Thursday, June 17, 2010

Haredi Demonstrations against Supreme Court Verdict

The Beit Yaakov girls in the above picture have nothing to do with court case and I just took a picture of them at the Kotel (Western Wall). The day before yesterday, those Sephardi Beit Yaakov students went to pray at the Kotel. 

Photo: Miriam Woelke


Yoav Lalom, the Sephardi Haredi who took the Ashkenazi parents from the Israeli settlement Emmanuel to court, is not very popular these days. In fact, he received death threats but all this doesn't keep him away from announcing his opinions. About two weeks ago, he made some hinting remarks in an interview of an Israeli secular newspaper: "If I was running for the Knesset right now, I would beat SHASS (the Sephardi haredi Knesset party run by Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef and Eli Yishai)".

Does Lalom's statement mean that he has political ambitions and only uses the Beit Yaakov in Emmanuel ? It would be interesting to know who or what political agenda is really standing behind Lalom.

Today, groups of the Agudat Israel such as Gur and many litvishe Haredim are going to demonstrate in Bnei Brak (Rabbi Akiva / Chazon Ish Junction) and later on in Jerusalem (near the Russian Compound). Even the litvishe Poskim (leading halachic experts and Rabbis) Rabbi Eliyashiv and Rabbi Wosner announced their participation in both demonstrations. Actually Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliyashiv had to make a halachic decision yesterday when he was asked whether it is allowed that Talmud Torah students are allowed to miss their studies when participating in today's demonstrations. Rabbi Eliyashiv's answer was that the fight against the secular verdict of a secular court is more important because it is a fight for protecting the Torah and its legal system. 

For weeks or even months, the Beit Yaakov girl's school in Emmanuel has been in the Israeli headlines. Today the secular and anti - haredi paper YEDIOT ACHARONOT dedicates its first four pages just to haredi society and how all Haredim are so terribly bad for the modern State of Israel. It has become extremely popular to lead away from important economical issues and, at the same time, concentrating on haredi society as scapegoats. Secular newspapers as well as secular so - called "lecturers / authors about haredi society" have been spreading their hatred and false information. These days, every little Humptydumpty thinks he is able to commentate and make statements concerning haredi society without having ever been part of frum society. 

However, I bet that most publishers don't even see a difference between those demonstrations taking place in Yaffo by the Edah HaCharedit and today's demonstration against the Supreme Courts stating that Ashkenazi and Sephardi girls from the Beit Yaakov School in Emmanuel MUST study together and any separated school building would be considered as rassicism. 

The demonstrations against moving further bones from a Jewish cemetery is an issue of the Edah HaCharedit and has nothing to do with the Emmanuel demonstrations, as the Edah and the Agudah have totally different school systems and nothing to do with each other !
On the contrary, I can just see the Edah Rabbis smiling because it is not them accepting money from the Zionist government supporting their school systems (see Dushinsky, Toldot Aharon, Toldot Avraham Yitzchak, Spinka and others). Members of the Agudah such as Gur, Belz and I suppose the Slonim as well, do accept money from the Israeli government. As soon as this is the case, the present government is trying to interfere. Never mind but also the Agudah has a secret weapon and doesn't need to point at "maybe we shouldn't accept the money". 
It was the Gerrer Knesset member Yaakov Litzman who appeared on all haredi radio channels yesterday. Litzman, the representative of the Gerrer Rebbe in the Knesset, is running the haredi show and whoever has a problem - "Yankele will take care". 

In his interviews, Yaakov Litzman admitted that he is trying to find a proper solution between all parties involved. The haredi parents of the girls in Emmanuel, the secular Israeli court system and Chassidut Slonim. 

Emmanuel has one Beit Yaakov system but two buildings. One for Sephardi girls and the other for Ashkenazi girls. Both backgrounds don't study together for different reasons:

1. Ashkenazi girls want a good Shidduch (match) and see their goal in danger while studying together with Sephardi girls. 

2. The Sephardi girls in Emmanuel are mostly children from Baalei Teshuva and many of them are not really religious yet. Some were seen not keeping Shabbat. 

3. About two weeks ago, even the former Sephardi Chief Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef said that Sepharadim and Ashkenazim should study separately due to different MInhagim (customs) and mentalities. 

So, lets say those haredi Ashkenazi parents from the Chassidut Slonim in Emmanuel would give in and let their girls study with those Sepharadiyot ? Would Yoav Lalom have reached his goal and Sepharadim and Ashkenazim finally became equal ?
The answer is NO or can you imagine seeing these girls sitting peacefully together in class ?

Two more weeks until the summer vacation and Chassidut Slonim is thinking about moving their girls from Emmanuel to a different school after the summer vacation. Today the Ashkenazi haredishe world is demonstrating against a secular court telling Haredim what to do. A Slonimer Chassid said on the haredi radion channel "Radio Kol Chai" last night that the demonstrations have to take place in a peaceful way. No one should throw stones or attack the cops. Instead the demonstrators want to pray Tehillim (Psalms) together. 

I don't understand this whole issue. Lets say I am joining the Beit Yaakov school systems; at that moment I accept their rules and if I don't like them, I don't join. If the Sephardi girls don't like it, so go to a different school because a court verdict may officially grant you some rights but what about the people later on ? Will anyone accept and love you ? No ! Just the opposite.

As I said, I would love to know who is behind Yoav Lalom. My second question is if the Slonimer Chassidim from Jerusalem join into the fight together with their Bnei Braker counterpart.

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