|Satmar Chasidim in the Stamford Hill section of London|
I have tried. I have truly tried to see Satmar in a more positive light. As many people know, they are personally very warm and gracious among themselves and to fellow Jews outside of their community. They have great family values and are meticulous about ritual observances. Their Chesed (kindnesses) to fellow Jews is unmatched. That is reflected in their Bikur Cholim society. Which provides a major service to any hospitalized Jew of any - or even no - denomination. Tremendous amounts of time and effort are expended by them in doing so. Which they do lovingly. There are not too many other groups can make those claims.
But any admiration I would normally have for this kind of dedication and commitment is shattered by what they teach their young. When it comes to the ‘Goy’ (a term referring to a non Jew - usually used pejoratively) they fail miserably.
Not only do they fail, they seem to fail on purpose. As though it is a Mitzvah to make sure Jews look bad in the eyes of the world! I don’t know how they can think that their attitude is what God wants of them. But apparently they do. They must - if they can actually do what they are doing in London. From the Independent:
British three-year-olds have been told "the non-Jews" are “evil” in a Kindergarten worksheet handed out at ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools in north London, it can be revealed.
Documents seen by The Independent show children are taught about the horrors of the Holocaust when they are still in kindergarten at the Beis Rochel boys’ school in north London.
The document refers to Nazis only as “goyim” – a term for non-Jews some people argue is offensive…
"It's not uncommon to be taught non-Jewish people are evil in ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools. It is part of the prayers, teaching, their whole ethos,” (a former teacher at their schools) said.
The Nazis were just Goyim?! All Goyim are the same?! Any Goy given the opportunity would do to us what the Nazis did to us?! This is what they teach their children from age 3?!
Although this story is about Satmar in London, I have to believe they are not rogue. I have to believe that this document reflects a sanctioned component of a Satmar education. Which probably goes something like this: ‘All Goyim are evil’. ‘But don’t tell them that’. ‘Let’s make sure our children realize this ‘truth’ and keep it to ourselves’. ‘So that we can pretend we like them, have friendly relations with them’. ‘And milk the system in order to better our lives through government assistance programs’.
They are actually quite good at this. The loyalty they have to their leadership allows their leaders to tell them who to vote for in an election. They then extract promises from political candidates in exchange for their block vote. When they get elected, they hold them to their promises with an implied threat of voting for someone else in the next election if they don’t. What a cynical approach this great country!
I know they are fellow Jews. I also know that they are generally good people when it comes to fellow Jews. But in my view all the good they do is ruined by what they teach their children about the ‘Goy’.
I understand why they feel this way. I’ve explained this all before. They carry over to this country a hatred of the ‘Goy’ based on centuries of persecution and pogroms by governments and indigenous populations in Europe. A hatred that culminated with the Holocaust!
Upon immigrating to the US post Holocaust, they brought that hatred with them. They see no difference between the ‘Goy’ in Europe and the ‘Goy’ here. They are all potential Nazis. Given the chance the American ‘Goy’ would do the same thing to us! And their insular isolationist ways assures their perpetuation of this attitude – starting at age 3!
I find it extremely difficult to see them in anything but a negative light – even with all their vaunted Chesed. The harm they do to the Jewish people by spreading such hatred is incalculable.
Isn’t time we let them know what we think about this? They may not listen to me. I am not anywhere on their radar screen. Not even close. But if the entire rest of the Orthodox Jewry - all segments including other Charedim - would reject them for doing this, and let it be known to the world that their views do not reflect the views of mainstream Orthodoxy maybe - just maybe - it will make an impression. And maybe they will someday realize just how wrong they are and change the hatred they teach their children.