Showing posts with label B'nei Braq. Show all posts
Showing posts with label B'nei Braq. Show all posts

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Real Issue Behind The Emmanuel School Protests

Erev Shabbath Qodesh Parshath Huqath 5770

Thursday was marked by massive protests against the recent Israeli Supreme Court ruling forcing the integration of Askenazy and Sefardi students in a religious school in the town of Emmanuel in the Shomron (Samaria).
Israel National News: 100,000 Accompany Hassidim To Jail
Hillel Fendel, 6 Tammuz 5770, June 17, 2010

...Though the Supreme Court based its ruling forcing school integration in the Shomron town of Emanuel on the principle of opposition to racist segregation, many say that the separation is not rooted in ethnic differences at all. Rather, they say, the Slonim Hassidim wish to continue the religious traditions of their fathers and rabbis, and educate their children in a school that adheres to particularly stringent religious standards.
I have been confused about this issue since it began, years ago.

I have heard compelling arguments on both sides. Most recently, I have heard that Sefardi Rabbis Ya'aqov Yosef and David Batzri were now involved, suggesting that the Ashkenazy arguments regarding religiosity and minhagim (customs) were weak. Rabbi Batzri's grandchildren weren't religious enough to attend the school in question? I think not.

On the other hand, I have heard that Sefardi parents themselves wanted their children to remain in a homogeneous, cultural environment, and thus supported the so-called "segregation." Irregardless, I do not think most people realize just many Sefardim participated in the protests: A lot!

So, which side is right? They both are.

Sound like a cop out? I'll explain.

The real conflict here is not between Sefardim and [Slonimer] Hassidim. We have seen this countless times before. The anti-Torah Erev Rav*, including judges and other government officials relish in any conflict between groups of religious Jews, be they Sefardi and Askenazy, or Haredi and Zionist.

Divide and conquer. It's quite simple, and it's all part of their desperate strategy to maintain its control.

They actively search out such conflicts, and feed their fires by any means necessary.

At the bottom of all this, the real issue was revealed by Justice Edmond Levy himself:

JPost: Emmanuel Parents Ordered To Jail
Jonah Mandel, 5 Tammuz 5770/June 16, 2010

...The parents’ attorney, Mordechai Green, then consulted with rabbis, presumably including Barazovsky (The Slonimer Rebbe), and told the court that in a conflict between the laws of Torah and those of men, the divine decrees must prevail.

The response raised Levy’s ire.

“I don’t know of any legal obligation for court rulings to receive the approval of some rabbi or another,” said Levy, who is himself religious. “I’m terrified by the fact that a rabbi instructs his community to act against a court verdict.”

In the ruling on imprisonment later in the day, the justices alluded to the fact that the parents gave precedence to their rabbis over the court, and repeated what they had said more than once during the hearing: “There is no need to note that our verdict is not subject to, or stipulated by, the approval of any exterior factor.”

In other words, not even the Almighty himself can overrule Justice Levy?

This conflict between Torah and the State is the real issue.

We had to confront it before the expulsion from Azza. Rabbi Avraham Shapira ztz"l, Rosh Yeshivath Merkaz HaRav Kook told soldiers to refuse orders which were in contradiction to the halacha, such as orders to remove Jews from their homes and land and hand their land over to goyim. Other rabbis disagreed, failing to acknowledge that such a conflict even existed.

But this was not the first conflict between Torah and State.

Not too long ago, the Israeli Supreme Court attempted to order the Chief Rabbinate to certify various products kasher, even though the Rabbinate had ruled otherwise. One of the issues was regarding a particular frozen meat, and another was a bakery owned by an apostate in Ashdod.

Even though I still do not know all of the details of the case in Emmanuel, I don't have to in order to know that the real issue isn't in Emmanuel.

Many have cried warnings to avoid a mihemeth ahim (civil war). Yet, do these same individuals know what the sides to the conflict even are?

It's not Sefardi vs. Ashkenazy, not Haredi vs. Zionist, nor even religious vs. secular.

It is Jew vs. Erev Rav.

In the words of the Kol HaTor (2:2)...
Anyone who does not participate in the war against the Erev Rav, is actually becoming a partner of the “layer” of the Erev Rav. Whoever he is, he would have been better off had he not been born.

The mamlachtim (Religious, un-dying State loyalists) are going to have to acknowledge the increasing number of conflicts between the Torah and State, and make up their minds as to which side they are on.

It seems that non-mamlachti Rabbi Zalman Melamed of Beth El has.

Sefardim standing with Ashkenazim...

Zionists standing with Haredim...
Chalk one up for Jewish unity (Ahduth Yisra'el),...real Jewish unity...

...against the Erev Rav.


Erev Rav - descendants of the mixed multitude/false converts who accompanied us out of Egypt.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mehadrin Buses

26 of the Third Month 5768

Well, I guess it's about time that I jump into the mehadrin bus fray.

We have Rafi giving us a relatively comprehensive overview of the various incidents, scuffles, and protests which have occurred in and around mehadrin buses.

Then we have American, "modern orthodox" Jews chiming in from thousands of miles away in the Galuth, wanting to tell us how things should be done. They actually rely on the Jerusalem Post for factual and objective information regarding Haredi communities, so their opinions [in my humble opinion] are not relevant regarding this issue.

Then we have the leftist media lapping up any opportunity they can to demonize Haredim. They are actually more relevant to this issue than the armchair Zionists back in the ol' U. S. of A. I'll get to that later....

After reading the countless takes on mehadrin buses in Hebrew and English, and riding mehadrin buses myself within Jerusalem, I have a few patterns in my observations. Since I do not have experience with mehadrin buses outside of Jerusalem, save for the Jerusalem-B'nei Braq run, I will be careful only to make non-judgmental hypotheses regarding those lines running outside of Jerusalem. "What's the difference?" you may ask. Well the answer to that can be found in the first pattern which arose from my research.

1. More conflicts seem to arise on mehadrin buses running outside of Jerusalem [and B'nei Braq].

This is only speculation, but it seems to me that those living in Jerusalem, for better or for worse, are more used to dealing with the issues of living in mixed areas. Jerusalem residents will take cabs, or just "deal with it," on a non-separated bus if they are only traveling a short distance.

This is not to say that residents of Ramath Beth Shemesh, for example, are not used to "dealing with it." After all, many of them grew up in Me'ah Sha'arim or Beis Yisroel or similar neighborhood in Jerusalem. When they moved to Ramath Beth Shemesh, Elad, or Beitar, part of the deal was supposed to be homogeneity. They are simply asserting what they thought they were supposed to getting in the bargain of paying to live in a homogenious neighborhood, with mehadrin bus service.

Within Jerusalem, conflicts arise on the #1 and #2 lines from the Kotel HaMa'aravi (the Western Wall) when the buses are often packed to the brim. Thus no one can argue the necessity of mehadrin buses, in order to maintain an atmosphere of modesty, and to prevent the squishing together of, sometimes massive numbers, of men and women standing in the aisle.

While traveling on the crowded #40 and #56 lines, there always seemed to be a couple of school girls or an elderly woman stuck in the very front of the bus, followed by the men and the women's section. No one even batted an eyelash. There was clearly nothing those women could have done about it. Perhaps it was easier for them to get on in the front, or perhaps they needed to pay for a new pass or card. The spirit of a mehadrin bus was in tact. There was no need to raise the issue further, which brings me to the next pattern.

2. Mehadrin buses are not for the religious so much, as for the non-religious.

First off, I say "religious" so as to include the, albeit silent and small, national religious minority which also cares about this issue.

Why is it that the #143 bus is not mehadrin? The #143 connects Haredi Tel-Tzion community and the town of Kokhav Ya'aqov with Jerusalem. The Tel-Tzion community leases this line. If if was so important for them to have a mehadrin line, all they would have to do is ask. Kokhav Ya'aqov residents probably wouldn't mind, at least I don't think that they would. It is more on the religious side of the spectrum than most communities in Yehudah and Shomron (Judea and Samaria). But, the #143 doesn't have to be mehadrin. When space is limited, the adjust. Men automatically sit next other men, and women next to women, married men with their wives. If fraternization between boys and girls ever became that much of a problem, I have no doubt the community would address the issue, and explore its options.

Likewise, talk of making the #15 mehadrin would be more due to the Arab workers, and the non-religious Jews going to work in Giv'ath Sha'ul and Har Hof. Of course, I am only speculating here. It is certainly possible that people want to have a mehadrin running through their neighborhood so that they can feel frumer. However, the #15 is often crowed, particularly during rush hour. Making the #15 mehadrin does have some logic to it.

The #16, on the other hand, connects religious neighborhoods to one another as well. Yet, I rarely see non-religious on this line. I do not think this bus is officially mehadrin. Passengers naturally sit in appropriate seats, women not necessarily in the back. Passengers just use common sense and good judgment.

Thus, there only seems to be a need to make a bus mehadrin when the bus is generally crowded or when non-religious, who don't know any better or who don't care.

3. Those who seem to have the biggest problem with Mehadrin buses are Americans, "modern orthodox," and national religious.

Americans? Well, "they" know better, of course. "They" never did THAT in the U. S., so it's obviously not something necessary. Not all Americans are opposed to mehadrin buses, obviously, but of those who are, the women include those who identify as Haredi, and those who do not.

Someone just told me the story of the time he took a mehadrin bus to the Gallil and back. The men's section was crowded, but the women's section had only a handful of seats filled. He went into the women's section to go sit in the back, but was stopped by the women, even though he would have been separated from the women by several empty rows. He that if he can't go sit down in the back, then the women could move back a row. The women refused, saying that they would get car sick, or have to breathe the fumes from the exhaust. He was furious. "One row back is going to make a difference?" He then said that if someone wanted to bring something to hang up in the back as a mehitzah, then please feel free, but no one was going to stop him from sitting down for the long trip back to Jerusalem.

The women were American. Yes, of course, we cannot generalize from an isolated incident. Let us not forget the ballagan being caused by She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named,...a "religious" woman from America who is suing in the secular, Israeli court system against mehadrin buses.

"Modern Orthodox"
"Everything modern (ie. progress) is good."

"Hassidim in particular are primitive and are going nowhere fast."

And, finally, they confuse Western sensibilities with Torah sensibilities. To them there are no stiroth (contradictions) between the two.

I heard a great quote quite some time ago, which is a great response to the above sentiments of the modern orthodox:

"Modern orthodox end up either being modern or orthodox, because they eventually come to the realization that they cannot exist as both."

Their idea of dialog on this issue is, "We're right; you're wrong."

National Religious
In many ways, they are not too different than the so-called modern orthodox. But, I believe they are actually worse.

Modern orthodox at least do not try to make excuses, nor cover up their sentiments about what they believe and why. I include your average "hafifniq" or "datti light" Israeli in the M/O category. Whereas the official, national religious leadership makes excuses for its lousy educational approach in this area which seems to leave the issue of how boys and girls should relate to one another to parents and youth groups. Sure, if a boy were to sneak a girl into his dorm room, there'd be hell to pay. But what kind of effort is made to teaching the boy why this kind of thing is not OK in the first place.

They don't even justify their approach with any sources. They don't have an approach. Then when issues like mehadrin buses come up, their "rabbis" fumble through a politically-motivated response, devoid of any halachic reasoning.

There are some scholars among the national religious, and there are some yeshivas and girls' schools with strong foundations in Torah and hashqafah. Yet there is a lot of inconsistency across the board here, and its educational system is what's going nowhere fast.

I would love to see the bus from Jerusalem to where I live, #148, be a mehadrin bus. But it'll never happen. Like I mention above, it would be not so much for those of us who care, but for those passengers who don't care, to keep those girls from a particular "religious" town and "religious" high school [which shall remain nameless] out of MY way. Their behavior is often atrocious, and not in the least bit modest. Yet, the girls from the three other schools in the area are all relatively well-mannered, do not sit next to boys as a rule, accept that the bus is not there personal clubhouse, that passengers like to have relative quiet at 10:30 at night on the long trek home, etc. But like I said, it'll never happen....

In conclusion, I will leave with my last observation. Why is it that it's the women who sit in the back of the bus, and not the men? Well, isn't it obvious.

On the #49A, I saw a Haredi woman get on the in the front. Again, no one batted an eyelash. It was obvious she had a good reason for doing so. In this case she did not have the exact change for the con box in the women's section, and wanted to make sure that she paid. The driver was polite, and said not to worry, that she could pay when she got off.

Women can be trusted to punch their own tickets or put their fare into the coin box....


Under the "Modern Orthodox" section, the "they" and "their" are referring only to those Modern Orthodox who have issues with Mehadrin buses. Certainly, not all Modern Orthodox Jews having issues with Mehadrin buses hold to all of the points of view stated above, and some of those who do hold to one or more in varying degrees. However, I have no doubt that there are exceptions even to this.

Bus Lines:
#15 - connects Har Nof and Giv'ath Sha'ul with Me'ah Sha'arim, Sha'ar Shchem, and City Hall.

#16 - connects Har Nof to Ramot, running through Giv'ath Sha'ul, Suratzkin Street, Qiriyath Belz, Shmu'el HaNavi.

#40 - connects Ramot with Shmu'el HaNavi, Beis Yisroel, and Me'ah Sha'arim.

#49A - connects Neve Ya'aqov with Shmu'el HaNavi, Qiriyath Belz, Suratzkin Street, and surrounds.

#56 - connects Ramath Shlomo with Ezras HaTorah and surrounds.

#143 - connects Tel-Tzion and Kokhav Ya'aqov with Jerusalem.

#148 - connects towns in Binyamin (Giv'ath Assaf, Ofra) and the Shomron (Shilo, Eli, Ma'aleh Levonah, K'far Tapu'ah, Ariel) with Jerusalem.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Restaurant Meme

26 of the Seventh Month 5768

OK. So, I wasn't exactly "tagged" for this meme. In fact, I wasn't "tagged" at all.

I stole it.

I know, I know. You're all thinking:

"Ya'aqov, really! If you have time to sit around, surf the Internet, and actually push your way into silly and annoying, little blogger games, then you REALLY need to get a life!"

But, I couldn't help myself. I had to put my 10 Ag. worth into this crucial question of the Top 5 Five Restaurants in my area. It originally read:

Add a direct link to the post below the name of the person who tagged you. Include city/state and country that you're in.

Stolen from
"Jacob DaJew"


K'far Tapu'ah, Shomron, Israel

List out your top 5 favorite places to eat at your location.

I'm going to stick with Jacob's lead on this, and list " top five favorite places to get food from, not necessarily restaurants." I don't think I going to stick with just five, either. Oh, and, I'm not going to limit myself to one tiny location which is closer to Jordan than the Mediterranean Sea, either. Although most of my entries come from Jerusalem. Oh, yeah, and I'm going to categorize the entries. Hey, I stole it, right? I can play this however I want.

I am not going to tag anyone either. If you are interested in participating by listing your own favorites, and/or debating mine, make sure to leave a comment and link on this post. And, of course, in the self-promotional spirit of the Blogosphere, please DO link back to this post. (wink, grin) So far, only Batya has taken up the challenge.

1. Pizza
Let's face it. There's just no such thing as "good pizza in Israel." It's all about the crust. [Native-born] Israelis just don't seem to know how make good pizza crust, unless it's by accident. I heard a rumor that one place actually DID make good crust, but since "Israelis" didn't like it, he had to stop making it.

Anyway, the least worst pizza in Israel comes from Big Apple Pizza (Jerusalem Rabbanut - Mehadrin) in the Center of town, Jerusalem, and Pizza Shai in Beis Yisroel (Eidah Haredis).

Sure, people rave about Dr. Pizza (Rav Rubin), Bar Ilan Pizza (Eidah Haredis) and Pepperolli's (Eidah Haredis). I've had them all, and they are all OK. But, my votes for the above stand.

In all fairness, people used to rave about Pizza Larry, near Har Nof, which I've never tried. But, I believe it has moved.

2. Shawarmah
BY FAR, THE best shawarmah I've had in Israel has been from HaShawarmah (Rav Rubin) in the Shmu'el HaNavi neighborhood,...sort of. It's actually up on Golda Meir St., on the left before the Angels bakery. Both the turkey and the beef are good. I'm afraid I forgot if they have mutton, but if they do, then that's good, too. Their secret (not anymore) is that they don't over roast it. They then finish the cooking on the grill, according to order. It comes out very juicy this way.

Also worth mentioning is Hallo Teman (Rav Mahpud) which branches at the entrance to Jerusalem and at Coca-Cola Junction in B'nei Braq. In the spirit of "at your location," I will mention Baba Grill Bar in Ariel (Ariel Rabbinut, all mehadrin ingredients)

3. Yemenite
The best Yemenite restaurant could be found on the ground floor of the Tel-Aviv Central Bus Station. Don't laugh! If you look hard enough, you too, can find a treasure or two in this underrated bastion bargains. Unfortunately, the restaurant called HaTemani disappeared a couple of years ago. I may has found it again on Rothschild St. It has the same name, but I'll have to check if it is the same place.

An old standard for reasonably-priced, good Yemenite food is, of course, HaMervad HaQsamim (The Magic Carpet) on King George St. in Jerusalem.

4. Ashkinazi
OK. So, to be fair, I had better list the best traditional Ashkinazi food available. That would be Moshe Leiberbaum's (Eidah Haredis) on Shtrauss on the way to Kikar Shabbos in Jerusalem. I cannot recall this restaurant's real name. Everyone just calls it by the owner's name. All your favorites can be found here: Roast chicken, stuffed peppers, potato kugel, and [not necessarily] Ashkinazi salads. Try Moshe's chopped liver! This is a great place to go for Shabbos take out, when you're in a pinch, or even if you're not.

5. Bakeries
There are a lot of great bakeries in Israel. For mizrahi style, your best bet is in the HaTiqwah Neighborhood in Tel-Aviv. HaMervad HaQsamim (above) also makes their own saluf bread.

The best health/organic bakery is probably The Natural Choice (Belz) near Shuq Mahaneh Yehudah in Jerusalem.

The best "I can't believe they're not milkhig," gooey, chocolate, chocolate chip cookie in Israel is only one of the treats you will find at Habah (Agudas Yisroel), in Mahaneh Yehudah on Yaffo St. Both their separated, parve and dairy bakeries are worth a taste.

For the best "I can't believe they're not milkhig," fancy-shmancy items, go to the Belgian Bakery on KKL in the Sha'arei Hesed neighborhood of Jerusalem. Sorry to be stereotypical, but the Belgians really DO know their chocolate!

6. Fallafel
Last, but definitely not least, everyone always wants to know where the best Fallafel is in all of Israel. I have actually heard many claim that the best fallafel in Israel can be found in Qiriyath Shmemonah on the Lebanese border. I was only there once, and did not have fallafel, so I cannot say myself. What I have heard is that "green fallafel" is found more often in the north and in Lebanon, than down here in the center of the country, the are with which I am most familiar. "Green Fallafel," obtaining its green color and distinctive flavor from the extra parsley and coriander leaf (cilantro in Spanish and in the SW USA), is my favorite. The best green fallafel I have found is at Arba Ta'amim (Four Flavors) in B'nei Braq (Nahalath Yitzhaq* & B'nei Braq Rabbanut), with additional branches in Tel-Aviv. The other three flavors available are spicy, sesame seed, and regular.

Although I have eaten a great deal of fallafel in my life, I still do not consider my a conosuer. Fallafel King (Jerusalem Rabbanut - Mehadrin) on King George St. in Jerusalem, with its all-you-can-eat salads is not bad. But, I do look forward to YOUR recommendations!

Not mentioned here are the best ice cream in Israel, the best seafood in Israel, etc. Please let me know. The best coffee house in Israel probably deserves its own post. I'm always interested in new places in Israel to try.

Don't forget to leave your opinions in the comments to this post, and a link to your posts if possible.

Bon Appetit!

*I must note that many are concerned with the validity of the Nahalath Yitzhaq Kashruth certification. I will simply state here that one may want to investigate establishments on a case by case basis. The certification is legitimate, but the manner in which the certification was procured may not be.
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