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I’ve never been so ashamed to be a religious Jew — ‘Haredim’ disturb Shabbat Project event in Jerusalem market

How dare Haredi Jews disturb a Shabbat Project event in Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market
Police spray water to try and disperse a protest by ultra-Orthodox Jews against the conscription of members of their community to the IDF at the entrance to Jerusalem on October 23, 2017. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)
Police spray water to try and disperse a protest by ultra-Orthodox Jews against the conscription of members of their community to the IDF at the entrance to Jerusalem on October 23, 2017. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)

I could not believe my eyes Shabbat afternoon at the Jerusalem Market or as we call the, ‘Shuk’ this afternoon. This is a place I normally associate with unity and all Jews working together. I love coming to the Shuk to buy my weekly shopping. The food is always fresh and the colours and smells really stimulating.

However, the experience I just had was sadly not positive. In fact, I’ve never been so embarrassed to be a religious Jew — I was crying inside! I do try through my IsraelB website to encourage religious and secular to mix and this made me furious.

I arrived at around 3.30 p.m. to join in the Shabbat Project Seudah Shlishit, the ‘Shabbat Shalosh, and what did I see?

Vans of police arriving to stop extreme ‘Haredim’ protesting and disrupting the whole event.

Sadly, it was not a few, but more like a few hundred of them. Some were shouting, ‘Shiksers’, others, ‘ Shabbes’ and others clearly attempting to create altercation and violent responses. Some of them were just walking past shouting abuse, whilst others starting arguing with the participants being aggressive.

What a disgrace! What a Desecration of G-d’s name! Is Shabbat a day of hatred and violence? What Torah do they learn? What type of G-d do they serve? What value system have they grown up in? They dress like G-d fearing Jews, yet cause such hatred!

You should have heard the comments from the chilonim (secular Jews) I was trying to appease, in explaining that they were the exception not the rule. That’s the problem, in the eyes of many chilonim, most religious are all the same – Especially when it comes to, ‘Haredim’ – And we know that’s not true!

That’s the real tragedy — a few hundred morons, dressed in black and white on a Shabbat afternoon can ruin years and years of hard work and progress. We all know they are not mainstream and yes, they are the minority – But, sadly in the eyes of the secular press and world, it makes no difference.

The participants in the Seudah Shlishit were harmless young people — An even mix of religious and secular, and the non religious people were not causing any form of provocation at all. Just chatting and socializing.

Thankfully, though the police disbursed them and the  afternoon went on to be a real success with people of all shades of our Jerusalem life, having a good time.

I also thought it was really good that Rabbi Aaron Leibowitz came and spoke. The food and singing afterwards was great and despite what the fanatics at the beginning the event was a real success!

What can I say to end with a message of hope as I always try to – I guess, we have to always remember that in any journey, there are ups and down including our journey of rebuilding Yerushalayim!

About the Author
Benjy Singer works in social media, content writing and editing. He runs a popular online community, IsraelB.org, which is a very useful resource, especially for Olim. A graduate of the LSE, UCL and Yeshivat Har Etzion, Benjy enjoys writing, teaching and connecting people.
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