Alan Simons
Author | Writer | Social & Allyship Advocate

Haredi naiveté knows no boundary

This past week two major stories broke that put particular emphasis on the Haredi community and their disdain for civil society in general.

In England, police launched an enquiry as to why a wedding with 150 participants took place at the premises of a state-aided Haredi senior girl’s high school, located in an orthodox area in London, during the COVID-19 lockdown. According to reports, “steps had been taken to ‘mask’ the function by covering windows.” Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis condemned the organiser of the event as a “shameful desecration.”

As we know, what happened at this school was not an isolated case. For there is total disregard by many Haredim – I do not say all – not only for the health and safety of individuals, but to the rule of the law in the country they live in.  One wonders where their self-centered behaviour, arrogant thinking, their a lack of empathy and concern for other people came from. This is a well-known fact, a fact accentuated by the incident reported on a flight last week from New York to Tel Aviv.

As reported in The Times of Israel, “Dozens of ultra-Orthodox passengers refused to wear face masks throughout a United Airlines flight from New York to Israel that landed last week, ignoring repeated requests by fellow passengers and staff, Hebrew-language media reported Sunday.”

“Pikuach nefesh is the principle in Jewish law that the preservation of human life overrides virtually any other religious rule. When the life of a specific person is in danger, almost any mitzvah lo ta’aseh of the Torah becomes inapplicable.”

As to COVID-19, the lives of the wedding participants and those on the ten-hour flight were inconsequential to the Haredim.

During December 2019, I wrote an article for JewishinfoNews which was also published in The Times of Israel.

In essence, it dealt with the physical attack on the Haredi community in Monsey, New York and in other locations worldwide. I said what better time is there than now than to show the detested antisemites we Jews stand together in putting an end to all forms of antisemitism, of hate and intolerance. I added:

I welcome with a heavy heart Haredi Judaism to our world of antisemitism, hate, intolerance, ethnocentric violence and all that is prescribed by those adherents having an aversion to everything Jewish. Encouraged by the rhetoric of followers of the extreme right and left, where there exists an utter hatred of Jews, you have reluctantly joined us in obtaining a disease containing one obedience; to eradicate us by any means possible.

Your custom to segregate yourselves from modern Jewish society is not relevant to those who wish to hurt us, nor the country you live in. Simply put, you are a Jew, irrespective of your style of dress, what you eat, your loving devotion based on the Talmud, to Jewish law and jurisprudence, or as many of you unconditionally believe, of being the most religiously authentic group of Jews.

Today, the diaspora worldwide are undergoing an upsurge from the antisemites, the hate-mongers and tenured university bigots amongst others, who publicly vilify and delegitimize Jews.

Jewry as a whole, for the most part, have become fearful of the political consequences now taking place in many countries, a trait in which has now also encircled the Haredi community.

It has been said Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, known as “the Rebbe,” one of the most influential Jewish leaders of the 20th century, opened the hearts of his followers to every Jew regardless of observance or affiliation.

Since his death, some 26 years ago, Haredim, demanded by their rabbinical elites, have personally embarrassed the very words of what the respected Rebbe believed in. By their very own actions, they have entered the scorching bottomless pit of helping to sacrifice all Jews, not only to the onslaught of the antisemite, but uniting it with Haredi contempt and utter disregard to COVID-19 pandemic laws and regulations enacted in their country of residence. By their actions, they believe they are immune.

In Jewish thought, embarrassing someone in public is considered a serious crime, akin to killing someone. Haredi actions in London, England and on the United Airlines flight, amongst others events, show the utter distain they have for not only their fellow Jew, but for society in general, culminating in the antisemite welcoming their actions with open arms.  Haredi naiveté knows no boundary.

In a few hours time, on January 27th 2021, we remember International Holocaust Remembrance Day, an international memorial day commemorating the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during the Second World War.

It is not a day I will relish being personally embarrassed by the Haredi.

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About the Author
Simons is an author, writer and social & allyship advocate. He publishes an online international news service, now in its 15th year, dealing with issues relating to intolerance, hate, antisemitism, Islamophobia, conflict, and terrorism, as well as an online community news site. As a diplomat, he served as the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Rwanda to Canada, post-genocide era. He has lectured and designed courses in the areas of therapeutic management, religion in politics, and communications. He recently published his sixth book.