Thursday, May 13, 2010

And The Hits (Literally!) Continue

First, it was a woman being beaten up for not moving to the back of a bus in Israel. A few months ago, a girl was grabbed, thrown to the ground and kicked in Beit Shemesh for supposed tznius violations (the post describes them as "properly dressed"). Now, we have a story of a woman who was beaten up in Beersheba for the sin of... having worn tefillin.

As per the article:

According to the release, the man asked Raz twice if the imprints were from tefillin. When she told him they were, he began to kick and strangle her while screaming “women are an abomination.” Raz, who practices Conservative Judaism, reportedly broke free from the man and boarded her bus.

OK, so perhaps the guy was a loon. If he's shouting "women are an abomination," I'll probably even grant that perhaps he doesn't have all his marbles. But that's not really the issue here.

The problem is that it's easy to shrug off an isolated incident as the workings of a "lone wolf" or a "madman." The problem is that this is beginning to happen more and more frequently. And when it begins to happen more and more frequently, it's much harder to describe the acts as those of the fringe or madmen.

Personally, I don't care if it's absolutely forbidden for a woman to wear tefillin or not -- there's still absolutely no justification for anyone -- man or woman -- to physically attack her for doing so. It just sickens me that this is becoming a regular feature of some segments of chareidi society in Israel.

And, what's worse, I'd be willing to bet dollars to donuts that it's all based on misogyny. Forget the guy's comment about women being an abomination for a moment -- let me ask you this question. Do you think he would have attacked her if she were eating a ham and cheese sandwich? Do you think he would have tried to strangle her if she were eating chametz on Pesach? Do you think he would have even noticed, let alone cared if she finished eating and failed to bentch? Or if she failed to have a mezuzah on her door? Personally, my belief is that he would not have cared at all. But let her show signs of having put on tefillin? Or daven at the Kosel? Oh, no! We can't allow that! For that we have to beat them. Violate a mitzvah from the Torah? Not a big deal. Put on tefillin? Daven at the Kosel? Why that's an even *worse* violation!

I'm telling you all, there are times when my faith in Judaism is shaken... and it's incidents like this that do it.

The Wolf

23 comments:

LW2 said...

You missed a detail. If he could see the 'tefillin marks' then she clearly was not fully tznius in dress. The beating was about tznius once again - tefillin was the red herring.

Personally I think these attacks are just an excuse for these men to take second base.

Garnel Ironheart said...

Not necessarily. Tefillin marks also go around the hand which she does not need to have covered. However, the chareidi in question is now at fault because even though women don't have to weaer gloves in public, the gemara forbids looking at a woman's hand, even her little finger so he's the real sinner here.

Now just try telling him that...

Lion of Zion said...

"I'm telling you all, there are times when my faith in Judaism is shaken"

i could understand why this would make you want to distance yourself from other jews (or certain types of jews), but what does faith in judaism have to do with any of this?

E-Man said...

I agree with lion of Zion. How do crazy Jews shake your faith in Judaism?

Just because there are people that are idiots doesn't mean Judaism is stupid. You practice Judaism the correct way, there are people that worship avoda zara and call it Judaism. What if someone started blowing themselves up and saying that Judaism commands it? You would call the guy a loon and say he does not represent Judaism. Would that shake your faith though? Why just because some psycho path likes to kill people and himself?

Baruch said...

E-man read my mind.

Dave said...

I get a good laugh every time some sucker falls for these stories in the zionist media.

Ahavah Gayle said...

I wouldn't be so sure he wouldn't have beat her for eating a ham sandwich or anything else you listed. He obviously felt he had a right to do it and that feeling didn't just dawn on him out of the thin blue air - it's obviously something he and his peers have cultivated as an acceptable solution for dealing with people who don't agree with them concerning religious practice. It is something he and/or his peers have done before - it just didn't make the news. He believes he has the right to beat people who disagree with him. That psycho mentality was taught to him by somebody. That's the scary part.

JRS said...

"Just because there are people that are idiots doesn't mean Judaism is stupid."

True, but that excuse only goes so far---and we've gone WAY beyond it, years ago. To loosely paraphrase Wolf, when more & more people do something, it's harder to dismiss as isolated craziness. Frum society, and frum apologists, refuse to grasp the concept of a trend---each individual may be nuts, or clueless, or stupid, but as a society, we are producing far more people like that. So, there's no 'kashya' on God---but on Judaism, as currently defined by our leaders & ourselves---there damn sure are some big ta'anos.

E-Man said...

There are several different sects of Judaism. So Charaidim beat people. Hvae you ever seen a centrist/ MO Jew beat someone?

Does reform and conservative Judaism get put in the Judaism fold as well?

Does every sect deserve to be considered Judaism and tehrefore Judaism will be judged by that sects leaders?

I don;t think so. I think that just like one must search for the true religion, one must also search for the true sect of a religion.

In this case Wolfe is saying Judaism. That is extremely broad. He doesn;t even identify with the charaidim. So how does the fact that more and more charaidim beat MO and centrists make his faith in centrist/MO judaism shake?

Commenter Abbi said...

I agree with eman et al. Your faith in Charedi judaism has been shaken, not judaism itself.

Garnel Ironheart said...

We also have to remember that what makes the news is always the exception, not the rule. People are murdered in Detroit every day. When was the last time you heard about it in the news?
What this incident shows is that Chareidi culture is just that: a culture. It isn't about better middos, superior learning or greater piety. It's just a culture or ethnic group. Every group has its saints, average guys and jerks. Chareidi PR men would like you to think that being Chareidi means you're an automatic tzadik but this incident shows that they're just like everyone else.

Shira Salamone said...

In this post, I discussed my decision *not* to wear a tallit katan. I make no bones about wearing tallit and tefillin in non-Orthodox synagogues. When it comes to dealing with those in the Orthodox community who disapprove, however, frankly, I'd rather not deal with their disapproval at all--as far as I'm concerned, aside from modesty issues, the way I dress when I come before HaShem in prayer is between me and HaShem, and there's no reason why anyone who disapproves of a woman wearing a tallit and/or tefillin even has to know that I do so.

If I were to become Orthodox, I'd dodge the whole issue by wearing tallit and tefillin in private and covering the tefillin-strap marks with long sleeves. That said, I must state that, when I wrote the linked post, it never occurred to me that being seen in public with tefillin-strap marks on my arm could get me not only verbally chastized, but physically beaten up. It's quite frightening.

Anonymous said...

Wolf - I became frum in the '70's, and the people who most influenced me were born and brought up in Europe and the Old Yishuv. One of them told me - the Torah is perfect but Jews aren't.

The Jewish community goes through historical changes, which people nowadays have forgotten. Who remembers the Shabtai Tzvi debate in Europe, when people betrayed each other to the government? Or the bitterness of the machlokes between Rabbis Emden and Eibeschutz? Those were tragic eras. Other eras have been flourishing. We unfortunately live in a time period when craziness seems to be the klal, not the exception, and not just for Jews.

The people who taught me Yiddishkeit would never have dreamed of hitting anyone, no matter what the provocation. In another generation this sort of lunacy will probably have been forgotten. The Torah endures.

noam the preacher said...

לוקוס, לוקוס! עד מתי אתה מכלה ממונן של ישראל ואינך עומד להן

Anonymous said...

These enforcers need to spend more quality time learning Torah and working.

cipher said...

In another generation this sort of lunacy will probably have been forgotten.

Only because these people will bring about the collapse of Orthodoxy within one generation (if we have that much time left as a global civilization, which we probably haven't).

I'm appalled by the rationalizations of the Modern Orthodox commenters here - "Well, that's them, that isn't us." Meanwhile, you've spent the past three generations glancing furtively backward over your collective shoulder, longing for the approval of the Haredim. You tell your children, "Our way is better; we embrace the best of both worlds", but you communicate to them subliminally your suspicion that the Haredim do, in fact, represent "authentic" Judaism. This is why so many flip out and become crazy-frum during the requisite year in Israel between high school and college.

And how many Modern Orthodox rabbis take to the streets, either here or in Israel, decrying these incidents? None of whom I'm aware.

Also, not one of you has said, "Wolf, I sympathize; it gets to me, too." Instead, almost immediately, this thread devolved into "This isn't about Judaism! It's about the Haredim!" For God's sake, the guy is suffering - your blathering about what constitutes "true Yiddishkeit" isn't helping him any.

Wolf, this probably doesn't mean much coming from a gehinnom-bound atheist, but I hear you, and I'm sorry for your pain. As I tell you on the order of around once or twice a year - this is who they are. They're supposed to be the most seriously Torah-observant people on the planet, yet this insane subculture, which fosters these extremists, is the result. It isn't supposed to be that way, yet it is. I understand why it shakes you. I'm sorry.

Rabbi Lars Shalom said...

WOW WOOW WOW

E-Man said...

"I'm appalled by the rationalizations of the Modern Orthodox commenters here - "Well, that's them, that isn't us." Meanwhile, you've spent the past three generations glancing furtively backward over your collective shoulder, longing for the approval of the Haredim. You tell your children, "Our way is better; we embrace the best of both worlds", but you communicate to them subliminally your suspicion that the Haredim do, in fact, represent "authentic" Judaism. This is why so many flip out and become crazy-frum during the requisite year in Israel between high school and college."

This is just false.

"They're supposed to be the most seriously Torah-observant people on the planet,"

Also, false.

cipher said...

Yes, E-Man, I expected a response of this sort from you. Some months back, I caught you on another blog defending the idea of heresy as a capital offense. You also promoted that perennial frum/evangelical rationalization - if people stop being religious, it isn't because they have valid reasons (because there are no valid reasons, chos v'sholem), but because they simply stop caring. I called you out, and, of course, you attempted to rationalize your way out of it.

E-Man said...

Of course you attack me, what you fail to understand you attack. You just don;t understand Judaism. I feel kinda sorry for you.

You did not call me out whatsoever. I said that someone who believes in a religion chooses to hold of those religions rules and are subject to them. Why is that so bad again?

You are a funny individual. Try understanding something before you attack it.

E-Man said...

Also, when did I say people stop being religious for no reason? I never said that. I said there are people who do it both ways.

cipher said...

"If u truly believe in the torah then u believe there is some spiritual problem with this person and the only way for that person to atone for his misgivings is death. This is true by a sabbath desecrater also. So if u believe in an eternal afterlife then it is very moral to put these people to death because u are actually saving their eternal life. However, one must believe in judaism first for any of this to happen because it is only true if u believe in judaism."

http://garnelironheart.blogspot.com

I'll also point out that in the same comment, you said this,

"Also, if u look closely G-D never commands the Jews to wipe out any nation. He commands for us to go to war but not to wipe them out."

I suppose that killing all of the adults, along with the underage males, but keeping the underage females for themselves qualifies technically as not wiping them out.

But, you're right - as I am not frum and don't have the benefit of a yeshiva education, I guess I just don't understand.

E-Man said...

Correct, you do not nor do you want to. SO you will take things out of context without trying to understand them.