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Sep 26, 2011

Rav Malinowitz Correspondence On The OROT Issue

Rav Malinowitz, in his weekly Chadash article, did not continue this week laying out his position regarding the OROT school issue that he had begun last week (he explained there that he thought there were 2 columns left to Rosh Hashana, and he was then informed that there was only one left, and he didn't want to write about this the week before RH), but he did offer to send his thoughts by private email for those who would correspond with him asking for those thoughts. Someone emailed and a conversation ensued, and with permission from both parties I present to you the entire conversation that will hopefully help you understand his position.


To ease the reading, I color coded the conversation. There are times where the discussions settles to inline comments in the emails. I kept the color coding so it would be easy to understand who said what. Green text is the questionerpurple text is Rav Malinowitz.



----- Original Message -----
From:  C
To: Chaim Malinowitz ; rczmchadash @ gmail. com
Sent: Saturday, September 24, 2011 9:01 PM
Subject: petition

Dear Rabbi Malinowitz,

In an attempt to reach some lowest common denominator between the various communities in Beit Shemesh, a number of community members have put together the attached petition.

The idea is to cleary denounce harassment, both verbal and physical, as unequivocally unacceptable.

Would you be prepared to sign this.

Shavua tova and shana tova,


---
On Sun, Sep 25, 2011 at 2:14 AM, Rabbi M wrote:

I am afraid I will not sign the petition ---because I will not be meshatef pe'ulah with people that I hold have a definite anti-chareidi agenda here, loving every minute of this, and painting all "chareidim" with the same brush. And demanding, actually demanding, that 'chareidi people' condemn what is going on because "they" have a special responsibility to do so to show that they do not approve.

To my mind,this is like demanding that every Italian condemn bank robbery after the Mafia pulls off a job. That every Russian condemn murder after the Russian mafia has someone killed. That every Jew condemn financial fraud after Bernard Madoff was arrested. That every white condemn the KKK after they burn a cross on a black's lawn.

That a few (hired, by the way) kooks who should be arrested and thrown in jail have managed to give a black eye to RBS and BS in the eyes of outside circles is entirely the fault of the people I refer to in my first sentence. They are kvelling at this opportunity to show "the true face of chareidi Jewry". And it is not the first time they have gone public to "expose chareidim".


By 'officially' condemning what is condemned by any sane person, I am playing their game. And so I will not.
I will not officially - 'as a Chareidi rabbi'-- condemn the actions perpetrated by these hired kooks, just as no Jew should condemn officially, as a Jew, what Madoff did "to show that all Jews are not like that", and no white should officially condemn, as a white, the lynching of a black.


There is no greater polarization of the Jewish people that can be perpetrated than to demand that any chareidi must show that they do not approve of these hired kooks' actions. So much for the 'achdut' people.
Shavua Tov

rczm


----
From: C
Sent: Sunday, September 25, 2011 4:44 AM
To: czm
Subject: Re: petition


Thank you for your response. I wish to share my thoughts.

This is not about achdut. It's about addressing a context in which the kooks operate. I will explain.

When Rabin was murdered I worked in Tel Aviv. The contemptful looks I received for many months were so many that I lost count. At first, my thoughts were similar to what you write below.

Then I read R. Lichtenstein's piece on Rabin's assassination. Bottom line summary of that piece as I understood it: While the overall national religious community was not directly responsible for the murder, elements of our community did, indeed, create the tone and context in which it took place. It was time to re-think our value system, epsecially in terms of prioritization of values. That the hilonim were kvelling didn't stop R. LIchtenstein from writing what he thought to be true.

My thoughts: while the overall haredi community is not responsible for what's going on in Orot, elements of the mainstream have, over the years, set the context and tone. Empty cart (really? empty??); Rabbit eaters! This is a Jew??; Mouthpiece of R. Elyashiv on R. Drukman: apikores be-mezid; R. Kanievsky (re: R. Chaim Amsalem's position on conversion): apikores; A very moderate haredi Rav who I respect deeply and whom you know very well: "This is not a Jewish state. It is a state run by leaders who are partly descended from Jews."

I wish to point out that there are plenty of leaders in the mainstream haredi community who never took part in setting such a tone: Rav Moshe and Rav Shlomo Zalman are just two. There must be others still alive.

I would have hoped that while certain elements of the community are kvelling, it wouldn't stop anyone from saying what needs to be said.

May I publish this conversation?

Shana tova,


---
On Sun, Sep 25, 2011 at 5:52 AM, Chaim Malinowitz wrote:

Yes--as long as you publish every word that I said, including this response to your response (you may leave out this sentence).

I will not give my opinion about what R. Lichtenstein said. But I do know that here it is totally untrue (I speak of the actions of the hired kooks vis-à-vis the chareidi world.) These are the same hired kooks that were hired to yell and say tehillim and blow shofar at people going to a real-estate "fair" selling apartments in RBS Gimel because of some supposed kevarim that were there. (It was near my Shul; I recognized them when I saw a video) The only thing that stopped them them there from acting the way they acted here is that they were facing adults. Nu, what value system of chareidism brought that about?


And so I don't agree.

And by the way--may I demand that you condemn those who polarize the Jewish people by reinforcing what they purport to condemn in order to further personal agendas?
I am not a communal leader. Nobody gives a hoot what I think. You are a communal leader. Lots of people care about what you think.
Maybe, maybe not.....but I explained my reasoning already for not speaking out in an official capacity. It reinforces the polarizing, and lays a guilt trip on chareidim. Sorry, I'm not playing.

Those who quickly made this a case of us against them --would they do so if a chareidi robbed Bank Mizrachi?
If a charedi robbed Bank Mizrachi in the name of the Torah, and if R. Kopschitz sat on the dais of a gathering organized by the robber, then I hope so.

R' Kopschitz is not a kook. Rav Kopschitz was doing what that community does when the kooks get the headlines. They make a harmless asifah about the inyan and rail against it..this marginalizes the kooks within their community even more, and lets steam be let out in a harmless way, and shows that their leaders agree in principle for what is being fought for (that the school should move out). That is how they function. You may not like it, you may want the asifah to be against the violence, you may not like the idea that they are advocating the school's moving--but that is not the point. This is their way of cooling tempers. (I do not want a discussion about that --I was merely addressing Rav Kopschitz's intentions, to answer your questions)




I had and have no problem with people in my Shul going to Orot to try to minimize the girls being traumatized (although I have no personal knowledge if it was necessary; and also whether or not it exacerbated the situation). I had and have a huge problem if they "go as chareidim"

I am glad you had no problem with that. Thank you for not opposing that.
I repeat--I do oppose it if they "go as chareidim".

And sir : This is most definitely NOT a "Jewish State ". It is at best a State of Jews. I suggest you read The Jewish State: The Struggle for Israel's Soul by Yoram Hazony, and just about everything Moshe Feiglin writes.
Kesivah vachasimah tovah.


State of the Jews but not Jewish State is a legitimate position, albeit one with which I firmly disagree. State run by leaders partly descended from Jews is not legitimate, I believe.


At any rate, I believe you have missed my primary point. There is a context and tone set by any number of mainstream charedi leaders over the years in which the kooks operate.


I didn't miss it at all-I totally disagreed . And that is a polarizing statement, as surely as if I would say that the dati-leumi crowd has created a context and tone set by any number of mainstream dati-leumi leaders over the years that the State takes primacy over Torah.
RCZM
---
From: C
Sent: Sunday, September 25, 2011 6:42 AM
To: Chaim Malinowitz
Subject: Re: petition

A few thoughts.

The Russian mafia does not claim to knock people off in the name of the Russian Orthodox bible or whatever other texts they believe holy. Madoff did not claim to rip people off in the name of the Torah. The kooks do claim to be acting in the name of the Torah.

R. Kopschitz was seated on the dais of the protest organized by the kooks. Is R. Kopschitz a kook?

Please see below a few additional thoughts.


from: Chaim Malinowitz
to: C
dateSun, Sep 25, 2011 at 7:33 AM
subjectRe: petition

Important mainly because of your interaction with messages in the conversation.

I cannot continue this back-and-forth for lack of time. But I cannot leave you saying things that are not so .
You can do what you want with this, you can even have a last word--but not to me, for then I will be forced to answer..and only if you do not edit even one word from what I write.
rczm



The kooks do claim to be acting in the name of the Torah.
So what? 
Does that make a special responsibility of chareidim to condemn their actions? By your reasoning (and that is PRECISELY my point ) any Torah-observant Jew should ; why are chareidim given a special responsibility?Polarization, my friend, and points scored, that's why. I'm not playing.
kesivah vachasimah tovah
RCZM
----
UPDATE: This is the text of the petition that the rabbonim are being asked to sign:
ב"ה

אנו הח"מ, מוקיעים את כל מי שנוקט באמצעי הטרדה פיסית ו/או מילולית נגד כל אדם באשר הוא, ובמיוחד נגד בנות שלבושן אינו לפי טעמו של אדם זה או אחר.
כמו כן, אנו קוראים לכל רבני בית שמש ומנהיגיה להוקיע באופן שאינו משתמע לשתי פנים את כל מי שנוקט באמצעי הטרדה כנ"ל. 



I hope this helps to clarify the position of Rav Malinowitz.

All comments on this topic should remain on topic and not get personal. No personal attacks, no disrespect (you can disagree, just do so respectfully), and keep it civil. I will moderate the comments on this post with a heavy hand.

132 comments:

  1. Make Up Your Mind R' MalinowitzSeptember 26, 2011 11:05 AM

    This is quite interesting.

    Rabbi Malinowitz has banned Lema'an Achai from his shul because he disagrees with what David Morris said.

    So yes he does believe that you hold collectively responsible a group based on one member.

    Therefore since the "kooks" are Charedim, profess to be so and act in the name of Charedi Judaism he must be guilty as well.

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  2. I don't follow Rav Malinowitz' reasoning.

    There is no greater polarization of the Jewish people that can be perpetrated than to demand that any chareidi must show that they do not approve of these hired kooks' actions.

    Is he saying that if we publicly condemn a (chareidi?) group that acts in an antithetical manner to what we believe chareidi Judaism stands for we are preventing the achdus of chereidi Jews? (of all Jews?)

    Huh? Please clarify.

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  3. I don't understand what is so difficult to condemn a group of hooligans acting in the name of the Torah, to harass innocent young modest religious girls under 10 years old. It is definitely a Chillul Hashem.
    By the way, I may have a great solution. If these little girls are so immodest, then these hooligans are forbidden by Halacha, for going anywhere near the school, for fear that they may actually see the abonimation.

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  4. BlackBelt - you changed it from what he wrote - a demand that any charedi disapprove to what you wrote that we publicly condemn.

    Any person, or any group can publicly condemn whomever they feel is doing something wrong. Rav M was writing regarding the demand that someone else condemn. For anyone to demand that someone else condemn something is a source of polarization.

    Not saying I agree in the general sense, because at times the demand for a condemnation is justified and not a cause of polarization, but that is how I understood his words.

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  5. I don't know the people involved, being that I am not from Beit Shemesh, however, one cannot say, I am not "playing ball", when the other side is. If you do, then the other side will be the ones making the rules on the playing field. In other words, by taking such a stand, one contributes to the other side making the rules, making that person, de facto, an accessory to any decision that is made. (I hope that wasn't too convoluted put)

    I'm sure that R. Malinowitz would not have said anything either if he was at the Seuda of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza, as that was a private fight with at least one of the sides being of kooks. The lesson from there, is that the Rabbanim, whether minor or major are leaders in society, and if they don't say anything, then publically, at least, it's Sh'tika K'Hoda'ah, and will be held responsible for the outcome as well. I hope that if R. Malinowitz really does hold them to be anti-Torah, that he denounces them. He doesn't have to say as Chareidi or not, but as a leader of Torah.

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  6. WAke Up From Your SlumberSeptember 26, 2011 11:37 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  7. I said I would moderate this post heavily, and I intend to keep to that

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  8. Thank you Rafi for giving the public a clear presentation of Rabbi Malinowitz's views on these topics.

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  9. Oh, I see.

    But I still don't understand that logic. Why does demanding that a chareidi condemn actions that even Rav Malinowitz disagrees with create polarization?

    How does that make sense? Who is being polarized from whom? (Fine upstanding) chareidim from (kooky) chareidim?

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  10. anonymous - perhaps, but I ask, if someone wants to play ball, they are setting the rules, but that does not mean I have to play along. Perhaps if i choose to play I have to play by the rules set by the other side. But if I choose not to play the game at all, I dont have to play by their rules.

    Meaning, Rav M disagrees with the idea that just because the OROT people demand every rav and community step forward and condemn that he must. he says "thats what you say, but I dont agree. they are kooks and I dont need to say anything". He is saying he does not see the need to play the game at all.

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  11. BlackBelt - thats a good question. i dont know why it is polarizing.

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  12. Rafi - some games are elective, and some are forced upon you. If one doesn't want to play, then it's a "forfeit", and the other side wins.

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  13. The problem with the logic here is that most of the non-haredi rabbis in Ramat Beit Shemesh have condemned the harassment against the girls in Orot. To my knowledge, none of the haredi rabbis have. So, rather than the haredi rabbis being specially asked to publically condemn this harassment, the haredi rabbis are conspicuous in their failure to do so. It is true, I think, that many people (myself included) feel it would be particularly benifical for haredi rabbis to condemn the harassment, for many reasons, and not necessarily the reasons set forth by Rabbi Malinowitz. I also don't necessarily question Rabbi Malinowitz's contention that at least some people may be using this horrible situation to further an anti-haredi agenda, although I think Rabbi Malinowitz grossly exegerates this factor. In any event, I don't think any of this changes the fact that the haredi rabbis of Beit Shemesh are conspicuous by their failure to publically condemn the harassment/violence.

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  14. And what about Rav Kornfeld, who sometimes signs on pashkevilim? Can he also claim that he has no connection to the kooks and doesn't need to condemn them? And Rav Perlstein?

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  15. Rav Perlstein obviously cannot, considering he signed on the pashkevil last week with Rav Kupshitz.

    Rav Kornfeld will have a hard time denying it, considering he is very close with those communities and rabbonim, though with no official statement of support he could always say his relationship is a working relationship and not one of support.

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  16. I think that Rabbis today feel that they lead and have responsibility to only their congregants and not to the public out there. This is why they dont (usually) get involved.

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  17. Rabbi Malinowitz has shown very clearly that he and other "moderate Chareidim" who think like him are very much a part of the problem.

    First of all, it's leadership 101 that when people who claim to be acting in your name act in ways that don't represent you, you denounce them. As C pointed out so well that's exactly what Ravs Lichtenstein and Amital did in the aftermath of Rabin's murder and what true leaders are doing now in response to the so-called "price tag" attacks.

    You see this is the problem. The vast majority of Chareidim would never think of doing what these terrorists are doing to our children. However, many more, there's no way of knowing how many, accept the benefits that accrue to them from this behavior. If, God forbid, we caved and the school ended up in the hands of the Chareidim. After the fact, you would hear no moral outcries as to how their goal was achieved. People are willing to psychologically "contract out" the dirty work. This is not unique to Chareidim, it's human nature. But let's call a spade a spade and realize that this is not really a few "kooks" acting alone, Timothy McVeigh style.

    Futher, Rabbi Malinowitz states with certainty that the "kooks" are "hired, by the way". Well did Rabbi M. stop to think who hired them? Did he stop to ask why? Wouldn't a talmudic mind analyze this situation and wonder why in the face of the disputed new school, which is opposed by the Charieidi (mainstream, not kooks) leadership suddenly a bunch if hired thugs appear who's only target is the school. (Proof of this is in a video I capture where a woman in a sleaveless sundress stopped to take video of the "kooks" and they completely ignore her.) No, Rabbi Malinowitz is suffering from a severe case of cognitive dissonance. His method for dealing with it, which is something most people do, is to desparately seek a distinction and create a huge wedge. However, that's not what a leader, a Rabbi, is supposed to do. He's supposed to set an example and show his congregation, his fellow Chareidim, fellow Jews and rest of the world that these people do not represent him. Saying it's so obvious that it's not worth saying anything sends the exact opposite message. Saying that people should show support, but not as "Chareidim" is the exact wrong move. It implies guilt by association rather than a clear message to dissociate.

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  18. Menachem, I agree with everything you said except for this sentence: "No, Rabbi Malinowitz is suffering from a severe case of cognitive dissonance."

    I think that's too kind and too soft. Rav M is suffering from a severe case of moral bankruptcy. And to see such an egregious display, without even the smallest hint of cheshbon hanefesh or even the slightest bit of sympathy a few days before Rosh Hashanah is simply heartbreaking.

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  19. Rabbi Malinowitz seems to be saying 3 things:

    (1) The Rabbi Kupshitz crowd want the school OUT
    (2) Someone anonymous hired these violent people so no one needs to condemn them.
    (3) Rabbi Malinowitz is not making any statements about what's going on in Rabbi Kupshitz' territory.

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  20. I have said before, on these pages, that we stand in a time when people must choose for what they stand. As was pointed out twice last night, by-standing has led to our tragedies and is not an option here.

    If a leader feels that someone is taking advantage of a situation to lump all of a certain type of person into a category, when better to stand up and say 'You who are trying to make this into an us vs them, will not succeed and here is why:'

    There are two separate issues here and one is extremely clear. Anyone who leads a flock takes on him/herself to LEAD. If there is an issue with making a statement, lead by example and get down to Orot! Make your position clear for all to hear and learn from. You will solve both issues and be doing your job. No?

    (I am personally shocked that his own kehilla has not demanded a position- does anyone know if they have?)

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  22. I agree with the last few commenters. R. Malinowitz seems to be saying, effectively, that he is not a community leader. Because it is untenable that a community leader should not take a stance on a community issue where the wrong so obviously outweighs the right. Yet one needs to be dan the Rav l'kaf zchut that he personally feels pained by the mistreatment of young children, which leads me back to the conclusion that he is afraid to get involved in chareidi politics, which then causes me to conclude that he does consider himself a communal leader of some sort, just not the kind of leader that is supposed to lead? This is only one element of the exchange that had me scratching my head and I would greatly appreciate some clarification.

    What pained me most about R. Malinowitz's position is the way he seems to paint the DL with same a broad brush he rails against (erroneously) and the implication that defending our children and protecting our property is somehow a game.

    As much as R. Malinowitz would like to believe he is not on the end of either pole, he has very explicitly stated which side he is on.

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  24. We need more Rabbis who are courageous. Rabbis who are not afraid to take a stand. Rabbis who are not afraid to lead.

    Today, in all sectors, there seems to be a paucity of true leadership.

    Why haven't more Rabbis spoken out against these zealots and their violence? Why haven't they articulated a clear message that this behavior is at odds with the Torah?

    Fear? Cowardice?

    The Beit Shemesh community deserves better.

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  25. When it comes to courage, I think Rav Malinowitz has excellent credentials, as one of the few rabbis to resist the pressure to withdraw his haskamas from those of Rabbi Slifkin's books that were placed in "herem." In a way, that makes his refusal to take a stand against the harassment at Orot all the more depressing, but I do think we should take his reasons at face value, as much as we might disagree with those reasons. We might also have to face the possibility that the refusal of some rabbis to condemn what is going on at Orot results from a certain sympathy with the fight against Orot, rather than a lack of courage - although I would certainly hope this is not the case.

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  26. Baruch,

    While I hear what you are saying about Rav Slifkin I would like to offer the following:

    1. Rav Slifkin was a member of his kehilla at the time of the cherem

    2. It was several years ago. I am not certain that Rav Malinowitz would behave in a similar fashion today (maybe he would).

    3.Retracting haskamos in effect admits "I was wrong" and Rav Malinowitz doesn't do well with that.

    I have had many conversations with him and I know that he doesn't hold the DL world and leadership in such high esteem so you are probably correct about his feelings regarding Orot.

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  27. About Rav Malinowitz's claims that the protesters have an anti charedi agenda i think it is important to note that Orot as institution as well as Dov Lipman have unequivocally stated this is not the case. As has been said many times, many teachers in Orot ARE charedi. Secondly, if Rav Malinowitz wants to break this confusion about charedim, then it makes sense to clarify and take a stance. One needs to be quite naive to not realize that from the outside, charedim are grouped together (bc there is only one voice) and this causes nothing less than chillul Hashem. This needs to be taken in the context of the world we live in with total ignorance and bad views of religion in the press. "Charedi" muslims blow themselves up in the name of religion and and therefore those who do not know Torah from the inside may assume similar ideas with Charedim -- that in the name of God one can be violent. This is not just about bet shemesh DL people but about the how "charedim" are viewed by everyone.

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  28. I think at it's core this is an issue of maintaining credibility within the chareidi world. Better the DL be angry than chareidim have some kind of suspicion that he gives validity to girls going without stockings, or their mothers not covering their collar bones. This is especially an issue for "quasi-Chareidim" (ie, American chareidim). People who want acceptance into a world where they are not yet completely accepted cannot show any allegiance to the other side.

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  29. One thing that struck me was the relying on indirect information. This situation is going on 'just down the street'. Don't wonder if there's a need for something to be done or a leadership position to be taken...go down the street and SEE what's going on.

    Don't rely on what people are saying, go gather some direct information.

    I am astounded by almost every rav of our time working with 2nd hand information at best.

    No statement of condemnation should be made. He should go and be there. If he see's there's a problem while there, he should react to it. And if not, walk away.

    Or even try to mediate and bring peace!

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  30. i'm not from BS and don't know the people mentioned here.

    all i can add to this discussion is the old cliche, which is often true despite being a cliche:

    if you aren't part of the solution, than you are part of the problem.

    if the rav doesn't want to join in with people who have, in his eyes, an anti chareidi agenda, fine, no problem. so the rav can make his own proclamation/ad/petition.

    i do hope that the rabbi won't come to the DL community next time his community needs help. otherwise people may need to say to him "listen rav, i'd love to help, but some of your community have an anti-DL/medinat yisrael agenda and i won't help those type of people".

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  31. Aharon did not stand up against the eruv rav ("kooks"). He sought to keep things under control by going through the motions of making an eigel. I wonder if Moshe Rabbeinu, our true leader, would have made that mistake.

    Just because that's the way "that community" deals with "kooks" (by making a hafgana and allowing them to blow off steam), doesn't mean it's the right way to handle it. If it completely overlooks the sensitivities of the victims of their violent actions, then there is something wrong with lending them legitimacy.

    Imagine if someone had stood up and explained to Aharon that he is risking the entire nation being punished by indulging the eruv rav?

    Is there a lesson her for us?

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  32. It disturbs me that Rabin's assassination should be brought up in this connection. Whether one agrees or not with the motivations behind the assassination-Yitzchak Rabin was a very evil man who strengthened the arch-enemies of the Jewish nation by providing them with guns, land and morale.

    Let's take Rabin out of this conversation.

    Having said that I think that it is morally obtuse to refuse to condemn those who are abusing little school girls. HaRav Malinowitz, all of us-as good Jews-regardless of the color of our kippot must roundly condemn the outrageous actions of these nefarious characters. Thus, haredi rabbis should be issuing condemnations-because this is what good Jews do when faced with evil whether be it the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif or the issue at hand.

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  33. In case I did not make myslef clear-HaRav Malinowitz and other haredi rabbis should be condemning the actions of the child-abusing protesters not necessarily because he is haredi or in then ame of being haredi. They should issue condemnations simply because they are good Jews and this is what good Jews must do. Judaism must preempt "haredi" considerations.

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  34. The more I think about this exchange, the more flabbergasted I get.

    I have a few questions I'd like to ask the rav, maybe he can enlighten me with a new drash, because this attitude that he elucidated in his emails is something I've never encountered in a Jewish, let alone frum rav.

    1) If sinning is so obviously wrong, why do we need Elul? Sinning is wrong, we shouldn't sin! And if we do chas v'shalom sin, we should do teshuva right then and there. What is the point of having a whole month of thinking about teshuva? Isn't it obvious that it's wrong?

    2) and why does it have to be so noisy with the shofar and everything? It just draws such needless attention to a problem that just so obviously wrong!

    3) and if we spend a whole month doing teshuva, why do we need Rosh Hashana and such long davening for two more days? And more noisy shofar blowing drawing more needless attention to something we all know is is so obviously wrong.

    4) and then the 10 yimei teshuva, shabbat teshuva: Seriously, why are we rehashing the same message over and over when we all know SINNING IS WRONG.

    5) Yom Kippur: Again with the obvious.

    6) Finally, I really must know how the rav understands Sefer Yona. If sinning, again, is so obviously wrong, why did Hashem send Yona to them Ninveh to do teshuva. Why didn't these people know such an obvious thing?

    Can someone pass these along to the rav? TIA

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  35. I agree with David.

    Please Rav Malinowitz, please do issue a very public condemnation of these characters-not as a haredi rabbi, but as a good Jew.

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  36. I agree with David.

    Please Rav Malinowitz, please do issue a very public condemnation of these characters-not as a charedi rabbi, but as a good Jew.

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  37. Common refrain: "If there are moderate Palestinians/Arabs/Muslims, then why don't they condemn the terrorists? This shows that there are no moderates. They all support the terrorists." Has Rav Malinowitz ever said anything to this effect? (I'm not sure, has he?)

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  38. It seems to me that there must be a disconnect between Rabbi Malinowitz's positions and those of his congregants who seem to feel a greater need to denounce the evil ones.

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  39. Rav Malinowitz made his stand perfectly known by allowing this personal email exchange to be published and calling the people kooks over and over again.

    Only somebody blinded by their agenda could not see that Rav Malinowitz condemns these actions.

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  40. "Allowing" this e-mail to be published on this blog is far from being a public condemnation by Rav Malinowitz. More courage is required.

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  41. Why is a public condemnation so important? RM's position is clear: He condemns the violence of the kooks but he will not be the public voice of the DL community.

    Why is it a display of lack of courage by his not signing?

    ReplyDelete
  42. Then let him condemn in a forthright manner-not through an e-mail exchange whicch gets posted on a blog.

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  43. Let Rav Malinowitz condemn on behalf of himself as a community leader. Why this obsessive need to break everything down to whose "side" one's on, dati-leumi or charedi. This is worse than kindergarten.

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  44. Did I miss something? Who the heck asked RM to be the 'voice' of anyone?? Be a person, a man, a Rav, a LEADER and take a stand. Don't turn it into one camp or the other.

    For Torah's sake people!

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  45. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  46. In reading R. Malinowitz's email more carefully I noticed something which I truly find disgraceful. He said:

    "I am afraid I will not sign the petition ---because I will not be meshatef pe'ulah with people that I hold have a definite anti-chareidi agenda here, loving every minute of this,"

    This actually sickens me. We are defending our children against despicable acts by "kooks" (in and of itself a word that lessens the impact of what these creatures truly are and do) and R. Malinowitz has the audacity to turn it around and make us the bad guys! I am out there every freakin' day taking pictures, helping walk the kids to the bus, dodging eggs and I don't even have a child in that school. And despite this, whenever I talk about this with my children, or anyone, I am so careful to refer to the perpetrators as Kitzonim or Extremists. And this is the case with most people involved, the faculty of the school, and various leaders. And it is also evidenced in the Orot group on Facebook. "Loving every minute of it"? I invite R. Malinowitz to come out with us one afternoon and experience what a picnic this is.

    With thoughts like this, he might as well have been sitting on that Dais with Kupshitz and the rest of those clowns. In making this statement he's made himself part and parcel of the very concept he's railing against; painting our community with a single brush based his idea of what a few people think!

    R. Malinowitz said "I am not a communal leader. Nobody gives a hoot what I think." Well now I for one, totally agree with him. There are true Rabbinic leaders in Bet Shemesh, some of whom came to our rally. A rally, mind you, who's main purpose was to show the unity of Bet Shemesh, including Chareidim. It's time we took R. Malinowitz at his own word and not "give a hoot" what he thinks.

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  47. This seems to be a silly debate.
    on the one hand, people are rallying that the mainstream chareidim should condemn the actions of the kannoim.
    on the other hand Rav Malinowitz is saying that there is no reason that he should.
    I wonder, what is the point of condemning these guys? What would be helped? these guys have a long history of ignoring anybody that doesn't think like them. condemning them won't accomplish anything, as they would ignore completely what any rav said, claiming that they are influenced by the tziyonim, etc, etc.
    Rather the only thing that would be accomplished is to clarify to the non-chareidim what the mainstream chareidim think. Any average chareidi, despite perhaps agreeing with the argument that the school shouldn't be there, definitely looks down on guys throwing eggs and diapers and harrasing innocent school girls.
    Why should anybody come out and say publicly what they all feel, just because some other community came to the decision that all chareidim agree with the kannoim unless they say otherwise publicly. this understanding of the DL community is wrong and why are the chareidim mechuyav to rectify their wrong conclusion.

    Another note, as far as the officialy organized demonstration goes, I see it that they agree with the cause just not the means that the few daily demonstrators were using.
    Just because some individuals decided to move it towards a vulgar campaign, is not a reason to back down on the entire cause. perhaps this is what Rav Malinowitz was also explaining.
    I happened to drive by that hafganoh and was very impressed with the way the organizers were making sure that there was no one in the streets blocking traffic and starting up with the passing cars. i saw one guy physically pushing some kids back onto the sidewalk in a very hasty way, so as to avoid any appearance of violence.
    I also think that as far as the actual cause goes,(not the means) most chareidim agree to the side of the kannoim and have had their own issues with the same sort of thing in RBS A.

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  48. David R - About Rav Malinowitz's claims that the protesters have an anti charedi agenda

    I think it all depends on how you look at it. If you look at the current issues at Orot, then there is no anti-Charedi agenda (among the vast majority of protesters). All we want is for our kids to be able to go to school in peace and quiet.

    But if you look at the Orot protests as just a "battle" in the larger "war", then it definitely is anti-Charedi, because the "war" is to prevent the Charedim from taking over the entire city of Bet Shemesh. And to work toward preventing the Charedim from achieving their goal* is clearly anti-Charedi.


    * And they have good reasons for attaining this goal. They believe that they cannot raise their children with the proper level of insularity as long as DL (or Chiloni) people are living anywhere nearby.

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  49. Rav Malinowitz, condemnation is not necessary. Action is. As a Jew please take action to prevent little girls from being attacked by monsters. If this is not mandated by the Torah then what is?

    Please assist us in protecting innocent girls-nothing else is necessary.

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  50. to: ForTorah

    Tell the police to do that. That's what Rav Malinowitz suggested. Isn't that there job?

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  51. Mark, if what you say is true, I don't agree with those "good reasons". There are places that people who wish to be insular can live without having their sensibilities offended. Bet Shemesh was and is a mixed city. All types of Jews live here, and the hafgana tried to highlight that concept. No one group has any right to try to chase out others.

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  52. "Loving every minute of this"??? I guess I'm a little slow on the uptake, because in reading and thinking about the substance of what Rabbi Malinowitz was saying, I somehow overlooked how grossly insulting this is to everyone, or nearly everyone, who is aware of this terrible situation. I know I'm not loving every minute of this, and I doubt that any of the girls and boys at Orot are "loving every minute of this." Is there anybody out there who isn't deeply depressed and unhappy about this situation? Of all the incredible chutzpah, this statement, and this attitude, is really high up there.

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  53. Menachem,

    Look even closer. Rav Malinowitz places the blame for this on the protesters, not the kanoim.

    He has a less than pleasant tone for those on the Orot side of the issue:

    "That a few (hired, by the way) kooks who should be arrested and thrown in jail have managed to give a black eye to RBS and BS in the eyes of outside circles is entirely the fault of the people I refer to in my first sentence. They are kvelling at this opportunity to show "the true face of chareidi Jewry". And it is not the first time they have gone public to "expose chareidim"."

    "There is no greater polarization of the Jewish people that can be perpetrated than to demand that any chareidi must show that they do not approve of these hired kooks' actions. So much for the 'achdut' people."

    "I had and have no problem with people in my Shul going to Orot to try to minimize the girls being traumatized (although I have no personal knowledge if it was necessary; and also whether or not it exacerbated the situation). I had and have a huge problem if they "go as chareidim""

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  54. Baruch,

    I think that you and everyone else out there (particularly his kehilla) should read his comments closely.

    He is nasty and degrading to everyone.

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  55. robert,
    rav malinowitz is not saying that they are wrong for fighting the kannoim. he is saying that they are wrong for turning this into a chreidi dati leumi issue

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  56. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  57. Rafi,
    Whatever happened to: "No personal attacks, no disrespect"?

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  58. Anon,

    Where are the personal attacks or disrespect?

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  59. I noticed that I got one of the quotes wrong. (Wasn't reading the color coded version.) It wasn't R. Malinowitz who said, "I am not a communal leader. Nobody gives a hoot what I think." it was the questioner. That said, it really doesn't change much of what I was saying. This is extremely disappointing coming from someone who was once thought to be a man of reason and a communal leader.

    So sad...

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  60. Robert, if I look any closer I'll vomit on my monitor.

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  61. Robert,

    Um, let's see...

    "Rav M is suffering from a severe case of moral bankruptcy."

    "Of all the incredible chutzpah, this statement, and this attitude, is really high up there."

    "He is nasty and degrading to everyone."

    ReplyDelete
  62. those are now taken out of context,. they were part of analyzing and commenting on what Rav Malinowitz wrote.
    I have deleted the comments I foudn were meant to draw off-topic and that would lead to insults. These were small parts of greater analysis and commentary.

    I have found the analysis and discussion, from both sides, very interesting and reasonable.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Robert - I did look at the e-mail string more closely, and I agree with you. That's why I wrote what I did.

    Yankele - I think Rabbi Malinowitz is turning this into a Haredi/DL issue more than anyone else. You're right, it shouldn't be a Haredi/DL issue, it should be an issue of common decency and the right of all people to live in this community without harassment, versus harassment and violence to achive one's ends. I was at the achdut demonstration yesterday, and with the exception of one speaker, all emphasized that this is not a fight against haredim or any other group, its a fight for mutual respect and coexistence in this city. Moreover, I would be curious to know why you think that most haredim feel the school shouldn't be there. As far as I know, that location has been earmarked for Orot for many years. Why would most haredim object to the school being there? It's certainly not in the middle of a haredi neighborhood, as anyone who knows the geography of these neighborhoods can tell you. And even if it were, would that make it somehow illegitimate? And if so, does that give non-haredi neighborhoods the right to prevent haredi institutions from opening in their neighborhoods?

    ReplyDelete
  64. Those were just a few I found when skimming the comments. There are more.

    Anyway, just because they were commenting on what RM said, does that make it NOT a personal attack? NOT disrespectful?

    What exactly did you have in mind when you wrote that you would moderate out disrespectful comments and personal attacks?

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  65. if the comment would say, so and so is an egomaniac, so and so is a megalomaniac, so and so hates dati leumi, he protects molesters just like he protects the kannoim, etc. those would be personal attacks, especially if unconnected to the discussion.
    I cannot delete individual words (the system doesnt allow me that option) and I have to allow certain leeway as long as it is part of the conversation

    ReplyDelete
  66. Anon:

    How convenient to say that it is the job of the police to stop the harassment. But, the problem is that those monsters are yelling at and abusing the little girls with legal sanction. Imagine if leftist-homosexual protesters decided to hold a legal demonstration outside of Rav Malinowitz's house. Would he urge Jews of Ramat Beit Shemesh to complain to the police or would he encourage Jews to protect him from such harassment?

    Saying "leave it to the police" is a cop out. Rav Malinowitz, please take action.

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  67. boruch,
    as far as your first point, the very fact that there are demands that chareidi rabbonim have to come out publicly against these thugs, is the point that I was adressing.
    while that may not be what the organizers of the Orot protests were saying, that certainly has been brought up several times throughout this parsha in the various comment threads on Rafi's blog. As well that seemed to be the drift as I understood it of the person having the email exchange with the Rabbi.
    As far as your second point, I am not sure how long you are living in Beit Shemesh. However, those that have been living here since the start of Ramat Beit Shemesh, remember that the previous mayor, went out of his way to allocate buildings to school in a way that didn't represent the actual demographic map. starting with putting the etrog school in the middle of revivim and then tarbut haamimim and rappaport in the middle of sorek/uriya area, the list goes on. there was a deliberate effort to stick schools in the middle of chareidi communities that are not in line with the lifestyles of the neighbors.
    What happened at the area of the orot schools was part of this effort. while it can be rationally claimed that the area is not in a chareidi neighborhood, however, the fact is that this land was the only empty land adjacent to the chareidi community at the top of ramat beit shemesh bet.(there apaprently was some legal reasoning also that this land should have been servicing the adjoining buildings based on some rules with the kablanim- but i don;t completely remember the details anymore) the fact that the mayor decided to give the land to the dati leumi community is a struggle the most of the chareidi community identify with and struggle daily with the outcomes. (For example nachal sorek neighborhood has to deal with the girls from tarbut haamimim and revivim area have to deal with the girls from gilo and noga on nachal luz, both instances where the girls, while perhaps considered tzniusdik in their community are considered over the line for the neighbors' standards.

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  68. I think something needs to be stated here. No one is making this a DL/Ch issue except RM, and perhaps those that refuse to assist in the struggle. WHy won't the RBS list allow postings on the matter? It is a HUGE issue in the community- how can it be kept off lists?

    It becomes a DL/Ch issue the moment one looks around and sees that all the people protecting these girls/fighting these thugs are of one 'Sug'. Is it b/c they don't know? Well that goes back to the list/Rav issue. Appalling really, that moderator refuses to publish the issue and refuses to reveal who his posek is.

    Ironically, the 'charred' women of RBSA made a beautiful gesture towards the girls... so, is it an ego thing? A male thing? A male chredi thing? I don't know, but its sad, appalling and making me sick.

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  69. I'm not sure what action Rav Malinowitz should be expected to take. Yes, I think it would be wonderful if he and the other rabbis of Beit Shemesh would speak out forcefully against the extremists - those rabbis who haven't yet done so, I mean. But I don't think we should fool ourselves into thinking this would change much. In the long run, I think it might have some effect in isolating the extremists, which is why I think it is particularly important for haredi rabbis to speak up - because the extremists wouldn't even begin to take most Dati Leumi rabbis seriously, but rabbis in the haredi "camp" might have some influence, however slight. But we shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking any of this would make much difference. I think the most important reason for rabbis to speak out is so that our children won't grow up thinking that rabbis are hatemongers who encourage violence. People might mock such this notion, but I think it is a real consideration. And, sorry to bring the Rabin assassination up again, but I think this is the exact reason why many (dafka) Dati Leumi rabbis were forceful in denouncing the assassination - for chinuch, and also because we all have to live together in the same country, and sometimes, a leader has to be contrite about something that he or she may feel no need to be contrite about, on behalf of his or her community, in order to respect the feelings of others and to show that religious Jews do not condone evil things done in the name of Torah.

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  70. Did you just say 'deal with girls?' The only 'girls' men have to deal with is their mother, wife or daughters.

    Everyone else is on YOU to 'avoid'.

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  71. Shoshanna - actually the OROT parents made it a haredi DL issue by demanding the haredim support them. Rav Malinowitz only continued it by saying he doesnt see the need to.

    As far as the email list, I understand him completely (I am a backup moderator of the other rbs list, so i know how this works). The list is not meant ot be a place for discussion. when it is allowed to be used in that way, it often gets out of hand, and then the moderator has to figure otu where to cut it, which inevitably leads to him being insulted as if he is limiting people's free speech. It is simpler to just say no discussion at all. lists are for announcements.

    Had the email sender sent a list announcing a hafgana, I am sure it would have been allowed. It is only because they tried to post commentary and thoughts that it was disallowed.

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  72. Rafi-

    I didn't see the original request to Rav M. Until then, I don't see how they made it a Dl/Ch issue

    List- the person was trying to say what a beautiful thing was done by the women, and in any case, I maintain my stand.

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  73. anon - I have been thinking about that some more. I should be clearer. thos ecomments were made (as part of greater context) in response to somethign directly written by Rav M. They are not personal attacks but responses to thigns he wrote.
    I read his words differently, didnt understand what those commenters understood, but I am not in their shoes. People who are DL, have kids in the school, live in that area, will be more sensitive to the issue and they read in certain sentences things that brought out those comments. I dont consider those personal attacks.

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  74. shoshanna - regarding the list, as I said, that is commentary. I can understand him not allowing it (even if I would have decided differently).

    the demand was made of all the rabbonim, and of all the haredi community, and it was repeated many times. You are on the FB page. How many times do people ask where were the moderate haredim, how come they arent showing support, which haredi rabbonim spoke about it, etc. It was made into a haredi issue, rightfully or wrongfully.

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  75. Maybe instead of this pointless back and forth we should go to him with our concerns and ask him to come to school and make his own decision. without labels.

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  76. Sruli - Bet Shemesh was and is a mixed city.

    This is absolutely correct, but it appears to be changing. When RBS was in the process of being built, it was specified to be 1/3 Chiloni, 1/3 Dati Leumi, and 1/3 Charedi. And it was marketed that way - I heard it many times from almost all the kablanim and others (including all the media at the time). This was in 1997. Sure enough, the first few folks that moved in were mixed, not quite 1/3, but a few Chilonim, a bunch of Dati Leumi, and a bunch of Charedim. But since then, which population has Bet Shemesh/RBS attracted most? After a few years, it was obvious that RBS would be majority Charedi. At that time, some people quietly suggested that RBS become a city of its own, separate from BS. This was when there was still some distance (empty area) between BS and RBS. Apparently, at that time the government didn't support "many smaller cities" (especially ones that would require additional govt assistance due to lower average tax revenue), but was in the mindset of "larger, planned cities" (like Modiin, for example). So that idea never gained traction.

    Does anyone have figures for the growth (Chiloni, DL, Charedi, etc) in BS/RBS over the last few years?

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  77. "For example nachal sorek neighborhood has to deal with the girls from tarbut haamimim and revivim area have to deal with the girls from gilo and noga on nachal luz, both instances where the girls, while perhaps considered tzniusdik in their community are considered over the line for the neighbors' standards."

    Yankele hopefully you can pass this on to your neighbors, but there is no Israeli law that guarantees that a community, whatever they believe in, will not have to "deal" with others who "cross the line" over their "standards" by strolling through their neighborhoods. You and your neighbors really need to learn this lesson well, as this seems to be what the previous mayor was trying to teach you.

    And if the current violence somehow justifies this bitterness over crossed standards and lost land, think about how that reflects on your standards and community.(it being Elul and all). I'll give you a hint: not very well.

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  78. Disappointed, but not deterredSeptember 26, 2011 6:07 PM

    I have read all these comments with great interest, as a former BTYA member, who left for many of the above reasons. It is very strange to me and to many other ex-members that on several occasions, Rav M has taken a hardline Haredi attitude, while politically enforces a DL agenda in the shul. His recent (and often unpopular) kashrut watchdog is run by Yechiel Spira, who is Dati-Leumi, the Rav's erstwhile sidekick is allowed to push Manhigut Yehudit as a political option in shul ( heaven knows how disgusted Moshe Feiglin would be if he saw the shul's attitude towards the Orot girls). Gimmel politics is not the prevailing voice in BTYA. MY is and that is certainly pro-army and more Dati Leumi. Members were exhorted to join Gush Katif protests-something that Gimmel was opposed to. Slifkin's books were praised, not burned, once again-against mainstream Haredi lines. All this leads to rather a mixed up and confusing religious/political mishmash where on one week the shul is strongly Zionist and the other black hat. How can a Slifkin supporter side with the extremist elements in the RBS mikve debacle? How can a Feiglin supporter tell his members to vote for Abutbol? The situation is at its best confusing, at its worst-positively dangerous. The Rav proclaims to be Hardal-his words, but educates his own children in the "old-country" style. The members were urged to follow the DL, not the Haredi minhagim during shmitta. members have been unfortunate witnesses to outbursts and scandalous lectures (eg-the womens' closed talk about forbidding the reportng of child abuse). Rav Kornfeld we can understand-he is consistent in his Haredi attitude and expect nothing else, but Rav M is an enigma. He writes for Chodosh, but sends articles from the New York Times to his members. You're getting the picture. Only pressure from the Shul Board ( which won't happen) to clarify and cement the shul's official hashkafa will make any difference. Meanwhile, this debate is pointless and members will continue to seek warmer leadership in other shuls.

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  79. Disappointed - just to add to the confusion on one of your points, while pulling a DL line, it was only partial. Rav M supported Otzar Haaretz, but he conditioned it only on them allowing his guy to be able to have access to their system and see what goes on, and he would send out an approved list, as he might not have approved of their process on every item.
    I remember he said that ehile he holds their system is correct, their method of psak is not our method of psak and therefore he wanted that extra level of supervision, of someone from "our world" (so to speak)..

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  80. [I've avoided discussing R' Malinowitz's response up to this point, and I don't plan to start now. But on a specific point...]

    I thought that R' Malinowitz's issue with Otzar Haaretz was on the southern boarder, where OHA put the border for halachic EY to be further North than RCZM thought, and so he only wanted products from the southern part of the negev.

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  81. It seems that in recent years many have "caught on" regarding the extremist insanity and have begun gravitating towards more normal hashkafot such as those espoused by Rav Chaim Soloveichik and Rabbi Haber.

    Their supporters grow by the day.

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  82. I was just thinking. Imagine if the Mishna/Gamara had allowed anonymous commenting.... would look something like... a Bet Shemsh blog, with everyone their opinion mattered even when they wouldn't put their name to it.

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  83. Disappointed -

    What's wrong with taking what you like from each segment of the religious spectrum and leaving what you disagree with?

    You might call it confused. Others might call it the best of all worlds.

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  84. To Disappointed -

    It's only confusing if you label everything with teams and make people choose all one or the other.

    Maybe that's part of his point here re the polarizing.

    I'm curious to see the 2nd part of his Orot article.

    Not Solly

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  85. To Shoshanna who wrote
    (I am personally shocked that his own kehilla has not demanded a position- does anyone know if they have?)


    I have two suggestions. 1 being that his kehilla might not care. maybe they dont see it as affecting them and are not interested or are happy to stay on the sidelines. and the second being maybe they are afraid of what he might say so they prefer to leave it ambiguous.

    And I suspect the reality might be a combination of the two.

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  86. R' Malinowitz' comments are mean and condescending to all of us who have united against the crazy terrorists in RBS-B. We are not all ant-chareidi and the bad reputation that RBS is receiving due to these events is not the fault of anybody aside from the "kooks" AND the chareidi leaders who have failed to condemn them. Rav Malinowitz wants to blame the entire world for the bad reputation that chareidim have-- but if every chareidi leader would get up and state that they are against what is going on, they would marginalize the kooks and we would stop looking to the chareidi leadership to explain what is going on. Instead, R' Malinowits doesn't "want to play that game" and instead he wants to further the confusion and mistrust by remaining silent on the matter. Well, he knows more torah than I do, but i know enough to say that shtika k'hodaa dami. So the more silent people like him will be, the more noise people like me will make. And yes, that noise will implicate both the crazy perps and the leaders of their ideology.

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  87. Eitan,

    Who are you or anybody else to tell Rabbi Malinowitz and the other "chareidi" rabbi's what to do.

    Is it at all ambiguous that Rabbi Malinowitz is against their actions. Did you even bother to read what he wrote? Or did you just want to get on the band wagon and create more hate and division?

    Finally, what evidence do you have that these people would stop if every Rav came out and said "Stop." Rabbi Malinowitz, who surely understands these people more than you or most of the posters here clearly stated that in his opinion they never have nor ever will listen to the Chareidi gedolim.

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  88. Mark - your information seems correct. However, my point remains. No group should be chasing out another group. If the demographic changes, so be it. But it shouldn't change because of intimidation and intolerance. A changing demographic is no excuse for this behavior, which is reprehensible.

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  89. Expecting MoshiachSeptember 26, 2011 7:44 PM

    The purpose of the 'mainstream' chareidim coming out publicly against the "kooks" is NOT that the kooks will listen to them.

    It's reasonable to assume they've never heard of R.Malinowitz, nor do they care what he says.

    HOWEVER, the population who have heard of R.Malinowitz, and who do consider him a significant voice, would get chizuk from hearing him publicly denounce the kooks, and support the Orot girls, in clear and unambiguous language.

    They would also appreciate Moshiach, bimheira veyameinu.

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  90. Would you expect RM to publicly denounce the Kooks that went to Iran to meet Achmedinijad?Probably not!!! right
    Well guess what ? they are the same people!!!!!!

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  91. Moshiach,

    Did you even bother to read the original email. Rav Malinowitz clearly denounces their actions.

    You can't get much more public than allowing them as part of a private email conversation to be posted on the internet.

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  92. Guys,

    This horse is dead, bloodied, mutilated and picked apart by scavengers. If the Rav cannot see the importance of standing together, and showing his flock the importance of supporting the wider community- all of this dialogue is moot.

    It seems that a pissing contest takes precedence over the real issue here.

    sad.

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  93. this is to the person that responded to my post but refused to state their name: I love all jews and harbor no hate towards the chareidi community. How dare you accuse me of anything. you don't know me. I read his entire email before it was even posted on facebook or this blog.

    I get sick when so-called leaders of klal yisrael hide behind excuses rather than stand up and make a statement. More than a dozen very prominant leaders and rabbis spoke in their shuls and attended the mass rally last night. They stated publicy that they denounce violence. And they ALL also stated that this is about achdut and peace, not about blaming chareidim. Rav Malinowitz (and a couple others) have been slinking in the shadows and just take pot-shots at us when we bother to ask them for their opinion. If you are a leader of klal yisrael, you have an obligation to take a stand against an injustice that is occuring in your own backyard. If you can't do that, then please step down.

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  94. Where is Rav Malinowitz's proof that those who attended the demonstration went in order to bash charedim? There is none and he has spread lashon hara.

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  95. "I had and have no problem with people in my Shul going to Orot to try to minimize the girls being traumatized (although I have no personal knowledge if it was necessary"

    He has no personal knowledge if it was necessary? then get some personal knowledge! Get yourself over there and see for yoouself! You seem to have insider information about these kooks-- thay they have been "hired" to terrorize little girls (i have been following this saga from the first day and this is the first time that I have seen this claim) yet you aren't sure if these girls need protection? You admitted that you saw the videos of the kooks doing their stuff... yet you claim to not have personal knowledge of weater or not they need protection/support? You should be ashamed of yourself. The only person playing games here is you and what is at stake in this game is the reputation of RBS and chareidim in general. So stop blaming others for your problem and get up and go over to orot banot and see for yourself. If your daughter attended the school would you so casually dismiss what is going on? Would you glibly state that you have no knowledge of what is going on over there?

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  96. First of all, Rafi deserves big thanks for hosting and monitoring this important blog and fundamental topics, like this post. So thanks! I have read all the comments, and have figured out how to succinctly answer virtually ALL of your problems with RM and his email.

    The answer is - is that RM is not 100% chareidi. He, along with his community, walks the tightrope between dati leumi and chareidi; between modern orthodox and ultra-orthodox. He sits in the middle. And that is his frustration and the source for the readers here to demand that he address this issue.

    We are demanding answers and/or condemnation from RM, but no one really cares about mainstream chareidi rabbis addressing the issue. Because we all know, deep down, that they agree with the radical chareidim. Whether they agree or disagree with the tactics is one thing - but the underlying problem felt by the radical chareidim is agreed upon with all mainstream chareidim. Some like the tactics and some don’t. But the tactics often get the job done...so all look the other way.

    The problem with RM is that he is modern and sympathizes a lot with the dati leumi. He sympathizes with those that appreciate modern values. And I will prove it.

    The definition of chareidi is the philosophical subscription to da’as torah and is apathetic at best to the state of Israel. It is not being stricter with halacha…or the Rav Kook guys would be chareidi. It is not female tzenius…because then all Moriah mothers would be chareidi and none of the Magen Avos mothers. I can go on and on.

    And RM does NOT believe in daas torah. He believes that he has the right to disagree with the gedolim, as he often does. He also believes in that the state of Israel and our responsibility as citizens to take action to protect it. The one proof for both issues is that he does not vote with the gedolim. And he encourages his congregants to defy the gedolim when it comes to voting in politics. This fact and reality places his outside the charedi camp. And the irony is that the concept of daas torah actually originates from politics and voting from Eastern Europe when the Agudah ruled small towns under certain agreements with their host countries, mainly Poland. In order to control the votes, Rabbis created daas torah and based it on certain gemaras that talk about listening to rabbis outside the purview of halacha.

    So the secret is out. RM is not chareidi. But he needs to be positioned as chareidi, for local needs, schools, certain local politics, etc. This is why he is the only chareidi rabbi that desperately tries to convince his congregants and himself that he is in fact chareidi. How many times was the word “chareidi” mentioned and coveted in this little email exchange? Why is he so much more adamantly against and work so much harder to distance himself from more dati leumi organizations like Lemaan Achai? Because he is drawn to it, his community is drawn to it and he wants to protect his reputation that he has been trying to build in RBS for the past many years as a chareidi rabbi.

    But I know the secret.

    Think about it. He won’t side with the dati leumi because the dati leumi don’t want to side with the chareidim? So he will only be happy if his congregants side with the dati leumi if they go as dati leumi and not chareidi, because he doesn’t want the have a joint message with the dati leumi and the chareidi together, since the dati leumi are too divisive. Really? Did anyone by that? He NEEDS to continue the split between chareidi and dati leumi – more than any other rabbi in town. He is probably the only shul rabbi where it is in his direct interest to continue the split and fights between dati leumi and chareidi, since that is the only way to convinse the world that he is in fact chareidi…but we all know now that he is not.

    Got it?

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  97. Wow-amazing answer. To summarize-a therapist may be necessary.

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  98. That's not a secret. Most of those born and raised as Americans, and especially those that grew up in MO communities, will never be chareidi by Israeli standards no matter how hard they try. That's why they sometimes overcompensate.

    Alternatively, he is trying to maintain the unique RBS niche of pretending that you can live in Israel without having to be "tainted" by Israeli culture. This exchange, by the way, proves that it's impossible.

    Understanding the reason doesn't make it less contemptible though.

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  99. Duh, no chiddushim there, re RM's hashkafa. Indeed, "Disappointed" pointed that out a few comments back, followed by Rafi and Benjamin.

    Also, I fail to grasp the logic behind your assertion that RM "NEEDS" the split between the two groups. Please elaborate.

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  100. What is amazing is that so many people that have absolutely nothing to do with Rav Malinowitz or his kehilla spend so much time and energy being consumed by what he thinks and does or doesn't do and how to label him ....

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  101. See, there is the difference. We see us as all one community, to be for and with one another. Clearly, you see us as different entities. Why is that? And why not post who you are. Integrity means so much don't you think?

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  102. Actually, what bothers me most is not what he thinks but that many people I know respect him, and it makes me question them.

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  103. Shoshana - what's your last name? Remember, integrity.

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  104. Look back a few guest posts. Its right there. Your turn :)

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  105. David - that was a very interesting analysis. I have no idea whether it is accurate or not, or how accurate, but it was very interesting

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  106. I know Rav Malinowitz fairly well and while I have a number of concerns, I don't think that David's analysis is correct. Rav M. couldn't care less what other people think of him (which is both an advantage and disadvantage). He doesn't change his image to suit others.

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  107. Commenter Abbi said...

    1) there is no Israeli law that guarantees that a community, whatever they believe in, will not have to "deal" with others who "cross the line" over their "standards" by strolling through their neighborhoods.

    2)And if the current violence somehow justifies this bitterness over crossed standards and lost land, think about how that reflects on your standards and community.

    my response to you is
    1)obviously there is no law to prevent it and no in those neighborhoods are doing anything proactive to prevent it. however, the point is that people should be allowed to create enclaves that are in the general wants of their community, as long as legal means are applied. the previous mayor went out of his way to prevent that. this is the root of many of the problems here.
    2)i din't say that the current violence justifies anything. i was explaining to a previous commentator why most of the chareidim agree with the idea and frustration behind the kannoim's fight with Orot, at the same time that they DISAGREE with the means.

    These are the facts on the ground. Clearly Vaknin has accomplished frustrating the chareidi community long after he has left office. A little care and forsight would have avoided all these issues.

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  108. Commenter Abbi said...

    1) there is no Israeli law that guarantees that a community, whatever they believe in, will not have to "deal" with others who "cross the line" over their "standards" by strolling through their neighborhoods.

    2)And if the current violence somehow justifies this bitterness over crossed standards and lost land, think about how that reflects on your standards and community.

    my response to you is
    1)obviously there is no law to prevent it and no in those neighborhoods are doing anything proactive to prevent it. however, the point is that people should be allowed to create enclaves that are in the general wants of their community, as long as legal means are applied. the previous mayor went out of his way to prevent that. this is the root of many of the problems here.
    2)i din't say that the current violence justifies anything. i was explaining to a previous commentator why most of the chareidim agree with the idea and frustration behind the kannoim's fight with Orot, at the same time that they DISAGREE with the means.

    These are the facts on the ground. Clearly Vaknin has accomplished frustrating the chareidi community long after he has left office. A little care and forsight would have avoided all these issues.

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  109. Given the thousands of charedi Pashkevils that are posted about all sorts of subjects daily in charedi neighborhoods across Israel,are there Pashkevils appearing about this situation in RMS?

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  110. Menachem - thank you for articulating so perfectly how I, too, feel about the situation.

    As a recipient of yesterday's "tistalki (in the singular form) mi'po", "shikse", "tishteki" - following my question to the vocal leader "ulai maspik kvar?" - I can testify, like Menachem and anyone else who is there almost daily, that it ain't no fun at all. It hurts, is humiliating and creates a sadness that lingers all day. The good part, at least with regard to yesterday, is that the girls were not involved whatsoever.

    I admire the dignified, analytical discourse carried out by all of you - and thanks, too, Shoshanna, for offering a woman's perspective so thoroughly and wisely - I can't join, since I feel I'm way way beyond rational, open-minded thinking at this point. I am hurt and frankly, and this is a new emotion for me, I am feeling hate.
    What a way to enter Yamim Noraim...

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  111. Rachely-

    I had decided not to post any more comments, but your words drew me in. Thank you for sharing what I think is an excellent point and one that needs to be heard.

    Rav Malimowitz, if you are listening, and I believe you are: We've never met, and I don't know you personally, I can only tell you that as someone living in Alef, who has been following this since day one- I hate them for bringing hate into my heart. These people are destroying the idealism and the ahavat chinam that we all made aliya with.

    These behaima thugs are taking from the children of Orot & the neighborhoods in which it resides, their innocence, their security, comfort and trust, They are terrorizing the children & adults who work and learn and love in this country.

    Screw the stupid 'he said', 'she said' garbage. We need to come together and fight this rag tag army of bullies. ALL of us, centered around what is decent and what is not.

    Its not a political thing. Its a very basic right and wrong. as a communal leader it is your duty to state unequivocally that they are wrong and that you stand with all decent people against them.

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  112. Someone else above mentioned this already an I want to take it one step further possibly. Rav Malinowitz clearly stated in te exchange what he thinks of these people he just didn't say it in the exact words YOU want him to say it. He has a fine line to deal with and it has to be respected and understood that his allowing the exchange to be published is possibly his way of making his stance public re: the kooks! Just because he's not out at a mixed hafgana doesnt mean he doesn't believe that what the kooks are doing is absolutely wrong!

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  113. I promised myself no more comments, but what the heck. Just want to say that in my opinion, the "mishmosh" hashkafa at Beit Tefilla is a credit to Rav Malinowitz, who takes an independent line on each issue. I think the world could use more of this, not less. I think his support of Otzar HaAretz was courageous, not to mention correct. I still vehemently disagree with the sentiments the Rav expressed in the e-mail that started this whole thread, but courage and independence are traits that should be praised, not criticzed, and I don't think Rav Malinowitz lacks either of these traits. (I sure hope nobody else is still up reading this!)

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  114. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  115. I don't see how making a statement that effectively says 'not in our name' gives ammunition to those who hate the charedim.
    Seems to me that not saying anything seems to allow us to be all lumped as 'kooks'.

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  116. Former BTYA MemberSeptember 27, 2011 7:38 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  117. Part of the problem with all of the religious camps (Rav Malinowitz is only one small example in how his "harediism" prevents him from seeing the justice in the dati leumi fight against the evil ones) is that the search for truth on any given issue is not of the utmost importance. Each camp seeks to justify post facto their long-held practices, approaches, and opinions often based on tribal\hashkafic biases without bothering to critically examine them.

    Rav David Bar-Hayim offers a third way:

    www.machonshilo.org

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  118. yankele rbs'er,

    There's no question that a huge part of the blame for this can be laid at the doorstep of whoever allowed the buildings along Herzog to become inhabited by Yerushalmies. Had RBS B ended at the ravine down the hill instead of Herzog there would have been a wide natural barrier and those folks would be happy wallowing in their xenophobic Shangra La. But that is all water under the bridge. As much as the folks who live in the Resido area would like to believe they live in an "enclave", they do not, and never will. They are on a border. The school is just one issue of many. They will have to learn to live with female joggers, Torani schools, and teens walking together. THAT is a fact. If they can't deal with that they should leave. And frankly our goal should be to "encourage" anyone who can't live in a mixed environment to find more suitable accommodations.

    Frankly, it's beyond me how people who are so sensitive to their surroundings would have moved here in the first place. (Of course their is the rumor that some extremists were davka subsidized to live here to mark their turf.)

    Another reality of this current situation is that it's not really about an extreme view of Tzniut. It's about the school itself. (Proof of this is that they also went nuts when the boys' school opened 4 years ago.)

    These people are desperate for new schools and rather than wait their turn for their own new buildings they are attempting to "cut in line" to steal a building from another community that was in the works before ground was even broken on their "enclave".

    Again, let's remember, as Rabbi Malinowitz said, these are hired thugs, but they've been hired by someone to achieve a goal. And it's to that end, that ALL leaders of conscience should speak out. Rabbis in this community are not shy about lecturing on injustices and giving mussar about bad behavior.

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  119. I am posting anonymously for reasons of privacy,

    1. I agree 100% with Rav Malinowitz's approach of not getting involved. I don't understand why one would expect him to condemn the hooligans: it would be like him condemning Palestinian terrorists.

    2. Some background on Rav Malinowitz. In his years as a dayan, he had many run ins with kanaim, from the Kotler get to the get meuseh story in Satmar. His Beis Din was called a "Beis Din Chatzuf" by the late Satmerer Rebbe. These battles brought him harrassing phone calls, threats of violence, and many other unpleasantries You can understand why , at this stage of life, he has no interest in confronting the kanaim.

    3. One point I would mention is that he is largely unaware of the internal dynamics of the Yerushalmi tzibur. As I mentioned to Rafi in an email -- this will probably give away my identity; please don't give me up! -- these are not by any means hired goons. The hooligans are motivated by politics and ego. They happen to be reimbursed for their expenses (printing pashkevillin, etc), but this is not a money making enterprise.

    4. I think the Dati and Modern Charedi communities are making a big, biy mistake by focusing on the Rav, who is so far removed from the hooligans, and instead should put pressure on the real source/s of this evil in this city, that is, the Rabbis who actively and tacitly support this stuff.

    5. If anyone out there can put financial and legal pressure (through the Rasham Hamutot, for example) on the Charedi organizations that support the violence, that would be a positive step.

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  120. I couldn't agree more with Menachem's last post. It's about the building, period. RM wasn't being asked to get involved to stop the kannoim, nor to give chizuk to the Orot families. RM was really being asked where he stands on the who-should-have-the-building issue. His refusal to take a stance indicates not a deficiency in courage but his agreement with the heart of the fight. He may or may not agree with their methods (regardless of what he wrote in his email, he has publicly stated in another context that he is not averse to using illegal means to achieve his desired ends, which in that context directly places children in danger) but he certainly agrees with their position. Period. Now you know where he stands and the members of his kehilla now have to deal with the broader implications.

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  121. Chareidi Observer:

    1. I don't agree. While our extremists certainly behave like terrorists, your example regarding Rabbi M. and PA terrorists is invalid since, as far as I know, PA terrorists are not dressing as nor identifying themselves hashkafically as Jews, orthodox Jews, or Chareidim.
    2. Nobody said he should "fight" them. Just support those who are.
    3. Interesting, but there is other information to the contrary regarding pay.
    4. I think a lot of the focus on Rabbi M. came AFTER he published his 1/2 article in Chadash. I didn't really care what he had to say before that.
    5. Good idea. One reason we need to boycott Eidah Kashrut.

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  122. Anyone who does not see this incident as being a springboard for anti-Charedi propaganda is not living in Israel 2011. The parents/other people have been interviewed on national radio a number of times in clearly anti-Charedi tilted contexts. All of the coverage in the secular media has had a clear agenda
    I think Rav M's point is clear and very cogent: If we as Charedim decry this phenomenon, it is as if we are saying: yes, there is a problem in the Charedi world that causes these types of things to happen. We messed up, sorry. Rav M is saying: This is NOT a Charedi phenomenon, these are some wierd people who have serious problems. If the debate were not phrased (maybe not by the Orot parents, but by the secular media) as an anti-Charedi issue, I'm sure Rav M would have an easier time condemning it

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  123. When there is a will....September 27, 2011 1:07 PM

    straIt is not genuine to claim that these monsters are not a charedi issue. There is a sizeable percentage in the charedi world who at least sympathize with the kannaim as people who "get the job done" regarding issues which are perceived as important. Further, the fact that these guys aren't quelled by the charedi community which is otherwise disciplined in enforcing "the rules" on members of the charedi community speaks volumes.

    Violence is a tool which various sectors of the charedi world are more than willing to use, sometimes justifiably, for example to force a man to give his wife a get.

    They could quell these monsters rather swiftly if there were enough of a desire. When there is a will there is a way...

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  124. True Jewish LeadershipSeptember 27, 2011 1:11 PM

    Upset about Rabbi Malinowitz's attitude? Then, show support for those rabbis such as Rav Chaim Soloveichik who has a very different attitude.

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  125. "To my mind,this is like demanding that every Italian condemn bank robbery after the Mafia pulls off a job. That every Russian condemn murder after the Russian mafia has someone killed. That every Jew condemn financial fraud after Bernard Madoff was arrested. That every white condemn the KKK after they burn a cross on a black's lawn."
    ******************************
    This is the mentality that allows pedophiles to go unreported and unstopped.

    Very much like Germans not condemning the Nazis actions.

    We take no responsibility for the evil amongst us. They are not our problem, and they don't represent us in any way.

    But what does the rest of the world say? "That charedi extremists are having a turf war against religious zionists." The world lumps all the charedim together. It is therefore the charedim's responsibility to distance themselves from, and condemn such violence. Otherwise, they are guilty by association.

    More so, for every child or person that has been hurt, harassed, or humiliated in any way by these "kooks", those charedim who don't protest against this violence (or get their fellow charedim under control) are guilty of standing idly by.

    Not a good way to go into RH.

    Rocky www.shomrimyeladim.com

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  126. Another insight:If Rav Malinowitz were afraid that condemning the monsters would "play into the hands" of those who say that this is a charedi issue (which it is) then he could condemn while at the same time proclaiming:"These monsters have no right to call themsleves charedi" That could even be the headline. Nu, Rav Malinowitz, could you agree to this suggestion?

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  127. Wait, so some group that wants the school to move hires "kooks" to harass and intimidate little kids. It just so happens that the hareidi Mayor instantly throws up his hands (a gesture that means "look, I have cover") and capitulates in the face of this violence and threats. Then a totally unrelated hareidi group convenes a peaceful protest with the same goal of having the school moved - but we should not think that there is any relationship between the hiring of kooks, the Mayor's capitulation, and the subsequent protest?!

    And of course signing a statement condemning violence and harassment "as a hareidi" is impossible because it is tantamount to admitting collective hareidi guilt!

    Not only that, but no hareidim should show signs of support for Orot "as hareidim."

    I don't live in BS, but I can detect it pretty easily.

    The bottom line is that protecting hareidi unity and interests and long-term goal of making RBS a safe place to raise children free from the insidious influence of OTHERS is much more important than fostering a community where people of different stripes can coexist with a modicum of public civility.

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  128. I want to ask a sincere Mechila if I've upset anyone here in any way. May we all be zoche to a year of peace, health and prosperity- us and Klal Yisroel.

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  129. what I don't get is why it is ok for some to be anti-dati leumi, anti-modern orthodox, anti-"moderate haredi" (whatever that is), anti-chiloni, anti-anybody not charedi, but as soon as somebody is anti-charedi (not saying anybody here is, but the conversation relayed in the post discusses that possibility) they suddenly lose all legitimacy and have to be written off? While at the same time being anti-dati leumi is ok.

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  130. "Polarization" is being used by the Rabbi as axiomatically evil. I think this usage is self-serving. Here we are suggesting that moderate charedim unite in opposition to religious extremism and violence. Indeed, to do so would be to "polarize" the extremists and distance the moderates from said extremism. I submit that his type of "polarization" is to be aspired to rather than condemned.

    IOW, the Rabbi is trying to have it both ways. On the one hand, he states that the violent zealots are "kooks", which is to imply that they are far removed from his familiar moderate American Haredi milieu. On the other, he insists that no Haredim protest as Haredim because this will be divisive to his community.

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  131. Upon further consideration, I find the Rabbi's position even less satisfying.

    Yes, the anti-religious / anti-chareidi camp will seek to "score points" on the back of the Orot issue. Hey - that's the way politics works. Advocates of whatever political position will use whatever means available to advance their cause. Certainly, advocates of chareidi positions do exactly the same thing.

    Are there no circumstances EVER that would allow for the Rabbi to find common cause with the chareidi opponents? And if not the OROT cause, then what pray tell?

    The Rabbi implies that he simply declines to "play the game" and thereby deny the anti-religious points earned. Whether or not this is accurate or reasonable we can debate. Nonetheless, the cost in terms of discrediting his position as a "moderate" is real and I would say quite high.

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  132. I found a song that expresses the Rabbi's sentiments quite well. Here's the lyrics:


    Well you can tell ev'ryone I'm a down disgrace
    Drag my name all over the place.
    I don't care anymore.
    You can tell ev'rybody 'bout the state I'm in
    You won't catch me crying 'cos I just can't win.
    I don't care anymore I don't care anymore

    I don't care what you say
    I don't play the same games you play.

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