News Roundup: 10/27/11
[Plus Update: Woman judged guilty of witchcraft by rabbinical court...]
Charedim never engage in violent crimes. Except, of course, when they do. Avraham Hirshman, who is said to be a member of the famed gang of Jerusalem thugs, the “Sikirikim,” was savagely beaten by a another group of equally despicable thugs, a group of Gerer Chasidim. We’re having some trouble deciphering the conflict, but from what we can make out, it has something to do with a kolel in Mea Shearim’s Batei Varsha neighborhood, blasphemy against the Gerer rebbe, and other grievous but hazily specified offenses. Thousands of Charedim came out to protest the internecine violence.
Jacob Marmurstein, the head of Private Tranportation Corp., which runs the now-infamous B110 route between Williamsburg and Borough Park, promises to have signs posted on the buses informing passengers that discrimination will not be tolerated. Which brings to mind the signs we used to see in our yeshiva dining rooms stating that our school does not discriminate based on “race, religion, or sex.” Which always made us wonder whether Chrissy, the cute Puerto Rican girl from down the block, might one day join us in our gemara class. (As it happens, Chrissy never showed up.)
In other news involving the aforementioned Sikrikim, members of the group appear to be curiously offended by one rather pedestrian habit: eating ice cream. According to Beliefnet.com, “The ultra-orthodox Sikrikim say that they are disgusted by people licking ice cream in public — and that such behavior promotes promiscuity, much like dancing.”
While outrage has been ongoing over sex-segregated buses in the U.S., a group of Israelis has tried to battle sex-segregation in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Meah Shearim. Around 40 members of the group Free Israel, consisting of both men and women, attempted to march down Mea Shearim Street to protest the illegally sex-segregated Charedi thoroughfare. The Charedim were having none of it and attacked marchers and their police escorts with stones, bottles and other projectiles.
It’s a cold war all over again, with Russia now pitted against a different kind of superpower: Chabad. In a bizarre diplomatic scuffle, a Russian sailing ship, scheduled to dock near San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, cancelled its plans and was rerouted to Mexico. The Russians feared that the U.S. would seize the ship at the behest of Chabad, which has been battling the Russian governemnt over the so-called Schneerson Library, a collection of more than 62,000 books and documents assembled by the Chabad-Lubavitch movement over two centuries and is now being held at the Moscow State Library.
The Jewish Political Action Committe, a representative of which seems to be spamming the Unpious comments lately, has been warning members of the Hasidic community of its growing concerns about gay marriage. Apparently, JPAC thinks that because gay marriage is now legal, gay people will be prowling Hasidic mikvas for marriage partners.
Former chief rabbi Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau told a bunch of Israeli high school students that intermarriage “play(s) into the hands of the Nazis.” As we all know, Hitler gave a free pass and a piece of chocolate cake to any Jew married to a gentile.
[UPDATE — Just in:] A rabbinical court ruled that a woman accused of witchcraft was indeed a witch. The woman denied it but she failed a polygraph test. The court then ordered her ketuba amount reduced. The court did, however, exonerate her on the charge of not cooking for her husband, as the latter had committed adultery.
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