On my previous post on hiking in the Golan, I received the following comment, abbreviated for brevity:
(Referring to my comment that the Hareidi boys going down the stairs looked like waddling penguins)
Your penguin comment is offensive.
Okay. Whatever. I don't see what's offensive about it, and since you didn't say, I can't respond.
BTW, "Haredi" is the preferred term, not "ultra" orthodox. It is a misconception to believe that they are one in the same.Please help to educate your fellow Jews, and not denigrate others.
I did use the term Hareidi. However, many Planet Israel readers are not in tune with the Israeli-religious Hebrew lingo that those of us here live in are swimming in, so I had to use the term "Ultra-Orthodox," which is the universally accepted language used in the mainstream media. The fact is, I could be offended about the word "Ultra," since it implies that Hareidim are more stringent in their mitzvah observance than other Orthodox Jews. I could also be offended by the term "Orthodox," since this is a label invented by later breakaway sects of Jews for what used to be known simply as "Judaism," in order to legitimize their own, divergent beliefs, as being just another shade or "stream" of Judaism. But when someone calls me an "Orthodox" Jew, I just smile and nod. Not every conversation has to be a battle.
You're not one of those American Jews who sees Haredim as "The Other," are you?
Well, in some sense I do. After all, the whole point of wearing the clothing of 18th century Eastern European Gentile nobility is to set one's self apart from society, to make one's self the "other." I would think they might be offended were I not to consider them to be "The Other," after all that effort. I saw those kids slogging through the underbrush, pushing their way through thorns and branches, while wearing three-piece suits, and thought, "Gosh, that's odd. It must be hot under there. It must take a lot of work to dress like that all the time." After all, there is something a bit, well, "otherly," seeing people in three-piece-suits and Borsalino hats out in the bush. I admire the effort and hardship they must go through, though I personally consider it a bit misplaced.
And I don't know what the connection between being an American Jew and seeing Haredim as "The Other" is. After all, most Israeli Jews are very hostile to Haredim. Most American Jews, at least the ones I know, are pretty accepting.