Author Archives: Hadassah Levy

The Attractions of Haredi Life

Hadassah Levy / The very title of William Kolbrener’s Open Minded Torah expresses a paradox that demands examination. As the name implies, the book supports an open-minded approach to Judaism, in which a variety of opinions (although not all) are considered legitimate. This represents the polar opposite of ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) ideology. Indeed, Kolbrener appears to be directly critiquing Haredi society. He rails against its narrow-mindedness, exclusivity, feelings of superiority, superficiality and intolerance. He criticizes simplistic readings of Judaism, reliance on segulahs, kabbalah and the belief that the faithful are rewarded in this world. There is also implicit criticism of those who choose to learn in kollel instead of interacting with the world.

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Removing Women’s Pictures from Photographs

Hadassah Levy / A recent ad in a local Rehovot haredi newspaper blurred the picture of Sivan Rahav-Meir. Ironically, the ad was for an event at which Rahav-Meir will be speaking. The event is run by the Religious-National Forum and the ad was submitted to the newspaper without the blurring. This news item is being reported shortly after the outrage over the blurring out of Ruti Fogel’s picture from a parsha sheet. The memorial picture included the whole family, with only her photo blurred. Machon Meir, which published the parsha sheet, has a policy against publishing women’s pictures in the bulletin, since it is meant for distribution in shul. The institute apologized both publicly and privately to the family for the gaffe.

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