Monday, August 05, 2013

A word about the Haredim

A lot of you asked me to run this comment as a post, so here goes:
The right wing MO are Haredi in all but name; many now even dress in a Haredi manner. For some time, I've been referring to the so-called "Centrists" (a term I dislike as I feel it doesn't really mean anything; today's "Centrist" would have been considered right wing a generation ago) as "Haredi Lite". I would no longer be even that generous. I consider the leadership of YU to be Haredi. The only real Modern Orthodox remaining are on the leftmost fringe, and they are reviled by everyone to the right of them (and there are barely enough of them to fill a function hall, in any case). 
The Haredim cite their population statistics as vindication of their way of life, but their world is collapsing. They can no longer provide for their irresponsibly growing numbers, and they refuse, largely, to educate their children in a manner that would allow them to seek employment outside of their xenophobic subculture. Unfortunately, they've spent the past half-century commandeering Orthodoxy and intimidating the MO into submission. They now own the franchise, and when they go - which will most likely be within the span of another generation - they'll be taking most of Orthodoxy with them. What will remain will be a fragmented mess. In the meanwhile, their leadership responds to increasing reports of scandalous behavior and increasing numbers of defections by tightening the reins and reinforcing the barriers.

The liberal Jews and the Modern Orthodox are suffering from a bad case of "Fiddler on the Roof" nostalgia. Tragically, we've fallen for a lot of romanticized nonsense. We've allowed the Haredim to convince us they are a living link to the "alter heim", and in so being, represent a Judaism more "authentic" than our own, when in fact, their world is a comparatively recent invention, based upon the teachings of a handful of far-right ideologue rabbis of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Of course, this doesn't even begin to address the issue of their influence upon Israel. As many
of you are no doubt aware, Israeli economists are predicting bankruptcy within a generation if they don't wean the Haredim off the social service rolls, a process the government is too spineless to undertake. (Yes, I know - Lapid. So far, all I hear is talk.) 
The Haredim are both Israel's and Orthodoxy's tragedy. -- BY Cipher

 Search for more information about guest posts

No comments: