Wednesday, April 15, 2015

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Should We (verbally) Bash Some Jews Today?

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

Longtime readers of Mystical Paths may notice that we generally avoid bashing the religious Jewish community.  One might wonder, is this because religious Jewish communities are all perfect and wonderful?  And the answer is…yes!

When I open my local phonebook (for my Jewish community), I have pages filled with “gemachim” and “chesed organizations”.  These are charitable and community organizations, often started by just one person, offering free or discounted or assistance services to the community.  For example we have the free medical equipment organization, the medical office on Shabbat (staffed by non-Jewish personnel), the discount van back and forth to local hospitals, the medicine reuse organization (if you didn’t use a sealed bottle of medicine it’s available to someone else who needs it), the food assistance organizations, help for families with newborns (giving the new mother a break and time to acclimate), etc etc etc.

The crime rate in my community is miniscule, the violent crime rate extremely low, and the majority of property crimes from outside.  These are benefits that come in tight night communities everywhere, religious communities in particular, and Jewish religious communities especially. 

Does this mean there are no problems?  No crime?  No deviants?  No problems falling through the cracks or being addressed poorly?  Sadly no. 

And does the Jewish religious community deal with certain problems and topics badly and ineffectively.  Sadly, yes.

The question is:

- Is anyone listening?  Griping about a problem and tarring the community with a broad brush serves no purpose if no one in the community is listening.

- Aren’t there enough other people already griping about Jews?  This is a serious question as there are plenty of sites ranging from anti-semites to disgruntled former community members already sharing loud and unpleasant opinions and positions, as well as highlighting every time a rabbi sneezes. 

- Is it possible to gently and appropriately discuss a problem point in the religious Jewish community without veering into Lashon Hara (religious prohibitions against tale bearing) and yet still have a positive affect?

- Is it possible for me to do this without exciting my Yetzer Hara (evil inclination)?  I certainly don’t need to awaken urges to “let people have it”.

What type of things would we discuss?  Here’s examples…

--> Recent funeral for a major Jewish religious figure where several people were crushed to death and over 100 seriously injured.

--> Are religious Jews doing something wrong by maximizing benefits available to them from government programs?

Let me know what you think.

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