Saturday, February 1, 2014

J.Post January 27 REPRINT: The True Religious Jews of Beit Shemesh


Editor's Note: The following letter was published to the blog on October 25th. You can see the original here. Due to recent devlopments -- and after some serious lobbying by the author -- the editors of the Jerusalem Post finally understood the timeless relevance and everlasting meaning of the letter and decided to print it with regards to an article written precisely one month after the letter in question had already reacted.

beit shemesh religious jews zionists

Sir, – With regard to “Supreme Court hears arguments over fate of Beit Shemesh election” (January 24), my son and his family are residents of the area designated Ramat Beit Shemesh Alef.

He and his wife are religious Zionists and totally observant.

They made the conscious, deliberate decision to raise their family in a pluralistic religious community comprising haredim, religious Zionists and secular Jews in the hope and intent of building a healthy and vibrant Israeli society wherein the various components might learn to appreciate and respect the other and thus strengthen the ties that bind us all. Sadly, 14 years later there is almost no one left of the secular segment, mainly due to the fact that the haredi world does not share their view and in no way encourages the tolerance necessary toward its realization.

The usually meticulous standards of haredi religious observance seem to totally disappear when engaged in a bitterly contested mayoralty election, when ethics, morality, civility, truth and honorable behavior can be easily exchanged for deception, lies, name-calling and totally irreligious behavior, even when facing the ubiquitous portrait of the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. Is not the portrait of this Torah giant being debased when it is exploited for partisan political purposes? The incumbent mayor had signs stating that “true religious Jews vote Abutbul.” Who are they? Do they dress in black garb and get arrested for the use of fraudulent identity cards in order to elect a “religious” candidate? Or is it my son, a practicing attorney and graduate of a hesder yeshiva who, while strict in his religious observance, continues to volunteer in the IDF reserves even though long-finished with his obligations as a reservist, and strives in all his endeavors to bring honor to God’s name?

ZEV CHAMUDOT
Petah Tikva


[Image credit: Wikimedia user DustinRoyer]


Below is the email correspondence between Zev Chamudot and the editor of the Jerusalem Post that took place a month ago.  

From: ChamudotZH
To: Jerusalem Post Letters
Sent: Friday, 27 December, 2013 09:06

Sir, In view of the recent court decision concerning the need to conduct new elections in Bet Shemesh, I feel that the letter that I sent to the Jerusalem Post on 29 October is even more appropriate now!

Zev Chamudot



From: letters@jpost.com
To: ChamudotZH
Sent: Saturday, 28 December, 2013 18:29

It is! Unfortunately, you appeared on the 26th, and I am doing my best to stick to a policy of waiting at least 21 days between letters, and, where possible, 28. Please keep this in mind when writing. I have to admit that it breaks my heart (I mean this seriously) when I have to pass on one of your letters. Shavua tov.

Lawrence Rifkin
Senior Editor
Letters Editor
The Jerusalem Post



From: ChamudotZH
To: Jerusalem Post Letters
Sent: Saturday, 28 December, 2013

Shalom Lawrence,
Thank you for your very warm and thoughtful response, it is very much appreciated! Frankly however, I would forgive you if you did break your rule as I think the message is both timely and important. I also however, want  to repeat my earlier expression of appreciation for your considerate response.

Thank you,
Zev Chamudot



From: letters@jpost.com
To: ChamudotZH
Sent: Saturday, 28 December, 2013 21:34

I'm sure you'd forgive me. Other letter writers would be less forthcoming.

Lawrence Rifkin
Senior Editor
Letters Editor
The Jerusalem Post