Adass vs Mizrachi

The following correspondence is making the rounds of email on the internet. It sheds light on the basis of the disagreement.

Disclaimer: Ian is my brother-in-law

First, we have a letter from Adass

Dear Ian
I am receipt of your email statement of behalf of the Mizrachi Organisation.
I am astounded that you would issue such a notice without the courtesy of enquiring about the aim of this gathering
You labelled this “a protest” which was “designed to attract the attention of the general community and the media” organised by opponents of the state of Israel
Unfortunately your statement is totally incorrect.
This was not a “protest” but rather a gathering of Jews – Shomrei Torah uMitzvos from most communities – to say Tehilim and Tefillos against recent decrees aimed at harming the Torah world.
We mirrored the call of the ENTIRE Torah leadership worldwide – Chassidim and Litvaks, Ashkenazim and Sfardim.
The Gedolei Hador are pained at new legislation which further erodes Achdus and Shalom between fellow Jews.
How can anyone sit back and watch as a Jewish State legislates that one Jew will put another Jew into jail for studying Torah?
This is something that saddens all of us and we pray that Hashem should bring us together as one people.

This was not a protest. No one spoke, there was no speeches. No banners or signs – Just tehillim and tefila

It was most specifically NOT done to attract the media. It took place inside a Shul – the most appropriate place for prayer.
There was no contact with the media and no street signs.

You have stated the exact opposite of what we were aiming.   We came for prayer for unity peace and you interpreted it as the opposite.

I think you owe the organisers a public apology for your words.
Wishing you a Good Shabbos and Simchas Purim
Adass Israel
PS Please note that I am responding on behalf of our Shul.
Mizrachi’s response is produced below
Dear Binyomin,
I refer to your email of 14 March 2014.
Your letter raises a number of complaints concerning the statement I made on 13 March 2014 which I will attempt to deal with.
First, you say that you are astounded that I would issue such a notice without the courtesy of enquiring about the aim of this gathering.
The aim of the gathering was readily apparent from the poster that was widely distributed. The poster depicted a Sefer Torah wrapped in barbed wire conjuring up the very worst images from our recent history. It called upon men, women and children aged 9 and over to “show solidarity with our embattled brethren in Eretz Yisrael regarding the proposed new law”. It contained images of large outdoor rallies held in Jerusalem and New York.  Although you assert that I should have made enquiries about the aim of the gathering before making any statement, no attempt was made to consult with the Mizrachi Organisation (or to obtain Rabbi Sprung’s signature) prior to organising the event. Presumably that was because it was anticipated by the organisers that Mizrachi would have objected in the strongest terms to what was being planned.
Secondly, you say that I mischaracterised the event by calling it a protest.
When people are called upon to assemble in large numbers to voice their opposition to legislation enacted by a democratically elected government, they are in effect being called upon to protest. A protest need not involve speeches or banners, although I note that similar events held in other cities included such features. You say that the event “took place inside a Shul – the most appropriate place for prayer”. However the poster announced that the rally would take place in the Adass Gutnick Hall.
Thirdly, you state that in organising the gathering you “mirrored the call of the ENTIRE Torah leadership worldwide”.
It is disappointing and troubling that you do not consider Mizrachi and our ideological affiliates around the world, who did not participate in any such events, as part of the Torah leadership community.
Fourthly, you assert that the legislation will mean that “one Jew will put another Jew into jail for studying Torah”.
A cursory reading of the legislation or the available summaries of it will reveal that the law has no such purpose or effect. Its intent is to gradually implement a more equitable sharing of the responsibility for protecting and defending the State of Israel and all of its inhabitants. The law does not come into effect until at least 2017. In the meantime, there is a full exemption for anyone over 26 who did not register in the past and an exemption for anyone aged between 22-26. There will be an option to perform national service rather than serve in the armed forces. Exceptional students will be completely exempt.
Fifthly, you write “We came for prayer for unity (and) peace and you interpreted it as the opposite”.
Scheduling the event on Ta’anit Esther and using the words “Gezeirot Kashot” (ie. harsh decrees) to describe the legislation recently enacted by the State of Israel plainly sought to equate that legislation and those responsible for it with with the terrible edicts decreed against the Jews by Ahasuerus at the instigation of Haman. Actions and statements such as these are plainly calculated to erode achdut. Referring to the Government of the State of Israel as “Shevet HaRasha” (the evil tribe) erodes achdut. How can you claim that you were seeking “unity” and “peace” when you describe fellow Jews in these terms.
I note that, since receiving your letter, two of the seven Rabbis who signed the poster have since expressed deep regret and emphatically dissociated themselves from the document.
You conclude your letter by saying that I owe the organisers of the event a public apology. For the reasons set out above I am not able to apologise for the statement that I made on behalf of the Mizrachi Organisation.
Yours sincerely,
Ian Waller SC
Mizrachi Organisation

Author: pitputim

I've enjoyed being a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia, as well as band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and later in life at Machon L'Hora'ah, Yeshivas Halichos Olam.

66 thoughts on “Adass vs Mizrachi”

  1. Referring to the Government of the State of Israel as “Shevet HaRasha” (the evil tribe) erodes achdut.

    Wow. So this is the “negative inference” that CZG and ZT apologised for?! What gross amhoratzus. This alone disqualifies him from any comment. It also disqualifies anyone who does not immediately spot the error.


    1. Although better translated as “rod or staff of wickedness”, the intent is the same.
      The phrase comes from Tehillim 125 and goes onto to refer to evildoers (polaei ha-aven).
      The inference is clear.


      1. First of all, it’s not an inference, it’s an implication. I don’t expect better from CZG or ZT. I do from you. Second, there is no implication at all about the government. I was wondering where anyone saw such an implication, and now I know it was simply amhoratzus on the part of your brother-in-law and his fellow illiterates. .


        1. Milhouse, before you accuse anyone (other than yourself) of amhoratzus, I suggest you open a sefer and actually look at what the meforshim say on the pasuk used in the Kol Koreh.

          Rashi: “Ki lo yiten HKBH et MEMSHELET hareshaim lanuach al hatzaddikim”
          Metzudat David: “Im hareshaim MOSHLIM zman ma al hatzaddikim…”

          “No implication at all about the Government”?

          Shall I, one of Ian’s fellow illiterates, translate for you?

          Who is the Am Haoretz?!

          p.s. why don’t you have the courage to actually tell everyone else on this blog who you are rather than cowardly throwing insults behind the shield of pseudonym. It’s really quite pathetic.


          1. Avi, do you deny that people have a right to daven for their brethren in Israel as asked to do by all chareidi rabbonim worldwide?


            1. I’d rather they, and their Chareidi Rabbonim by example, first daven for their bretheren soldiers in Tzahal who put their LIVES AT RISK every day of the week.

              Im Ani Le’Atzmi, Ma Ani ???????


  2. You start off writing first we have a letter from adass. Thats not true it all started first with the letter from Ian. Adass replied to that and then Ian replied to adass. Please correct.


            1. When I have time. It adds little from what I recall. It wasn’t addressed to Adass solely anyway which was my post in the exchange of letters


        1. No. In case your literacy is deficient the first statement was not Mizrachi vs Adass. The two letters I quoted were. And those with a semblance of grey matter would realise that the letter ‘written’ ostensibly by Mr Koppel for Adass was somewhat embarassing


  3. Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky RY of Philly said the Israeli government are Reshaim because of the draft law!

    So yes, this inference is totally on the money.


          1. The point is, great Rabbis have said this. Hence the reference in the letter is not as shocking as you make it out to be, nor is it wrong.


  4. CTG & ZT did not specify the “negative inference” about the Israeli government, and they expressed regret and disassociated themselves only from said negative inference, and not from the event as a whole.
    That said, it’s hard to know how much rational thought went into (a) signing in the first place, and (b) the follow up notice, so it may not be appropriate to try and make diyukim here.


    1. This is what I said on the other post.

      Why then is Isaac not attacking them as he is the other rabbonim?

      What about Rabbi Cohen? He was there at the front table praying hard with everyone else.


      1. I have no idea who was there. The signatories are supposedly those who are of importance to draw the crowd based on what the poster SAID. Rav Aviner was at the Israeli one. He is Chardal. That’s his view. You’d need to ask him whether he was there for the same reason as those who spit and spout against the state since it’s inception.


        1. Why do you insist on spreading lies and more lies.

          No one spat or spouted against the state whatsoever at the Melbourne gathering.


            1. Be that as it may, this is not the point being discussed here. Therefore you should acknowledge that you have lost the argument.

              Be graceful, Isaac.


  5. Yes, it says that people doing bad things – which from their perspective, describes the people lobbying for the government’s present policy – will not be able to exercise their power of tzaddikim indefinitely. It’s a very appropriate verse, particularly since it follows “Yerushalayim harim soviv loh, ve-Hashem soviv l’amo, me-atoh ve-ad olam.”


  6. The event was a peaceful gathering of some members of the community.
    It was a program dedicated to prayer – no speeches.

    How dare mr Waller voice his opinion – quite frankly it wasn’t asked for and didn’t involve his community!

    We live in a society where everyone can voice opinions – if mr Waller doesn’t share that opinion that’s his bad luck.

    Disgraceful of him to make a public comment when he differs if opinion – if he wants achdut in the community he should have swallowed his pride and kept quiet!


      1. Isaac, do you think it would be ok for Heichal HaTorah to issue a fierce condemnation of Mizrachi women not covering their hair as required by halacha?

        Imagine the outrcry.


        1. Yes it would not be okay, because there are women outside of Mizrachi who do not cover their hair. What they might wish to do is present an analysis of the topic and ask why many are meikel. They could state that many in particular groups rely on such a Kulah. By the way, IF I disagreed with what they had written, I might blog about it. Ditto if I agreed. I don’t shirk.


          1. “Yes it would not be okay, because there are women outside of Mizrachi who do not cover their hair.”


            There are people outside those who attened the yom tefilla here who attended elsewhere.


            1. Indeed, that would have not concerned me. I suggested that they choose a pareve day, not one associated with an existential threat to survival of Jews in a material sense, and declared a half day Taanis and said Tehillim and what not. It’s there business and their right but it’s also my right to have an alternate view. In context, I learned with Yeraim and Sheleimim who adopted every chumra under the sun, but they also got into a tank when Israel was threatened. That’s what I think should happen.


  7. I do not understand. In one paragraph Reb BINYOMIN KOPPEL writes about Achdus and in another of a separation of the Charedi community from the rest of Israel by not serving in the army. A real Achdus.
    He also writes: “How can anyone sit back and watch as a Jewish State legislates that one Jew will put another Jew into jail for studying Torah?” No one has an Intention to jail anyone who studies Torah. They might jail someone who is “Motzi atzmo min haklal” and breaks the law.
    There is one paragraph I can agree with: “we pray that Hashem should bring us together as one people.” This can be achieved by equality in Zechuyos and Chovos.
    חברים כל ישראל


    1. Achdus doesn’t mean doing that with Rabbonim say not to do. Else we should all join Temple Beth Israel for Yom Kippur lunch.


  8. Guess who wrote this…

    An honourable protest

    Whatever ones views may be in regards to the new laws requiring Yeshivah students to enlist in the IDF, it seems to me that those who protested in a manner which was a kiddush hashem.


        1. And you deny us to disagree. Let some Sheylos U’Tshuvos and see the FAR more vitriolic language employed when one Posek though the other was way off beam.


            1. It’s not about a “lie” it’s how things are perceived and what conclusions can be drawn and what alternatives were available. Read Ian’s letter again on behalf of Mizrachi.


            2. I have posted the correspondence. I did not attend. I believe that Torah should and will continue to grow and that many “ordinary” yungerleit should contribute also at the level of gashmius.


  9. This is NOT an issue between the Adass vs. Mizrachi but rather one of causing a Chillul Hashem by the publicising and holding a Prayer Meeting designed to protest a Law of the government of Eretz/Medinat Israel.

    You should change the Heading to ‘Chillul Hashem by insensitive people’!!!

    Apart from Mizrachists, thinking people in other sectors of the frum world are also incensed by the attempts of some at the Adass to further divide the Melbourne Community.

    Ian Waller and Avi Gilboa (in the Jewish News) have said it all.

    It is now up to all the perpetrators and their followers to acknowledge the harm they have caused to Achdus.


    1. Since when is a law passed (by mostly anti-religious members) of the government of Israel irrefutable and so “holy” that one cannot protest it?

      If they passed a law that buses in all Israeli cities must run services on Shabbos would you still not agree to a protest?

      This is no different – it affects the core of Torah-true Yiden. We all have to do our part in the country we live in – pay taxes etc. but in this case allowing frum Yeshiva bochurim to go to the army is without doubt going to dilute and weaken their yiddishkeit. Yes we chose and want to live in a more insular society (no we don’t watch TV and have filtered internet) Those in Israel are mostly even more strict than us and have kosher phones and no internet at all…

      The bulk of boys learning in yeshiva are not exposed to all the shmutz of the world.

      This would all change if bochurim were forced to join the army.

      There is no reason we cannot protest a law that goes against our Torah-based lifestyle.

      Because you choose to live a “lighter” version of yiddishkeit doesn’t make it right.

      When the gush katif expulsions were going to happen there was a big rally held here in Melbourne and I did not hear 1 cry of protest from anyone at Mizrachi – why? they were protesting the state of Israel?

      The answer is that in that case the law went against your beliefs and feelings and therefore you felt the protest was justified.

      You just don’t have the same feelings for Torah and those who spend the day learning it.

      The tefillah rally was not a chilul Hashem in any way. The only chilul Hashem was all the negative media about Jews bickering and arguing – this was all started by Ian Waller and blogs like this one.

      Truth hurts.


        1. You seem to have no valid answers.. so trying diversion eh?

          I’m not Garth. and I don’t think one person at the Melbourne rally would spit at women.

          Get real!


            1. I was and my cousin who understands Yiddish was regularly abused. As to refuting your main points, I’m not actually sure what your main point is!


            2. not sure there was nor reply button on your latest reply – so I replied to this one.

              Perhaps read what I wrote.

              Why can’t we protest something that affect our Torah way of life? and why was this not ok and the gush katif protest yes ok? Please answer. Thanks.


            3. You can protest as could the Gush Katif protesters. By the way you DONT have a mortgage on a Torah way of life. Halacha does. And therein I disagree … As it’s stated in Nefesh HaChaim and many other places. When HARBEH behave like Rav Shimon Bar Yochai and live in caves learning, Lo Olso Beyodom!


  10. Can you tell us what you and your retarded cousin said to those “toldos Aharon” (!?) boys?

    After all you are a well known provocateur in every place you happen to be


    1. Actually I just speak my mind and don’t pretend. My cousin lives next door to Adass and was constantly verbally abused in Yiddish as she simply walked passed. They didn’t figure she understood Yiddish as to the Toldos Aron boys they have improved. They now go their own way after I told their Zeyda who was a Chayal in the IDF and was abhorred and blamed the education system. I also had an Uncle who worked as a fill in teacher for Limudei Chol and said he’d never seen such children throwing chairs and being completely disrespectful. Dr Herszberg no doubt has seen the problem by having Moishe Kimelman as the ‘enforcer’ to ensure they don’t behave without proper Middos


  11. Isaac.

    Mazaltov on your Simcha. May you and your family have much naches from the young couple.

    Until now I have never posted any comment on your blog. I congratulate you on providing the opportunity for members of the Community to put their views on a variety of issues.

    Having said that I am absolutely disgusted by the comments of some of your contributors who clearly have no Derech Eretz and have no difficulty in expressing their vitriol and Sinus Chinum towards anyone having opposing views.

    The most upsetting feature of these blogs is that the people to whom I refer hide behind a pseudonym.

    To provide a platform for people to express a contrary view on issues is fine but It surprises me that you allow anonymous people to use your site as a platform for espousing views and opinions, which in some cases, border on libel.

    G Gen and others should have the courage of their conviction and stop hiding behind the veil of anonymity.


    1. Paul, thank you. This is the internet. You can hide your identity quite easily if you’ve taken the time to find out how. I don’t censor those who disagree with me, I just try to keep the comments free of ad hominem attacks without a shred of evidence. I actually think it’s good that the so called defenders of anti Zionist charedism give voice to their opinions. It’s time that we understood that although we share a love of Torah, we don’t share their views on Israel and disdain for the IDF. In case someone says ‘who told you they have disdain’ I will prove that tomorrow for the ‘gareths’ of this world who are terrified to use their own names.


    1. Paul, as I said, technically, one could always hide. I received a highly offensive comment which frankly was actionable. I traced it back, and based on where it was sent from it would have been difficult if not impossible to determine the author, however, prior to your post I put in an extra level of authentication which will result in less comments. That being said, as per my about page, this blog is about my thoughts. Whilst I welcome and enjoy comments, certainly in some areas there is a tendency for mushrooms to hide themselves. They will now find it harder.


  12. There has been a feeling for quite a while amongst people I know, that the situation in Israel with service in Zahal has to be broadly shared by all its citizens. These people are both Israeli citizens and Jews in the diaspora. If you are a conscientious objector or your immediate family has already lost siblings in military service, then an alternative form of service is appropriate. Either military or an alternative must be mandatory for all citizens except for those with a disability. There must also be a mandatory obligation on the state to provide a meaningful appropriate role for those with a disability who choose to serve. The current exception for Yeshivah students, irrespective of intellectual brilliance, must be eliminated entirely.

    This egalitarian service will foster better understanding between all Jews of different belief.


    1. You are entitled to Egalitarianism, but in my opinion that word doesn’t exist in the annals of Halacha which is itself Jewish Tradition/Mesora. Instead, we have the words responsibility and respect for roles. What is an egalitarian Cohen? Do we dissolve Cohanim, Leviim and Israelites? What of a Bris. Should we abolish them, or do them for women as well. Egalitarianism leads to the conclusions of the infamous (Jewish) philosopher Dr Peter Singer whose views I respect on an intellectual levels, but which constitute absolute contradiction to the Halacha and Mesora which has and will drive us until we are all transported to Jerusalem.

      It may surprise you, but I believe that those who are geniuses in Academia, and identified as such, should be nurtured and protected so that they can advance Israel Technologically and a quota of these should also be exempt from social service or army service. They will provide service to the spine of the nation. Lehavdil, Torah Geniuses who are also possessed of clean moral fibre will be the backbone of the identity of a society that now tells the world it is a JEWISH state. Yiddish, isn’t a holy language. It only becomes holy when it is attached to holy thoughts. Culture is simply an important historical reminiscent of a bygone era. A JEWISH state needs both teachers of Judaism and those who have been blessed with special talent in Physics, Chemisty, Mathematics etc to be sequestered and protected and be given an alternate but just as important role.


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