidual in question.
Notify the police!
Update: This one is still ongoing. Now a rabbi is claiming that gays and pedophiles (lumped together as if they are somehow equal) can be cured by counseling and spiritual guidance.
Jail. Jails are good for people who do not report pedophiles to the police. And, if these rabbis end up in jail and learn a bit about being victims of sexual abuse, well, that’s wrong. But, I have better places to spend my sympathy.
7. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, stop sucking bloody baby dick!!
When we hear about the horrors in Idaho of parents letting their children die of highly treatable or curable diseases because they are Followers of Christ or Christian Scientists and refuse all medical treatment, most of us find the idea of letting these children die abhorrent. We expect and hope that other Christians will call these ideas into question and demand that these practices stop. We hope for the opposition to come from within Christianity.
Similarly, when we hear that Jewish mohels are murdering infants by infecting them with herpes through the rather sickening practice of sucking baby dick after a circumcision, we want to and should stand up and scream from within the Jewish community that this is just not OK. Call it metzitzah b’peh all you want, but you’re sucking bloody baby dick and it’s literally killing infants.
You’re responsible to get your children to adulthood so that they can make their own religious choices. How many infants must die before you get over this archaic and frankly disgusting practice that literally causes the deaths of your offspring?
So, I say again Haredis, you’re entitled to your mishigas. But, you’re not entitled to inflict your mishigas on others. And, you’re not entitled to kill your babies.
Please be nice.