Fanaticism and poverty

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Idealism vs Realism

Idealism vs Realism

I came across a family this week who simply could not understand that one parent’s religious fanaticism is the other’s financial nightmare. This family, in the most serious of financial crises, is strugling  to not only survive, but same an already sunken ship. They are at an impasse. The “idealism” of the one, not taking into account the “reality” of the other.

I include here an excerpt for an article written by Jonathan Rosenblum on some otehr examples of the “other side of the story” when striving for the “ideals” that the “idealism” is trying to reach:

Green opposition to “fracking” a technique for extracting natural gas from deep wells, would deprive the United States of access to the world’s largest national gas reserves, and with it, hundreds of thousands of new jobs, hundreds of billions in revenues, and a large degree of energy independence.

Meanwhile, a leaked European Commission report shows that a heavy reliance on renewable energy sources – wind and solar – would lead to a doubling of electricity prices by 2050. Even if Green-minded European bureaucrats could foist such hikes on European citizens, giant countries like China, India, and Brazil will never follow suit, making the rush to renewable energy, not only costly but futile in terms of reducing global carbon emissions.

FAIRNESS ENTAILS MENTION that idealism that blinds religious adherents to the human consequences of their actions is not unique to Islam. It has infected pockets of Orthodox Judaism as well. Rabbi Elazar Menachem Shach, the late leader of the yeshiva world, used to say that the elevation of one mitzvah or one Torah value above all others inevitably leads to an utter distortion of the Torah and a loss of all balance. At the time, he was referring to the national religious movement’s emphasis on settlements and the mitzvah of settling the land.

But that is only one example. The anti-Zionism of certain elements within Neturei Karta, which has a basis in Torah sources, nevertheless has driven many of its adherents mad. What else could explain the use of microphones on Shabbos at anti-Israel demonstrations by those attired in the familiar Shabbos dress of Meah Shearim or their presence in Teheran at Holocaust-denial conferences sponsored by a regime openly pursuing nuclear weapons so that it can wipe every Jew in Israel off the face of the earth?

The demonstrations against the opening of the national religious girls Orot girls school in Ramat Beit Shemesh is another example. How could a grown man to shout the most vile names at seven-year-old girls or chase them down the street if a demented ideology had not rendered him oblivious to what he is doing?

What is so evident to me as an outsider to the zealot community is not, however, necessarily so to one dwelling within. That is why I was so heartened by a newspaper account sent just before the Yomim Noraim of how Rabbi Shmuel Chaim Pappenheim, a former editor of the Eidah Hachareidis newspaper and a resident of Beit Shemesh, publicly condemned the demonstrations against the school, apologized in print and sought forgiveness from Rabbi Dov Lipman, a leader of the defense of the Orot school, for previously written harsh words, and reached out to Rabbi Lipman for dialogue. Like Joachim Klein, the mechanic, he was able to step back in horror and see where ideology had lead.


Children Of Divorce More Likely To Live In Poverty: Census Report

Posted by admin under Child Poverty, Children, Disposable Income, Divorce, Unemployment

Children and Divorce

Children and Divorce

Children of divorce are more likely to be in poverty and to live with their mothers, according to a new Census report on marriage released today.

According to the report, three-quarters of children in divorced families lived with their mother in 2009 while some 28% of them were below the poverty rate, versus a 19% poverty rate among other children. The first-of-its kind Census report is a compendium of marriage trends and statistics cut by age, race and geography. Some stats:

1) In 2009, women who divorced in the previous 12 months were more likely to be in poverty and reported less household income than recently divorced men. Some 27% of recently divorced women had less than $25,000 in annual household income compared with 17% of recently divorced men. From the Huffington Post.


Great News!!! Israel poverty levels fall to lowest since 2003, But!

Posted by admin under Child Poverty, Children, Disposable Income, Perspective, Poverty in Israel, Tzedakah

Poverty In Israel

Poverty In Israel

Yes, you read it right. The poverty level in Israel has gone down. That is great news!

That said, and I am not trying to belittle the progress, but… The numbers are still staggering, and what more, they are not at all that much different. Yes, percentage wise, there is a drop, “…19.8% of Israeli families suffered from poverty in 2010, compared to 20.5% in 2009″. That’s almost a full percent. That’s great! That’s about 3033 families less than the year prior.

The sad part is that there are still about 433,000 families still IN poverty. All of this is of course without getting into questions of what poverty means and how poverty is measured.

Here is a fuller report from Haaretz.