Working Charedim

March 1, 2015

The denial came very quickly. Former Eida HaCharedis (unofficial) spokesman Shmuel Chaim Pappenheim is featured in a Yesh Atid aTo Unify a Nationd promoting the idea of Charedim learning secular subjects (English and math) and getting jobs. He laments the fact that a typical 45 year old Charedi doesn’t even know the English alphabet!

Mr. (Rabbi?) Pappenheim denied that he has anything to do with the Yesh Atid ad and claims this was an unauthorized use of a video he was involved in for an entirely different project. I don’t really blame him for his quick disavowal of anything to do with them. I’m sure that he doesn’t want his head handed to him. Rafi Goldmeier made note of this ad on his blog, Life in Israel and adds that if what Mr. Pappenhiem said is true, he should sue. Perhaps.

But one cannot get away from the fact that the message he sent in the video was exactly the message that Yesh Atid sends. And yet when Yesh Atid sends that message they are called Amalek. Now it’s also true that Yesh Atid was able to legislate their views into law. In effect that forces a core secular studies curriculum upon them if they want continued government funding. But the idea behind the law is identical to what Mr. Pappenheim advocates: educating Charedim out of ignorance about anything besides Torah – so that they can get better jobs.

How ironic it is that the hated (by Charedim) Yesh Atid is on the same page about working Charedim with someone like Shmuel Papenheim, a man of Meah Shearim who was weaned on the Hashkafos of the Eida HaCharedis for whom he once was spokesman. There is no greater animosity between  2 Jewish groups than there is between the Eida and Yesh Atid. Read the rest of this entry »


Review of To Unify a Nation

September 21, 2014

By Kathe Pinchuck, AJL ReviewsTo Unify a Nation

Rabbi Dov Lipman was elected to the Israeli Knesset in 2013 on Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid Party ticket. The party won a surprising 19 seats in the Knesset, with its representatives coming from diverse backgrounds, both in religious affiliation and culture. Since then, Rabbi Lipman has been active and vocal in addressing many issues, particularly those where religious and secular society clash—mandatory military or national service for all Israeli citizens, the role of women in Israeli society, marriage laws. Lipman argues that the greatest threat to the future of the Jewish people is the “abandonment of core Jewish values and ideals which include loving-kindness, respecting others, and not doing onto others what you don’t want done to yourself.”

This short volume is a personal manifesto that includes experiences that influenced Rabbi Lipman’s world view as well as observations on current Israeli events. Because of the nature of the essays, most references are not sourced in detail. While Rabbi Lipman does not shy away from some of today’s pressing issues, including African migrants and women wearing tallit (prayer shawl) and praying at the Kotel (the Western Wall), most of these matters have been festering for years and will not be solved quickly, even with a return to core Jewish values. He has had success in confronting local extremists and focusing on common ideals in Bet Shemesh. It will be interesting to see which aspects of Rabbi Lipman’s vision will be implemented and when during his promising political career. The book is a good choice for libraries whose patrons are interested in the history of modern Israel and its complicated politics.

This excerpt is from the Association of Jewish Libraries .


Interview with Rabbi Dov Lipman

July 14, 2014

by TJC staffTo Unify a Nation

Two members of Knesset — Israeli Parliament — discuss their new books in English on TJC’s episode of Up Close.

First, MK Ruth Calderon, a secular Israeli who is also a Talmud scholar, talks about the new English translation of her book A Bride For One Night: Talmud Tales, in which she writes fictional accounts of some of the Talmud’s most provocative stories from her own unique perspective.

Then, MK Rabbi Dov Lipman, a fellow member of Calderon’s Yesh Atid party who originally hails from the United States and considers himself haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, discusses his new book, To Unify a Nation: My Vision for the Future of Israel. Lipman has made a goal of bringing the more extreme sectors of the haredi community back to the center though education and career opportunities.

To watch highlights from the interview click here.

To listen to the full interview click here.