A Hopeful Post

Read about the Belzer Rebbe visiting the wounded Merkaz HaRav students in the hospital. Note: I have both Belzer relatives and religious Zionist relatives. I don’t believe these two sections of my family have anything to do with one another.

Compare and contrast with:
A cartoon posted by Gail

My comment: When is it good to overcome our differences? When is being tolerant of each other no longer a virtue?

Your comments are most welcome.

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5 thoughts on “A Hopeful Post

  • I come from a secular Jewish background. My parents were born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. I was brought up in Westchester County, surrounded by secular Jews. As I became more interested in Judaism as an adult, I was amazed at how much I absorbed without even having had a religious education. I am not talking about specific pieces of knowledge, but of general Jewish values. I deeply regret the lack of Jewish education, and have taken some steps to remedy the situation – I took a 2-year class in adult Jewish education (Florence Melton), and taught Sunday school at a Reform temple for a year. I’ve also done a ton of reading on my own. We belong to a Conservative Temple, and all three of my children became B’nai Mitzvah.

    I admire observant Jews, and have increased my level of observance to a certain point, but will likely not go further. I live in Virginia, there are few Jews around, and my husband and children don’t share my interest.

    One thing I’ve noticed in some on every level of observance is a lack of tolerance and appreciation for fellow Jews of differing levels of observance.

    Putting it bluntly – some Orthodox Jews look at secular Jews as heathens and some secular Jews look at Orthodox Jews as nuts.

    When my son visited Israel as part of a subsidized group – I can’t remember the name, it was like Birthright, but for high school kids – he and the group had stones thrown at them by extremist religious Jews. All I could think was, gee, way to chase Jews away from Judaism. And my oldest was the most religious of all my children – he went beyond Bar Mitzvah, became confirmed and volunteered helping teach HS students at our temple.

    I know that all Orthodox Jews are not like this and some would be embarrassed by and would never condone this sort of behavior. My son knows that too.

    I’m a Jewish Judeophile. I love us all. I think we are all family, regardless of our differences. I appreciate and really admire those who study Torah and live what they study. Even more, I envy them.

    I also appreciate those who, for whatever reason, find themselves having to deal with the world outside of Judaism. Maybe we less observant Jews are meant to be a bridge. Maybe Jewish values filter out through us. Maybe it was meant to be this way.

    I don’t know. I feel very Jewish, is all I know.

    Quite honestly, I think, hope, we all have something to offer. The tagline on my blog quotes Ben Zoma – Who is wise? He who learns from everyone.

    Anyway, when you speak of differences between Belzers and religious Zionists, I have a bit of difficulty following. I am familiar with religious Zionists, but I don’t know anything about Belzers.

  • Wow, Gail. That was quite a response!

    FYI, I got spat upon for wearing pants once in a religious neighborhood in Israel. At the time, I was 17 and as far I as I knew, wearing pants wasn’t such a big deal (I had worn pants in the religious zionist camp I had attended, for example).

    Orthodox Jews are pretty diverse. I have relatives, for example, (Bobover Hasidim in the USA), who will say they are visiting “Eretz Yisrael”, as opposed to Israel. They are making clear they do not support the state of Israel.

    Maybe I should do a post on the variety within Orthodox Judaism. Highland Park certainly has many types right here.

  • I took this right off Wikipedia, a difference between Belz Hassidim and Satmar Hassidim:
    In the early years of his tenure, the new [Belzer] Rebbe adopted a policy of engagement with the secular government of Israel. Under the umbrella of the Agudat Israel political party, he sent delegates to the Israeli Knesset and instructed his followers to vote in general elections. This stance angered the Satmar community. Satmar activists obtained signatures from significant segments of the haredi community in Israel in an attempt to denounce and ostracize the present Belzer Rebbe. This episode created a lasting rift between the Belzer and Satmar communities.
    Religious Zionists, on the other hand, had Rav Kook as an early leader, and their philosophy is Zionism is the beginning of redemption (itchalta l’geula). Little Frumhouse has a great post on Rav Kook.

  • Gail,

    No, no, that’s fine! You brought some great points about the relationship between observant Jews and non-observant Jews. Subjects for more posts! We have a great diversity of those right here in Highland Park. I think I have friends in all the groups.

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