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Occupy Beit Shemesh!! Time for the 99% to Be Heard
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

  Rated by 170 users   |   Viewed 68518 times since 12/27/11   |   151 Comments
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12/27/11

Occupy Beit Shemesh!!

Time for the 99% to Be Heard

By: Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

The ongoing violence in Beit Shemesh by hooligans has taken an even uglier turn recently as it is being directed against school-age children and their parents. It is now receiving front-page international coverage due to the involvement of Israeli elected officials at the highest levels.

As the colossal Chilul Hashem and distortion of genuine Torah values is escalating, it is incumbent on decent Jews worldwide to do our part to distance ourselves from this behavior and loudly proclaim that this is not the way of our Torah. It is of paramount importance that we do so not only before the media and the world at large, but also that we explain this to our impressionable children in the starkest of terms. Our work with children and teens over the years has clearly indicated that "Hate Does not Have an Off Button" – meaning that the toxic message of intolerance is one that has long-term harmful effects.

Many people in our community insist, “Everyone understands that these are a small bunch of radicals who do not have the support of any rabbinic leaders.” But that is simply not the message resonating around the world nowadays.

The 1% is getting all the media attention due to the passiveness of the 99%.

Several years ago, readers of this website conducted our own peaceful “hafgana” (protest) when the demonstrations in Eretz Yisroel were spinning out of control, by writing respectful emails to the editors of The Jerusalem Post and Ha’aretz condemning the violence in the clearest terms.

By all accounts, it was very successful as each of the papers received more than 100 emails from Jews worldwide. The Jerusalem Post designated a letters-to-the-editor section, where they printed many of the responses and actually wrote a column noting that there was a grass-roots movement by charedi Jews worldwide condemning the violent behavior.

We respectfully ask that you do the same at this critical time – with the eyes of the world focused on Beit Shemesh. Kindly take a few moments to cut and paste this message or write something along these lines and email them to

letters@nytimes.com

letters@jpost.com

feedback@haaretz.co.il

“As a Torah Jew, I am deeply distressed by the harassment and violence in Beit Shemesh – all of which is diametrically opposed to the teachings of our Holy Torah. Lest our silence be misconstrued as passive acceptance of this behavior, we condemn it in the strongest terms, as do the vast, overwhelming, majority of Torah Jews worldwide.”

We ask that you show public support for this effort by posting your name and the city where you live as a comment on the bottom of this thread so that members of our community and the media at large can see that this is a broad-based effort.

Thank you very much for your time and may this effort be helpful in restoring k’vod shamayim.

Rabbi Yakov Horowitz



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1. My Letter to the Papers     12/27/11 - 11:19 AM
DS

I am a Charedi Jew living in New York City and I am appalled by the actions of the violent protesters in Jerusalem in Beit Shemesh. Their actions are repulsive and reprehensible, and violate both the letter and spirit of Jewish law. These people are not mainstream in our community. They are a small fringe group that has no support from any segment of our community. The majority of Charedim feel strongly and passionately about our way of life but respect the decisions of others not to live our lifestyle. I urge my fellow Charedim living in Israel to speak out against this fringe group. Sincerely,


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2. For Those Posting ..     12/27/11 - 11:35 AM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey/NY

Dear Readers:

For those posting comments, kindly consider listing your name and the city where you live.

It adds value to your participation.

Thanks

Yakov


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3.     12/27/11 - 12:10 PM
Adam - New York, NY

Thank you and please continue doing great things for Klal Yisrael.

Quick suggestion- while most Jews will understand the point you are trying to make, if you want this petition to be more widespread, you should make your position on the matter more explicit as you never explicitly state it. Any level of confusion could be misconstrued as you siding with the Extremist Haredim and their anti- Torah actions.

Freilichin Chanukah


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4.     12/27/11 - 12:34 PM
Rachel Switzer - Philadelphia, PA

Thank you Rabbi Horowitz for being the voice of those who are shocked and appalled by this destructive behavior and the tremendous chilul Hashem, and who feel helpless as to how to get the word out! I will Iy"H be writing a letter to the papers as you suggested. Thank you.


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5. let the 99% be heard!     12/27/11 - 12:35 PM
Esther Lubling - Jerusalem, Israel


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6. Haredi in Beit Shemesh     12/27/11 - 12:35 PM
Anonymous

I agree with article and urge everyone to participate in the writing campaign-- SR Monsey


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7. DITTO!     12/27/11 - 12:36 PM
Nechama Grunwald - Jerusalem, Israel

I am happy to see that there is someone out there that cares enough about this terrible situation to actually do something about it! Just today I was sitting in a waiting room where 2 non-frum Israelis were going with fury about this (of course generalizing it to all chareidim 'cuz they really DON'T know it's only 1%...) and so I had to get involved and say that as a Chareidi I also condemn it. don't know if they were convinced or they're just riding the wave of hatred that exist already but either way WE GOTTA TRY OUR BEST!!!!


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8. Saddened     12/27/11 - 12:38 PM
Michelle - Far Rockaway, NY

Will take time to write my opposition of these people. Thank you.


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9. Meaningless unless published in the Yated     12/27/11 - 12:40 PM
Anonymous

I appreciate your efforts, but the fact is that the Charedi establishment in Israel is responsible for the attitudes and actions of this "fringe". Honestly, what are the chances of this petition being published in the Hebrew Yated Ne'eman?


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10. Thank you.     12/27/11 - 12:41 PM
Yaakov Novograd - Baltimore, MD

Much appreciation is owed to you for devoting precious time to expressing and publicizing the thoughts and feelings of so many!


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11.     12/27/11 - 12:43 PM
mo - lakewood nj

We need Mashiach. This is crazy.


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12. Thank you     12/27/11 - 12:49 PM
Devorah M - Brooklyn, NY


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13. thank you for not being silent, as silence is like agreement     12/27/11 - 12:51 PM
S. Gross - Israel - abundant.s@gmail.com


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14. Disgusting     12/27/11 - 12:52 PM
Mari - Long Branch, New Jersey

Thank you, rabbi for taking the initiative to help real observant Jews have a voice. This behavior is appalling...it's embarrassing to know that these people of my nation...


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15. Belzer Rebbe Speaks Out     12/27/11 - 12:52 PM
Proud Belzer Chosid - Boro Park

Belzer Rebbe Shlit'a Speaks Out Against Increasing Chareidi Violence (Tuesday, December 27th, 2011)

Speaking at Chanukah candle lighting, the Belzer Rebbe Shlit"a released a statement against the escalating violence from within the chareidi tzibur. The rebbe stated, “If there are those among us who believe they will spread the light of Yiddishkheit through violence, they are mistaken”.

Taking part in the hadlokas neiros was Minister of Education Gideon Saar, who added that Avraham Avinu also worked to bring people closer to Hashem, but did so through gently trying to attract others, not seeking to achieve his goal with violence, which the minister added “hasn’t a chance of succeeding”.


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16. I hope we're really 99%     12/27/11 - 1:00 PM
Boruch Clinton - Ottawa, Canada

In light of recent events involving the contemptible activities of a small minority of Ultra-"Orthodox" Jews in Israel, I feel obliged to note that there is no conceivable way to justify their obnoxious, inconsiderate and often violent behavior. As a rabble, they attempt to force their views on their secular or less-religious neighbors. Their behavior is contemptible, inexcusable and a corruption of Torah values.


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17. Thank you, Rabbi Horowitz     12/27/11 - 1:02 PM
Soroh Neuberger - Lakewood, NJ

I fully support your objection and condemnation of the violence of people identifying themselves as Chareidim. Thank you for your efforts to publicize the accurate position of our people.


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18. Thanks for rallying us!     12/27/11 - 1:06 PM
Leiby Burnham - Oak Park, MI

Usually, we hear about the violence with shame and a sense of helplessness that such a Chilul Ha-shem is being perpetrated by people who others see as representing Torah Judaism. Thank you for reminding us that we can play a role in stopping that perception, that we can make a Kiddush Ha-shem when others do the opposite.


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19. This is What We Need to Hear from Jewish Leaders     12/27/11 - 1:06 PM
Dovid Sears - BROOKLYN - meoreiohr@gmail.com

Thank you, Rabbi Horowitz, for having the moral sensitivity and courage to speak out about this latest travesty of Judaism -- as you have spoken out about its recent predecessors.

When those of us who are part of the "Chareidi" world hear about these disgraceful actions -- and the twisted mentality that produces them -- we are ashamed to be associated with these people in any way, shape, or form. But when we see and hear the Rabbi Yakov Horowitzes in our midst, we realize that there's still hope for our society.

Thanks!


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20. Thank you     12/27/11 - 1:07 PM
Bella Tsibushkin - Brooklyn

Thank you very much for standing up for true Torah values. I just emailed my letters to the editor.


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21. I hope you are right     12/27/11 - 1:09 PM
Avi - Beit Shemesh

I am a resident of Ramat Beit Shemesh. I have a relative with a daughter in Orot, where the kids have been subject to the abusive behavior. I have been saying to people from all walks of life that it's just a few meshugenas that behave like this - and the topic comes up all over a LOT lately. The question that I then always get asked is, "So why don't the other Haredim do something about it?"

I answer, "They are scared."

The problem is that I am not convinced by my own answer. A lot more people made (approving) noises when they were putting up signs around the neighborhood than we hear now.

I believe that it's a question of comfort - how much does it affect me personally? And I don't believe that this Chillul Hashem really bothers people enough to actually do something about it.

And I hope that this is the reason, because the alternative - which is worse - is that they don't see it as a Chillul Hashem. A friend of mine said to me, "I think the Haredim are hoping that the non-Haredim all eventually leave." I hope he is wrong, but I am not so sure.


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22. lt's About Time     12/27/11 - 1:14 PM
Leon Zacharowicz MD MA - Far Rockaway, NY - drzach007@aol.com

It's about time that a rabbi in our community brought this situation -- which would be laughable if it was wasn't so traumatic to the victims, and damaging to the perception of traditional Jews by the outside world--to our attention for action.

It's about time that we each respond loud and clear that we will not tolerate the intolerant lunatic fringe.

It's about time that we each take a few minutes' time to send off a letter to these media sources, which influence millions of people, from the lady who works at the cleaners in our neighborhood, to Hillary Clinton.

We dare not remain silent.


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23.     12/27/11 - 1:17 PM
Paula Rand - Toronto - prand@aish.com

Thanks for this.


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24. Yasher Koach     12/27/11 - 1:24 PM
Boruch Leff - Baltimore, MD

Once again, Rabbi Horowitz is on the money.

Thanks for the chance of a group protest here.


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25.     12/27/11 - 1:25 PM
Anonymous

Rivky Greenberger Chicago, IL


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26. Yasher Koach!     12/27/11 - 1:29 PM
Shmuel Shanowitz - Buffalo, NY - sshanowitz@gmail.com

It is indeed very important that an objection and rejection of this behavior comes pouring out from the Frum Olom.

Yasher Koach on the initiative!

Rabbi Shmuel Shanowitz Buffalo, NY


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27.     12/27/11 - 1:35 PM
Harry Maryles - Chicago

Happy to join the effort.


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28. By condoning "the violence" you are implying that the news representation is true.     12/27/11 - 1:44 PM
Binyomin Baron - Kiryat Sefer - biron.1@gmail.com

I think IMHO that as crucial as it is to express opposition to any acts of violence, it is also important not to accept the media's blown up and distorted portrayal of events. It is self-understood that if there was a bit of uncalled-for violence, it is despicable but the media will grossly exaggerate the events.

I think we should use a bit different language in our letters. Instead of "distressed by the harassment and violence in Beit Shemesh" we can say "the alleged..." or "which has been grossly misreported and distorted..."

What do you say?

All the best! Tizku l'Mitzvos! A freilichin Chanuka!


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29.     12/27/11 - 1:52 PM
David Wayntraub - Oak Park, MI - djw0601@sbcglobal.net

I am distressed and saddened by the picture of Torah-observant Yidden that is being presented to the world by a radical, violent fringe of "chareidim" in Beit Shemesh. The public needs to know that these hoodlums are acting without the guidance of any recognized rabbinic authorities and do not represent the vast majority of God-fearing, law-abiding citizens of Klal Yisroel.


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30. Enough!     12/27/11 - 1:53 PM
Yaakov Rosenblatt - Dallas, Texas - yrosenblatt@gmail.com

Thank you Rabbi Horowitz for your important words. Enough of Charedim being defined by those who wrap themselves in the shawl of rightousness to validate their most base predisposition to violence. As Rav Shlomo Wolbe zt"l told us in The Mir years ago, it is not holy, not sacred, just a black cloaked yadayim ye'dai esav!


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31. We need to start somewhere     12/27/11 - 2:03 PM
Inna Goukhman - Brooklyn, NY - goukhman@hotmail.com

Great start for a grassroots movement against violence in all frum communities.


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32. I applaud your efforts Rabbi Horowitz     12/27/11 - 2:08 PM
Gershon Seif - Chicago

Glad to see this. I am not only opposed to the violence, as the Belzer Rebbe now came out and said, but against a policy of imposing chumros on a whole society. I wonder if we can talk about THAT in public, or is that something that our community won't acknowledge as a problem? This violence didn't start with violence, it started with the notion that "if my chevra does it this way and I live here, then you have to accommodate me." Can we talk about THAT a bit?


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33. I am a frum woman from Bet Shemesh     12/27/11 - 2:12 PM
Anonymous - Bet Shemesh

Thank you Rabbi Horowitz for making an important statement. Unfortunately, the Rabbanim have been silent and causing terrible animosity. It is more than just a small group of charedim, and unfortunately a big chilul Hashem!!! My daughter passed by the neighborhood with a bunch of girls when she was in 10th grade, dressed tzniuzdik and suddenly they were all attacked by a group of these hoodlums who threw eggs and tomatoes and screamed that they were shiksas and prutzas. She had no idea what that meant, but luckily there were border patrol police who saved her. She was so distraught and hysterically crying. After that incident she no longer was interested in dressing tzinusdik. It has been very difficult and lots of sinas chinam!!! Unfortunately this is turning into a big chilul Hashem and instead of bringing Am Yisrael together, they are tearing them apart. Sorry for the long email, just had to share.


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34.     12/27/11 - 2:13 PM
Anonymous

Cyna Reisman Sharon, MA

Thank you Rabbi Horowitz for having the courage to speak for the 99%


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35. Outraged & Disgusted     12/27/11 - 2:20 PM
Baruch Klahr - Pomona, NY

Thank you for putting our thoughts to paper; we CANNOT stand by and allow the world to think this is how Torah-Law-Abiding-Jews act and/or agree principally. These 'Zealots' who call themselves Orthodox Jews, are 'terrorists' in their own right and SHOULD be shut down as such. They do NOT represent us Orthodox Jews. Let it be known to the world!!

BK


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36. horrified     12/27/11 - 2:39 PM
Ahuva - Southfield

Kudos, Rabbi Horowitz, for being the voice of sanity, reason, and solid Torah hashkafa in a world gone mad. I have felt so horrified and helpless about the situation, and as you say, the horrible resultant chilul HaShem (and the resultant delay in the arrival of moshiach and/or the unpleasant road G-d forbid we may have to take to get him here, HaShem should spare us!). In addition, in the eyes of the world, it lumps us in the category with those who blatantly seek our destruction, the extremist Muslims! The world does not see a difference - to the world, all "extreme" (i.e. religious/orthodox) observance of any religion be it Islam or Jewish, breed hatred, intolerance, violence, destructiveness. And because we wear the same "uniform," in the eyes of the world, we are all now suspect. It's so tragic, how our destruction always comes from within...truly, these fanatical fringe elements could not have devised or better way to undermine our cause...!!! Horrifying. THANK YOU for providing me SOMETHING TO DO (other than pray - which sadly at times feels futile) to make the voices heard of those of us who attempt to follow the gedolei hador, proper Torah hashkafah, and the Etz Chayim whose ways are ways of pleasantness and all of whose paths (but only when FOLLOWED!!) are PEACE! Hatzlacha raba, tizku l'mitzvot!


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37. Thank you for your leadership     12/27/11 - 2:46 PM
Eli Homnick - Jerusalem


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38. Than you Rabbi Horowitz and all of your readers who took the time to respond     12/27/11 - 2:53 PM
Chaya Siegal - Chicago,IL


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39.     12/27/11 - 2:56 PM
Anonymous - Brooklyn, New York

Thank you for helping to bring world attention to the TRUTH that seems to continually elude the American public.


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40. For Our Children Also     12/27/11 - 2:57 PM
Baruch Gitlin - Ramat Beit Shemsh - baruchg16@yahoo.com

Right on target, Rabbi Horowitz. I'd like to add that not only do we need to show the world that we, as religious Jews, are against violence and intimidation - we need to show our children as well. For our own chinuch, and our children's chinuch, we should all be making it as clear as can be that these actions are absolutely wrong.


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41. Yasher Koach!     12/27/11 - 3:07 PM
Akiva Males - Harrisburg, PA

Rabbi Horowitz, thank you so much for organizing this effort.

Rabbi Akiva Males Kesher Israel Congregation Harrisburg, PA


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42.     12/27/11 - 3:13 PM
Anonymous

Yitz Greenberg, Philadelphia


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43. Thank you     12/27/11 - 3:15 PM
Shlomo Ginsberg - Monsey, NY

Rabbi Horowitz, as usual, I am greatly encouraged by your letter. As you know, I have supported you when you have had the courage to speak out on other issues of importance. This situation is intolerable and puts all of religious Jewry in a bad light (not only the hard-to-define "Chareidi" Jews).

It is essential that the word go out that this type of thuggish, criminal behavior is unacceptable and forbidden under Torah law. We must not give aid and comfort to those who harass and assault others (falsely) under the banner of Torah.


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44. Thank you!     12/27/11 - 3:22 PM
H. Bryks - Ramat Beit Shemesh


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45. I agree     12/27/11 - 3:26 PM
Gil Student - Brooklyn, NY

I am not Charedi but I support Rabbi Horowitz's effort.

Rabbi Gil Student Brooklyn, NY


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46. A voice of reason     12/27/11 - 3:30 PM
Rachel Abrahams - Brooklyn, NY

Thank you! How do we get other leaders to do the same?


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47. Thank you for this clear message from an Ohaiv Yisrael     12/27/11 - 3:32 PM
Yaakov Gottheil - South Fallsburg, NY USA

Thank you Rabbi for creating the nucleus for the 99% of Yorai Shomayim to rally around. Please continue this Avodas Hakodesh. You exemplify "Bmakom Sh'ain Ish Hishtadail Li'hiyos Ish."


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48.     12/27/11 - 3:52 PM
Nikki Kaplan - Jerusalem

I agree with all you have written in this article!


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49. We are judged by our "friends"     12/27/11 - 3:54 PM
Ricki - Cleveland, OH

Thank you Rabbi Horowitz for giving us direction and chizuk at this crucial time. May the voice of reason and true Torah values be heard.


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50. Thank you     12/27/11 - 3:55 PM
Etana Hecht - Bet Shemesh - etanadee@gmail.com

Rabbi Horowitz, thank you so much for your words. I assure you, they mean the world to those of us living through this every day, and we've been waiting for this for months.

Kol Hakavod, thank you for being the voice of reason in a world full of confusion.


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51. Yasher Kochachem     12/27/11 - 4:06 PM
Chesky Salomon - Brooklyn - joelcsalomon@gmail.com

Thank you, Rabbi Horowitz, for providing the "push" for our communities to respond to the hoodlums hijacking our Torah.


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52. never...     12/27/11 - 4:06 PM
"rickismom" Mrs. R. P. - Bnai Brak

Sorry not to give my full name...

I have yet to hear of someone becoming more tznius due to being yelled at...

Also, with all the backlash we will be getting, we stand to lose a LOT


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53. right on target     12/27/11 - 4:17 PM
Tzippy - Flatbush

I would like to join the 99% of Klal Yisroel who know that spreading the light of Torah can only be accomplished through Ahavas Yisroel and by being mekadesh shem shamayim through our own actions and good examples. I cannot state strongly enough that violence is the antithesis of the Torah way of life!!!!


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54. This behavior is driving away religious kids     12/27/11 - 4:18 PM
Sara - Beit Shemesh

It is very important to speak out again the Chilul Hashem that has been going on in Beit Shemesh. Please note that it is nothing new and has been going on for several years. While I agree that the media has it's agenda there is nothing "alleged" about the violence as mentioned in one of the comments.

Above and beyond how this makes us look to the non-Jewish world and to secular Jews is the impact this has on religious children that live in the neighborhood. As already mentioned, children or teenagers who are accosted or simply hear about others who are accosted are being driven away from Yideshkeit and who can blame them? Many children and teenagers do not have the ability to distinguish between extremist religious adherence to halacha and moderate religious adherence to the same, so they throw away the baby with the bathwater so to speak. We need to fight the fundamentalists to protect our children.


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55. Beit Shemesh attacks     12/27/11 - 4:31 PM
David Meltzer - Baltimore

As a Torah Yid and as a decent human being I find the stories out of Beit Shemesh to be horrifying and hope they are not true.


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56.     12/27/11 - 4:32 PM
Rochel Robbins - Baltimore

Thank you for giving us a call to action! I am horrified by the media reports and you tube posts... But for the grace of G-d go I... These so called zealots would be hurling insults at me and at my family for our chosen path in Yiddishkeit if we happened to live in the vicinity. Each person has a right to choose his individual path but never to impose his choices on others! I will be happy to add my name to the list and send a message in the hopes that we can stand up and say we tried to correct a terrible Chillul Hashem . Rochel Robbins Baltimore , MD


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57. Kol Hakavod, R. Horowitz     12/27/11 - 4:38 PM
David Staum - New Haven, CT


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58.     12/27/11 - 4:47 PM
Anonymous - Queens, NY

The violence going on in Beit Shemesh is antithetical to our values as observant Jews. We are taught to "love your neighbor as you love yourself."


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59. Reprehensible     12/27/11 - 4:47 PM
Miriam Greenwald - Monsey, NY

I am appalled that a few totally misguided nutjobs can be seen as mainstream orthodox Jews!

These people cannot even be construed as religious, as their twisted thinking and reprehensible actions go against the Torah's ways of peace and pleasantness.

I fear that the media is also playing a part by characterizing their actions as 'typical' of orthodox Jewry. Responsible reporting must also cover the repugnance that most religious Jews feel towards this radical fringe.


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60. Agree 100%     12/27/11 - 4:47 PM
Anonymous

Thanks for speaking out!

Sholom Rothman - Far Rockaway, New York


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61. Couragous     12/27/11 - 5:19 PM
Moshe - New York

Rabbi Horowitz may be the only or at least one of our most couragous gedolim, leaders and mechanchim today. He clearly articulates what is on my mind and what I hope is on the minds of torah true jews elsewhere. I wish we had more gedolim, leaders and mechanchim like him. We must speak out against the violence and harrassment forcefully or else we may be guilty as well. "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"


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62. nothing but a chillul Hashem     12/27/11 - 5:53 PM
Jarlath St. - Chicago

..and shame on the leadership of the silent majority of chareidim in Bet Shemesh who refuse to get involved.

Shtika Khodaah - The Rabbinic silence from the other side of Bet Shemesh is giving tacit approval for these thugs - it gives them a hechsher. I maintain that some "moderates" are in on this and allow these lowlifes to do the dirty work.

...and shame on the Degel clowns in the Knesset and elsewhere spinning this whole episode once again into "everyone hates Chareidim." Which has now become an excuse for chareidi leadership to do absolutely nothing about any problem.


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63. Also needed a statement from rabbonim     12/27/11 - 5:58 PM
Yoef Blau - New York, New York - yosblau@gmail.com

I agree with your important initiative. It would have even greater impact if a similar statement came from the rabbinic leadersip


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64.     12/27/11 - 6:03 PM
Chaim Yitzchak Gold - NY,NY

Dear Rav Horowitz shlita, I have been reading and hearing about these horrible acts for quite a while. This morning I read about a little eight year old girl (who let it be known dresses, and has been brought up by her mother,in the most tzniusdic manner)named Nechama, who has been attacked with stones and obscene vulgarities causing her great anguish, pain and tears. I have spoken to family and friends about the pain and hurt that these children are experiencing and bemoaned the fact that their Rabbanim have not condemned in the strongest possible ways this great pain caused to the Ribbono Shel Olam as well as His creations Betzelem. I was at a loss as to what to do. I just came home and found your reaction expressing (as usual) in the most noble way, what I was begging to see. May you be blessed with the brachos that are bestowed on those holy neshamos who are pained and cry for our chidren. May your cries join together with those of Rachel Imainu and help in promoting Kiddush Hashem, Ahavas Chinom and a geulah shleimah bimheirah. Chaim Yitzchak Gold A melamed in NYC. P.S. I have been encouraged by your request to write to those papers that you recommended


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65. I totaly agree with your artical     12/27/11 - 6:30 PM
Gila aronson - Telz stone/ israel

And i too think its a shame for the world of judaism and tora that these ppl are considered ( only because of thier cloths) frum jews.

Its a lie the clothes mean nothing Its a game and a total ????? ?? and a real bad one.

We need to pray hard that ?????? ??? ?????? will Work in this case of violence in the name of god.

Thank you!


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66. Yasher Koach, but...     12/27/11 - 6:30 PM
Shaul Bar Ami - Israel/NY

R. Horowitz,

I am pleased that you have decided to take action to counteract the actions of the chareidi zealots in Beit Shemesh. As you mentioned, the violence perpetrated by these extremists has now reached the level of international news, likely prompted by the belated involvement of those in the uuper echelons of Israeli politics. But at the same time, your response and those of others in the chareidi community is likewise motivated by the bad press the Beit Shemesh events have engendered. The reality is that for years there has been a violent segment of the chareidi population which has been quietly encouraged by the greater chareidi community. My take on this is that the major difference between the thugs in Beit Shemesh and mainstream chareidim, especially the chafreidi mainstream in Israel, is for the most part tactical rather than hashkafic. Now that the extremists have engendered a 'chillul Hashem' (aka bad press for the chareidi community at large), some of the otherwise quiet enablers are starting to speak out against the thugs. Please understand, I really admire you for this effort and for other noble efforts you have been involved with.


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67. Where is the Rabbinical leadership?     12/27/11 - 6:30 PM
Sara Seligson - New York

It is very heartening to see these comments posted by TRUE Torah observing Jews. However, ALL the Torah Leaders must speak up to condemn and ostracize those who act in a hateful way against other Jews.

We see letters so often in the "chareidi" media on so many (trivial) issues with signatures from tens of Rabbis. Where are the letters telling all Torah observant Jews to treat ALL fellow Jews with dignity and compassion, no matter their level of Torah observance? Why is Rabbi Horowitz leading this charge alone? Have we learned nothing from all the years in exile?

May the lights from the last night of Chanukah enlighten the hearts and minds of the Torah Leadership to stand up and speak out for true Torah Judaism.


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68. Outrageous     12/27/11 - 6:43 PM
Sharon Olney - Melbourne, Australia - sharonlynnolney@gmail.com

I have emailed a message condemning the violence in Beit Shamesh to the NY Times, Jerusalem Post and Haaretz.com as a Torah Jew. Thank you for your tremendous efforts.


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69. Statement from Rabbonim     12/27/11 - 7:07 PM
Sidney Strauss - New York, NY

I agree with Ms. Sara Seligson. We need a statement in the USA from the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudath Israel of America and certainly from corresponding organizations in Eretz Yisrael.


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70.     12/27/11 - 7:10 PM
Sharon Jason - Boca Raton, FL - sharonijason@yahoo.com

How far we have fallen since the miracles of Chanuka! We need Mashiach NOW! Thank you for always being proactive leading, teaching and guiding us through your wisdom and organization.


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71. Thank you for being a voice of reason and sanity, as always.     12/27/11 - 7:47 PM
Davii Mandel - Spring Valley,NY


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72. Right on target     12/27/11 - 8:05 PM
Ilana Blass - Monsey, NY


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73. Nebach     12/27/11 - 8:14 PM
Menachem - Passaic


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74. Thank you     12/27/11 - 8:51 PM
Rivka Lacullo - Atlanta, GA

BE"H this will help turn a Cillul Hashem into a kiddush Hashem.


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75. A Shame     12/27/11 - 8:54 PM
Rena Z. - Passaic, NJ

It's a shame that the inexcusable actions of such a small percentage of radicals are being publicized. This is not a representation of the behavior of Orthodox Jews!


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76. Exactly the right sentiment     12/27/11 - 9:03 PM
Simon Cadrnael - Brooklyn, NY

Well done. This is exactly what needs to be said loud and clear. Everyone reading this should email the press with your comment.


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77.     12/27/11 - 10:09 PM
Anonymous

Shaina Margolese - Baltimore, MD


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78. letter written     12/27/11 - 10:12 PM
CK - Spring Valley - zeecyk@gmail.com

Thank you for giving the push and a basic text with which to work. I have sent a letter to all three email addresses.

ck, spring valley, ny


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79. My Letter     12/27/11 - 10:46 PM
MR - Pittsburgh

I am joining the many who are just a small representation of the view of the Orthodox Jewish Community who are outraged at the violence and unacceptable behavior of a few misguided people acting on their own, without regard to the guidance of Torah leaders. I strongly protest their actions which is the antithesis of the holy Torah and its pleasant ways.

M. R. Pennsylvania


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80. Thanks Rabbi H!     12/28/11 - 12:00 AM
Shani - Bklyn, NY

And yet another reminder (not why I needed one!) of why I follow Rabbi Horowitz..

24 hours ago I sat at my computer, silenced by the horror of what was going on. B"H I sent out emails and am silent no longer.


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81. @Rabbi Horowitz     12/28/11 - 1:09 AM
Jacob - Brooklyn

In your opinion, does the exclusion of ANY photo of a woman in charedi newspapers (Yated, Homodia, FJJ, etc) objectify women? Or is it a simply a milder way of doing exactly what we see in Beit Shemesh? Your thoughts are appreciated.


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82. Thank you for combatting this chilul HaShem!     12/28/11 - 1:57 AM
Shoshana T - Southfield, MI

Here's what I wrote to the papers--thank you, Rb Horowitz, for spearheading this effort:

As a Torah Observant Jew, I am deeply distressed by the stories covered by your paper of the "religious" (NOT!) harassment and violence in Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh, Israel – all of which is diametrically opposed to the teachings of our Holy Torah, "whose ways are ways of pleasantness." Bet Shemesh is really a lovely, friendly community -- in fact, we are buying an apartment in Ramat Bet Shemesh because we like it so much there. These hateful, crazy men are rabble rousers who are a tiny, fringe minority of the peaceful populace that resides in the area. The same applies to the headline-grabbing"Ultra Orthodox" violent maniacs in Jerusalem. Lest the silence of the Orthodox Jewish world be misconstrued as passive acceptance of this behavior, I write to let you know that the vast, overwhelming majority of Torah Jews worldwide condemns the actions of these lunatics in the strongest terms. They do NOT represent Torah Jewry, nor are their actions in accordance with Torah Law, which enjoins us to treat all of humanity with respect. Shoshana T. Southfield, MI


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83. WELL SAID!     12/28/11 - 2:42 AM
Cindy Scarr - Jerusalem

Thank you, Rabbi Horowitz, for writing what was begging to be said. May we soon see a restoration of kavod Shamayim, kiddush Hashem, and achdus among Klal Yisrael.


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84. "Rabbim b'Yad m'Atim"     12/28/11 - 2:52 AM
Jerry Tauber - Netanya, Eretz Yisrael

Firstly I must commend R' Yaakov again for being a leader in fighting for k'dushas Shem Shamayim.

It is heartbreaking to see the chillul hashem that is occuring in artzeinu ha'kedosha. Unfortunately this is something that has been going on for some time in Beit Shemesh, and only 'exploded' with the opening of Orot L'Banot, the primary school for girls. It is hard for me to believe that the 'hooligans' are doing it l'shem shamayim. Standing in the street, waiting for little girls and their mothers to walk by, is obviously more important than Limud Torah or the mitzvah of supporting ones family. It seems that it is more of a struggle for power and real estate.

My grandson of seven, goes to Orot LaBanim. Already last year he exhibited a dislike for "Charedim". R' Horowitz' point on intolerance is well taken. I pray that, BE"H, this campaign in successful and ameliorates the Chillul Shem Shamayim.


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85. Thank you     12/28/11 - 5:50 AM
SaraK - Jerusalem, Israel

No one is condoning this violence. It is sad that the leadership of these extremists can't hold these people back from their terrible actions. This is an example if sin'at chinam in its worst form.


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86. Thank you     12/28/11 - 6:32 AM
Ruchi Koval - Cleveland, OH

I very rarely join petitions, etc, but I have sent emails to the addresses. Thank you, Rabbi Horowitz, for stepping up to the plate. The behaviors of these people is reprehensible.


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87. Let's fill the world with light not hate     12/28/11 - 7:19 AM
Michael Fuerst - Manchester UK - michael@prtcorp.com

Let's make a big Rakida all around Beit Shemesh !


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88.     12/28/11 - 8:21 AM
Rebecca Steinmetz - Flushing - dpbr7@aol.com

Dear Editor, As a person who tries my best to be a Torah Jew, I am appalled by the violence in Beit Shemesh. This behavior is far removed from the values of the Torah; and the people perpetrating it represent fanatics who DO NOT REPRESENT the views of the majority of religous jews. It is the exact opposite of what is in the Torah. We are all obligated to respect one another; taunting and violence is intolerable. R. Steinmetz NY, NY


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89. No to violence     12/28/11 - 8:34 AM
Chaya - Care

I agree with Rabbi Horowitz and cpndemn the escalating violence in Beit Shemesh. That is not the Torah way!


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90. What is really happening     12/28/11 - 9:02 AM
Betzalel - Baltimore

It is difficult for me to believe that the thugs who are harassing little girls in Beit Shemesh are doing this spontaneously. There is a reason for their madness.

Consider that the Haredi population is growing rapidly in Israel, so the prices of houses in Haredi areas is going up. The Haredim need to move out of Jerusalem and Bnei Brak; now they are trying to move into places like Beit Shemesh. It seems to me that their strategy is to drive the prices of houses there down by making things unbearable for the non-Haredi Jews who live there. This has to be all orchestrated; someone is paying these thugs to do their dirty work.

As an observant Jew, I condemn the behavior of the thugs and all of their supporters. They are an embarrassment.


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91. The whole world is watching     12/28/11 - 9:41 AM
Brook - Bronx/NY

Thank you, Rabbi Horowitz, for doing the right thing.


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92. Thank you     12/28/11 - 9:55 AM
Adina - Cleveland

Thank you Rabbi Horowitz for stepping up to the plate. It is so important that this message is heard. Frum Jews suffer so much from these acts.


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93. A child who sees violence will exercise violence as an adult     12/28/11 - 10:08 AM
Lea Pomansky - Brooklyn

It seems as if enforcing one's community standard is more important than halocha (especially it's bein adam lechaveiro part). It does not matter to the "kannoim" whether this girl keeps hilchos tznius - all they see is that she is different from them and this is a reason enough to hate.


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94. disdain for the violence in Beit Shemesh     12/28/11 - 10:09 AM
Yaakov Meyer - Denver, CO

Jews world wide must unite to protest this colossal Chillul Hashem. Thank you for spearheading this effort


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95. Growing Fringe     12/28/11 - 10:26 AM
Chana - Arad

I am sorry to say this is no longer just "an extremist fringe" -- but rather, a GROWING extremist fringe. We have seen similar violence here in Arad perpetrated by similar hooligans who decided their group would determine the norms for the populace and enforce it with brutality. And I am even sorrier to contradict your claim that "these are a small bunch of radicals who do not have the support of any rabbinic leaders."

Here in Arad, they most certainly do -- in fact, these particular violent extremist goons were actually ordered by their rabbi to perpetrate their crimes last year and the year prior. It took a two year court battle, more than a dozen arrests, the loss of half a dozen families in our community, an old man's severed finger, numerous concussions to children and adults (including my own) and countless traumas inflicted on young children and their parents before their violence was finally checked -- at least for now. But in that time, they managed to seize political control of the town instead, and now we are forced to live in fear of what they will do when they manage to take over the rest of the community... so it's not as simple as you think, and yes, they are indeed backed by "rabbinical leaders." Yes, they ARE. That is precisely the problem.

I was amazed and deeply grateful today to see the statement from the Belzer Rebbe, and hope fervently to see similar PUBLIC statements soon from the Rebbe of Vizhnitz, Skverrer, Bobov, Skolya, Skulen, Pupa, Novominsk, and all the other Chassidische courts that know and understand the difference between true Chassidus and the nightmare being perpetrated those who are masquerading as frumme Yidden -- and misleading the entire world into their Chilul Hashem.


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96. Well said.     12/28/11 - 10:31 AM
Yoni Schlussel - Milwaukee, WI

Its so sad, with all the antisemitism all around the world, that there is fighting within our brothers in such a spiteful way. Thank you for providing a platform for us to take a stance against this Chilul Hashem


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97. "Kol Hakavod"     12/28/11 - 11:18 AM
Charles Rabinovitch - New York, NY

"Kol Hakavod" to this effort to fully condemn the hooliganism in Beit Shemesh, and elsewhere!


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98. Your comments are critical     12/28/11 - 11:22 AM
Rabbi Kalman Fogel - Woodmere/NY - rabbifogel@hanc.org

As the Menahel of an elementary school, I especially mourn the future of the youth who are being turned off from Yiddishkeit by these mechalilei Shem Hashem b'farhesyah.


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99. We must stop Chilul Hashem     12/28/11 - 11:26 AM
Nachman - Jerusalem - Rebbnachman@gmail.com

At the very least let's write letters.

But we must come up with even better plans to sanctify Hashem's name.


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100. Yasher Koach, Rabbi Horowitz     12/28/11 - 11:37 AM
Michael Feldstein - Stamford, CT

I'm happy to sign on in support of Rabbi Horowitz, and hope that his courage and wisdom will convince other rabbinic leaders to follow in his path.


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101. Thank you for speaking out. I fully agree.     12/28/11 - 11:40 AM
Chaya Houpt - Jerusalem - chaya.houpt@gmail.com


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102. Yosef and the Brothers     12/28/11 - 12:12 PM
Benny Powers - Jerusalem - benny.powers@gmail.com

Hear, hear!

The message is particularly poignant this week, as we learn form the story of Yosef and his brothers how to deal with internal issues under the gaze of the nations.

Before revealing himself to his brothers, Yosef sent away all of the Egyptians from the hall. When he made himself known, the only people in the room were him and the brothers. Yosef knew that family business must be kept in the family, so he didn't expose it to the outside world.

What these ruffians have done has, by its outrageous extremity, brought the nations of the world into the inner core of our people's family strife.


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103. NPR     12/28/11 - 12:28 PM
Kressel - Monsey, NY - kh@beingjewish.com

I put up a link to this article on the NPR website also. I hope someone looks at it just to see all the Ultra Orthodox Jews here who DON'T support the protest.


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104.     12/28/11 - 12:54 PM
Tzvi - Sharon, MA

I am no longer charedi because of incidents like these which happen far too often and often with the tacit encouragement of the rest of the community and its leaders.

Having said that, I truly appreciate what Rabbi Horowitz is doing. It is a true kiddush hashem.


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105. Grammar     12/28/11 - 1:21 PM
Apikorus al Ha'esh

"Majority" takes a singular verb. It should be "...as does" not "...as do." Thanks!


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106. Commenting from the "outside"     12/28/11 - 1:44 PM
Shaul - Jerusalem

As a Reform Jew (gasp!) living and raising my children in Jerusalem. I wanted to say that I was very moved and impressed by Rabbi Horowitz's comments. I was also pleased that the vast majority of comments by Chareidim support the points he raises.

I'd like to add that while my own lifestyle and views are far from those of Chareidi Judaism, I am very careful to teach my children not to generalize and not to feel hatred or scorn for Chareidi Jews, just as I would not want them to do with regard to Arabs or any other section of the population. Criticizing the current signs of extremism and violence from a vociferous minority in the Chareidi community in no ways implies rejection of the right of that community to live by its values and beliefs, under the umbrella of the law of the land.


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107.     12/28/11 - 2:05 PM
Anonymous

Just as the majority of Orthodox Rabbinic Leaders failed to adequately address and deal with the Haskala movement in it's time leading to a massive defection from Torah. So to in our time,the majority of the Orthodox rabbinic establishment is failing to meet the challange of modernity in our day and age and the end result is predictable based on past performance.

In the days of Haskala the preferred approach was to issue bans and hide from the challange. We are now seeing a repeat of that in regards to "technology" and we are seeing what results when communities try to hide from modernity instead of dealing with it.

History has demonstrated to us previously and is proving once again that you can run but you can not hide.


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108. Agreed     12/28/11 - 2:32 PM
Mikhail-Zalman - Jerusalem

These are thugs and low-lives that need to be jailed like any other ordinary criminals. Wearing a black hat and a suit does not make one holy. Learning and abiding by Torah law does. Thank you Rabbi. Everyone should do their part to speak out against behavior like this and help the world understand that it goes against the letter of and spirit of Torah.


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109. Agreed     12/28/11 - 3:08 PM
Gila Manolson - Jerusalem

These people have nothing to do with the Torah I live by.


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110. Haskomah     12/28/11 - 4:17 PM
hillel

Rabbi, Don't you think you should have a Haskomah before you start a campaign? If you do great. But if you don't you may be further enlarging the Chillul Hashem.


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111. Finally!     12/28/11 - 5:10 PM
Avi Stewart - Palo Alto, Ca

Thanks for speaking out about this critical issue.

Rabbi Avi Stewart Palo Alto, California


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112. Thank you for creating this most needed grass roots initiative.     12/28/11 - 5:20 PM
Aliza Bulow - Denver, Colorado - alizabulow@gmail.com

In a time when we are challenged with so little actual leadership, it is a true bracha to have Rabbi Horowitz not simply responding, but leading, and helping move our community forward in positive ways. Thank you for your efforts and may you have continued and increased wisdom and strength.


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113.     12/28/11 - 6:13 PM
Abby (Avigayil) Dan - Rochester, New York

Thank you Rabbi Horowitz! I am in total agreement.


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114. Stand against Sinat Chinum     12/28/11 - 6:37 PM
Aliza - Karmiel

I stand with you and the 99% of Klal Yisrael that condemns this Sinat Chinum and grotesque distortion view of Judaism that is pushing the coming of Mashiach farther and farther away. Let us stand arm in arm against those that would try to tear us apart with violence and hatred. Such a Busha. Such a Chilul Hashem. Let's use them to bring us closer together.


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115. CHABAD needs to make a statement     12/28/11 - 8:16 PM
Brocha - Manhattan NY

To make us non-fanatic observant Jews more visible - CHABAD has to speak out and make public statements regarding our non-violent stand - since Chabad is very visible ALL OVER THE WORLD and has close ties to the press.


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116. My Letter -     12/28/11 - 8:34 PM
Moshe Murray - Minnesota - Moishe3rd@yahoo.com

Moshe Murray - Minnesota, USA

I am a Jew living in Minnesota, USA. I wear peyes (earlocks); a black hat; and walk around with my tzitzits visible (the white "fringes" on the corners of my garment). I pray three times a day; study Torah on a daily basis; and try and keep the Laws of Judaism that were given to us by G-d on Mt. Sinai. I have one son who studies in Yerushalayim at the Mirrer Yeshiva, the largest yeshiva in the world. I have a daughter and a son-in-law who studies Torah in Lakewood, New Jersey, the largest yeshiva in the United States. I have another son and daughter-in-law who teach Torah to children in an Orthodox Day School in the United States. We are visibly as "Ultra-Orthodox" as any "chareidi" Jew in Beit Shemesh, Israel.

The Torah tells us that Avraham Avinu; Abraham, Our Father, was the First Jew. In the Talmud (Yevamos 79a), we are told that Avraham Avinu's Jewish descendants are known by three main signs. They are - merciful; have shame; and perform acts of kindness. We are informed by our Rabbis that one should question whether or not a person is really Jewish if a person does not display these sterling character traits of Avraham Avinu and is instead overly judgmental; cruel; and has no shame;

As a Torah observant Jew, I,. and my family are saddened and shamed by the harassment and violence in Beit Shemesh, Israel by these so called "Chareidi Jews." All Torah observant Jews are required to condemn any individual who displays traits that are the direct negative of being kind; of being merciful; and of having shame. The behavior of those Jews in Beit Shemesh who act cruelly with violence and intimidation is the exact opposite of the teachings of our Torah. I, and my family, condemn this behavior by these so called Jews who "look like us." They are not "Chareidi." They are not "Ultra Orthodox." They are not Torah observant Jews.


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117. Thank you!     12/28/11 - 10:22 PM
Binyomin Lowenthal - Baltimore, MD

As always, your commentary is on the mark. Thank you for expressing what has been on our minds when reading these terrible articles in the news.


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118. Could not agree more     12/28/11 - 10:48 PM
Elana - Phoenix AZ


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119. Thank you, Rabbi Horowitz     12/29/11 - 2:04 AM
Toby - Queens, NY

I hope many Orthodox rabbis follow your lead and condemn this group of hooligans who claim to be Torah-true Jews and are merely fanatics responsible for the perpetuation of sinat chinam.


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120. Thank you for organizing a response     12/29/11 - 2:38 AM
denise karasick - ny

As usual, Rabbi Horowitz adresses head on the issues that everyone else tries to ignore. Thank you for offering an action that is so easy to do and hopefully will make a difference. Denise


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121. Please do not refer to the demonstrators as "ultra-Orthodox"     12/29/11 - 2:41 AM
mzk1 - Haifa, Isrrael - mzk1@hotmail.com

First of all, there was in fact an anti-violence campaign a while back even among the most extreme elements, with some success. I also do not understand why the actions of some people who do not vote is related to religious knesset members.

People translate the prejorative term "ultra-Orthodox" as "Chareidi". Thus, if you write that they are "ultra-Orthodox", you are supporting the current anti-semitic narrative begin pushed by the entire Israeli media, Left and Right.

I am glad that this horrible situation has been exposed and hopefully will be stopped, but I want people to undestand that this is only a small part of an intensive anti-heredi campaign that started, ironically, when some (mostly) religious Zionist soldiers were punished for walking out when a woman started to sing at a graduation.

The press is sticking everything together as a single issue, and attempting to eliminate any separation of men from women, anywhere, as well as to stop people from requesting that advertisements that exploit and objectify women be removed.

What I am saying is, are we telling the powers-that-be that anytime they want something, all they have to do is start a campaign to dig up everythign they can on Chareidim, and start a hate campaign to tar all of us with a broad brush? Are we enabling them?


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122. Unfortunately, this is a common mistake     12/29/11 - 6:29 AM
Anonymous

One commenter wrote: "Many children and teenagers do not have the ability to distinguish between extremist religious adherence to halacha and moderate religious adherence to the same"

Now, there is no such thing as either extremist religious adherence or moderate religious adherence. One either adheres to halacha in full or one does not. And the violence that we have seen perpetrated against little girls does NOT adhere to halacha at all. The language, the vile behavior, the sinat chinam, all of it is not in adherence to halacha.

Being frum is more than just wearing a black coat and a kippa.


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123. 10,000     12/29/11 - 7:19 AM
Anonymous

Yosef Chaim Aryeh Baltimore -Yerushalaim

Rabbi Horowitz how can we get this thread to be signed by ten thousand sane people ??

gentlemen..

now or never!


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124. Yaasher Koach on this Campaign!     12/29/11 - 10:05 AM
Rabbi L. Matanky - Chicago


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125. What is really bothering Rabbi H?     12/29/11 - 10:19 AM
Yehuda - Clifton

"The 1% is getting all the media attention due to the passiveness of the 99%"

While I am sure that this is not the case, but the gist of the concern expressed by R. Horowitz seems to be the "Bad PR" for the frum world and NOT the underlying issue at hand - the fact that Jewish children are being persecuted in their own City in their own Land. As a child in Queens, I remember being spit on and attacked by some non-Jewish neighbors. To think that that would happen in Eretz Yisroel!!

The 1 % is getting all the media attention because the 99% DIDN'T DO ANYTHING about it in their own community - except for Dov Lipman.

It is time for the frum community to 'vote' with their feet and their pocket books by not supporting the "establishment" in Frum Israel, who continually fails us.


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126. No one reads this thread -- instead, gather your community and go out and join the protestors     12/29/11 - 11:36 AM
Miriam - Miami

This is a wonderful thread, but it is not going to get that much attention. If you want to write for CNN or The Washington Post, go for it, that will get maybe some attention. But if you really want to make an impression ask the other 99% of the charedim to join you in supporting the protestors. Kol tuv


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127. Yasher Koach Rabbi Horowitz     12/29/11 - 11:48 AM
Chaya Canter - Brooklyn, NY

I totally agree with these sentiments and will contact the papers. The public needs to know that the actions of the Sikrikim does not represent Torah Judaism. We must attempt to make a kiddush Hashem to replace the chilul Hashem that has occurred. Thank you Rabbi Horowitz.


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128. I don't get it     12/29/11 - 12:47 PM
Anonymous - Baltimore

Why haven't influential chareidi leaders in Israel publicly condemned what has been going months ago?


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129. Showing public support     12/29/11 - 1:06 PM
Anonymous

Feige Koegel, Wesley Hills, NY


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130. Thank you     12/29/11 - 1:26 PM
Tzipora - Brooklyn

I sent the letter.


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131. Thank you Rabbi Horowitz     12/29/11 - 1:34 PM
elki - Brooklyn,NY - elkirosenfeld@gmail.com

For once again having the courage and initiative to speak on behalf on true Torah values and sane Orthodox Jews.


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132. Klal Yisroel?     12/29/11 - 2:47 PM
Mordechai - Colorado (USA)

It seems that these Heredi extremists miss the whole message of Klal Yisroel. This is the type of religious extremism that discolor genuine universal religious values. If a Haredi ever dares to harass me of my freedom to simply ride a bus or walk a street, it would the last time they'd try.


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133. Thank you from Beit Shemesh!     12/29/11 - 2:56 PM
Malkie and Etan - Ogorek - malkietan@yahoo.com

Thank you for taking this initiative. As a "chareidi" family in Ramat Beit Shemesh, we appreciate your putting a voice forward condemning this terrible behavior from a tiny minority.

Malkie and Etan Ogorek Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel


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134. Who asked you?     12/29/11 - 3:09 PM
Partial View

Who asked you ? Who appointed you ?

Many frum websites and blogs posted articles or op-eds by rabbonim condemning the violence in Beit Shemesh. Some of the rabbis may be known while others are just anonymous. They may be right and well intentioned. However, a response should come from a higher authority- not by self appointed spokespersons and opportunists who call themselves rabbis that are popular only online but do not have any real position of leadership.

Our Leaders are not created by Websites or made popular by the many hits or like's they get on facebook. Our Gedolim are people who are looked up to by the klal ; people who are true Talmidei chachomim and Yirei Hashem. We need to hear a condemnation from Gedolim such as the Agudah response which has Gedolim sitting at its helm.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011 Agudah statement on recent events in Beit Shemesh

Agudath Israel of America issued the following statement today:

Reports of recent events in the Israeli town of Beit Shemesh are deeply disturbing. Violence of any sort, whether physical or verbal, by self-appointed “guardians” of modesty is reprehensible. Such conduct is beyond the bounds of decent, moral – Jewish! – behavior. We condemn these acts unconditionally.

Those who have taken pains to note that the small group of misguided individuals who have engaged in this conduct are not representative of the larger charedi community are to be commended. It is disturbing, though, that some Israeli politicians and secularists have been less responsible, portraying the actions of a very few as indicative of the feelings of the many. Quite the contrary, the extremist element is odious to, and rejected by, the vast majority of charedi Jews.

Lost in all the animus and ill will, unfortunately, is the concept ostensibly at the core of the controversy: the exalted nature of tzenius, or Jewish modesty. Judaism considers human desires to constitute a sublime and important force, but one whose potential for harm is commensurate with its potential for holiness.

In a society like our own, where the mantra of many is, in effect, “anything goes,” many charedi Jews, men and women alike, see a need to take special steps – in their own lives and without seeking to coerce others – to counterbalance the pervasive atmosphere of licentiousness, so as to avoid the degradation of humanity to which it leads.

It would be tragic were the acts of violence to lead Jews to, G-d forbid, reject the culture of tzenius that has always been the hallmark of the Jewish nation, to regard Jewish modesty as something connected to violence and anger, rather than to refinement and holiness.


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135. Well Said, Rabbi Horowitz     12/29/11 - 3:58 PM
Robert Miller - Indianapolis, IN

Following your lead, we're sending out emails on this terrible situation, and hoping that the civil authorities on the scene, supported by the broad Torah community, will take all necessary steps to restore order and protect innocent Jews from the barbarians.


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136. To "Who asked you?" author     12/29/11 - 4:54 PM
bk - Brooklyn

Mr. or Mrs. "Who asked you?" - did you every hear of bechira? Of individual responsibility that EVERYONE has? After 120 years everyone will have to answer for his or her actions - without being able to hide behind the "higher authority".

Rabbi Horowitz is exercising his bechira to act as a Yirei Shomayim and an Erliche Yid. It does not give you credit to address him the way you do.


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137.     12/29/11 - 5:04 PM
Aharon Tuvia - Denver

Words alone cannot declare my disgust with these non-Torah acts of violence by people who wear Torah-looking outfits like some costume. It's exactly actions like these that fuel all the comments about Jewish law being akin to Moslem law in Iran.

If there really was a mistake made by some family, it's the job of the Rebbeim and teachers to quietly and privately discuss the matter with the parents and the student.

The violence that these so-called "extreme" Charedim and Chassidim are doing is creating new hatred against the Jewish people.


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138. We need Mashiach now!     12/29/11 - 10:51 PM
Shoshana Laks - Baltimore


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139.     12/30/11 - 4:00 AM
Fishel Bresler - Providence, RI - fishelbresler@gmail.com

True, this story has been conveniently folded into the government/media anti-haredi campaign. Nonetheless, it is for us, the majority of observant Jews to clearly condemn non-Torah behavior from haredi-looking Jews,and to hammer the message that this is not the face of Torah Judaism. Then we can address other issues that shouQld not by rights be folded in with this one (for instance, the right of religious soldiers to observe the issur of kol isha). It's tricky, it's exhausting, it's too bad...but the issues must be dealt with separately, issue-by-issue, over a long period of time.


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140. Kol Hakavod!     12/30/11 - 11:49 AM
Sholom Fried - Woodmere/NY

Thank you, Rav Horowitz, for providing a voice of sanity, and a forum for the rest of us to show our support.

The extremist elements in Beit Shemesh do NOT well represent Torah values, and instead are creating a chilul hashem of the highest order. The mantle of tznuis and kedushah they seek to don is besmirched by their shocking lack of of kavod habrius, and derech eretz.


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141.     12/30/11 - 4:27 PM
Zipporah Levine - Los Angeles, CA

I strongly agree with this message. Jews must stick together and help each other!


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142. Thank You !     12/31/11 - 11:23 PM
C. Pollock - Brooklyn, NY

I too am appalled by the actions of the violent protesters in Jerusalem and in Beit Shemesh and I thank you for organizing a response on behalf of those us in the frum world that feel this way.


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143. Can we come up with another word besides extremist?     1/1/12 - 10:26 AM
Anonymous

Maybe it's just me but when I hear extremist I think, this is the natural conclusion...it is not the natural conclusion to healthy caution and editing one's environment that is the hallmark of the chareidi lifestyle and attempt to come close to the Ratzon Hashem.


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144. Thank you     1/1/12 - 3:54 PM
KS - NW USA

I do not wish to intrude, but followed a link here from another site discussing the recent events.

As an atheist I would like to thank you for knocking me out of my knee jerk reaction of 'this is another example what is wrong with religion', to a hopefully more healthy 'this is another example of what can be wrong with some small groups of people'.


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145. Yasher Kochacha     1/1/12 - 3:56 PM
Anonymous - Queens, NY

This is what we need! We need to ba a respectful NOISY majority.


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146. bravo     1/1/12 - 5:24 PM
yakov (anthony) milstein - highland park nj - anthony.milstein@gmail.com

Bravo to Rabbi Horowitz! there wasn't a false note in the entire piece. My wife and I felt that your message perfectly represents our POV on this subject. This fringe needs to be drowned out by the large majority of Torah observant Jews. Thank you.


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147. Thank you     1/2/12 - 9:39 PM
Yael Willig - new york

Thank you for taking initiative and giving us something tangible to do. Hopefully we'll accomplish something positive through our joint efforts.


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148. Defend the 99%     1/3/12 - 9:43 AM
Steve

Dear Rabbi Horowitz,

It is very nice that you take out the time to condemn those people that are not a proper (accurate) representation of Torah Jews. Good to hear you speak out, and make suggestions to counter the Beit Shemesh extremists.

However, if you feel the responsibility for your brethren in Israel, then why do you not also defend them when they are being attacked??

Yes there have been a FEW incidents reported in the media (blown up) of "charedi extremism", but this has led to MANY incidents of attacks on ALL types of chareidim simply trying to go about their daily lives as observant Jews.

So BEFORE you jump on the secular bandwagon and condemn the charedim, perhaps realize a) this is just part of a campaign by the leftists, which has led to verbal as well as physical violence against chareidim. b)You wanna condemn the wrong - more power to you, but at least be consistent and defend the "99%" when they are being attacked because people like you helped blow out of proportion the actions of the "1%"


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149. To Steve     1/3/12 - 2:13 PM
Anonymous

Rabbi Horowitz is a leftist! Why are you surprised?


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150. Right on, Rabbi Horowitz!     1/3/12 - 5:10 PM
Betty Cherniak - Baltimore, MD - cherniakb@cadmus.com

Dear Rabbi Horowitz,

Kudos on your courage to speak out and encourage others to do the same; thank you for providing an easy and accessible vehicle for opposing the current violence in Israel.

I'm terribly afraid that sinas chinum is again destroying our people and is doing a much better job than any foreign nation or people could ever do. This is an age-old problem and the reason we fast every Tisha B'Av: intolerance among ourselves. Isn't it about time we learned this lesson and brought Moshiach? How can we be so blind as to bring this upon ourselves again and again?

There is still hope that, this time, we'll learn to replace sinas chinum with ahavas Yisroel (this means each and every Jew, no matter the dress or creed) and save our people.

Thanks for listening. - Betty


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151. Problem is much deeper...     2/21/12 - 5:57 PM
Dovy - Passaic

For example, my 11 year old came back from her first trip ever to Monsey yesterday and mentioned to me that some charedei boys she saw were making fun of an obese lady. Another group of children were talking disrespectfully to an older lady.

The problems run very deep but all is okay because everyone dresses like a penguin!

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