… starts with the headline: TO MY FELLOW NEW YORK JEWS

Ultraorthodox Jews do not consider themselves your fellow Jews; they consider themselves the only Jews. Why aren’t they part of the painstakingly nondenominational New York Board of Rabbis, composed of every denomination except ultraorthodox? For that matter, why is the entity we’re calling haredi or ultraorthodox strikingly at odds with itself?

Let’s focus our eyes: We’re looking at splintered sects, often mutually contemptuous (they’re not real Jews; we’re the real Jews), and each led by, or in search of, its own authoritarian.


What in the world, for instance, does the undisputed leader of the violent mob the other night, a hero of large parts of his community, Heshy Tischler, represent? In terms of any recognizable, organized, Judaism?

[He] threaten[s] Cuomo that “if you touch my boy Trump, I’m going to put you over my knee, Cuomo, and smack you around like a little girl when you cry”; call[s] Mayor Bill de Blasio an “idiot” (and sometimes “the fuhrer”); call[s] Chirlane McCray, de Blasio’s wife, a “retard woman,” as well as an unclear epithet that was variously heard as racist or merely insulting. Earlier this week, he ginned up a mob to corner an Orthodox reporter, Jacob Kornbluh, calling him an informer…

[I]n 2013, … a judge sentenced him to a year and a day in prison for immigration fraud. Tischler and 11 co-conspirators had been charged with extracting fees from thousands of undocumented immigrants to pretend to employ them at jobs that didn’t exist. (“I love Trump but I still don’t agree with him on immigration,” Tischler says now. “I believe this country should be open to everyone.”) “It is clear in the case of Mr. Tischler that there is a wide disconnect between his acts of religious charity and his views about the need to conform to the laws of civil society,” said the judge, Naomi Reice Buchwald, according to a sentencing document. “Not only did he commit the crimes charged as well as an earlier immigration fraud, but he has built up literally pages and pages of debts and judgments that are recited in the presentence report which can only be understood as reflecting a dismissive view of the obligations of a civil society and perhaps worse.”

… “The community is driven and guided by a combination of paranoia and a desire for full personal autonomy while excluding outsiders, outsider point of view, and that which makes them uncomfortable. Trump validates a lot of their attitudes,” said Menashe Shapiro, a political consultant. “Trump is the cocaine, Tischler is one of the dealers (as are super-right-wing radio, blogs and podcasts). The community are the addicts.”

When Andrew Cuomo identified the source of the violence on the streets of New York, he carefully identified it as ultraorthodox, not orthodox.

If I were an orthodox Jew, I’d be ultrapissed at the tendency of many writers on the issue to use the terms interchangeably.

Trackback URL for this post:

Comment on this Entry

Latest UD posts at IHE