Tuesday, May 23, 2006

On Gangs And Turf Wars

Yeah, I know that this is last week's news... but I've been very busy.

Last week, an 18 year old was arrested in Kiryas Joel for throwing rocks at a car containing Chaya Teitelbaum, the wife of Zalman Teitelbaum. She was on her way to visit the Rebbe's grave in the local cemetary. The story was reported here (among other places). Of course, this is all just a part of the ugly battle that is currently going on within Satmar for control of the Hasidic sect.

However, I'm left to wonder what has become of us when we resort to throwing rocks at cars for the simple act of being in the neighborhood. Have we been so reduced by our petty factionalism that we now justify stoning cars with passengers simply because they belong to the "other side" in a dispute? Heck, it's not even as if she was being m'challel shabbos (not that I condone stoning cars being driven on Shabbos either) by driving through Kiryas Joel on Shabbos! She was simply going to visit her father-in-law's grave. Apparently, according to some, the fact that she had the audacity to show up on the "other side's" turf was enough to warrant physical bodily harm.

Sadly, this whole sordid affair is beginning to resemble a gang war. Between the violence expected at the funeral and upon several occassions since, one wonders where this is all headed - not in terms of who will lead Satmar in the end - but in terms of what either side will be willing to do and what violence will be perpetrated. What will be next? Will the Aaronites burn down a Zalmanite shul? Will Zalmanite gangs start beating up Aaronites they come across?

Maybe I'm exaggerating. I certainly hope so. But from my (admittedly, outsiders) perspective, this situation looks like it's becoming uglier and uglier. We pride ourselves on being an Am Kadosh (a holy nation); but the Chillul HaShem that comes from this situation belies that pride tremendously.

The Wolf

No comments: