Thursday, June 18, 2020

A Corruption of Judaism

Day school students watching protesters on June 3rd (JTA)
Just when I thought I had said it all yesterday,  I found this today in a JTA article: 
Yeshiva K’tana Torah Vodaath in Brooklyn (resumed) classes (joining) a number of yeshivas in operating illegally as the school year comes to a close… the Orthodox schools that have opened in the past several months appear to be taking deliberate steps to evade notice… 
…at least one school sent a letter last week indicating its plans — and the strategies families should use to avoid calling attention to themselves.
Written in Yiddish, the letter provided instructions for the return to school “in order to not be disturbed by foreign (outside) elements.” The letter instructed parents to send their children with masks, but not to bring them to school using non-Jewish car services or to leave strollers in front of the building while dropping off children. “Do not stop in front to talk with one another,” the letter said. “Only come and go quickly.”  
If this doesn’t tell you that certain segments of the Jewish community have no respect for the law or the government, nothing will. The only people they respect are themselves. Their worldview appears to be that the law has value only to the extent that it serves their personal needs. If it doesn’t, they abandon it. Only they do in in stealthy ways – pretending to be good citizens. Which in fact they are not. They are criminals!

I am so tired of hearing defenses of these people. 

Their attitude has been  ingrained into their collective psyches because of the real persecution their ancestors experienced over the centuries by antisemitic governments. And because of their isolationist ways, they have no frame of reference about what the country in which they now live is really like. 

They therefore carry over these prejudices and apply them now: The Goym are evil. To be approached only if they in some way benefit us. Never to be trusted as acting for our welfare. Sure! ...we have to be nice to them. But at the core, Goyim are all immoral hedonists and we must hate them! And avoid them like the plague - lest we learn from their ways. And because of that - there is no reason that we shouldn’t cheat, lie, and steal from them if we can get away with it. 

There are some people that might think my words are extreme. But if their Mechanchim are telling the parents of their children that - for the sake of the Torah - they must break the law in ways that they won’t be caught, what other conclusion can you have? They are teaching their children to be criminals if it benefits them materially or spiritually – as long as they don’t get caught. All with a pretense of being patriotic.

As if to emphasize that pretense, the Chasidic village of New Square named all of their streets after American Presidents.  ‘See how patriotic we are?’ The intent of which is to get as much out of the government as they can by showing what loyal citizens they are. But that loyalty is a mirage. What they are really loyal to is a Hashkafa of deception that will get them what they want. While in truth seeing the Goy and his way of life as anathema to them. And from whom they must isolate themselves. 

In some cases that attitude generates hiding income and other deceptions in order to qualify for government financial aid. They view that aid as supplemental income instead of seeing it as aid to the indigent. 

I am so done with their excuses. This version of Judaism is corrupt. Judaism is not just about keeping Shabbos and eating Kosher. It is also about being honest. It may not be their fault – having been born into community where they are indoctrinated  with these values. But that doesn’t make those values any less wrong – and damaging to all of Klal Yisroel. And yet they are so often a aggrandized in the pages of the Charedi print media as examplars of strict observance.

With respect to the current issue, I’m glad to see at least one school issue the following statement in a letter to their parents: 
The schools which have chosen to open have set guidelines; no preschools, minimal hours of attendance, some have alternate days, no transportation, no playing in the playground, students enter buildings form [sic] side or back doors, many have staggered the attendance of grades throughout the day, no uniform,” the letter said. “The underlying objective of these guidelines is to avoid being noticed.
“Most importantly, when students are told all these rules in order to avoid being noticed, this presents a huge chinuch compromise as students are being taught to do things illegal while avoiding ‘being caught,’” the letter said, using the Hebrew word for education.  
I believe that is the general consensus of the vast majority of Yeshiva high schools, day schools, and girls schools. But that isn’t enough.

It is time for the rest of the Torah world to just say, ‘No’! And stop giving them Kavod! When the Torah world honors people that violate the law whenever they see fit (or even if they just stay silent after it has been made public) it dishonors the Torah. And there can be no bigger Chilul HaShem than that.