Thursday, July 16, 2009

I Could Never Understand The Mentality

When I taught in our local elementary school, I couldn't fathom how the kids were allowed to run wild out in a berserk way every "hour" for their break. Lessons, in theory, lasted 45 minutes, but far less in practice.

I was the only teacher who arrived before the bell and waited, and waited and waited for all the kids to enter. The others, after hearing the bell, would begin gathering their books, bags and papers and then calmly saunter to the classroom.

The custom, I discovered, was for the kids to wait for the teacher and rise when he/she entered. That was a sign of respect. Then they had the lesson and as soon as the bell rang, they were out like a flash.

I don't remember this in the very early years of the school, when the classes were various caravans, shacks and other prefabricated structures. But by the time we had a real building, the kids couldn't wait to leave.

When I was a kid in New York City, we didn't have all those breaks. And nobody would dare run around the school building screaming.

Now, why am I reminded of the anarchy?

Yesterday, my friend's daughter drove me from their apartment to the corner of French Hill, Ramat Eshkol and the road to Mt. Scopus. We traveled on "Kvish Echad," Jerusalem's Highway #1, which borders a chareidi Jewish neighborhood and an Arab one. Traffic was all snarled on the side going to the Old City and the Jerusalem Municipality. Chareidim were out protesting.

They were in "pre-riot" mode. The rioters were further in the neighborhood, destroying and burning public property. Jerusalem's Mayor Nir Barkat decided that they shouldn't get any repairs, any services. He's right.

It doesn't matter how Hadassa Hospital and the police may have miss-handled the business with the mother who may be abusing her child, but burning garbage cans is not the way to react. Aren't there Halachot, Jewish Laws regulating how one is to treat public property? I have no doubt that those rioters are sinners. There's no excuse for such destructive behavior.

No, I don't live in a Chareidi community, nor is my school in that "stream."

But just like I wondered, when I'd see the kids running around all hyper, why aren't they playing organized games? They could use up energy, but they won't lose control. After a good game it would be easier to concentrate in class.

In the same way, I feel that there's excess energy in those rioting chareidim which gets out in negative behvior. Not all in that community participate in the riots. And not all the men who are registered to sit in the Beit Medrash (Study Hall) full-time are suited for such an occupation.

G-d made us all with different talents and different needs.

Chareidi leadership should take a good look at their society and find useful and productive ways to utilize their potential energies.

Refuah Shleimah
A Complete Recovery
To That Sick Child


josh said...

So what you are saying is that this minority of vandals is representing the whole Haredi community.

So what the seculars/left say is that the hilltop kids represent the whole kipa sruga community?

In each case, the vast majority of Haredim, national religious and hilltop kids are law abiding citizens. (Especially the hilltop kids, who are mostly wonderful Jews).

I don't see a reason to criticize the Haredim. Certainly not condone it, but definitely not fall into the secular 'outsider' mindset and criticize.

Batya said...

Read carefully: (quoted) "Not all in that community participate in the riots."

But the leadership isn't stopping the riots. Their entire neighborhoods will have to suffer.

The men who riot find the time, because they are not in fulfilling occupations. Other Jewish communities don't react in such a way.

Netivotgirl said...

I live in a Charedi neighborhood, and although I do not call myself charedit, that's what others call me. (I cannot be classified either that nor datit leumi.)

I am TOTALLY ASHAMED and furious about the way these hoodlums are causing such a chilul Hashem!And, during the 3 weeks. It's insane!!!

No matter how poorly the social services and police have behaved by locking up this sick woman, nothing can justify such criminal behaviour!!! All the "mainstream" charedim that I know feel exactly the same as I do.

The Eida Charedit has played right into the hands of the media who love the opportunity for more "charedi bashing." I do not envy these hoodligans when they go "upstairs" on Yom Ha'din.

As my grandma would say in yiddish
"What a shanda!"

Batya said...

netivotgirl, no doubt you're right. The dayan emet will judge.

Esser Agaroth said...


The "settlers" need to be paying attention.

Violence pays.

Batya said...

BY, you jest?

We just don't have all the "pent up energy" to waste on rioting. And we have too much derech eretz.

Esser Agaroth said...

...and so we will lose.

Hadassa said...

I agree with muse. It's harder to take time off from work then it is to let the kollel out early. I am in favor of supporting kollel students, but an ENTIRE community of perpetual kollel students? That's not what's written in Pirkei Avot or the Rambam.
Yes, Ben-Yehuda, if we have too much derech eretz we're going to lose much of this eretz. Before the expulsion a few of my neighbors were extremely worried about losing the "good name" of K'far Darom. I told everyone who would listen that if we worry too much about the good name, we won't have a K'far Darom to worry about.
So many people are so satisfied with the handling of K'far Maimon and similar events. What are they thinking? The Yesha Council owes a big apology not only to the people of Gush Katif and the northern Shomron, but also the entire missile battered Negev.

Batya said...

Strong, effective demonstrations aren't destructive riots.

One of my neighbors was raised Toldot Aharon, and he describes a very strict upbringing. The education is based on memorizing, very little writing, because writing allows you some freedom of thought. Everything is regulated, all their clothes, even the shoes.

Who knows what's really going on in this woman's mind? The syndrome suspected by the medical staff makes sense. This is her escape, being in the hospital with her son.

My neighbor's family wanted to sit shiva for him when he left them, even though he was still religious. But the rebbe told them not to, and now he has contact.

Anonymous said...

muse..please do not fall into that modern orthodox cliche of separating yourself from the charedim by talking down to them.
while there are many many things that need to be fixed in the community- those in the settler community may want to take note! do you honestly believe that those girls a few months back would have sat in jail for months on end without trial if they were from mea shearim? do you think the destruction of ONE charedi house would have been greeted with hugs? and so, charedim win their wars. they may be hated by the rest of israel (newsflash: the settlers are hated despite their derech eretz), but they are left alone. i hope we can say the same of your community 5 years down the line.