- Tapa blanda: 432 páginas
- Editor: Perseus - UCAL POD; Edición: First Edition, (1 de enero de 2000)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 0520221125
- ISBN-13: 978-0520221123
- Valoración media de los clientes: Sé el primero en opinar sobre este producto
Defenders of the Faith: Inside Ultra-Orthodox Jewry (First Edition, with a New Afte) (Inglés) Tapa blanda – 1 ene 2000
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Descripción del producto
"On the evidence of this remarkable portrayal of a world long thought to be an anomaly, there is no reason to underscore the shortcomings of the ultra-Orthodox without recognizing their virtues as well."--Murray Polner, "New York Times Book Review"
Reseña del editor
In this first in-depth portrait of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel today, Samuel Heilman introduces a community that to many may seem to be the very embodiment of the Jewish past. To outsiders who stumble upon these neighborhoods and find bearded men in caftans, children with earlocks, and women in long dresses, black kerchiefs and stockings, it may appear that these people still hold fast to every tradition while turning their backs to the contemporary world. But rather than being a relic from the past, ultra-Orthodox Jews, or haredim, are very much part of the contemporary landscape and are playing an increasingly prominent role in the Jewish world and in Israeli politics. Defenders of the Faith takes us inside the world of this contemporary fundamentalist community, its lifestyle and mores, including education, religious practices and beliefs, sexual ethics, and marriage. Heilman explores the reasons why this group is more militant and extreme than its pre-Holocaust brethren, and provides insight into the worldview of this small but influential sector of modern Jewry.Ver Descripción del producto
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This book might work well read in conjunction with another book: Real Jews: Secular Versus Ultra-Orthodox: The Struggle for Jewish Identity in Israel by Noah Efron.
1. At the very least, "Defenders of the Faith" recapitulates concepts such as Haskallah (The Jewish Enlightenment), "maskillim" (Enlightened Jews), "misnagdim" (Orthodox Jews with an emphasis on scholarship), "hasidim" (Orthodox Jews with an emphasis on spirituality) that were covered in the aforementioned book. But somehow this treatment was easier to follow.
2. The book was fabulously easy to read, and Heilman has a good gift for storytelling that elevates this book past the status of a dry documentary that just chronicled events.
3. Heilman seems to suggest here that Orthodox Judaism "hardened" sometime between the Holocaust and Haskallah. This is a good counter to another argument that I've heard that Judaism's move toward rigid Orthodoxy was after the publication of the Shulchan Aruch.
4. Another topic that the author addressed was the poverty of the Eastern European Jews compared to the German speaking Jews-- poverty that continued even when those respective sets of Jews migrated to the United States. (Mentioned briefly in Greenspan's The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New Worldand Sowell's Migrations And Cultures: A World View.) It seems that Haskallah did not reach as far into Eastern Europe as it did to Western Europe, and so those Eastern European Jews didn't have the benefit of modernity.
5. The book has a great index for all of the new terms that it defines. It also has a good number of references (I count 18 pages, with a good chunk of them being primary).
There are some things that I felt were lacking:
1. This book only dealt with Haredim in Israel, but there are also a large number of them in New York. Are Haredim in Israel representative of all of them everywhere? Or not?
2. This author does not treat the Hasidim that he observes as a cult (even though their fixation on their Rebbes seems a bit......excessive). What makes them different from a cult? Or are they (I have not found a place where Heilman explicitly denies that they are.)
Overall, this was much worth the second-hand purchase price.
What did I learn?
1. There is just SO MUCH bitterness, division and anger even within the Jews. Sephardim vs. Ashkenazim. Misnagdim vs Hasidim. Secular vs. Haredi. Hasidim of Sect X competing for adherents for Sect Y.
2. We got a revisit of many of the holidays and examples of what people did on them. (The Purim Festival, for example, was a chance for Haredim to demonstrate what they would NEVER be, by dressing as that. Analagous to Halloween in Western countries.)
The author does a good job at portraying the life of the Haredim in a curious yet understanding way, while still being critical at appropriate times. Heilman does not rain down flattery but also does not shy away from asking difficult questions. While keeping an intellectually honest front, Heilman brings out thought-provoking discussions and presents perspectives that the rest of us outsides may not ever agree with, but can -- at the very least -- understand where the Haredim are coming from.
There are not a great deal of books on the so-called "ultra" Orthodox Jews available, and many that are are horribly biased against the way of life that seems so extreme to many of us. Heilman's text is definitely one I'd recommend because it keeps middle ground, explores deeply but still manages to be respectful to his subjects.
The Christian reader of this work will recognize many of the religious themes featured in it. In fact, all of the following themes recount the teachings of Jesus Christ on the Pharisees: Hasidic teachings warn against prayer that has become rote (p. 222) and obedience to the Law that has become perfunctory or mechanical. (p. 241). Personal wealth and spirituality are, or tend to be, incompatible with each other. (p. 251). Finally, adherence to the Law is no guarantee of true spirituality, and it can instead result in self-righteousness, spiritual pride, and self-seeking social status. (p. 241).
Now consider sexual morality. [It turns out that there is irony to the argument that Christianity, unlike Judaism, has a repressive policy towards human sexuality, and that it has a negative view of the human body.] In haredi schools, the body is considered impure below the belt. (p. 197). There are strict haredi codes for modest dress and behavior. Self-stimulation is forbidden. (p. 319). Sex is primarily considered a means of procreation, and then only within marriage. (p. 317). [Clearly, when viewed through the lenses of modern sexual libertinism, traditional Jewish sexual morality is no less “negative” and “repressive” than traditional Christian sexual morality.].
RESISTANCE TO ASSIMILATION: PAST AND PRESENT
Until recent centuries, Jews lived in self-segregation and in self-imposed apartheid (my term). Heilman recounts that, historically, Jewish resistance to assimilation had primarily been driven by religious strictures against Jews adopting the ways of the goyim. This was based on the Bible (Leviticus 20:26) (p. 18) and the Talmud (Sanhedrin 74b). (p. 373). The haredim continue this approach.
The “us” vs. “them” mentality is obvious. However, can the type of Jewish separatism that is exemplified by the haredim go further--to Jewish elitism and even anti-goyism? Although Heilman does not use either of these terms, he makes it obvious that this has happened. He quotes Shalom Nisan of the Rev Arelach Hasidic movement as follows, (quote) “We know what that world is; it’s goyim and PRITZOS (whores). The people who come from that world are FREMDE (foreigners). The world is black and white. We are white.” (unquote). (p. 147). At a haredi school in Israel, author Heilman observed the following, (quote) The children smiled; a few giggled. Of course, how foolish to offer the Torah to the goyim! It is well known that goyim like to steal. The teacher told them so. Everyone knew it. Only the Yidn were worthy to receive the Torah. (unquote). (p. 193).
The author notes that, in the past, religious Jews prayed for their gentile rulers in order to remain in their graces. (p. 218). However, the haredim in modern Israel feel no need to pray for their secular Jewish rulers, whom they see as sinful Jews.
GENTILE LEARNING SPURNED
Heilman notes that the haredim are opposed to their members receiving a secular education (e. g, p. 171), notably at the university level, because it is a cesspool of immorality, and it is likely to lure Jews away from the Torah. (pp. 268-269). More fundamentally, non-Jewish knowledge is “alien wisdom” (CHOCHMOS CHITZONIOS). (p. 171). However, Heilman does not inform the reader that, until recent centuries, this attitude was almost universal among Jews. They avoided Gentile learning as pernicious and of no value to them.
AVOIDANCE OF MILITARY SERVICE
Author Samuel Heilman explains why the haredim refuse to serve in the Israeli Army, (quote) How haredi can one be when one must take orders from an officer who is not only not a sage but is probably a sinner and who demands that one act and look like a Gentile? So Israeli haredim continue to encourage their men to stay away from army service as long as possible, no matter what the cost. (unquote). (p. 37).
[The foregoing has broader implications. It was one of the reasons that Poland’s Jews commonly avoided service in the Polish Army of the resurrected Polish state. It also illuminates Polish concerns that the Minorities Treaty, if fully enacted, would give Poland’s Jews a means to avoid military service to Poland.]