March 19, 2012 2 comments

I just read the comments in sisterhood by Gavriella Lerner about the recent media attention accorded to Deborah Feldman and Pearlperry Reich. I wasn’t shocked to see Gavriella’s misunderstanding of Deborah Feldman and Pearlperry Reich – after all, these people never had a voice to begin with – they were silenced by the community. And the point of their departure and the shopping-around of their stories in the media is precisely this – countering the wall of silence and reinstating their right to be heard. The question for Gavriella is whether she (Gavriella) is enabling the silencers or assisting these victims of extreme religion to find their voice as would be appropriate for members of a sisterhood. Or is Gavriella perhaps offended that these young ladies didn’t give a chance for her “garden-variety Judaism”?

If any evidence is needed for Gavriella’s total lack of understanding of what these women are up against, let me quote this:

Orthodox life is not for everybody, I get that. I only ask that in return that women like Feldman and Reich respect those of us who find beauty and meaning in our rituals and way of life.

What is the quid pro quo here? In return for what should Feldman and Reich respect those who find beauty and meaning in the instruments used to inflict shame and harm onto its dissenters?  

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February 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Farzeitishe חן in today’s yiddish theater



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The Downward Spiral

February 10, 2012 Leave a comment

I guess there is another “marrano” in town… 

Regardless, the most weird part about the material posted by Shmarya is the fact that people within the community fail to see this stuff as weird! 

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February 9, 2012 Leave a comment

What can be more intriguing than the journey of devout, innocent, and young hearts growing up in complete emotional isolation and ignorance in the matters of the soul to a discovery of their spiritual being and fearless embrace of their greatest challenges, and all this in the context of the virtually lifeless religion of Orthodox Judaism. Despite the undercurrent of subversiveness the story as a whole hardly scrapes the veneer of observant religiosity, and yet it screams out from the depths of the soul – Let my people go! This film will leave the hardest rock weeping with salt! It is worth every minute of your time!
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Misyavnim in BP!

January 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Oy Gevald!

The headliner over at vosizneias today: “Charedi Football League Scores Big in Borough Park”!

Yes, you heard that correctly! “football league” is the predicate for “Chareidi”! And the picture of the guy with the red beard? That’s worth a million dollars! I’m only wondering whether these guys have internet access!

Just to show you how far we have come as a society, I remember a couple of years back when this circulated as the funniest clip of the year!


For more of the fun you can watch here.



Categories: Chareidim, Humor, Sports

Ruchi Freier

Ruchi Freier, a female Chareidi lawyer, has shattered many glass ceilings as it relates to Chareidi women, and serves an exemplary model of the heights you can reach by being fearless to pursue your goals and courageous enough to assert your individuality. What interests me even more is how she squares all that with her religious beliefs. Having become a lawyer and then pursuing feminist issues in the community can give an impression of someone being a closet orthoprax; however, her work in B’derech negates that.

Regardless, she wrote a piece today about the equal and respected status of women within the Chareidi community. I just found it odd that she couldn’t get her picture posted together with it – most probably just to ensure that women remain equal, right? In any case, I decided to rectify this problem. Here she is:

Morality and Chareidim

Slifkin hit it off in this latest article which was cross posted in Jpost.

It is true that the vast majority of haredim would never dream of spitting on people and cursing them. These are the actions of a fringe element that are feared and detested by the rest of the haredi world. But the mainstream haredi community is supportive of the ultimate goals, and does not see such actions as being terrible enough to justify joining with “outsiders” in order to condemn it. A letter expressing support for Banot Orot and condemnation of the extremists was signed by over a dozen national-religious and moderate haredi community rabbis in Beit Shemesh, but not one mainstream haredi rabbi signed on to it or made any similar such public declaration.

As someone who is living in a Chassidic enclave, albeit in the US, I do agree with the general presumption made by Slifkin that many if not most Chareidim (whom I know personally) see the MO community as a lesser Jew. If you ever mention this to a Chareidi, they will always fall back on safe arguments and trudge out the Satmar Ruv and other Gedolim who they would want you to believe had an unequivocal love to every Jew, regardless of their affiliation or religiosity. This is of course not the subject of the current controversy at all. The question is only what the community thinks and how they act. Not what their Rabbonim say from the pulpit, but rather what the people understand implicitly, which one would assume is the more authentic, unfiltered, and uncontrolled message.

The interesting thing though that I feel Slifkin missed, is the reasoning behind the lack of aversion by many Chareidim to violence – when not directed internally. There is no moral value within the Chareidi community that does not stem from the way they perceive Halacha, and not all Halachot are created equal. Violence is not always a problem and in the mind of many a Chareidi, although he may not be comfortable enough to do it himself, it is the right way to go. In fact, I have heard many people explain how they feel that the only reason they themselves aren’t on the forefront of the religious battles is because their own morality and musardike development is lacking, and thus they are happy that other people are doing the job for them.

So yes, Yossi Sarid does indeed have a point! Despite all apologies, the violence is still happening in the name of religion! And the only real religious problem a regular Chareidi will have with this is a tactical/strategic one, not a moral problem in of itself! However, I must point out that I do agree with some of the critique against Sarid, but not because his arguments are not valid. It would rather be nice for Sarid to acknowledge that not all Religious Jews are Chareidi and not all people who appear Chareidi are indeed so.