Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Emmanuel – The Agudah Moetzes Responds

According to a report on YWN, the Agudah Moetzes has had an emergency meeting to deal with the crisis in Emmanuel. To briefly review - the Israeli Supreme Court has ordered the Charedi school system in Israel to pay a daily 5000 shekel fine as long as one of its member schools – a Beis Yaakov in the city off Emmanuel - continues its policy of discrimination against Sephardi girls.

After being ordered to integrate many of the Ashkenazi parents in that school opted not to send their daughters and have instead made other arrangements. The fine was levied at the school to force integration and those parents have been subpoenaed to appear in court and explain their actions.

From YWN:

According to a HaMevaser report, the (Novominsker) Rebbe explained to participants in the meeting that Deputy Minister of Education R’ Meir Porush explained the fine is in fact placing an untenable financial strain on the organization, not to mention the brazen decision of the court demanding that parents appear before the High Court to defend themselves, to explain why they have chosen not to send their girls to the school.

Agudah Moetzes Chairman, Rabbi Yaakov Perlow (The Novominsker Rebbe) has endorsed the position of the Slonimer Rebbe and who said that one should be willing to go to jail rather than comply with the order. Furthermore:

The rabbonim reiterated the need for the chareidi chinuch to remain independent, under the exclusive control of Gedolei Yisrael Shlita.

What about discrimination? Here is what Rabbi Porush said:

The facts in the case are simple, and anyone willing to accept the rules and regulations of the school may attend — stating it is as simple as that. He rejected any allegations of discrimination as alleged by the court.

Apparently the Agudah Moetzes sees this as yet another attempt by the Israeli government to interfere with Charedi Chinuch.

I cannot understand their position here. The high court sees only Sephardi girls being barred from attendance and has ruled that the school must integrate. How can this be interpreted as an attempt to by the government to interfere with Charedi Chinuch?

If it were truly a religious issue rather than a racial one - as Rabbi Porush claims - why is it only Sephardim that are being excluded? If indeed there are such religious standards - could it be that they have been written in a way that discriminates only against Sephardim?

I can’t prove it but knowing the innate prejudice against Sephardim by many if not most Ashkenazim in Israel I would not doubt that for a minute. One need only look at today’s post by Rabbi Dovid Landesman in Cross-Currents to see the truth of my suspicions.


I find it extremely disconcerting that no one is denying that the story itself is true – which is a scandal in and of itself! Please, spare me the specious arguments that the Ashkenazi parents are simply reluctant to have their children be confused by different pronunciations of Hebrew, varied nuschaot hatefillah or unfamiliar minhagim and halachot. There is very real prejudice in the chareidi world and I have not heard about anyone trying to root it out.

The argument that this is about Charedi control versus government control is unconvincing to me in the extreme. I would have hoped that the Agudah Moetzes would have seen through that. And not attribute every single dispute to the desire by the Israeli government to hinder Charedi education.