July 9: Orthodox readers react strongly to haredi rioting in Jerusalem

Those who rioted are not haredim, they are hooligans.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sir, - I stand with Rabbi Yakov Horowitz in condemning the violence against Israeli police, and against obstructing justice ("American rabbi urges haredi leaders to condemn violence in Jerusalem," July 8). BOOMIE PINTER, President West Lawrence Civic Association New York Sir, - What do you have against us? I saw the TV broadcasts of the demonstrations, and the police looked like they were rioting. When haredim demonstrate, it gets noisy like any demonstration, but they're not going to kill the cops. However, being a haredi resident of Jerusalem, I must inform you I didn't go to the demonstration. I know the bunch who run the demonstrations, and they are loudmouths and fanatics. Granted, the politicians are botching everything up. Mayor Barkat has his issues and must placate the needs of the seculars, but the city is the holy city of Jerusalem, and the seculars just can't get it. Yet the problem is political and being blown out of proportion by secular and religious alike. There are political ways of dealing with it. Those who rioted are not haredim, they are hooligans. In Jewish law they are monetarily and personally responsible for any damage incurred. Any mass labeling of all haredim is a personal insult to me and my family. I may disagree with your editors, and the secular citizens, but I am a law-abiding resident of Jerusalem and insulted when anyone with a beard and black hat is dumped into the same disgusting category. RABBI ELIEZER PARKOFF Jerusalem Sir, - Those people who seem to be representing Jews worldwide (especially us frum Jews) with their violent behavior do not, I believe, represent Jews as a whole. Please stop viewing these people as our spokesmen, because they are not. YEHOSHUA SHEFFIELD Baltimore Sir, - I haven't had the opportunity to visit Israel for three decades. Nevertheless, last week's horrifying Jerusalem riots in "support" of Shabbos have not left me untouched. As an Orthodox Jew, I'm humiliated by any hint of association with these people. The Torah Judaism that I recognize through the lessons of my beloved teachers and through the Torah texts, whose study is my primary vocation, tolerates no violence and considers the irresponsible behavior of recent days reprehensible. Let my voice be added to a rising swell of protest. BORUCH CLINTON Ottawa, Canada Sir, - The fist-waving, angry individual photographed at a demonstration is not one of the kind, gentle, loving haredim I know, charitable with their time and money and love for their fellow-man. He's not really haredi, he's simply wearing a costume. YOSSI GINZBERG New York Sir, - Shame on these "haredim." They represent a lie, not the Torah. SHIMMY WEISS Monsey, New York Sir, - I'm a Sabbath-observant Jew and I try to help other Jews, regardless of affiliation, because I see them as brothers and friends. The "religious Jews" who throw rocks, burn garbage on the Sabbath and are violent and confrontational with police do not represent me or how I feel about Judaism or Israel. I believe the way to secure the Land and the blessings the Torah promises is through prayer, helping others, Torah observance and keeping the Sabbath. YEHUDA PARET Morristown, New Jersey Sir, - I am an observant Jew writing to let you know that my wife and I explicitly oppose the violence associated with segments of the haredi population. Please don't let the actions of a small number of misguided fanatics become the general public's perception of a religious person! MARK SHAPIRO Passaic, New Jersey Sir, - We have endured suicide bombings, drive-by killings, stabbings, shootings, death from bulldozers driven by extremist Arabs - and now Jerusalem residents face confusion, chaos and violence caused by our own anti-Zionist militant ultra-Orthodox Jews covering their ulterior motives with the excuse that Sabbath is being desecrated. Burning trash cans is unlawful and expensive to all ratepayers. Throwing a stone is no different than shooting a bullet; it is a lethal weapon. These violent actions and politicized protests against the rule of law should be answered not with "questionable restraint" but with the law enforcement authorities' iron fist. JACK DAVIS Jerusalem Sir, - As a haredi Jew, I need to publicly protest against the imbeciles making a massive desecration of God's name. They are a disgrace to the Jewish people. MICHAEL KELMAR Baltimore Sir, - Although the issue of Shabbos is sacrosanct, we must strongly condemn the tactic of violent, confrontational, abusive behavior currently being displayed by our fellow yidden. It belies and degrades the extraordinary level of decency, kindness and concern that is the hallmark of the truly integrated Torah-observant world. We wish to add our voices to the camp of normalcy, forethought and solution-oriented approaches. MICHAEL & MEIRA KIRZNER Toronto Sir, - I am a Shabbat-observing Jew raising my children to be proud of their beliefs while respecting other people's right to decide their own path in life. As a person not raised in a Torah-observant home, I can state with 100-percent certainty that more effective outreach is accomplished by simply sharing the beauty of authentic Jewish family life. Please ignore these extremists. Let's not give the enemies of our people any more ammunition with which to besmirch us. LESLIE AIELLO Hillside, New Jersey Sir, - These bored youths and severely misguided adults in no way represent the pleasant ways of the Torah. Come to Lakewood, and let me show you the untold acts of Jewish hesed - lovingkindness - there. SHLOMO SPITZER Lakewood, New Jersey Sir, - Count me firmly in Rabbi Horowitz's camp: not only against the violence, but also for the need to speak out against these hooligans. ISAAC NUTOVIC New York Take VIPs to Hadassah Sir, - Marc Lesnick's letter "My Arab roommate in Hadassah Hospital," (July 5) deserves wide circulation. His observation that every patient, regardless of nationality or religion, receives the same level of care is undoubtedly true of all Israeli hospitals. I have long thought that visiting statesmen should be taken to Hadassah to see this for themselves; it's not far from Yad Vashem, where they all go. In fact, given Barack Obama's total misunderstanding of Israel's raison d'etre, as exemplified in his Cairo speech, serious thought should be given to taking foreign dignitaries to Hadassah instead of Yad Vashem. MERVYN DOOBOV Jerusalem