Religious Fundamentalism At Work – The Western Wall – A Strip Search

 

Outcry as women asked to lift skirts, shirts at entrance to Western Wall

From the Times of Israel

Liberal Jewish groups say 4 female rabbinical students were intimidated, humiliated ahead of Women of the Wall prayer service

Guards at the entrance to the Western Wall complex in Jerusalem “strip searched” four female rabbinical students on Wednesday ahead of the Women of the Wall’s monthly prayer service at the holy site, liberal Jewish groups said.

The Israel Religious Action Center, which serves as the legal arm of the Reform Movement in Israel, said the four students of Hebrew Union College were delayed and questioned by guards, then were asked to lift up their shirts and skirts. “Four female rabbinical students strip searched while trying to enter the Western Wall Complex,” it declared in a press release.

The director of the IRAC said the searches were “a new low” for the Western Wall rabbinate, which is strongly opposed to the Women of the Wall.

“This is a new low for the Rabbi of the Kotel trying to intimidate, humiliate, and exclude liberal women trying to pray at the Western Wall. Despite today’s events these four brave Jewish leaders will continue to love Israel, the Wall, and justice,” Rabbi Noa Sattath said in a statement, using the Hebrew term for the Western Wall.

“Today we are submitting formal letters of complaint to the Attorney General and the Prime Minister’s office demanding they act to address the events of this morning,” she added.

Women of the Wall said the search of the four women was illegal.

“These searches go against [Supreme Court] Judge Rubinstein’s decision which states that body searches on Women of the Wall are illegal without a serious security threat. A few of these students, who were visiting the Kotel for the first time, were shocked by the incident and the difficult experience imposed on them,” the group said in a statement.

Religious media outlets said the women were smuggling Torah scrolls on their persons, which Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch called a “desecration.”

“Today, the first of the [Jewish] month of Elul, all the red lines were crossed. They smuggled holy Torah schools wrapped around their bodies, they hid whistles in their private parts, and for what? For the “sanctity” of the civil war at the Western Wall,” he said in a statement.

At the prayer service, women read from a Torah scroll and blew 15 shofars, activities that are vehemently opposed by ultra-Orthodox Jews, who hold that only men may do these things.

“We sounded the shofar today in order to knock down the walls of apathy, exclusion, silencing and discrimination…We look to the Supreme Court, that has proven itself as the ‘responsible adult’ in the state, to lead to a just solution to our basic demand for equal rights for women at the Wall,” Women of the Wall head Anat Hoffman said.

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Members of Women of the Wall blow shofars during a prayer service marking the first day of the Jewish month of Elul, on August 23, 2017, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City. (AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana)

The High Court of Justice is set to hear a petition on the pluralistic prayer section at the Western Wall, which was brought by the Women of the Wallafter the cabinet voted to freeze the deal in June.

The decision to freeze the agreement coincided with a High Court deadline for the state to respond to petitions on its failure to implement the agreement and construct the mixed-gender plaza near Robinson’s Arch.

It also came amid pressure from Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox lawmakers to dial back the plan to establish an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall, which was approved by government ministers in January 2016.

The cabinet’s decision was met with widespread dismay from liberal groups and Diaspora Jews.

Prime Minister Benjamin defended the move, with an aide to the premiersaying that it will in fact help push the deal forward, and that Netanyahu had no choice but to halt the agreement as a result of pressure from the ultra-Orthodox parties, whose support he needs to maintain his ruling coalition.

Last week, the US State Department released its International Religious Freedom Report for 2016, which criticized the Western Wall rabbi over “guidelines for religious observance mandating separation of women and men, with the women’s section being less than half the size of the men’s section, and the government continued to enforce these rules.”

The report, which was completed before the suspension of the deal on permanent pluralistic prayer area, also criticized the prohibitions against bringing in privately owned Torah scrolls to the Western Wall plaza, and on women “accessing the public Torah scrolls or giving priestly blessings at the site.”

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Ultra-Orthodox Community is Expanding, Blockbusting, Lakewood, Jersey City

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A woman and boy in the Greenville neighborhood in Jersey City, where several dozen Hasidic families from Brooklyn have settled. They are part of a major movement of ultra-Orthodox Jews into communities around New York City in search of more affordable places to live.CreditBryan Anselm for The New York Times

JERSEY CITY — To the gentrifying stew of bankers, artists and college graduates who are transforming this once blue-collar city across the Hudson River from Manhattan, add an unexpected flavor.

In a heavily African-American neighborhood, 62 families from a number of Hasidic sects based in Brooklyn and rarely seen here have bought a scattering of faded but roomy wood-frame rowhouses whose prices are less than half what homes of similar size would cost in New York — roughly $300,000 compared with $800,000.

These families are pioneers in a demographic and religious shift that is reshaping communities throughout the region. Skyrocketing real estate prices in Brooklyn and Queens are forcing out young ultra-Orthodox families, which are establishing outposts in unexpected places, like Toms River and Jackson Township in New Jersey, the Willowbrook neighborhood on Staten Island and in Bloomingburg, N.Y., in the foothills of the Catskills.

The influx, however, has provoked tensions with long-established residents, as the ultra-Orthodox seek to establish a larger footprint for their surging population. Residents complain that investors or real estate agents representing the ultra-Orthodox community have been ringing doorbells persistently, offering to buy properties at “Brooklyn prices.” Jersey City, Toms River and Jackson have all passed no-knock ordinances barring such inquiries under the threat of fines or have banned solicitations altogether.

The mayor of Jersey City, Steven Fulop, said his town took pride in its diversity but had been concerned about “very aggressive solicitation.”

“They literally go door to door and can be very pushy trying to purchase someone’s house,” Mr. Fulop, a grandson of Holocaust survivors and a graduate of yeshivas, said in an interview. “It’s not the best way to endear yourself to the community, and there’s been a lot of pushback.”

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In Jersey City, a Hasidic influx has provoked some tension among longtime residents who complain of aggressive tactics from buyers seeking to purchase homes for Hasidic families. The city now prohibits door-to-door solicitation. CreditBryan Anselm for The New York Times

New York City and the surrounding suburbs are home to the largest concentration of Jews in the country and because of their high birthrate — five or six children are common — Hasidic and other ultra-Orthodox Jews represent the fastest-growing subset. They are now estimated to number about 330,000 in New York City alone — one-third of the city’s overall Jewish population.

They have become a more muscular political and social force and have turned the generally liberal profile of the area’s Jews more observant and conservative. Lakewood Township, near the Jersey Shore, voted for Donald J. Trump last year by the largest margin — 50 percentage points over Hillary Clinton — of any New Jersey community, according to an analysis by NJ Advance Media.

Squeezed out of their traditional neighborhoods, ultra-Orthodox Jews have taken steps that have raised concerns as they settle into new communities.

Michele Massey, a former Jersey City councilwoman who is the executive director of an organization that oversees a commercial corridor along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, said Hasidim had opened a synagogue on the avenue despite a recent zoning change forbidding new houses of worship.

“It’s not because they’re Jewish,” Ms. Massey said of her opposition. “It could have been any other religion or group. It was simply the zoning law. I’m a person of color. Obviously I don’t care who lives where.”

The Hasidim contend that they have been primarily buying boarded-up or vacant homes and that solicitations have come from outside investors, not from the families that have moved in. They support the city’s no-knock law and point out that the Hasidic families that have moved into the Greenville neighborhood are a minuscule fraction of the area’s 47,000 people, half of whom are black.

“We’re not looking to push out anybody,” said Mordecha Feuerstein, a volunteer for a Hasidic organization that helps people find new homes in affordable places like Jersey City.

What Hasidim have opened in a boarded-up dry cleaner on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, he said, is not a synagogue but a small community center that, like many Jewish institutional buildings, is also used for prayer and study. Next to it is a narrow grocery stocked with kosher foods and Yiddish newspapers. Some Hasidim point out that within a few blocks along the avenue are a Catholic church, a mosque and a storefront church called the Sanctified Church of Jesus Christ. Those were grandfathered in under zoning rules and officials are weighing whether the community center violates the rules.

Underlying the objections of many municipalities is an often unspoken worry that ultra-Orthodox Jews will transform the character of their communities. The ultra-Orthodox may not explicitly raise the specter of anti-Semitism, but they do see a bias against their unconventional lifestyle, modest dress and customs. Orthodox Jews, in general, live in tight-knit communities because of their need to cluster around an infrastructure that includes a synagogue within walking distance, kosher butchers, yeshivas for boys and girls, and ritual baths.

One community that is rapidly changing is Bloomingburg, on the edge of Sullivan County. A developer, Shalom Lamm, started building a complex of 396 townhouses that he marketed to Hasidim. Opponents claimed the development would quadruple the village’s population of 420 and significantly alter its tranquil, rustic ambience. Thirty homes are occupied and another 70 or so are in various stages of building. Vacant homes nearby have been bought for Hasidic tenants, while a boys’ yeshiva, a ritual bath and a kosher store have opened.

What the village will look like is in limbo, however, because Mr. Lammpleaded guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to corrupt the electoral process by signing up ineligible voters to elect a village government friendly to his project. He will face sentencing in September.

Lakewood is also feeling the impact of a fast-growing minority group. Decades ago the area was rural, filled with hardscrabble egg-raising farms owned by Jewish Holocaust refugees, a few grand hotels and an estate that had once been owned by John D. Rockefeller.

TO CONTINUE TO THE NEW YORK TIMES STORY, CLICK HERE.

Israeli Soldiers Clashing with the Ultra-Orthodox – Casting the First Stone?

Israeli soldiers violently clash with ultra-Orthodox

Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews clashed with Israeli police Sunday when an anti-military demonstration grew violent.

Members of the ultra-Orthodox Eda Haredit group were protesting a recent court ruling that compels them to serve in the Israeli Defense Force. They began to block traffic and resisted riot cops’ efforts to disperse them, according to officials.

“Eight rioters who used violence against police were arrested,” a police statement said in Hebrew, according to The Associated Press. “They lay down in the road, shouting slogans against the police, some of them threw stones at police.”

The court decision, reached last week, struck down a law exempting ultra-Orthodox men from military service if they are engaged in religious study.

Typically, men over 18 must serve two years and eight months in the IDF, and adult women must serve two years.

Religious hardliners argue Judaism forbids a Jewish state — and thus a military — under certain conditions. Others claim that time in the service will expose men to colorful language and detract from their religious studies.

Chareidi Extremism – No Smartphones

 

http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/1332765/watch-chareidi-extremists-protest-monsey-store-sells-smartphones.html

Chareidi Extremists Protest Monsey Store That Sells Smartphones

No. This isn’t Meah Shearim. This is Monsey, NY on Erev Shabbos Nachamu.

These Chareidi extremists staged a protest outside the “Ping Cellular Store” which is a Verizon Wireless Dealer, located on Route 59, at the “Town Square Mall”, right next to the Evergreen Supermarket.

The group is upset that the establishment is selling smartphones.

A few dozen extremists were part of the protest, as a few dozens counter protesters grabbed their signs and yelled back.

Police were on the scene keeping the two groups apart.

It is not known who this group of extremists belong to.

Mohels Give Babies Herpes and Families Protect Them – Babies are the Collateral Damage of the Societal Norms

“FIRST DO NO HARM”

Primum non nocere is a Latin phrase that means “first, do no harm.” The phrase is sometimes recorded as primum nil nocere.[1]
Non-maleficence, which is derived from the maxim, is one of the principal precepts of bioethics that all healthcare students are taught in school and is a fundamental principle throughout the world. Another way to state it is that, “given an existing problem, it may be better not to do something, or even to do nothing, than to risk causing more harm than good.” It reminds the health care provider that they must consider the possible harm that any intervention might do. It is invoked when debating the use of an intervention that carries an obvious risk of harm but a less certain chance of benefit.[citation needed]
Non-maleficence is often contrasted with its corollary, beneficence.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primum_non_nocere

Pikuach Nefesh (Hebrew: פיקוח נפש)

LM – 19.04.17

Jewish teachings demand that we travel on Shabbat and that we override nearly every other religious consideration when a person’s life is in danger. We are commanded to “lo ta’aseh” a Mitzvah when in so doing we would be putting a life in danger or failing to save one.

Is protecting a mohel who has permanently damaged and even killed babies not within this category? Are you not the putting the next child’s life in danger? Is it not a moral imperative of EVERY SINGLE JEW to make certain that mohels who are damaging children be stopped and be prosecuted for their crimes, crimes against Jewish babies, crimes against all Jews?

Whatever our beliefs are regarding the use or misuse of the word “me’tzizah,” should those very tenets of our religion not be trumped by the notion that we as Jews are religiously and morally obligated to protect our children?

To the parents who will not cooperate with the authorities, you are hypocrites. You are shameful. You do not deserve the blessings that are bestowed upon you in your ability to conceive and bring children into this world.

To the parents who will have babies harmed by these practices because your friends, family members, rabbis and communities did not warn you, did not protect you, it might be time to re-evaluate your belief system. May you and your babies not suffer the sins of your community.

To the Rabbis who are not cooperating with authorities and claiming that these rituals are complicated and holy, you are the unholiest of them all.

Protectingmohels

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Anti-Zionist Fundamentalism – Anti-IDF Sentiment, Who’s Supposed to Protect Israel?

Anti – Zionist Fundamentalism

https://www.facebook.com/frumwatch/

Police say the suspects allegedly attempted to extort businesses, harassing and threatening company officials with ultimatums to advertise in HaPeles (the “Jerusalem Faction”‘s newspaper), warning that the failure to do so would be seen as an insult to a large segment of the haredi population and would have serious consequences. The harassment of the targeted officials was reportedly ongoing on a daily basis.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/228214

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28 arrested in crackdown on anti-Zionist radicals

Police operation against anti-draft Yerushalmi Faction nets 28 suspects, including senior members of ‘Hapeles’ newspaper.

Police arrested 28 suspects in a pre-dawn raid early Tuesday morning in a crackdown against the haredi anti-draft group known as the Yerushalmi Faction.

The Yerushalmi Faction, led by Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, has had mass demonstrations and blocked roads across the country to protest the draft of yeshiva students into the IDF. Unlike mainstream haredi groups, the Yerushalmi Faction discourages its members from seeking deferments from the army as yeshiva students, arguing that such behavior legitimizes the existing draft law.

Among the 28 suspects arrested Tuesday are senior members of the Hapeles newspaper, the mouthpiece of the Yerushalmi Faction.

Police say the suspects allegedly attempted to extort businesses, harassing and threatening company officials with ultimatums to advertise in Hapeles, warning that the failure to do so would be seen as an insult to a large segment of the haredi population and would have serious consequences. The harassment of the targeted officials was reportedly ongoing on a daily basis.

Tuesday’s operation also included searches of offices maintained by Hapeles.

The arrestees included residents of Jerusalem, Modiin Illit, Bnei Brak, Ashdod, Rechasim, and Hadera.

During the arrests of suspects in Bnei Brak, some locals clashed with police, hurling stones and other objects at officers.

Raising Money to Deprive non-Religious Parents of their Rights to their Children

Ultra-Orthodox Jews launch million-pound fundraising bid to stop children living with ‘irreligious parents’

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/ultra-orthodox-jews-launch-million-pound-fundraising-campaign-to-fight-converts-child-custody-cases-a7190281.html

Ultra-Orthodox Jews are raising £1m to prevent “pure and holy” children from leaving the strict faith community and living with “irreligious parents” in an “evil culture”, The Independent has learned.

The fundraising drive has been established to fund the legal fees of divorcing parents involved in child custody battles with ex-partners who want to join mainstream society.

The Independent has seen flyers for a fundraising event in the Stamford Hill area of London that call for the community to back the bid, saying: “Rescue The Children Convention: We now need one million pounds and therefore the community is requested to join in with a minimum sum of £500.”

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A copy of the flyer obtained by The Independent

The flyers were accompanied by a letter of support from a local rabbi stating they wish to fight cases involving 17 children: “To our great pain, and our misfortune, our community finds itself in a terrible situation – 17 of our pure and holy children where one of the parents, God rescue them, have gone out into an evil culture, and want to drag their children after them.

“This is a decree of apostasy and this situation has motivated our rabbis who are in Israel… to come here in a personal capacity to increase prayer and to gather money for legal fees, and to achieve this a convention has been organised of prayer and also to collect money.”

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Leaflet distributed in North London, calling for donations ()

The Charedi community is notoriously insular and practices a 19th-century interpretation of the faith. Engagement with the secular world is deeply taboo, Yiddish is spoken as the primary language and arranged marriages are standard practice. Men wear 19th-century Eastern European dress including long black coats and black hats, while married women must dress modestly and cover their hair.

Campaigners and former community members have told The Independent the tactical funding of legal fees tears families apart by denying those wishing to leave the religion access to their children as a punishment for no longer believing in ultra-Orthodox Judaism.

They say the practice unfairly skews child custody battles in favour of the funded parent who remains in the faith groups, rather than enabling custody to be decided on the basis of the best interests of children. Many who join mainstream society have little grasp of the English language or legal system as well as no financial resources, they are severely disadvantaged in court cases and can struggle to understand or articulate their experiences or get adequate legal representation.

A spokesperson for GesherEU, a charity supporting people wishing to leave Charedi communities, told The Independent: “[Child custody cases instigated by a parent leaving the community are] seen as a huge threat to the Charedi community, knowing that people can leave the community and take their children with them and give them a decent secular education and live successfully outside of the community.

“It is very common within the Charedi community for the religious parent to receive full financial support throughout the court process to ensure the children remain within the community. The parent who stays religious will receive fully funded solicitors and barristers with the sole intention of ensuring the children remain resident with the parent who stays in the community.”

“The religious parent will be pressurised into filing for full custody and even lie in court so that the other parent is seen as ‘an unfit parent’ and lose custody/contact with their children. Often parents who leave will experience domestic violence as the religious parent will resort to threats and emotional and physical abuse to try and coerce their spouse to remain married and living within the Charedi community.”

They added that the knowledge the community will try and keep a child with a believing parent acts as a deterrent for anyone questioning their faith and considering leaving: “An event like this is a clear warning to those thinking of leaving as well as a scare tactic: ‘If you leave we have all the money power and resources to fight you and ensure your children stay within the community are alienated from you.’ This does work to some extent and deters many who would otherwise leave knowing they will be facing a legal battle with possibly devastating consequences.”

Last year, the community came under scrutiny when it emerged one school threatened pupils with expulsion if their mothers drove them to school on the grounds that it was “contrary to the rules of religious modesty” for women to drive. An investigation by The Independent earlier this year found more than a 1,000 children in Charedi communities are attending illegal schools where secular knowledge is banned and they learn only religious texts, meaning they leave school with no qualifications and often unable to speak any English.

The Independent has seen details of legal cases brought before British Family Courts in recent years whereby the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community has funded legal fees of a ‘believing’ parent in the hope that they will be given custody of the children above the other parent. In a 2013 ruling, a judge told the court: “The mother and father come from the… Charedi community of ultra-Orthodox Jews. A major reason for the marriage breakdown was that the mother no longer wished to follow the strict tenets of that community. She remains an orthodox Jew but wished for a way of living for herself and the children which allowed greater diversity of educational, personal and economic opportunity. Her wish has come at a price. Her own parents and siblings are no longer in contact with her.

“The financial cost of this litigation is significant. The mother does not receive public funding, and pays the legal costs from her own pocket. The father’s legal costs are paid for by his community and by his parents… This is a grossly disproportionate misdirection of the father’s available financial resources. It is also a wearing down of the mother’s resources. I did not make a costs order on this occasion but, if these or similar disputes are continued, the court may have to intervene with costs orders in future to prevent further financial injustice to the mother.”

A court case last year exposed the extreme pressure individuals feel when leaving the community as a woman sought to divorce her husband after alleging sexual and domestic violence, and gain custody of their daughter. Court records seen by The Independent show the woman was unable to read or write English and was represented on a voluntary basis by lawyers due to lack of funds. It is not known how her ex-husband’s legal fees were funded.

The ruling notes that the woman says she was beaten and raped repeatedly throughout her marriage but “was inhibited from speaking out about her abusive experiences contemporaneously because of the culture in which she was living… where she would have no audience and no sympathy”.

The woman told the court that when the woman attended a GP’s appointment for vaginal pain incurred by rape, her husband attended with her to translate English for her, meaning she was unable to get help there too.

She said that once she did speak out and seek custody of her child, community members spread rumours she had been sexually promiscuous. “A member of the community threw eggs at me for disclosing the violence and allegedly bringing shame upon the community,” she said. The woman was granted custody and left the country soon after to begin a new life with her child.

Imtiaz Shams, co-founder of Faith To Faithless an advocacy group for ex-religious people, told The Independent: “Faith to Faithless has come across many parents for whom leaving their faith has had huge consequences for their relationship with their children. Many have had to “go back into the closet” in terms of their lack of faith, even from their own children, simply to protect this bond.

“Leaving faith can put the financial and social weight of the whole religious community against the parent: it is part of the systematic prejudice faced by non-religious people from religious communities. Leaving the Ultra-Orthodox community can be particularly difficult as these parents can be isolated, may not know what their rights are or have the financial and emotional support required to fight these custody battles.”

He added: “We call on the Government and civil society to do more to protect non-religious parents and their children, who may not have the resources to challenge the discrimination they face.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/ultra-orthodox-jews-launch-million-pound-fundraising-campaign-to-fight-converts-child-custody-cases-a7190281.html