Michael Unterberg
A guy in Efrat

Why would I read this?

Once again we enter the verbal fray. The pressures mounting on the Haredi world have made that more or less inevitable. Frankly, history repeats itself whether you learn from it or not. And you don’t have to go all the way back to the destruction of the Temple to find the pattern. There are much more recent models that come to mind.

Think of America’s Civil War. Slavery was an institution with no future, but Southerners’ lives and livelihoods needed it to continue. Rupture was inevitable. When a way of life faces off against the forces of history, you’ve got trouble in the making.

The Haredi world finds itself in a similar position now. The status quo cannot be maintained. Yet for many in that part of our society, it is seen as necessary for survival. So we watch the powder keg fill and wait for the spark that will ignite it. Nobody, of course, wants that to happen. But unless we are very careful, planful, and thoughtful, we know that the rupture is forming before our eyes.

The big questions is, how can those of us outside of the Haredi world, help create a context that will allow the Haredim to adapt, with minimal friction, into the changed reality they face? There are many ideas suggested to answer that question, and we should consider them carefully. This problem should be a focus as we enter the week of Tisha B’Av, mourning the disunity of the Jewish Nation.

I would like to make one small suggestion that might help a little. Let’s ignore articles like this one. I am not a journalist, so I’m not qualified to decide if stories like these are worthwhile news or simply lashon hara. But I am qualified to tune it out as the noise that it is, and avoid being drawn into the cycle of anger and division.

Sure, history repeats itself. But history also shows that cycles can be broken and changes can be for the better. Modern Zionism is the story of the Jewish people choosing that path. We must take on this challenge, along with many others, to find ourselves on the next plateau. The future demands that we learn the lessons of Tisha B’Av and leave the suffering of history behind us.

About the Author
Rabbi Michael Unterberg is an Israel Educator. He is a very proud father and grandfather, and lives in Efrat.