Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Early Ponevitch Purim Shpiel

No idea if this video features actual Ponevitch boys, but they are play-acting an ISIS style execution of a Ponevitch student who disrespected the executioner's Rebbe.

As the shtender-guillotine comes down you can hear laughter, so clearly the actors and producers know that the idea of one Jewish sectarian slaughtering another is, for the moment, absurd. Yet, I found myself wondering: for how long will this remain true?

Both Islam and Christianity have produced murderous, irrational, fundamentalist extremists within living memory. If you go back far enough the Jews have, too. Though men like Stalin (who was raised Eastern Orthodox, and relied on help from people of similar background ) are always presented as a counter-example, it remains true that someone certain he is acting for God, in the name of capital T truth, is capable of anything.

So to return to my original question:  For now, the idea of one Jewish sectarian slaughtering another is absurd; yet, for how long? Already Haredim bellow that those who don't believe as they do are destroyers of holiness and wreckers of civilization. Already they riot whenever their sensibilities are disrespected. Already they resort to violence when they think their way of life, or the holiness of their camp has been threatened.

What's next? Will they get better or worse over time?

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