Israel, Religion

Masorti Gets Sassy

masorti-yellowpages-gets-noticed-lo-resThe Masorti movement (the Israeli and generally non-North American arm of the Conservative movement) is bringing out the snark a bit with a new ad campaign to address the issue of government stipends for yeshiva students in Israel.
They’ve put up big ads all over Jerusalem (including on the back of buses) with the statement, “Torah that is not accompanied by a worldly trade will in the end amount to nothing and will lead one into sin” (Pirke Avot, chapter 2) and an index of the occupations of some of the tradition’s great sages–Maimonides was a physician, Rashi was a vintner, R. Yehoshua ben Hananiah made needles, and so forth.
I, for one, am amused, and glad they’re throwing down on this one.
You can see a close-up of the ad here.

16 thoughts on “Masorti Gets Sassy

  1. this ad is awesome, but I don’t get the whole Shammai was a builder thing… because of one aggadah that appears on one page of gemara which says he had a measuring stick in his hand, this makes him a builder? I don’t know if this is very sound reasoning… just saying.

  2. I like it, but if they’re trying to convince any haredim, it seems unwise to put “Masorti” at the bottom (unless they’re banking on haredim not having heard of Masorti).

  3. @BZ: It has already been noticed in the Orthodox world. Aside from an article in the more moderate Orthodox web site-srugim – there was a vicious editorial in Yeted Neeman, the leading Haredi paper.
    Posters have been ripped from billboards.
    But the campaign is aimed at the Israeli public. It is intended to remind the public that our Jewish values demand of us that national responsibilities ( and taxes) must be carried by all. It is to slow the efforts to grant further allowances to Ysehiva students, and wider military exemptions, while basic education has been all but eliminated from Haredi schools.
    The Masorti Movement has also become much more active in allowing a religious voice to be heard regarding a variety of social issues.

  4. @ME – thanks for the additional links. now don’t go around smacking any potential converts with that plumber… 😉

  5. Obviously the target for the ad is the general public, whose silence or passivity, in combination with the trade-offs involved in coalition politics, has allowed the financial stipends to the Charedim to continue.
    The story is told of the scantily clad young woman on a Tel Aviv bus who has an apple shoved in her face by a Charedi and is told to eat. She takes a bite, and then asks why he had demanded this of her. He replied, Because when Eve ate the apple, she knew she was naked. The young woman then demands of the Charedi that he take a bite; he does so and asks why. And she says, Because when Adam ate the apple, he knew that he had to go work.
    Some thirty years ago, ads appeared in Jerusalem newspapers reminding the populace that the mitzvah of hearing the shofar on Rosh HaShanah could not be fulfilled in a Masorti synagogue — and hundreds of people who had not previously been aware of the Masorti movement are said to have flocked to its HHD services. But public pressure from Masorti and from the Reform Israel Religious Action Center has not yet moved the chiloni community to rise in outrage against both the discrimination against them and the government favoritism toward the Charedim.
    Im ein achshav, eimatai?

  6. Ya sure you want to go there?
    How many Jewschoolers are, what was it again, lumberjacks, builders (of buildings), vintners, or needle-makers (as opposed to needlers).
    OTOH how many Jewschoolers are students receiving some sort of state aid or go to a state-supported establishment?

  7. @Dave:Hmmm. Going to school now in order to learn the skills of a job or the knowledge for profession in a couple of years (not to mention paying lots of that money back)versus going to school forever. Naw, not much difference there.

  8. Not to mention, Dave, every penny that students get in state or federal aid is payed back and then some. Not to mention, I bet that most of those who write for and/or read Jewschool and are still students, they also have jobs to support themselves. So the question is, do you want to go there?

  9. If there had been a Disengagement II (like Kadima promised its voters in 2006), then we’d already be on the road to resolving this problem. The vast majority of Israelis basically agree on most political issue, sans what to do about the West Bank. If we can come to some kind of change–however imperfect the change–in that regard, then there would be no need to form governments with Heredi parties.
    Because there isn’t a real disagreement there–a state won’t be able to function in another generation with 30% of its population not working, but instead “learning.” (For we know that most of these 38-year-old yeshiva bachors really do learn Torah seriously all day.)

  10. @DAM
    Happy New Year to you too. But don’t you Reforms celebrate it at the solstice?
    Taking courses in the ‘ahts’, the humanities and the social sciences hardly qualifies as learning the skills of a job.
    At least the haredim are practical enough not to take on humungous debts to pay for their education.
    But since I believe in being constructive, here’s a website for a company that actually hires humanities and social science grads and pays them enough to pay back their loans:
    I’ll leave it to you arties to figure out a justification.
    He seems to be implying that I’m not a student. partial discolsure: I’m taking Geo at a state school. I plan on getting employed after graduation. But if not there’s a lignite or maybe some other sub-bituminous deposit with my name on it. Probably in the NW.
    See you at PDAC 2011 in March.

  11. @Dave: Given that pretty much any job in the USA that one could support a family with requires some kind of college degree, I would say that even the “ahts” qualifies. Especially as it will be done at some point (usually after either an initial 4 years, or perhaps 7-9 if someone continues on to grad school, which if as far as I can tell, pretty darn close to trade school these days, even if the skills aren’t exactly the same thing as apprenticing oneself to a carpenter or plumber), and people paying back their loans. Nevertheless, you’re making a pretty big assumption about what people do or are studying.

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