Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Refreshing Secular Viewpoints

Nachum Barnea on "Hareidim, an easy target"

Barnea hits the nail on the head -- similar to my post from yesterday.
It’s easy, too easy, to slam the haredim. They are the classic candidates for xenophobia. Even liberal Israelis, who are outraged by patronizing remarks made by a judge to a young Ethiopian woman, by the expulsion of emigrants, or by the abuse of Palestinians, hate haredim with a clear conscience. It’s commensurate with the bon-ton.
However, he goes after Hadassah hospital -- (while I believe more of the onus is on Jerusalem's Social Welfare department and the Police)
The “starving mother” affair is a clear example. The first incisive questions about her should have been directed to the hospital: Why did so much time pass before suspicions emerged that the problem has to do with the mother and not with the child? What sort of needless and damaging treatments did he undergo? What did the hospital’s social work department do about the case? Was there an effort to handle this grave matter in cooperation with the community?

A hospitalized child is under the responsibility of the hospital, rather than his mother. Before we turn her into a monster, perhaps we should look at what the hospital did with the responsibility given to it.

Hadassah’s hospitals make a living from the haredim. They have extensive experience in treating them. Many problems, including mental problems, were solved there over the years in a discrete manner, through dialogue with the rabbis. Even a radical haredim-hater won’t believe that a haredi rabbi would want to see the death of a haredi child.
He ends off with a surprisingly conciliatory message.
The only thing I’m suggesting is that the champions of secular righteousness wipe the drool off their face. We used to have a party, Shinui, which was feeding off the hatred of the haredim. This party disappeared as if it was never there. The haredim, on the other hand, were there before and will stick around.

Yael Mishali, another secular writer writes about the joy of large families -- even going against the policy of Kolech, the staunchly feminist religious women's organization.
The evil winds of secular, anti-motherhood terror are blowing in our sector. "Taliban mom" and the "starving mother" are just twigs in a fire that has been burning for a while. During the recent Kolech conference, several sessions were dedicated to family planning. The unequivocal demand of the organization's members is to spread the word of limiting birth. "It's possible," they say, "It falls in line with Halacha! Even male rabbis understand it now!"

And they don't only talk about numbers, bust also about the age factor. Why should young women give birth before they graduate from university? And before they integrate into the job market? And before they complete a second degree, without which they're not worth much? And how can they expect a meaningful, fulfilling career in between pregnancies and births?

This goes against everything I believe on this issue. I'm not shamed to say that in my view, the greatest gift we can give ourselves and our children is a big family. Very big. Plenty of brothers and sisters who will grow up to be the anchor and home of each and every one of them. And us.
Natural Expansion. Attempts to stop bad mouthing/generalizing the Chareidim.

How worthy for entering the month of Av.

May we continue to see expressions of tolerance among ourselves.

Kudos to Nachum Barnea and Yael Mishali -- may we see more articles like this, among our whole spectrum.

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


Unknown said...

I would like to point out that Munchausen by Proxy syndrome is a very challenging diagnosis and is usually made by elimination. It is very typical for months and even years to go by before the diagnosis is made because the parents that suffer from this syndrome are usually intelligent (the most "successful" even have some training in a medical or nursing field) and are able to hide their actions quite well.
A child who suffers from FTT (Failure To Thrive) presents an enormous differential diagnosis and all organic causes must be ruled out. This takes time to conduct all the relevent tests.
Once the diagnosis is considered, it is perfectly reasonable to separate the parent and child, first and foremost in order to prevent further harm to the child pending confirmation.
Treating the parent as a criminal in my opinion is cruel, counterproductive and unnecessary. The media and police frenzy in this case is typical overkill.
It must be stressed that this is a very challenging diagnosis to make and it is simply not fair to blame the medical staff for the delayed diagnosis. Some cases are never diagnosed with disasterous results.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

QuietusLeo: For the record, in my post yesterday about this, I specifically stated the blame should NOT go on the hospital...

mother in israel said...

It seems from the original article that Yael Mishali is not secular:
And truthfully, as long as it stays there, in "their" magazines and "their" TV, and in their super-egocentric, spoiled, repulsively self-centered worldview, I couldn’t care less.

But when this penetrates my own sphere, our sphere, I recognize a threat to the number of my future grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. And for me this is an important warning sign.

I think she wrote that article about the mixed dancing at Bar Mitzvahs.

mother in israel said...


tafka pp said...

"Yael Mishaeli" (if she even exists) does not say she is secular- in fact quite the opposite- and her article appears nothing more than a planted kneejerk response to the (very sensible and balanced) debate emerging from Kolech.

For the record: Kolech weren't preaching against large families. They were encouraging a debate within the orthodox world as to what constitutes responsible parenting. Why is that a problem?

(I think I know why it's a problem... Maybe in about 500 years, people will stop automatically going on the defensive at the sight of the word "feminist" and understand what it actually means?)

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