Charendoff in Jewish Week: Is there something in the haredi world that allows for scandal to happen?


The president of the Jewish Funders Network, Mark Charendoff, uses the recent arrests as a launching pad to take a hard look at the Orthodox community and its response to such scandals.

Charendoff writes in the New York Jewish Week:

… Is it possible that there is something in the Orthodox community in general and the haredi community in particular that creates fertile ground for this type of fraud? I’ve too often witnessed, here and in Israel, a perverse notion that we few who feel bound by the laws of God are free to flaunt the laws of man. That the seriousness with which we hold halacha (or, Jewish law) forces us to view state law as trite, flawed — unimportant at best, a nuisance at worst.

I remember as a yeshiva student in Israel being urged to spend the day learning at a settlement. “Why today?” I inquired. It was the day the government was auditing the number of full-time students to determine the level of state subsidy. It was a mitzvah, I was told — we’d be keeping the state from subsidizing non-kosher kibbutzim. We’d be keeping pork out of peoples’ mouths, I was told. (The yeshiva greatly overestimated the State’s budget line for bacon subsidies). I declined.
We see the same sort of flouting of laws in Israel today by some members of the haredi community — whether it is rioting to protest the opening of parking lots on the Sabbath or stone throwing and garbage burning to support a woman suspected of starving her toddler son. Municipal services had to be suspended in these neighborhoods out of fear for the safety of city workers. …

JTA is thinking of looking into the topic? Let me know what you think.

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