Andy Silow-Carroll, editor and publisher of The New Jersey Jewish News, reflects on the (growing?) unhealthy divide between the Haredim and the rest of the Jews:
… Haredim push buttons among the most and least engaged Jews. Observant Jews who aren’t haredi cannot forgive the “black hats” for suggesting that Torah values and modernity are in conflict. Many observant Jews will say that Torah comes alive only when it encounters the real world and all its shmutz. To drag Jews and their Torah behind a self-made ghetto wall is a hillul Hashem, a desecration of Torah and its real intentions.
On the flip side, there is a certain kind of Jew whose whole Jewish identity is tied up in condemning the failings and hypocrisy of the Orthodox. Their indictment usually starts with the phrase, “They call themselves religious, and yet…,” before reciting the latest scandal. This sort of obsession can be self-justifying and a little Freudian — by pointing out the failings of religion, they can better justify their decision to leave it behind.
But whatever the source, these kinds of feelings are bred in insularity, for which the haredim must assume responsibility…
No, I don’t think there is going to be warfare between haredi Jews and the rest of us — not outside of Israel, anyway. What we have instead are two communities that relate to one another in two distinct and distinctly unhealthy ways. On one hand, we ignore each other, and regard the other as if he or she clings to a different covenant. Or we scrutinize each other, seeing the other as a representative of the values we most revile. Either way, it’s a recipe for discord.
Check out the full column for Andy’s take on why everyone is obsessed with cases of Haredim behaving badly.
And right on cue, we have Andrea Peyser columnizing on what she describes as the broken and outrageous system of haredim in Brooklyn policing themselves.
There exists in this city a group of unparalleled perverts that’s wrapped in Teflon — more resistent to charges of sexual exploitation than John Travolta.
I’m not talking about Hollywood nimrods or Catholic priests, but a sect not generally associated with serious crime — ultra-Orthodox Jews.
A scandal of epic proportions is brewing in Brooklyn as District Attorney Charles Hynes uses kid gloves to handle creeps and demons charged with, or convicted of, sexual abuse that too often brutalizes children.
As a columnist, Peyser tends to go with her traditionalist instincts, inclined to be supportive of good old fashioned values and respectful of religious institutions. So if she’s talking this way about the black-hatted faithful, assume there’s a whole bunch of people thinking the same thing.