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Jul 28, 2008

Can the Charedim Save Israel

A Guest post by Joshua Shapiro

Rabbi Yonasan Rosenblum recently wrote an article in the Jewish Observer called, "Can the Charedim Save Israel".

Read this document on Scribd: Can Charedim Save Israel?

This is the "Letter to the Editor" I wrote to the Jewish Observer in response to Rabbi Rosenblum's article....

Dear Rabbi Nisson Wolpin,

Regarding Rabbi Rosenblum's article "Can the Charedim Save Israel? From the Jewish Observer Summer edition 2008

R' Rosenblum asked, "Can the Charedim save Israel?” The answer to the question, as it was posed, is no. As long as you have people that despise the state, and only want to take from it, and think they are better than others, then the answer I have to say is no.

The Charedi community in Israel is different than the Charedi community in the USA. In the USA, the Charedi community is a full partner in the community at large and in general society. In Israel, the general Charedi community (obviously with exceptions) is cloistered and stays mostly within itself, withholding its potential influence on general society.

A more appropriate question would then be "Can the Bnei Torah save Israel?” Bnai Torah from the Charedi community, and from other communities as well, do attempt to influence general society by way of chessed organizations and outreach, opening schools for the general public (such as noted by R' Rosenblum among others), etc.

Most people in Israel are not happy with the present government, but we still appreciate the fact that we have the State of Israel and that there is a possibility one day of having a government to our liking. When you have leadership that does not realize that Eretz Yisroel is sacred like no other land, that is how they are able to negotiate and chas vshalom give the entire country away.

Bottom line, the issue is leadership. This is not a battle that can be won with a few successful couples in kibbutzim. There need to be religious people (chareidi and dati leumi) in positions of power in industry and government. Until that happens, there is no chance for meaningful change.

Rabbi Rosenblum talks about the success of some chareidim in the business community. That message needs to get out within the Chareidi community. The success of the charedim in the business world is really limited, in Israel, to individuals. Until the day that it is sanctioned and promoted by Rabbinic leaders, the success will stay small, limited, and uninfluential.

It is my fervor and hope that some how that we can get the entire religious segment together and vote as one block. Then we would be able to see some serious changes.

Joshua Shapiro


  1. Excellent letter hopefully the Jewish Observer will publish it. When did this article appear in the JO

  2. as far as I know, in the most recent edition. But I only saw the pdf that the guest poster sent to me...

  3. I have to laugh because I have a charedi cousin named Josh Shapiro living in J-m who would most definitely NOT write a letter like this!

  4. Abbi - I guess there is more than one Joshua Shapiro. There must be more than two even. I know another one as well.... :-)

  5. I would imagine a name like that is right up there with Joe Smith or Irving Greenberg. :D

  6. Good letter, but it leaves out a point. We need strong Torah Jews in the army, too. Torah Jews should participate in every part of Israeli life. That will improve the country, m'karev other Jews and... bring the Moshiach.

  7. AS the Chareidi-affiliated working class (in Israel) increases their level of respect and pride in the segment that chooses to sit and learn full time, and their Rabbonim, I think that the mutual respect will be earned.
    the lack of achdus comes just as much from the side of the working class as from the side of the learning class if not more.
    traditionally (in Israeli history) the seperatists who refused to go along with agudah and degel were pushed by a feeling of prikas oyl of the Rabbanim's control.\such was true of poaley agudas yisrael and seemingly true of the new TOv party (whose initial funding comes from former leaders of poaley agudas yisroel)

  8. you think it was prikas ole? maybe they were just choosing to follow different rabbonim, rabbonim who are more open and accepting in their worldview?

  9. the religious in israel (whether haredi or dati leumi) will not have a positive influence on the general population as long as they remain segregated from the general society.

    moshe rabbeinu understood this:

  10. that is why there is a big difference between being involved politically in a major party, like the Likud, through a sub-faction, such as Manhigut Yehudit or others, compared to being involved in sectoral parties like Achi, Mafdal, UTJ and others.

    The small sectoral parties have little to no national influence. They work mostly to eke out some benefits for their specific voters. If one is involved in one of the large parties, he is influencing, or attempting to at least, the national agenda.

  11. Rafi, when are you going to learn- there are no such thing as "other" Rabbonim. It's the gedolei hador or bust. You're either on the (mehadrin) bus or off the bus. If the rabbonim you're listening to are "openminded" you probably want to steer clear of them. ;)

  12. Good letter.You can't influence peopleif they can't see you.

    The Hoffer

  13. I think Joshie Shapiro (I grew up with him so know his nickname) is on the Mark (I grew up with him too).


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