It has been a long time since I have written, perhaps this is not the time, perhaps I have no buisness writing this, maybe I should be worrying about myself and my family instead of focusing on what is going on out there, in my community, with my neighbours, friends and Jewish brothers and sisters ( Because, that is what we are, a Jew in Australia is my family even if we have never met). However it is bugging me, it is upsetting me, and the thing I do best when upset is write. So here goes.
I glanced at a newspaper this week, the London Jewish News, the journalist’s had taken on themselves to “expose” a terrible crime within the what they call “ultra- orthodox community”, see, it is only the ultra orthodox who are disobeying the rules, it is only them who are having parties, rioting, weddings, get togethers, that is why it was IMPERATIVE that the London Jewish News focused on the ultra orthodox.
Now, before you all start yelling at me saying how terrible they are, how could they be having weddings, hiding from the police etc. This is not what this blog is about. Hey, you dont need me to add to the obvious vitarol directed at the “ultra – orthodox” ( I would like someone to actually explain to me what ultra orthdox actually is… are they people who follow the word of the Torah to their best ability? the ones who wear big hats? the ones who wear small hats? or are they just Jews who dress differently to you and me and for some reason you have an issue with those who “flaunt” their Judiasm? )
Why, though do the so called Jewish newspapers need to add to the ferocious antisemitism that is already out there?
So, here is my take on what I would have loved to read in the newspaper this week. (sorry its not as gossipy and hate mongering as some seem to thrive on).
AND HERE IS TODAYS NEWS:
ORTHODOX AND ULTRA ORTHODOX SHOW US WHAT TRUE JUDISAM IS!
Friday January 29th.
This is Sara Benbassat reporting for the London Jewish Issues.
The house I have dropped off my package to is full. The dining room is a factory of food, toys and goodies for those in the community who are isolating due to one or both parents having Covid. As I arrive there are boxes being taken out the house for delivery. “6 families this week” my friend reminds me. 6 families whom will have their whole Shabbat catered, I do not mean they will get just the traditional gefilta fish, chicken soup, kugel and cholent, no, what these families will receive is, enough food for a month, toys suitable for each child’s age and preference, cards, and sweets.
What is important in this story is that none of the food items are shop brought. There is a system in place, via a Whatsapp group. The group has 65 ladies on it, every week the administrators of the group put out a message, detailing how many families, how many children in each family (if there are children) and preferences, within 10 minutes the group will have offered to make the whole Shabbat, some will make cakes and cookies, some soups, some sides, some desserts etc. On Thursday night the organisers will painstakingly and lovingly put together the boxes of food which are then delivered to the families in need.
This is one of many organisations.
Shabbat Walk, an amazing concept. Since the beginning of lockdown they have supplied an extraordinary amount of toys and gifts to families in need. They have sent volunteers to help out in a Covid safe way. They have saved families financially and emotionally.
Bikor Cholim (Meaning, visiting the sick). Another organisation run by orthodox and ultra orthodox ladies. Providing hospital rides, shopping and any other errands and support elderly people in the community may need.
Hatzola. A voluntary paramedic service. members from the orthdox and ultra orthodox community. Risking their lives to get to those who need help the most. At all times of the night, they are there, saving lives. transporting the vulnerable, never asking for thanks.
Shomrim, patrolling our streets keeping us safe. At the start of lockdown, the orthodox and ultra orthodox volunteers tirelesly drove round the streets with large speakers attached to their cars, playing music for all of us who felt alone, tired, desperate.
The orthodox therapist who started a Whatsapp group giving inspirational messages, and encouragment every day in a one or two minute clip.
The Ultra orthodox and orthodox synagogues ( I am not discounting non orthdox communities rather I am trying to portray the forgotten good in our community) who arrange care, food, financial aid.
The list goes on and on. I could open the Jewish phone book I have and find page upon page of orthodox organisations created to help people in any way you could imagine.
We have enough people hating Jews in the world, there is so much hatred towards our people. Why do we need to hate each other. Because you wear a blue hat, and I a black one? because you have a long beard and my family don’t have beards? Because you make a wedding and I would not go to one now? Yes, we can object, we can cry out the injustice of what others are doing, but look at yourself closely, are you following to the letter of the law?
As a Jews, ask yourself this with honesty, do you shake your head and spout nastiness upon the whole of the orthdox and ultra orthodox world becasue the London Jewish News has told you to?
Who will stand up for you if Jews are attacked, I do not mean orthdox jews, reform jews, ultra orthdox jews, conservative jews etc. JUST JEWS.
What is happening in our society? there is so much good out there, lockdown has brought people together in most communities throughout the world, yet the Jewish community, the community who we are told have a duty to “be a light unto the nations” is filled with self hatred and hatred towards our brothers and sisters, no matter what denomination they are. At a time when love and companionship is most needed, the Jewish world should be ashamed of how they are treating each other. A police officer mentioned to someone recently “your community is the only community spying on each other” and that, is the true Chillul Hashem, that is what brings shame to us.
Seek the good.
We have enough people to despise us, lets not despise ourselves.