Thursday, April 08, 2010

Clueless, Self Centered, and Stupid!

A letter from a right thinking Charedi Jew to YWN tells of yet another Chilul HaShem. This one just happened on Chol HaMoed Pesach. As per usual - I write this fully knowing that once again I will be accused of Charedi bashing. But once again I am only commenting on a news story. One which I did not make up. Had this been about Modern Orthodox Jews, I would have been just as upset! Here is the letter in its entirety:

When I was in school, we never got off the bus for a trip without the speech – make a kiddush HaShem, not a chillul HaShem.

Apparently many adults no longer remember this. I in no way mean to include everyone in what I am about to say. However, there were enough offenders to make it a group rather than just a few individuals that I address.

I was at Six Flags Great Adventure on Chol Hamoed and was embarrassed by the behavior of many (not all) of the obviously yeshivish people there.

Despite the fact that I was there with a group of 40 modern orthodox kids (and my own yeshivish family) it wasn’t the behavior of the groups of teens that I was appalled, rather than the adults.

Obviously, many of these people do not believe that lines are for them. I guess they are just for those who aren’t as privileged as they are. I witnessed whole families pushing past people waiting patiently on line for rides, bathrooms, and to exit the park. The disregard for others continued.. a park show was cut short because the people in the audience were speaking very loudly, and walking around incessantly. The ground by the picnic area was carpeted with Heimish food and snack wrappers.

And waiting on lines and littering weren’t the only rules I witnessed being broken. Blatant disregard for safety rules, those same rules put into place by the park for everyone’s safety. Pushing kids onto rides they were too small for. Putting too many kids into one seat. I even saw a woman walk right past a park worker who was telling her she couldn’t enter a kids only area.

My children sat patiently on many a ride while the park workers tried to get others to follow the rules.

I also saw an incredibly stupid woman do a very dangerous thing. When told that her daughter was too small to ride alone, she put the 8-10 month old in the stroller, told the 2 year old to watch her, and took her daughter on the ride!!

If you only heard the comments the non Jewish passerbys were making!!

All this is not only a terrible chillul HaShem for the goyim, but for the modern orthodox and not yet shomer mitzvot that were there. All I can say, I was embarrassed to be associated with this group, and feel mortified when I think of what the park workers were thinking and saying by the end of the day.

People have to remember that they do not only represent their own family when they leave their homes (what would the shadchan say!. They represent Am Yisrael in general, and the modern orthodox/yeshivish/chassidish, etc world that they are associated with. Make your families and nation proud, not ashamed.

I don’t know what it is with some people. Is it a sense of entitlement? …a sense of superiority? Is it the idea that ‘We are Jews and we are going to do what we want?’ ‘Who cares about the Goyim?’

I am at a loss for any explanation for this. But unfortunately I am not surprised. I have seen it all before. Religious looking Jews acting like they owned the world with complete indifference to what others are thinking. They are oblivious to it. They believe the sun rises and sets with them. That the world is their oyster. That non Jews are there for the entire purpose of serving them.

Unfortunately I think they really believe this. We are after all an Am HaNivchar – a chosen people. These Jews are indoctrinated to believe that the entire rest of the world was created for the sole purpose of serving them. And they are going to treat them as servants whenever and wherever they can.

Chilul HaShem?! No way. This is exactly how they think God wants them to act. They are the masters. Goyim are their slaves!

I have personally witnessed this kind of behavior on an airplane trip to Israel. The flight was on an American carrier - not El Al. The plane was half filled with wealthy Chasidim. From the moment they stepped into the cabin - they treated the cabin crew like their personal servants. Hardly saying please or thank you as they ordered them around – making them work twice as hard for them as for anyone else. I could not believe my eyes and ears. As a Kipa wearing Jew I was completely embarrassed by them.

Near the end of the flight I tried to moderate the absolute Chilul HaShem by apologizing to one of the flight attendants and saying that I was indeed embarrassed by it and that this was not typical behavior of Orthodox Jews - and how upset this made me personally. To my surprise she smiled wryly and said it was OK - she was used to it and had come to expect this kind of behavior from them!

What a revealing statement! This was not an exception but a rule!

At least she was able to distinguish between ‘them’ and ‘us’. She realized that not all religious Jews act this way. But how many flight attendants who experience this make that distinction? And how many passersby – both Jewish and non Jewish - at the amusement park that day on Chol Ha Moed made it?

I don’t know if the Charedim at the amusement park were Chasidim or not. But their attitude was cut from the same entitlement cloth.

I ask the same question I always ask when this kind of Chilul HaShem takes place: What kind of Chinuch did these people get that makes them oblivious to the Chilul HaShem they create?! And what values are they passing on to their many children? Do they not at least consider the anti Semitism to which this contributes?

Because of their high birth rate their numbers will increase exponentially in a few generations. Is this what the Jewish people will look like in a hundred years? Is it possible that this is how God wants His people to act?!

I don’t know the answer to that but I would note the troubling YWN disclaimer at the end of the letter:

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.

I find it both revealing and sad that a supposedly responsible Charedi website feels the need to dissociate themselves from this letter as though the writer were possibly wrong. Perhaps that is the most telling part of the whole post!