Saturday, August 03, 2013

All you need is love: Avrohom Birnbaum edition

You may remember Avrohom Birnbaum from the angry, hate-filled screed he published against Gil Student a few monthes ago. Well, he's back. In his new Yated article Birnbaum makes two shocking claims. First he says that MO Jews despise Haredim while Haredim have historically showered MO Jews with nothing but kindness and love. Second, he says that all of the other Jewish sects owe his own personal sect a huge debt of gratitude, on the basis of the fact that the Haredim (aka God's special guys) run the best chesed organizations.

Let's deal with the second claim first.

We agree that Haredim are the managers and founders of several major Hesed organizations. Certainly, they play important roles in the the seven or eight chesed organizations Birnbaoum lists. So we concede that Haredim spend a lot of time helping other Jews - Haredim and non-haredim alike.

But who pays their bills?

When Bonei Olam, or Hatzola need a cash infusion where do they pass the hat?

Who keeps the Haredi chesed machine humming?

Doesn't it seem likely that the bills are being paid, not by hard core Haredi Jews who tend to be underemployed, but by MO Jews and Haredi-lite Jews? (Haredi-lite Jews are MO Jews who wear hats and daven sfard.) These are the Jews who are  likely to have disposable income, and indeed the major Haredi chesed dinners frequently honor MO Jews, Haredi-lite Jews and unaffiliated Jews specifically because they wish to tap into that community's pockets.

Moreover, Birnbaum must have forgotten that MO communities often host Haredi institutions for Shabbos and provide them with fundraising venues.  Lakewood, eg.,  has been to lots of non Haredi shuls. Can you tell me was the last time a Haredi shul hosted YU?

And the first claim Birnbaom makes - that Haredim are brimming with love toward MO Jews - isn't any sounder. Any hatred and resentment that exists flows both ways. It may be true that MO Jews are fed up with Haredi freeloading and self-righteousness  but its inarguable that the emnity is reciprocated.

Haredi Jews consider the MO Jews, their Rabbis, and their institututions to be illigitimate and unworthy of respect, they support leaders who denounce MO Jews as Amelek, and they and their Rabbis tolerate violent attacks on MO women and children. All of this is known to anyone who reads the newspapers.

The top Haredi Rabbi of the last 50 years is revered as Rav Moshe and beloved by all. The top MO Rabbi of the last fifty years is disdained as J.B and you find punk kids on Twitter who are proud of the fact that R. Aaron Kotler allegedly used to disrespect him.

Before Birnbaum lectures other Jewish sects about love, why doesn't he write an article demanding the same from his own people?

No comments: