Above: Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblum
Haredi spokesperson and spinmeister Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblum writes:
…After 40,000 reservists were called up for Operation Protective Edge, Mrs. Sharon Isaacson, a member of the chareidi community of Ramat Beit Shemesh -- Aleph, began thinking about a former student of hers at MMY Seminary whose husband had been called up, and how difficult it must be for wives of reservists taking care of children alone while worrying about their husbands. She decided – with the enthusiastic support of her husband and children – to do something. Between various communal forums, including one for national religious rabbis in Beit Shemesh, and calls to the head of the community center, social workers, and friends, she put together over several days a list of women in Beit Shemesh and Ramat Beit Shemesh whose husbands have been called up.
Then she started enlisting her friends in the chareidi community, who soon outnumbered the number of wives whose husbands were in service by a considerable margin. That turned out to be a good thing, for there was plenty of assistance needed – e.g., a woman just after childbirth, another woman with five little kids under seven. The first step of visiting with cakes and offering words of support and appreciation was soon followed by more concrete tasks – providing cooked meals, babysitting, driving, and shopping. Mrs. Isaacson even found a therapist to donate her services for a traumatized wife who was not coping with her fears.
While collecting her list of wives whose husbands were in Gaza, Mrs. Isaacson also began accumulating a list of women whose sons are in Gaza. Someone gave her the phone number of a Chassidic woman who lives in Kiryat HaChareidi, adjacent to the Modern Orthodox Sheinfeld community where the Beit Orot school, which was the scene of so much controversy nearly two years ago. She is one of the founders of a group called Ayin Tov, which includes women from both the various chareidi neighborhoods and the modern orthodox/national religious neighborhoods of Beit Shemesh. Among its members are women whose daughters attend Beit Orot and others from Ramat Beit Shemesh – Beis, home to the handful of crazies who harassed the girls. Ayin Tova brings the women together to get to know one another and create more ahavas Yisrael. That Chassidic woman immediately volunteered her group to contact women with sons in the army and to daven for their sons.…
Sounds really good, I suppose, until you find out some information Rosenblum omitted. Marty Bluke writes:
Jonathan Rosenblum wrote a column describing the efforts of Mrs. Sharon Issacson a member of the "Charedi" community in Ramat Bet Shemesh, to help out women whose husbands were called up to the army to fight in Gaza. The point of the article was to show how the Charedi community has stepped up to the plate and is showing achdus with the soldiers and the Israeli people.
There is only one problem. Mrs. Sharon Issacson is not your typical Israeli Charedi. In fact, it would be hard to call her Charedi at all given her background and life today. She was raised in a Modern Orthodox home in NY and attended a co-ed elementary school and YUs Stern College. Her husband is a graduate of MTA and YU and has a law degree from Columbia. He is currently the Rosh Yeshiva of Mevaseret, a 1 year American Yeshiva for modern orthodox boys in Israel. Her 2 sons went to Maarava for High School. There is 1 even more startling fact that is missing, her son is currently serving in the Israeli Army in Nachal Haredi [a 'haredi' unit in which most soldiers are really ex-haredim or right wing Zionist Orthodox].
Given all of the above is it not very misleading to simply call her "Charedi"?
It seems that every time the Charedi world tries to appeal to more moderate Americans they bring examples that fall into one of 2 categories:
1. Baalei teshuva
2. They grew up in modern homes…
In a comment to Bluke's post, Rabbi Natan Slifkin noted that Rosenblum's deception goes even further. All the women involved in Issacson's effort "are members of Beis Tefillah, and they all grew up in Zionist homes."
In other words, the 'haredi' women doing so much to help IDF soldiers' families are really right wing Zionist Orthodox and former Modern Orthodox who are converts to haredism and have children or friends serving in Gaza.
For the most part, actual real haredim who are not ba'al teshuvas or converts from Zionist Orthodoxy or converts from Modern Orthodoxy didn't really do anything to help soldiers' families – a fact Rosenblum, himself a ba'al teshuva, desperately wants to hide.