Brooklyn, NY – Feud Between Hamodia OpEd And The RCA Over Satmar Foley Square Protest Heats Up

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    FILE - Ultra-orthodox Jewish rally in Foley Square and march around Chinatown Manhattan NY, on June 9 2013, against the secularization and army service conscription for Haredi Jews in Israel. photo by Stefano Giovannini-VINnews.com Brooklyn, NY – The battle of words between an OpEd printed in Hamodia and the RCA over the recent Satmar Foley Square protest continued to escalate Wednesday after Hamodia published an RCA response to a previous OpEd By Eliezer Stein.

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    In a Tuesday June 18th OpEd By Eliezer Stein titled “The Hypocrisy of the RCA,” Stein blasted the RCA over its condemnation of the Foley Square protest. Without mincing words, Stein cited several instances of apparent hypocritical interpretations by the RCA with regard to its own policies.

    On Wednesday, Hamodia published the RCA’s response By Rabbi Shmuel Goldin President of the Rabbinical Council of America and Rabbi Leonard A. Matanky the First Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of America, to its June 18th editorial in its entirety.

    The full text follows:

    Dear Fellow Jews,

    We are grateful to the editors of Hamodia for giving us an opportunity to explain ourselves, and answer the charges presented in a recent op-ed, “The Hypocrisy of the RCA.”

    First, we would like to introduce ourselves. We fear that much as you misunderstood our motives in the RCA statement about the Foley Square rally, you are just as mistaken about who we are.

    You might think we are a group of “modern Rabbis” who inhabit a Jewish universe far from the ethereal precincts of the authentic Torah community. The truth is very different. Our members include Rabbis on the left, in the center, and quite a few whose chinuch was entirely in Lithuanian-style yeshivah circles, and whose children and grandchildren identify completely with the chareidi world. Many of us who are not part of that world have very close, positive contact with it.

    Don’t get us wrong. We’re not arguing that you should accept us because we are almost chareidi. We are a complete mix. Maybe that is what makes us so different and so inscrutable to you. Other parts of the Torah world aim for more uniformity, in many different ways. There are advantages to that — but also drawbacks. This is not the time or place to explore the pros and cons of diversity. Suffice it to say, however, that almost always, there are issues that are hotly contested among our members, with groups who think that those on the other side are way out of bounds. What might make us unique is that we all still manage to talk to each other, even when we think the others are dead wrong. There are dangers in that — but there is strength as well, and a model of civility and respect that might bring some benefit to other parts of the Torah world.

    There is another difference between us, for all our collective differences, and you. We differ in the arenas of our avodas Hashem. You have chosen to keep that avodah strictly within the confines of the Torah community. You try to distinguish yourselves in Torah, tefillah, and raising children loyal to Hashem and His Torah. We work at this as well — and we have much to learn from you about those goals. But we also understand our avodah to include reaching out much further from the centers of the frum population and topics of frum concern. Therefore, we are involved — by choice — with other parts of the Jewish community, with non-Jewish communities, with building and supporting a wider variety of community institutions, with political involvement beyond aid to day schools. This is neither good nor bad. It is just different. The two types of avodah go back to the different derachim of Yehudah and Yosef. Even back then, the suspicion that some of the shevatim had for an avodas chutz led to friction and terrible consequences.

    Here is where we might disagree. Because we are involved more with the larger world, we think we understand it better — or at least differently. And this is why we had to respond to the lower Manhattan rally.

    The Hamodia op-ed argued that the RCA has protested positions of the Israeli government in the past, and it is therefore hypocritical to argue that this rally served “to aid the many enemies who stand ready to destroy, G-d forbid, the Jewish State.” We say that it is not hypocritical at all. There is simply no comparison between protesting the expulsion of Jews from Gaza, and the nature of the recent protest organized and led by Satmar.

    Consider this mashal. Democrats and Republicans argue vociferously about policies, and credit each other with bringing about the demise of the American way. Neither of those parties, however, would argue that the United States is an illegitimate entity, and has no right to exist. When we protested the expulsion, we addressed our deep concerns to a government we recognize — as do most readers of Hamodia, whether they will admit it in public or not. Satmar does not believe that the State is legal or legitimate. You may not know this, but the delegitimizing of Israel is the chief weapon of the Palestinians today. They know they cannot win on the battlefield. They work assiduously for boycotts, sanctions, rejection of Israel in a way that no other country is rejected. If they succeed, the State — the Jewish yishuv, if you will — will not remain viable b’derech hateva.

    Review the pictures of the rally, especially the signs speaking of a war on religion, and the lack of freedom of religion in Israel. Can you understand what a victory this is to millions and millions of deep-seated haters of Jews who wish to counter the support for Israel that she asks for as the Middle East’s only democracy? Satmar knows that its sons will never be drafted, and they don’t take money from the “illegal Zionist entity.” What were they protesting, other than the existence of the State itself? We cannot understand — and will not accept — acting in concert with them. We believe that the Gedolei Torah who said to stay away from the rally did not just differ with the organizers about which methods will be effective in countering the proposed measures. It is our understanding that some or all of them understood the terrible effect this could have, consciously or otherwise, on non-Jewish Americans whose favorable image of Israel is under constant attack. Satmar wanted to co-opt the anger and frustration of the Torah community over the Lapid proposals for its own cynical agenda. They wanted to maximize the impact of anti-Israel feeling; our job was to minimize it. Hence, we asserted that those who attended the rally are a small but vocal minority that should not take away from the image Americans have for strong support of Israel. If Americans sense that Jews are not supportive of their own state, they ask themselves why they should be supportive. If any members of Congress were negatively impressed by the rally, organizers will have Jewish blood, G-d forbid, on their hands.

    We had one purpose, and only one purpose in our statement: to counter the image of Israel that the rally placed before the American public. We did not comment on the Lapid measures. One reason is that our members are split on how to react to them. We have some members who have been working hard to counter these measures, some of them taking their concerns straight to the Israeli government. We also, however, have members who refuse to label demands for chareidi participation in all parts of the life of the nation and insistence upon the teaching of basic educational skills in schools as a “gezeiras shmad.” Because different points of view are represented among our membership, we sometimes have to stay away from certain issues — just as Agudah does to maintain its fragile alliance between Litvishe and chassidishe elements.

    “The most disturbing part” of our statement, the op-ed claimed, is that you think we ascribe our errant positions to the Satmar Rebbe, zt”l. Consider this story, and think again. In 1972, Senators Humphrey and McGovern were vying for the Democratic presidential nomination. McGovern opposed the sale of Phantom jets to Israel; Humphrey, a real friend of the Jewish people, was in favor. Humphrey went to the Satmar Rebbe looking for support. He had previously been told that the Rebbe’s position on Israel was not that which Humphrey encountered in other Jews. No sooner had they all sat down, than the first thing Reb Yoelish said was, “Thank you for helping to protect our brothers in Eretz Yisrael.” Humphrey turned to the others and said, “I thought he was against Israel!” The Rebbe understood what was happening, and explained, “We have a bit of a squabble within the family. But we don’t want to see anyone in the family get hurt.”

    Neither do we.

    This article appeared in print on page 40 of today’s edition of Hamodia. re-posted with permission

    And then again Eliezer Stein responded today to the RCA’s editorial click here to read


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    62 Comments
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    itzik18
    itzik18
    11 years ago

    the rally was attended by both antizionist and nonzionist (agudist) factions – Reb Aron of Satmar KJ told his chassidim that this was not an antizionist protest but rather a protest only against the draft, in order to show solidarity between antizionist and non- zionist (agudist) factions who were participating in the rally. This rally was exactly what the RCA said was legitimate, protesting against a policy, not against the State. The old Rebbe zya himself organized and participated in many such protests, together with Rav Moshe Feinstein zya and Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky zya. The fact that Satmar is antizionist has nothing to do with the protest. Also, i did not hear that yeshivos that do not accept funding would be exempt from the draft under the new laws.

    SandraM
    SandraM
    11 years ago

    As much as I do not identify with the RCA, I agree wholeheartedly with them on this issue. In an age where anti-Semitism is exploding, having Jews publicly protest against other Jews is counterproductive and immoral, no matter the perceived right of the cause.
    There are more effective, less divisive and less degrading ways to get a point across.

    5TResident
    Noble Member
    5TResident
    11 years ago

    Sinas Chinam is alive and well in the Jewish community. We have learned nothing in 2000 years. Very sad, especially during the Three Weeks.

    Aryeh
    Aryeh
    11 years ago

    Well said! The issues are not black and white like the zealots would have us believe.

    thegreatone
    thegreatone
    11 years ago

    Dear Rabbi Goldin,

    Pardon my english.
    You are right there is no comparison between protesting the expulsion of Jews from Gaza, and the nature of the recent protest organized and led by Satmar. The protest about the disengagements was a pro-Zionist protests and this protest was anti-Zionist.
    No one in the chareidi community really cares what the RCA has to say.But we do care when you stated the protest is an insult to the memory of the Satmar Rov, ob”m.
    The Satmar rebbe didn’t fail talking and writing what a tragedy the state of Israel is to Jews and its a MUST to tell non-Jews that the state of Israel does not represent ehrlica Jews.This protest was a zechus for the great Satmar rebbe zt’l.

    Continue…..

    11 years ago

    The whole “avodas chutz” thing is a joke that has no mekor. The MO never had a solid basis to their hashkofa. By their own admission they never had any gedoleiy torah support their hashkofa neither is their any mesora going back more than 50 years.
    Legitimizing themselves by claiming they are doing the Avodah of Yosef hatzadik is a shanda.

    Just say that you are supposedly following Rav Soloveichik against the rest of torah leaders throughout history.

    11 years ago

    Where is Agudas Yisroel Of America???
    Why is the voice of charedi jewry only heard through the Yated and Hamodia??

    Is the Aguda only good for “inclusive” gatherings for daf yomi where all Jews who can read an artscroll gemara are warmly welcomed?

    Will the real Agudas yisroel please stand up, find its long lost voice and declare to the RCA and Modern Orthodox Jews that they are either with us of against us.

    thegreatone
    thegreatone
    11 years ago

    Continued….

    The RCA is a Shanda to frum Jews .they’re fine with their members going into state legislatures and expressing support for toeivah marriage, and other members endorsing the anti-Torah philosophy of Avi Weiss, but this they stand up against? This is a chillul Hashem??!?!

    Memo to the “rabbis” of the RCA: clean your own house first! You don’t stand up for Torah and don’t you dare attempt to claim that the Satmar rebbe would be against this! You’ve never opened his seforim and you and your congregants constantly look down upon Torah-true Yidden. Sorry that your shuls and schools are emptying and that many of your congregations’ most precious neshamos (the kinderlach) are being lost to secular society. We chassidim and charedi yidden, Torah-true Jews, are thriving, and we don’t need your help EVER. You’re a bunch of failures…Yiddishkeit should never be qualified by a word like “modern”. The Satmar rav would always say that Religious Zionist Jews are the biggest chillul Hashem, because, just like chazers, you look kosher on the outside, but on the inside you aren’t.

    So, in sum, dear “rabbis” Goldin and Dratch: You are a disgrace!

    groiseneias
    groiseneias
    11 years ago

    These closing words are GEVALDIG!
    All of Satmar and the other that are alike should REMEMBER these words:
    Consider this story, and think again. In 1972, Senators Humphrey and McGovern were vying for the Democratic presidential nomination. McGovern opposed the sale of Phantom jets to Israel; Humphrey, a real friend of the Jewish people, was in favor. Humphrey went to the Satmar Rebbe looking for support. He had previously been told that the Rebbe’s position on Israel was not that which Humphrey encountered in other Jews. No sooner had they all sat down, than the first thing Reb Yoelish said was, “Thank you for helping to protect our brothers in Eretz Yisrael.” Humphrey turned to the others and said, “I thought he was against Israel!” The Rebbe understood what was happening, and explained, “We have a bit of a squabble within the family. But we don’t want to see anyone in the family get hurt.”

    sheepheadsbayyid
    sheepheadsbayyid
    11 years ago

    is Hamodia telling the truth when they say it was not a protest against Israel itself
    “The very existence of the state is a rebellion against God,” declared Rabbi Nachman Stauber.

    TexasJew
    TexasJew
    11 years ago

    We will never agree on many issues. We need to be respectful of others. We need Mashiach NOW.

    Mark Levin
    Mark Levin
    11 years ago

    Kudos to Hamodea for allowing the RCA to defend themselves.

    They bring forth a wonderful point that is lost on the world INCLUDING our own “family” and that is that CHV CHV CHV does ANYONE in Satmar want ANYTHING bad to happen to ANYONE in klal yisroel no matter where they stand on the issues.

    Far too many of our “brothers,” including I am truly sad to say, quasi rebbis of fledgling shuls that have satmar leanings, are almost full of glee when something nebach bad happens in EY to the Yidden. If the Satmar Ruv tzv’l was alive, he would give them twenty petch across their face for being happy about something bad happening to yiddin in EY.

    That story with HHH, MUST be disseminated throughout yiddinville so that people finally understand.

    shalomke
    shalomke
    11 years ago

    RCA rocks! they got to the cure of the issue here. Any demonstration involving Satmar is to protest the existence of the State of Israel.

    admin
    Admin
    Member
    11 years ago

    With all due respect to Rabbi Golding, the Story he relates with the Satmar Rebbe is fabricated.. NO ONE in Satmar has ever heard of this story..

    I like to for Rabbi Golding to name his source ???

    thegreatone
    thegreatone
    11 years ago

    About the story Senators Humphrey and McGovern:
    Don’t know if its true.But there is a possibility that the Satmar rebbe was of the opinion if a gentile is anti Israel IS so becuase he/she is an Antisemite.
    But he sure wanted the non-Jewish world to know that frum Jews want nothing to do with the state of Israel as he writes many times in his seforim.
    And for sure he didn’t want anyone in the family to get hurt.When the whole world was dancing after the six day war the satmar rebbe was crying over Israeli soldiers being killed with many orphans,widows and broken parents left behind. Im sure Rabbi Goldin would of been the happiest man after the 1967 war becuase “we won”. But the Statmar rebbe cried becuase of loos of life.

    posaikacharon
    posaikacharon
    11 years ago

    my message to the RCA….. you are clearly not the spokesmen for klal yisroel. and to the pres. of the RCA… silence is “GOLDIN” (pun intended) shhh!

    LionofZion
    LionofZion
    11 years ago

    Here is the Daas Torah. The RCA which consists of over 1000 rabbis made a statement. How dare a newspaper editor speak against them. Even if Hamodia has some rabinic backing, 1000 to 1- I’ll go with the 1000.

    LEEAVE
    LEEAVE
    11 years ago

    the RCA is irrelevant they stand for nothing and im not sure why HAMODIA. is even bothering to give them undeserved attention

    Crazykanoiy
    Crazykanoiy
    11 years ago

    The disengagement protesters evoked holocaust imagery in their protests. They had children hold up their hands mimicing the iconic image of the child in the Warsaw Ghetto. The disengagenent protesters showed no respect for the decision of the democraticly elected government of Israel.

    On the other hand Rav Shach refused to allow his followers to protest the Oslo accords together with the Mizrachi. He felt that his opposition to Oslo was totally different than the Mizrachi opposition and the two should not mix. Pehaps his logic would equally apply to this situation. We should not protest with Satmar because our opposition to the government and their opposition to the government is totaly different.

    hashomer
    hashomer
    11 years ago

    I am amazed by the silly claims from Haredi Jews and Satmarim that secular Jews are a “failure”. First, I didn’t know that there was a competition, where one side succeeds and the other fails. Frankly, seculars believe in live and let live and don’t give a hoot what happens in the Haredi world. Haredi-Satmars seem to be obsessed about what seculars are doing, in order to condemn them and feel triumphant. That’s exactly what the Xians do regarding all Yidden. Feel triumphant over us. And how we hate them for it.

    yosefben
    yosefben
    11 years ago

    #18 “enlightened yid” Sorry but you aren’t very enlightened. “Many Satmars also don’t know that Satmar Rebbe was rescued by secular Hungarian Zionist Jews…” you are kidding right? My bubbe cursed kastner’s memory every night when she went to bed….and to even hint The Holy Yoelish was pro zionists is ludicrous.

    MAVEN’s posts might help you get enlightened.

    CollegeYid
    CollegeYid
    11 years ago

    A CALL TO THOSE IN FAVOR OF THIS PROTEST- Are you kidding me???? Burning Israeli flags on the streets of New York helps advancing the Torah way? How blind and naive can one be? These “chilonim’ buried there fathers, children and brothers for a jewish refugee state!!! For thousands of years the ‘Frya’ Yidden have been trying to squash frumkite with integration of outside culture, (one example- gymnasiums during roman times in yerushalayim) We keep answering with the same attitude of disgust, segregation and seclusion. Perhaps if we looked at our misguided brothers with equal love and marched down the streets of Tel Aviv shouting our love instead of poisonous hate we wouldnt be in his position. Maybe invite them for a shabbos meal, a night to light a chanuka candle- a pesach seder!! We the frum people have the obligation to follow the Torah way, we must adhere to the torah- they have forsaken it!!! History has proven when you fight fire with fire everyone and the beis hamikdosh gets burnt.

    JamesDean
    JamesDean
    11 years ago

    Satmar believes that Yidden do not have the right to settle in Eretz Yisroel using forceful means. This is a fundamental belief and they do not in any way recognize any form of government even if it was completely religious until Moshiach arrives.

    As this protest was organized by Satmar, even if the scope was limited to discussing the draft, attending the protest legitimizes the Satmar position. This is likely the reason why Gedolim in E”Y discouraged attendance at the protest.

    Any Chasidus or Yeshiva that endorsed this protest or attended has bound themselves to the Satmar position on E”Y.

    If this was not their intention, perhaps they should have organized a separate event.

    In the eyes of the majority of Yidden, this protest was counter productive. It was almost as bad as the Neturei Karta’s trip to Tehran.

    I’d offer that the last time we had a Jewish government in E”Y after the Churban was in the time of Bar Kochba and Rebbe Akiva. That was destroyed due to Sinas Chinum. Perhaps we should take that into account the next time folks who are experts in Sinas Chinam tell us to take to the streets.

    PeaceNow
    PeaceNow
    11 years ago

    I wish we could hear from from the RCA.

    Liepa
    Liepa
    11 years ago

    I strongly concur with the RCA on this one!

    If Aroini and Zalmy are trying to curry favor with the Almighty One Above, by thinking they’re kenoim for the One Above, as Pinchas Ben Elozer did in maasei Zimri, with the Foley Square debacle then they’re more misguided than meets the eye!

    Showing the world that Jew hates Jew has never ever accomplished anything positive for Jews, period. To think otherwise is naive, at best!

    It’s truly a shame that Koirachs work and not Pinchus is continuing thousands of years on!

    5TResident
    Noble Member
    5TResident
    11 years ago

    You know, my uncle is an Auschwitz survivor and he has told me stories about Jews arguing with each other in the barracks about whose fault it was that Jews were in this predicament. They didn’t care that they were very likely to be killed within days or hours; they just had to be right. The Gentiles are laughing at us – there are so few Jews on the planet who know or care anything about Yiddishkeit or Torah or Eretz Yisroel. The vast majority of Jews couldn’t care less about any of that. Yet, these few Jews who are frum are so busy bickering over narishkeit that they don’t notice what’s happening around them. We’ve learned nothing since the days of Chamsa and Bar Chamsa. And that’s a really good reason to mourn.

    YonahLevi
    YonahLevi
    11 years ago

    Maven, I couldn’t agree with you more.

    That the RCA still hasn’t denounced “rabbi” Dolinger for his tremendous chillul HaShem speaks volumes. All charedi members of this awful anti-Torah and pro-toeivah organization need to realize that they are being used as pawns to lend legitimacy to the indefensible. If they are sincere in their love of Torah, They will leave the organization.

    This is the group that said that the rasha avi weiss was “premature” in it’s decision to ordain women as rabbis (by a different name but with all the authority of a rabbi). It is a basic fact of biology and the English language that something that is premature doesn’t stay so for long, and eventually matures. Yet “rabbi” Gordim and his followers who are ashamed of the Torah, our Gedolim, and our heilige mesorah, never retracted their reckless statement (and the many others they’ve made like it). Why doesn’t the Agudah stand up for kavod haTorah and denounce these reshaim??!?!

    We’re sorry modern

    jack-l
    jack-l
    11 years ago

    U dont have to be a talmud chochom to understand that a “protest of jews” against fellow jews will cause a feeding frenzy of antisemitism anti zionism etc.
    Playing word games and endless analyzing of the semantics , did he say this? did he mean that? is the the chief occupation of many………
    The other trait of these brothers is “self”. They just dont care what they look like. Just look at them. Neither do they consider the reprecussions of their misguided actions.
    Cuz they r always right. always.
    I have a question for rebbe 123 ,maven, faivish, and all fellow cave dwellers. Assuming your wish was granted, and Eretz Yisroel was CHVS overun by its enemies resulting in millions of jews killed, maimed, injured,and expelled. No jews would be spared including the anti establishment chareidi world . History should have taught us that lesson . Just in case we needed a refresher the nazis reminded us.
    So now i ask all you fine Torah true jews …would you say an extra long kaddish? or would u say hallel.??

    The_Truth
    Famed Member
    The_Truth
    11 years ago

    The whole concept of the Satmer protest is a joke in my eyes – its like the Palestinians protesting the draft, or complaining that they should also be drafted.
    Satmer is against Eretz Yisroel – which means they dont hold of the government there – which means they have no say what the government decides.

    My personal feeling – although I have nothing to back me, is that Satmer in the USA has such a big following – much more than (any?) other Chassidus, as it fits well with the American lifestyle. Live in a free country, do my basic duty to the state & live my life as I see fit – with no need to move away to a country (Israel) that is by default difficult to live in. Not that the Chassidus itself thinks this, but many of its followers subconsciously may think this and the Satmer lifestyle/mentality gives them this excuse.

    ActualJew
    ActualJew
    11 years ago

    I totally agree with the RCA on this. Satmars will never serve in IDF. they are jumping on the bandwagon of Jew- and Israel-hatred. They are like the BDS supporters who, after a little convo, will tell you that Jews were responsible for the shoah (if there really was one, they will say) and that maybe 9/11 too.
    This rally was so despicable bc there is not a Nazi or Muslim website without multiple images and branding it a Jewish Shiite-Sunni schism.
    Mazel tov on the chillul HaShem, Satmar! The next Holocaust denial conf in Tehran will be fun!!!!