Being ‘observant’ and how one ‘observes’ are both a personal choice. There is hardly only one route into Judaism or Judaic faith. The increasingly aggressive and irresponsibly intrusive insistence by Israel’s ultra-Orthodox that their ‘observance’ requires others to do the same is not – remotely – Judaism.

If Israel’s ultra-Orthodox believe they represent the ‘character’ or ‘values’ of either Judaism or the State of Israel, then I am proud to not be counted among them for the weakness they bring to Israel and the shame they increasingly bring to Judaism.

How many Jews have been ostracized, brutalized — killed — across the millennia by other religions demanding Jews observe as do they? The ultra-Orthodox are now increasingly behaving in a manner similar to that which long had its roots in radicalized forms of Christianity; of Islam; in other extremist religious and Nationalist movements…but not in Judaism.

Ultra-Orthodox have already assaulted other Jews; have used stones and more dangerous weapons against other Jews; have attacked ‘offending’ Jewish businesses, police and military.

Why would it be even remotely acceptable for Jews to act in a similar manner as have others to us but, now, to other Jews?

Wait for and expect — egged on by self-aggrandizing religious and political leaders — for more ultra-Orthodox violence and riots against fellow Jews and Jewish businesses simply for not doing as they have been ‘commanded.’

Such conduct is not only a direct offense to Judaic history and belief but it is also illegal. And should such criminal behavior occur, I strongly hope the offenders will be arrested and treated as would any other violent criminal.

Understand, also, that these ultra-Orthodox are not friends of or acting in support to the State of Israel. For an increasing percentage, in fact, their support and sponsorship comes from outside of Israel to include Christian Zionist and Messianic movements.

And though these latter groups strongly proclaim their ‘allegiance’ with and for Israel, far too few of their Jewish supporters have read into their material and agenda which uses Israel and Jews towards very different ends.

That living in Israel gives the ultra-Orthodox a unique ability to live without fear of reprisal for the pursuit of their specific belief system is a reality now becoming less true by the day even in the United States where active anti-Semitism has surged. It is the height of sad irony that Israel’s ultra-Orthodox are now bringing the repression and selective ‘anti-Semitism’ to Israel against fellow Jews.

It is hugely destructive to both Israel and the Diaspora that Israel’s ultra-Orthodox have chosen to neglect — rather than in any way represent — true Jewish character and value for what has come to increasingly appear a ‘cult’ of self-worship towards increased political control.

To see Jews engaging in such atrocious behavior to other Jews; to the Jewish state is very sad. It’s regressive and deeply dangerous to the future of the State of Israel all at the same time. It also goes directly against our history, who we’ve been/who we are and what we believe.

So far as convenience stores being opened on Shabbat, my recommendation to those who do not believe it appropriate is to stay home and not go shopping on the Shabbat.