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.
As an side, I also prefer when criticism of the Westboro Batshit Crazies and other Christian extremists comes from within Christianity. Though, clearly I’ll do my part criticizing them as well.
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.
Read the rest of this entry »