Thoughts on Judaism

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Stunning Rise of Violence

This (a violent and hate-filled attack by a bachur, supported by his gang brothers, on the rosh yeshiva in 770)

on the heels of this (a violent attack on the mashpia, trying to quell disruption of seder because of a fantasy)

leads us to wonder if violence, now leaking into Chabad, is the new expectation in the frum world. Sure us old timer, somewhat BT, somewhat baalabatish types are appalled, but this seems to be the wave of the future for a leaderless, rudderless Orthodox world, broken down into warring gangs.

Of course this horrid incident in New Square

ended in a plea deal

In that case, the Rebbe's house attendant, an 18 year old, attempted to murder a frum Jew and his family in their home, by burning them alive inside. This followed months of vitriolic denunciation by the New Square Rebbe and open demonstrations involving death threats in front of the man's home. In responding to the threats, he had been guarding the home the night of the attack, saving the lives of wife and children, as well as his own. He sustained heavy injuries however. The Rebbe's very half-hearted distancing from the admitted attempted murderer, and the support for said murderer by many in the community leads us to fear for the future of Orthodox Judaism.

(I will not include the incident here where the Chabad Rebbe generically denounced well known parties, possibly leading to a vicious attack on his own sister in law. In that case, ties between the attacker and the Rebbe are not known to exist, and the Rebbe never intimated that violence was called for. He merely said that one who opposes his position in the matter of the library was playing with "armed bombs". That was most likely a poorly chosen parable. I would compare it to Sarah Palin's "targeting" Arizona politicians with rifle sights. There is no evidence at all that she ever had ties to the murderous psycho who attempted to kill Rep. Giffords, nor that she had meant to promote such an act.) (I'll add a difference as well, that there is every reason to believe that the Rebbe's speech did lead to the assault, albeit not the Rebbe's intent. In Palin's case, there is no evidence that the attacker had ever been influenced by Palin's site, or had even ever seen it. Nonetheless, I do not consider the culpability of the Chabad Rebbe in that incident on a par with the New Square Rebbe's culpability in the Rottenberg attack, and needless to say the various celebrities of the Haredi world in the Meah Shearim and Beth Shemesh attacks and the bus attacks.)

In Israel, Haredi hoodlums have revived violent attacks on police, on buses, and on Orthodox Jews, and certainly, needless to say, non-Orthodox Jews. Just search on beit shemesh attacks for many examples. The Rabbis seem to be powerless, mostly because of unwillingness, to stop the wave. Why say "unwillingness"? Because these are men who supposedly are followed even beyond one's own judgment and common sense. To say that the biggest celebrities in the great celebritocracy that is Orthodox Jewish leadership "cannot" stop the violence, while simultaneously saying that they are miracle workers who very words become part of Sinai, who have banned perfectly modest Jewish concerts, well researched and sourced Jewish books, and perfectly kosher Jewish food, is the height of chutzpah. People will build their lives around your ideas of where they may or must live, whether they can get a job, what they may entertain themselves with, how they must educate their children, how they must spend every dime they have, but you cannot tell them not to violently bully other Jews or attempt to murder them???!!!!!!!

The right wing Orthodox have been trying for generations to convince the more moderate Orthodox that the right wing is the true Jewish way and that moderation is acquiescing to the "goyishe velt". My greatest fear is that this is the wave of the future, that my children and grandchildren will be swept up in hate-filled violence, because they went to the "best yeshivas', or listen to the "holiest" rabanim. As it stands, no one can ever lead in the Jewish world. Even the old ineffective leaders are old, sick and dying, and a new generation of leaderless Jews grows up now listening to local gang leader Rabbis who pull some quote out of context for their next nonsensical rant. In the process, they will continue to recruit new young people to their sick mentality until it becomes the norm, and all moderates leave the fold in disgust.

Welcome to the juggernaut Iranization of Judaism, as it leaps toward the 12th century unfettered by any voice of reason. I truly hope that someone in the next generation who has the commitment, the sanity, the energy and the charisma, will put the ship right. Hopefully, by then, there will be some moderate Jews left to lead. Meanwhile, we watch as the ship of Judaism sinks slowly into the sea as the orchestra continues to play.

Should we fight back? I think not. Fighting back begets more fighting, and more fighting works to the advantage of the chaos itself. We should merely withdraw our support from the silliness and be. No more money and no more time spent supporting radical "Jewish" groups, like Haredi yeshivas and chasidic "mosdos" who support the gangsters, hide the criminals and revise history. As the Talmud says, "there is no criminal whose family is not also criminal. How so? Because they protect him." Only our survival stands in the way of the ongoing radicalization.