Thursday, September 04, 2008

Eruv Wars in Jerusalem

One of the more distressing aspects of Jewish Disunity around the globe is that of "Eruv Wars". While Orthodox or Chareidi shuls and mikvaot are high on the list of "annoyances" to anti-religious Israelies, secular or non-Orthodox Jews (see "Battle of the Mikva"), the most bizarre hostility is towards the "eruv."

The eruv is a framework of wires and poles (though they could be actual walls, or even natural borders) that allows religious Jews to carry on Shabbat. Without it, one cannot carry outside one's home, building or enclosed courtyard -- and it greatly inconveniences the Jewish community (difficult to carry keys, push baby carriages, water bottles, etc.)

In Jerusalem, the eruv wars have been heating up and for the past few weeks, unknown people have been maliciously cutting the eruv on Shabbat -- thereby invalidating it and wrecking havoc for those who want to carry on Shabbat.

YNET reports:
These altercations [Eruv wars] came after the eruv committee installed more than 200 posts withing a 32 kilometer (20 mile) range on the road leading to the city’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital.

In one of these instances, the Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood’s local administration decided to saw off a number of posts placed on the neighborhood streets.

When ultra-Orthodox inhabitants noticed what occurred, a riot ensued and in light of the confrontation which broke out between the sides, the police were called to the scene in an attempt to restore the calm.

As of late, the eruv issue has taken a worrisome turn for the worse. Every Shabbat for the past three weeks, a group of unknowns arrive at the site and cut the eruv’s wires.

This sabotage is caused to the eruv erected by the religious council, the haredi sector and the eruv committee alike.

In certain instances, the unknowns even ignited some of the posts. This eruv vandalization has occurred in numerous Jerusalem neighborhoods including Kiryat Menachem, Armon Hanatziv, Bayit VeGan, Givat Mordechai and Givat Shaul.
Excuses provided on behalf of the eruv vandals in the Kiryat Hayovel:
The source of the battles is the Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood which is situated above the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital.

According to one of the area’s residents, the whole story began two years ago when haredim began placing eruv posts inside the neighborhoods in addition to those already placed by the religious council.

This phenomenon, in his opinion, is very characteristic in haredi neighborhoods but bothersome to Kiryat Hayovel’s secular inhabitants.

“They began placing an eruv which cut the Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood,” said Danny who prefers remaining anonymous in light of threats he has already received.

“In many cases they used an existing fence or house entrances and started welding posts on them. Posts were definitely placed and ruined the view or were sidewalks; causing a real safety hazard.

“We did not know who was installing these posts. They would come at odd hours and when the police were called, they would leave,” said Danny.

According to Danny, the basis for their opposition to placement of eruv posts is first and foremost the illegality of it all especially since the posts are not placed in accordance with neighborhood authorities or backed by necessary legal permits.

“I can’t insert a post anywhere I want. You have to undergo an organized process and not every private body can do whatever they feel like doing,” he said.

In addition the ultra-Orthodox character the neighborhood is getting with the placement of eruv posts is undesired by many inhabitants.

In Danny’s estimation, “an eruv is definitely a haredi symbol and we don’t want an influx of haredim in southwest Jerusalem.

“It is not healthy for them or for us. The eruv equips the neighborhoods for haredim to a certain degree and this immixture with the ultra-Orthodox public only causes unnecessary friction.”
Eruv polls and wires are rather innocuous, unless of course, you're looking for a fight. I remember a chat with Rabbi Brovender a few years ago, when he told me how wonderful it was that one of the first things done when an IDF unit sets up camp, is that they build an eruv.

I'll be the first to say it's a challenge for religious and secular Jews to live in harmony, but cutting down an eruv on Shabbat is about as low as you can get.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

31 comments:

JoeSettler said...

I've been discussing the distressful issue here.

Commenter Abbi said...

I think this is the clincher quote in your comment: According to one of the area’s residents, the whole story began two years ago when haredim began placing eruv posts inside the neighborhoods in addition to those already placed by the religious council.

The chilonim aren't tearing down the official eruv or protesting the existence of an eruv at all. They are protesting the eruv vigilantes for whom the council eruv isn't "good enough".

Honestly, since moving to Ranaana, every time we go back to J-m, which is about once a month, I can't understand how any chilonim live there at all. Every time I saw one over the summer, I wanted to rush up to them and say "Kol Hakavod! for living here!".

I think the charedim are taking over the city and it's sad that there is such a lack of diversity, on top of the fact that, as a community, they take more than they give.

It's also sad that soon, between the charedim and the arab birth rates, there will be a tzioni minority in J-m. :(

JoeSettler said...

The solution then is for all Jews to start having more children. But it would seem to me that it is wrong that Chareidim shouldn't be allowed to move into any Jerusalem neighborhood they want, or to say they are taking over.

Replace "Chareidim" with another ethnic group and see how that sentence sounds.

It seems to me that the secular residents of these neighborhoods in question are the ones who are against diversity.

They don't believe they can live together with Chareidim, and whenever Chareidim move in, they start moving out, making room for more Chareidim to "take over" the neighborhood. They couldn't "take over" if the secular weren't making their apartments available because they don't want to be neighbors with "those people".

Commenter Abbi said...

joe, once again you ignore the facts and just rant on.

The chilonim are not removing the council approved, legitimate eruv. They are removing the charedi eruv posts that are installed on PRIVATE PROPERTY or smack in the middle of public property.

I wouldn't want neighbors like that either- people who invade private property or deface public property in order to satisfy their own religious whims (and it is a whim, since there is a perfectly kosher eruv already in existence!) are not neighbors anyone would want to have. Why should chilonim or anyone have to put up with crap like that?

And it's not just chilonim who are fed up with charedi boorishness. I guess you missed this jpost article: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1220353266256&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

That's my old neighborhood and my shul community has been trying for years to establish a normal school for their kids IN the actual neighborhood. The current charedi school doesn't even serve any of the community because there are no charedim currently living there! (yet). And there are only 15 kids in each class! Yet the current (charedi) administration is "looking into it". Meanwhile, hundreds of kids have to be bussed out to get a dati leumi education.

Sorry, even my charedi brother who lives in har nof finds most Israeli charedim to be obnoxious.

YMedad said...

Which reminds me: in the late 70s, the word went out that in the Bayit Vegan area, the eruv of the Moetza Datit went down and so no Mizrachinik carried that Shabbat. But the Hareidim's parallel eruv was up and they did carry. So, even though one would say that the hareidim are more chumradik, nevertheless because of the Zionist/Median aspect, the Mizrachinikim didn't carry in spite.

JoeSettler said...

No - one person claims the eruvs are on private property (apparently the main vigilante), and if it was installed on private property, then the owner of the property should take it down.

As can clearly be seen in the picture in the article and from the statements in the article, the poles are in fields and along the streets, in short, clearly the majority of the poles that were vandalized by neighborhood vigilantes were on city property (as you mentioned) - and it is also clear from the article that there appears to be municipal authorization to install them. Perhaps that authorization conflicts with a different municipal departments rules, but then that is an internal matter that the municipality needs to resolve.


Thank you for that article. It is clear that they are against "busing" - something common in big modern cities. Reminds me of sometime else.

No one like to have to bus their kids out to school.

Unfortunately the Chareidim have to because they aren't being allotted their fair share of resources for educating their kids locally.

I note that the article finishes off with a familiar remark:

"The dispute comes weeks after a Jerusalem municipality plan to construct a haredi kindergarten in the predominantly secular Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood angered residents concerned that their quality of life would be harmed, and that their neighborhood would join others in the city that have turned largely haredi. "

Yup, that's the first step to a neighborhood turning black.

YMedad said...

Remember OrthoMom?

http://orthomom.blogspot.com/2008/06/eruv-enmity-take-ii.html

Lurker said...

Commenter Abbi: joe, once again you ignore the facts and just rant on.

Sorry, but I'm with Joe on this. And I'm afraid that you are the one who is ignoring facts here. To wit:

cAbbi: The chilonim are not removing the council approved, legitimate eruv. They are removing the charedi eruv posts that are installed on PRIVATE PROPERTY or smack in the middle of public property.

According to the article, this is simply untrue. The people in question are attacking all of the eruvim, including the one erected by the council:

As of late, the eruv issue has taken a worrisome turn for the worse. Every Shabbat for the past three weeks, a group of unknowns arrive at the site and cut the eruv’s wires.
This sabotage is caused to the eruv erected by the religious council, the haredi sector and the eruv committee alike.


Furthermore, according to the article, as well as the resident who is quoted, the objection is not, as you claim, to the the "charedi eruv", but rather to the presence of any eruv at all in their neighborhood:

In addition the ultra-Orthodox character the neighborhood is getting with the placement of eruv posts is undesired by many inhabitants.
In Danny’s estimation, "an eruv is definitely a haredi symbol and we don’t want an influx of haredim in southwest Jerusalem."


Furthermore, you know very well that an eruv is not "a haredi symbol". The fact that it is being presented as such, along with the simple fact that the vigilante vandals are destroying all the eruvim, not just the "chareidi" one, shows that their objectives (and actions) are indeed more wide-ranging than you claim.

Other points from the article that you seem to be ignoring:

* The chairman of the eruv committee claims that the committee is acting on behalf of the municipality, and that the committee has all the relevant permits. Therefore, judgement on whether they are acting legally or not should be reserved until a determination on this is made by a court of law.

* The police have made it clear that they regard the destruction of the eruvim to be criminal vandalism, and that they intend to apprehend the vandals and indict them.

* The vandalism has included setting eruv posts on fire.

cAbbi: And it's not just chilonim who are fed up with charedi boorishness. I guess you missed this jpost article:

What relevance, exactly, does the story in this article have to the question of the legality, or lack thereof, of the activities of the eruv committee in Kiryat HaYovel? Let's accept the assumption that this article does, indeed, indicate "boorishness" on the part of certain haredim. How does this have any bearing on the legality of the eruvim in Kiryat HaYovel? You seem to be saying, "Just look at this, it proves that everything any haredim do is bad". And I'm sorry; that's not a rational argument, but simply an appeal to bigotry.

Furthermore, Joe is absolutely right when he says that the statements of the residents would be regarded as completely racist if you replaced "haredi" with "black". Consider this one, taken straight from "Danny" in the article, with Joe's replacement:

"...we don’t want an influx of blacks in our neighborhood. It is not healthy for them or for us... this immixture with the black public only causes unnecessary friction."

This sounds just like a statement made by racist segregationist Alabama Governor George Wallace in the 1950's.

cAbbi: Sorry, even my charedi brother who lives in har nof finds most Israeli charedim to be obnoxious.

Let's try it out on that one:

Sorry, even my black cousin who lives in Harlem finds most American blacks to be obnoxious.

How does that sound to you?

To malign an entire group because of the actions of some of its members is the very definition of bigotry.

Finally, I don't think it was fair to characterize Joe's argument as a "rant". He presented his position in a reasoned, straightforward manner.

Jack said...

The whole eruv issue leaves me shaking my head.

YMedad said...

As for "shaking of a head", be careful. There's that story of a royal execution in which the sword passed so quickly through the neck that the head was left on. The prisoner smiled brightly and said, "you see, my head is still on" and the executioner replied, "yes, but just shake your head."

Commenter Abbi said...

Lurker

It seems you understand very little about the demographics of this neighborhood. Kiryat Yovel is not Scarsdale NY or Darien, CT or even Savyon or Ramat Aviv. It is a mostly working class neighborhood ie: traditional Sephardim, edged with some middle class chiloni Ashkenazim who want a villa with a view. There's a Sephardi shul on every other block and many young dati leumi families have been living for years at an urban Kibbutz in Kiryat Menachem, teaching in a relgious school there and working to improve the neighborhood. No one ran them out of town and no one made a peep about the existence of an eruv. So the "quote" from Danny was just that- a quote from a random guy that means very little.

I'm sorry that I missed the earlier quote in the article about torching all eruvim involved. But I still completely understand and identify with the chiloni residents who want to stop the charedi influx, which is why I posted the second jpost article to that effect.

Because once charedim take over a neighborhood, as has already happened all over J-m, there is no room for anyone else, they leech all the services and give little to nothing back.

See Amotz Asa-El's op-ed from Friday's jpost. He pretty much sums up my feelings: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1220444328458&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Are my statements discriminatory? Absolutely and I'm not ashamed, so you can play the mad lib game all you want and it still doesn't shock me. Because I'm appalled at how charedim have pretty much destroyed J-m. When they change there tune and decide to actually contribute constructively to society, instead of burning and bleaching it, I'll be happy to rescind them.

Anonymous said...

Nobody is opposed to an eruv in Kiryat Hayovel. There has been an eruv there for decades and nobody ever complained. There are only complaints when people insist on putting up two, or three, or four eruvs on public property. That is not a matter of religious freedom since the halachic requirements were filled by the original eruv. Rather it is a statement by one community that they wish to "mark their territory" at the expense of other communities. It is not clear why anyone should have the special right to do this.

JoeSettler said...

abbi: Danny was not selected randomly for a quote for the article.

Danny was one of the people that the police are investigating for destroying the Eruv, as it says in the article:

"In light of the complaint filed at the police by the eruv committee, Danny was summoned for interrogation."

Lurker said...

Commenter Abbi: It seems you understand very little about the demographics of this neighborhood... It is a mostly working class neighborhood ie: traditional Sephardim, edged with some middle class chiloni Ashkenazim who want a villa with a view...

For the record, I am familiar with the population makeup of Kiryat HaYovel. I never meant to suggest (nor do I think) that the vandals who are destroying the eruvim are anything more than a fringe minority. That doesn't mean that it isn't still a very alarming phenomenon.

cAbbi: So the "quote" from Danny was just that- a quote from a random guy that means very little.

What about the fact that there are people destroying eruvim, including ones whose legality has never been in dispute, every single week? Does that also "mean very little"?

(Even Ynet, which is hardly a bastion of support for the religious community, characterizes this vandalism as "worrisome".)

cAbbi: [Haredim] leech all the services and give little to nothing back...
When they change there tune and decide to actually contribute constructively to society, instead of burning and bleaching it, I'll be happy to rescind them.


Every single time you see a person going around with a Yad Sarah wheelchair or crutches, you are seeing a part of what haredim "give back" to society. I could give many more examples of other such haredi-run g'mahim, soup kitchens, etc., that serve the public; but I get the sense that they wouldn't make much difference to you.

cAbbi: Are my statements discriminatory? Absolutely and I'm not ashamed...

OK. I don't think we've got much more to argue about, then.

Lurker said...

Anonymous @ 12:53 AM: Nobody is opposed to an eruv in Kiryat Hayovel. There has been an eruv there for decades and nobody ever complained.

Then why is this "nobody" of whom you speak cutting and burning down the eruv that has been there for decades, every week?

JoeSettler said...

Jerusalem is a city, not a gated community. Anyone has a right to buy and move anywhere within the city, including Chareidim (and Arabs).

If Chareidim are making inroads in a specific neighborhood, it is because other people are moving out and openly selling homes to them! (gasp).

If people are moving out because a Chareidi Jew moves in, then they are the ones who are intolerant.

As for "leeching all the services", you have really got to be kidding me.

RivkA with a capital A said...

Let's talk FACTS:

The school in the Katamonim:
You write: "hundreds of kids have to be bussed out to get a dati leumi education." That's just not true. Most residents of the Katamonim are masorti and Sefardi. Most used to send the local secular school, but enrollement dropped so much that the school closed. Over the last ten years, more and more "s'rugim" have moved in, and those (Ashkenazi, middle class families) either send to the local "public schools" (Yehuda HaLevi or Efrata), or to private schools (Horev and Shteinzaltz). The ones who send to private schools wouldn't send to a local public school, even if it was next door.

Most of the kids attending that school are from local families, and they value a school with small classes. The founders of that school should be commended for providing an alternative to classes with 40 kids!

The woman quoted in that article is running for office, and she is stirring up hatred for her own personal goals.


Obnoxious People:
You wrote: "even my charedi brother who lives in har nof finds most Israeli charedim to be obnoxious." So, what makes them obnoxious, the fact that they are Hareidi or the fact that they are ISRAELI!


The Urban Kibbutz
You wrote: "many young dati leumi families have been living for years at an urban Kibbutz in Kiryat Menachem" there are a handfull of families, and they are not representative of the religious zionist community. Several years ago, we were interested in possibly joining the community. The people were very nice, but it was clear that we would be the only family who weren't extreme left-wingers. (but I digress...)


Chareidim and their contributions:
You wrote: "charedim are taking over the city and it's sad that there is such a lack of diversity, on top of the fact that, as a community, they take more than they give." Later you add that they do not "contribute constructively to society."

I do not agree with the Hareidi way of life, however, the above statements are false on two levels:

1. If you are advocating diversity, then you should not be exclusing anyone, including Hareidim.

2. (and this is even more important) The Hareidi community contributes more that can possible be communicated in a comment. For starters:\
1.Soup Kitchens (serving to EVERYBODY -- if that's not clear enough, they serve ALL segments of Israeli society, including many secular Jews, just stop by any soup kitchen, on any day)
2. Clothing G'machs (open to EVERYBODY -- same as above)
3. Wedding G'machs (ditto)
4. Eyeglass G'machs (ditto)
Need I go on???


True, most don't serve in the army (which I find problematic and bothersome)

But many hareidi women work, and pay taxes, bituach leumi, etc.


Personal Experience:
I know that there are crazy and obnoxious Hareidim out there. There are crazy and obnoxious people in all segments of society.

However, in my experience, and I've lived in Jerusalem for almost TWENTY years, I have met the most warm, caring, and giving people from many different sectors of the Hareidi community.

Just one example:
For years, my upstairs neighbors were Hareidi (the family now lives in Beitar), and they were the most considerate, friendly, and generous neighbors we ever had.

You write:
"Are my statements discriminatory? Absolutely and I'm not ashamed". Maybe you should be. It it not OK to be bigotted about any ethnic group, even if you are a part of it (perhaps, especially if you are a part of it).

One more thing: I don't subscribe to this "they" are the "bad" religious Jews, and "we" are the "good" religious Jews.

The outside world lumps us all together, and we would best serve us all by not contributing to the latent anti-semitism and self-hatred of Jews for their own culture.

Commenter Abbi said...

Regarding a normal mamad in the katamonim:

Rivka, I lived in that particular neighborhood (which actually straddles Rassco and Katamonim Aleph) for 7 years and I was on a committee to get a normal mamad started in that school and we were constantly stonewalled by manchi 8 ways to Sunday. Rachel may or may not be running for office, but that's irrelevant. That protest came after about 5-6 years of struggling every which way, through discussions, negotiations, compromises, pleas with both Manchi and the school.

"Most of the kids attending that school are from local families, and they value a school with small classes. "

Sorry, in a city where most schools are bursting at the seams, a publicly funded "small class size" school is a luxury that cannot be afforded. Every parent would want this, but you have to pay a premium to get it. The classes are small because the neighborhood does not WANT such a school.

There are hundreds of d"l kids who already live in that neighborhood, who attend a well established shul that happens to meet in that Darchei Noam (Minyan Shalem) and could easily fill that school. Yes, indeed, the parents who currently send their children to chorev and Steinsaltz would be all too happy to send them to a local mamad around the corner.I know, because I used to be one of them, until I left J-m. These are the facts, which would be hard to know unless you actually live in the neighborhood.

Yes, Lurker and Rivka, I am aware of current chareidi chessed activities. Unfortunately, they would be less needed if enormous charedi sector a) weren't so steeped in poverty itself b) pulling down the rest of j-m by eroding the tax base due to this poverty.

Chessed is great. It doesn't mitigate the sector's larger financial/civic responsibility to a)make a decent living b) pay taxes like the rest of us. Make no mistake, Jerusalem is not far from becoming the next Bnei Brak, and that comes from a bad combination of a large poverty stricken population and fleeing middle class.

Chessed also doesn't mitigate some of the sector's extreme intolerance, bordering on fanatical. I'm sorry, I'm not obligated to tolerate intolerance no matter how many soup kitchens they build.

Commenter Abbi said...

I think this conversation flew off in a lot of directions and i'd like to bring it back to the original issue:

Why are these vigilantes burning eruvim? because they don't want charedim moving in. What happens when charedim move in? They tend to take over a neighborhood.

What happens when they take over a schuna? Look at other formerly mixed schunot in J-m that are now completely or almost completely charedi: Har Nof, Ramat Eshkol, Arzei Habira, Shaarei Chessed, Maalot Dafna : Are chilonim welcome to move in, live their lives the way they want including driving on Shabbat, or playing music on Shabbat that might leak out of their apartments through the floors or windows, dressing in tank tops, etc? Are dati leumi residents welcomed with open arms? The former, absolutely not, the latter, grudgingly, if ever.

Look at it from the other direction: Who would care to live in a neighborhood with a dress code, a modesty patrol, closed streets on Shabbat, only mehadrin busses serving the neighborhood? No chilonim and few dati leumi.

No matter how hard you try to make the case, the chilonim of Kiryat Yovel are hardly rabid biggots who are merely blinded by pure prejudice. They are protecting their way of life in the most basic sense. (Literally, how long would it be before the streets are closed on Shabbat and only Mehadrin busses are serving the neighborhood?)

As I said up above, they are not obligated to tolerate intolerance. If this was 40 years ago where mixed neighborhoods were the norm in J-m, you would have a case. Not today

Anonymous said...

"Then why is this "nobody" of whom you speak cutting and burning down the eruv that has been there for decades, every week?"

Because they don't know which eruv is which. You don't know exactly where the eruv runs, do you? So why should they?

Anonymous said...

"No matter how hard you try to make the case, the chilonim of Kiryat Yovel are hardly rabid biggots who are merely blinded by pure prejudice. They are protecting their way of life in the most basic sense."

Exactly. Israelis as a whole are not bigots for not allowing unrestricted Arab immigration. They know that would destroy their communities and way of life within a generation. The same is true for non-charedim in Kiryat Hayovel.

Lurker said...

Me: Then why is this "nobody" of whom you speak cutting and burning down the eruv that has been there for decades, every week?

Anonymous @ 3:40 PM: Because they don't know which eruv is which. You don't know exactly where the eruv runs, do you? So why should they?

The article clearly indicates that the people in question don't care "which eruv is which". Thyey see the very idea of an eruv in the first place as a haredi symbol. Their objection, as they present it, is not one particular eruv, but rather to the presence of any eruv at all in their neighborhood:

In addition the ultra-Orthodox character the neighborhood is getting with the placement of eruv posts is undesired by many inhabitants.
In Danny's estimation, "an eruv is definitely a haredi symbol and we don’t want an influx of haredim in southwest Jerusalem."


That's "an eruv". Not "the new mehudar eruv built by the eruv committee".

This does not jibe with your claim that they would discriminate between different eruvim if only they knew "which eruv is which".

Lurker said...

Commenter Abbi: I am aware of current chareidi chessed activities. Unfortunately, they would be less needed if enormous charedi sector a) weren't so steeped in poverty itself b) pulling down the rest of j-m by eroding the tax base due to this poverty.

The overwhelming majority of people who use Yad Sarah are not haredi at all. Most of them are secular.

Ben-Yehudah said...

B"H

The Aruch HaShulhan describes how this whole "string" thing is an error, and developed when Ashinazim started leaving the ghettos and got accustomed to having a eruv. Of course, an eruv is easy to set up in a walled off ghetto.

In Tapu'ah, we have fence around the entire town, at least 10 tfahim high, with minimal damage. Even the "Rambamistim" (maqpid) here carry within it.

I choose not to avail myself of the eruv, so that I don't grow accustomed to it, and carry on Shabbath in another location by accident.

There are many rabbanim who do not hold to the "string" but have learned (unfortunately) to keep quiet about it.

Perhaps these non observant Jews are being used a kelim for HaShem's work.

aoc gold said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Commenter Abbi said...

Lurker, it's already been well established in this thread that there has been an eruv (not to mention a local religious/traditional community) in Kiryat Yovel for years , probably decades and the locals never had a problem with it. That's why his quote is meaningless. Any random eruv is not a charedi symbol. The new eruv put up by the new residents is.

As for Yad Sarah, yes I know that chilonim, d'l and charedim use yad sarah (i myself have an arisah sitting in my living room waiting to go back to them). But this point is really irrelevant. The chareidim in kiryat yovel are not looking to open a new Yad Sarah branch.

And thank you to Rafi for bringing an example of what I was talking about. Lurker, would you like to have neighbors like these? :

http://lifeinisrael.blogspot.com/2008/09/letter-to-sheinfeld.html

As I said previously, here in Ranaana we have an enclave of charedim that get along very well with the rest of the community precisely because they are not looking to take over whole blocks or neighborhoods and make them exclusively charedi. They offer classes and services to the community and whoever is interested takes part. No one is putting nasty letters in anyone's mailboxes or patrolling the streets for untzanua clothing or putting up random eruvim (we have a very strict iriya here that would not tolerate such shenanigans), though I did see an apartment ad on our local email list requesting "charedim only".

Unfortunately, this model is almost impossible to find in Jerusalem, except for parts of katamon.

Lurker said...

cAbbi: Any random eruv is not a charedi symbol. The new eruv put up by the new residents is.

But the old eruv put up by the religious council is being cut and burnt down almost every week. You seem to be studiously ignoring this uncomfortable fact.

cAbbi: As for Yad Sarah, yes I know that chilonim, d'l and charedim use yad sarah (i myself have an arisah sitting in my living room waiting to go back to them). But this point is really irrelevant.

It is quite relevant, in light of your unqualified statements here that haredim "give little to nothing back" and do not "contribute constructively to society".

cAbbi: The chareidim in kiryat yovel are not looking to open a new Yad Sarah branch.

And if they were, would that make you stop calling them "leeches"?

cAbbi: And thank you to Rafi for bringing an example of what I was talking about. Lurker, would you like to have neighbors like these?

Most certainly not. And neither would my parents, who live in that neighborhood, and whose lives have been made miserable by their intolerant haredi neighbors. But that doesn't mean that they (or I) hate all haredim. They have other haredi neighbors who are wonderful, warm people.

The difference between me and you is that when I see this sort of unacceptable behavior, I condemn only the actual people involved, whereas you condemn all haredim indiscriminately. When I lived in America, I was a victim of a violent crime committed by some black people. But I certainly don't denounce all black people as criminals for this. You, on the other hand, denounce all haredim for the behavior of certain members of that community. That is bigotry.

cAbbi: As I said previously, here in Ranaana we have an enclave of charedim that get along very well with the rest of the community precisely because they are not looking to take over whole blocks or neighborhoods and make them exclusively charedi. They offer classes and services to the community and whoever is interested takes part.

In which case you most certainly ought to know much better than to write blanket statements that haredim "give little to nothing back" and do not "contribute constructively to society".

Lurker said...

One other thing regarding your characterization of haredim as "leeches" who "give little to nothing back" to society: When I countered this by citing Yad Sarah and other haredi hessed organizations, you dismissed their relevance, asserting that "chareidi chessed activities... would be less needed if enormous charedi sector a) weren't so steeped in poverty itself b) pulling down the rest of j-m by eroding the tax base due to this poverty".

Today, you mentioned that "i myself have an arisah sitting in my living room waiting to go back to them [Yad Sarah]".

I could state the obvious here, but I think that would be unnecessary.

Commenter Abbi said...

Lurker, I could respond with the obvious quote from Emerson that "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds", but I think that would be unnecessary for someone with your standard of cultural literacy.


I think charedi society has many problematic aspects, poverty being among the biggest, but an insular, intolerant attitude towards non-charedim running a close second. These wouldn't bother me so much if they didn't impinge other people in society, like enjoying municipal services while paying little to no arnona, enjoying the protection of Tzahal while refusing to serve, receiving Bituach leumi while never or rarely paying an agora into the system, receiving school funding while refusing to teach core subjects.

I'm happy to acknowledge that not every last charedi walking this earth or living in this country is a raving fanatic or a poverty stricken leech (leech because the poverty is self imposed). Unfortunately, I also don't think that problem charedim are just the marginal fringe. I think Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh are plagued by large groups of charedi thugs, (to wit, the violent gay parade protests), and though the rabbonim seem to be able to control minutia in the community like what kind of cell phone pple use, they throw up their hands in the face of these thugs.

JoeSettler said...

Here is an interesting article discussing the actual numbers involving the Chareidization of Jerusalem (or not).

JoeSettler said...

Those people are taking over:

"in 1995 the ultra-Orthodox constituted 29% of the city's Jewish population while in 2000, the figure was 30%. Today it's 32%, or some 196,000 people. "

Hmmm. a 3% increase over the past 13 years, and not quite a third of the city's Jewish population.

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