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Batya Medad made aliya from New York to Israel in 1970 and has been living in Shiloh since 1981. Recently she began organizing women's visits to Tel Shiloh for Psalms and prayers. (For more information, please email her.) Batya is a newspaper and magazine columnist, a veteran jblogger and recently stopped EFL teaching. She's also a wife, mother, grandmother, photographer and HolyLand hitchhiker, always seeing things from her own very unique perspective. For more of Batya's writings and photos, check out:
Mr. Lelom, who receives funding from a extreme left anti-chareidi organization, has no personal interest in Emanuel, as he does not live there nor do his family members. His law suit is motivated by an agenda to vilify charedim as racists, and not at all to promote the interests of the Sefardim in Emanuel.
"Plan a conspiracy and it will be annulled, speak your piece and it shall not stand, ki Emanuel, for G-d is with US."
Shavua Tov, Have a Wonderful Week! Here in Israel, there's no doubt that summer has arrived. Our Shiloh Swimming Pool has opened, thank G-d. Last week I hosted the Tammuz edtion of the Kosher Cooking Carnival. In one article, I touched on the sensitive subject of where to study, Israel or abroad, if you're planning aliyah, living in Israel. And as most of you know, I post much more frequently and on a greater variety of genres on my other two blogs, Shiloh Musings and me-ander.
In Israel, the big news is the girls school contraversy Emanuel. I received permission to post these articles written by chareidim whom I know and respect.
Hat tip: HL
I must admit that I, too, like many found myself believing the media's reports about the girls school in the Chareidi Samaria town, Emanuel. Then a friend fowarded these two stories to me from some chareidi friends of his. I'm posting them with their permission.
The story with Emanuel is a long one... Emanuel is home to a community of Slonimers and a community of Sefardim - the majority of which are not religious.
There is only one elementary school for girls there -the Beit Yaakov in controversy. Until this law suit came into being, the school had 2 tracks -the religious track which serviced the religious girls i.e. the Slonimers and a handfull of Sefardi girls who are religious - and the non-religious track which serviced the non-religious girls - all of them Sefardim. Both tracks were quite happy with this arrangement.
Mr. Lelom, who receives funding from a extreme left anti-chareidi organization, has no personal interest in Emanuel, as he does not live there nor do his family members. His law suit is motivated by an agenda to vilify charedim as racists, and not at all to promote the interests of the Sefardim in Emanuel. 80% of the parents from the non-religious track signed a petition to stop the lawsuit because they are happy to keep their daughters 'segregated'. The teaching staff for both tracks of the Beit Yaakov consisted of Slonimer mothers - those now going to jail - and so Lelom's victory has left the 'vicitimized' Sefardi girls with no teachers and has done nothing to help their education.
When this lawsuit began, the Slonimer parents consulted with the Slonimer Rebbe who advised them against mixing the tracks and bringing their daughters into contact with mixed dancing, television, treife food, etc etc. The parents sent a request to the bagatz to allow them to explain their position. This request was ignored, and until 1 1/2 months ago, all of the proceedings were based off of information provided by Mr. Lelom.
In the meantime, they took their daughters out of school, and started 'home schooling' them. The week before Lag B'Omer, the Slonimer parents were subpoenaed to court to deal with their 'contempt of court' for not integrating the classes (and for not sending their daughters to a recognized school). In court, the parents explained that their decision to keep the classes separate was not racist - in fact there were Sefardi girls in the religious class! - it was merely a religious matter. One track preferred a sheltered religious approach to education, and the other did not.
One parent - a ZAKA volunteer - went further and said that racism is obviously not part of their lives - when he 'cleans up' after a bombing he cleans up dark skin with the same broken heart that he cleans up white skin. The court was taken aback by hearing this 'new' information and ordered a compromise - that they create an acceptance board with members agreed to by both parties, kick all the girls out of school, re-accept them and place them in an appropriate track via this acceptance board. Lelom did not accept this compromise. And so the parents were again ordered to send their girls to Beit Yaakov and mix the classes.
Despite the fines and threat of jailing, the parents adhered to the Slonimer Rebbe's advice. They were told that the court would not oppose them if they decided to send their daughters to school outside of Emanuel. However, when they arranged for their daughters to attend a chassidish Beis Yaakov in Bnei Brak - the misrad hachinuch threatened to close the school down if they accepted the girls from Emanuel. The court would not allow the Slonimers to open a private school in Emanuel either.
The rest of the Charedi world has joined the Slonimers in this because this case is setting a precedent for the bagatz* (who's wisdom comes from where? This country does not even have a constitution that they can claim to base their decisions on!) to coerce parents in issues regarding the education of their children. The protest today, and the parents' willingness to go to jail, is meant to demonstrate that we chareidim intend to educate our children in the way we chose - under the guidance of our gedolim and NOT under the coercion of the bagatz.
And that we chareidim are willing to make sacrifices to uphold our freedom of religion - freedom to practice Torah true Judaism in this country that calls itself Jewish. The judge (the only Sefardi judge on the bagatz - hmmm... sounds kind of racist....) stated clearly that he sees no reason why a Rabbi's opinion should have any baring once he has made a ruling. And he compared this to the 'separate but equal' and desegragation struggles in the US 50 years ago.
The Slonimers have stated clearly that they answer to G-d alone (not to some arrogant man who believes in judicial activism), and compared this to the sacrifice and triumph of the Chashmonaim when the Greeks tried to undermine their Judaism.
We should be zoche to see Hashem's name sanctified, and raise our children to give Him nachas!
bagatz* an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court
...I thought I would share with you my thoughts and experiences from today as one of the participants in the ma'amad kidush hashem that took place today in Bnei Brak and Yerushalayim. The smallest estimate of total participants that I heard was 300,000, though I have heard people say larger numbers (we'll have to wait to hear the polices official estimates). The Emanuel parents started in Bnei Brak, and continued in Yerushalayim, on their way to turn themselves in to the police.
In light of the great z'chus that they have, to be persecuted for their Judaism, the Slonimer Rebbe ruled that they would walk to prison in full shabbos attire, shtreimel and all, with their heads held high. From where I joined them in Yerushalayim, we started with tehilim, avinu malkeinu, slichos, shma yisroel, hashem melech... etc.
After that Rav Elyashiv's gabbai spoke, followed by Rav David Batzri, a sephardi mekubel. In his speech he said that there has never been any discrimination against Sephardim amongst Torah Observant Jews. All Torah Observant Jews learn the Rambam together with Tosfos, the Beis Yosef with the Rema, the Arizal with Baal HaTanya, and the Mishnah Brurah together with the Ben Ish Chai. He said that discrimination against Sephardim was introduced by the Secular Zionists when they took the yaldei teheran and cut off their peyot and forced upon them the gods of secularism.
After that, one of the parents spoke, Rav Almaliach, a sephardi father who is right now starting his two week sentence for discriminating against sephardim. He told over his conversation with the judge in court before lag b'omer. He said to the Shofet, show me one Sephardi girl who applied to the Chassidic track and was turned down, and I will fight to have the school closed down. Since there was not once any such girl, the Shofet had to admit his error, so he asked Rav Almaliach, where have you been all this time? To which he replied, I filed a petition to be added as a defendant to this case from the beginning, and that petition was denied. And now the Shofet has sent him to prison without bothering to answer any of the legal arguments made by the parents lawyers (like you might expect from a tribunal in Communist Russia). Rav Almaliach went on to tell the world the statistical truth, that 30% of the 43 families of the Chassidic track are Sephardim, and many of them ba'alei Tshuvah. From there, the parade started to the police station, Jews from all the different shades of skin and affiliations, Rabbanim and Admorim, accompanying the parents as they were mekadesh shem shamayim b'rabim.
When we arrived at the police station, the Slonimer Rebbe was allowed past the barriers, as he was to personally accompany each of the prisoners in to custody. The Karliner Rebbe, although he did not have prior clearance to do the same, climbed on the front of his car and jumped over the barrier, after which the police allowed him to stay there. Then the parents started through the crowds, carried on others shoulders, one chossid with one sephardi, taking along also their sons.
As they were carried through the crowd, the chossid would start Shma Yisroel, and after the crowd answered, the Sephardi started Hashem Melech. After the Chossid led the crowd in Hashem hu ha'elokim, the sephardi led ana hashem hoshiya na. After those two prisoners were taken into custody amongst very loud applause, the next set of parents started making their way, in the same fashion. If this kidush hashem didn't show our misguided secular brothers (and misguided people who happen to not be secular like Mr. Lalom), that G-d's people is One Indivisible people, then they must be blind to the truth.
Once the prisoners have been processed in the police station and are ready to be transported to the prison in Ramlah, the Slonimer Rebbe will with G-d's help be traveling behind their transport until the gate of the prison.
I leave you with the words of the Navi, which is the slogan of the parents triumph, "Plan a conspiracy and it will be annulled, speak your piece and it shall not stand, ki Emanuel, for G-d is with US."