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May 6, 2008

Haredi cherems and secular cherems

Why is it that when Haredim impose a ban or cherem (or consumer boycott in more modern terms) on a product or company because it goes against their worldview, they get nothing but bad press, yet when secular Jews impose a cherem on a company because it acts against their beliefs, as a cherem has been announced against Fox clothes because they signed Bar Rafaeli (the top Israeli model who is also a draft dodger) as their presenter, they get nothing but good words and support?

Something to make you go hmmm...


  1. Now there's a chareidi conundrum, draft dodging is good, but pritzus is bad.

    Which one comes first?

  2. lol... I don't think FOX sells the standard Haredi "uniform", so they probably don't have the conundrum

  3. I think that there might be a difference. How many times has Fox initiated a cherem? With the charedi cherems its every day is a new cherem.

  4. Dan - minor correction: Fox is being "cheremed", niot initiating the cherem.

    As to your point, so it is just a matter of how often it happens? not really ethics or morals or life philosophy or worldview or anything substantial. They are just sick of hearing about it.

  5. Rafi,

    the issue that upsets the people who initiate a cherem may be feeling that way for any of a number of reasons, some healthy reasons but I suspect usually not. Regardless, I am talking about the use of cherem as a tactic. When you are secular and do not rely on blind devotion to enforce a cherem, your causemust be one that you can rally support around. A cherem a day does not keep the doctor away.

  6. There's a major difference between the two types of boycotts.

    In the chareidi version, the point of the boycott is to punish the person for something unrelated, or tengentially realted, to his business. For example, operating on shabbos, while impacting the business one day a week, is a personal decision which impacts the business, but does not reflect the business per se. Thus, the point of the boycott is to "take matters into our own hands" to convince the guy to keep shabbos. Some may say this is an admirable goal, but it's a misguided action, since, not only is it not going to make anyone shomer shabbos, the response is disconnected from the complaint.

    With the Fox boycott, the company has decided that Bar Refaeli will represent them in an effort to get people to patronize the business. The point it that by being so represented, people will want to buy there. The boycott thus focuses on this point: Refaeli will encourage us to take our business elsewhere. It's a direct "midah kneged midah" approach.

  7. Rafi, non-tzanua picture on your site? Say it ain't so

  8. Is this anything new? It's a Jewish trait to "stick up for the underdog". And because the religous Jews are sort of our family, we tend to take them for granted nd be mroe critical of them than ones that would normally be criticized. Sort of reverse discrimination. Also, it's clearly the Yetzer Hara which is responsible for this rejection of "frumkeit".


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