Frum Watch: People are Wondering it and Not Saying It – Covid-19 and Hareidim

***Journalist, governments, secular Jews, and non-Jews the world over are all wondering the same thing:Why are the coronavirus case counts higher in hareidi neighborhoods and communities?

Reposted with Permission of Frum Watch

Some like to point to the difficulty practicing social distancing with large families in cramped quarters, while others like to point to the lack of science education and general secular knowledge. Still others point to the hareidi communities refusal to put on hold its communal way of life. We would like to share with you the real reason behind the lackadaisical commitment to, if not outright rejection of, the social distancing guidelines in the hareidi community.

The answer is one word – WORK (or the lack thereof).

Let us explain. Never before in the history of the Jewish people has a Jewish community rejected the notion of the male members of the community working for a living. From the Bible to the Mishna to the Talmud — through the times of the later codes of Jewish law — husbands and male members of the Jewish community always have worked to support themselves and their families. In ancient times, some chopped wood, some made clothing, while others were shoemakers and blacksmiths. The Jewish marriage document, the Ketubah, itself attests to the importance and obligation of the husband and father of the household to support his wife and children.

However, this all changed when Rabbi Aaron Kotler, a Lithuanian yeshiva dean, arrived in the US and founded the Lakewood yeshiva and kollel in 1943. Rabbi Kotler believed and Rav Karelitz, the Chazon Ish, in Israel agreed that the secular work place was no place for a frum hareidi male. The temptations were too great; kefirah (heresy) was rampant – and besides, the hareidi world needed Torah scholars, not Torah businessman. This Torah Only theology spawned what we now know as the “kollel for life” model, where the male members of the community learn Talmud for life, while their wives and daughters support the household.

This new order is unprecedented in the annals of Jewish history. For the first time ever, we now have in Lakewood, Bnei Brak, and Jerusalem entire communities of men who don’t work for a living. Naturally, without working men, the community ultimately has become reliant on the income of the wives (usually working part-time), government welfare, and gemachim (community charities).

Continue reading

Hareidim – A Primer – “Fundamentalism is a Recent Creation”

This is being reprinted with permission from the administrators of the “Frum Watch” Facebook Site. It speaks to the differences among various Jewish sects. For Additional Reading we invite you to also consult a site called “Rationalist Judaism with other notes by Rabbi Dr. Natan Slifkin.

The Hareidim – a Primer

In light of the recent civil unrest and civil disobedience displayed in hareidi communities the world over, we bring to you a short primer on the Haredim. Hopefully, this brief outline will afford our readers a better understanding of the nature and composition of the community.

Not all haredim are hasidic, but all hasidim are haredim. In general, the hareidi community comprises two distinct communities, hasidim and non-hasidim. Both are ultra-Orthodox Jews, also known as frum Jews, hence the name of this Facebook group. The hasidic community contains multiple sects, such as Satmar, Chabad, Ger, Belz, and many others. For the most part, all the hasidic sects are at odds with each other, with some also at war. The reasons for this division and rancor are varied, some are battles over turf, others battles over ideology and influence. For example, the Satmar and Chabad sects have been at war for the better part of the past 50 years. However, of late, they have agreed upon a cold truce. This detente was due to the joining of forces to repel the treif influence of the internet and other evil secular influences.

Hasidic sects, except Chabad and Breslov, are led by a living rebbe, or admor (grand rabbi). Chabad is still in the throes of its failed messianic experiment, which collapsed with the death of M.M. Schneerson, their rebbe, in 1994. Unable to accept their leader’s failure to bring the messiah, Chabad leaders have refused to appoint a rebbe in his place. Most Chabad followers recognize their rebbe’s death and burial in Montefiore Cemetery, Queens; however, some still refuse to accept that he is no longer among the living. This extreme Messianic faction controls the main 770 synagogue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. They believe the rebbe is the long awaited messiah and, though we can’t see him, is still alive.

The case of Breslov is somewhat similar to that of Chabad in that a new leader was never appointed after Rebbe Nachman’s (their founder) death in 1810. Breslov, too, is a fervently messianic group. However, Breslov has never officially proclaimed Rebbe Nachman as messiah, but instead insisted that his light will burn until the messiah’s coming. Breslov hassidim place great importance on praying by Rebbe Nachman’s grave in Uman, Ukraine, on Rosh HaShana.

The non-hasidic hareidim, aka Litvish, aka yeshivish, Jews, mostly hail from the area of pre-war Lithuania and live in the Flatbush/Midwood section of Brooklyn and Lakewood, N.J. They are led by the non-hasidic faction of Agudas Israel of America. Agudah, for short, is the leading umbrella group of American ultra-Orthodox Jews. Agudah not only protects the interest of the non-hasidic community, it also tries to cover up the misdeeds of the hasidim. For this reason when the New York State Education Department ordered hasidic yeshivas to teach their students the mandated minimal secular subjects, it was Agudah who sued them in Federal Court. It was this same Agudah who recently sued Governor Cuomo when he ordered the shuls in Boro Park and Flatbush closed for Simchat Torah.

A third group of hareidim, that of Sephardi and Mizrachi Jews, also exists. This group is much more prominent in Israel, where their political party, Shas, holds 9 seats in the Knesset. Hareidi Sephardi and Mizrachi Jews are primarily found in the US in the Syrian community of Brooklyn.

All hareidim are suspicious of secular authority, scientific knowledge, and anything “modern.” They feel that they must reject secular authority whenever it infringes upon their Torah lifestyle. It is this rejection of secular authority that is behind all the ills in the hareidi community. For example, cheating on one’s taxes is legitimized because leading a Torah lifestyle is expensive and very costly — from private school yeshiva tuition to the price of glatt kosher meat. Working off the books and not paying taxes is the only way for many frumme to get by. In addition, cheating and scamming the welfare system is also legitimized on this account. How else is a frum family of 10 living in a 3 bedroom section 8 apartment going to survive?

The rejection of civil authority is also behind the widespread disregard of social distancing guidelines currently wreaking havoc in hareidi enclaves the world over. They believe, as the Belzer rebbe made clear, that they cannot allow the guidelines to interfere with their day-to-day Torah lifestyle. If people have to die, so be it, the Torah lifestyle must go on.

We must emphasize that the extreme fundamentalism of current hareidi practice, theology, and philosophy is a recent creation. In earlier times, observant Jews had a healthy respect for science, doctors, and civil authority. Whether on account of the Holocaust, the creation of the State of Israel, or otherwise, the hareidi community’s rejection of civil authority is unprecedented in the annals of Jewish history.

Please note that, though the demographics are not in their favor, there still exists a substantial group of Modern Orthodox (or MO) Jews. Modern Orthodox Jews are generally college educated professionals and businessmen. While ritually observant, this group is familiar with contemporary culture and respects the rule of secular law.

To read this on Facebook please click here.

Scrutinizing Religious Leaders of Any Religion is Necessary When their Flouting Authority Leads to Death – Covid-19

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish youths look at Israeli police as they patrol to enforce restrictions of a partial lockdown against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem, March 30, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun.

Orthodox Leaders Flouted State Authority for Years — Coronavirus Spread Was the Result

By now, there is near universal agreement that the initial response from many ultra-Orthodox leaders to the spread of coronavirus was an embarrassing and deadly failure.

While some wanted to chalk up early non-compliance with the social distancing guidelines among the ultra-Orthodox to just a handful of crazies — or claim that the leadership has done everything in their power to stop it — more recent incidents of non-compliance leave no doubt that the problem is real and systemic.

Continue reading

Lakewood, NJ – A Covid-19 Hotspot, Corona Carnival Cancelled, CoronaDog Giveaway Set for April 7, 2020, REALLY?

REPUBLISHED IN ITS ENTIRETY FROM THE BLOG OF WWW.RISEUPOCEANCOUNTY.COM

We are asking our readers to go to the bottom of the page and get in touch with law enforcement and government officials. With New Jersey’s Covid-19 numbers rising at an alarmingly high rate, and with a disproportionate number of those infected coming out of Lakewood and other religious communities (of all religions) the lawlessness is costing everyone in life and in a financial future.

Forget about the optics because the anti-Semitism alarm will be sounded for the next 20 years, mark our words, at this rate of religious defiance, Covid-19 will be the watershed point making any bridge for better rations with Orthodox Jewish communities impossible.  

It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a whole lot of villages to raise a petulant group of religious zealots who refuse to accept the law of the land. The religion is irrelevant. The numbers speak for themselves.

CoronaDog Giveaway Scheduled For Tomorrow In Lakewood

Tomorrow voices throughout Lakewood will rise up in unison and announce to the world…“CORONA DOGS, GET YOUR CORONA DOGS HERE!”

With the announced CoronaDog giveaway, suddenly a drive up CoronaCarnival doesn’t sound like such a bad idea after all.

The drive-up CornoaCarnival was planned so that10,000 toy spinners and a log of chocolate could be distributed to children in Lakewood, thankfully the organizer had a change of heart and postponed that event.  Not wanting to be outdone when it comes to incredibly bad ideas, a group of generous donors have declared  “HOLD MY BEER” as they ready distribution of 10,000 free CoronaDog meals tomorrow.  Their hope is that through this Kidush Hashem (kind gesture that is pleasing to God) they will bring blessings to their friend Chaim Aryeh Zev who is currently hospitalized with, you guessed it, coronavirus.

 

Continue reading

Rockland County, New York has a Disproportionately High Rate of Covid-19 and This is What a Legislator Does [video]

The Following Video Speaks for Itself –

This Man Should Not Hold Public Office. He Does No Favor for Jews and is Toxic in Rockland County, NY

The Religious Right of all Religions Should be Required Under Penalty of Punishment to Abide By Social Distancing. By Ignoring Public Safety Religious of Any Religion are No Better Than Other Terrorists – Only Covid-19 is Bio-Terrorism!

This is Not Political – It is a Pandemic –

Rocklanders Need Governance Not Throwing Mud –

The Below Video Feeds Resentment and Hate

 

Religious Leaders are Silent While Rabbis Lead Their Congregants to Covid-19 Illness – Israel

Israeli police enforcing national lockdown measures made several arrests in the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem on Sunday.

PHOTO: ILIA YEFIMOVICH/DPA/ZUMA PRESS

Israel Fights Coronavirus Spread Among Ultra-Orthodox Jews

TEL AVIV—Israel is struggling to contain a concentration of coronavirus infections among ultraorthodox Jews, with the impact reaching Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who went into isolation after an adviser from the community tested positive.

Mr. Netanyahu’s office said on Monday evening that his test for the virus, as well as those of his family and close staff, came out negative, though officials said he would remain in isolation as a precaution in keeping with ministry of health guidelines.

While the ultraorthodox make up about 10% of Israel’s population, ultraorthodox patients account for 50% of those hospitalized with the coronavirus disease, Covid-19, according to an analysis by Israel’s Channel 12. Continue reading