Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Where The Money's Going

For a part of the Jewish community that is always complaining about a lack of money for important things like education, the Chareidim seem to have no trouble rusting up cash when it comes to useless public relations stunts.  How else to explain the upcoming Asifah later today at a large sports stadium that is rumoured to cost more than a million dollars once all the bills are tallied?
The Asifah, as multiple blogs have noted, is a gathering to demonstrate the unity of the Torah-observant community in its fight against the tumah of the Internet and its ravaging effects on us.  No doubt there will be inspiring speeches, lots of advice and direct orders, all in the name of "the Gedolim" to round out the event.
But there are two points I'd like to note, before anyone gets too enthusiastic about the potential for good that the Asifah claims it will accomplish.
The first is to point out all the disunity that this call for unity has exposed.  No, this isn't a goodwill gathering of all Torah-observant Jews.  Chabad, for example, almost didn't get invited.  Rumours of various chasidic groups not wanting to show up if other groups were invited are rife.  Despite all the "Daas Torah" available for consultation, no one could figure out how to put up a mechitzah so no women will be present.  Ask people at Modern Orthodox shuls if they had any tickets made available to them (people in Flatbush seem to be particularly annoyed) and the answer is a resounding "no".  And despite the usual statements that speakers will represent all corners of the Torah observant community, no one from Yeshiva University has been asked to contribute. (I'm not even going to mention YCT!)
Yes, it seems that the definition of "unity" for the organizers is "everyone who looks and thinks exactly like us" which excludes any Torah observant Jews who dress and think differently along with all women.  As I've said before, if someone ever figures out how to do human parthenogenesis these same leaders will ban women from existence since they'll now be redundant.
The second is to note that this event is essentially useless.  The Chareidi leadership has spent the better part of the last two generations fighting a losing battle against modern technology.  First there was the war against the television which was mostly lost when people discovered those neat cubboards that you could stick a TV inside and then close up when your Rav or "holier than thou" friends came for a Shabbos meal.  Then came the internet which is so pervasive and omnipotent that it did what "the Gedolim" couldn't: it made the television irrelevant and became the new media focus in everyone's lives.
Naturally the first attempt was to ban the 'net, a move that also failed because of the internet's indispensible nature in many people's lives, for business, research, etc.  Despite this reality the fight went on.  People were told they couldn't have computers in their homes so they went to the library or simply lied to the folks asking the question.  People were told they couldn't have smart phones.  They went and got them anyway.
And now there will be a gathering where we will all be told which filters to use and the "halachically permissible" circumstances for using the internet. 
And it will make no difference, just as every other move the leadership has made.
But what's most frustrating is the cost.  Imagine how many teachers could have been hired with the money spent in this useless gathering.  How many hungry families could have been provided with decent meals for Shavuous next week?  How many kids could get good dental and health care? 
Blogs are a favourite target of "the Gedolim" because they represent the ultimate insurrection.  Yeshiva students can be dominated.  Their families and congregations can be controlled but not the 'net which must drive these folks wild.  Instead of addressing the problems that the blogs identify they rail against the identifiers and the technology that exposed the problems in the first place.
The money could have been better spent but it would have left a few egos unstroked.  Too bad, eh?


Anonymous said...

Torah Judaism is kind of like the old Soviet Union under Kruschev (or maybe Cuba under Castro today.) In Judaism we have the superior ideology (the Soviet’s had Communism). Judaism has the masorah to build emunah (the Soviet’s had revisionist history). Judaism has a controlled press (the Soviets had censored media.) Charedi Judaism is built entirely on total compliance and indoctrination, and those who study secular subjects are putting their neshamas “at risk,” and are kofers and will pay (the Soviets had total indoctrination too, and if you dared try to leave to see for yourself what the West was like, you’d get shot in the back.)

Anyone who acts up or speaks out in Charedi Judaism risks all kinds of punishing responses from the community (the Soviets had spies on every block, and “trouble makers” were sent to work camps or Siberia.)

I know you are a true believer Garnel Ironheart – I just can’t help but wonder why Judaism has all the truth, the superior system, the obviousness of Torah, the amazing masorah, the better values – but like the Soviet Union – requires an Iron Curtain to keep everyone from – learning or seeing for themselves or maybe thinking about leaving.


MIghty Garnel Ironheart said...

Tuvia, here's the deal - not all Orthodox Jews are the same.
Current day Chareidim has created a new form of "Torah Judaism" that is radically different from prior versions but claims that it has always been the only form of observance. So yes, in order to maintain this fiction over their devotees they have to create mental and physical ghettos and prevent the outside world from seeping in.
In contrast, the rest of us have embraced Judaism willingly and have no trouble with some of the more "disturbing" facts of history. In fact, they tend to support our observance which is why we're Orthodox but not Chareidi.

Anonymous said...

Respectfully Garnel, the religious drive of a person like yourself – it confounds me. I am still trying to figure out if modern people choose orthodox Judaism because they A) find it beautiful (which is totally understandable) or B) find it true (which is totally debatable.)

I have trouble processing the idea of a person living a Torah True life who cannot at least concede that the evidence for it is scant/weak/debatable.

I think I read somewhere here that you are a physician. In your line of work, aren’t pat answers dangerous? Doesn’t diagnosing tough cases require methodical, measured, critical thinking and good judgement? Isn’t emotionally laden thinking a classic trap to avoid?

Why do people with highly developed analytical/critical faculties throw all caution to the wind in order to embrace a moral system married to (what appears to the reasonable person) to be Dark Age mythology?

The proofs fail, modern biblical criticism only improves its case with time, how do you make it work?

If it is because you find it beautiful – then, well, never mind.


Garnel Ironheart said...

Tuvia, the basis of Judaism is faith. Yes, I have faith that 3500 years ago my ancestors marched out of Egypt following Moshe Rabeinu, a"h and received the Torah at Sinai. I have no hard evidence that it happened, nor any that it didn't. I have faith that it did.
The comparison to medicine, however, is completely inaccurate. In fact, when it comes to medicine I'm a big skeptic of homeopathy and naturopathy and sound just like religious skeptics. Medicine is a science. It is provable. It does not ask me to take any leaps of faith.
Judaism, on the other hand, is based on that leap of faith. And having taken the leap and accepted the ground level assumption of God, matan Torah, etc. the rest of the system is beautiful and makes perfect sense.

AztecQueen2000 said...

In this week's parsha, Hashem stated that the penalties for casual Torah observance would be that we would eat the flesh of our own children. Isn't that sort of what we're doing now by focusing on the Internet at the expense of real issues?

SJ said...

Their families and congregations can be controlled but not the 'net which must drive these folks wild.

Yeah no kidding.

SJ said...

>> the rest of the system is beautiful and makes perfect sense.

turning don't cook an animal in its mother's milk into total separation of meat and dairy makes perfect sense? REALLY?



WTF .........................

Adam Zur said...

the separation of milk and meat is in fact based on verses. this is one area in which the Talmud excels. even if i think the Talmud is not perfect but it excels in certain areas and in understanding verses is one of those areas. though i am not holding in that sugia i can tell you from the little experience that i have that in working out in a logically rigorous manner the meaning and the laws of different commandments the gemara does an excellent job and in fact the only job. Science i admit was not up its alley. No was philosophy.

SJ said...

the separation of milk and meat is in fact based on verses.

cut it out Adam Zur the only verse I ever hear it being based on is don't cook an animal in its mothers milk and it's TOO MUCH a bull shit stretch to get from the Torah's A to the rabbi's B on this matter!

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