Monday, June 04, 2018

Warm and Fuzzy - but Hateful as Well in Satmar

The warm and loving world of Chasidim (Arutz Sheva)
It’s a glowing tribute. Arutz Sheva columnist Rochel Sylvetsky’s review of Do Not Photograph. A book by photographer Joshua Haruni that is filled with pictures of the insular Chasdic world. (In this case, Pinsk- Karlin). It paints a warm picture of a group that very few people know much about except for the occasional negative stereotypes portrayed by the media. It’s hard not to be sympathetic to the warmth that exudes from this world: Warmth by virtue of love of family, love of Chasidus, and the love of living a pure Torah lifestyle as they understand it.

Ms. Sylvetsky - an expatriate Chasid (Chasidah?) is still observant but traded in her former Chasidic Hashkafos for a Religious Zionist one. But her own warm feelings about her former community remain. Of which she waxes almost poetically about.

I am not surprised at this reaction despite her no longer being a member of that world. It is almost the same description another expatriate Chasid, Shulem Deen had. In his book Those Who Go Do Not Return he expressed warm memories about the youth spent in Skvere. Only Shulem is no longer observant. 

Satmar's anti Israel rally
Obviously the Chasidic world has a lot to offer for its members. The overall feeling is that everyone is part of one big family. A family whose lives are circumscribed by the guidence of a kindly Chasidic Rebbe relied upon in all matters; all life decisions. 

You have a sense that by living this joyful lifestyle - with all activity considered Torah based and no worldly distractions - that you are truly fulfilling the will of God in the best way possible.

As much as they are entitled to feel the way they do, I  have to take issue with the most recognizable and probably the largest Chasdic sect  - Satmar.  Most of the pictures in this book could easily have been of Satmar Chasidim with the same kind of feeling expressed.  And any group that did what they did yesterday gets no sympathy from me. Form YWN
More than 15,000 Satmar Chassidim have packed Nassau Coliseum in Long Island at a massive anti-zionist protest – just hours after hundreds of thousands marched down 5th Avenue in the annual Israeli Day Parade.
As YWN reported extensively last week, the event was orchestrated by the Satmar Rebbe of Kiryas Yoel, to strengthen their beliefs in the “Shita” of the Satmar Rov ZATZAL, in their vehement opposition to the Zionist state of Israel. 
…and from that earlier YWN piece: 
Last year, Satmar of Williamsburg made an event in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn which attracted more than ten thousand of their Chassidim. The event had extremist speeches addressing the crowd, some even in English – as they ranted against the Zionist State and their claims that Yeshiva Bochrim are being dragged out of Batei Midrashim and forced into the IDF; as well as their claims that Frum girls are being forced into the Military as well.  
It’s sad to note that 2 non Chasidim R’ Moshe Sternbuch this year and R’ Aharon Schechter last year. - joined the fray.

It’s one thing to be opposed to the State. Even though I vehemently disagree with that position, they have a right to their view. What is not OK is holding a rally – one this year by one Satmar Rebbe (Aharon) for 15,000 people in Nassau Colisium in Long Island and one last year by his brother (Zalman) in Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. Both for the sole purpose of publicizing their hatred of the State of Israel. Which makes it seem like the truly religious Jews of the world think along the same lines as Palestinians do. And would destroy the state were it in their power to do so. Just like Hamas (albeit without the deadly violence).

It must have been somewhat strange for Ms. Sylvetsky to heap so much praise upon her old community that had a rally so vehemently opposes her now Religious Zionist views. But I suppose nostalgia is funny that way. You remember the ‘warm fuzzies’ because that’s what they were. Warm and fuzzy.  You tend to block out what you don’t like about them because you are - after all - talking about your childhood memories which had nothing to do with Zionism or politics in their daily lives.

For me, however, there is nothing warm and fuzzy about Satmar. And certainly not about the lies they perpetuate about the State of Israel. Lies that have generated all kinds of violent protests in Israel. Lies capitalized upon by Neturei Karta. For that they deserve exactly the same kind of condemnation they give to Israel. Only that condemnation would be on facts. Not lies.

There is, however, some light, however, at the end of the tunnel. From YWN
The Satmar Rebbe of Kiryas Yoel has previously given speeches – one of which where he was vehemently opposed to the violent protests orchestrated by the Peleg Yerushalayim that have crippled life in Yerushalayim. The Rebbe stated that there is no Heter to cause disruption and inconvenience to the lives of hundreds of thousands of Yidden trying to get to and from work, as they are forced into gridlock by the protests.
The Satmar Rebbe of Kiryas Yoel has also spoken about his opposition to those who claim there is a serious draft issue, and instead has indirectly sided with the vast majority of Litvish and Sephardic Gedolim and just about every one of the Admorim who have stated the same thing, that Bochrim should go to the induction centers as they have done for many decades, and get their deferment from the Military. 
I guess he has parted company with his brother in Wlliamsburg (and R’ Schechter) and taken the more moderate view.  But at the same time holding a rally for 15,000 of his Chasdim for the sole purpose of bashing Israel contradicts his more conciliatory approach  It only adds fuel to the fire. Which allows Neturei Karta to justify what they did in the following video.