Aug 19, 2012

Archaeological Park in Modiin Ilit to be Open Only To Haredim

In the middle of Modiin Ilit, specifically in Kiryat Sefer, there has been an ancient archaeological site dating back to the Second Temple period. The site is an ancient agricultural village, with a wine press and a synagogue that are intact. While the site from an archaeological perspective is in usually good condition, the site has sat for many years, since it was discovered, and left in disrepair. It has recently been decided, by the Iryah in coordination with the government, to clean it up and turn it into an archaeological park.

The mayor of Modiin Ilit announced that as per the agreement with the government, especially because of its location being in the middle of a haredi city, which is in writing and is final, the site will be managed by the haredi community and will tell the historical narrative as per the Torah rather than science and archaeology. R' Yaakov Guterman said "the site will operate according to the narrative of our rabbonim, according to Jewish historical sources as brought in Tanakh and form the gemara and words of Chazal. The site will be open only to the haredi community, who will now have a worthy place to visit and to connect to our roots and history, without the distortions found elsewhere, where one risks hearing false opinions even to the point of apikorsus, God forbid. Also in the governmental decision it was written that the haredi community will establish the atmosphere of the site and all the details and historical mentions will be only according to sources from Chazal."
(source: Ladaat)

To me this sounds mostly great. It is in the middle of Kiryat Sefer, so it makes sense to let them control it, so it wont harm the atmosphere of the neighborhood or the sensitivities of the locals. And there are so many sites that tell the historical narrative, I see nothing wrong with  telling other major Jewish narratives as well, so it makes sense that this site will tell the narrative from the haredi perspective. That would raise the question though what other narratives should be related - perhaps the next park should tell the history from a rationalist approach (maybe Rabbi Slifkin can run it?), and then other major narratives would control future parks. I see nothing wrong with individualizing each park like that. there are enough to go around and tell the various narratives.

The one point that did bother me was the mayor saying the site would be open only to the haredi community.

  1. if it is funded by the government, and it is, I highly doubt they can legally limit it like that. It seems discriminatory to me.
  2. When the mayor quotes from the government agreement that gives control of the historical narrative to the haredi community it says nothing about the park being open only to haredim.
  3. Why would they not want to teach their narrative to the broader public? this could be a tremendous opportunity to explain the religious narrative of history to the broader public, especially to traditional people who might want to hear details of history from a "Jewish perspective". why limit the exposure to only haredim? 
  4. I can see modesty being a problem, if tour buses are bringing in secular or modern tourists to the park, but it is not unreasonable to ask in such a situation that they dress modestly. They might not listen to those rules, but thats the price to pay for using public funds and for controlling a public site. if this is a serious concern, they might be better off not allowing the park to open at all (which would be a shame, in my opinion)
  5. What would they say if the secular community, or dati leumi community, opened a park and said no entry to haredim - this park is only for secular residents.. would the haredim accept that or would they fight it as discriminatory? Oh wait, this fight happened already in Modiin when the city considered (or maybe it was just residents calling for the city to consider) charging an entry fee to non-residents to Park Aneba, as a way of keeping the haredi masses out during vacation periods. The haredi community was up in arms at the suggestion. Just like, and rightfully so, they get upset whenever it happens anywhere in the country that a public site tries to, or even if it just considers it, limiting access to haredim. Just like the haredim dont want to be, and should not be, limited from visiting "secular" sites, the haredim should not limit the secular from visiting haredi sites.



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17 comments:

  1. Big question - How do they define chareidi? If I show up and claim to be chareidi, how are they going to dispute that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yoni,
      I am disappointed. It is so easy to tell if your Haredi. They just need to talk to your cell phone`s personal mashgiach (he should be standing beside you). If they decide they hold by his hashgacha enough to allow him to be a kosher eid, then they let you into the park.

      The process is almost as simple as how Kiryat Sefer choose their current mayor.

      Delete
  2. if you claimed to be charedi and looked charedi I'd bet they let you in. they probably wouldnt ask and would only base it on appearance. I dont even know how they would reject anyone - "sorry, this park is only open to haredim"?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I know what would probably happen. The problem with all sorts of rules and legislation specific to chareidim is that there is no legal definition of what a chareidi is. Lineage doesn't help, since people are chozer b'tshuva/b'sheala all the time.

    ReplyDelete


  4. no it doesn't. this is a site of national heritage and you don't farm this things out. just like the state taking control of meron from the sefardi amuta was the right thing to do, so too here. if there are technical/local issues to work out, so work them out. but to give them control? nonsense.

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  5. the state cant outsource the administration of the site to an amuta? the state outsources all sorts of things, with guidelines and restrictions albeit, all the time. why not this?

    ReplyDelete
  6. are they outsourcing and setting the guidelines or handing it over?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I dont see that detail elaborated upon in the article, but I dont believe the State is handing over ownership of the site.

    ReplyDelete
  8. so if the state wants to hand the site over to an amuta than do it properly. let there be a michraz with open competition, open rules and criteria.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Okay, I'll ask the not politically correct question: how will the Haredi community treat the site? Time and again I have seen how archeological assets located in or near Haredi areas are trashed and treated with disrespect. The Haredi community has little sense of history and little respect for archeological sites UNLESS they are called 'holy sites'. Right around the corner from friends of ours in Ramat Beit Shemesh is an ancient mikvah. An amazing thing, right in between the residential buildings! An obvious mikvah, with substantial remains of a mosaic floor in a 'dressing area' or bathing area above the mikvah pool. The place was always filled with trash. A few years back I spoke with some of the neighbors about the value of the site and the need to clean it up (a few hours' work at most, since it is a small area) and protect it. No one was even interested, except for a family from England who have since left a were considered 'outsiders' because of their cultural and scientific interests. Similar such places in other, not Haredi neighborhoods, are treated much better in my experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sad, but unfortunately not at all surprising.

      I suppose this site may fair better if it is plastered with signs explaining it in light of mishnayot describing wine presses, olive presses, chatzerot, etc. (Of course, if they use mishnayot from keilim it will also get buried in trash. The material would have to come from either zera'im or preferably the "yeshiva" masechtot to be taken seriously there.)

      I would suggest your friend do the same - signage with mishayot from mikvaot, unless the mikvah is smaller than the modern day conception of 40 se'ah.

      Delete
    2. they'll probably say that the people of this town were meikil like Rav Chaim Naeh...
      just joking. they'll explain that our olives are not the same size, and nature changed...

      Delete
  10. Wow - haredi leadership really know how to make friends.
    Maybe the Mayor of Modiin Ilit should teach a Dale Carnegie course - he can even team-teach the course with Moshe Abutbul

    ReplyDelete
  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. Ok, I can't resist. How are they going to describe structures which fit the mishnayot but do not fit modern conceptions of shi'urim? For example, mikvah's that are smaller than current standards for 40 se'ah?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Simple, do as the Muslims do when you visit a mosque. They hand you appropriate covers. To be sure, I, a woman, was handed polyester very warm coverings which ensured that no way was I going to walk out with them.

    ReplyDelete
  14. You have said the words I want to say.
    I'd like to ad this is agreat kiruv opp also,for the community to open up their homes and hearts and teach a little about Torah judaism.
    btw,the apartment we're renting overlooks the park,literally.

    ReplyDelete

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