Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Ynetnews.com has this article.

[Begin Ynet article]

Prayer for hire
by: Tamar Trabelsi-Hadad
01.01.08, 09:44

In one Ramat Gan school, attending a Torah lesson means an extra NIS 18 from Bnei Brak Rabbis. Concerned parents: This is a disaster

Religion or bribery? Haredi rabbis have reportedly started offering students at one Ramat Gan high school NIS 18 to attend Torah lesson, as noted by concerned parents. Is this a downpayment for becoming religious?

Principal of Ohel- Shem High School in Ramat Gan, Adam Kniksberg, said Monday at a session of the Knesset Education, Culture, and Sports Committee, that religious “missionaries” from Bnei Brak, that have as of late become part of the school environment, have started influencing its students little by little.

“They start off by instituting prayer sessions at the school, then move on to lessons in Judaism and keeping kosher at a nearby synagogue, and the end result is, at times, students who leave the school and do not enlist in the IDF,” said Kniksberg.

Deputy Chairman of the Education Division at the Ramat Gan Municipality, Mira Shannon, also expressed alarm at this growing phenomenon. “The secular school body has experienced a ‘religious terrorism’ of sorts since the arrival of these Bnei Brak ‘missionaries,” she said Monday at the education committee session.

This phenomenon had also raised concerned among local parents. Ramat Gan Parents’ Association Chairman and head of the Ohel-Shem school PTA, Danny Goldstein, said that parents at this Ramat Gan school are deathly afraid that their children will become Orthodox and refuse to enlist in the army.

“That would be a disaster as far as I am concerned, akin to religious parents who mourn a child who becomes secular as if he had died,” he said Monday at the Knesset committee session.
“There are three or four ‘missionaries’, that some may call Rabbis, who bribe students at Ohel-Shem into attending Torah lesson with NIS 18 payments. One single mother, who is struggling to make ends meet, told me, in tears, that her child will no longer eat at home because she does not keep kosher,” said Goldstein.

Most students who are goaded into attending the prayer session at school, noted Goldstein, are students from poor families who are in financial dire straits. It is these, and other parents, that have petitioned the city municipality for help in combating the ‘missionary’ phenomenon.

No religious or secular coercion
Ironically, it is a complaint lodged by MK Shlomo Benizri, stipulating that Ohel-Shem does not allow religious students to pray during their lunch break, which helped bring the whole ‘missionary’ issue to the attention of the Knesset Education Committee.

Head of the Education Division at the Ramat Gan Municipality, Moshe Bodega, stated Monday at the committee session, that the school principal does not allow religious students to pray in empty classrooms during lunch, mainly as this can lead to tension at the school, and because of these Bnei Brak Rabbis who try and coerce students into becoming religious.

Chairman of the Knesset Education, Culture and Sport Committee, MK Michael Melchior, said Monday that irrespective of the tensions at the school, Ohel-Shem must nevertheless try and accommodate religious students who need a place to pray.

“I object to religious coercion, but also to secular coercion as well,” he stated. “If the prayer sessions do not disrupt the school there is nothing wrong with holding them, and those students who truly wish to pray ought to be aided.”

[end Ynet article]

1) "One single mother, who is struggling to make ends meet, told me, in tears, that her child will no longer eat at home because she does not keep kosher,” said Goldstein.

Shouldn't these rabbis teach that her child should find some way to tell her mother about no longer eating in her home ... AND STILL FOLLOW HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER? In orthodox judaism the truth is that the fifth commandment does not apply when the parents are secular, but rather that the ballei tsheuva ( "one who repents ") should shun his or her parents upon becoming religious.

2) Religious proselytising does not have any business in secular schools.

3) Parents have legitimate concerns about these missionaries teaching their kids fanaticism (i.e. total separation of the genders, not being able to wear anything except traditional orthodox dress)

4) The comment section to this article on Ynet's website is filled with comments that reeks with the hatred and arrogance of the orthodox towards secular jews.

In the comments section Adam Eliyahu said

"I was raised secualr in th USA. Believe me, there is no way anti-Jewish laws could stand in America like they do in Israel. The good thing about this article is that it is the first time I have heard the term "secular coercion" in the media, though it is a painful reality in my everyday life. But shouldn't the headline mention something about that? Isn't it more horrifying that Jews are being forbidden to pray than that students get 18 shekels to go to a class? I think Israel is the only place in the world where Jews would consider a Rabbi to be a missionary. I remember when I was working as a cook in ahotel and I had to argue every day to get fifteen minutes to pray.The Muslims had no problem getting away foir a minyan. If the school had denied Moslems the right to pray, I am sure the reaction would have been more extreme, from the Moslems as well as the left -wing secular. "


Dumb ass number two is a dude who wrote the ninth comment. He is Al from Canada. He is a beacon of orthodox tolerance. He wrote

"I experienced the worst anti-semitism from fellow secular Jews. I have been working and living in Canada all of my life and the worst shitheads I ever met were fellow Jews who would deny me and themselves their heritage. So it is in israel where the new "JEW" is front row and center. Here's one for you all the think about. The secular Jew as well as the new "JEW" is fast disolving into nothing. The religious Jew will prevail as they have till today."

So ..... secular jews are "shit heads." Gee. That is a great way of making friends with them and encouraging them to become more orthodox. (sarcasm)

Dumb ass number three is a guy named Avraham who is from the Negev. In his ignorant bile he wrote "Good for these Rabbis. These secular kids know nothing about their rich heritage & why they should be proud be Jewish & to live in Israel."

Uhhhhhhh how about Hebrew language? And it seems to me that the mere knowledge of hatikva is the minimum of knowledge in letting anyone living in Israel know why they are there. Lets operate on the assumption that the Israelis know their own anthem, okay orthodox?

In comment number twenty three, a commenter who wrote something in disagreement with what the missionaries were doing got called a "goy." In Orthodox Judaism, anyone who does not follow their practices & views in its entirety are just as gentile as the gentiles.

Joseph from Jerusalem in comment twenty eight said this "Jews, you find fault with Jewish Rabbis bringing their OWN JEWISH BROTHERS back to their Jewish roots. What a sad state secular Jews have become! A true shame to Klal Yisrael." So in other words, the secular jews who serve in the IDF and protects their fellow jews are a "shame to Klal Yisrael." Orthodox people SERIOUSLY needs to watch their mouths and -THINK- before they go on one of their hateful rants.

There is more, but basically you get the idea.


Anonymous said...

Why would anyone want to leave comments on this site? You treat people you disagree with with contempt and disrespect.

SJ said...

Don't comment. I have no need for people who would want to attack me instead of the issue.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to tone things down a bit.

First of all, you condemn the "Orthodox". Torah observant Judaism is not a monolithic organization but rather made up of groups with very diverse philosophies. To condemn the entire group is ignorant. If you were doing it to blacks or Orientals, you'd be tarred as a racist. Why is it okay to do it to us? If you have a problem with a specific group with Orthodoxy, so mention them. If you dn't know that there are different groups, why are you commenting?

Secondly, you're being just as dismissive as the people you are arguing against. Hardly a way to convince anyone.

Finally, in a country where secular coercion is so strong yet no one has a problem with it, what's the problem with competing religious coercion?

SJ said...

>> Why is it okay to do it to us?

Blacks and orientals go to public schools along with the rest of us where individual thought is fostered. On the other hand, the orthodox go to their own schools where individual thought is not exactly considered to be a virtue.

It simply would not be factually correct to say that the majority of blacks or orientials think the same whereas it would be much more factually correct to say that the orthodox think the same in much larger groups despite exceptions here and there.

As I said in my post, religious proselytising has no business in public schools, and if you really don't see a problem with religious coercion, then unfortunately there really is not much to discuss.

If you don't see a problem with religious coercion, look into the mirror and you will see why my blog exists.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, As an OJ I couldn't care if you are religious or not, it is your personal choice, however, I have experienced secular coercion by relatives and Israelis. Don't speak for me when you say there is no such thing as secular coercion. There are many agnositics out there who love to torment OJ, you may not be one of them but they exist. Especially in Israel. In the US public school system if someone wants to pray he is entitled and respected. I know becuase I go to one. In Israel OJs are ridiculed if they ask to have an area to practice their religion. So don't talk ignorantly if you've never been there.

SJ said...

In the public sphere, if there's something that you see that you don't like, turn the other way. Don't cry that it's secular coercion.