Friday, May 25, 2012

Criticism of Charedim - Criticism of Modern Orthodox

I received the following comment from a reader who goes by the alias of cloojew:

Harry, I don't care if you post this comment or not. I just want to point out something, and I don't know your email. If the Orthodox mother who left her two kids in the car had been Chasidish, you'd be all over this. But because she's modern Orthodox, it probably never hit your radar. Here's the full story: (link).

I don’t know who cloojew is. But based on his comments both here and in other venues, including occasional full length commentaries on various blogs and websites, I believe him to be a moderate Charedi… or something very close to it. In fact he will often present a view similar to mine, critical a problem he sees in the Charedi world. And yet, he too apparently believes that I have an anti Charedi bias. That is in essence what he is accusing me of in the above comment.

I think this comment is typical of the attitude some people have about my supposed bias. Is he right? Would I have bashed this woman and her community had they been Charedi?  Let us take a look.

The story involves a mother who left her children in a car to run quickly into a drugstore to drop off a prescription for a sick child, she did not wait for it to be filled and ran back to her car. Nevertheless in the interim her car apparently rolled into the street and almost hit another car. She was handcuffed, arrested - and after 6 hours in police custody - released on $50,000 bail. She will apparently be charged with child endangerment.

She admitted she shouldn’t have done that and said she is normally a careful mother. This mother of five children has no record and has never been investigated by DYFS.

That is pretty much the sum and substance of the story. I can only surmise cloojew bases his views about my bias on commentary I have made on somewhat similar stories about Chasidic women - like the posts I did from from 2009 where a woman from Meah Shearim was arrested for murdering her own child. 

For those who don’t recall - here is what happened. 

A Chasidic woman from Toldos Aharon in Meah Shearim was accused of starving her sick child. She had protested her innocence even though there was massive surveillance evidence that proved her guilt. She blamed the doctors and the hospital for that death. 

Her community backed her story in spite of all  the evidence against her. There were protests and riots by her community in support of her. Boycotts were called for against the hospital where this happened and who accused her of the crime. 

This is the typical response of that community. The Chasidim of Toldos Aharon are very Satmar-like Chasidim - isolated form the rest of the world on purpose. They are very anti Israel… always blaming the seculars for all their problems.

How is this Modern Orthodox woman’s situation here even remotely comparable to this? How do you even know she is Modern Orthodox? Because she was wearing a hat instead of a Shaitel?! 

And even if she is MO, did her community come out and start trashing the neighborhood because they believed one of their own was unfairly arrested? Did any MO accuse an anti Semitic government of lying about her act or framing her? Did she deny any wrongdoing?

And yet cloojew – in spite of the fact that I believe him to be a moderate Charedi  - sincerely still believes that if I were fair, I would be all over this story just as I certainly would if she were Charedi. Does he not see any difference between the two cases that makes one worthy of commentary and not the other? Can he point to any similar story to this one about a Charedi where I came out and bashed them? I don’t think so.

I do not bash Charedim. Only those who react the way the extremists in Toldos Aharon reacted in cases like the one in Meah Shearim. I bash them when they deserve it! And if the Modern Orthodox community would have started trashing their neighborhoods and calling the government anti Semitic, you better believe I would have some very strong words to say about them. The fact is that modern Orthodox Jews do not do things like that.