Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Face of Religious Jewry

And the ‘hits’ just keep on coming!

Yet another display of barbaric behavior was visited upon Klal Yisroel in Bet Shemesh today. This time it was during a protest against a possible autopsy on a 9 year old boy who died suddenly. Apparently without provocation certain residents there started burning dumpsters and doing other mischief in a pre emptive attack against authorites – should they decide to do an autopsy. As reported in YWN: At this point (police) did not demand an autopsy, but the tzibur feared such a request would be forthcoming.

No autopsy announced. But that didn’t matter to this crowd. They wanted to have some fun and do some damage. And that they did. Enough to injur one of the riot police. The violence apparently started to get out of control so the police used pepper spray to calm things down. One innocent bystander, Dr. Michael Herman, the physician on board the MDA mobile intensive care unit got hit with it.

What happens in Bet Shemesh does not stay in Bet Shemesh. It wasn’t enough to just riot there. The Meah Shearim crowd in Jerusalem will not miss an opportunity to join in the fun. So they burned some dumpsters there too. I guess it was a sort of sympathy dumpster burning.

How goodly are thy tents Jacob! (Bamidbar 24:5)

Is this the face of religious Jewry? Hardly. But this is the face projected around the world time and again – each time something like this happens. The world does not see the vast majorityof peaceful religious Jews who abhor what went on there as much as anyone else. They do not see the goodly tents of Jacob. What they see are bearded Jews in black frocks acting like street gangs with increasing frequency.

It doesn’t matter that they were protesting a possible autopsy which according to most Poskim is Halachicly forbidden in most cases. The evil of that protest far outweighs any possible merit in such a protest. To say it is counter-productive is massive understatement.

We can protest their behavior all day long in editorials and essays all across the media. We can loudly condemn what they did in no uncertain terms and say that these people do not represent us – nor do they represent Torah behavior. It doesn’t matter. It is just closing door after the horse is out of the barn. All people will see are images of the most religious looking Jews acting like gangland thugs.

How can this continue to be tolerated? How many more times are we going to hear speeches about how terrible autopsies are instead of hearing speeches about how terrible violence against it is?

It is time to stop taking about the ‘Issur’ of autopsies. I think everyone knows by now that they are for the most part Assur. It’s time to focus only on violence and protests and get these people to stop doing them. Making a mild protest accompanied by apologetics is meaningless. There can be no apologetics. There can be no mention of any possible justification in what they did. The word autopsy should not even be part of the discourse. Protests have to be completely stopped.

Ordinarily I would support the right to protest anything in a peaceful way. But this crowd does not understand the meaning of the word peaceful. These kinds of protests have gone way out of control. And should be completely banned. (That’s right – I said ‘banned’!) These people have to be completely re-educated from scratch on this issue. Focusing on autopsies instead of the violence that results from protests like these is like focusing on a mosquito bite during a nuclear attack.

It has to be done on a large scale starting at home and in the schools of these people. If - as I suspect - that is not going to be done then the leaders are just as guilty as if they were doing it themselves. Despite their timid condemnations after the fact.