Saturday, January 19, 2008
Drinking With The Devil
Dear Rabbi Horowitz,
I was delighted to read your recent articles about child abuse awareness and prevention, as well as denouncing violence and bullying within the “Charedi community”. But I was also a little saddened, as by doing so without the proper disclaimers, you have further aligned yourself with some of the worst elements within the Jewish people.
I am talking about the so-called “bloggers” (Especially “Dov Bear”, Shmarya and Mayrles), self-appointed heralds of absolute truth and honesty. But in reality these windmill fighters and weekend warriors aren’t as honest as they claim. Even if you think my assertion that they are outright enemies of the Torah and Klal Yisroel are exaggerated, you should consider a few facts: besides for constantly denigrating, defiling, slandering and vilifying all haredim, including the most respected rabbis, explicitly or implicitly, these people have been fuming about every report -verified or not- of anything that might even be remotely construed as ‘violence’ by “haredim”. Every such incident becomes an irrefutable truth, seen from one side only, and they run the story over and over, encouraging the most disgusting and inflammatory remarks in their comments sections. Yet, when the opposite happens, they stay quiet as a grave. For example, all of these “bloggers”, as if by secret agreement, have systematically ignored any and all reports of the Neo-Nazi gangs in Israel (and even refused to mention them when asked to do so), despite the fact that many of the Nazis’ victims were these bloggers’ darlings: prostitutes, homosexuals, foreign workers, homeless people etc. The website pogrom.org has been active for seven years now, and comes up in search engines. The site claims over 500 incidents of Neo-Nazi violence, which the Israeli media refused to cover until the recent events that could not be ignored, as foreign media picked them up. Had these bloggers joined forces with pogrom.org.il, perhaps the worst attacks could have been prevented. But these bloggers -who focus on many current issues- still ignore this, among other important cases. This is but one of many clear indications that they are motivated not by a sense of justice and righteousness, but by sheer hatred of the Torah and the Jewish people.
There is, however, another reason why you have become the darling of these people who call you “my friend” or “a courageous warrior”. From the admittedly little of your works I have read, I seem to understand (I’m aware that this is an oversimplification) that it is your belief that incorporation of more recreational activities in charedi curricula and everyday life may prevent youth from sliding ‘off the derech’. While this approach has many merits, unfortunately it only targets the symptoms, not the malady. The real problem is that we live an extremely materialistic and selfish world, and in this day more than ever before, our prosperity and addiction to leisure has marginalized true faith and Yiddishkeit to the smallest proportions. We practice “disposable Judaism”, not akin to the true burning devotion of our forefathers. We work for a big house and big car, and do G-d a favor by learning Daf Yomi and daven mincha/maariv. We pat ourselves on the shoulder for keeping kosher and attending kosher concerts and sending our children to religious schools. But how many of us truly live the Torah? How many of us really feel and live in this world as guests in an antechamber and not permanent residents? How many of us are fully conscious that we work, eat and sleep to serve Hashem? I believe that it is this emptiness our youth truly runs from. And few have the guts to admit it. I understand this approach may not be too popular with the rich (and seemingly rich) people whose children you educate, but it is no reason to deny it.
The Jew-hating bloggers love your approach not because its efficiency, but because it fits their agenda of diluting and synthesizing Torah with Western Culture and values of putting the material, the leisure and fun before and above anything else. These are the same bloggers who have bullied none other than you by forcing you to take the Aguda logo off your site. (You can take my honest word that I am no big Aguda fan, - as far as I’m concerned, it could have been the Blue Öyster Cult’s logo. But the point is, they bullied you and you bent to them, all the while they accuse others of bullying.)
When talking about “… ‘Walled’ communities are the dream setting for a child molester.” I believe it should be made absolutely clear that we’re talking about the structural walls in establishments and families where one feels bad reporting a friend/employee/relative, and not the “walls” separating us from the surrounding culture. The main cause of our troubles is too much capitulating to the ‘outside’ world and wrapping it in a kosher black coat. Despite what these “bloggers” would like everyone to believe, fraud, dishonesty and child abuse are not generated by ‘frumkeit’. They’re generated by putting up a show of mock-frumkeit, all the while living like barons.
I hope that you don’t have your allegiances in the wrong place, Rabbi Horowitz, and hope you will make it very clear.
© Joseph Izrael 2008