Friday, July 17, 2009

A Time to Act

It’s the three weeks - Bein Ha’Metzarim m- and Jerusalem is aflame. In about two weeks we will be observibg Tishah B’Av which commemorates the destruction of both Holy Temples. Jerusalem burned then too.

Of course one cannot compare the burning then by Babylonia and Rome - to the burning now by wayward Jews. But the irony of having smoldering flames of destruction in the streets of Jerusalem should not be lost upon any of us during this period.

The people who are responsible for this are criminals. But they are not independent of the Hashkafos that bring them there. They are in large part members of a group of Charedim closely associated with the Edah HaCharedis who are listed below.

Recently Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch who is one of the leaders of the Edah condemned these people in no uncertain terms. But that is as far as he would go claiming that any further public effort by him would be futile. He said he is trying to work behind the scenes. If he has, his efforts have been thus far unsuccessful. It is time for action.

Last Sunday I called for a boycott of the Edah HaCharedis Hechsher. I repeat that again here. It will not be easy. The Edah Hechsher is so wide-spread that it would mean hardships to many people. It might prove impossible to find products with reliable Hechsherim to substitute for those of the Edah.

But the only way to get them to stop is to hit them in the pocket-book via a wide-spread boycott of their products. I would convince all Israelis - including Chilonim - to look for the Edah Hechsher before they buy anything and if it’s there - to boycott the product. I would urge sending letters to all the major companies like that use the Edah Hechsher and tell them what you are doing. And to inform the media.

Those philanthropists who give freely to any of the organizations listed below should stop supporting them until things change.

I received the following signed letter for someone who cares deeply about what is happening to our holy city of peace. I post here in its entirety. And I suggest we all do what we can to follow it. His name is being withheld for obvious reasons. He does not want to end up in the hospital.

In light of the growing terrorism being perpetrated against the citizens of Israel by member groups of the Eda Chareidit I think it's time for a concerted effort by all decent people, including Chareidim & others, to boycott products and establishments that bear the Eda Chareidit Kashrut certification.

The Eda Chareidit has many "branches". They provide services for their members, probably even help fund some Gemachim, but they also fund the incitement to terror that we've been witnessing lately. Some of this funding comes from their highly profitable Kashrut certification business. In the broader world it is well known that cutting off funding sources is one of the best tactics for curtailing terrorism. We must apply that lesson here.

Not every member group of the Eda Chareidit is necessarily wedded to this anti-social behavior, but that is all the more reason to put pressure on the group as a whole. This will hopefully encourage the more moderate constituents to reign in their terroristic brethren.

I know this will be difficult for many of us. For better or worse, the Eda Chareidit Kashrut organization is regarded as having a very high standard and their certification is found everywhere. Sometimes we just don't have a choice, but when we do, we should opt for the alternative. We should let the proprietors of the stores we shop in know about our preference. (Remember, many of them have been extorted to put up "Tznious" signs by these groups and would probably be happy to participate if it didn't hurt their business.)

This is just one of those cases where we might have to compromise a little on our super-Machmer Kashrut adherence (Bein Adom L'Makom) in favor of being more Machmir in "helping" our brethren behave more like human beings (Bein Adom L'Chaveiro). We know that's what HE would want.

In addition, and this is an area where like-minded people in the Diaspora can help, we should refrain from giving Tzedaka to any of the member groups of the Eda Chareidit: their institutions, individuals, and organizations. A list the Eda Chareidit groups is provided below.

I write this with a heavy heart, especially during the "3 weeks", but something must be done. We simply cannot stand by and let our beautiful religion be hijacked by those who would destroy it and it the process make a mockery of G-d and His Torah.

Thank you.


The Eda Chareidit Groups

Satmarer chasidim
Dushinsky chasidim
Toldos Aharon chasidim
Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok chasidim
Spinker chasidim
Brisk community of Jerusalem
Sanz-Tshokave chasidim
Perushim (faction of Lithuanian and Hungarian non-Hasidic Haredim, including descendants of the students of the Vilna Gaon)
Faction of Breslover chassidim (led by Rabbi Yaakov Meir Shechter)
Mishkenos HoRoim chasidim

Post Script:

I just received the following from Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn. These are the exact words of Rav Moshe Sternbuch on his official stationary signed and stamped with his official seal. I humbly suggest that it changes nothing!

With regards to the lady from Yerushlayim being accused of mistreating her child; What we have to strongly protest here, in a peaceful manner, are the barbaric actions of the police force in arresting a women who is allegedly sick according to their claims, and chaining her, putting
her in a cell with dangerous criminals. If their allegations are true, then this women deserves the appropriate medical treatment, but not to sit in a prison cell, with such subhuman treatment.

We condemn any types of violence, I have stressed this many times before. Anyone who commits acts of violence declares that he doesn’t belong to our community. Any talk of boycotting the hospital is against the Halacha and "very self-damaging." We have nothing
against the Hadassa hospital, and many in our community receive their services in the Hadassa hospital with great care.

Updated: 7/18/09 10:00 AM CDT