Monday, July 22, 2013

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Pathologies

A social commentator wrote…  I doubt that many Israelis believe that charedi (ultra-orthodox) Jews are naïve about what’s occurring in their communities. But some Israelis fear that charedi Jews are unwilling to take responsibility for curing the social pathologies that afflict them.

Actually, after living in generations of their current social circumstances with some isolation from the surrounding society and culture, a significant part – and perhaps the majority – are naïve about what’s occurring in their communities.  While there is wonderful chesed (charity and kindness) and incredible Torah (holiness and G-dly knowledge), there is endemic poverty, a loss of work ethic (even though it’s prescribed in the Mishne and Gemara), battles over control of religious, government and charity resources, and the rise of zealots and enforcers.

And the community leadership, gedolim, rabbanim, and askanim, frequently seem more interested in fighting over the levers of control of the current poor situation rather than trying for, or perhaps better stated as risking change of, the pathologies and circumstances.

Oh, the social commentator as an American writing about President Obama’s statement on Trayvon Martin and the African-American community in the U.S…

The social commentator actually wrote… I doubt that many whites believe that African-Americans are naïve about what’s occurring in their communities. But some whites fear that African-Americans are unwilling to take responsibility for curing the social pathologies that afflict them.

Fortunately Israeli charedi social pathologies DO NOT include high crime rates or significant drug use, and do include chesed and Torah.  But the communal pattern and leadership response is, socially, remarkably similar.

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