People are always telling Muslims that they need to more vocally disavow the unsavory acts of their co-religionists.
Let me do the same right here. Judaism is a religion of peace, and anyone who is using it for the purposes of violence or terrorism is perverting its principles. I thought that when Yigal Amir killed the great Yitzchak Rabin, disrupting the peace process, and I felt that when Baruch Goldstein opened fire on the Muslim pilgrims to Hebron.
Extremists do not have a place at our table; they do not represent all Jews or even the very very vast majority of them.
Last month, right-wing “Heredi” were believed to behind the heinous desecration of a mosque in Jerusalem. I specifically condemn that action. I believe the Israeli government will take the incident seriously and try to find out who was involved.
I am also very disturbed by recent developments in religious enclaves throughout the Jewish world. As reported by the AP, ultra-Orthodox in Beit Shemesh have called for women’s faces to be removed from billboards and have harassed little girls for dressing immodestly (even though they are dressed in what most of the world would consider the modest, religious garb of modern Orthodox).
One wonders what could be modest enough for these zealots. No female faces in ads, no girls wearing long sleeves …. It’s almost like they are aping other cultures, which keep women behind closed doors and deny them their rights.
I also specifically condemn these recent actions.
While they are entitled to wear whatever they want and the practice Judaism however they want, those who wish to force their ideas on others are out of step with fundamental Jewish practices and traditions. Even though the modern world indeed has gone a little too far, sexualizing everything possible in the name of commerce, no one should call a little girl a whore.
And while I condemn all of the above, I implore everyone not to judge others. The Heredi leaders of Beit Shemesh disavow violence. I have know many Orthodox and Hassidic people — they are private, joyful people who have dedicated their lives to Gd, family, and peace. The actions of a few nuts should not stain the reputation of any subgroup of Jews as a whole in any way.
Happy New Year.