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Mar 29, 2009

This is not a pig

Daniel Gordis is a great writer. You really should subscribe to his "dispatches"...

In this week's Jerusalem Post column, Gordis starts talking about a trip to the zoo. he notices outside of the animal cages on the bottom of every sign describing animals that it says in Yiddish "This is not a pig."


He writes a great article, and what is most amazing is that he gets all that from "This is not a pig"...

It means, clearly, that there is a population of Israelis, sufficient in size to merit its own sign, that does not speak Hebrew, English or Arabic, but rather knows only Yiddish. And that population, were it to think that this was a pig, would be very upset. To ensure that no untoward reactions were elicited by this new non-pig, the zoo has assured the haredi population, which visits the zoo in large numbers, that in keeping with Jewish tradition, there are no pigs in this pen.

Am I over-interpreting this? Is the notion that the zoo might be worried what some (yes, only some) of these people would do if they thought a pig were in the zoo far-fetched? I don't think so. Ask the residents of the Anglo community who live in and near Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet, many of them newly-arrived immigrants, about their aliya experience. Listen long enough, and you will hear of a small but extreme group of anti-Zionist, extremist haredim in that community who are literally terrorizing them.


Loyalty cuts both ways. Citizens, to be sure, can be expected to show a modicum of loyalty to the democratic state in which they live. The olim of Ramat Beit Shemesh gave up everything to come here, and now many live in fear. There are enemies of Israel who are terrorizing some of Zionism's best. That's what the Yiddish sign at the zoo hints at, and what the Ramat Beit Shemesh stories make abundantly clear. And the state is not protecting them.


  1. It seems from the article that it's not on the signs for every animal, but just on the peccary, which looks a bit like a pig.

    What I don't understand is what is the big deal about davka a pig? The peccary isn't kosher either (halachically, it may even be considered in the pig family), and neither are most of the animals in the zoo. Is there something special about pigs that make them less kosher than horses, camels, hippopotami, snakes, or the dozens of other tamei animals in the Biblical zoo?

    Anyway, since the pig is mentioned in the Torah, it deserves a place in the Biblical zoo.

  2. Its not fair, most Yidish speakers are not Kannoim. Many of Litvish in Alef and they couldn't speak a word of Yiddish if their life depended on it, while many Chasidim aren't kannoim.

  3. I'd love to see a picture of the sign. If someone goes to the zoo soon, please send a picture to Rafi to add to this post.


  4. Mark - the jpost article has a picture of the sign

  5. ...not G.

    Yoni, these guys are just crazy. Since when do they need a logical reason to object to anything?

    What I don't understand is why they should believe the sign the Zionist zoo put up. I mean, what do they know about hilchot hazirim? If I were the zoo, I'd get haskomos from gedoilim for all the exhibits and display them prominently.


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