Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Chareidic life is changing

I shudder at the thought of what would have become of me, had I not met Reb Shlomo Carlebach and Rabbi Lopes Cardozo. Would I have become yet another narrow-minded, self-righteous fundamentalist the world has so many of already? Thankfully, I found many personal, warm, and modern Chareidic (“Ultra-Orthodox”) Rabbis. There’s no contradiction.

Thousands upon thousands have been married kosherly under auspices of Tzohar rabbis. Name-calling them will not degrade them. The people maligning them only hurt their own hateful and passé image.

People who don’t want competition from others in kosher supervision and certification of food seem to work for their own interest rather than the needs of the public. Their kashrut should be mistrusted.

People who want the sole power over whom credible rabbis convert seem more concerned with their own power than with what’s good for Jews.

People trying to force Chareidic society on all Jews are not followers of Moses, the humblest of Man. The times are gone that you can rule us with fear and hatred. At the marketplace of good ideas, show that you believe in your lifestyle and how lovely it is. Spitting hatred and anger is not going to do the job. Much success of the Reform movements is your failure. If G^d wanted us to be forced, He would have created robots, not people.

That compulsion includes Chareidic and National-Chareidic (Chardal) rabbis and lay persons trying to ensure that their rabbis will never show any sign of greatness and progress. They are fighting a losing battle.

People who think that the Chareidic public will follow their leaders when they are out of touch with reality have a big surprise coming to them. Early denial of the pandemic by their Israeli leaders made many Chareidics buy a smartphone. And find new jobs. Saving life is a vital Jewish value.

Recently, there was talk that, in a couple of decades, Chareidics, because of a much higher birthrate, will become a dominating force in Israeli politics. Statistics. But, by that time, many Chareidics will have integrated into modernity. Not every Mizrachic voter votes Shas; not every Chareidic will vote Chareidic. And the secular-democratic State of Israel will have moved toward them too, as it is doing already, in the IDF and elsewhere.

People who think that hate-filled sermons against Gays, Transgenders, and the Left, will be contagious are so in the dark (ages). Next week, they can be surrogate parents, soon, we’ll have civil marriage. Love will win. Jews are a People of respect and solidarity. If Christians could revitalize their beliefs after Auschwitz, Chareidics can do so when LGBTQ is mainstream.

People who scream that this change government is making a rift in the People are totally mistaken. The rift is between you and the rest. If you want to be part of the Jewish People, you’d better shape up fast. Of course, you can become like the Samaritans or the Karaites. Your choice.

There’s nothing wrong with being Chareidic. Each community, culture, and tradition has hateful, obsolete aspects that crept in. (Yes, the modern-Atheist world too.) Its value shows best if it is willing to clean things up.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 1400 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/ or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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