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Friday, October 16, 2020

TURNING BACK: THE PERSONAL JOURNEY OF A “BORN-AGAIN” JEW -- A Lesson of Courage, Determination, and Sheer Smarts - A Must Read For All In These Especially Troublesome Times!

  


TURNING BACK: THE PERSONAL JOURNEY OF A “BORN-AGAIN” JEW

 

 

          Popular media never seem to get their fill of stories about jaded young men and women born into Orthodox Jewish communities who emerge – spiritually deprived and intellectually hungry – into the “normal” world of pop culture, non-marital relationships and complex “gender expression.” Deborah Feldman’s Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots was greeted with ecstatic reviews (notwithstanding the book’s manifest factual problems) and remained so popular that, eight years later, Feldman’s autobiography reappeared as a Netflix miniseries. Shulem Deen likewise found a ready audience for his memoir All Who Go Do Not Return, in which he describes his painful exodus from a Hasidic hell.

          But what about travelers in the opposite direction? Though it’s no secret that a great many Jews raised in secular surroundings have adopted Orthodoxy over the last few decades – the making of B.T.s, or ba’alei t’shuvah (“those who return”) has even been described as a “phenomenon” – their stories, when written at all, are generally addressed to a narrow Orthodox audience and told in such a way that outsiders to that community will not find much of interest in them.

          Michael Lesher’s beautifully-written and provocative memoir, Turning Back: The Personal Journey of a “Born-Again” Jew, is so startlingly different that the book, though easy to love, is not easy to categorize. It’s not a typical “B.T.” book: there’s no cheerleading for Orthodoxy, and no shortage of questions about its culture or the behavior of some of its adherents. On the other hand, Lesher has little patience with secularist dogma, and his skewering of Jewish “liberals” who can tolerate anything except traditional Judaism will not win him many friends among the politically correct. I also doubt that Lesher’s descriptions of his painfully awkward (and sometimes hilarious) experiences with Orthodox dating, sprinkled with sentences like “I was just a Jew with his nose in the Talmud and his imagination in Last Tango in Paris,” are calculated to find admirers for the book in the ArtScroll/Feldheim crowd.

          Turning Back is really what every first-rate book about religious transformation ought to be: intensely personal, rich in human detail, and alive with the tensions of changing lifestyles, personal collisions, doubts, desires, disappointments, surprises – and, among all that, an inner drive to get hold of an elusive reality that only a certain kind of religious life seems to offer.

Those in search of comfortable answers won’t find them here. But Lesher’s journey into Orthodoxy is so full of unforgettable details that the reader is likely to be grateful Lesher’s ride wasn’t easy. In fact, the book contains a kind of metaphor for the journey. On a late-night subway ride over a bridge from Brooklyn into Manhattan, tired and jaded after an unsuccessful date, Lesher watches as the lights of the city below him “leave a tantalizingly abstract pattern of red and white in neon, fireworks accidental in their combinations and all the more astonishing for that.” From the bridge it seems as though “appetite writes itself gorgeously over the depths of river and darkness.” But later, walking through the Lower East Side, Lesher writes, “Now that I’m closer to the city buildings, their beauty when seen from above is gone, and I register the sinister drabness that was masked in shadow in the view from the bridge.” Again and again in Turning Back, Lesher experiences a similar pattern: things lose at least part of their magic as he draws closer to them.

Not all of it, though. Lesher’s enchantment with the Talmud is contagious, as is his fascination with some very unusual people he meets at Ohr Somayach, the B.T. yeshiva where he goes to study in Monsey, New York. (It’s hard to imagine another place where you’d find a Peruvian mindreader, an aging skeptic obsessed with anti-Semitism and a newly-religious Israeli who says, “Business and government in America pollute the ground. Scientists in America pollute the soul” – all in a few short months.)

And Lesher makes it clear that there’s no simple way out either, whatever outsiders may imagine: he has as much trouble with his family during his transition as he does with some of his zealous fellow students. One brother intermarries while Lesher is studying in yeshiva. His father visits him – stirring painful memories of his parents’ divorce. Another brother has become an evangelical Christian. It’s all here: everything that makes contemporary Jewish life so messy, so full of collisions and tangents, and – when seen from the perspective of someone who is both inside and outside the traditionalist camp – so thoroughly uncanny and unpredictable. Lesher gives voice to all of it, and whether you agree or not with all of his personal choices, it’s hard to resist the way he tells the tale.

As it happens, I’ve known Michael Lesher for years, particularly as a campaigner for victims of child sex abuse and as the author of Sexual Abuse, Shonda and Concealment in Orthodox Jewish Communities, the first (and still really the only) book-length analysis of sex abuse cover-ups among Orthodox Jews. In other words, I’ve always known that Michael isn’t afraid to speak his mind and doesn’t hesitate to take up a subject that won’t make his life simpler.

That same spirit is abundantly in evidence in Turning Back. But this isn’t a book of facts and figures, not a collection of essays, not even a provocative treatment of problems in Orthodox Jewish culture. This, in Lesher’s own words, “is a book about life – about my life, to be specific – and not about movements, statistics or trends.” It’s also a book filled with surprises, humor, sadness, sharp insights, and characters that Lesher’s treatment of them renders almost larger than life. And in his extended narrative about the Crown Heights riots of 1991, Lesher manages to combine all of these things into a riveting meditation about life and death, Jews and anti-Semitism, fear and hatred, hope and despair, religion and modern America.

What can I say? No two people can have exactly the same experience of life inside Orthodox Judaism. But whatever you know about that experience, you’ll gain something from seeing it as Lesher sees it. His writing is consistently superb, and some of his insights are so fine I’m tempted to quote bundles of them.

Here’s one that follows an incident where Lesher, heading home late one night, gives five dollars to a Jewish beggar who confronts him on a deserted Manhattan street and then disappears after trying (unsuccessfully) to wangle more money out of him. Lesher writes:

Most money is given to beggars out of cowardice, says Nietzsche. Was I a coward? Needless to say, before my conversion I wouldn’t have dreamed of giving such a creature five dollars. So why had I handed it over now? Had I done it only to prove (to him? To myself? To the invisible eye of Orthodox social opinion, watching at all hours?) that I really had changed – that my new lifestyle was more than a style? Or was I just an ordinary dumbbell, taken in as all dumbbells are taken in?

 

At one level, I guess, the religious life amounts to a new set of devices by which we can be manipulated. And against which we must therefore learn to toughen ourselves. At the risk – it sometimes seems – of losing touch with exactly the fire and tenderness that was behind the appeal of that life in the first place.

 

We want to be saints, and end up as calculating nebbishes. We want to transcend the limitations of ego, and we find ourselves struggling for some way to unscramble our own motives. People who think of Orthodoxy as a simplifying creed have never lived in our skins.

 

No, Orthodoxy – as Lesher sees it – is not a simplifying creed. And Turning Back is not a simplifying book. It’s only a great book. And a book everyone ought to read.

 

The link to the book on Amazon is:

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1947187058?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860

 


12 comments:

Fresser Way or the Highway said...

Schools in New York “red zones,” are supposed to close as the State tries to stop coronavirus.

But in Orthodox Jewish Boro Park, that’s not actually the case.

Defiance of rules to stop the virus — which local leaders vowed such defiance — sets the stage for another clash of the community & authorities. It also fuels ongoing conflict between Gov. Cuomo & Mayor de Blasio over how aggressively to enforce COVID rules.

And it means many kids who live in hotspots are in school, while kids who attend public schools located inside but live in outside areas with low infection rates are not.

In May-June, Hasidic yeshivas quietly reopened despite rules to keep closed. That repeats itself now when yeshivas in Boro Park reopened immediately after Sukkot, even though Cuomo ordered schools remain closed.

Just as in May-June, Jewish schools deploy stealth techniques to disguise they’re operating. Now some schools reopened without attempting to hide at all, with school buses dropping off kids as though nothing happened.

In an innovation, some schools claim to be child care centers, which are not affected by closure orders. De Blasio said Thurs that ambiguity impedes enforcing closure — though Cuomo said Wed such a switch is clearly not permitted.

“Child care facilities have to be licensed & inspected to make sure they follow rules,” Cuomo said. “School is not child care & you fool no one, ‘Oh, they’re not in a school, they’re in a child care.’ Maybe you can fool some people, but you can’t fool the State.”

Not just schools defy rules. A photo circulating shows a sign on a business in Boro Park. “We're closed!”, with a phone #. In Yiddish, the sign has another message: Enter through the side.

A father whose kids attend several Orthodox schools in Boro Park said kids are given a short window in the am to arrive & in the pm to leave, to minimize time kids are seen entering & exiting. When inspectors arrive at one school, the father said kids are brought to one part of the building while inspectors are shown parts that are empty.

A teacher at a girls’ school in Boro Park said the school says it's daycare, even though it enrolls older students & has regular instruction. She said few precautions are taken in the building to prevent the virus.

“No masks, no social distancing & what anyone calls overcrowding in normal times,” she said. She adds girls are told to wear a mask around the neck in case of inspection.

The teacher laments the lesson the defiance sends to students. “They're raising a generation to believe they're above the law, illegality's embraced & all you must do is outsmart non-believers who aren’t as smart or holy as us. This is not the Jewish way,” she said.

NYCDOH didn't respond to repeated questions how many inspections conducted & what was found.

Scrutiny is unwelcome. On Wed, a crowd gathered at a yeshiva to block a journalist from speaking to people. “Get the fake news out,” a man yells in a video by BoroPark24 News. “You anti-Semites, get out! We don’t need you!” yelled another man in the video.

Heshy Tischler, leader of last week’s protests charged with inciting riot & unlawful imprisonment after he led a mob at another journalist, arrived on scene minutes later to cheers.

A parent told Gothamist lack of enforcement meant schools felt they could get away with it.

But Wed, Cuomo signaled he's serious for consequences on schools violating closure. He threatened to withhold funding from schools violating the orders. Private schools receive state funding for an array of services.

“Schools IDed violating closure will be served today with a notice & we withhold funds until resolved to our satisfaction,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo suggests de Blasio & others may be soft-pedaling enforcement for political reasons.

“Enforcement by local governments is very uneven, especially when sensitive. We run into it with very politically powerful ultra-Orthodox groups, don’t kid yourself,” Cuomo said.

Suck it up said...

Government ministers decided Thurs to ease some lockdown restrictions next week, but did not rule on the issue experts believe will determine Israel’s success fighting the virus — localized restrictions on high-infection areas.

The health care community was dismayed the virus cabinet excluded the issue of localized restrictions from its main deliberations.

“If we fail to implement localized lockdowns, we’ll have a lack of options in the future,” Ronit Calderon-Margalit, epidemiologist & adviser to virus czar Ronni Gamzu.

Localized lockdowns are strongly supported by health researchers, but are an explosive issue because most red zones are Haredi & many Haredim say local measures make them feel targeted.

Officials leading the fight vs the virus planned a localized approach last month, as alternative to national lockdown, but was scrapped following Haredi pressure.

Calderon-Margalit, a Hebrew U professor, said not ordering restrictions on red areas in Thurs’s cabinet decision was “an oversight that's really worrisome.”

She suspects some hard-hit areas will partially reopen like the rest of Israel on Sun, or restrictions in high-infection locales will be very minimal.

If this happens, she believes that political pressure will have trumped health concerns.

“My fear is that the govt either doesn’t want to, or can’t force regulations on communities determined not to obey,” she said.

Some Haredim disregard lockdown despite high infection rates, sparking widespread public anger.

Prof. Tomer Hertz, immune system researcher at Ben Gurion U of the Negev, also believes failing to make decisions based on regions could have a high cost.

“If local restrictions don’t happen, we’ll have very similar conversations about high virus rates very soon,” he said.

Bar Ilan U virologist Prof. Ronit Sarid thinks officials have learned from their mistakes exiting the last lockdown, but local restrictions is their Achilles’ heel.

“The exit strategy can't be general,” she said of the cabinet. “You just can’t treat the whole country as one area, you need to evaluate risks in different places. If you talk scientifically, you have to.”

Rebbitzen Temi Kaminetzky said...

Can Litzman send a few Gerrorists over to shut this guy up already? Infuriating how he thinks he can just open his mouth without using our prepared script. He needs to showcase a bunch of smiling Yidden at the height of simchas hachaim, so that everyone thinks catching the virus is m'ain Oylam Habo!

ZAKA chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav spoke about the effects of the coronavirus crisis on the Chareidi sector in Israel in an interview with Arutz Sheva.

“I spend quite a bit of time in hospitals; in fact, I was recently in Hadassah hospital and MOST of the people I saw on the wards there were Chareidim,” Meshi-Zahav said to Arutz Sheva. “I met with families of those who succumbed to the disease, and heard terrible stories of how people were walking around fine one day and then, two days later, they were hospitalized and passed away.”

“This reminds me of the Titanic,” Meshi-Zahav said. “On the one hand, people are dying and on the other hand, there are people just continuing with their daily lives without paying any attention to the problem. We’re forgetting that three people are dying on average per day in Bnei Brak over the last week.”

“It’s very confusing, because what started out as a health issue turned into a sectoral and political issue. Everyone is comparing the Left-wing protests at Balfour to the beach and to the yeshivas… When we see police entering yeshivas and shutting Gemaras of students who were supposed to be in isolation, the community doesn’t gain a favorable impression. But people are paying the price for this attitude. Everyone who works in the Hatzalah organizations and deals with the families themselves discovers more and more people whose lives have been destroyed after a close family member passed away.”

Professor Ryesky said...

My own conjecture is that every religious Jew who goes "off the derech" has been invalidated by a rabbi, lied to by a rabbi, abused by a rabbi, or some functional equivalent thereof.

Whenever one orthodox rabbi misbehaves, it is drek in the faces of all.

UOJ Talmid said...

Something strange has been happening at your blog. Why don’t you post my comments? I don’t think they are offensive or, worse, false. Repeating the Friday one:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Why do you think this is a must-read, Paul? Lesher states that it “is a book about life – about my life, to be specific – and not about movements, statistics or trends.” NOTHING ELSE! And the story with that beggar and Lesher’s own thoughts fully prove it: A typical “convert to Orthodoxy” wants to be a saint but always ends up as a calculating nebbish because the Orthodox society is comprised mostly of criminals. The religious life is simple: If God exists and demands something of you, follow Him. Not modern rabbis, Artscroll/Feldheim, etc. LEARN HEBREW, FOLLOW THE ANCIENT RULES AND DO NOT EXPECT ANYTHING IN RETURN FROM GOD! אל תהיו כעבדים המשמשין את הרב על מנת לקבל פרס The Orthodoxy is like a patient dying from a metastasizing cancer: You can administer opiates that alleviate the condition for a short moment, you can cut off body parts to lengthen the lifespan. But the death is forthcoming and inescapable. Until the contemporary version of Judaism is completely destroyed, you’ll always see gangsters and pedophiles at the Mizrach front. And some variation of your blog, Paul, will always be here....

66th Precinct - Fort Surrender - Israel branch? said...

Ministers voted Fri to open daycare-preschools-kindergartens in Haredi virus hotspots after officials warned not doing so would cause “civil revolt.”

Major-Gen. Roni Numa, leading efforts with coronavirus in the Haredi community & Police Chief Motti Cohen, warn ministers it's impossible to enforce closures, predicting riots & wider unrest if yeshivas are ordered closed, Channel 12 reports.

Numa said lockdown in red areas will be determined by decisions on early childhood ed, the report said.

“It'll help lots to open for ages 0-6,” Numa told ministers during the virus cabinet meeting.

Walla reports Numa calls Haredi red zones “dangerous pressure cookers.” Police say they're “boiling,” there'll be riots if schools don't open.

Defense Minister Gantz: “We expect uniform enforcement in every part of the country.” Health Minister Edelstein: “Make sure yeshivas don't open,” Walla reports.

Numa said Haredi schools already open in violation. Ordering preschools closed will lead to further violations.

“I fear many more will disobey, 10,000s of kids. I’m telling you what'll happen, regardless of govt directive. You think you can act different? Explain how it's possible."

Senior officials told Channel 13 the decision was made to heed Numa as Haredi preschools will open regardless, given refusal by some Haredim to adhere to guidelines.

“Kids would in any case walk the streets,” an official said.

Numa says preschools “relieve pressure” building in Haredi locales.

Numa says 60k Haredi kids will go back in violation of lockdown, out of 200k students in hotspots.

Health officials warn Numa opening schools so quick will lead to resurgence.

“A serious epidemiological risk”: Sharon Preis, head of public health in the Ministry, as per Channel 12.

Channel 13 & Ynet cite health officials, eg virus czar Gamzu, who're livid the virus cabinet’s opening Haredi schools.

An official told Ynet, young kids'll be supervised, not roaming streets.

To remain in lockdown: Bnei Brak, Elad, Beitar Illit, Modiin Illit, Rechasim & several Jerusalem neighborhoods.

Channel 12 reports positives in Haredi red areas remained high Fri. Beitar Illit, 17%; Elad, 15%; Modiin Illit, 14% & Bnei Brak 11%. The national rate stood at 4.5%.

Haredi parties are close allies of Netanyahu & hold sway in the govt.

Decisions to lift restrictions come a week after Simhat Torah, prompting concern outbreaks in Haredi areas, with gatherings common & numerous violations recorded, may not yet be reflected in data.

According to reports, it was also agreed to open Haredi yeshivas next week with “capsules”.

Netanyahu said lockdown exit is slow, restriction rollback will halt if infections spike.

Stats: 300,000+ cases since the pandemic, 37,249 active. 714 in serious condition, 244 ventilated. 219 moderate, the rest mild / no symptoms. 1,227 hospitalized. Death toll 2,141 Fri eve, up 7.

Bunch of Losers said...

When de Blasio was cheerleading last week that infections were going down in the red zones, I was a little skeptical how could it be so soon. I was worried because the Fressers, Satmar & Bobov 45 were all herding everyone they could who will surely test negative to dilute the percentages, they must be succeeding in false manipulation.

But no! de Blasio lied! And the infections are so pervasive that the Fresser alliance fell flat on their food stuffed faces!

The State announced that both the Brooklyn & Rockland percentages WENT UP SIGNIFICANTLY just from Wednesday to Thursday!

This is why Sruli Reisman is leading the new Agudah binge announced last night that the Fresser effort to mass test all the sure negatives will be doubled & tripled.

There was also an illogical Fresser blurb that while they continue to sue & hurl insults at Cuomo, they will try "outreach" to him to beg rachmonnus. What a "strategy"!

Yanky Kanievsky said...

Philly say I get an extra Scooby snack if I pull this off!

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky has ordered Haredi yeshivas to reopen Sunday, though it continues to be prohibited under lockdown meant to curb spread of COVID.

In response, Prime Minister Netanyahu called on Haredim to “not do this.”.

Speaking in a televised press conference, Netanyahu said: “I ask Haredim not to do this. I ask the leaders not to do this. Not to violate the rules. The Torah sanctifies life. Doing this endangers life.”

Netanyahu said authorities will enforce restrictions as much as possible. “We'll employ legal means in accordance with our abilities,” said the PM, adding that there's a limited number of officers & they “can't be deployed on every street.”

Rabbi Kanievsky, 92, who is himself infected with the virus, handed down the order Saturday after no agreement was reached over the past week for reopening yeshivas, reported Behadrei Haredim. He called to limit the number of pupils per room, according to Ynet.

Kanievsky, a leader of a non-Hasidic Lithuanians, ordered yeshivas to reopen earlier this week, but later reversed course.

Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, another prominent leader, said students should continue distance learning, Ynet reported.

Edelstein has in recent days taken on the role of “the responsible adult” in the community, standing firm in insisting all institutions comply with virus regulations.

Israel’s schools have been shuttered for almost a month, since the country entered a second lockdown on September 18 to try to curb surging COVID-19 infection rates, which have been disproportionately high in the ultra-Orthodox community.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz also called on Haredim to follow virus rules, but didn’t directly mention Rabbi Kanievsky.

“There can’t be two states. No group or person in Israel is above the law — no one,” he tweeted.

Gantz called on Haredi leaders to instruct followers adhere to guidelines, citing pikuach nefesh, the Jewish religious imperative to save lives.

He stressed that most Israelis — including Haredim — have followed the rules.

Philly gets Results said...

100s of Haredi elementary yeshivas with 10,000s of students opened Sun in open defiance of restrictions.

Institutions for boys grades 1-8, most in red zones, opened in widescale rebellion vs Prime Minister Netanyahu, some Bnei Brakers expressing fury to the PM, saying they’ll join widespread protests for him to resign.

Several politicians, called for institutions flouting rules to lose public funding.

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, a top rabbi of non-Hasidic Lithuanians, ordered they reopen.

Many Haredi yeshivas open Sun are in virus hotspots Bnei Brak, Beitar Illit, Modiin Illit, Elad, Rechasim & Jerusalem neighborhoods Ramat Shlomo, Ramat Eshkol, Maalot Dafna & Kiryat Mattersdorf.

Virus czar Ronni Gamzu issued a specific warning.

“Opening the education system in violation is dangerous & against the law.”

It didn’t help. Those open are mainstream Haredi, not only extremists that normally flout rules & clash with authorities.

Kids & teenagers, boys & girls, Hasidic & Lithuanian all were going back to their yeshivas in Bnei Brak, Modiin Illit, Beitar Illit & high-infection areas in Jerusalem. Channel 12 estimates 40,000 boys in breach of rules.

Institutions of Sephardi Haredim remained closed, as did those of some major Hasidic sects ie Gur.

Police were seen outside some institutions that opened, but didn't appear to take action.

Police said principals in Modiin Illit & Beitar Illit were fined NIS 5,000 ($1,480) @ & more principals were summoned to police for fines.

Cops ordered principals to close the schools & send students home, adding talks are being held with mayors & chief rabbis of those towns.

Police rescued journalists surrounded while filming the schools, with dozens of young people cursing them & throwing rocks & eggs at their car.

A Channel 12 reporter aired footage from the incident in Beitar Illit, accusing police of telling him his media coverage is provocation, ordering him to leave.

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, from Netanyahu’s Likud, said the govt should defund yeshivas systematically violating health rules.

“Haredi violations are very concerning & cost dearly,” he told Kan. “Cities with rising infections will be locked down. A month ago there were 12 Haredi cities classified red & now just 4. The majority adheres to the rules.”

Science Minister Izhar Shay of Blue & White told Kan “they shouldn't be funded.”

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid also said funding should be removed from Haredi violators.

Some Bnei Brakers contacted "Black Flag", which leads weekly anti-Netanyahu protests & asked to join the demonstrations, according to Ynet. 100s of flags have been sent to the city & chapters are being opened.

“It's time Haredim oust Netanyahu. We protected him for years yet he targets us,” said resident Shlomo Klein. “All lockdowns are on Haredim, all definitions of red directed vs Haredim.

“It's nothing to do with infection. This is 3x we crowd buildings 50 together & that needs special treatment, but Netanyahu's busy giving media statements instead of the problem. The easiest thing is to blame Haredim. We're fed up.”

Agudah Fresser Papal infallibility Complex said...

Defying the law, a leading Haredi legislator told Prime Minister Netanyahu Haredim don't agree to close schools that opened illegally Sunday, including in high-infection areas, endangering advances in fighting the pandemic.

UTJ-Agudah’s Moshe Gafni “made clear” to Netanyahu a demand Haredi children be allowed at school — despite fears the education system is a major medium to spread the virus.

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, a top rabbi of non-Hasidic Lithuanians, instructed defiance of govt decisions, leading 100s of yeshivas to illicitly open Sunday.

“We don't believe error will come from the greatest of his generation,” Gafni said in reference to Kanievsky. “We're charting an agreed-upon solution to reduce number of kids in classrooms & studies in largeer rooms while keeping to guidelines.”

There's no comment from Netanyahu, who pleaded with Haredim not to open yeshivas.

Health Minister Edelstein warns of “heavy fines” & revocation of licenses.

“No one gave authorization,” Edelstein said in a press conference at Ariel. “Whoever does this is to receive heavy fines, revocation of license & funding. Remember a simple rule. Something not right endangers himself, but he doesn't need to be an example to others.”

Edelstein reached out to Attorney General Mandelblit to withhold funds from violators & added he's very aware an NIS 5,000 ($1,480) fine is inconsequential to large institutions, “so I expect police to continue issuing fines if they don't close.”

Netanyahu said enforcement will be stepped up: “we give out fines where needed. We're in the midst of the great success of lockdown. Understand we act for the health of all Israel. We achieve this only through increasing discipline.

Also Sunday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with mayors of Haredi Bnei Brak, Elad & Modiin Illit.

Gantz expects the red towns “to do everything to ensure the public keeps to health regulations. There can't be 2 nations in Israel. It's dangerous medically & socially.”

Sunday saw 301 new cases by 7 pm. Total cases at 303,109, 32,805 active.

The death toll is at 2,209, an increase of 11.

Many Haredim continue to believe they're unfairly targeted by Netanyahu. Positive tests among the ultra-Orthodox have been substantially higher than among the general population.

Anonymous said...

Three advisers to virus czar Ronni Gamzu, threaten to resign in outrage over the illegal opening of 100s of Haredi yeshivas on Sunday, Channel 12 reports.

The network said Gamzu is making great efforts to dissuade the 3, cognizant of public reaction to 3 members of his team quitting at once. Gamzu warned in internal meetings Sunday that opening yeshivas would destroy public trust in carefully exiting lockdown.

Channel 12 further reports Gamzu & other experts strongly oppose considering any further easing of restrictions at this time, which could lead to large gatherings & increased virus spread.

Major-General Roni Numa, who led official efforts vs the virus in the Haredi community, said Sunday any institutions breaking rules “are in danger of legal process against them, as well as a revocation of license & funding.”

Anonymous said...

Why do you think this is a must-read, Paul? Lesher states that it “is a book about life – about my life, to be specific – and not about movements, statistics or trends.” NOTHING ELSE! And the story with that beggar and Lesher’s own thoughts fully prove it: A typical “convert to Orthodoxy” wants to be a saint but always ends up as a calculating nebbish because the Orthodox society is comprised mostly of criminals. The religious life is simple: If God exists and demands something of you, follow Him. Not modern rabbis, Artscroll/Feldheim, etc. LEARN HEBREW, FOLLOW THE ANCIENT RULES AND DO NOT EXPECT ANYTHING IN RETURN FROM GOD! אל תהיו כעבדים המשמשין את הרב על מנת לקבל פרס The Orthodoxy is like a patient dying from a metastasizing cancer: You can administer opiates that alleviate the condition for a short moment, you can cut off body parts to lengthen the lifespan. But the death is forthcoming and inescapable. Until the contemporary version of Judaism is completely destroyed, you’ll always see gangsters and pedophiles at the Mizrach front. And some variation of your blog, Paul, will always be here....