New York – Rabbi Yakov Horowitz: – ‘Kanoim’ Are Rodfim And Abusing Our Community


    Ultra orthodox jewish men argue with a modern orthodox religious men in the city of Beit Shemesh. Photo by Kobi Gideon / Flash90.New York –Safe Children Safe Communities – Asei L’maan Tinokos Shel Beis Rabban

    Let’s not mince words.

    The future of our charedi community is quite literally in existential danger as the tension in Beit Shemesh plays itself out in the international media.

    On a purely pragmatic level, this disturbing publicity has already placed the charedi community in Eretz Yisroel at greater risk of losing its financial aid to Yeshivos and Kollelim at the very least. In all likelihood, there may be far greater ramifications, as this could generate a tsunami of support among secular (and many religious) Israelis for a complete separation of church and state, which has the potential to end state support for all non-public schools in Eretz Yisroel.

    However, the far greater danger is that we will be losing our souls should we fail to condemn the horrific actions, however isolated, of people who dress like us threatening women and children with violence, taunting them, and calling them all sorts of horrible names. And we will justifiably lose the hearts, neshamos and even lives of our children and grandchildren if we, rachmanim b’nei rachmanim (merciful people), cannot muster the righteous indignation and join forces to protest the appalling actions of these so-called kanoim.

    Our community is just now coming to grips with the painful reality that is child abuse, and the ravages it leaves in its wake. We must now realize that there is communal abuse as well, from which we all continue to suffer. And just like we have come to understand that prosecuting and convicting child molesters can prevent future abuse, so too we must make sure that these kanoim who are rodfim in every way be stopped in their tracks.

    As Rabbi Aryeh Deri clearly stated in an interview earlier this week, the only solution to rid our community of the depraved kanoim who are wreaking havoc on our community is to demand that they be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    Child safety has been our highest priority at Project Y.E.S. for the past few years and we recently launched several initiatives designed to help keep each and every one of our children safe and secure[1]. With the chesed of Hashem, our efforts, and the efforts of the Los Angeles based Aleinu program and others like it, are creating a paradigm shift in how parents deal with the issue of child safety[2].

    However, this entire enterprise took an enormous step backwards over the past days and weeks as our children rightfully wonder if the adults around them can keep them safe.

    There are four basic messages that children need to internalize in order for any abuse prevention program to be truly effective:

    1. Your body belongs to you

    2. No one has the right to make you feel uncomfortable

    3. No secrets from parents

    4. Good touching/bad touching

    We have long maintained that corporal punishment by parents and/or educators dramatically decreases and often negates the critical messages of abuse prevention (see Spare the Potch, Protect the Child for more on this). Well, how much more destructive is it for our children in Beit Shemesh to see their peers and even the adults in their lives shrug their shoulders and allow this sort of deplorable behavior by a group of radical adults to go on unabated? How about its effects on Jewish children worldwide who see reports of this through the 24/7 media coverage, or hear this discussed this in school among their friends?

    My dear friends, it has come to this. We have two choices. We can continue to blame the secular media for its campaign against our charedi community or we can admit the painful truth – that we collectively have allowed ourselves to be abused for many years now by a small and violent group of uncontrolled kanoim.

    For the sake of our children, we need to collectively do everything in our power – everything – to put an end to the abuse immediately.

    Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is the founder and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam of Monsey, and founder and Director of Project Y.E.S. (Youth Enrichment Services). He is recognized throughout the Jewish community as an authority on raising children in these troubled times.

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    1. “My dear friends, it has come to this. We have two choices. We can continue to blame the secular media for its campaign against our charedi community or we can admit the painful truth – that we collectively have allowed ourselves to be abused for many years now by a small and violent group of uncontrolled kanoim.”

      YES YES AND YES!! Thank you Rabbi Horowitz!!

    2. Rabbi Horowitz, I commend you for coming out publicly on both these arenas, however based on yesterday’s comments, I’m afraid it won’t go very far. The extremists of which we speak are deaf, dumb, and blind to any sort of common sense. They will continue to spew their venom and hatred. They teach it to their children at an early age (There is a clip on youtube where a chareidi rebbe is teaching little boys that ivrit is “timme” and created by resha’im). If you look at the pictures, its mostly teens and boys in their early 20s causing most of the trouble. I ride the Monsey bus in the mornings, and sadly, we have several chareidi young married men who think that what they are doing is right. They refuse to accept that not all of us live, or want to live, by their chumras. The chareidi leaders refuse to step in, thereby making them just as guilty. I wish you luck in making a dent in this madness.

      • I agree that ivrit is a language that was slanted from loshon kodesh and is tumeh. But I highly condemn spitting and shaming women who don’t dress btznius etc. I believe in being mekarev rechokim, and with spitting and yelling , it ain’t gonna happen.

        • I am what I supposed might be described as a “potential baal teshuvah”. As such I have been “lurking” here on VIN for a couple of years, quietly reading and watching.

          I feel the call of ‘ה to take up עול מצוות, but the appallingly disgusting behavior of so-called “קנאים” in RBS and elsewhere offers me little incentive to do so.

          How, in all honesty, can I identify with them and the boorish, selfish and senseless way of life that they display and try to force on others? Is charedi Judaism all about intolerance, violence, bad manners and a doctrine of “my way or the highway”? I fervently hope not.

          If spitting and yelling is the definition of מקרב רחוקים then I think I might just as well carry on with my current life style. At least I, and hundreds of thousands of others like me, do not offend anybody or alienate them from יהדות.

          More to the point, I believe, באמונה שלמה, that ‘ה would both understand and condone the way I think.

    3. I – again – add my name to those who condemn the violence being perpetuated by these “zealots”, but only because this article was written by someone who really cares, and not by someone who is just trying get the headlines and/or is trying to incite the masses against the Chareidim.

      Thank you Rabbi Horowitz.

    4. Oh, so right you are!

      The question is how to put a stop to this behavior? I think that much of our community is stuck in a dilemma on one hand we question the legitimacy of the Israeli State (and by extension the justice system) yet we do need an authority that can enforce criminal law.

      Who will then hand over the perpetrators when a sforim store is trashed since they are selling books that are not in line with mainstream Charedi hashkafa even though no one claims that they contain outright kfira? (ie: Rav Kooks sforim)

    5. Facts: Egged wanted official segregation, not the Ultra-Orthodox
      The Israeli and International media featured articles of religious Jews who supposedly try to impose their lifestyle on the Israeli society by enforcing sex-segregation on busses. All the stories miss crucial background and current facts. Here are some important omissions.

      Egged, not Haredim, fought for segregation on public busses

      The Sex-segregated Mehadrin line is not an ultra-orthodox initiative. To the contrary: it was opposed by the Haredim, who operated private bus lines – under the Darka Achrina label – for passengers adhering to their customs. The official bus company, Egged, fought to close these lines, by competing through their own Mehadrin bus lines.

      According to the AP, Israel’s Israel’s two chief rabbis “proposed private bus lines as a substitute.”

      Great news for them: this was in fact the case, but Egged forced them out from business.
      They wouldn’t impose their customs on anybody, if not for Egged. The greedy bus company is to blame, not the Haredim, who’d gladly allow the Egged passengers to ride as they wish.

      • Although the way you crafted your comment is a little extreme, the substance of your comment is entirely true, but the media and unfortunately a lot of posters here on VIN conveniently “forget” that fact.

        • I thought that it would not be necessary to spell out just how silly #2’s comment is. But it seems that I was mistaken. It’s true that Egged has the power to solve the problem. But it’s the anti-Torah zealots who created the problem in the first place and are perpetuating it.

    6. kol akavod to rabbi horowitz he describes the situation perfectly and he is 100 per cent right when he writes, we need to collectively do everything in our power – everything – to put an end to the abuse immediately.

    7. Rav Horowitz is just adding oil to the fire. this issue should be solved within the frum community and there’s no point in putting our dirty laundry out in publice besides lowering our image even more.

      • To late for that. Charedi community in Beit Shemesh should not have turn a blinded eye to “Zealots” assualt on little girls for so long. Now it’s the opposite, the frum community needs to very openly and unconditionally distance from these extremists.

      • You have it all wrong. With internet today the dirty laundry is already out there in ALL public places even BEFORE you find out about it. If we keep quiet it gives the message that we are okay with what they’re doing. Iyov was punished for keeping quiet, let us not make the same mistake! We must announce to the world – who by the way is watching very closely- that WE ABHOR THEIR FANATIC, IMMORAL, DESPICABLE, ANTI-TORAH BEHAVIOR!!! WE WANT IT STOPPED!!!!

      • Having read this comment, one might think that R’ Horowitz brought the Biet Shemesh/Charedi renegade issues out from obscurity. Wake up. As an aside, we have learned very painful lessons in adopting a blanket “lets not air our dirty laundry.” As with soiled laundry, the stains intensify over time and are more difficult, if not impossible to clean. A US Supreme Court Justice once remarked that “the best disinfectant is sunlight.”

    8. It’s time to retire the term “Charedim” it is by no stretch of the imagination descriptive of these evil people. Just like suicide bombers were renamed homicide bombers, we should call these people by what they really are Adas Korach, Adas Shabbsai Tzvi, Adas Kmelnicki etc…

    9. Rabbi Horowitz does not go far enough.
      This abuse takes place not just in Beit Shemesh but in different forms in our communities in America.
      New chumras are instituted and those who do not follow them are disparaged as “left wing” and are called not “true bnei torah”.
      Those who refuse to adhere to new tznius standards are publicly called “kalim who lack yiras shyomayim”.
      Ladies who drive their husbands to Yeshiva are accused of being “prutzos” and “prancing around in front of men”.
      Those that have hashkofas that differ from these people are called “apikorsum” and “misyavnim”.
      Is Rabbi Horowitz ready to do battle with these verbal abusers right here in our communities?

    10. Reminds me, in a smaller scale, of when they trid to go after Lipa with Kol Korehs. Also reminds me of runaway batei dinim who think they are all powerful and answer to no one.

    11. How about the Rosh Hayeshiva from South Fallsburg who lead the anti Slifkin Campaign and all who signed on to the Slifkin bans.
      How about all those who signed on to the ban on the the book ” Making of a Gadol’

    12. Since i live in monsey for 30 years and still remember one of my sons that is bh married today and bh runs a fine yiddish home and bh a nice business was one of r. horowitz students when every body gave up on him and wanted him out you stood and fought for him we will never forget that you stood so strong even after everybody said don’t waist your time thank you r.horowitz please be strong for all of us thank you

    13. Rabbi Horowitz:
      Chazal tell us that only one fifth of the yiddin were zocha to leave mitzraim. The others were taken during macos choshech. Yet, for whatever reason G-D still took out many troublemakers. Moshe rabbeinu did not have his shortage of troublemakers to deal with as soon as he hit desert sun. The reason may be to give extra schar to the tzaddikim. Regardless, my point is that klal yisroel will be plagued with internal troublemakers until that special day that only hashem knows. Our job is to learn how to deal with the troublemakers best we can so that their disease do not spread. But it is also our job to educate the brainless chilonim that every human group has troublemakers that are downright impossible to deal with, and it is the chilonim’s job to accept that fact. The best you can do is educate people, daven for moshiach, better yourself etc. You can’t fix the world overnight (I’d appreciate if you prove me wrong though). The mere fact that the chilonim and leftist secularist refuse to accept that we might have some bad apples, is proof that they’re the guilty ones, they’re the haters. Until both sides come to the table to work their differences I’m betting chareidi

      • The eventual end to the troublemakers was that every Jewish male between the ages of 20 and 60 died before the rest entered EY. I really don’t think you want the world to sit back and wait for that to happen.

        The chilonim that I know (relatives and others) would be perfectly happy to lead their lives separate from and ignored by charedim the world over. It is almost without exception the charedim who take issue with chilonim. Of course there are troublemakers on both sides who like to stir the pot, but I just don’t see chilonim as the instigators in most situations. Certainly, in the story in question there were no chilonim involved at all.

        If the charedim cannot police their extremists, we should treat them the same way the US treats the Taliban — as a force to be exterminated with extreme prejudice.

        • First of all, please find out who came with police and media deep inside the charedi areas of Beth Shemesh to tear down not only posters off gates / trees, but also from private properties as on walls of shuls, posters hanging there for years that didn’t offend anybody living or passing that area.
          The Orot school is a very painful subject to both sides, but this is clear and was clear from pre day 1 that putting up this school in that area was pure provocation, and instigation, prior to that there were hardly any serious brushes between the parties.

          • “The Orot school is a very painful subject to both sides, but this is clear and was clear from pre day 1 that putting up this school in that area was pure provocation, and instigation, prior to that there were hardly any serious brushes between the parties.”

            Nice theory, but no cigar.

            The “Orot” school was there BEFORE the charedim came along and tried to annex it.

    14. Rabbi Horowitz you are so right.
      You are expressing what 99% of shomrei Torah UMitzvos truly feel.

      The trouble is that the long years of ridicule and hostility – when we really didn’t deserve it – by the Israeli media has pushed us – all of us – into a defensive posture.

      Those that hate us have no right to tell us what to do.

      Now that they are attacking us for something we may deserve and that we should have done something about years ago, we just can’t give them the victory and telling them: “This time you are right”.

      We just can’t fargin them this feelingof nitzachon. That is our problem and that is why many of our leaders are hesitant now.

      And, yes, it is “we”.

      We Ehriliche Yidden can’t just take the credit for the enormous amount of chessed, bikkur cholim, Torah education, selflesness that various groups among us do without also taking the blame for the disgusting actions of those few who outwardly learn the same Torah and keep the same Mitzvos. We should have ostracized them long ago.

      We didn’t. Now we’re paying the price.

      But it’s not too late.

      • I live in the US, and what the Israeli media writes about Orthodox Jews of any stripe has little to no impact on me. The fact is, I have had an Iranian supervisor that is infinitely more respectful of my way of life than the zealots who call themselves charedim. I am an Orthodox Jew. I dress appropriately and I daven with a minyan. I am shomer Shabbos.

        If you cannot control your extremists, you have no one to blame but yourselves for the consequences. Please note that in Tanach, it is very rare for only the people responsible to be punished. All those in a position to change the unwanted behavior are also held accountable.

        If you don’t want to be punished for others’ sins, you have to distance yourself from them.

    15. Another good column from Rabbi Horowitz.

      I’m not a big fan of the term “chareidi”. Historically, it means little. Terms such as Chassidus, Litvish, misnagdim, yeshivish, modern orthodox, Torah Im Derech Eretz, Torah U’Maddah – there is history and meaning to them. These terms bring up historical figures, ideas, and groups, such as, the Baal Shem Tov, the Vilna Gaon, Rav Hirsch, Rav Kook, Rav Soloveichik, the Satmar Rebbe, Rav/Mr. Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz, Aguda, Mizrachi, and so on.

      But what is Chareidi – a mish-mash of people in dark clothes, who could be Chassidish or Yeshivish. If I want to study Chareidi Judaism, is there a sefer I can read? No. All the other groups and rabbis have seforim I can study.

      I believe Rav Gifter never even liked the term “orthodox”. I join him. Its a division between them and us. These terms create walls. Granted, if the term really means something, historically, idea-wise, we have to use it, but I believe the term Chareidi originally came about by those who want to actually insult Chassidish and yeshivish Jews.

    16. Does Chareidi fall into the category of lo tisgod’duh? Do not make divisions within klal Yisroel.

      My point – if I have one – is that by using a convenient, basically slang term, with no historical meaning – we are making things worse. We are creating barriers. We are calling attention to our differences, rather than to our common nature, and interests.

      Let us all say, Ani yehudi, and anachnu yehudim. That would be a start. It works for making a minyan.

    17. This should be our response.
      We strongly condemn any and all violence towards women under any and all circumstances. Those who commit such acts of violence will feel the full effect and power of the religious and secular court system. They will be excommunicated from all religious circles and are heretofore to be considered persona non grata. If you know of any individuals who have abused anyone, whether verbally or physically notify the police and rabbinic leadership immediately.

      What we don’t need is an explanation of how these people are not “real charedim”. We don’t need poetry on the majesty of tznius. We don’t need snide remarks about the secular media. Just speak out against violence, promise retribution and to take action.

      Enough with the apologetics and handwringing.

    18. Great Article. Obviously could not have said it better myself. But tell me, please; since these kanoim understand no HaKores HaTov, not Derekh Eretz, not Dina d’Malchus, and through their Chillulei HaShm not even Torah MiSinai, then why NOT deal in the only tools they DO understand: severing financial subsidization and defrocking them of their political power – the exact antidotes to their financial extortion(s) and spiritual blackmailings that they specialize in? I think that would go a much longer way than even more policemen, or even policemen deciding to actually do their job.

    19. Right on! Well said, and thank you for speaking out on our behalf.

      We must condemn this desecration of the Torah in the strongest language possible, and also ask ourselves, what is in the education of these populations that they turn to intimidation and violence to make their point when it comes to “the other”. This must be investigated and perhaps some derech eretz training vis-a-vis “the other” should be instituted in the schools.

    20. As an Israeli, I have no idea who Rabbi Horowitz is and if he is a Man Deomar in the US.
      I see this article as an attempt to promote ones own organisation whilst steping on our brethern in the Holy Land. Blaming the kanoim for the lastest antisemitism in Israeli politics and media is unjust and getting your facts wrong by believing secular media reports. The Avrech who is charged with Sexual Harrasment of a soldier for calling her “prutza” is far from being a kanoi.

      You seem to know nothing of Israeli politics. The latest anti-religious wave was deliberately orchestrated by Senior Secular politicians in an attempt to topple Netanyahu’s goverment which is cemented by the religious parties. By portraying the coalition members as extremists they have caused international and locally. All of which is at the expense of the good charedi citizens, who are by the way far more liberal than their USA counterparts.
      Mehadrin busses are around for 10 years, so was the Shule sign torn down in Bet Shemesh. Its about timing my friends. The “prestige” labour party ruled by a lady is at an all time low with Barak breaking away and Kadimas lady Livni going to primaries against Mofaz. Dont u see?

      • You need an ophthalmologist to clear away the fog in front of your eyes. Spitting on an 8 year old girl is spiting on tziras elokim and I witnessed the same violence in Vienna when Austrian Hitler Youth spit on Jewish boys and girls. This is a low one can go with “religiosity” better around chilonim than your type. I Buchenwald communist, socialist, seven day adventists and other anti-Hitler non-Jews helped Jewish children to survive and shared their meager rations. Your tirade is hollow and empty rethoric because there is nothing to defend a foul, sickening act of spitting on a child.

    21. Its about time that the truth about these extrem kanoim or like one wrote korach & his people will come out.
      Thesekanoim have beenaround for many years and have always been harrasing & making trouble in yerushalaim deminstratng againts israel marching with the arabs kissing irans leaders you know what. Now they have taken over beit shemesh alowing themselves to harras women for the sake of modesty when they themselves are big sinners and unmodest. It is npt modest to run after women calling them sick names. It is not modest to spit at little girls or women . It is not modest to throw stones . If out charedi rabbies dont put a stop to this kind of terrible actions there will be a terrible brother war . These extremists must be taught that they are going againts the torah in everyway they are going againts the biggest klal in the torah wich is ahavas Yisrael.


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