Meet Cindy—R. Shafran on the Israel draft situation
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- This topic has 40 replies, 18 voices, and was last updated 9 years, 9 months ago by rabbiofberlin.
June 26, 2013 1:25 pm at 1:25 pm #609797
Although Cindy does some sales work from her computer at home, her income is insufficient to cover the monthly mortgage payments for her small home and food and clothing for her family. Until now, though, she has managed to make ends meet, with the help of various social safety-net needs-based programs like WIC and food stamps.
Cindy, of course, and her troubles, are hypothetical. Our country still extends a generous safety net to its neediest citizens, and the mortgage interest deduction is alive and well. Children are not forced into any educational program and can even be home-schooled. But can you relate to how hypothetical Cindy would feel if the nightmare scenario were in fact real? If so, then you might better appreciate how charedim in Israel are feeling these days.
But every compassionate country recognizes the rightness of assisting the poor. And a country that calls itself the Jewish one, it can well be argued, has a special responsibility to underwrite the portion of its populace that is willfully destitute because of its dedication to perpetuating classical Judaism (which, as it happens, is what kept the connection between Jews in the Diaspora and their ancestral land alive for millennia, and allowed for a state of Israel in the first place).
Cindy would relate.
Read more: http://www.cross-currents(dot)com
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution
I was wondering what you thought about R. Shafran’s latest essay to “convince” us that the Charaidim should be supported. Unfortunately, if anything it convinces me the opposite. “Cindy” (as any yeshiva administrator will tell you), has no right to be a “stay at home mother” and have others pay her tuition. She should be going to work. In truth, that was the “workfare” argument of the 1990’s, and was decided convincingly by all facets of the American politic.
Furthermore, the status of “single motherhood” has to be questioned. Where is the father? Was she irresponsible in having such children (perhaps as a single) in the first place? Is the father no longer alive, and did not have life insurance?
Similar with the Charaidim. (Assuming they are “poor by choice” (which may not be true)), the state has no reason to support them. In addition, it is their own “fault” that they are addicted to government funding, and now are threatened when it may be removed (this is the Brisker/Satmer argument, even if you don’t hold of their shittah).
I would like to hear your thoughts.June 26, 2013 2:12 pm at 2:12 pm #962284DaMosheParticipant
gavra, I agree with you. Cindy needs to go find a job – as do Chareidim.June 26, 2013 2:34 pm at 2:34 pm #962285
There is no right to opt out of “the economy.” Everyone has hard choices to make whether Haredi, conservative christian, secular, etc.
Its not even a question of a legal right. It just can’t be done.June 26, 2013 2:50 pm at 2:50 pm #962286
Some additional info from R. Shafran’s blog:
[recognized spiritual leaders] for.
In the end, whatever my natural personal view, my emunas chachamim [trust in the judgment of the wise]
So he personally disagrees with the path chosen in EY, but none the less supports it (any tries to convince others!) since it has the support of the Gedolim.
This is being very honest. If you are reading this R. Shafran, Yasher Koach.June 26, 2013 2:53 pm at 2:53 pm #962287derbtzinMember
A) R. Shafran is not making a case for Chareidim. He is making a case for community support of the poor from all religions, races, creeds, colors and genders. Let’s not misrepresent his intents.
B) A mother has every natural right to be a stay-at-home mother. Blazes, we should support moms staying at home and being with their children providing a loving, nurturing, wholesome upbringing. We certainly should not reduce benefits to the poor to discourage stay at home moms! Staying at home is the most natural thing for a mom to do for her kids.
C) I agree with you that “single motherhood” is an unnatural and undesirable situation that should not be encouraged and should not have even been used as an example by R. Shafran.
D) The Charadim are not “poor by choice”. And it is most unfortunate that you perpetuate that libel by even referencing that idea. Since you are speaking of the situation in Israel, it must be stated that they are given the unpalatable options of either joining an army they are theologically opposed to or being barred from legally working. They will not surrender their religious principles against joining the military there. The solution is to allow them to work before age 26.June 26, 2013 3:08 pm at 3:08 pm #962288popa_bar_abbaParticipant
I agree with you. Not a very convincing article.June 26, 2013 3:15 pm at 3:15 pm #962289yytzParticipant
R’ Slifkin’s blog analyzes the Cindy analogy in considerable detail — worth reading if you’re interested in thinking through the arguments on either side.June 26, 2013 3:35 pm at 3:35 pm #962290
Based on yytz’s suggestion, I read R’Slifkin’s blog. Very good response. Straightforward, plain and hard to refute.June 26, 2013 3:36 pm at 3:36 pm #962291Sam2Participant
I’m not commenting on the whole situation, but I just want to point out that according to this analogy the Chareidim (Cindy) are saying that they don’t care if everyone else starves so long as they barely have enough to live on. That’s not a good argument to make.June 26, 2013 3:43 pm at 3:43 pm #962292
THis is one of the most disingenuous comments made by a partisan hack. First of all, the poor in israel continue to get their welfare checks and chareidi poor are as entitled to it as others. It is the EXTRA money given to the self-declared poor that is at stake here. To imply-as he does- that it is a very special class that” is dedicated to perpetuaing classcial Judaism” and therefore entitled to special attention, is a slap in the face to all ORTHODOX jews throughout the globe who also dedicate themselves to perpetuate classical Judaism. WHAT? Oonly the chareidim kollel guys are Jews? This part of his comments is despicable, in addtion to the other critiques made by other posters.June 26, 2013 3:47 pm at 3:47 pm #962293yytzParticipant
It’s not exactly related to the Cindy article, but R’ Alderstein’s article on the whole situation on Cross Currents is worth reading too. There and in his other writings, he comes off as a very moderate and reasonable observer of events in Israel.June 26, 2013 3:49 pm at 3:49 pm #962294â˜• DaasYochid â˜•Participant
There are holes in the analogy. I guess it’s hard to argue a position you don’t really agree with.
Derbtzin’s point “D” is crucial to the discussion, and I don’t think Cindy can relate.
The other point that needs to be mentioned is that it’s been claimed (I don’t know details) that the cuts are so abrupt and severe that they’re obviously designed to be punitive rather than to rehabilitate.June 26, 2013 3:52 pm at 3:52 pm #962295
A) Let’s call a spade a spade. R. Shafran is not making a case for supporting anyone other than Charaidim.
B)Sure she has the right. She also has the right to starve and have her children taken into protective services (or be inducted as an apprentice into a guild as a “scholarship boy”) since the parent doesn’t feed them.
D) Agreed that is the issue, not to the theological view. Which is why R’ Shafran’s argument is flawed.June 26, 2013 3:58 pm at 3:58 pm #962296akupermaParticipant
Consider the world in 1913 (one hundred years ago, the last full year before “everything changed”). Look at the standard of living typical of Jews, whether the highly materialistic ones on the Lower East Side of New York, or the ones concentrating on Torah in Yerusalayim (then a provincial backwater in the Ottoman Empire). By those standards, is anyone in Israel or the United States really POOR. Today’s paupers live better than many middle class people of a century ago. They eat better. Have more room to live. Have healthier and better tasting food. Have air conditioning. Have access to medical care that would have been the stuff of science fiction a century ago. Face it – we are RICH, all of us. Stop whining.June 26, 2013 3:59 pm at 3:59 pm #962297â˜• DaasYochid â˜•Participant
Sam, not benefiting the economy is not synonymous with making everyone else starve.June 26, 2013 4:04 pm at 4:04 pm #962298Sam2Participant
DY: Fair enough. I read the first few sentences of the third paragraph wrong. Oops.June 26, 2013 4:22 pm at 4:22 pm #962299
I don’t really Cindy doing anything other than saying I’m going to do whatever I want, and others will provide for me. No society can function that way.June 26, 2013 5:25 pm at 5:25 pm #962300
silly. a very nice chunk of chareidim want to go work. they legally cannot. what shaychis.June 28, 2013 1:17 am at 1:17 am #962301
Toi: the point isn’t whether the chareidim are right or not. The point is that R Shafran’s comparison is not a particularly fitting or good one.June 28, 2013 1:49 am at 1:49 am #962302rebdonielMember
His claim that Haredi Judaism is Classical Judaism is outright intellectual dishonesty.June 28, 2013 4:32 am at 4:32 am #962303
Cindy would lose a lot of empathy if her belief system saw the USA as an illegitimate State.June 28, 2013 6:28 am at 6:28 am #962304
writer- and when i wrote what shaychis, i clearly meant to say it was a good comparison.June 28, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm #962305
Will Cindy be proud when her sons join the USA armed forces?June 28, 2013 1:29 pm at 1:29 pm #962306
But even by your rationale it’s not. You’re saying that they CANNOT work. R Shafran says that Cindy DOESN’T WANT TO work.
Your situation will attract a lot more sympathizers than Cindy’s.June 29, 2013 7:59 pm at 7:59 pm #962307
i was being sarcastic. youre saying exactly what i meant from the beginning.June 30, 2013 3:02 am at 3:02 am #962308
Okay, my mistake.
This just brings me back to what I’ve believed for a long time- the internet needs a sarcasm button.
Or a sarcasm face or something. We’ve got :), :(, :D- what’s a good mouth shape for sarcastic?June 30, 2013 3:00 pm at 3:00 pm #962309JustARegularJewParticipant
The government’s use of the economy as a justification for this fight is simply deception at its best. This is about “sharing the burden” of army service and nothing more. That may or may not be a reasonable argument, but that’s the only argument to have.
It’s the government’s own policy which prevents people from working legally until they have finished army service that locks the chareidi community into lifelong learning and rampant poverty. Equate intensive Torah study for 3-4 years post high school with army service, and allow those completing such programs the legal right to work, and you will take huge strides towards minimizing dramatically the economic problems.
But, as I said, at best this is about sharing the burden of army service.
That said, the government’s historic and continued unwillingness to address the reasonable issues the chareidi community has with the negative spiritual/religious environment today’s Israeli army creates makes me wonder if this is more about a different battle altogether.June 30, 2013 3:26 pm at 3:26 pm #962310
Does Cindy’s church pray for the welfare of the US government and its armed forces?June 30, 2013 3:33 pm at 3:33 pm #962311
Cindy is home schooling her kids. Good. That saves the local governments real money. Is she teaching her kids the skills they will need to get good jobs in the workplace?June 30, 2013 3:47 pm at 3:47 pm #962312jewishfeminist02Member
Josh31, Cindy is not homeschooling her kids. She is a stay-at-home mom, but she doesn’t homeschool. Maybe you were confused by this passage:
“Cindy, of course, and her troubles, are hypothetical. Our country still extends a generous safety net to its neediest citizens, and the mortgage interest deduction is alive and well. Children are not forced into any educational program and can even be home-schooled.”
This was referring to the “junior civil service program” forced upon Cindy’s kids, which is clearly extracurricular. There was no indication that she homeschooled them.June 30, 2013 3:55 pm at 3:55 pm #962313
Josh, and one further point: Cindy’s government isn’t attempting to oppress her religious practices.June 30, 2013 4:22 pm at 4:22 pm #962314rkefratParticipant
the reason that the chareidim cant work is simple. in order to avoid the army they claim that they are learning full time. if you are learning full time then you cant work because you dont have time and if you arent learning full time and have time to work then you are lying. you cant have it both ways. I dont feel like paying taxes either – see how far that argument goesJune 30, 2013 4:28 pm at 4:28 pm #962315
So let the Chareidim work full time without going to the army, and they’ll pay taxes on their income. This way they won’t have to claim they are learning if they aren’t, they’ll be able to work and pay taxes, and it’s a win-win for all sides.June 30, 2013 4:38 pm at 4:38 pm #962316
shikron and AregularJew: You turn to simple slogans and you wrong on both. It isabout army service but it is also about the financial drain that the present system imposes on the klal. As far as the army service, why shouldn’t chareidm serve in the army? It is not their country? Their families don’t need the protection? Of course, they do and there should be a system that aloows the chareidim to serve in the army. The financial aspect is more immediate: the present system cannot continue as is. If the chareidim don’t want to join the system ,then the government should not finance them.June 30, 2013 5:07 pm at 5:07 pm #962317
rob: I addressed the financial aspect in my comment above. Let them work without army service and they will pay taxes? What more can you ask for from a financial standpoint? The reason they currently don’t contribute as much as the can financially, is since it is illegal for them to work until 27 without army service. Remove that obstacle and you will see a lot more of Chareidim working on the books.
As far as your second point, they have a concientous objection to army service in Israel based on sincerely held religious principles. Much as the Mennonites do in America and are therefore exempt based upon. And you are not to judge what their religious beliefs are; that is their perogitive. And you cannot force them to violate their religious beliefs by serving.June 30, 2013 5:23 pm at 5:23 pm #962318akupermaParticipant
Allowing hareidim (masculine intended, hareidi women are already allowed to work) to work without serving in the army and/or recognizing conscientious objection based on halacha (which is certainly relevant for anti-zionist such as Satmar and Toldos Aharon, and indeed, all groups insisted with the two Eidah Hareidi groups) would be an admission by the zionists that there haskafa may not be 100% in accordance with Jewish tradition – and they aren’t willing to do that. Exempting hareidim on the theory they were too busy learning was a way to avoid confronting the issue, but that is seriously uneconomical and greatly annoys the hilonim.
And to a certain extent, the hilonim are saying that they’ve been told to worship the idol of zionist nationalism, and substitute belief in conquest of Eretz Yisrael for any sort of belief in Ha-Shem, Torah, or even basic morality — and exempting hareidim from worshiping this idol suggests that perhaps the zionist avodah is really an avodah zarah.June 30, 2013 5:28 pm at 5:28 pm #962319
ROB- ironicaly, statistics show that chareidim actually are the only class/sect in israeli society that pays more in taxes than they recieve. before you blurt out some dumb idea that im lying and full of baloney, go google it.June 30, 2013 9:42 pm at 9:42 pm #962320
Toi- I don’t believe your figures. You better show me where that is mentioned.
shikron- actually, you and I and some very senior people in the government agree. Allow all the chareidim above a certain age (say 28) to work without going to the army and eliminate all extra financial support to the chareidi Tsibur. Your problem is that the Rabbonim of the chareidim will fight that too, because they would lose all their power and influence and lose jobs. Do you know how many jobs there are today in kollels and other yeshiva bodies? This would be drastically reduced if chareidim would be allowed to go to work- because they would leave kollel en masse.The problem is that the chareidi “tsibbur’ has been cossetted by all governments for the last sixty years and they are ill prepared to enter the work force. Only a drastic change can bring this about and the fight aganst ANY move cutting funds or to introduce a modicum of secular studies stands inthe way.
This is a fight that will not end well for anyone.June 30, 2013 9:44 pm at 9:44 pm #962321
shikron: to your second point, conscientious objectors are not free from any duty,they are just exempt from active army duty. They are medics, computer operators and other non-military functions. Will you allow ther chareidim to be drafted for these other posts?June 30, 2013 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm #962322
rob: I suggested they be allowed to work at 18, not 28, without army service. They already under current law can work from 26 or 27 even if they illegally skipped the army. And no one can fight lowering the work age. If they passed a new law allowing people to work at age 18 without having served in the army — with no other provisions — there’s nothing anyone can fight. What will any rabbonim say? That the government must make it illegal to work between ages 18 and 27? That’s silly.
Regarding the second point, Bennet and Lapid’s plans do NOT allow anyone to choose non-military service instead of army service. They both insist there only be a very limited number of non-military service positions to replace army service (and extremely insufficient for how many Chareidim would choose that option) PLUS they insist that only the army can choose who the lucky few who will be offered that option. IOW, a Chareidi concientous objector whose religious beliefs preclude him from serving in the zionist military (Brisk, Satmar, Toldos Ahron, Eida Chareidus, etc.) may not even be allowed that option!June 30, 2013 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm #962323
shikron: as far as lowering the age to 18- well, I will tell you that I would oppose this. Why should other 18 year olds haver to go three years to the army and the chareidim nothing? that will not fly. as per your second point- we are now in a give and take situation-There has been nothing given b ythe chareidim- they are fighting every possible change tooth and nail and by doing this, they weaken many of their supporter’s hands- for now, the “other’ side plays hardball the same as the chareidi side plays hardball. There should be acomproimse somewhere but i don’t see it yet.
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