Oct 29, 2008

newest haredi MK

The Knesset is getting another Haredi MK. This one won't be helping to make the minyan for mincha though. The Haredi MK is none other than Jerusalem mom Tzviya Greenfield.

Mrs. Greenfield is an anomaly, and I have been intrigued by her since she entered politics. Mrs. Tzviya Greenfield is a Haredi woman, as she defines herself and her family (and she is a Bais Yaakov graduate), yet she is a member of the Meretz party.

Meretz as you all know considers itself a social party of people concerned for equal rights, yet is often seen as being extremely left-wing and extremely anti-religious.

It is uncommon enough for a haredi woman to be involved in politics at all, as the haredi parties say a woman cannot be in such a position because of tzniyus problems (kol kvoda bas melech pnima), but not only is she involved in politics, she is part of what is seen as the most anti-religious party in the Knesset.

Greenfield is becoming an MK because of Yossi Beilin's announcement last night that he is retiring from the Knesset. That pushes everyone in Meretz up one notch and she will get the vacated seat.

Greenfield says that her being haredi and being a member of Meretz create no conflict. She believes in equal rights and the liberal platform of Meretz, and that in no way stops her from living a haredi lifestyle. I applaud her for being able to do something that in her community must be, and must make her, extremely unpopular, because she believes in it.

Many in the haredi community write her off with a dismissive wave of the hand and say "she is not haredi, no matter what she says or how she lives". yet saying that means you can say "Meier Porush is not haredi" (as some in the anti-Porush camp are doing) simply because you disagree with him and do not accept his style, or say that about anybody you disagree with.

Hatzlacha to Tzviya Greenfield in her new position as MK.


  1. What makes her chareidi? Where does she live?

    A large part of being chareidi is following daas torah. Does she? Is there a rov that is accepted in chareidi circles that advises her in her meretz dealings?

  2. she lives in Har Nof. I do not know who her rav is, but it is clearly not Rav Elyashiv or the Gerrer Rebbe.

    As I said, it is easy to wave her off dismissively and says he is not haredi. she grew up haredi, her family is haredi, and she considers herself haredi.
    you can always reject someone and even their rav by saying they are not doing something that standard haredim do and therefore that person is not haredi. does that make it so?

    Standard haredim do not use the internet. The standard haredi rabbonim have spoken out many times against it. does that mean that anybody who does use the internet is not haredi. no. Maybe they do not follow the standards 100% of the time, but they would still be considered haredi.

  3. Lets grant you all that. Does she have a Rov that she speaks to? What happens when there is a conflict of interets between her party's stance and halacha? How does she deal with that?

    I am not interested in waving her off from being chareidi. Who cares anyways what I say?

    But if she is chareidi, she needs to have the backing of a chareidi rov. Do you agree to that?

  4. I looked through her website and it does not say one way or the other. being that she is haredi, I will prefer to assume she does, but the only way to know for sure would be to ask her.

    Don't worry. I am not voting for her, no matter who her rav is. And I am not saying you should vote for her. Just pointing out an interesting snippet that does not fit any standard patterns...

  5. If she doesnt claim to follow a rov, it sure does follow a pattern. The pattern is someone who is not "really" chareidi, who leans towards the chareidi lifestyle, and even claims to be chareidi or partial chareidi, but being that they are not backed by a chareidi (accepted rov, not a rov who calls himself chareidi but is not accepted by chareidim, otherwise its the same thing as the candidate....) is not really chareidi.

    I think Tov follows a similar pattern :)

  6. anonymous,
    Did you speak to a chareidi rav about what color to paint your walls and what to serve at your shabbos meal?
    So what makes you chareidi?
    The answer is like all charedim, if they are unsure about something that they think is a halachic issue then they ask a rav (charedi). I believe I read once that there is a rav that she asks halachic questions to. What she doesn't think is a halachic issue, she decides on her own. Just like you.
    Would you like to narrow the definition of charedi to someone who delegates any significant decision to "a chareidi (accepted rov, not a rov who calls himself chareidi but is not accepted by chareidim, otherwise its the same thing as the candidate....)"

    Ha! there won't be too many left.

    And in fact going back to the original use of the term charedim (before all of the political stuff), "charedim ledvar Hashem"
    there aren't too many left.

    The modern term for charedim seems to refer more to "trembling at what the neighbors will think and if they will be rejected from schools and shidduchim". Which of course is a great way to stifle a true attempt to follow the Divine word.
    That is what you come to when you speak about a rav being accepted by "charedim".

  7. People in post-modern circles believe that one's identity is fully a matter of choice, and thus she defines herself as Chareidi depite the fact that her kids all went to Religious Zionist schools and she shares no views in common with anything or anyone remotely Chareidi. People that refer to her as Charedi just because 1. she went to a "Seminar" before most people reading this were born and 2. she calls herself Chareidi are playing into the hands of a leftist newspeak that they are internalizing without even understanding what it is.

  8. A "charedi" woman who has a website? gasp! How can it be? She must not be so charedi.

  9. I do applaud her ability to separate Halacha and her political beliefs.

    Maybe I'm just too American.

  10. Perhaps she is charedi in the true meaning of the word. Mazel tov to her and I wish her well.

    Kol tov,


  11. If she means chareidi in the true sense of the word, it sounds a bit arrogant.

    Most people when they say I am a chareidi its a way of associating with others who call them selves chareidim

  12. rafi,

    i am also curious as to what exactly it is that makes her "chareidi."

    i don't know if this happens as much in israel, but here it not uncommon for outsiders (jewish or otherwise) to lump anyone who wears a sheitel, etc. as "ultra-orthodox" even when the label completely does not apply.

    btw, do the chareidi papers show her picture or use her name?

  13. truth is, I do not care if she is haredi or not. she is defining herself as haredi. I do not know how she lives her life, if she has a tv in her hosue or not, if she uses internet (heck, even meier porush has a website!), or anything else she does that might or might not define her as being haredi.
    She makes the claim, so i found this interesting.

    LOZ - I dont thin so. At best they would mention her as Mrs. Greenfield, just like they say Mrs. Livni.


  15. Are you sure she is a woman????

  16. what the heck does charedi mean anyway?
    The way it goes with Jews is as many jews as there are that is how many daot of what charedi is.
    The point is how she views herself. in my opnion it's a kiddush Hashem that a religious women who keeps halacha is a MK and can GET ALONG with non-=religious .
    If she doesn't violate any halachas I don't understand what the problem is?

  17. OMG, people, calm down with the frantic labeling. Why is it so necessary to determine whether or not she is "chareidi"? As Rafi said, that's how she defines herself, and this is an interesting story because it falls outside the parameters of what we're used to seeing. Just because a person is different than you are, you don't have to view them as a threat.

  18. Another anon,
    Things generic like that are not needed for consulting a rov, most jews know enough of shulchan aruch, halacha, minhag, mesora etc.. that dont need to consult a rov on everything.

    If unsure, I open kitzur shulchan aruch or sefer minhagim chabad. On big things I dont know or unsure I ask a rov.

    Some stuff you HAVE to ask a rov.. you cant decide "well gee I feel faint so I can drink on yom kipur" one must consult a rov or in a really bad case one can rely on the doctor..

    Politix is not so simple.. there are many issues we are looking at...

    Pesky settler,
    Said in saracasm? I did not think one could seperate halacha from political belief.. ones political beliefs are rooted and stem from their halachik interpretations..

  19. Said in saracasm? I did not think one could seperate halacha from political belief.. ones political beliefs are rooted and stem from their halachik interpretations..

    Not sarcastic at all.

    IMO, one follows the Halacha because one is obligated to by God. Doesn't mean one has to AGREE with it. And until we can get more Gedolim to observe the letter of Halacha (ALL Halacha) instead of whoring themselves out for their causes, I'd prefer there to be a separation between religion and politics/government.

  20. You mean rabbi's controlling politix.. thats not separating politix from religion.

    This is one thing I miss about the lubavitcher rebbe.. he was one of the few that said what was right.. mi hu yehudi, giving away land etc..

    Theres a sicha the rebbe's was thrashing the chareidim for sitting in the government because they get $$

    The rebbe said, mitzvah that comes from an aveirah is not a mitzvah.. their getting money for yeshivot at that cost is no good.. not only that, they cant even use the money to buy a toilet for the bathroom (he said this!!)

    Oy rebbe we miss you!

  21. I'd be very interested in seeing how she'd vote in certain votes - along party lines or along religious lines.

    Let's say, for example, there's a vote on whether pork can be sold in Israel, or any other law that is clearly against halacha. I wonder what she'd do then.

    In any case, it has to be a step up from Yossi Beilin.

  22. B"H


    Any particular reason you said kol hakavod?

    I don't care if she's "Haredi" or even Torah observant, or whatever. How she can support the Meretz party's social policies, I don't know.

    Haredi or not, I'd say that at best she's an am ha'aretz or insane, and at worst, she's a ....

    She's a signatore on the sneaky Geneva accords

    I hear her husband is a good pediatrician.

    Big deal. He needs to do something about his wife.

    Anyone read her dissertation? Know who it was funded by?

  23. I found out a friend of mine is a cousin of hers. He told me she is crazy and has nothing to do with Haredi society or lifestyle (except for her sheitel). calling herself haredi is purely marketig for selling herself as a liberal and a unique situation in meretz. He also told me many in the family do not talk to her....


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