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Sep 27, 2011

Response To Claim of Anti-Haredi Sentiments Among Organizers

A Guest Post by Rabbi Dov Lipman

Bio: Rebbi, author, lecturer, and community activist who has been working to help unify and maintain the peace between communities and populations in Bet Shemesh.

My entire community was unfairly, unjustly, wrongly, and irresponsibly accused of something on this post and a response is in order. Because it is right before Rosh Hashana, I will avoid the approach of stinging, personal attacks. I will stick just to the facts.

The communities of Sheinfeld and Nofei Aviv have just experienced one of the most devastating months in their histories with little girls being called "shiksa" and "prutza" by grown men on a daily basis, having to dodge eggs and tomatoes being thrown at them, and having to fear that a bag of human feces could be lobbed into their school yard during any recess. The suggestion was made that all of us are "loving every minute of this" because it enables us to act on our anti-Chareidi feelings.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, much of our devastation comes specifically because we respect the Chareidi community so much!

It is true that we are suffering emotionally and the this emotional damage has expressed itself with little Jewish girls having nightmares, experiencing bed wetting, and waking up with stomach pains. Without in any way belittling that, this is not what has been most devastating to us. Even more devastating has been the spiritual damage!

How has this month hurt our communities spiritually you ask? We have always taught our children embrace all Jews including Chareidim. But children cannot differentiate between the hooligans who are terrorizing them and every other Chareidi they see on the street. When we drive up Nahar Yarden they actually ask: "Are those good guys or bad guys?" Even I have seen children cross to the other side of the street when they see me approaching in my hat and jacket until they realize, as one remarked, "phew, it's just Dov." And, we as adults are also confused. Is it just a small group of 20 guys who come out daily to terrorize the children? But 50 came out just today to swarm one of our grandfathers who was caught in a spontaneous hooligan riot!
400 came out to support the goons last week! Some major Rabbis signed a letter calling us very horrible names. Do their students and congregants who number in the thousands also side with the thugs? No one knows who is what any longer? And this turns us into people who fear and lack trust for fellow Jews, a real spiritual deficiency in our eyes.

Without us as parents saying one negative word, our children have lost that love for all Jews in the last month and now suspect that every Chareidi looking person may hurt them. We have lost the comfort of giving all Chareidim rides and generously giving them tzedaka when they come to our doors.

How dare anyone suggest that we "love every minute of this." This is torture for us as parents and is devastating for our childrens' souls.

Despite all the pain and confusion, we worked so hard to organize a unity rally the other night. During that rally it was emphasized over and over again that this was not anti-Chareidi and specifically against those who were threatening and violent. And yet we are accused of being "anti-Chareidi?" This really is a crazy world where people can convince themselves that black can be white and white can be black.

Our communities have been crying to hear the Chareidi Rabbis say something against these thugs and goons because we so badly WANT to continue loving all Jews as we always have. Hearing those comforting words would reassure us of regarding that which is not so obvious in these dark days and would help give us the strength we need to help our children (and ourselves) through these difficult spiritual times.

But, instead, first we heard the sound of silence, a sound that is more confusing and devastating than the accuser can ever imagine. But following the sound of silence we heard the "explanation" for the silence which was simply painful, hurtful, and false!

On behalf of our communities, I call on the accuser you to please retract that horrific charge against our community and to understand why a letter signed by CHAREIDI Rabbis is so critical. Had he seen the faces of the girls when the righteous, sensitive, caring, and loving CHAREIDI women sent them flowers he would understand how much that letter would mean to the children and
the adults.

May that retraction and, hopefully an apology to the thousands of Jewish people he branded so maliciously and falsely serve as a merit for all of us to be blessed with a year in which Hashem truly does remove all "strife" and "sinat chinam" from our midst.

33 comments:

  1. exNofeiAvivResidentSeptember 27, 2011 4:06 PM

    Kudos to your unflinching efforts at bettering B/RBS. My only comment is on your description of the Nofei Aviv and Sheinfeld communities. Excuse me but Nofei Aviv is not the wonderful group of folks you describe. There is a substantial amount of ill will, back stabbing and neighbor against neighbor gossip that goes on there. I can only hope Sheinfeld is different.

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  2. ex-NA, I think your comments were totally uncalled for. being motzi shem ra on an entire cmmunity on erev rosh hashana cannot be agood thing!

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  3. Well done Rabbi Lipman. Thank you.

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  4. Gilad, He or She did not say the whole Aviv kehilla. Just that there are things there as he/she described.
    Rav Lipman makes good points.

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  5. What an emotional post. It perfectly sums up what I've been feeling the past month, as I've been unable to sleep with all these thoughts going on.
    Thank you for articulating so perfectly what many of us are thinking, and for always being willing to stand up for what's right.

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  6. Rabbi Lipman,
    Your words reflect the hearts and minds of every thoughful shomer mitzvot in the beit shemesh area.

    Surely, there must be some Rabbanim amongst our chareidi neighbors who can muster the bravery to say to the kitzonim that their behavior is reprehensible, immoral and goes against halacha.

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  7. I agree with every word of Rabbi Lipman's excellent post.

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  8. "On behalf of our communities, I call on the accuser you to please retract that horrific charge against our community and to understand why a letter signed by CHAREIDI Rabbis is so critical. Had he seen the faces of the girls when the righteous, sensitive, caring, and loving CHAREIDI women sent them flowers he would understand how much that letter would mean to the children and the adults."

    Moral Compass:

    Chareidi women: 1
    Chareidi rabbis: 0

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  9. Yasher koyich, Rav Lipman. You beautifully sum up what so many of us have been feeling: deep pain that our sincere desire to build peaceful bridges is being ignored, or worse, laughed at ... by certain non-Charedi neighbors who think we're "naive", or by certain Charedi neighbors who think we're "goyim" ... not that goyim don't deserve the respect due to every Jew who lives in this city!

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  10. Thank you, Dov, for putting our feelings into words -- and for all of your ceaseless efforts on behalf of Beit Shemesh.

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  11. But what about what the media is saying? It keeps describing the situation as DL against Charaidi, when its really against extremists

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  12. Rabbi Malinowitz, please apologize.

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  13. Dear Rabbi Malinowitz,
    I'm not accustomed to making a big deal about yichus but in this case I must make an exception.
    I am a direct descendant of the Shelah Hakadosh and am also a Stropkover ainik'l. I am a child of survivors of the Shoah and grew up in Boro Park.
    Never in my life did I think that such disgusting behavior can be exhibited by "unzer menshen." As long as Rabbonim like you remain silent and keep blaming the victims of kitzoni terror- yes, terror,we will never merit the coming of the Moshiach.
    Please take a stand against those who consider themselves chareidim but who create sinas chinum among klal yisroel.
    With blessings for a gut yahr and for acquiring the intestinal fortitude to do the right thing.

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  14. Thank you Rabbi Lipman for expressing so strongly how so many of us feel. I personally have had a very hard time this last month with all the sina that i feel towards these animals when i wanted to be focusing on the upcoming Yamin Noraim. I would like to add that surely the responsibility falls on the wider Haredi community to represent themselves and had they come out in support at the beginning of this conflict if just to say "these people do not represent me" then their silence would not have been so deafening. Had they come out and walked with us in protest to the violence then how easy would it be for us to say to our children "look it is not all Haredim" But reality is harsh and if the Haredi community does not wish to disassociate themselves from these people and wish to remain silent - then i am afraid they have to live with the consequence of others looking at them and lumping them in one basket. In addition to this how dare the original author claim that we are sitting here looking for excuses and "loving every minute of this" because it enables us to act on our anti-Chareidi feelings" - we did not have anti-chareidi feelings before this whole saga it is only now when he and others like him do not have the conviction or strength of character to stand up against what is so obviously evil and wrong.

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  15. thank you Dov for such a beautiful response.

    I, for one, feel completely unprepared for RH due to my obsessing about the violence and all the damage it has done to our community.

    Instead of wanting to help out chareidim in whatever way I can -- wherever I am -- I find myself concerned for my safety and asking myself if the person or the organization is not part of the problem either directly or indirectly.

    Finally, I have lived in many communities over the course of my life -- both dati le'umi and chareidi - many of them known as warm and caring and wonderful places to live. Nofei Aviv is the most amazing place I have ever lived and I find myself blessed to call it home -- for myself and for my family.

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  16. A very special thank you to Rabbi Dov Lipman for articulating what many of us have been feeling after reading the last post. Rabbi Lipman has showed nothing but honor, mentchlechkeit, hard work and sensibility through an otherwise very disturbing time for all of us in BS/RBS. A real Yasher Kochacha Rabbi Lipman for standing up for all types in Beit Shemesh, and being a mentch while you do it. Shana Tova to all.

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  17. Dov - is it true that Reishit Yerushalayim fired you under threats from the local mayor office, since you have some political aspirations?

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  18. Children involved in such circumstances will likely grow up hating the haredim-all haredim-regardless of how their parents and teachers frame it. Young children remember being spit on, having things thrown at them, and being cursed at with unbelievable clarity. No words, before or after, will be able to mitigate the situation.

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  19. The issue here is modesty. Take a indepth study of how you dress your "little girls" and you yourselves dress. There are halachos of tznius that you can learn from "Modesty - Adornment for Life" and "TZnius Handbook" by Rabbi Eliyahu Falk of Gateshead. If your women and girls are dressed modestly, then the issue will go away. -- ex BS resident

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  20. The above post just shows that unfortunately the real majority of Haredim support the rioters and thachukker who are willing to speak out are the exception. I hate to say this, but some groups are widely hated for a reason. Supporting a strict position on issues of modesty is one thing. But reacting to what has been happening by saying that 'they were asking for it'. -- no words.

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  21. very meaningful words of wisdom and ahavat chinam ! chazak ubaruch and yashar koaach !!! Im unsure as to why the charedim aka extremists, would rather not generalize, nor call them terrorists although their actions toward the young lads do very well portray some sort of harrasment and "terror"......to the point what is their reasoning behind all this balagan, do they want to conquer territories and claim them as their own? I doubt its tzniut issues , no disrespect, but there are plenty charedi women living n walking in RBSA flaunting short skirts, wigs, tight fitting robes, and ofcourse lets not forget the taliban wardrobe, which is most attractive ;) im curious, if they were to switch boys into this yeshiva building and move the girls out to RBSA area, would they continue with their agenda ?? It isnt the jewish way, its improper halachically to offend /insult/belittle/curse another fellow jew, no matter what !!! do these extremists not comprehend that most crucial part of judaism of v'ahavta l'reaacha kamocha ? instead of being mekarev, they are doing the opposite n b'gadol !!! Does anyone care what these girls are going through, these are young innocent loving young ladies, that are faced w traumatizing events every day, they might even eventually loose their religion and then this whole ordeal wasnt worth it !! I would not let my young child face such discrimination and fear. until issues resolve, like the peace talks between Israel n the palestinians, lehavdil, I would have refused to send my child to be hefker, there are other options available....or the parents need to form a strong bond and reach deep within their pockets to hire permanent security, within school and beyond, w security cameras and all. Yes it would be costly but well worth it, knowing our precious daughters are being super watched and not neglected ! Good luck R lipman, may Hakadosh BH be with you

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  22. sorry, meant to say RBSB women ! its a given in RBSA women go out as they please, to each his own, if someone doesnt like it than tough luck, they should stay out of RBSA

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  23. Anon: this has NOTHING at all to do with tzinuus.
    In many yeshivish circles, the sefer by Rav Falk is not accepted, it is chumros made into halachos..

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  24. Kol HaKoavod to you Dov, for your great work for the entire community of Bet Shemesh.

    Your post was excellent, and much needed as we approach Rosh HaShanah.

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

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  26. If we can refer to Rabbi Malinowitz' exchange with Chuck Davidson, he is not silent.

    Rabbi Malinowitz is deferring to the community in RBS-B to handle the issue as they see it.

    The unfortunate reality is that, at least according to Rabbi Malinowitz, the community in RBS-B "want the school OUT"!

    As a strange addendum, Rabbi Malinowitz explains that the violence is by individuals who aren't from RBS-B and therefore don't represent the RBS-B campaign to remove the school. We should only consider them, uh, a nuisance.

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  27. Miriam - from what I understood, even though they are from otuside rbs b, they are acting on behalf of the interests of rbs b (or a small part of it at least) as they have been "hired" by the goons of B. mercenaries, in a way

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  28. I thought Rabbi Malinowitz wrote that no one is saying who hired them but it is against the wishes of Rabbi Kupshiz?

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  29. maybe against R' Kopshitz's wishes, but the goons dont listen to him unless he is saying what they want. the mercenaries, if they really are just hired help, are doing what the goons of B want.

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  30. But didn't Rabbi Malinowitz say something about their 500-person rally was davka to show that the violence wasn't relevant?

    (Where does all this non-working class get its money???)

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  31. Just curious..... Has the peace rally last week work in our benefit ? Have things changed since w orot situation ? Will they be getting the girls on private bus transportation, that was the last rumor I heard.....why can't we work on getting benefits removed from these mafiya goons ? We in alef pay taxes so they can sit back, relax, hang out in the st harrasing n insulting our daughters, to top it all off enjoy our tax money, where is the justice ?

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  32. Stories like this is why I will no longer consider aliyah! To many fanatics and those willing to look the other way in Israel.

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  33. Yeah, that's the spirit buddy.

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