The web is my main source of information. My daily material runs the gamut from American and world politics to the news and views of my local Jewish community. In the seven years since I first started using the internet as my primary information source, I have NEVER seen such a strong focus on the Haredi community. From Bet Shemesh through Tal, Deborah Feldman and Pearl Perry Reich we have been in the news all over the world, and not in a good way. Much of what has been spread is a cholent (stew) of lies, half-truths and distortions with almost no decent attempts to set the record straight or at least provide a balanced view of complex communities and issues.
In fact, I spent some time on Google today searching for blogs dedicated to presenting/defending the Haredi point of view and came up with squat. I’m sure there are some out there but they pale in comparison to the number and power of the Haredi-bashers.
Now some of this may be easily understood: Haredim don’t really mix with the “outside world”, so the internet is their opponents’ home turf. I even debated whether starting this blog was a worthwhile pursuit. Judging by the venom and hatred spewed daily by the usual suspects, might this not be a case of “a mitzvah not to say what won’t be listened too”?
But It’s not so simple. There are many, many Haredim who do read the internet (whether we should or not is a topic for another time) and cannot help but be overwhelmed by the sheer negativity directed at them, even from so-called “Frum” (religious) websites
Then there are many innocent bystanders, Jews and non-Jews, who believe what they read on the internet (and send money to Nigerian princes), and absent any readily available countervailing views, assume the consensus they encounter to be true. That they may be seeing one side of the story never enters their mind.
Therefore, this blog. I will use this space to highlight the tremendous amount of good that goes in in Haredi society, while taking on some of the criticisms (and the critics) that have gained currency out there. For those who need controversy to get their blood boiling, yes there will be plenty of that too. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander so let some of the “hockers” (critics) feel a taste of their own medicine.
Haredi society is not perfect nor can it be, for as we all know to be human is to err. However, the vitriol and intolerance directed its’ way is almost unparallelled in the modern Western and Jewish world. I say almost because there is one similar situation that comes to mind: that of Israel vis-a-vis the Palestinians. Haredim are the Jewish world’s Israelis. We are held to a double standard, and are often condemned by the worst practitioners of the evil they decry. This must be fought in every way possible.
To all those who are sick and tired of the smears and the lies and want to lend a hand, contact me and get involved, the more the better!