Emanuel Parents Threatening to Leave the Community


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It appears that at least some of the families boycotting the Emanuel Beis Yaakov are unwilling to comply with a High Court of Justice order to desegregate the school, and realizing a subsequent court decision will soon result in a NIS 200 daily fine against parents, they are contemplating relocating to another community. They explain the government cannot dictate how they will educate their children and what rules will apply surrounding chareidi chinuch.

Speaking to Israel Radio on Thursday morning, former High Court Justice Mishael Cheshin explained that “What we are seeing here is a product of the past”, explaining the chareidim are “too accustomed to getting their way”, citing the Bar Ilan Street shabbos conflict and deferments from IDF service as two examples.

Yated on erev Shavuos published a letter from HaGaon HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz Shlita, expressing his objections to the High Court’s rulings. The Rav states the court can send parents to prison, but it cannot compel them to change their lifestyle, beliefs and way of life.

The court’s ruling has left many angered in addition to questioning the court’s agenda, the harsh fines imposed on parents and Chinuch Atzmai, viewed as an unprecedented move towards introducing the court’s influence in chareidi chinuch.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)


  1. I think they need to remember the Golden Rule.

    The one who has the Gold makes the Rules.

    It may not be exactly right but it is the absolute truth.

    I wish I could find sympathy but it would seem that reality dictates a compromise is in order.

  2. #1 So when the Islamics and their population bomb takes over the world and demands everyione become Muslim or be persecuted as an infidel, what ‘compromise’ do you think they will accept?

    If the mafia was running things, which crimes would you be willing to commit for them, as part of your ‘compromise’ philosophy?

  3. aml: You would not or should not compromise on your children’s chinuch either! Just because the government has money, can they force you to send your daughters to a chassidishe school if you are Modern Orthodox or the reverse if you are chassidish? In Yerushalayim there is a Chinuch Atzmai Beis Yaakov Chassidi while there are other Beis Yaakovs in the area. Chassidish parents who want to give their daughters a Chassidish chinuch send there while others (Litvish-Ashkenazi, plenty of other Chassidish parents and Sefaradi) send to general Beis Yaakovs. No one says boo and everyone has free choice. How can the government penalize parents and force them to send to a particular local school? This is unprecedented! A number of years ago, some parents who were very unhappy with their local Beis Yaakov established a private competing school. Parents were able to excercise free choice and they did: some stayed in the old school, some sent to the new private school, while others sent their daughters to Beis Yaakovs in other neighborhoods. These other Beis Yaakovs had no trouble accepting the children who switched out; parents and schools were not taken to court. It makes no sense at all. Do you want Big Brother Obama’s government to control your private life and personal decisions? Please have some sympathy for Jewish parents who are being treated in a way that you would never be able to stomach.

  4. Setting a precedent for Judicial Activism in the Israeli Educational System:

    The case of Beis Yaakov Chasidi, Emanuel, Israel.

    The Beis Yaakov Chasidi was founded in 2007, the small town of Emanuel, Israel, as a stricter alternative to the original Beis Yaakov. Two of its founders were Rav Ba’adani of Bnei Brak and Rav Bar Lev, Rabbi of Emanuel. It is an entirely new school, with its own principal and staff, located in the top floor of the original Beis Yaakov that used to belong to the high school before the high school got its own building.

    Upon its opening, activist Yoav Lallum, who does not reside in Emanuel, and funded by the New Israel Fund, sued the school for ethnic discrimination, claiming that this was a school for Ashkenazi students only.

    Shulamit Amichai, the mankal of the ministry of Education in 2007, sent attorney Mordechai Bass to investigate the situation here. His conclusion was that the new school was based on religious differences and not on ethnic differences. He also noted that every single family who applied to the school was accepted. Since there was no rejection, he concluded, how can there be discrimmination?

    30% of the girls attending Beis Yaakov Chasidi are Sephardic, not including those of blended heritage. 20% of the students in the original Beis Yaakov are Ashkenazi, again, many have blended heritage.

    The guiding principles of our community are the various philosophies within it, not heritage. The leaders of the Beis Yaakov Chasidi really did not know or care who was Sephardic, Ashkenazic, newly religious, religious for generations, until this issue hit the news and they had to answer this question.

    The parents of the girls in the Beis Yaakov Chasidi who happen to be Sephardic petitioned to meet with the Supreme Court Judge Levi during the initial phases. He refused to meet with them. The very first time the judge met with the parents was on April 29 2010.

    On that court day, April 29, Judge Levi ordered representatives of the Beis Yaakov Chasidi to work out a compromise with the plaintiffs. That means that Yoav Lallum, funded by the NIF, was to be involved in the forming of the school’s rules.

    Would you like an apparently religious person, funded by an anti-religious movement, to be deciding the rules in your orthodox school? What credentials does Lallum have to be doing this?

    He opposes the top button of the blouse to be closed. How is that racist?

    And since no “agreement” has been reached, unlikely when working with an anti-religious activist, on May 17 Judge Admon Levi ordered all the girls to return to school and all be in the same classes. He also ordered that the Sephardic and Ashkenazi girls will have two separate tracts for prayer and halacha class. The Beis Yaakov Chasidi will close, only the original Beis Yaakov will exist.

    But in then original Beis Yaakov, the girls have always prayed together, Sephardic liturgy. And there were not separate halacha classes for Sephardim and Ashkenazim, all the girls learned the entire spectrum of halacha. Ironically, the Supreme Court is making its own “separation” that the original Beis Yaakov and Chassidic Beis Yaakov never did.

    But more importantly – and here is where I am reaching out for your help – where does the Israeli Supreme Court base its right to alter nuances in school curriculum? How can Judge Levi decide that there will be separate tracts for Ashkenazi and Sephardic students in prayer and Jewish Law – a separation that this community itself does not recognize?

    The day after the hearing on April 29 2010, the Israeli newpapers carried the following headline, “Discrimmination with the (approval) of the Supreme Court.” Yoav Lallum, The NIF, and the anti-religious sector of the media are on a campaign against a small school in a small town. This win will pave the way for bigger fights.

    If the judge rules according to public opinion, then we need a public outcry against this injustice.

    If the Supreme Court continues to maintain that this is an ethnic separation, then this is a miscarriage of justice.

    Emanuel was a fairly easy target – deep in the Shomron, an unlikely place for many to visit and check the facts for themselves. Not a well-off community, with few resources for self-advocacy. Small enough that you are easily exposed to the great variety that exists within the Charedi world, and any place in which variety is supported fosters a healthy, moderate environment.

    This is a test case of judicial activism, fanned by a flagrantly dishonest media, with the aim to influence the Chinuch Atzmai (Independent Religious Education) system and towards judeocracy. The excuse had to be racism, or else it would not have made it into the courts.

    Those who believe in separation of religion and state should agree that the secular courts should stay out of religious education. That is what separation of religion and state means. Next step – Judicial omnipotence with no checks and balances.

    For those looking forward to a secular judeocracy, how can you be sure that Supreme Court judges will remain firmly secular? What if one judge becomes Charedi? And then imposes his or her views on the entire country and not just on his or her own sector?

    Checks and balances on government power, including judicial power, are good for everyone, secular and Charedi and everyone else alike.

    (A brief postscript to why I chose religious education for my children – I grew up liberal/left. I tired of leftist indoctrination, and was fascinated by the mind-sharpening debate format of orthodox education. My thirteen year old son recently came home with a note from his teacher that was distributed to the whole class – “…and mazal tov to Yisrael Meir, who asked a question that the teacher could not answer! I will be pouring over the Holy Books over the Sabbath and hope to have an answer – and more questions – next time we meet.”)

    Please help in a public outcry against judicial activism. The target seems small now, but it can affect others too.

  5. I line in Emanuel, a place where you are easily exposed to the great variety that exists within the Charedi world. If you like languages, you could improve your Hebrew, Arabic, French, Russian, Yiddish, English, Judeo-Yemenite, Moroccan, Persian, Bucharian, Tunisian.

    For religious choices you have the spiritual Sephardim saying their blessings with fervor, proud of their glorious past under Islam and their good relations with local Arabs. Or the Lubavitchers, steadfast in their mission to spread Chassidut and make sure you learned some Torah today. The modern orthodox balancing it all and their doorway into the professions; the proper and learned Lithuanians happy to answer any question on Jewish law – by answering with another question. The meditative Breslover Chassidim crying “father” in Yiddish in the middle of the night as they pray on the hillside; the Chassidim who migrated from Tiberias a generation ago – of a heritage part Russian and Old Yishuv Edut HaMizrach and their talent for teaching; the two Yemenite sects, one which favors kabala and mysticism, the other which cleaves to Maimonedean rationalism.

    You have the more open Sephardim and Ashkenazim – and blended – who flourish in the original Beis Yaakov or modern orthodox schools, the stricter Sephardim whose grandmothers wore purda with veiled faces, the stricter Ashkenazim who hail from generations of Rabbanim or who are newly religious. “Strict” and “lenient” are not ethnically delineated.

    If we had hyphenated last names going back about three or four generations, revealing the many who have blended heritage, this whole Sephardic – Ashkenazi “divide” would fade away.

    Opposed to religious extremism? Despite the media slander and miscarriage of justice in the Emanuel case, small towns like Emanuel are actually a very good place to live and get to know different types of people.