I have long believed that Judaism is superior to Christianity because it makes its craziest members wear special hats. The crazier you are, the more prominent the head-gear. It’s pretty fucking brilliant — imagine if Gary Bauer had to wear a huge hat whenever he was on teevee! That might make CNN tolerable. But maybe it doesn’t always work quite as well as I think it should (via commenter burnspbesq):
She is Naama Margolese, the daughter of US immigrants who are observant modern Orthodox Jews. A television program at the weekend told the story of how Naama had become terrified of walking to her primary school in Beit Shemesh, a Jewish city between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, after ultra-Orthodox men spat on her, insulted her and called her a prostitute because her modest dress did not adhere exactly to their more rigorous dress code.[….]
For many Israelis, this is not a fight over one girl’s walk to school. It is a struggle that could shape the character and soul of the country, against ultra-Orthodox zealots who have been encroaching on the public sphere with their interpretation of modesty rules, enforcing gender segregation and the exclusion of women.
The battle has grown increasingly visible. Orthodox male soldiers walked out of a ceremony where female soldiers were singing, adhering to what they consider to be a religious prohibition against hearing a woman’s voice; women have challenged the seating arrangements on kosher buses, serving ultra-Orthodox neighbourhoods and some intercity routes where they are expected to sit at the back.
I guess these loons are an important part of Netanyahu’s coalition, but I don’t know much about how their influence usually works. Teh google tells me that the Ultra-Orthodox are 10% of Israel’s population. Are they uniformly crazy and right-wing or is there some diversity among them?
This should be interesting.
Sharia! Oh, wait….
It’s Jews so it’s cool.
I do think that part of Israel’s problem is that they let the crazy ultra-Orthodox from the US immigrate there, and they cause all of the same problems that any converts do (ie they’re convinced that they “understand” how Israel is/should be better than the people who were born and raised there do).
Doesn’t it make you happy to know that every religion has its own nutbags & that the eventually are indistinguishable from the nutbags in the other religions?
Meh, I doubt that’s the reaction from most secular Jews.
Is religious fundamentalism ever NOT right wing? It’s authoritarianism all the way down. God’s in charge of everyone, the rabbi or priest is in charge of the congregation, and the man is in charge of the household. Each of those people expects everyone below them to do as they say without question.
Catholics have some crazy head gear too.
I don’t know. I suspect it isn’t always right-wing though.
I live in an ultra-orthodox community. Yes, there’s variety, as there always is. Walking out on a female singing is pretty standard – it’s not that she can’t sing, it’s that they can’t hear it. (Still pretty crazy.) Even for the ultra-orthodox, harassing a girl for not dressing according to their standards is extreme and crazy. Judaism is based on the idea of a contract with God for special favors, not laws of morality everyone must obey.
However, those extreme crazies do exist, and they’re Zionists who emigrate to Israel if they don’t live there already, and Israel legally coddles them.
That’s only one guy though. They should make everyone who attends mass regularly wear some kind of head-gear, IMHO.
I heard that child sobbing on the CBC last night. What utterly vile people. I just have no patience left at all for the selfish and the cruel. None.
There is a group of these types in NYC that successfully blocked a bike route in their neighborhood because the bikers did not dress modestly. I believe there was some violent confrontations with bikers too.
One of the other things about the Ultra Orthodox is that (it seems to me) there’s an overlap between them and the settler movement, which makes any Israeli government accommodation to Palestinian land use nearly impossible, even a government with more sense than Netanyehu’s.
@DougJ: May be, but that was sure my reaction on hearing the NPR piece this morning. “Unlike Muslims, we don’t want a theocratic state” the ultra-Orthodox dude said, to which I said to my radio “you just want the sharia law”.
The concern seems to be that the ultra-Orthodox are having more kids than other Jewish sects and will take over the government on down the road.
@DougJ: Wait till the Ultra-Orthodox guys meet Pam Geller. Then the schmutz will hit the fan.
That’s interesting. Thanks.
They have some power, but they mostly use that power to exempt their followers from mandatory military service and to get large welfare payments from the state so that they don’t have to work. This political turn is relatively recent.
“I have long believed that Judaism is superior to Christianity because it makes its craziest members wear special hats.”
I’m going to have to go back and check, but I’m pretty sure this is the funniest thing I read on a blog this year.
I dream of a day when the ultras of the three great Abrahamic religions can set aside their differences and come together around the one thing that unites them: hysterical male sexual panic.
Well, okay, more of a nightmare than a dream, really . . .
Is that true? I didn’t know that.
There was also a thing about a public bus line where women were required to sit in back.
You’re about 50 years too late. You should have seen some of the stuff that my grandmothers’ generation of Catholic women stuck on their heads for Mass pre-Vatican II.
Well, you can look at the actions or you can look at the counter-protests. The counter-protests were large and involved all sectors of the Israeli public, including some of the Haredim. I think that’s a healthy sign.
Jews don’t proselytize like Christians and Muslims do, but don’t right-wing Jews (like right-wingers of all religions) seek to enforce “laws of morality” within what they consider their sovereign territory?
@Frankensteinbeck: Says you.
Any sentence that begins with “Judaism is based on…” is probably going to be woefully incomplete. In this case, Frankensteinbeck is stating an opinion as a fact. The truth is, to many people, the minor details of behavior *are* the essence of Judaism. That’s just one interpretation, but it is an interpretation.
Though to be fair, even the most ultra-ultra-orthodox only think those rules apply to Jews.
@DougJ: Depends on what you mean by ‘Fundamentalist’. I know some literal Christians who are quiet, humble and get-along folk while being quite devout, but that’s not what I think of when I think ‘Fundamentalist’. I think of the “God said it, I believe it, that settles it” folks (for values of Fundamentalist Christians, the folks that have never read a word of the New Testament in their lives). Those folks are authoritarian by definition, and as such I have a hard time thinking of a left-wing variation of that.
YMMV, of course.
Yes, it is. You get to be ‘ultra-orthodox’ by choosing an interpretation of the contract that deliberately overperforms every requirement, interpreting them in extremely strict ways and following every optional rule in the Talmud as faithfully as physically possible in modern times. The idea is ‘I’m God’s #1 fan!’
Alas, human assholery is universal.
You know, the Amish are ultra-orthodox too. But no one ever sees an Amish guy driving his buggy down the street with a pitch-fork, spearing other people’s tires.
It’s not the “I believe crazy things” that’s so upsetting. It’s the “I will beat you up for not believing the same crazy things I do” that is so bonkers. I mean, at what point in time does someone decide that its not enough to believe, s/he has to be a giant asshole about it.
Two Jews, three opinions.
They may hot all be right-wing, but I think we must accept that they are “uniformly crazy”. That’s a given.
@Baud: Not really. Jewish law isn’t binding on non-Jews.
google noahide laws.
Does anyone know where in the fuck in the Bible is there a prohibition to listen to a female singer? I realize Judith isn’t canon in Judaism, but she sings a song after beheading the enemy general, so I assumed it was kosher.
@eemom: I’ve read a number of stories about that and I came away with the impression that women weren’t legally forced to ride in the back. It’s more like the Orthodox males made life miserable for any secular woman who refused to go back there, to the extent of physically threatening them. It’s not much of a distinction in practical terms, admittedly, since the local authorities haven’t seemed to do much to tell the Orthodox men to shut the hell up and respect the rights of everyone else, but it puts the primary blame where it belongs.
@Zifnab: Yeah, but do they do this because they’re religious, or is the fact that they do it and purport to be religious frustrating because it’s hypocritical?
Any group of angry young men are going to do things like this. They aren’t special because they are haredim. This cuts both ways.
In relation to this, it’s also reaction formation.
That authority realizes that seeing the girl in the bikini gives him “impure thoughts” (he’s married, and is supposed to be faithful to his wife, darnit), so he puts out a prohibition that reduces his temptation. He somewhat justifies it by believing that if it tempts him, who is strong enough to resist the temptation, it also tempts the men who are not strong enough.
Anonymous At Work
The ultra-ultras aren’t the majority. The general rule of thumb, though, is that the nuttier the Jewish sect, the faster its growth rate.
@Brian S: I don’t think there are many Orthodox who do this, if any. There is a difference between the mainstream Orthodox and the “Ultra-Orthodox,” better referred to as Haredim.
You haven’t lived until you’ve been on a packed airplane, with the overhead bins completely full, all ready to close the doors and push back, and the last person to board is an Orthodox man who can’t find anyplace to stow his hat.
Wow. The religious metaphors I’m used to are usually a bit more subtle. I agree, DougJ, that it’s actually better when it’s more in your face like this. Tells you exactly who you’re dealing with.
Ok, yes. But the little girl in the story was Jewish, so these men felt it appropriate to accost her.
So Judaism is like the Pirates Code:
Kittehs to the rescue
Here’s a “funny” video, from a Jewish “comedy” show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amQtXtkys6Q
Fundamentalism is by definition right-wing, since it’s all about an attempt to get back to the “fundamentals” of an imagined Golden Age.
Most people who identify themselves as evangelical Christians are also fundamentalists, but there are certainly liberal evangelicals.
@Frankensteinbeck: One minor quibble – many of the ultra-orthodox are not Zionists; they disagree with the establishment of the state of Israel. But Israel allows them to do their thing, so they make use of it.
There is a direct correlation between how much of an asshole someone is and how much of an asshole the deity they worship is. I’ve often found this illustrative of a great many things.
Oh, our Orthodox Jews are far more crazy than the one’s who inhabit Israel. Various sects of Hasidim don’t even recognize Israel’s existence because it wasn’t founded by the Messiah. They won’t even associate with other Jews who do recognize Israel.
Yes we do, but no so much with the tire-spearing as with the beard-cutting.
deleted after further reading
@Mark S.: Better than Judith, so does Miriam during the Exodus.
But “where it says it in the Bible” isn’t Judaism. That’s a very shallow understanding. There are many interpretations of Jewish law over the millenia. I don’t agree with the Haredi one; they don’t agree with mine.
But neither of us would say that just because something happened in the Bible that makes it Judaism. There is about an Empire state building full of texts interpreting and legislating on top of the Bible to be considered.
The idea that Judaism is just pre-Christianity is an insidious notion at the root of an awful lot of antisemitism, by the way.
@Schlemizel: Don’t read through the Torah. Read through the Shulchan Arukh or the Mishneh Torah. That’s where the rules that actually apply to Orthodox Jews can be found.
@Mark: There are, in fact, Haredi zionists. They call them Haredal – Chareidi Leumi, a mix of the terms for national religious and charedi
Also, many of the more radical settler orthodox have approached that level of strictness. Though they tend not to put women in the back of the bus and riot over that, they just tend to attack the Tsahal bases and Arabs.
True story: one of my best friends from college has a sister who’s massively religious and lives in a West Bank settlement. I happened to be in Toronto (where he’s from) and both he and his sister were in town for Hannukah. I went to his parents’ place for dinner with my girlfriend. After dinner I fell asleep on the couch. His sister wanted to sing, but she wouldn’t, because…
The bible forbids singing in the presence of an unmarried man, lest you seduce him.
Not only is this one of the most colossally stupid things I’ve ever encountered in my life…But his sister is also a big, big girl, so it was pretty presumptuous to think I’d ditch my hot girlfriend for any reason…
@Baud: Yup. Those men who accosted that girl are the scum of the earth, but they aren’t the scum of the earth because they are haredim. They are the scum of the earth because they accosted a little girl.
Well, that’s my point: we export the crazy to Israel, and it’s not good for any of us.
I think Frankensteinbeck’s point is that, unlike Christianists in the US, the ultra-Orthodox don’t expect non-Jews to live by their rules of morality. They are, however, perfectly comfortable trying to forcibly impose those rules on their fellow Jews and/or Israelis who they feel are not following them, as shown in this story.
Kittehs to the rescue
@Zifnab: Well, there was this news story recently: http://articles.cnn.com/2011-12-20/justice/justice_ohio-amish-hate-crimes_1_assault-victims-ohio-amish-amish-men?_s=PM:JUSTICE
@jon: Understood. Just responding to the notion that any of this derives from Zionism.
@Mark: True story. I have a friend who has a cousin who lived in Kiryat Arba and is a crazy, gun toting settler that liked to joke about shooting anything that moved such as “animals and palestinians and other animals” at night.
I have a much bigger problem with that than with this spitting thing.
Actually, if anything, I’m encouraged by the counter-demonstration to it. You don’t see that when someone goes on a rampage in the West Bank.
Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ
The ultra-Orthodox are just 10 percent of Israel’s population? I’d have guessed it was 27 percent.
Kathy in St. Louis
@jon: Hey, I’m not going to lie. There are many things in Israel that I think are bewilderingly stupid, violent and cruel. Netanyahu and the Russians enable all of it. A huge number of Israelis I’ve met are openly racist and it’s no shock that they’d be shooting at people and laughing about it. One of the three things you’re supposed to do when you’re in the army is shoot an Arab. The list goes on, and nothing surprises me.
I just thought it was funny that someone could so believe the bible that she thought she could pry me away from my lady with a little singing in Hebrew.
Paul in KY
@Frankensteinbeck: It sounds like a very depressing life (to me).
Paul in KY
@Frankensteinbeck: What is the reason given for them not being able to hear a female (non-relative, not their wife, etc.) sing?
Re Amish orthodoxy: Last week, twelve members of an Amish splinter group in Ohio were charged with federal hate crimes for a recent series of hair and beard-cutting attacks on fellow Amish deemed to be insufficiently pious.
Here are mugshots at the time of their arraignment:
Kathy in St. Louis
@Zifnab: Well said. Well said.
And yet not at all presumptuous to think you’re a superficial douchebag nonetheless. Well…I guess they got at least half of the equation right.
They will, however, also harass non-Jews walking through or near what they consider to be their neighborhood. So even if you’re a non-Jewish woman, these scum will harass, threaten and even assault you (to the point of throwing stones) if they feel you’re not dressed modestly enough. It’s something I witnessed in person and got in a fight with several of them about.
Israel does not have a fusion of the political right wing and religious fundamentalism the way the US does. Avigdor Lieberman and his Russian power base are ultra-nationalist but relatively secular. Then there are separate right-wing parties like Shas that are explicitly religious. As others have explained, there are fundamentalists who support Greater Israel and those who don’t think there should be an Israel at all. It’s pretty complicated
No, they are not all crazy like the people in the linked article. This is a new and alarming thing where the more you can separate men and women in your neighborhood, the more holy you are. There is nothing in the Torah that says that women have to sit at the back of the bus.
Paul in KY
@Kirk Spencer: Isn’t that the very definition of ‘being a weenie’.
‘I don’t think the teaching I have received from the time I was 2 or the many role models I am supposed to emulate is strong enough to resist a camel toe, so burkas for all!’
Tell me again why these guys are fighting with Islamic fundamentalists, or Christian fundies? As near as I can tell, they all seem to be the kind of people who would like partying together.
I guess I just don’t discriminate on the basis of color or creed, white or brown, Muslim, Jewish, or Christian: to me, all religious fundamentalists look alike — like jackasses.
I thought Judaism were ‘People of the Book’ and by book they meant the laws they need to abide by.
Yea, the NPR piece this morning touched on it. The fundies didn’t used to push themselves on others in Israel. But as with most fundies it’s only a matter of time before some righteous asshole starts assigning their interpretation on others regardless of those others beliefs. I mean just look at the fundies here in the states. Crazy MoFos.
The Israel thing is harder though because 1) the ultra’s don’t typically work. They get government ‘welfare’ as theya re supposed to be studying the torah all day (is that what wacking off to the internet is euphamistically called now over there?). They don’t believe in birth control so their numbers have increased so they are now 15% of the population.
Just imagine if the fundies here demanded welfare for them & their thousand kids so they could ‘study the Torah’ all day? Yea….we call them teenagers here.
Did you miss the recent news story about the Amish terrorists? The were using physical violence to enforce their particular beliefs on others in their community.
Sadly, it looks like every religion has their own special nutbags. I expect any day now to hear of some Buddhist fringe group torching those who do not follow the correct path to enlightenment.
Paul in KY
@Mark: What would have happened if you had briefly appraised her & then stated ‘I think I’ll be fine’?
It is extremely complicated. At least the complexity is somewhat visible in Israeli politics – much of the complexity is well-hidden in American politics.
the offspring blow, with the exception of Dirty Magic.
Commenting at Ballon Juice since 1937
I didn’t know there were any. I thought they all got a pass because they were crazy as loons.
Guess again. http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/12/amish_beard-cut_1.php
Maybe not cutting tires, but definitely engaging in fundamentalist driven assaults against other Amish.
FTW. cleaning computer screen now.TYVM
The Other Bob
Time for a naked bike ride.
I wish I could contribute something here but, in spite of my handle, I’m really only qualified to pass judgement on what is and what is not Punk Rock.
I agree. Laws of morality everyone must obey are the seven Noahide laws. Judaism means becoming a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation”.
I hesitate to say that just because you are ultra-Orthodox and have rejected the whole secular world and most of the 20th century that you are crazy. I.B. Singer said about his parents that they had the notion that the whole world was trayf and the longer he lived the more sense he realized was in this attitude. Also too, Chana of Curious Jew gave excellent advice on how to love your fellow Jew. You have to think that everyone wants to get to the same place even if they don’t know any better than what they’re doing now.
Right, and Christians need to obey the Ten Commandments … except that all you need to get into heaven is belief in Jesus, so you don’t have to really follow any strictures.
That’s kind of the root of Christian fundamentalist hypocrisy, actually. Everyone else is a dirty sinner who’s going to hell, but they’re dirty sinners who are going to heaven — because Jesus!
@Commenting at Ballon Juice since 1937: Orthodox soldiers, yes. Ultra-Orthodox (Haredi), no.
Here in Cleveland which is near where that has happened the local news has been covering it, and other Amish have been more then willing to call the people who where charged as a cult or cult like. My sense is they recognize that they may all get tarred as a bunch of crazies because of what a few are doing. I can’t say that some other religious sects are as quick to do that.
Paul in KY
@Jewish Steel: What is your opinion of the group called ‘Black Flag’?
All the focus is typically on the I-P conflict, but in the end, the real threat to Israel’s continued existence is the explosive growth in the ultra-orthodox community. A once highly secular country is at risk of turning into a fundamentalist state where the non-religious are asked to foot the bill for the religious who prefer not to work.
@master c: Just the clergy, not the parishioners. Apples. Oranges.
@Mark: That does sound like a dumb religious restriction. I don’t think it’s any dumber by virtue of the fact that there is no fat chick exception, though. Also, I concur with others that you aren’t coming across very well with the chunky Reese Witherspoon schtick.
@Commenting at Ballon Juice since 1937: No, in Israel Orthodox is normal. They don’t have or recognize Reformed Judaism there. The Orthodox serve in the Army, it’s the ultra Orthodox who get out of it.
Shawn in ShowMe
‘Cause they’re praying to the wrong god. If I’m a Red Sox fan and you’re a Yankees fan, it doesn’t make us best friends just ’cause we both love basesball.
I think what we ALL need to realize is that being 10-15% of any population is a LOT of freakin people who can potentially wield a good amount of power if they’re in lockstep, even in a smaller nation like Israel. Think about it in terms of the US: approx 15% of our population is Black. If all Black people in this country believed in or regularly did crazy shit like this, that would be a HUGE deal.
@Sly: @handsmile: @Mary: Alright, alright, I get it with the beard cutting.
Amazing. This thread is perfect bait for the child, yet she has not emerged. Fascinating captain.
The ultra-orthodox are the party of Shas. Without Shas Netanyahu doesn’t have a coalition. And he made sweeter promises than Tzipi did. And he’ll keep on kissing their tuchim because he doesn’t have a majority in the Knesset.
@Adrienne: Especially when a party only needs 2% of the vote to get a seat in the Knesset.
The small parties practically own Israel.
Yes, that was the comparison I had in mind, 10% is about the same as the proportion of the US that is African-American. Look how powerless the CBC is though. I don’t mean that they are powerless relative to their size but I don’t exactly see presidents trying desperately to curry favor with them.
pseudonymous in nc
The demographic gainers in Israel over recent years are ultra-Orthodox (lots of kids, women locked up at home, men who dodge military service and do fuck all under the guise of being yeshiva students) and Russian ultra-nationalists who like pork.
The era of “Labor Zionism” and that generation of secular Israeli Judaism is definitely over — even if many sentimental friends of Israel in the US still think of the country in those terms. It’s being squeezed on a number of sides — the ultra-religious who extract concessions via their sectarian parties in order to sustain governments, the secular ex-USSR arrivals who bring with them a kind of power politics, the sabra Israelis who want affordable housing which often means heading across the Green Line. Add the can-kicking that Bibi has chosen in lieu of policy towards the Palestinians, and it’s not pretty.
I just wanted to note that the dude in the NPR interview actually claimed that spitting on an 8-year-old girl while calling her a whore is a better way to protect the dignity of women than having a liberal democracy with basic freedoms. Sometimes conservative shit is so crazy that you have to spell it out or you will miss it.
Shawn in ShowMe
What percent of the Congress consists of black people?
They may not curry favor with the CBC, but that’s because the CBC doesn’t represent a majority of black voters in this country. BUT, there is a huge outreach to black voters in this country (mostly by Dems) and for good reason. Black voters going basically 100% for Obama put how many states in play again? Now imagine if the US operated on a system where multiple parties were viable. 10-15% of the vote potentially means everything.
@Paul in KY: I rule that they are very punk rock indeed but more interesting in theory than in practice. That is to say, I’m down with everything about Black Flag except listening to their music for very long.
pseudonymous in nc
@4tehlulz: the 2% threshold and the single-district PR system are fucked up. It needs to change, but while those small parties have their casting vote, it won’t change. Or it’ll be changed in a way that’s meant to screw over the Arab parties.
Oh, and I live in a Brooklyn neighborhood pretty close to an Ultra Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, and YES. They are pretty uniformly crazy.
I have long believed Christianity is superior to Judaism because Judaism is a stone age racist religion basically undergirded by tribal hatred. At least Christianity posits that the One God cares about all of humanity. Not that I believe in God, but if you did believe in an anthropocentric being, how can anyone believe in orthodox Judaism? The most blatantly false of all the big three.
@Shawn in ShowMe:
Almost exactly 10%.
David in NY
How elegant. Now when I need the plural of tuchas, I know what to say.
It also doesn’t hurt Shaas’ power that the main thing they’re interested in is cash money. Pay them off with funding for their schools and they’ll be your kingmaker. There’s other issues they’ll weigh in on, but in the goofy world of coalition building, getting them on board is pretty straightforward.
Once their numbers grow, they might start pushing their weight around more, so that’ll be interesting. At some point, the Israeli elections will produce results where a governing coalition will have to either hand over a lot of power to the Ultras, or bring the Arab parties on board. Either way it’ll be a shitstorm.
@kindness: I went to a Reform Bar Mitzvah in Israel a couple of years ago — American family doing the Israel thing. They have relatives in Israel and called a couple of the women up to read from the Torah. Even though the Israeli family is secular, whenever they (infrequently) attend synagogue it is Orthodox. It was such an emotional and beautiful moment!
Shawn in ShowMe
Or less than 8%, depending on how you look at it. In any case, they’re dwarfed by the Republican contingent. I believe the ratios between voting blocks are a little bit different in Israel.
Paul in KY
@Jewish Steel: Same here. They have a song called ‘White Minority’ and I can’t tell from the small portion of the lyrics that I can understand whether they are OK with being a minority or not.
Will have to google it, I guess.
A more modern band you may like is called ‘The Offspring’. Much more listenable than Black Flag, IMO.
@Mnemosyne: By this time, in 2011, they’ve had enough time to breed their own native crazies.
@DougJ: The AA population is about 13% (12.8 or 13.5 as of 2008 depending on which reporting criteria is used).
I’ll also note that the Ultras are not exactly the Israeli cultural/ethnic group that best corresponds to the AA population.
@David in NY:
To make a plural in Hebrew you add -im (pronounced eem) to the end of the word. My favorite word in any language is Hebrew for cucumbers: melaphephonim.
On a side note, since modern Hebrew is a rather young language, they adopted quite a few English words, and sometimes this makes for rather funny Hebrish. So “pancakes” is Hebrew for pancake, and “pancakesim” is pancakes.
@Frankensteinbeck: I’m not sure that the Ultra-Orthodox are all Zionists. Some of the groups in the US (the Hassadic, in particular) aren’t Zionists, i.e., they don’t all believe in Israel as a Jewish state. (But they still are authoritarians and expect their rules will apply to everyone.)
@cokane: maybe because Judaism says, “God loves you the best and will kill all your enemies.” It is a direct, unvarnished appeal to the lizard brain unencumbered with all that bullshit about peace and love and justice and good works. Just follow these intricate, stupid fucking rules because it makes your primitive god happy, and he will smite all your enemies and the world will be yours.
I’ve read all 103 comments to this point and I’m just gobsmacked at the ridiculousness of any religion which demands that somebody must be practically a legal scholar in order to adequately follow all the little and patently stupid rules in order to please the imaginary sky being. (Catholicism included, of course).
If God loves us, why would he make it so hard to make him happy? He wouldn’t.
She’s already eight years old! She was probably asking for it!
Very good point. At present the ultra-Orthodox make up “only” 10% of the community. But with many of those families have 5-10 children, they are poised for explosive growth compared to the secular community. It’s going to be harder and harder for normal Israelis to support an ultra-Orthodox community which doesn’t work or pay taxes or contribute to the common defense.
@Paul in KY: Black Flag is hardcore punk, so it they might not appeal to everyone. I don’t think they are racist as Henry Rollins was the lead singer for a while. Operation Ivy/Rancid are another two good bands.
pseudonymous in nc
There’s been a conversation brewing for a while about whether there’ll be a point the question gets asked: “Jewish state or democratic state?” For half a century, it’s been possible to draw a big circle around “Israeli Jew” without getting into theological debates across ethnic and denominational lines, in part because the political project of building the state served to unite them — but that’s not so easy these days.
Yes, I realize that.
Villago Delenda Est
There you go, using that post-renaissance thinking again that has undermined everything we once held dear.
@Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ: They’re working on it.
@DougJ: But, the representative system is the polar opposite in the US and Israel. Israel having a directly proportional congress means 10% of the people voting in lockstep will get 10% of the seats in congress.
Add to that the fact that no one party ever gets a majority in the Knesset and it’s all about jockeying for favors and alliances. The guy with the last vote gets much more say on the matter than he should (not quite unlike several 60th Senators).
“Male sexual panic,” yep, that is their great unifier, with control of women as its accompaniment. The Catholic Church, for instance, as it’s gotten more and more fundie-ish over the past two or three decades, has made opposition to birth control, abortion and gay people its main focus. Guess they got bored of Jesus droning on and on in the Gospels about helping the poor.
tell that to visitors to the quaint village of kiryas joel, new york.
Come on. What about the beard shearers? Sounds pretty similar. The orthodox and the appeasement of the orthodox mostly limits the freedoms of jewish Israelis.
Perhaps a bit late with the amish thing?
That said, the orthodox holding the rest of Jewish Israelis hostage quite limits such things as marriage rights in Israel.
David in NY
@Loneoak: Thanks. I knew that the plural of many Hebrew words took the -im ending (Hasidim, etc.) but wasn’t sure it was the universal rule. (Even in English we have our irregulars — men, children — and in other languages it varies by gender or other form.)
Anyway, I liked “tuchim” a lot.
Speaking of Israel, how can we blame Muslims for this?
David in NY
@Villago Delenda Est:
Oh, God! First they came for the post-war (WWII) consensus, then for the Enlightenment, and now the Renaissance is going? Yikes!
The Spy Who Loved Me
On Christmas Eve, we went to midnight mass. It was the first time I had been in a Catholic church since last Christmas. Oddly enough, I saw two different women wearing veils. I hadn’t seen that since the 60s.
It was also my first experience with the new mass. I was completely lost and kept saying the wrong thing in response. It pissed me off, since I had maintained my ability to follow the mass on auto for so many years, lapsed Catholic that I am. Now, I’ll have to follow a missal.
@The Spy Who Loved Me: Probably no one noticed unless you started clocking your neighbors during the exchange of peace.
@burnspbesq: Oh yeah. You should have seen us with the little lace doilies stuck on our heads. We must have looked like idiots to the casual passer-by.(or to anybody, really)
The ultra-orthodox have also been spitting on Christian priests in Jerusalem. Very pleasant.
There is an episode early in season two of Mad Men, in which Peggy reluctantly goes to Mass with her mother and older sister. The costume designers nailed it.
You’ve got it just exactly right with the Gary Bauer comparison – the only difference is that in the U.S. we don’t have a multiparty parliament, so here, it’s like you open up your crate of Republican weasels to find a rattlesnake inside.
Also the religious parties in Israel feel a lot more brave about openly advocating violence, although let’s be honest, outright war over Jerusalem is something that makes most right-wing American Protestants wet as Wet®
It’s the Fundies of any religion that push hard on the Rules To Appease an Angry God Who Loveth the Smite. It’s all about control, control, control.
Moderate and liberal Christians, such as myself, as well as the moderate and liberal Jews and Muslims I know, tend to think God is not exactly concerned about what we eat and how we pray or who is going to win the football game or what hats we wear or what we call Her/Him. Just that we don’t act like assholes towards each other….in the best way.
It’s worth noting, though, that the Catholic Church is more pro-Palestinian than either American political party or any major American media outlet, really
@pseudonymous in nc:
Both are outpaced, of course, by the growth of the Israeli Arab population. And let’s be frank: a lot of those Russians are not even Jews
@Brian S: It is, of course, possible to return the favor like by ‘accidentally’ touching an Orthodox male on your way to the restroom on, say, an airplane. Mentioning that you’re having really bad cramps is an added ‘unclean woman’ bonus. I have a (secular) Jewish friend who made numerous red eye trips back and forth between the US and Israel, and made it her mission to go to the bathroom at exactly the same moment morning prayers started for Orthodox males. Don’t think she ever got spit on, but I will ask. Discovering they’d been touched by a menstruating woman with no ability to fully wash away their shame probably gave them the vapors and made them forget their spit weapon.
@Loneoak: Demipampelmousse (half a grapefruit, and I may have misspelled it!)
@Shawn in ShowMe:
Heh. Perfect answer to my question. Kudos.
New report I saw said the untra orthodox jews have extremely large families, a lot of kids…so, in 10 years, their percent of the population will be 20% instead of the 10% it is today….then in 20 years….well, those pesky women better watch out, or immigrate to a more female-friendly country
Should be NEWS report…Should be ULTRA orthodox…fingers not working today
@David in NY:
It varies by gender in Hebrew, too. “-im” (ים-) is the masculine plural (“yom”/”day”, “yomim”/”days”), “-ot” (וֹת-) is the feminine plural (“mitzvah”/”commandment, moral deed”, “mitzvot”/”commandments, moral deeds”).
I was really shocked by this
I felt as if that little girl was really scared- real fear in her voice.
If this happens when she’s walking with her mother, what happens when she’s alone, or with friends?
Or can she just not leave the house?
What’s the law on harrasment?
Can they not get some kind of protection order- they have to stay so many hundreds of feet from her?
We use civil protection orders here (now) w/ juveniles for really brutal, persistent bullying.
She needs one.
but they are outbreeding secular Israeli jews 8:1.
its like the demographic timer in the US.
dance around in your bones
I loved how the punk rock discussion wove its way through this thread.
The best punk rock band is of course X. AND still quite listenable.
I don’t know what planet you’re on but I have cousins in Tel Aviv who are reformed and no one has forced Orthodoxy on them. No one has spat on my female cousins.
Contrary to what you believe, the Jewliban is not the majority in Israel.
The Jewliban makes me feel shame to be Jewish.
This kind of thing has been going on for some time – the that it is a little white girl is what gets it on the news.
Much of the settler movement is driven by these people. The abuse of this kid is nothing compared to their abuse and assaults on Palestinians.
But that’s ok.
Forgot to add link:
Little girls, indeed.
Kathy in St. Louis
@Rita R.: I really think that’s why, if it weren’t for the influx of Hispanics into the U.S. American Catholic numbers would be astoundingly off. It’s really tough to still try to belong to the Catholic Church if 1.) You are a woman 2.) You can see where this celibate male priesthood deal has gotten us 3.)You believe that taking care of the less fortunate was the main thing Jesus was teaching about 4.) You actually are capable of thinking for yourself and deciding for yourself what you think is right and wrong.
I keep thinking that I should be working harder on this Christianity thing, then I read about the other religions and how screwed up they are as well, and I’m can’t help thinking that I need to just talk with my God and ignore the rest of this b.s.
@Kathy in St. Louis:
Yes to all of what you said, which, along with the alliance the Catholic Church has made with the right wing of the Republican Party (which is to say, pretty much all of it), is why I’m a lapsed Catholic. It’s not the same church it was when I was going to Catholic elementary school in the ’70s, when we actually were taught about things like loving thy neighbor and caring for the less fortunate and the word abortion was never mentioned. The conservative leadership of the Church has explicitly said they don’t care if their numbers shrink because of the great leap backward they are continuing to make. And they are shrinking everywhere but in Africa and Latin and South America, which is boosting their numbers.
Paul in KY
@MacsenMifune: I like Rancid alot. ‘Stranded in Shanghai’ is a great song. Never heard of Operation Ivy, but I will check them out.
@Rita R.: there is a deep and profound division between white christians of euro-descent and black, yellow or brown christians. white christianity is an exclusivist demographic.
In America, Hayek was wrong. The growth of the welfare state doesnt lead to soshual1sm…..it leads to secular1sm.
This is one of the best opening sentences to a post I have ever read, and that has stiff competition from @TBogg ….
@Karen: Hi Karen. I live here on Terra. I never said there were no Reformed Jews in Israel. I said the State of Israel only recognizes Conservative, Orthodox & Ultra Orthodox as recognized sects. Big difference there.
Paul in KY
@Paul in KY: That song should be ‘Arrested in Shanghai’. I was still asleep there.
But at least according to both Rambam and Sefer haChinuch, the point of the mitzvos is not to make the Almighty happy. The point of the mitzvos is to bring people to a point of spiritual excellence, and we know that people want to put forth effort for that and that they desire to know and learn.
I am almost at the point of emailing John, but anti-Semitism is an even more tricky thing than racism or sexism, especially in I/P threads. Please, John. You might seriously want to rethink the comment policy. This is not about 4jkb4ia and John Cole. This is just not cool. I am aware that similar things get said about Catholicism all the time here.
Christopher Hitchens’ words ring louder and clearer every day!!! ”RELIGION POISONS EVERYTHING!”
4jkb4ia…… Let me help a little. I’m Jewish, and I find the Orthodox members of my religion to be disgusting human beings. This is nothing more than a power-play by ‘ancient-thinking’ people, who refuse to advance to the 21st century. They’re no better than the Muslim Taliban or Right-wing ultra-conservative Catholics & Christians.
Post Script…… my parents hugely conservative thinking helped make me the Free thinking Atheist I am today.