Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Hopeful Signs: Charedim Take Responsibility

Jonathan Rosenblum has an excellent article over at Cross-Currents discussing a recent case involving the death of a Charedi child. This time, however, there was a difference:
Leading rabbonim reached an agreement with the police, under which the police agreed to rely upon blood samples, spinal fluids, and x-rays, in place of an autopsy.

Before those tests could be performed, however, unknown parties cut their way through the metal bars on the window of the room in which the infant’s body was being held, and took it for burial.

In the past, those who succeeded in thwarting the police and spiriting the body away would have achieved folk hero status in parts of the chareidi community, and, could have counted on not being censured in the mainstream chareidi press. Not so this time.

The two-page report in Mishpacha’s Hebrew newspaper was typical of the chareidi press. The story quoted only those who opposed the snatching of the body. More than once the demonstrators were referred to as outsiders from Jerusalem and Ramat Beit Shemesh. Even more surprising, the police were described as having acted with great restraint and even “silk gloves.”

The report stressed that the local rabbis, including the heads of both the Belz and Gerrer communities, had requested the demonstrators to disperse while negotiations were ongoing with the police. Those demonstrations, according to the Mishpacha reporter, provided the cover for those who succeeded in breaking into the room in the local cemetery where the body was being kept.

It is nice to see the Charedi community - in at least this one case - show some maturity and responsibility when it comes to dealing with the secular authority. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come... a nice follow-up would be to condemn those who carried out the riots which happened this week.

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