I’m not a fan of fundamentalism of any stripe whether Jewish, Christian, Islamic or whatever. I find their beliefs tread well into the foolish and idiotic. Well here I will give examples of what I find idiotic regarding Haredi/Hasidic beliefs as well as some unsavory behaviors.
While circumcision is common in America, The practice of Metzitzah B’Peh (MBP) is basically religiously institutionalized sexual assault. In MBP, the mohel, puts his mouth on the babies genitals and sucks out the blood from the recently made wound to the penis. To say this is barbaric, is putting it mildly. Here are some points that are usually brought up to defend this practice.
- But that is the law of Moses! I say bullshit. There is no archaeological evidence for an Exodus as mentioned in the Hebrew Bible or for a flourishing kingdom of David or Solomon. Moses is very likely fictional. The priestly source’s fingerprints are all over this as being the origin for most of the “laws of Moses.”
- But it is tradition! While I don’t want to seem insensitive to the identity that a community shares, MBP can be eliminated without much consequence, some mohel’s use a tube which would at least be more preferable. MBP is unsanitary.
- But God says so! While I understand that by being orthodox your assumption that God wrote the Torah is the common stance. I would urge you to look at these writings in a critical way. These works were written by men and men can have agendas. I would suggest reading a book called “Bondage of the Mind” by R.D. Gold which goes into issues relating to the ultra-orthodox movement.
The ultra-orthodox movement is an aberration. There never was a time when Judaism was practiced the way the ultra-orthodox do. The movement is simply reactionary like most fundamentalist religions are. To an outsider who lives by a rather large population of ultra-orthodox Jews, this form of Judaism has yielded unsavory behaviors and interactions.
- Ultra-Orthodox communities are unsustainable communities in terms of taxes. Since birth control is shunned, women are discouraged from working and the males are encouraged to become rabbi’s, ultra-orthodox communities are some of the largest benefactors of state aid. This is true in Israel as well.
- The behavior of some ultra-orthodox are very shitty. Very young people were spit on and called whores for “immodesty.” Sexist behavior seems to be an increasingly problematic issue. The encroachment of settlements in areas that are clearly Palestinian just rubs me the wrong way.
Lest I be accused of antisemitism, I myself am married to a Jewish woman. I have no problem with attending services at the synagogue. I put a yarmulke on during holy days out of respect to my wife and her family. I’ll eat some Matzoh during Passover even though I’m on a paleolithic diet. I appreciate the calligraphy of the Torah and of Hebrew in general. I also don’t hate anyone who is ultra-orthodox. You can believe anything you wish. It’s your life and your right to believe. And I would also like to clarify that not all ultra-orthodox are on state aid or spit on people or have an obnoxious zealotry, but it would be a mistake to not see that there is a sizable membership of the community that is causing friction with others. But back to the topic, MBP and its spread of disease such as Herpes needs to change significantly. There is no reason to give a child an illness as soon as they are born. It doesn’t make sense. It is beyond outdated.