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Why? – On Our Conduct in the Pandemic

This is a translation of the final chapter of an extensive feature in the latest issue of the Yiddish journal Der Veker focusing on the Charedi, and specifically Chasidic, response to Covid-19. ( The feature was also covered by The Atlantic .) After compiling and analysing figures which show covid deaths amongst New York Chasidim about four times higher than the national average (which is consistent with figures compiled elsewhere), Der Veker dedicated the final chapter to the burning and painful question of “Why?” Now read on… Our reckless conduct during the pandemic has produced grim and heart-breaking results and the conclusion is shattering: we have with our own hands brought upon ourselves a death rate four times worse than that of our neighbouring communities. And the question cries out to heaven, why? As Jews we are raised to be compassionate, our communities have an immense number of social welfare and medical organisations with much of it evident during the pandemic. E

UOHC on Creationism

UOHC creationism

To the Heads of our Town’s Boys’ and Girls’ Educational Institutions Who Educate our Sons and Daughters Tirelessly and Wonderfully in Torah, Fear of Heaven and Morals.

May God help them succeed in their holy work and flatten the mountains in front of them to a plain to enable them to commit all their resources towards education and to the existence and widening of the institutions without having to worry every step of the way what the authorities will say.

Let us express our gratitude to those who brought to our attention and alerted us that [institutions] must sign for the Hackney Learning Trust unwittingly and without understanding what they are signing and there is a great fear whether there isn’t in their signature a risk of heresy God forbid.

The Beis Din considered this with great seriousness on Thursday B’shalach [25 January 2018] and carefully evaluated the contract and the guidelines and we found that they place great doubts, Heaven forfend, in the creation of the world with the lie that the world is ancient, may their mouths be filled with earth. This is a lie that earlier sages of blessed memory contended with, and now they wish to infiltrate us with this falsehood. We are obliged to oppose this with great sacrifice and it may not be signed [even] in an ambiguous manner. And if as a result they will withhold from us their grants we will nonetheless not sell out our holy tenets for money. We will be forced to take measures to establish large funds so that our institutions do not collapse, God forbid.

Those who will make even greater sacrifices to donate to these funds once they are established will be rewarded many times over. It is, however, impossible for us to allow this situation to remain unchanged and we will have to assist and endeavour to find the funds with God’s help.

We therefore inform all those who abide by our rulings that they should not sign up to these clauses and those who have already signed must retract their signatures. They must send a letter attached to the contract [form] so that it is incorporated in the form that their signature does not apply to the clauses relating to this subject [i.e. creationism] both in the contract and the guidelines and that the signature does not pertain to those subjects.

This has all been unanimously agreed by all Rabbonim of the Beis Din at the above meeting. May God see our affliction and rescue us from bad and cruel decrees both in body and soul and that we should continue to succeed in the education of our sons and daughters in holy purity.

Signed Friday B’shlach [26 January 2018]

[Rav MCE Padwa]

Comments

  1. I think that עפ"ל stands for עפרא לפימיה not על פי לשונם.

    ReplyDelete
  2. They are confusing the scientific view that the world is ancient (which is not explicitly heresy) with the philosophical (now discarded) view that the world is eternal (which is heretical according to the 13 principles).

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks. You may well be right on the acronym though I assume they deliberately put it in roshei teivos to make it ambiguous. I'll have to think how you translate that!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've since had a comment that if I were brought up in that milieu I'd know that it cannot possibly mean anything other than your reading. So I've corrected it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Since the UOHC is not involved in any aspect of education in Stamford Hill i.e. the "kehilla" (such as it is) does not have, sponsor, or support a single chinuch mossad in London it is the height of insolence, vanity and downright chutzpah for them to make any comment regarding chareidi chinuch.
    There is not in the Rabbinate even one "Rabbi" who has any qualification, knowledge or experience of education or chinuch in general.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The question of science being "heresy" should be irrelevant to us. There is plenty -- and increasing -- room in science for the Jewish concept of G-d, and a far better fit than any other religion. There is absolutely no reason to mince or soft-pedal scientific knowledge to try to conform to the words of the Torah. G-d is infinitely larger than any set of words.

    ReplyDelete

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