Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Chasidic Hooliganism

I am not bashing Chasidim. Most Chasidim do not act like this but the following story illustrates that some Chasidim do. And to whatever extent this kind of behavior is condoned or tolerated, is the extent it should be publicly condemned.

Once again a great Chilul HaShem was made by Frum Jews. Yesterday in the Boro Park section of New York city a group of Chasidim who generally claim to be the most religious of Torah Jewry and who are almost universally seen as such by the rest of world acted like an unruly and criminally violent mob.

The New York Times and other newspapers are reporting an incident where a 75 year-old Chasidic driver was arrested for talking on his cell phone while driving. Apparently the police were a bit rough on this gentleman considering his elderly status. It was also likely that the fellow charged was deaf in one ear contributing to the circumstances of the arrest. Apparently not realizing this, the police officers thought man was being uncooperative.

To a passer by in the street of this overwhelmingly Orthodox neighborhood, this might have seemed like a shocking sight. How often is anyone arrested for such a relatively minor traffic violation, let alone a 75 year old Chasid? What happened next in response to this sight, however, is nothing less than a complete Chilul HaShem. Instead of expressing indignation and perhaps filing a complaint to the police department and maybe taking some legal action in the future, a huge riot broke out which included the kind of acts perpetrated by Palestinians against soldiers in the West Bank. From the NY time article:

“Hundreds of Hasidic Jews surrounded a Brooklyn police station Tuesday night, chanting "No justice - no peace," lighting bonfires, and eventually torching a police car.”

Torching a police car?! This how they react to a Jew being a bit rough handled by police who thought a man might be resisting arrest?! Even if the police were wrong or should have known better, this in no way can be characterized as a justified response! It is outright hooliganism. Torching police cars is not the Jewish way and not the Torah way. It is the Palestinian Intifada way. If these Chasidim are going to act like this they ought to move to Ramalah!