bohemians at the temple gate

It’s the dialectic of demonization. The de-demonization of the liberal, secular jew trying to weld the somewhat tenuous bond of the Judeo-Christian relationship and common heritage, cough, cough, after all didn’t our benevolent Pope comment that Mel Gibson’s The Passion of Christ “told it like it is.” Well, someone has to play the pharisee, someone has to be the semite in this game, someone has to be the asiatic element that cannot be assimilated. So, the hatred has to find a spitoon and in Israel it takes the form of the ultra-orthodox, the observant in general, but the “Haredim” as they are called in particular; a good old fashioned visible minority. Just like Europe and the secular elite gets to play the role of German burgher. But the old tropes cannot really be sustained anymore. Zionism has changed the dynamic of the religious, almost against their will…

---Although it is said that the Talmud was completed by the 6th century, in reality the Talmud is constantly evolving. It is meant to be studied and debated in a communal setting, thereby leaving it open to continuous development. The truth is complex. The concept of Talmudic Debate is based on the idea that one should not study alone, but rather will gain more from studying with another. The premise underlying this takes into account the multitude of voices and many commentators — over generations — that have studied and interpreted the Talmud, forming interpretations which can be both theoretical and practical.---Read More:

The arrangement by which the ultra religious  agree to be marginalized, in return for accommodation and financial favors, but letting the secular have free reign over running the state is starting to get frayed at the seams. For one thing, the status-quo is proving to be impractical for the Haredim. The huge families and need for more income means that to be a basket case, a charity case, a parasite, is no longer tenable. Also, their blissful ignorance of what the state does has seen the light, and they figure they can get more value for their citizenship through engagement.  There are theological implications and and emotional of a jewish state and waiting for the messiah time can be filled in viably with a little attentiveness to what is transpiring in their backyard.

---The demonizing streak in Christian supersessionism may not be as easy to eject onto a new enemy as it may seem. John Paul II said that Mel Gibson’s Passion showed it just like “it was;” but what the film most faithfully revived was the traditional, medieval to baroque image of the wounded, suffering Christ. There was no doubt in the Middle Ages about who his murderers were.---Read More:

The  transition of Haredim attitudes means a confrontation with an ambivalent relationship to which a secular society and their many mouthpieces: Yair Lapid, and all the major media, can resort to charges of pious exploitation; but this served the elite well.They were willing to accord them legal and financial dispensations, a free pass on army duty for staying out of their hair and now they can vilify them for same. The usual no-win situation that indemnified diaspora jews for centuries into a space between the tree and the bark.

And the secular mass public has some good arguments: The Haredim arrive at the conclusion that since he state is nominally Jewish, they are obliged to grant them these dispensations and perks, using the civil mechanisms as a pick and choose buffet table. There is a lot of posturing on both sides, and with their growing numbers, its almost economic suicide for the state to not re-align components in the relationship.

---Approximately 1,500 ultra-Orthodox men gathered at Shabbat Square in the capital’s Geula neighborhood on Saturday night to protest what they called the “oppression” and “incitement” of the “secular community” against them. Dozens of men wore yellow Stars of David on their jackets with the word “Jude” in the center, and banners bearing slogans such as “Zionists are not Jews” and “Zionism is racism” were paraded at the rally.---Read More:

That aside, the  visceral reaction, read blatant hatred of considerable numbers of Israelis to the Haredi occupying the same soil belies a sense of being threatened by this segment attaining political consciousness and acting within the secular sphere; there are some profound forces at work, significantly demographic and post Zionist, or a fading of those Zionist institutions and social projects which are no longer meaningful to many. The Haredim were always subversive, almost bohemian in their disregard for state convention, not working , living on entitlement etc. that could engender contempt in the smug knowledge they could be disregarded or viewed as a nuisance; however, if the Haredi rebelliousness  is channeled towards new, more sensitive currents, it gives rise to anxiety, if these jews begin to exert their rights of emancipation.

---Hundreds of people rallied in the capital Saturday, clashing with police and trying to block a Jerusalem road to protest the opening of the Karta parking lot on Shabbat. Police officials estimated that some 800 people were protesting at the site by 6 pm. Some protestors yelled "Nazis" at police officers facing them. Other demonstrators dubbed a female journalist at the site "shiksa."---Read More:,7340,L-4096097,00.html

It is ironic that some of the far left critique of contemporary Zionism accurately reflects the Haredi ideology vis a vis the state for at least fifty years. After all, their lifestyle is anti-establishment, almost counterculture: cohesive close community, looking for the spiritual high, attach little importance to work and the normative idea of success, dress weird, and overall reject the dominant culture. Aggressively. They are an unsettling threat to Israeli identity.

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---And Beckmann pictured the Frankfurt synagogue in 1919 with its walls slanting as if they might topple at any moment:...Read More:

There is a slightly perverse charm at work here, but the establishment, the post Zionists, the elite and their hired helpers, cannot seem to grasp them, show empathy or even comprehend this to them, dreaded apparition of Yiddishkeit from a stultifying Diaspora completely at odds with the “new man” ethos free from the Old country baggage, the Wandering Jew, and their tenacious adherence to religion. The most insidious and cruel dimension of this is the secular elite desire to enjoy power and privilege and bourgeoise individualism transformed into a kind of rebellion where they are the oppressed, the Haredim are a black horde of oppressors,wild Bolchevik jews, barbarians, and they are defiant and subversive  in the wake of the affronts to “enlightened” values. They are at the mercy of the religious establishment, potential victims of an inquisition. Absurd. But when you control all the media and advertising, you can get away with a lot of dubious spin.

..The Haredim’s “traditional” outfit and headwear, perpetuates the classic image of the Semite of which the Westernized Jews have just about managed to get themselves rid of, especially in North America. Anathema to a secular, upwardly mobile segment that at heart considers Jewishness to be a birth defect, an unfortunate accident of nature, a boulder in the road to a normalized condition. The process is constantly at work; where anti-Arab sentiment, bearded faces and hooked nose portrayals of the Haredim draws perversely on classic anti-Semitic tropes. The secular elite needs their jews, their “untermenchen” as well….

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