Did anyone catch 'Beyond Belief' on radio 4 it was discussing ultra Orthodox Jewish Communities

By ibrows
September 20, 2010

you can catch it on listen again



Rabbi Zvi

Mon, 09/20/2010 - 22:59

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Yeah it was very interesting.

Isca Stieglitz

Tue, 09/21/2010 - 11:32

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It's like looking back in time and then 'wham!', you see the mobile phones, cars, computers.

I used to work near Mea She'arim in Jerusalem. For those who don't know, mea she'arim means 'a hundred gates' and it is a very closed Harradei/super strict orthodox community, in Israel.

I was quite ambivalent at first, I found it hard not to be 'fascinated' and stare, but at the same time I became part of it in a small way, buying fruit & veg & using a library - very modestly dressed of course. I still got called 'schicksah'! I gave the boys a good talking to about prejudice & rudeness in yiddish, which shocked them!

I did see a higher proportion of 'extra needs' and Down's in Mea She'arim, which is quite common in tight communities who may marry cousins or second cousins and then marry 'in' again. Or simply through lack of numbers of potential marriage partners. I found similar when I worked in old 'isolated' communities in Cornwall.

Of course, there is a huge caveat, that this is not a 'jewish' or 'cornish' thing, it is an 'isolated community thing' and is not a for gone conclusion.

Thanks for posting, very interesting; I'd have missed this otherwise.

Rabbi Zvi

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 15:14

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Mea She'arim actually means one hundred measures - it's from the Torah in Bereishit where Ya'akov avinu sows one measure of corn and gets back one hundred fold.

The special needs kids are a feature of the Chareidi world because their parents don't believe in aborting a fetus just because it has a problem. The human being, they argue, is worth the extra effort. Having worked in the field I am inclined to agree with them.


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