Friday, July 24, 2009

missing the point of what's wrong with the protests

A spokesman for a major Orthodox organization begins an op-ed with the following observation:

Yes, yes, there is a media double standard when it comes to haredi Jews. That’s nothing new.

And so, when thousands of Iranians poured into Tehran’s streets in protest of what they saw as a fraudulent presidential election, the press emphasis was not on the protesters who threw rocks, set trash bins aflame and vandalized public property. The focus, rightly, was on the bulk of the crowd, peaceful protesters of what they believed to be a fraudulent election.

When tens of thousands of haredim, though, demonstrated in reaction to a decision by the Jerusalem municipality to open a public parking lot on the Jewish Sabbath, increasing traffic in the heart of the Holy City and disturbing the peacefulness of the day of rest, the main coverage was not of the overwhelming mass of the crowd, peacefully standing up for the sanctity of the Sabbath – but rather of the tiny fraction of the crowd that… threw rocks, set trash bins aflame and vandalized public property.

Drawing a comparison between the Iranian protesters and the chareidi protesters blatantly misses the entire point of why the chareidim are criticized. Chareidim define themselves as adherents to the highest standards of religious observance. Destruction of property and vandalism are wrong, but that alone is not what irks the public about the behavior of the chareidi protesters. What is irksome is the hypocrisy of wrapping oneself in the mantle of religious piety while at the same time performing acts which any decent person recognizes as wrong. That element of hypocrisy is what separates the chareidim from the Iranians. Indeed, we should hold ourselves to a higher religious standard -- both bein adam l'chaveiro, in terms of respecting others rights and property, and not just bein adam laMakom.


  1. I think it's been proven again and again that religious fervor is no proof of holiness.

  2. Anonymous5:17 PM

    In order to avoid likelihood of confusion concerns I think the costumes for each denomination needs some kind of licensing agreement for starters.

    The main leaders fabricating the philosophies aka the manufacturer for each denomination that wears a specific trademarked costume that a given denomination has metaphorically based their branding on must negotiate a detailed contract for every distributor.

    The religious philosophy costume distributors can only sell to qualified religion retailers rosh yeshiva rebbes dayanim dayanot and maharats and or houses or castles of worship via vendor contracts per zip-code.
    Distributors, retailers rebbes dayanim dayanot maharot and rosh yeshivas must incorporate a minimum amount of living legally and lawfully and halachicaly marketing and training in order to qualify both the synagogue/yeshiva bais din council and the end user as bona fide religious costume wearer.

    End users must take the fabricated philosophies and laws that govern them bar exam before being qualified to wear said costume.

    One should not be able to just walk into any store and pick out the furry or black hatted costume that suits their charade the best for the moment.

    End users that don't follow the rules cannot pretend they are by wearing the costumes and will be banned from pretending they are.

    Both Adults and bochurs.
    Big Black Hats included.
    Same goes for furry hats and any article of clothing that is judaic in nature and not a commandment from G-d.

    Pretending in order to deceive others into doing things on the basis of that misconception or deceptions is illegal and not lawful and should be banned.

    Distributors Rebbes Dayanim Dayanot Maharats Rosh Yeshivas and Kabbalists will be sued consistently and fined heavily if the end users they are providing the religious costumes with keep on consistently creating likelihood of confusion concerns on the origin, approval and or reason of said behavior.

    The end user cannot switch fabricated philosophy costumes if they cannot live up to the pretenses they are dressing up for. Either they will be forced to don ordinary outfits that don't suggest they represents any fabricated philosophy and or movement and or they will be heavily fined if they con anyone into doing anything.

    I know it's a free country and everyone can dress or not dress any way they want.

    But I believe it is not ok to dress up as something to pretend and deceive others into doing things they would not be doing if they were not distracted and or convinced of something due to the costume that suggests one adheres to a specific (messianic)hasidic esoteric philosophy......

    It might be easier to live a better life without the costumes too.

    And anyone that qualifies for the costume will not be sued or fined.
    Life is fair like that, as long as everyone plays by the rules, and absolute honesty and absolutely no deception trickery sneakiness and alterior motives are used at all.

    and no one takes or ruins anything that is not theirs, or that righfully belongs to others...

    jaded topaz

  3. Anonymous5:38 PM

    And if that doesn't work there must be other ways to protect the intellectual property rights of "Judaism Inc." Both the trademark and copyright concerns.
    The general counsel for Judaism Inc would have to be comprised of individuals that are not affiliated with any particular denomination.
    And part of its mission should be to promote peace truth honesty and fairness with everyone everywhere period.

    jaded topaz

  4. Anonymous5:44 PM

    Instead of suing and or fines, "community service" might make more sense ;-)but there has to be a sense of responsibility and accountability on an individual/community/worldwide and g-d level......

    jaded topaz

  5. Chaim, I couldn't agree with u more. It is sad that a defense should consist of a comparison to the Iranian people.

  6. Anonymous7:38 PM


    Who wouldn't agree that its missing the point and not a fair comparison ?

    But highlighting the point and reiterating why its wrong doesn't really make it any more right or less visible.
    Wouldn't it make more sense to just email the author, and suggest that the analogy makes no sense and if he could just switch to a brighter metaphor.

    Sometimes he uses the wrong metaphors, but other times I've found some of his points to be very profound, and true notwithstanding the wrong or imprecise analogies, which are generally picked up with lightening speed and mocked until eternity and then some.

    jaded topaz

  7. Jaded, I like your style. I'm all about challenging peoples' assumptions. What's to stop you and I from dressing as ultra-Orthodox and calling a press conference to announce that we champion a "live and let live" philosophy and the separation of church and state? We would take care not to claim affiliation with any group; if asked, we would say, "We're Jews". Wouldn't it be a hoot?

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