The Changing Face of the Eternal City
The Los Angeles Times today features an article entitled “Clashing Values Alter A City’s Face”, the latest commentary on the changing demographics of Jerusalem.
Secular and “less devout” residents are moving out, black hats are moving in.
However, as I show on thisisbabylon.net, such assessments, and especially vis-a-vis the sentiments of the secular people leaving the city, overlook another major fact.
The haredi community itself is fragmenting, and a radicalized public is beginning to take form against the will of the haredi leadership, and often, against the will of the majority of the haredi community itself.
Many of the things mentioned in the LA Times piece are unique to ultra-heimish places like Brooklyn’s Williamsburg or Meah Shearim. And their eschewing of entertainment and recreational activities enjoyed by other Torah-observant Jews works beautifully for those in such a traditional framework.
Except now, increasingly, all haredim are supposed to fit into these paradigms. And the “four cubits of halacha” begins to shrink to a painfully restrictive (and quite monolithic and Ashkenazi) square inch.