About Me :)

I got married and made aliya five and a half years ago, all in the space of 3 days. And that is where this blog begins

יום חמישי, 5 בינואר 2012

Recent Days In My Homeland

*Before you read my post, I'd just like to preface it by saying that I realize that there are real problems which exist in Israel today, which relate to the events taking place in Beit Shemesh. I did not attempt to address these problems in this post. The point of my post is not to say 'there is no problem in x,y,z community', but rather, to say that even WHILE such problems still exist, we can still aim for more Ahavat Chinam. And now, my blog post:

I just deleted the first few paragraphs of this blog post. Most of you have read about what has gone on in Beit Shemesh recently. So I deleted my version of those recent events. And even if you haven't read about it, I don't have the strength or desire to get into the details of all the darkness and negativity of what's taken place there. If you do not know and are curious, just do a search on You Tube or YNet news, and you'll see the sickness for yourself. 

What I'd like to write about, is my feeling regarding the state of affairs today in Israel, and I'm not referring to the Palestinians and Jews; the recent feeling in the air of 'Jew against Jew' is appalling to me.Whether it is charedi (ultra orthodox) against chiloni (non-religious), dati leumi (modern orthodox) against charedi, etc.,  the ugly situation in Beit Shemesh has taken all these deep down, not-often-spoken-of feelings we have, and blown them right up. To tell you the truth, I myself have been influenced by what I am seeing and reading; the sadness it evoked in me, and yes, the hateful feeling I have for the men abusing the little girls walking home from school, has caused me to want to dissociate myself from all things religious. As if it is somehow my head covering, or my son's kippa, that has caused the existing problems in the Charedi world.

I quickly realized, upon further reflection, that shunning my religious side would only further compound the problem. Because that is not who I really am, so who would that be serving?  More importantly, however, I also had to remind myself that the vast majority of charedim would never behave like that group of men known as the 'sikrikim'. In my view, the sikrikim are not charedim at all. There is a name for men who stand outside a girl's school all day, and it is the opposite of the definition of piety.

Do I agree with all charedi ideology? No, I do not. But they have a reason for living the way they live, just as I have my own ideologies and sensitivities. And they have a right to their way of life, as I have a right to mine. They are not obligated to hold to my beliefs, or anyone else's. And I am certainly not obligated to hold to their beliefs or halachic (Jewish law) standards.

For two years, I worked in a charedi institution. None of the charedim with whom I worked made me feel I was being judged for my way of dress or lifestyle. We worked together with mutual respect and tolerance. My time working there did not end due to any feelings of non-acceptance by the charedi community. Even when, for example, some of the little children innocently expressed shock at my 'naked feet' (sandals without socks), their parents quickly, and often embarrassingly, told them that it wasn't nice to make such comments.

As a Torah Jew, I am also grateful for the services provided by charedim. Whether it is an organization such as Chabad, Machon Puah (an organization for couples who experience infertility), or the brachot showered upon me by the balaniot in the Mikva each month, I am grateful to this wonderful community who play an integral role in helping me to keep the mitzvot (Torah commandments) which are so central to my life. 

My hope and prayer is that we ALL start to focus on the positive aspects of the various communities and kehillot with whom we share a country. We all have areas of strength, as well as areas of weakness. We are all flawed, but at the same time, each of us also has special gifts we can share to enhance each other's lives. We all have love to give to one another, and happy times ahead to share together. I hope we get there soon. As a nation united.