Spitters and splitters: what have the charedim ever done for us?

Everyone’s been talking charedim here, this past week, after ultra-Orthodox Jews spat on a 7-year old girl as she walked home from school in Bet Shemesh (The Independent). And I am not going to hide behind the journo’s favoured “allegedly” because, even if this child has been telling tales, such incidents have been regular occurrences in the city – 15 miles west of Jerusalem, and with a large, modern Orthodox, Anglo expat community – over recent years.

And, the thing is, I just don’t buy the spurious, disingenuous even, “It’s not all of them” defence employed usually by more moderate, but still observant, Jews – for whom such extremism perhaps poses uncomfortable questions – as a smoke screen to conceal the fact that it is most of them. While having little time for the arrogance of so many of Israel’s chilonim (see Doss vs. Chiloni, Parts I and II), I couldn’t help but ask myself this past week: What have the charedim (unlike the Romans) ever done for us? (Suggestions by comment, please, below.)

As a (peculiar perhaps) child, I owned more black-hatted, long-bearded and sidelocked figures – collected on frequent family holidays to Israel – than Action Men. In fact, I was enchanted by chassidim, and – attending Orthodox schools, and possessing a precocious fascination with the “Old Country” (as well as grandparents who would relay the more juicy details, unfit for a child’s ears, in Yiddish) – they seemed the closest link to my matrilineal Galician forebears (to whom I was more drawn than the rather more clinical Litvak misnagdim on my father’s side).

Easily the most memorable aspect of our fourth year Hasmo Israel Trip (see fifth bullet point here) was the Friday night tishen in Mea Shearim and Bnei Brak, at which I had been mesmerized by the spectacle of thousands of chassidim gathered around the table of their Rebbe. And immediately upon making aliyah, I trained as a tour guide at Yad Vashem (Holocaust Memorial Museum), largely because – as well as allowing me to look the Teuton in the eye as I presented him with a less palatable account of his recent history than that fed him by Germany’s postwar educational system – it enabled me to really ‘touch’ this past. And, in 2000, I visited the south-eastern Polish city of Ropczyce, and its satellite towns of Radomyśl Wielki and Sędziszów Małopolski, which at least some of the Reiss Dzikówer chassidim had the vision and/or good fortune to abandon in time.

To you, too, mate!

Something, however, has changed in me – perhaps I have lived here for too long – because I just don’t see charedim in the same light anymore: I no longer see warm, charismatic, spiritual guardians of our wonderful religion. What I do see are ridiculously anachronistic, lazy, chutzpadik, and in many cases (as in Bet Shemesh) violent, spongers and parasites, who threaten our democratic, tolerant values differently, but no less meaningfully, than our Islamofascist cousins in Gaza, Lebanon and Iran (see The Good, the Sad and the Ugly).

Following a Friday night dinner, last year, at my cousin’s home in the ‘normal’, Anglo part of Bet Shemesh, we took a late night wander up the hill into the charedi area on the other side of the valley. Stuey and Dexxy were on their leashes, and I didn’t let them get close to any of the ‘penguins’ whom we passed on the road. But the intimidation to which we were subjected – one particular nutter following us and muttering “noshim ve’yelodim” (women and children) as if he had never seen a dog – made us beat a hasty retreat. And how I resented that: these leeches, the overwhelming majority of whom, neither paying taxes (can someone please explain why they are allowed to vote) nor serving in the army, contribute nothing to this country, telling us – like the skinheads and “yobs” of our boyhood in England – on which of its streets we could and could not walk.

One lad who'll never have a problem with indecent girls

Sikrikim, a splinter group of Neturei Karta – the scum whose distinguished roll of honour includes kissing up to the little brown Hitler in Tehran (can any Jew ever have witnessed anything as sickening as this?) – are believed to be behind recent events in Bet Shemesh (see the darlings in action here). But they, to my mind, are just the worst of a generally bad lot. Charedi discrimination against women (it goes without saying that they are also viciously homophobic) – closing roads to them, forcing them to the back of buses, and even defacing female faces on advertising hoardings – has become commonplace in Jerusalem. And why would a secular Israeli choose to visit his capital on Saturdays when ultra-Orthodox pressure has succeeded in virtually closing it down (it is well-nigh impossible to even grab a cup of coffee in most areas of the city)?

Chassidic sects are also, on the whole, extremely exclusive – with the notable exception of Chabad Lubavitch (one of the main reasons that it is viewed so suspiciously by the others) – with frequent outbreaks of violence between them (the most recent just a month ago). While the rest of us may joke about our tendency to factionalism – “splitters!” – we also cherish our common brotherhood. Seemingly not so, however, charedim. A chassid of the Gerrer sect (considered amongst the more moderate), living in Tel Aviv, informed me that he considers secular Israelis “goyim”. And after helping constitute his struggling minyan – even dragging in reluctant “goyim” from the street – during my year of kaddish for my father, I was only once invited to any of their homes . . . and then only on the morning of Pesach for that evening’s seder (sure enough, though, at the end of the 12 months, I was asked for a donation!)

Ayatollah Ovadia

I exclude the Sephardic ultra-Orthodox from much of the above, though their Shas party is a toxic mix of religion, political patronage and social welfare, led by a small-minded twerp, and formerly by corrupt demagogues such as Shlomo Benizri (in jail) and Aryeh Deri (out of jail), all backed by a loose-tongued, rabble-rousing lunatic posing as a spiritual leader (should be in jail). Hamas without the virgins, if you ask me.

If charedim wish to live in the past, rather than in a modern, democratic Jewish state, I suggest that we ship them – or, at the very least, those amongst them who refuse to abide by the law of the land (and I would make all of them pay taxes and serve in the IDF) – back to eastern Europe. Let them see how their shenanigans are tolerated there.

One thing is for sure, though: we would be better off without them.

Happy (Goyishe) New Year!

Meidlech Power: Women protest against discrimination in Jerusalem, last week

98 responses to “Spitters and splitters: what have the charedim ever done for us?

  1. Steve Jellyfish

    I just finished reading Boychiks in the Hood by Robert Eisenberg, which is a rather endearing look at the Hassidic world and posits that in the next fifty years that the general Jewish populace will polarise to ultra-orthodox/hassidism/haredi and non-religious.

    Personally I hold the view that as a relatively nascent land, we have far to go and these are just adolescent hiccups in our growth. Extremists always use their version of religion to hide their bigotry and racism behind.

  2. Alexa Raine nee Bloch

    Well I’m glad you got that off your chest. However I do NOT subscribe to your generalization about ALL Haredim. Like any stereotype and collective grouping it is gotsllh disingenuous to tar everyone with the same brush. Yes there are definitely wrongs being perpetrated if citizens of this country do not serve in the army or pay taxes – but these same Haredim serve on ZAKA and other volunteer groups.

    The actions of a group of disgusting arrogant and in my opinion totally NON religious Jews should not be used to malign a whole group. Unfortunately our media have done just that. And just as unfortunately so have you!

    On a completely personal note, what is your connection to Robczyce? My husband’s family came from there so any information would be most welcome!

  3. Told you so Mike – almost a year ago. Thought I was pissing in the wind. What you and the ever decreasing majority going to do about it – apart from moan that is……….

    Happy new year.


  4. Jeremy Cohen


    No one is saying that all charedim spit at little girls, weasel out of military service, cheat on their taxes etc. The claim is that most charedim are extremists who support those who do.

    If the claim is false, then where are the protestors? Where are the conscientious objectors? Are we really to believe that hundreds of thousands of charedim are sitting at home in silence, day after day, inexplicably failing to complain publicy about these sickening chilulei Hashem?

    There are moderate Muslims who risk life and limb to speak out against antisemitism in their communities. They go on TV, they publish books. And I am proud of them. Charedim would not be risking fatwas or suicide bombs. Yet they don’t speak out. They don’t protest. Not a single charedi rebbe goes on record to protect these little girls.

    I think we are entitled to draw our own conclusions from their silence.

  5. Mike, I’m kinda gld you’ve seen the light, but I’m extremely sad that light – or more correctly, darkness – exists. It’s a shande – for us “goyim,” for the real goyim & for clal yisrael.

    BTW, speaking of us goyim, 1 of my former B/M students – a (don’t faint) Reform Jew from SoCal (no less) is now serving in the IDF. He’s 1 of the last kids I would have expected it from, but here’s a link to a J-post article: http://www.jpost.com/JewishWorld/JewishNews/Article.aspx?id=251213. He’s the 3rd from the right in the photo. As teachers we plant seeds … but we never know what or when they’ll grow. Maybe there’s hope …

  6. I knew someone would pull the “generalization” trigger! You’re not a “moderate, but still observant, Jew” are you perchance, Alexa? As I wrote above, it may not be “all of them” . . . but “it is most of them”. And I’ll go further, it is well over 90% of them.

    “ZAKA and other volunteer groups”?! Pleeeease!! The former, according to its own website, “coordinat[es] nearly 1000
    volunteers”. Out of 800,000 charedim in Israel? Anyway, it’s not for them to pick and choose what they fancy doing instead of the army. Perhaps some of them would prefer strawberry picking!!

    “No one is saying that all charedim . . . weasel out of military service, cheat on their taxes etc. The claim is that most charedim are extremists who support those who do.”

    No, Jeremy! I am saying that close to 100% don’t serve and don’t pay taxes. According to Wikipedia, “in recent years as many as 1000 Haredi Jews have chosen to volunteer to serve in the IDF”.

    Adam, what exactly do you suggest? Pogroms?! Perhaps don’t answer that one. ;-)

    And one last thought for the morning: (in no particular order of dangerousness) Ovadia, Osama, Osher . . . what’s in a letter?!

  7. What a lovely can of worms you’ve opened here…
    I actually happen to agree with you and most certainly DO NOT buy the platitude of ‘It’s not all Haredim’. It is all Haredim! As the Rev J. Cohen points out above, if it weren’t all Hareidim, then why don’t we hear of any Haredi protest!?
    Where are the “Pashkevilim” (posters) that the Haredi establishment love to use when publicly condemning, denouncing or excommunicating everything & anyone of whom they disapprove? Has anyone seen any Pashkevilim denouncing the ‘Sikrikim’ and their behaviour that has brought such a public ‘Hillul HaShem’?!
    The bottom line is that the Haredi establishment is incapable of condemning anything done by other Haredim because it will mean an admission that their community is as complex and as ordinary and as fallible as everyone else’s and therefore not entitled to any preferential treatment. The whole premise by which they operate in this country and receive preferential treatment such as tax breaks & deferment from military service, is because they are officially recognised as being exclusively involved with the study of Torah (thus maintaining the spiritual well-being of all Jews in the Land of Israel) . As such, they must maintain high levels of humility, modesty & morality, which make it difficult to fully integrate with the rest of society. Once you expose & condemn the type of vile behaviour that we are witnessing in bet shemesh (as a small example), then you turn that premise on its head and must logically conclude that they aren’t entitled to anything in particular and should be expected to shoulder their share of national duty and civic responsibility.

  8. Alexa Raine nee Bloch

    Point taken and thoroughly supported that the Haredi establishment – rabbis politicians etc have not spoken out against the extreme behavior. And yes I am an observant Jew – whatever that means- but if by moderate you mean that I am not happy to hear a whole group of people maligned- without taking into account exceptional individuals (probably like your own great grandparents Mike!) then so be it.

    Look we have a big problem with these SICKrikim here- but we also have an even more massive problem with domestic violence and murder, rape, political cronyism and corruption. Where are the media on those- especially the first one?

    My kids proudly served in the army, we pay taxes etc – but I suppose I am just uncomfortable with the very black view of an entire group. I am a teacher so am attuned to 7th grade kids saying things like “I hate all Arabs because all Arabs are are terrorists”. Is this something you would support? No? Then switch the word Arab for Haredim and terrorist for whatever you like and you may see where I am coming from.

    Or even to go further – “I hate all Jews. All Jews are……”

    We live in a time of extremism on all sides. I suppose I just feel alarmed when I hear such a one-sided view from someone as erudite and well informed as yourself!

  9. Well said, Josh. You remind me (once again) of the words of the Legendary Ivan Marks (though I am sure he would not claim any prescience in the matter) . . .

    “It is always the frum ones.”

    I wonder whether getting Chich out of retirement and sending him to charedi areas with a spanking new Dunlop might sort things out. A certain character in Jaffa going by the name “Murgraff” has suggested another Hasmo Trip, this time to Cyprus, to visit the great man. We’ll bring it up with him there. I can imagine the response . . .

    “Uh-sack-sohn . . . noh . . . uh canna . . . uh am too old nah to deal wid dem spasteecs.”

    Alexa, I suggested above that readers provide a list of what, indeed, the charedim have ever done for us. Perhaps you could get the ball rolling . . .

  10. Alexa Raine nee Bloch

    What are we going to do about it ? Well we need to break the political stranglehold these so called ultra orthodox parties have on the government. Cut the benefits, get the people back into the workforce – while at the same time allowing for genuine Torah scholars to go to Yeshiva and learn, but not necessarily funded by the State, even though that was the original idea.

    Let’s return to the status quo and take the religion out of politics otherwise the backlash and hatred of certain groups for others will only spiral.

  11. “Cut” off their goolies more like, Alexa!

    “Back into the workforce”? They were never bloody in it!

    And what “status quo”?! All I can ever remember is spongers and parasites.

    What bloody planet you living on, Alexa? Don’t tell me . . . Ra’anana?! ;-)

  12. If the bulk of the Charedim say”its only a few lunatics” perhaps they can be persuaded to do a self policing exercise.
    Within their community they could stop this within one week.
    “Moishele, either you behave like the majority or you get no Kibbudim in Shul or you may even be put in cherem for Chillul Hashem”
    This is the sure way to test the bona fides of the `majority`

  13. The Judaism that the Hareidim purport to be espousing on the matter of the girls going to the Orot school in Beit Shemesh does not even begin to come close to the Orthodox Judaism I learned growing up as a datia in the UK, nor does it reflect any kind of Orthodox Judaism that makes sense to me.

    I’m not even going there with the generalization debate. It’s really simple. I echo Josh — If it isn’t everyone, then why are we not hearing dissent and displeasure with such actions?

    As a child I was taught about the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the Hassidim, which is what we used to call Hereidim back in the old country (Hendon). His teachings and outlook indicate a completely different direction of ultra-Orthodox Judaism that are absolutely not connected with, nor anything like the violent, abusive and frankly sick behaviour exhibited over the past few months in Beit Shemesh*. It bears remembering that Naama Margolese was only one of many girls who were verbally and physically abused on the basis that as datiot-leumiot, they were not dressed modestly enough. And this is what upsets me more than anything. How is it that no one has publicly (by which I mean beyond Facebook) pointed out that to look at 8 year old girls and be concerned with their “modesty” is paedophilic in its intentions anyway. I mean, seriously. If you can look at an 8 year old girl and the first thought that pops into your head is that she’s not dressed modestly, consider if this is because her sockless legs turn you on. You disgusting creep! Busha ve’cherpa.

    * Or over the last 20 years w/r/t ripping female imagery from posters, spitting, verbal abuse, ironic rock-throwing to protest the desecration of Shabbat (protest desecration by desecrating, why not?) Srsly. WTF?

  14. And I’m totally baffled by the defaced sign on Derech Hebron in Jerusalem, where the face of Jill (Jack and Jill- the movie), has been blackened. Didn’t anyone tell them that both roles are played by Adam Sandler…..
    Is spitting required in this instance?

  15. Alexa Raine nee Bloch

    Once again you have chosen to misinterpret what I have said and turned your comment into an attack on where I live- as if Raanana is any different from Tel Aviv where Haredim are concerned. Let’s leave that out of the equation. I reiterate – there needs to be a stringent rethinking of the political makeup of this country so religious leaders do NOT have so much power and then these parasites would not be able to get away with abusing the system as they have done and are doing.

    Surely we can agree on that? And this comes from someone living in Raanana – where I have many Haredi friends and acquaintances who all work and pay taxes!

    As far as I am concerned the minute one group starts imposing its views on another there is a problem, whether it be Haredi, secular, or any other group.

    Again the behavior of a group of sick individuals should be stopped. But it won’t happen if it is part of a larger agenda which says that everything this group does represents the belief of the whole and that every act is sexual harassment – that is missing the point. And the point is that this type of behavior does NOT represent Torah values, whether it is against women or men!

    And let me throw another spanner in the works – if a group of people wants to live a segregated life in their own communities – and ONLY there – who are we tell them they cannot? Think of the Amish. The problem in my opinion is when this is forcefully and violently imposed on others who do not share their views, not on the lifestyle itself. We need to separate the two and recognize which is which. I mean how arrogant is it for TV news anchors to challeng a Haredi woman who is perfectly ok with her lifestyle and suggest that it is not the way to live! Especially when she has reiterated her condemnation of extreme behavior.

  16. Every now and then there is an eruption in Israeli society of the sort described above.

    In truth, Israeli society is like the boundary between five tectonic plates which, when they rub against each other, lead to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or tsunamis.

    The five tectonic plates are Charedim, Religious “Chardal” Zionists, Moderate Religious cum Traditional Zionists, Secular Zionists and Arabs.

    Each of these groups has its own entirely self-contained recipe for life with an absolute monopoly on the truth (with the possible exception of the moderates but that doesn’t make any practical difference to the discussion).

    We, like most of Europe today, are not a homogeneous society – but in contrast to European society, we do not even have a traditional base (and, PLEEZE, don’t try and argue that the country is traditionally secular – Ben Gurion’s lot just understood Marxism better than everyone else and took control of all the means of production from the twenties onwards so that they had effective control of the Yishuv).

    Because every group thinks it has a monopoly on the truth and none has the power to impose that truth on the rest, we will continue colliding for the foreseeable future. Ironically, for a liberal like myself, that is the optimal situation because the alternative would be to submit to the strongest single group, which would result in the tyranny of the majority.

    Intelligent people should, when the plates crash, seek to disengage them rather than try vainly to smash one or more of them or try to undermine their legitimacy.

    How? That is where we should be applying our minds.

  17. I haven’t “misinterpret[ed]” anything, Alexa. You have, however, moderated your argument.

    Quite frankly, I couldn’t care if they lived on Mars. In fact, I’d prefer it. Though I would care if they were sexually abusing their children there . . . which is a whole other subject I didn’t even touch upon (try searching it on YouTube).

    “ . . . how arrogant is it for TV news anchors to challeng a Haredi woman who is perfectly ok with her lifestyle and suggest that it is not the way to live!”

    Not that “arrogant”, Alexa . . . at least not nearly as “arrogant” as those chatzuf parasitim who tell all of us how to live.

    As for Ra’anana, just having a bit of fun, Alexa (the point of the smiley face) . . . though it is another planet!

  18. There is a definite distinction to be made between various Hareidi factions — not all Hareidim are, ideologically speaking — anti-Zionist. The Neturei Karta, of which the Skirikim are a splinter group, were always singled out as a particularly insidious group of people who were more focused on anti-Zionism and hatred of those who choose to believe differently to them.

    Alexa — no one is saying that a segregated group cannot live their own lives, according to their own beliefs and doctrines. That’s what democracy is all about. It’s when those who live segregated lives begin to impact on others — actively or passively — that the problem begins. And by not paying taxes, and not performing any kind of army or other national service, these groups are claiming superiority over me and those like me, by allowing me to work like a slave, my children to go and serve in the army to protect everyone in this country INCLUDING THEM, and my taxes to go towards funding this exclusionist lifestyle — when all I get out of it is heartache, stress and grief. No, this is NOT all hareidim. Nor is it all hareidim in the case with the abusive and despicable behaviour exhibited in Beit Shemesh — not to mention the outrageous demonstration held last night (see here: http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-4169412,00.html). I know it isn’t, and I do not generalize.

    But ask me if i have issues with those who refuse to support themselves and have me and those like me do it for them. Hell, yeah. Do I believe that they should be allowed to live such a parasitic life? No I effing well do not.

  19. **Goddamn typos. Sikrikim, or as a local paper would have it, Sicarii — which sounds more like something out of Star Trek. :-)

    (O caffeine, you have deserted me, come back, all is forgiven.)

  20. I hope that the Right Honourable Member for Ra’anana will not put me to the trouble of trawling through his comment history (if not my personal knowledge of him) to disprove his claims to being “a liberal”.

    I also trust that he did not write of “eruption[s] . . . rub[bing] against each other . . . [and] Moderate Religious cum” – and all within three short, consecutive paragraphs – to test my well-known inability to avoid dragging this blog, on occasion, into the gutter.

  21. You caught every point.

    BTW – did I notice Greg raising his head out of the bunker?

  22. Alexa Raine nee Bloch

    Trollmamma, I couldn’t agree more!! Possibly without the effing but then, well, I AM from Planet Raanana :). We should actually get together and DO something about it. And as for last nights demo – the mind boggles. Nazi imagery etc is so beyond the pale that it makes me wonder how the situation got to where it is today. And maybe that is my point. If we want a just democratic society run on Jewish values – which in my opinion is what a Jewish State needs to be – then we have to find common ground between all its various groups. It really saddens me that a group that stood for something fine has turned itself into the object of such vilification. That’s why I was so disturbed by the tone of Mike’s original blog

  23. Alexa Raine nee Bloch

    But that’s exactly my point Mike- the parasites ARE arrogant which doesn’t mean the other side should be as well

    BTW, if you are tired of Tel Aviv and not quite sure about Jerusalem – why not try Planet Raanana? I’ve heard the aliens are very friendly…:) actually on a more serious note, maybe its because I live in such an open tolerant city that I take the middle path between excoriating when necessary but respecting other ways of being Jewish . We have a very good religious/secular mix here so that coercion by either group would not be tolerated. And lots of Anglos who make lots of noise!

  24. Jeremy Cohen

    OK, we’re going off the point a bit here. So allow me to derail in a different direction.

    I also object to “effing”. You’re pretending not to swear but making the word “fucking” appear in my mind and in the mind of every reader. In my opinion this is dishonest. If you feel uncomfortable swearing, find another word to emphasize your point. There are many from which to choose.

  25. Tamar Meijers

    One thing is for sure, though: we would be better off without them.
    That is not extreme at all :-)

  26. “That’s why I was so disturbed by the tone of Mike’s original blog”

    Would you have preferred me to express my affection for the misogynists and homophobes, Alexa? (And if you tell me that not all of them are . . . ;-))

    “I take the middle path between excoriating when necessary”

    Alexa, this is a family blog. What you choose to do in the privacy of your own home, you should perhaps keep to yourself.

    And, Jeremy, you are just being a künte (is that “dishonest”?!)

  27. Jeremy Cohen


    I am not just being a cunt, although I do not deny the principal accusation. I will leave it to you and the other readers to decide what else I am being/doing :-)

    Abbreviations are not dishonest because they deliberately set out to communicate the words which they represent. If I type “bc” or “wrt” I expect the words “because” or “with respect to” to manifest in readers’ minds. But if you type “f word” or “CU Next Tuesday”, you cause “fuck” or “cunt” and all their associated imagery to appear in the minds of your readers, while pretending you haven’t said anything dirty.

  28. Dear Jeremy,
    I’m more than comfortable.
    Fuck you.
    Better now?

  29. Jeremy Cohen


    I’m more than comfortable

    I’m not entirely sure why you told me that.

    Fuck you.
    Better now?

    I prefer an honest “Fuck you” to an “Eff you” any day of the week. So if you were intending to say “eff you” then yes, much better now, thank you.

    Which begs the question why you were intending to say either to me.

  30. What have the Charedim ever done for us?

    Well according to this article which appeared in the Jewish Telegraph months ago. A lot!


    Question: I WENT to a lecture by a charedi rabbi about Israel. He said that it is more important to preserve one’s own life than to endanger one’s life through self-sacrifice in the Land of Israel. Is he right?

    Answer: I DO not know who that rabbi was or where he was from, but what I can tell you is that I have never seen any ruling by any charedi rabbi which says that mesirut nefesh (self-sacrifice) for the Land of Israel is not a requirement. This is despite an explicit verse in the Torah Devarim 4:15 of “guard yourself carefully”, referring to the obligation to preserve and care for one’s health and well-being. I am aware of the political nuances in this question, but being of the Modern Orthodox religious Zionist camp I still believe that this is an unfounded assumption based on very little knowledge that may, God forbid, place an entire camp of Torah-committed Jews in a negative light.I think that it’s crucial to set the record straight. Over the generations, charedi Jews have showed immense mesirut nefesh (self-sacrifice) for Eretz Yisrael in all sorts of ways. A good example is the establishment of the city of Petach Tikvah by ultra-Orthodox Jews from Jerusalem in 1875. This was an enormous undertaking with an enormous price in lives and health. Living in Israel in those days was a big self-sacrifice. There was Arab aggression and a real danger to life – disease, plague, poverty and a lack of food. Yet these holy and pious Jews never wavered and sacrificed much in order to live in Eretz Yisrael.In 1923, riots took place across British-mandated Palestine. Arab rioters ran through the country, looting and murdering. The mufti, Haj Amin Al- Husseini, encouraged a mob to march through the streets and attack the Jews of Jerusalem. They chanted the words itbach el yahud (butcher the Jews) while brandishing knives, clubs and carrying rifles. At the helm was an Arab sheikh who was egging them on, screaming jihad – holy war. Two charedi youths with flowing peyot emerged from Mea Shearim and walked towards the mob. One of the youths pulled out a pistol and shot the sheikh leading the mob, killing him on the spot. The remaining rabble panicked and fled. Thus they saved the Jewish community of Mea Shearim from untold tragedy.This youth was Rav Aharon Fisher, father of the great posek (halachic authority) Rav Yisrael Yaakov Fisher, the great halachic authority of the Edah Charedit in Jerusalem, which is certainly not what we would call in modern terms a Zionist enterprise. Is that not self-sacrifice? He placed himself in mortal danger so that he might save Jews.The following day the great Rav of the charedi community in Jerusalem, the saintly Rav Yosef Chaim Zonenefeld, had to go to Mea Shearim to perform a brit as a mohel. His family were concerned and asked him not to go for fear of his life. The Rav walked calmly and with purpose through the Damascus Gate – a dangerous route at the time – and returned through the Jaffa Gate wearing his tallit all the while. When asked if this was wise or even permitted since he was placing his life in danger, he responded that it was necessary so that the Arabs would not think that they had succeeded in banishing Jews from even one street or corner of Jerusalem. Yet Rav Zonenfeld opposed modern Zionism for all sorts of reasons with which I and many others disagree. He and the great Rav Kook did not agree on many issues in this regard – but to claim that he did not have mesirut nefesh for Eretz Yisrael? To say that charedim did not sacrifice themselves for the Land of Israel is a distortion and simply untrue. These holy Jews sacrificed themselves for the mitzva of Yishuv Eretz Yisrael – settling the Land of Israel – and ignoring this is to do them a great disservice. If only the political leadership in Israel would share the same mesirut nefesh, self-sacrifice, love and commitment to Eretz Yisrael as these Jews did, perhaps our national situation would be different today.

  31. @Dovid

    Let me get this straight. You haven’t seen any ruling by a charedi rabbi that says that mesirat nefesh for Eretz Yisrael isn’t a requirement for Jews. Is that about right?

    Well I haven’t seen any ruling by any charedi rabbi that says that grown men mustn’t terrorise small girls for wearing skirts they don’t like!

    With regard to the article you pasted…

    Old news. No longer relevant.

  32. Jeremy, oddly enough, I had no wish to tell you to fuck yourself prior to my writing the comment where I did just that. All I was originally intending to do was write a comment and, as I did so, consider the sensitivities of some of the readers here. Not you, clearly, but I can live with that.

  33. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Well apart from being the first group to build outside the old city walls, keeping the flame of judiasm burning in Israel for 2000 years, being the first group to organise mass aliya (before Herzl), providing untold help to the resistance and underground movements, I will tell you what they have done…………. Absolutely nuffink.

  34. @Ellis

    At the risk of repeating myself. Old news. Today’s charedim can claim no such honour.

    “Judiasm” – [beavis-type snigger]


    Understood, fair enough.



  35. Great quote (relayed to me, yesterday evening, at the above mentioned cousin’s wedding) by Rabbi Mordechai Blau, head of the Mishmarot Ha’tzniyus movement (Hebrew source):

    “When the bus reverses, the women are at the front.”

    Though I bet he wasn’t trying to be funny.

  36. …..What do I suggest Mike? Change the electoral system, or at least raise significantly the threshold for minority party representation; deny all those who don’t – or won’t – pay taxes the vote; withdraw all state benefits from same and massively tax all charitable donations to same (after all – “God will provide for his own” or some such tosh); outlaw misogynistic and anti-secular education in the yeshivot; introduce draconian sentencing for all religiously motivated antisocial behaviour and finally; revisit and redraw the constitution of the State of Israel to stress and more clearly define the separation of state from religion.

    Ellis is correct in much of what he says (hi Ellis by the way, I’m that Adam from Rosh Pinah) about the Hasidic contribution to the the pre-history of Modern Israel but he is wrong if he believes that any supposed indebtedness for that legacy should be allowed to trump the identity and the internal harmony of the modern state. What was arguably one of the embryonic cells of the Zionist construct has now mutated into a cancer, which if allowed to progress untreated will destroy the state from within – and soon. My suggestions for treatment described above may seem harsh, but cancer requires strong medicine.

    The way things are going now, the very best we can hope for is that Israel will become a Jewish form of Turkey within the next ten to twenty years, with a secular and moderate religious elite – living within a few secular ghettos – sustaining and protecting the (by then) ever-growing Haredi majority. Or, even worse, Israel will have turned into a Jewish form of Iran with all that that implies…

    Make no mistake. This will happen if the situation is not grappled with now. As things stand, the only possible delaying factors in this doomsday scenario I am painting might be endemic internecine Haredi squabbling (for if the Haredi’s hate any people more than apicoruses like me, it’s the members of rival Haredi clans and groups).

    In all seriousness Mike, I’m relieved that you and your readers are finally at least discussing this.For the two years I just spent in Israel, for much of the time I felt like I was through the looking glass. I could see all this weird and unbelievable stuff going on all around me, but whenever I mentioned or complained about it to my Israeli friends all I got was shoulder shrugging or more often than not, complete denial.

    I have spent my life supporting Israel. But how will I feel if my prediction comes true. How will I feel about supporting a misogynistic, intolerant theocracy which represents none of my values and is as alien to me as North Korea or Iran? And, more important still, how will the majority of rational Jews within the Diaspora view such a state? I fear that we approaching a crisis of international Jewish unity such as we have never known in our lifetimes – how tragically ironic that the Jewish State is the cause.

  37. Thanks, Adam.

    Re your proposed changes, however, how do we enact them when their very objects are already so well represented in the government and Knesset? No, pogroms are a far better idea! And to which end all those new immigrants of dubious Jewishness from the former Soviet Union could be enlisted to do what their ancestors did best. ;-)

    Anyway, being comfortably ensconced back in Blighty now, shouldn’t you be more concerned about your rather more beloved “Yids” giving away sloppy late goals?!

  38. Jeremy Cohen

    Ugh, deflection and a fumble, gutted. But credit to them, Swansea weren’t bad at all and deserved the goal on balance.

  39. That’s below the belt Mike, about Spurs I mean, not the pogroms – which might be the only resort remaining – or some sort of secular coup. However, the way the Manchester clubs are wobbling at the moment, and seeing what Swansea (who I agree are really not at all bad Jeremy – in fact, they are very good) are doing to Villa as I type these words, the point at the Liberty might turn out to have been very valuable…

    Anyhow, at present, I’m comfortably ensconced, not in London, but on my mountain top in southern Spain about to watch my temporarily beloved Cottagers put one over the Gooners – I hope. Finally, seeing as we’re on the subject, you might like to try this link – http://mypremium.tv/ – for often excellent live Sky Sports streaming. Do try all the various streams on offer, and with a good laptop, with a good processor, you should be fine.

  40. After gifting Tottenham so much talent in recent times, the gratitude we (Leeds) get is shite Spurs reserves on loan. Today, Andros (should probably take a second “s”) Townsend made his home debut, as we overcame 10-man Burnley in the 7th minute of extra time! Last season, we had another Spurs clown by the name of Livermore. Think I prefer talking charedim . . .

  41. Jeremy Cohen

    Gratitude lol.

    …more usefully though, go to footyroom.com to see highlights.

  42. Anthony Mammon

    no taxation no representation

  43. Geoff Melnick

    Well obviously something has got to be done about this.
    I recommend a slutwalk through Ramat Beth Shemesh. If they shout out “pritzus, pritzus” I think we should bring them pritzus.
    Obviously this one is mainly down to the women, but men will be allowed, provided that they cross-dress.

  44. “When the bus reverses, the women are at the front.”

    Not everyone is so lenient. There is a view that in order for the bus to reverse, the women must move nearer to the driver, and the men move to the other end. However, the Rabbis forbade this as the gangway is not wide enough for men and women to pass each other with 4 amos and a 6-foot wall in-between them.

    Some sects prefer that the women get off the bus from the rear exit, that the men use the corridor to move away from the driver, and that the women then re-enter the bus from the door nearest the driver. Others say this is not permitted, due to the risk that when men and women move at the same time, there is a risk of mixed dancing.

  45. (Love the “slutwalk idea” ….)
    We’re just glad to be of service Mike, I hear that we might about to loan you Gomez too.
    Well done the Cottagers!! Accepted with typical grace and good sportsmanship by Monsieur Winger.

  46. I feel singularly ill-qualified to comment with a substantive opinion on this post, from chutz la-aretz, where the relationship between charedi/chassidic/black hat yeshivish Jews, modern Orthodox, and non-Orthodox, is so much less fraught than in Israel; the holyland seems to act like a pressure-cooker and accentuate the differences, rather than unify the factions under any kind of shared identity. Perhaps because there’s a sense of one lot serving itself at the expense of the other, whereas in the diaspora everyone is trying to fend for himself under a gentile umbrella.

    It might perhaps behove some of the other commenters on this blog to reflect on whether they have locus to opine on this issue with such purported vehemence, from outside Israel, or in the alternative, whether they are simply displaying the arrogance of the downright pig-ignorant in jumping on an easy bandwagon.

    Only 2 tangential thoughts on the issue really:

    1. How often have I been irked at the presumptuousness of some Stamford Hill meshulach (“charity emissary”) or another hassling me in shul for some cash towards whatever allegedly worthy institution he is representing………only to raise an invoice in my office later that day for a signifcantly greater sum, addressed to some Orthodox Stamford Hill businessman or another, whose commercial undertakings are complementing my own?

    My point being as mentioned above, how different things are outside Israel; we’re all working together in many ways more than we’re competing.

    2. Do non-Orthodox Israelis, and the anti-Orthodox Haaretz-type cabal in particular, ever distinguish sufficiently or at all, between the Charedi camp, and the non-Charedi, fully-Orthodox, Dati Israeli?

    To me, the latter are the unsung heroes of Israel, the whole essence and raison d’etre of the State. Honest, hardworking, tax-paying, army-serving, communally minded and G-d-fearing.

    But if the Labour/Shinui/Meretz lot can tar them with the same brush as the Charedim, how much simpler that makes life for the whole intellectually dishonest, history-rewriting, frankly vomit-inducing lot of them.

    Like I say, just a couple of thoughts from an outsider on this one.

  47. Great article – http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/ultra-orthodox-jews-ask-israeli-media-to-help-rid-them-of-extremists-1.403778 – Jeremy! Thanks for that. But I wonder – how prominently was that shown in the paper? Probably not on the front page, because it doesn’t make such good copy. So you see – NOT all haredim agree with what is going on! :) And another question – surely the objection to the whole bus situation should be the gender segregation, NOT that the women have to sit at the back?? Or have I missed the point…? Many religious – and not necessarily Haredi – women prefer to take a literal and metaphorical “back seat” in many areas of public life, while at the same time there are many prominent women in both Dati – Leumi AND Haredi circles, in the fields of business, education, commerce etc. So I feel the argument in the press is as usual misguided. And anyway you know the old saying – “Behind every successful man there is an (exhausted) woman’!!

  48. Re tangential thought no. 1, Dan, I used to beg my mother to let me put a “No Schnorrers” sign on her former Prothero Gardens (NW4) front door. They were quite shameless, knocking at 10, 11, and even midnight. Left to my own devices, I would probably have electrified the knocker! Is there a shortage of legitimate Jewish or Orthodox charities? Why would anyone give anything to those fat, chauffeur-driven f*cks?!

    Re thought no. 2, chiloni Haaretz readers can, and do, clearly distinguish between charedim and dati’im leumi’im. Even the most extreme of them would have no problem with the latter . . . though they would despise them even more than charedim if they were right-wing and/or (especially) Settlers.

    “But if the Labour/Shinui/Meretz lot can tar them with the same brush as the Charedim . . .”

    Quite, Dan. We wouldn’t want to tar totally different groups/parties with the same brush, would we now?! ;-)

  49. Oh Dan! Oh Dan! You just don’t get it do you? Israel – the Modern State of Israel is being destroyed from within. Yours or my sensibilities about who’s being tarred or not tarred with which brush is totally irrelevant, as is whether these observations are being made from mountain tops in Spain or the Golan Heights. Whether you or I like it or not, or agree with it or not Israel is rapidly being transformed into a theocracy. At the current rate of change and given the disparate birth-rates of all the many groupings, from totally secular to ultra religious in all its many and varied forms Israel will have an orthodox voting majority within twenty years – at the very most! Nobody, but nobody in their right mind on the rational side of this argument wants that, or believes that that will or can be good thing for Israel itself or the Jewish People in general. It may be inevitable, it may be that many of the future orthodox majority will be fundamentally good, well intentioned people, but it can only be a disaster, for Israel and the Diaspora, and even Stamford Hill. An Israel where it will be a crime to drive a car on Shabbat: where it will be crime for a woman to dress “immodestly”; where it it will be a crime to express one’s sexuality; where it will be crime to farm or eat pork; where it will be a crime to import traifer cheese; where it will be crime open your store on Shabbat, etc etc, add infinitum….Do you really want this? Is this what thousands of Israelis – frum and non-frum alike – have sacrificed their lives for? Really? Do you really want Israel to become a Jewish version of Saudi Arabia – but minus the oil? Do you really despise people like me so much, and think us so worthless, and so beneath contempt that a Jewish totalitarian theocracy would be preferable to a pluralistic State of Israel – warts (i.e. the likes of me) and all. Because I’m telling you my friend, that’s where we are heading if we continue down this road of indulging and encouraging religious extremism.

  50. Adam, I don’t think we are that doomed – and yes I may live in Raanana but I DO live work and VOTE in Israel. And the Israel I live in has some problems at the moment but really is a thriving and working democracy! And I don’t want to hear any comments about naivety etc – I have lived here for half my life and still remember in the 1980’s when Shas first came into the Government, and everyone, myself included, was afraid that it was the end of the world as we knew it – and that was 30 years ago. And the world as we knew it didn’t end. There is now less tolerance of Government corruption (not less corruption, but less tolerance of it !) and we have a formert President in jail, we are reforming our social laws, as well as DAILY dealing with existential threats! I don’t think your doomsday scenario is going to come about because there are too many sensible people – in all shades of relifiosity – to allow it to happen.

  51. Mike
    After reading about these disgusting events early last week, I kept checking your blog and wondering, “When is Mike going to comment about this story?” Now I see you have finally put pen-to-paper and I cannot but wholeheartedly agree with your conclusions. Only on one point will I make an alternative suggestion. You suggest shipping them all to Eastern Europe. Not a bad idea, but I have a better one. How about shipping them to Saudi Arabia? I have spent some time in Eastern Europe and also recently in Saudi Arabia. I can tell you with confidence that the Charedim would be very comfortable in the latter. They would find themselves living amongst people with very similar religious, political and philosophical values (the differences are simply nuances). The other advantage would be that the severe and fast-growing costs of subsidizing their lifestyles could be easily born by this extremely wealthy nation.

  52. I hope you’re right Alexa, as I live and breath. In the mean time Keep up the good fight…………

  53. No Adam I don’t want to see Israel fall to Iranian style religious fundamentalism. Nor to the former Soviet Union’s brand of anti-religious totalitarianism. The latter less obvious, but just as pernicious in its creeping paralysis of rational thought and societal norms. And its practitioners want us to think they’re broad-minded, to boot !

    And by the way I don’t “despise” you.

    (Some of my best friends learn gemara for less than 3 hours a day, and one of them used to call it “studying the Talmud”. A distant cousin of mine also paid some tax a few years ago).

    I’m none too keen on self-righteousness coupled with intellecual dishonesty though – therefore not a massive admirer of Sarid and his ilk (anyone remember them)? – but presume you don’t buy into those traits either.

    Mike…why does the thought of overweight chasidim at your door, make you fantasise about electrified knockers?

  54. http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=251916

    I think this sums up some of what I was saying…

  55. The charedim could, instead of just eating them, learn a thing or two from Latka’s simple approach to life . . .

  56. > why does the thought of overweight chasidim at your door, make you fantasise about electrified knockers?

    …cue Ronnie Barker…

  57. I don’t get where the corollary of not becoming a theocratic dictatorship is becoming communist Russia? What an odd, and dare I say, extreme reaction to what I was saying Dan. The USA, the UK, Holland, Australia etc etc are not theocratic dictatorships, and for all their many imperfections are far from being totalitarian alternatives. On the contrary- the greatest fault of nearly all these nations is a tendency to indulging religious-cultural extremism and intolerance in the name of – paradox of paradoxes – religious-cultural tolerance… (And purely incidentally – I spent five years – two hours a day – studying Gamara at school. And I know more about ox goring legislation and how to overcome the problems of building a succah on a 10th floor balcony than I care to admit. And, while I’m on the subject, can anyone explain to me why such a high proportion of Hasidim – including the Lubavitch Rabbi who taught me Gamara – smell of fried fish?This is something I’ve noticed from Seattle in the US to Melbourne Australia, and at all stops in-between – including and especially the monit sherut taxi from Netanya to TA…all explanations welcome.)

  58. Excellent observation re the “smell of fried fish”, Adam, a feature of Hasmonean that I overlooked in my twenty-plus posts on the place . . . but which floods my nostrils, once again, at the very mention of it.

    It can only be the food – or the women – they eat.

  59. You’ve just reminded me, that my brother, who also went to Hasmonean often came home smelling distinctly fried gefilte…unlike Carmel, which often smelt of pig manure from the fields across the river. It always seemed to be worst on Shabbat (a mischievous farmer perhaps?). Many were the times when our shacharit Amida contemplations were marred by the intrusive odour of porcine digestive “product”. Someone without a sense of smell passing by the synagogue would have been fooled into thinking that the congregation were particularly pious and contemplative as nearly all the boys and male teachers had their faces buried deep in their talesim for much of the service; whereas, many, if not most of us had sprinkled Brut onto our prayer shawls before leaving our dormitories and were merely giving thanks to “Our ‘Enry”!

  60. “. . . unlike Carmel, which often smelt of pig manure . . .”

    Until the chaypenny dropped (I was still on women), Adam, I thought “Carmel” was an ex-girlfriend! ;-)

  61. Look, in short words, I don’t like seeing some rabid dinosaur from Neturei Karta foaming at the mouth about trying to shut down Israel, nor appreciate an unhinged Lapid or Aloney or whoever has assumed their mantle nowadays, preaching about religious education breaching someone’s Human Right to pretend to be a gentile.

    If that’s extreme, I’ll cope, thanks.

  62. Your corollary is extreme – and I’m glad you’re coping – truly.

    And Mike, sorry for confusing you, although I did once have a girl friend from Toulouse (no olfactory pun intended)………… but that’s another story. Not for this blog.

  63. Yes, Adam, you wouldn’t want to offend my delicate sensibilities. ;-)

    C’mon!! What have you got to lose?! We all promise not to tell . . .

  64. Enough to say that I learnt much about the French and their bodily hygiene – or lack thereof – from my time with her, and that Napoleon’s notorious request to Josephine would not have raised an eyebrow…in all other respects however, Dominique was quite wonderful.

    More personal evidence of this French fear of soap comes from our time living in a bed-sit for nine months in Boulogne-sur-mer back in 1994. We (my exceptionally clean wife and I) never had any hot water on a Friday evening, because that was the day of the week when everyone washed. Small wonder that the glove flannel and the bidet are French inventions…

    That’s it from me for now, I’m off to pick some olives.

  65. But Adam, my Toyota is a Prius.

  66. If Carmel had been a girl, Mike, the pronoun would have been who, not which…ah all those years of a Henrietta Barnett School education have finally paid off….

    So is my Toyota a Prius, Dan – but what has that got to do with anything on this blog???

  67. Anybody know if the Israeli police are charging the people who spat at the girl with public order offences?

  68. Does Dovid not think it sad that when researching “What have the charedim done for us,” he had to pull out his history book and quote dates such as 1875 and 1923?

  69. Alexa, Adam seemed to find my Corolla extreme. Wrong model.


  70. Alexa Raine nee Bloch

    Groan….obviously, I missed that! I was trying to work out what it had to do with Haredim taking over Israel…

  71. Groan, indeed . . . I just hope Gins isn’t writing big bruv’s sermons!

    “If Carmel had been a girl, Mike, the pronoun would have been who, not which”

    Alexa, have you never heard of “It’s a lovely totty”? Or “I’d give that one!”?

  72. Here is a profile of my favorite Haredi sponger/parasite…. Here’s to Shmeelu.

  73. What was it that Marx (Karl, not Ivan) said about opium and religion?

    Judging by the complete lack of cohesive structure in this abysmal excuse for a documentary, I wonder whether one of Samuel’s erstwhile suppliers slipped a bit of white powder into the hapless interviewer’s coffee before the recording.

  74. LOL Mike not really! Well never to me anyway :)

  75. If any melchett mike readers are looking for a worthy cause to which to donate, please see the following, received by a friend of mine by e-mail, yesterday, from “Kollel Skver” (kollel@kst.org.uk).

    It is comforting to know that there are still some bona fide, hard-working ultra-Orthodox out there . . . and, as Eluzer (“A loser”?) assures us, “it is definitely the right investment!”

    Dear xxxx

    We’d like to share with you this very rare and unique occasion!

    20 of our Choshuva Talmudim of Kollel Skver will B’ezras Hashem be travelling to Eretz Yisroel this week for 8 days where they will gain סמיכה לרבנות from the leading גדולי הדור שליט”א.

    The reaching of this stage of getting Semicho, is a direct result and a continuation of the Chizuk the אברכים received from the גדולי הדור at their previous major and successful trip 5 years ago to Eretz Yisroel, were they were tested by the גדולים on the entireהלכות שבת, and from what the גדולים were highly impressed – as can be seen from their letters.

    And hopefully, this trip again, will encourage them to reach even higher levels in תורה, and which will בעזרת השם result in them taking up positions, and repay the Kehilah for its many years of support and investment.

    The cost of the trip is around £25,000. Although in the current economy, it would maybe not be sensible to undertake this additional financial burden, but as they were already promised 5 years ago to make this trip at achieving Semicho, we can’t let them down… Especially, considering the gain that such a trip brought in the past – it is definitely the right investment!

    Half of the trip is already sponsored B’’H, and we still need around £12,500. You can have the Zchus in sponsoring 1 Talmud for £1250.00, or give any donation possible.

    (Your kind donation can be spread over 2 years)

    Whilst in Eretz Yisroel they will have a lifetime opportunity to meet many גדולים,

    Daven at the כותל המערבי, recite ספר תהילים on Lag Ba’omer at the Kever of רבי שמעון בר יוחאי, and also visit the Kever of רבי מאיר בעל הנס

    Please contact me to give us your Kvittel in order that we can Daven for you and say Tehillim (x20) in your name.

    07813 773 287

    00972 54 295 2515 from Tuesday

    Thanks so much

    Yours truly,

    Eluzer Hopstein

    Please find enclosed our details

    Kollel Skver Trust
    P.O. Box 44633
    London N16 5WS

    Santander Bank

    Charity number 1087348

  76. When they alter the destination of their trip to Medinat or Medinos Yisroel, I will consider donating to this monumental cause.

  77. John Fisher

    I think this is a pyramid rather than a square.

  78. A little research shows the Skverers to be buddies of the Spinkas . . . the sect followed by “Bottyboybashing” Meyers, no less!


    We Dzikówers, of course, have nothing to do with such riffraff.

  79. Yitzchak Landau

    Thought you were a staunch Ropczycer Mike?! Assume you didn’t say tachanun on the Rebbe’s yahrzeit last Thursday!!

  80. John Fisher

    Thanks to 21st century technology I finally managed to put flesh on a story I first heard 40 years ago from a charedi friend. Steven Hill, star of the first Mission Impossible series (before the days of that fellow who was married to Nicole Kidman), left the series to become a Skvere Chossid. See link below. Please note: There is no need to worry. In this digital age this video will not self-destruct in 5 seconds


  81. Outcome Improbable!

    Same dynasty, Yitzchak. Eliezer of Dzików z”l was the son of Zvi Naftali of Ropczyce z”l . . . though you are correct, I didn’t say Tachnun – capital “T” please (where’s your respect?!) – last Thursday. ;-)

  82. John Fisher

    Steven Hill has got to me. The charedi who told me about him orginally was a Spinker but even he could not have come up with this:

    According to Desilu executive Herb Solow, once William Shatner burst into his office, claiming “Steve asked me how many Jews worked on Star Trek. He was recruiting a prayer group of ten guys to worship together on top of the studio’s highest building and only had six Jews so far from Mission. He asked if I would come and bring Nimoy and Justman and you.”

    I have a serious Halachic question. Can a Vulcan, who has many attributes of a human being but is from another planet, be a Jew?

  83. A similar shayle to that asked about many of our former ‘rabbonim’. ;-)

  84. Yitzchak Landau

    Maybe there is a clue in the expression “bima me up Scottie”?

  85. John Fisher

    With all those Jews, maybe it really was originally called Star Drek.

  86. While the pair of you are giving puns a bad name, let me express my sincere hope that neither of the aforementioned Rebbes ever get caught up in a sex scandal. “The Spinka’s a Spanker!” and/or “A Sqvere Peg in a Round Hole” are headlines we could well do without.

    Dzików and Ropczyce (pronounced “Jikev” and “Ropshits”), on the other hand, do not, fortunately, lend themselves to such crude wordplays.

  87. John Fisher

    I wouldn’t dare start with Ropczycze – my wife and kids are also descendants

  88. Your kids as well as your wife?

  89. Mike, on 25th Tammuz, taking Raphael to put tefillin on, for the first time, to the Rebbe, you are more than welcome to join us

  90. John Fisher

    Regarding that Mission Impossible/Star Trek Minyan for Mincha with Captain Kirk and Mr Spock it occurs to me that while Jews may not rule the world, they clearly do rule places where men boldly go where no man has gone before.

  91. Do the Spinkas put on a good spread afterwards? Bridge rolls?

    Would love to. If Dexxy doesn’t get at them first, that is . . .


  92. You’ve gotta love the charedim . . .

    There’s a front page Haaretz article today about how 65,000 of them – men only, of course – attended a mass rally in New York on Sunday against the dangers of the Internet: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/behind-the-scenes-of-the-ultra-orthodox-anti-internet-rally.premium-1.431796

    Our old friends the Skverers (see comments above) were there again, while the Skulener Rebbe is quoted as saying, “Whoever uses the Internet without a filter is a beast, because the source of Internet is beastliness . . . all the diseases and weird deaths inflicted on the People of Israel are only because of the Internet’s spreading to their homes.” All of them?

    Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, meanwhile, called the Internet a “device for idolatry and incest.” Excuse me for splitting hairs, Rabbi, but where does incest come into it?!

    I am reminded of the Hasmo rabbi’s (mythical?) “We are only seven miles from Soho . . . and I know because I’ve measured it in my own car.”

    “Several of the speakers,” the article continued, “decried the Internet’s potential to distract yeshiva students,” while the event’s spokesman “mentioned online pornography and gambling as examples of Internet dangers that disturb “our ability to pray uninterruptedly, to focus and to concentrate.””

    All I can say, in the Internet’s defence, is that porn never distracts or disturbs me for more than a weekend.

  93. “All I can say, in the Internet’s defence, is that porn never distracts or disturbs me for more than a weekend.”

    LOL! That’s b/c you iz an apikoros (& yes, it takes 1 to know 1). ;)

    The biggest problem is that their hypocrisy would be laughable if it weren’t so dangerous. :(

  94. Quite, Greg. Between the charedim and the reform, what hope is there for Am Yisroel? ;-)

  95. Perhaps the hope does indeed lie between …

  96. “our democratic, tolerant values” as long as these conform with YOUR definitions – the philosophies in this blog do not reflect an iota of ‘tolerance’ on your part. No, I am neither a Haredi nor a supporter of any form of extremism – be it Hareidi or its counter-balance. There are many who do sponge off the state. And there are many many more who do work and contribute to the state. These sectors are ignored by ‘democratic, tolerant’ others as they quietly live their lives. I do not see the ‘democratic, tolerant’ secular groups setting up hospitals, or working with the geriatics who have no one to look after them (many of these have Israeli children – living out the country) or running/funding soup kitchens etc etc. So instead of bashing a very small group, an dash of your philosophy of tolerance could be applied

  97. I haven’t a clue what you are on about, Ari. Define “democratic, tolerant values” however you like . . . sickos who spit on 7-year old girls because their skirts don’t cover their ankles – and their fanatic, parasitic ilk – don’t meet them! Anyway, you clearly didn’t read my post . . .

    “I just don’t buy the spurious, disingenuous even, “It’s not all of them” defence employed usually by more moderate, but still observant, Jews – for whom such extremism perhaps poses uncomfortable questions – as a smoke screen to conceal the fact that it is most of them.”

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