I’ve often wondered about the clear dissonance between what I read in the news with regard to Hareidim and the world that I know. It’s hard to compare the caricature of Hareidim, the uneducated misogynistic radicals stuck in a bygone era, with the group I grew up with. The Hareidim I know truly care about Torah study and its application in the modern world, they sing slow songs in the candlelight of the kumzits, and dance like crazy at weddings. The Hareidim I grew up with were very much part of the modern world, albeit experiencing it with their own culture.
I came to write for the Times of Israel partially to show others what I saw. I wanted to show another point of view that I did not see exhibited–that of a world where Torah, Mitzvot, and mutual respect (included in Mitzvot but I felt it needed special mention) are commonplace realities.
I don’t know that I have done a very good job. I’ve moaned about the one-sided media coverage I perceived on the fiasco of the WoW and W4W altercation. I went further to grumble about the general sniping taken at the Hareidim today. But I really haven’t done enough to shed the real life of the Hareidi.
Today, however, I felt Times of Israel went and did exactly that when they published the article on Hanita Fridman.
Hanita Fridman, obviously an extraordinary woman, is actually the perfect muse of Hareidi life; at least in action if not in words (seriously, what do any group of Jews agree about?). She isn’t unique among the outspoken women of the Hareidi world who make their positions clearly and bluntly. Nor is she unique in heading an organization.
- Women’s League, a very well respected community for home for persons with disabilities, was started by a group of Jewish Women in 1978 and continues their wonderful work today in providing care in a Jewish environment.
- Meir Panim, dedicated to providing for the poor in Israel, has a female director and several women and on the board of the organization.
- Yad Sarah, an organization which distributes medical devices for those who need them, also has several women who head the organization.
The list goes on…
The point is that Hanita Fridman is not the exception but rather the rule within Hareidi world.
This was the world I wanted to show.
And today Times of Israel did it better than I ever could.