Thursday, May 29, 2014

Why I'm Going to the Celebrate Israel Parade for the First Time on Sunday

My family and I will, IY"H, be at the Celebrate Israel Parade this Sunday (June 1) for the first time. I want to share a few thoughts behind this decision. 

First, it is not because I have undergone any recent change in ideology. I still love the fact that we have a state in Eretz Yisroel built by Jews and hope that it will continually become more alligned with the Torah as time goes on. I still say tachanun on Yom Ha'atzemeut. [Incidently, when I saw what occured on Yom Ha'atzmeut in YU, it appeared to be somewhat haphazard because everybody did different things and no one knew what to do. It left me feeling like the whole thing was somewhat made-up.] I am still grateful to Hashem that His providence has caused the beginning of the ingathering of the exiles and the building of Eretz Yisroel even before Moshiach's arrival.
Putting aside my natural quality of laziness, I have not felt a strong desire to go to the Israel Parade before because it has always struck me as too modern and/or secular a way of showing appreciation for the Jewish state. And I still basically feel that way, but other things have caused me to want to find new ways to show my support and gratitude to Hashem and the Jewish people for the existence of a thriving State of Israel in Eretz Yisroel.
Here is what has pushed me in the other direction so that I would like to try going to the parade this year. First, I have friends who often go and have told me about the beauty and inspiration of seeing tens of thousands of Jews, from the most secular to those who are very religious, getting together to express their gratitude and love for the same thing. I have heard that there is an incredible positive energy. It is almost unheard of to find secular and religious Jews taking part in something together so I love there idea that we have at least this one thing, the State of Israel, that can bring people together in a positive way. We often find such unity when tragedies like 9/11 or Hurricaine Sandy strike, but almost never for positive things.
The second thing is the toxic negativity toward the State of Israel and those associated with it, including the IDF, that I very often hear from various parts of my community. It goes without saying that, as a Jew who works to be religious, I recognize that there are many things wrong with the State, its army, and its laws. But there are so many positive, beautiful things happening as well. And so many of even the people who do harmful things are sincerely trying to do what is right as they (albeit wrongly) understand it.
The derech in Torah to which I am drawn is one which sees good in things. Even when Jews do bad things, this derech seeks to avoid whitewashing the bad while still looking beneath the surface to appreciate that those doing it are not inherently evil or malicious, but are simply wrong or confused. A chareidi MK in a recent article in Mishpacha Magazine actually claimed that non-chareidim hate chareidim so much that it would be futile to even attempt to reconcile with, talk with, or even persuade secular Israelis of the correctness of the chareidi position.  See my letter to the editor in response to that on the right. Such extreme negativity which blinds itself to seeing any positivity in "the other" pushes me to try even harder to see good in those who are condemned as evil and malicious.

Even drashos speaking against the current government of Israel by tzadikim who I respect and look up to, like this one, push me to see the good that other tzadikim and my own gut tells me is there. So even though my positions regarding the state have not changed, I am frustrated by the lack of an appreciation for the goodness within Jews whose beliefs and actions may be wrong. And that frustration causes me to look for more ways to see, be grateful for, and celebrate the good.

My family is now getting very excited to come to the parade as well. My somewhat vertically challenged oldest daughter (a good Bais Yaakov girl) was a little bit concerned that she would not be able to see anything because of her height, so I suggested that we march in the parade so she wouldn't have to worry about the view. She very much liked that idea, so IY"H, we will be marching in the Celebrate Israel Parade with YU, my alma mater.  Hope to see you there if any of  you may be joining!

I do not know whether I will come to future parades, but IY"H, may this one reveal more goodness, gratitude, and achdus in as broad a specrum of the Jewish people as possible!
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yidel said...

Gut Choidesh Dixie Yid!
What a beautiful post (as usual!).
There DEFINITELY needs to be more love in Klal Yisrael! we do not have to agree with 1 another, but need to love each other simply because we are all yidden, and the children of the RBS"O. If people would keep this thought present in their mind, we would not have the discord and the lack of achdus that is so prevalent today, R"L!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dixie,

I can surely identify with you and I'd love to go as well, but since I am currently exiled in a community which will not appreciate me going there, the wiser thing would be to stay home.....

and actually for all the reasons you mentioned above, this is the reason why I said Hallel on both recent holidays of Iyar.

I know there are Gedolim with all kinds of opinions on this matter, and I follow my own gadol (yes don't we all have a "Gadol Pocket" for each occasion:)), on a logical sense I cannot understand how a person cannot say Hallel on a day like this past Wed Yom Yerushalayim, if Hashem saving 3 million Jews and giving us back the places that we have yearned for 2000 years doesn't merit dance and joy (much less crying with Tachnun) then nothing is worth saying Thank You

But hey who am I to say...

See more about Thanking Hashem:

Anonymous said...

Problems that halacha is completely ignored in this forum.

-KOL ISHA is rampant from the floats which have live women singing by themselves

-ABSOLUTELY NO concept of Tznius

-Full acceptance of alternate lifestyles (versus St Patrick's day parade who said where Catholic NO WAY!!)

- Meeting the Netura Karta guys

Sadly this all illustrates the Satmar rebbes point that Israel will trump Torah which this Forum absolutely illustrates it.

Bringing children to this forum says implicitly that these aforementioned behaviors are acceptable as we just don't address it. I believe you should at least ask a rav before going to this Forum (maybe the concert is better )

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...


Thanks very much! And IY"H what you davened for should come to fruition!

Anon 1:39:

Very nice comment. I definitely understand and appreciate your logic as well. But with halachic and minhag matters, I just can't feel comfortable changing, especially where there is no uniform minhag to change to. Every place does different things. Maybe if I lived in a community where there was one standard custom for how to observe Yom Ha'atzmeut and Yom Yerushalayim (like I'm sure is the case in many da'ati leumi communities in E"Y), then that might be different.

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

Anon 2:07:

I appreciate many of the points you bring up and, like any form of negativity, it's not inherently false. You bring up true points but I feel you're coming from a jaundiced perspective.

In terms of the things they do there that don't conform to halacha, certainly I disagree with all of that. But that's completely besides the point. I don't think almost any of us limit our assoication in any and all forums in all areas of life only to those people/organizations/events which are completly in conformity with halacha. Did you ever go to a business meeting where there were Jews present eating non-kosher food at the meeting? C'mon.

Everyone at this parade is coming from many many different perspectives. Just like it's self-understood that the reform/secular people there don't endorse modest dress just because there are modestly dressed orthodox people at the parade, it's also self-understood to anyone looking at the issue with nuance that the orthodox people's participation does not constitute endorsement of the non-halachic things that people there do either at the parade or in the privacy of their own homes. We're there for one purpose only: To express gratitude and pride in the existance of medinas Yisroel in Eretz Yisroel (which again doesn't imply agreement with every single thing the current government does to anyone there, whether they are secular or orthodox).

Separately, in terms of things they do there that might actually affect me or my family (kol isha, immodestly dressed women), consider the following points:

Just like I and my children do when we go on chol hamoed trips or summer vacation, we will exercise our G-d-given self-control and yiras Shomayim and (i) look away from immodestly dressed women and (ii) not pay attention to any women who are singing.

You think the presence of these things is a reason not to go? It's considered normal in America for even very frum Jews (including chassidim & the litvish) to go to Six Flags, the streets of Manhattan, and other places where there are immodestly dressed people and where one will pass kol isha in the streets. (Besides, we're less likely to come across these things anyway since we're marching with an orthodox group and will be with them the whole time - and then going to the concert afterward.)

We teach our children something called yiras Shomayim and taking responsibility for our own actions. One can't avoid all challenges throughout one's life such that he will *never* have to exercise any self-control and turn away from someone or avoid listening to things he should hear.

Also, where we're not talking about going to Six Flags where so many very religiuos Jews go, assuming that they can handle any inappropriate things but turning our attention or our eyes away. We're talking about going to express our hakaras hatov to Hashem and Jewish people who have given us a medina (which still requires significant improvement obviously) in Eretz Yisroel. If that isn't an instance where we can teach our children verbally and by example that we have self-control and can join with other Jews in unity with respect to at least one limited issue, then I don't know what is.

With love, Dixie Yid.

P.S. Why are you anonymous? Is there something embarrassing about the perspective you've expressed? Are you endangering your children's shidduch prospects by expresseing an "unpopular opinion?"

Anonymous said...

I want to qualify That I Love your work on this Blog. it is interesting and has great content. You have become a rebbi of sorts too me. I have always posted anon I send you the last videos by the way, so no not out of fear.I would rather be anon it is a positive personality trait being a Tzanua is a good midda for all(important seforim in the past where written anonymously).But it is unfortunate to see you have jumped on the passive aggressive attack on those "backward Charedim" who need to hide there Identity for shidduchim Bandwagon.I always thought you to be better than that.Now to the issue at hand let me understand what you are saying is essentialy a more nuanced argument, Hakaras Hatov for Israel will trump Torah which sorry I failed to express .Plus going and actively marching is implicitly agreeing with the activities that occur there. You failed to address the main issue and went over to the other arguments which you pushed aside the alternate lifestyle issue I brought up. So while I agree with you that normally The Yiras shamayim thing would be right. HERE taking an active role and going from Woodmere to Manhattan to march tells your children This is what we are. These are our Ideals, this behavior is fine we are taking an active roll in it.
Again the Concert while having the aforementioned shortcomings of tznius and meeting the NKUSA guys still is the better option. I believe it serves the purpose of Hakaras Hatov but still taking a stand on certain Issues which are truly problematic in society.

The further real Issue is why would you not ask your Rov? Rabbi Weinberger may see it your way I just feel this decision should be done with more Hadracha! Having the concert option and not doing it shows a further indifference to the Halachic and Haskafic issues.

I remain a fan of yours but will maintain my disapproval of this misguided and unguided decision.

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...


Thank you very much for your thoughtful reply. I expressed my disagreement perhaps a bit too snarkily at a couple of points. So for that, I am sorry.

And I do appreciate the videos you posted and I shared a couple of them on Twitter I believe. Thanks!

After starting off anonymous, I just stopped seeing the value in anonymity as much. I start to see it more now as something like speaking in shul on Shabbos or in a magazine article. If it's not something like an abuse victim that could be targeted and really suffer, I just don't see the propriety of anonymity any more. It's often a shield to avoid the consequences of negative talk.

At any rate, I apologize for the shidduch comment. That was gratuitous. It wasn't really connected to your position in your comment. I really just meant to point out that being anonymous didn't seem necessary in this context and because, for me, originally being anonymous was about, in part, shidduchim, I picked that as an example of why one might be anonymous.

As for the topic at hand, I think I made it clear that "Israel trumps Torah" is not involved at all. I already said above that Torah doesn't have to suffer because (i) going doesn't imply agreement with non-Torah observant people or activities at the parade and (ii) we don't have to transgress Torah to be there. It would therefore be a mischaracterization of what I said earlier to say that it's "a more nuanced way of saying hakaras hatov for Israel trumps Torah."

Like I said, I think it's far fetched and not what's in anyone's mind to think that going to the parade implies agreement with everything that happens there. See my examples above.

And all it teaches my kids is that hakaras hatov for Israel is important and that's why we're going to Manhattan to the parade. It's obvious that it doesn't imply the other stuff. It seems odd to me why someone would see it that way. There's such a diverse crowd there. It's self-evident that no one there is changing their beliefs about everything that divides them just because they all share one thing that they support in common.

As to asking Rav Weinberger, I may bring it up to him but I do not believe this is so different halachically from going to Disney World (which I did ask him about). He's a very big person so people don't ask him about whether every chicken is kosher. There are other poskim for that.

At any rate, we can agree to disagree. Kol tuv and gut Shabbos!

Anonymous said...

Rebbes father would probably go just to see all they yidden gathered. Not that I disagree with the other reason, that one alone is enough! And going to an open-door event doesn't mean you are maskim to every participant.

Anonymous said...

You did not happen to Have Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman Shavous shiur from this Year do you?

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

No unfortunately I don't have it. Isn't it usually just on CD? Let us know if you find it!

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

Not sure if you're the same one who left the comment on the other post, but if not, here you go!