An Open Letter to ALL Parents in Bet Shemesh

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  1. As I said in an earlier post, it was only a matter of time before there would be blood shed by someone, somewhere in the name of Judaism. Whether it would be as a result of (violent) protests against the army or perhaps the “Tzniut Police”–it was only to be determined by time.

Sorry to have been correct on this one. The latter case (the Tzniut Police) have shed JEWISH blood in the name of Judaism.

For those unfamiliar with the case:

A haredi child on Tuesday night threw a stone at a woman in her fifties after judging to be “not dressed modestly.” The child escaped from the scene. An ambulance took the lightly injured woman to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital. (Arutz-7)

The “police” who made the decision that a woman was not properly dressed was a fourteen-year-old child. Just as an Arab child is raised in so many cases to hate Jews and act against them in the name of religion, so too, so many Jewish children are indoctrinated with hatred in their bones and taught to act in the name of religion, as well. This child was taught that people–more correctly, women–must dress a certain way. If they do not, then are they not only going against G-d’s will but you, as a Jew, seem to have a right and obligation to be G-d’s executioner and to mete out His justice. This time, at least, the woman was “only” injured. Who is to say that the next time (and there is a high likelihood of that) the victim will not be murdered. No, not “killed”….MURDERED. Because when you take a stone in hand and throw it with the intent of causing bodily harm, and the victim dies, that is murder! I have said this with regard to Arab kids who have thrown stones that have caused the death of Jewish victims, and I say the same in this case.

No one–absolutely no one–has the right to pick up a stone and to throw it at another in order to hurt them; not in the name of religion; not in the name of ANYTHING.

NEVER!

So, why is this an open letter to the parents of Bet Shemesh? Because the area has both Haredi and non-Haredi residents, and it is time that something needs to be done by PARENTS.

As I wrote in a recent post, the LEADERS are the ones who need to stand up and say that enough is enough. Sadly, the silence of the leadership has been deafening from so many circles. Yes, some are afraid to speak out (and they are “leaders”?). Some do not see themselves as leaders (yes, you are, and you need to speak out). Yet others, sadly, are happy with the way things are going!

If leaders can not be relied on to lead, then it is time that the man/woman in the street take action! It is time for Haredi and non-Haredi parents to stand shoulder to shoulder in the streets of Bet Shemesh. It is time to say that while we acknowledge our hashkafic differences, we also must ALL abide by the Torah! NOWHERE does the Torah permit throwing stones at someone merely because you do not like how she is dressed. (NO ONE has a license to injure or kill!!)

It is time for parents to pick up the challenge that your leaders are not taking and PUBLICLY take a JOINT stand! Enough is enough! Today it is a bloody head and tomorrow (G-d forbid!) it will be a visit to nearby Eretz HaChaim for the victim.

For those leaders in Bet Shemesh who have and continue to speak out: Kol Hakavod! Continue to do so … but you are a lone voice in the wind, at the moment. Encourage your “constituency” to get out there and publicly make your thoughts known. We can be different…we can have very different beliefs and different approaches as to how to serve Hashem. But one thing we must all agree on: It is NEVER ok to inflict harm on another individual because they believe or act differently from what you believe in. 

PARENTS OF BET SHEMESH–PARENTS OF ALL HASHKAFOT–I URGE YOU TO FIND SOME COMMON GROUND AND, IN A UNITED FRONT, TELL THE PUBLIC THAT THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOR CAN NO LONGER CONTINUE.

Because if the issue is ignored, I am afraid we are in for much worse results than “merely” sending a woman to a hospital.

May she have a refuah shlema and may we always work TOGETHER למען השלום–for peace and tranquility.

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15 Comments

  1. Was the offending boy identified and arrested? You note it was a 14-year-old who committed the crime, so I assume he was eventually caught. Please make sure to update on any impending trial the boy will be facing, because he deserves serious punishment for what he did to the poor woman.

  2. Pingback: The Moral and Ethical Bankruptcy of the Haredi Leadership in Bet Shemesh

  3. liba hirschman

    Rabbi Zev After spending a most enlightening Pesach with you and your family and learned so much I am grateful that you wrote the above post. It’s actually frightening to go to Bet even dressed in proper clothing. They somehow know u r an ‘outsider’ and my experience was that when I asked where a certain store could be found, the first three people (women) would not answer me. I have not problem speaking Hebrew, so that was not the reason. There are many chareidim in RBSA and so far, B”H there have been no clashes
    I know you remember South Pacific and the song that was not made popular that I remember very well it was called “you’ve go to be taught to hate, you’ve go to be carefully taught” Wearing black and white clothing does not make a tzadik It’s the inside that counts and how you teach the generations to act

    1. Gitta Zarum

      I also frequently think back to that song and remind people of it. it is so true.
      Sadly, it was [unbelievably] cut out of many recordings of the film. Maybe it could be taught in kindergartens and schools?

  4. Abby

    Grammar? We lost the Beit hamikdash due to sinat chinam, not bad grammar (said vs. wrote). If we don’t get a handle on our lack of acceptance of those Jews who are different from us, oy, va voy lanu.

  5. Are you sure this is a symptom of a distorted community, rather than the irresponsible actions of an individual who is possibly not a full deck?

    Not to suggest that this and similar communities are not vigilant about modesty, and intolerant of immodesty, but I suspect you too​ would be intolerant of women parading in your neighbourhood, dressed as if they were at the beach. So we’re only arguing about degrees of tolerance and what intolerable immodesty.

    1. Zev M. Shandalov

      One huge error in your thesis… while I may not always ”approve” how some dress, I would NEVER use violence. Your implication is that if I had to I would.
      Secondly, if this had been an isolated case…maybe.. But ask all the girls from a couple years back about getting stoned on the way to school…it is systemic.

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