Aug 30, 2009

Rav Povarsky interview

There was a very interesting interview in the "BaSheva" newspaper this past Friday. The interview was with Rav Dov Povarsky, one of the co-owners of the haredi newssite/forum BeChadrei Charedim.

The interview was very interesting with the discussion focusing on the change from the traditional format for haredi media to the format used by BeChadrei, in which pretty much everything is on the table.

There were a couple of points from the interview I found particularly fascinating and would like to excerpt:
One point was made when discussing the "outing" of the Burqa Lady from bet Shemesh who had been abusing her children. The story was essentially broken in the forums of BeChadrei. From there it made its way to the general media and then to the police.

Povarsky is very proud of the process that happened, and considers it one of their defining moments the way they worked in tandem with the authorities.

Povarsky says:
The issue of opening up everything to the outside world, and to cooperate with the establishment, used to be inappropriate. The method of closing off [r.g. meaning: keeping everything quiet] everything in the haredi public did not prove itself to work. Because at the end of the day, nothing worked. The internal haredi organizations do not have teeth.They cannot put anyone in jail. At worst they can put someone in excommunication, but that too does not happen. Halevai the country would work within halachic parameters and the rabbonim would have 'teeth' to enforce things, but the reality is that it does not, and we have to be aware of what is preferred and what is the reality....
The second statement was regarding the relationship between haredim and the army. Povarsky served in the army, and did reserve duty as well.

BaSheva Q: What values in the army did you appreciate?
Povarsky A: Decency, order, discipline, relationship to the religious people. When I would come to an atheist officer, somebody not at all connected to anything, I would receive complete cooperation....
The haredi public does want to be drafted into the army. I can tell you this quietly....The problem is that they [r.g. the leadership? not sure who "they" is] don't want to deal with it.


  1. Whats this protest against the chareidi beis yaakov that is scheduled for today outside the iryah?

    I dont get it! Is there really a need for a chiloni school to sit half empty, while local (chareidi) students sit at home as the school year starts?

    I dont think I have seen this much hatred from one party against the other in ages.

    Pure hatred. Pure sinah.

    And yes, pure politics. Abutbol got rocked here. He tried to be nice to the chilonim, and let them keep their failing school (based on the fact that while most schools in RBSA are flourishing and bursting at the seems, this school is half empty) keep thrit building for another year - against the charedi population who put him in office - they bit him hard. Dont forget this if and when he comes out strong against the chilonim in the next exercise of Israeli politics, as he sees that there is no one to talk to on the chiloni side?

    Comments, please?

  2. I dont really know what you mean - the haredi population didnt put him in office. they helped, but they didnt do it. He first signed on the Gush Hevrati of secular and traditional voters, and only closer to the elections did UTJ support him. he already pretty much had it wrapped up by the time UTJ joined, though of course UTJs endorsement helped.

    I agree the school should be, and should have been a long time ago, transferred to local schools (dont know which) that need a building. But there are processes in place and they need to be gone through properly. You dont just walk in and take a building. Things need to be voted on, alternatives need to be found, etc. You can't just walk in and make an announcement and have everything fall into place.

  3. Rafi
    All this is very nice but lately the site has generally shown almost one-sided coverage for the mother in Hadassa.
    As for the army my experience was a bit different. There was never much cooperation from the brass, including the rabbanut. They are built for big projects, like mivtza pessach, not taking care of the individual soldier.
    I must say that often it was more difficult to get help from kippot srugot officers (not chardal).

  4. In the meantime, there are empty classrooms. What is the alternative? To stand on principle and keep empty classrooms, and students at home, or let the students into the class rooms?

    If you had to choose, which would you do?

    (Regarding elections: Dont fool yourself into thinking that had Gimmel and their 4+ seats - not gur - voted for lerner that Abutbol would have won anyway. Thats ridiculous. Make a count)

  5. "what would have been" nobody knows. But just as much as they cornated Abutbol, so did the parties like Labor (Richard Peres), Shas (obviously) and Balaish. Without them he would not even have been close. So UTJ didnt do it, though perhaps they put him over the top.

    I have said before I am in favor of transferring control of the building to a local school (again, I am not saying which as I have no idea how such a thing is decided as far as who needs it most and who deserves it most). But doing it without finding an alternative first for the kids already in the school is also wrong. They are already in the building. You can't just toss them out on the street.

  6. "Pure hatred. Pure Sinah."

    Excuse me but in this neighborhood one can feel much more hatred from charedim toward dl/chardal/chiloni than vice versa.

    Think about Bet Shemesh, RBSA, RBSB, etc. who is the "underdog" here?

    The majority of taxes come from the segments of the population who are listened to the least.

    What about the mikveh on Dolev? What about the new kenyon on Dolev? Why are the charedi elements involving themselves? They have their own mikve and Merkaz Mischari.

    And regarding pure hatred and sinah...we know how many charedim in RBSA look at dl/chardal/chiloni...their money is kosher but I don't want to have anything else to do with them.

  7. bohr - along with the mother incident, the haredi press also seems to have come to terms and identifies with the "shabbos protests". I don't get it because they all spoke out against the form of protests, but now no longer differentiate between them (eidah protestors) and regular haredim who don't like chilul shabbos, but dont see this as a reasonable form of protest.

    The haredi media seems to feel they have to take the side of the eida against the secular media, even though they also do not agree with the eida. I dont know why, if they really want to be different than the mainstream haredi media.

  8. RBSA for All

    Looks like you are following their lead in being anti chareidi. Thats fine. You can if you want.

    What I dont understand is what that has to do with the chilonim wanting to retain control of empty classrooms in a school, while other children sit at home with no where to learn.

    While I am on the topic, my wife was at the Mik recently. And its not just this time. Its the same every time. There are a lot more women who want the mehadrin mikvah than dont. There always seems to be a bigger line. Are there people out there who davka DONT want hiddurim? Is there a problem with more hiddurim? No. You (they) view it as an issue of control, and therefore will not reneg control of the mik to the chareidim. Is it possible that there are people out there who actually care about hiddurim? Who actually prefer the mikvah to have more hiddurim? Did you know that because of the polical struggle there are many women that go to RBSB to use the mikvah rather than the less than mehudar mikvah? Is that part of the RBS for all mentality? If so, shouldnt your mantra be RBS for all those who are like me, or less frum but not the chareidim? I know, its a little less nice, and little longer, but a bit more honest.

    Can I quote you on behalf on the DL / chiloni population that the merkaz mischari is a chareidi merkaz? Up until now it has been the merkaz of RBSA. Is that changing? Has it always been like that? If you call it the chareidi merkaz, can the local chareidi throw out trespassers? I live here. I dont see any yelling. I dont see anyone throwing anyone out. All I see are some signs asking for a bit of courtesy for those who live in the area. Is that too much to ask for? Somehow, I bet if the chilonim made a request from you - "on behalf of the local residents" - you would be quite happy to oblige.

    So again, your mantra would tend to look like RBS for all people who are like me or less frum than me.

    Thats fine. But say it how it is.

  9. Speaking of the mikvah... have you ever spoken to R' Spektor about the mikvah? You might find it educational...

  10. Anon of 7:45...

    "Looks like you are following their lead in being anti chareidi."

    Anti-charedi...I think not.

    How about pro Jewsih, no matter what the kippa looks like (or even if there is one).

    "There are a lot more women who want the mehadrin mikvah than dont."

    There was to be an all mehadrin mikve on lachish but powers that be decided to try and take over Dolev as well. Yes, mehadrin is fine. But is not the only way.

    "If you call it the chareidi merkaz, can the local chareidi throw out trespassers? I live here. I dont see any yelling. I dont see anyone throwing anyone out. All I see are some signs asking for a bit of courtesy for those who live in the area. Is that too much to ask for?"

    Ask the store owners who were bullied and threatened (if they wouldn't display the signs) about whether or not is just a "bit of courtesy".

    Tell me anon of 7:45...are all local RBSA tzedaka organziations allowed to collect in your shul?

    If yes, great. if not perhaps you should consider again the post of RBSA for All.

  11. If you must know, most of the stores want the signs there as they respect the local residents wishes. Common courtesy. Those that dont respect, were asked in a more "pushy" way expressing that if you dont respect our wishes, why would we want to buy in your store?

    I need not talk to RAbbi Specktor. I have my rabbonim who guide me, the same way you have your rabbonim. If my Rabbonim advise me for more hiddurim, as do the rabbonim of most of the community, I dont see why Rabbi specktor should be against that.

    If you mean does LA collect in my shul, the answer is no. I dont know why not. But then again, neither does the kuppa of RBSA - which I am sure comes as a surprise to you.

  12. Name one store that _wants_ the sign. You know, the one that put one up on their own.

    Go ahead, I'll wait.

    By "pushy" do you mean that they were told that members of the community wouldn't buy there, or that they'd have their windows smashed? What do you call the second?

    You call the mikvah more mehudar... do you know why you say this? Talk to your Rabbonim, and find out exactly what the issues were. Then come back and post if most are "hiddurim" in mikvah, or "hiddurim" in politics.


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