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Apr 23, 2014

Yisrael Chofshit wants Jewish culture off the air

Israeli TV's Channel 1 news has been running a daily "sefirat ha'omer" clip of about 2-3 minutes with a daily explanation of some aspect or custom of sefirat ha'omer.

here is a sample video:

and another:

I think they are nice clips.

The "Yisrael Chofshit" organization has protested the airing of these clips, saying it is religious coercion and is insane that State TV is airing this.. as if the ayatollahs have taken over television. The focus was on one clip that discussed the customs of not performing weddings during [some of] the days of the Omer period, while most of the clips are more historical in nature and less "halachic".

Personally, even if they all contained some point in halacha or custom, I would see nothing wrong with State TV airing these clips. A very large portion of the citizens of Israel are religious or traditional, and there is nothing wrong, in my opinion, (as long as there is no separation of shul and State in Israel), with State TV dedicating a few minutes to a timely issue, even if it is religious in nature. State TV did not make demands of the populace to count, to refrain from getting their haircuts or whatnot - it just ran a clip explaining a timely custom. Some people will be interested in the 3 minute clip, and some people will not be interested and will suffer the 3 minutes of Jewish culture.

I don't see it as anything worthy of protest.

In the end, the head of Yisraelk Chofshit apologized, after being lambasted on the radio and "losing a debate", though he said he had not looked into the entire program but was especially upset about the specific clip that discussed the customs of refraining from marriage during that time period - and he should not have criticized the entire program.
source: Srugim

While the apology and retraction is a start, I disagree with him even on that point. Even on the clip explaining some of the halachic customs, there is nothing wrong with transmitting some Jewish culture and explanation to thousands of religious and traditional viewers. And maybe there are even some non-religious viewers who are interested in learning more about Jewish culture.

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  1. Amazing they had a problem with it. It shows that they just have knee-jerk reactions.

    BTW, the first clip was inaccurate re buying clothes and swimming. A common misconception.

  2. Did you notice the date? These were produced last year. Guess they didn't create new ones for this year.

    And yes, Sefira and Three weeks/Nine days restrictions are often confused.

    1. correct. they were produced last year and are being re-aired this year


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