Sunday, June 20, 2010

Rabbi Marc Angel on Chereidi Racism

I received this as an email. It is apparently also posted as a blog entry at the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals site. You may recall a few of my previous posts on this subject - here the Chereidi are using the excuse that Sephardi (darker skinned) Jews are "less religious." Previously they had claimed they were "less rigorous" in their studies - and they can apparently tell this by the color of their skin.

Hareidism, Xenophobia--and another disgrace of the Torah
Rabbi Marc D. Angel

As I write this blog, many thousands of Hareidim are engaged in mass demonstrations against a recent court decision in Israel. Because the Hareidim are in violation of Israeli law, some/many of them will be arrested and put in prison for short sentences.

The current outbreak is the result of a string of events, beginning with the rampant discrimination that was taking place in a Beit Yaacov (Hareidi) girls school in the town of Emmanuel. The school officials had an actual wall built in order to separate out Sephardic children, who were deemed to be a bad influence on the Ashkenazic girls. An anti-discrimination case was brought against the school, and the court ruled that the school was in violation of the law and had to eliminate all traces of discriminatory policies. The school authorities and many parents objected to this decision. A new "pirate school" was created, in order to circumvent the court's decision. A case was then brought against the "pirate school", and again the court ruled that the school was guilty of discriminatory policies. The court called for "integration" and fair treatment of all students, regardless of ethnic background. Those parents who violate the law will be imprisoned.

To the eternal shame of Torah, the Hareidi religious leadership called on the Hareidi community to protest the court's decision. They explain that the discriminatory policies are not based on ethnicity, but on "religious levels". In their view, the Sephardic girls are less religious i.e. they watch television or use computers; the Hareidim are trying to protect their own daughters from the negative influences of less "religious" girls. Those who know the situation first hand, though, can point to numerous examples of outright ethnic discrimination, hatred and xenophobia within the Hareidi world. The case in Emmanuel, however egregious, is only one example of many.

Hareidi leaders go so far as to state that it is a sanctification of God's name to be imprisoned for violating the court's order.

This is not a sanctification of God's name, but a profound desecration of God's name. The Hareidi protestors not only represent a disgrace to the Israeli system of law, but a disgrace to Torah and to God. Instead of their self-righteous justifications for ethnic discrimination, it would have been so much nobler and more religious for the Hareidi leaders to address their xenophobia straight on, and to try to work to rid the community of this ugly manifestation of social injustice.

In my own experience, I have found a general pattern within the Orthodox world, whether Ashkenazic or Sephardic. The more enclosed a community is, the more it fears or mistrusts the "outsider". The narrower the group is, the more it wants to mix only with people of "their own kind". While one might find sociological explanations for this phenomenon, it must be exposed for what it is: hatred of fellow Jews, demeaning of fellow human beings, stereotyping of those who are different or of different backgrounds.

All Jews of all shades of religiosity must loudly decry this Hareidi outburst, and must find ways of addressing the xenophobia which plagues the narrowly Orthodox communities. The Jewish people has enough problems, without needing the additional antagonisms and injustices perpetrated by one group of Jews against another group of Jews.

Our community needs more tolerance, and less xenophobia; more love and less hatred; more teachers of the righteousness and pleasantness of Torah, and less demagogues who defame Torah. This transformation cannot happen without a strong, concerted effort.

Bravo to those in Israel who have fought against the discriminatory policies in Emmanuel. Bravo to those who brought the case to court, and won a victory for justice and human dignity. Bravo to those who are trying to build a fairer, juster and more righteous society in Israel and throughout the world.

(This blog appears on the website of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals, Please visit our website for many articles of interest to those who strive for an intellectually vibrant, compassionate and inclusive Orthodox Judaism.)

Racism is just one more backward and, frankly, disgusting attitude of the Chereidi that they are indoctrinating their children to believe. Honestly, forcing the kids to go to inclusive schools won't stop this horrible belief because it is clearly taught vigorously in the homes by the children's parents. It is the parents who should be punished, and not just with a few hours in jail. The punishment should be painful, not something that will let them pretend to be martyrs for a loathsome cause - racial purity - which is particularly ridiculous given the FACT that Hebrew people were not white. The Ashkenaz white skin color comes directly from DILUTING their middle eastern genetic heritage in white catholic Europe. So in truth, the Sephardic people are a lot closer to our Hebrew ancestors than the Ashkenaz will ever be. The Ashkenaz have incorporated the racism and superiority complex of white catholic Europe into their philosophy and are now trying to pass off this paganism as "min har Sinai" Torah, which it certainly is not.

I would like to see God do to these parents what he did to Miryam when she objected to Moshe's Ethopian new wife - give them all leprosy.

Is that White enough for you?

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