Posted to Op-Ed on
|

Op-Ed: There Is No Place for Racism in Chabad

by Bracha B.

This is something that’s been on my mind for a while now, but I’ve refrained from writing about it because I feel uncomfortable exposing something so painful about the community I live in, a community I love and respect in many ways.  In the wake of the tragic events in Charlottesville, though, I feel I can’t keep silent anymore.

I have always taught my children to respect all kinds of people, regardless of their religious or ethnic background. I have also taught my children about some of the more painful aspects of our country’s history, like the enslavement of black people and their eventual emancipation during the Civil War, the years of Jim Crow laws that followed, and the modern Civil Rights movement.  It’s important to me that my kids are able to empathize with other people who are suffering, even if those people are not Jewish. I also like to point out to them the role that many Jews played in the Civil Rights movement, whether it was the freedom riders who travelled through the south to register black voters, the lawyers who fought discrimination in court, or the rabbis and other members of the Jewish community who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., in Selma.  Just as I want my kids to feel proud of Torah and Chassidus and everything else that is encompassed in our religious Jewish heritage, I want them to be proud of what modern Jews, many of whom are secular, have done and continue to do for oppressed people in this country and around the world.

I would love to be able to say that my kids have found other like-minded souls in our Crown Heights community, but that is not generally the case.  The kids in their school often make racist jokes, or taunt black people they see on the street from the window of their school bus.  They call dark-skinned students names. If it were just the kids, I could write their behavior off as vile, yes, but also the result of youthful ignorance.  But it’s not just the kids.  My children have encountered camp counselors and sometimes teachers who will either be casually dismissive of racial minorities or blatantly, disgustingly racist.

I know that people are imperfect, and religious people are no exception.  But it seems to me that a community whose name literally means village of love ought to be held to a higher standard of human behavior.  How can we call ourselves Lubavitch, how can we wear a label that should be synonymous with love and acceptance, and then be indifferent to the suffering of a racial minority? Or worse still, casually supportive of it?

This is all especially perplexing given the number of stories out there that highlight how often the Rebbe reached out to people of other faiths and backgrounds to give them support, like the time he met with Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman in Congress, to encourage her to ignore the southern racists in Congress trying to knock her down. Imagine if the Rebbe heard young boys with yarmulkes and tzitzis nowadays drop the N-word, what do you think his reaction would be? Would he not bow his head in shame and wonder where we went wrong?

But, you say, but, but, but…There is so much to love about our community, why are you focusing on this one thing? But there were riots in the 90s, when members of the black community attacked Jews, how dare you tell people they can’t be racist? To the first point I say, yes, there are many beautiful aspects of our community, like the different organizations we have to help each other out, like the vibrancy I experience on the streets every day, like the love and excitement I encounter for yiddishkeit among so many members of the community.  My criticism doesn’t negate any of those things. In fact, it’s the existence of all these positives that makes the racism so profoundly confusing.  If terrible people said terrible things about minorities, it would still be offensive, but it wouldn’t be confusing. It would make perfect logical sense. When good people say terrible things about minorities, that’s disturbing, because it means they live on a planet where one can pray to G-d three times a day, give money to charity, and do many other things associated with being a good person and a good Jew, but somehow miss the part about treating all human beings with dignity and respect regardless of the color of their skin.

To the second point, the riots in the 90s are no excuse to be racist.  First, because the acts of a few members of the black community are not a reason to condemn the whole. Think to yourself of the many negative encounters you may have had with your fellow Jews. Do those encounters make you an anti-Semite or inspire you to condemn the entire Jewish nation, or do you shrug those encounters off because you know enough good Jews who counter the bad stereotypes? And second, the whole idea of human rights rests on the notion that people are worthy of dignity, respect, and equal treatment because they are human, not because they did something to earn it in your eyes.  There are many members of the black community who lead brave, admirable, accomplished lives, but even if there weren’t, they would still be worthy of equal rights because they are your fellow human beings.

Someone reading this might argue, but wait, you just said that we shouldn’t judge the black community by the acts of a few, so how can you say that our community is racist based on a couple of anecdotes?  I have never taken a complete census of our Chabad community here in Crown Heights, so I really don’t know if the racist comments I have heard over 30-odd years are truly representative or if they are simply the words of a vocal minority.  If that is the case, if there is a silent majority who cares about human rights and does not want to see their fellow citizens persecuted or disenfranchised, then maybe it’s time we stopped being silent. Maybe it’s time we called out our fellow community members for dropping the N-bomb or for referring to their cleaning help as “my shvartze,” maybe it’s time we protested landlords who discriminate against black tenants, maybe it’s time we demanded a school curriculum that covers the Civil Rights movement.

Because if we are going to wear the label “Lubavitch,” if we are going to truly be a village of love, there can be no place for racism.

80 Comments

  • 1. e wrote:

    Thankyou Bracha,
    WELL SAID. Once it is in verbal form, it may take on more validity.
    I’m glad you put in that paragraph about Shirley Chisholm, too. Great point.
    we all need to take responsibility in that area. I’ve been aware of this for a long time too, so thankyou.

    Reply
  • 3. I agree, except... wrote:

    “Just as I want my kids to feel proud of Torah and Chassidus and everything else that is encompassed in our religious Jewish heritage, I want them to be proud of what modern Jews, many of whom are secular, have done and continue to do for oppressed people in this country and around the world.” They should NOT be of equal significance. One must play secondary to the other.

    Reply
    • 4. actually, we know each other wrote:

      you ARE a true ch lubab…… the one without the beard will pass you on shabbos and say good shabbos; while, you will turn your head either away or not look that person in the face……a point…if it were not for the secular jews paying taxes you could not get section 8 and wic, while you either work off the books OR take shots of vodka throughout the day while you make loshon hara on both the clean shaven jews and the people of color……………..c’mon …. you know i am correct………………HEY! i lived and worked amongst you for TOO MANY YEARS…….

  • 6. What?? wrote:

    “maybe it’s time we demanded a school curriculum that covers the Civil Rights movement.” Ok. Now you’re just being a nut.

    Reply
  • 9. A neighbor. wrote:

    Thank you for your genuine article. I feel exactly what your saying. I live in a building of Jews and non Jews. I find myself appreciating the kindness of non Jews more then our own. It’s hard and difficult for me to admit. But very true. Even a simple act as holding a door open for someone as (s)he comes in the building. I find more generoucity with others then my own.
    I’ve never spoken about this but your words brought out the best in me. As a person who isn’t religious anymore I’m being invited to Christmas lunch more then a Passover Seder. Hope others will be more sensitive to others to neighbors and those who live in your building.

    Hoping for a change one step at a time. Thanks again for sharing your feelings.

    Reply
    • 10. actually, we know each other wrote:

      i was taught by frum lubabs that a jew should never work for another jew……a goy will offer more respect to a frum jew……..NO JUDGEMENT………………one season in s. florida three (3) kosher busines closed with a chain in the door…. i NEVER got paid……..the goy ALWAYS allowed me time off to go outside and say mincha during work hours AND take Shabbos off but return to business abt 11pm…….i would then only work 2 or 3 hours but earn as much as a server doing 7 hours… the manager ALWAYS respected me……..the only time i was taken advantage of was by frum lubabs……i am sorry that in the past i remarked about money laundering and frums eating traif……i won’t today, EVEN THOUGH IT IS TRUE…..i’ll end here because i dare not say more as elul is coming………………. be well

    • 11. A neighbor. wrote:

      Thank you.

      Actually we know each other. Perhaps but not by face. By feelings by things we’ve been through by experiences. Sad to admit but we do.

  • 12. What a joke!! wrote:

    This article is a complete joke……stop trying to creat a problem where there is none. You make a if it was “so painfull” to “expose”. There is no denying that we are no friends with our “dark skinned neighbors” but that is rightfully so. We residents of this neighborhood deal with daily yes! daily!! acts of anti-Semitic violence and destruction of property against us with absolutely nothing heard from their leaders (sorry some politicians holding a press conference is not going to cut it) so to try to equate our suspicion with their actual acts of violence is insulting and absolutely reprehensible!!!!!

    Reply
    • 13. actually, we know each other wrote:

      this article IS NOT A JOKE! you build walls and do not pay attention to others amongst you…………………do you not believe goyim read your comment and become angry…………..get a life…………….winter is coming…. MAKE CERTAIN that you shovel your snow!!!

    • 14. Worried in Wisconsin wrote:

      True – there is anti-Semitic violence all around.

      But, that has absolutely nothing to do with allowing ourselves to become racist or prejudiced against people merely based on their skin color.

      How can a Jew dismiss an entire group of people as “our dark skinned neighbors” and still speak as if he’s righteous? If you see a person doing something wrong you should call them out. But, there is absolutely no excuse for us or anyone else lumping everyone with a different skin color as less than.

  • 15. attitude wrote:

    the problematic racism is a result of secularism and overly engaging with the outside culture, it’s your approach which is an issue as your concern with the outside world can only lead to a further exacerbation of these issues as we become concerned about their rightness or otherwise.

    Reply
  • 16. Disgusting!! wrote:

    This article is disgusting and insulting to the residents of this neighborhood who have lived and dealt with racism again them for the past 50 years!!

    Reply
  • 17. CS wrote:

    I am also very saddened when I hear our people and especially children calling other races all kind of names. They don’t even know them. As a BT who was once married to a non jew whose children and grandchildren BH are frum Chabad chassidim(including myself) our family finds it very upsetting when people talk so hateful about non jews,especially since their Dad and Grandfather are part of their lives and supportive of their yiddishkiet.Putting them all in a category of hateful people and out to get all Jews is so wrong. Sad that my grandchildren have to hear this from their peers and many adults in their Crown Heights boys and girls schools.

    Reply
  • 18. shamefull wrote:

    AGAIN ANOTHER ONE OF OUR OWN FEELING THE URGE TO BLAME US FOR SOMETHING… WE HAVE ENOUGH HATE FOR OUTSIDE I DONE BELIEVE THERE IS A SINGLE GROUP IN THE USA HATED MORE THEN ORTHODOX JEWS (AS THE LIBERAL JEW DOES NOT HESITATE TO BASH HIM, AT THE SAME TIME GOING OUT OF HIS WAY TO DEFEND BLACK LIVES MATTER) AND TARGETED DAILY BY NEWSPAPERS…

    Reply
    • 19. Mimah nafshach wrote:

      Just because we are the most hated religion means that we have to hate everybody else? Listen to yourself and grow a pair.

  • 20. moshe der g wrote:

    we are not racist

    if we dont teach the civil rights curriculum in our schools

    if we dont “protest” against the landlords

    if we dont accept all the progressive liberal version of victim-hood that the blacks suffer

    if we look back when walking down eastern parkway and a group of black teens are walking past us to double check (since they have been the ones that punched us in the face )

    if we double look at a black patron in our stores (since most shoplifters had been black)

    if we double check a black person peering into cars (since most car break ins have been by black)

    lets face it we cant say all blacks are bad THAT IS RACISM.. but we can say that most crimes, we living here for over 50 years have suffered. were at the hands of blacks.

    so my dear author take your shenanigans and your crocodile tears somewhere else

    Reply
    • 21. Ben wrote:

      So where in all this is an excuse to call someone by a denigrating name? True Jews have suffered horrible racism.
      So that gives Jews a right to be derogatory to others? Does that make any sense.?
      We still are supposed to stand on the high ground. Of course we cannot tolerate crime or anti Semitism. But at least we should fight like the educated people we are, not by calling an entire race by names. That just cheapens us and our cause and makes us like them.

    • 22. Worried in Wisconsin wrote:

      If you live in an area with a majority black population, then your crime statistics will of course show more crimes are committed by blacks. That’s called math. It does not prove that blacks are more or less likely to commit crimes. That’s called a leap.

      Go find yourself a majority white community and guess what, most crimes will be committed by white people.

      It turns my stomach to read the comments of members of the Jewish community say such obvious racist things.

      #19 – You say you’re not a racist. But your statement stays otherwise.

    • 23. Milhouse wrote:

      “Worried”, you’re not telling the truth. It doesn’t matter where you live, black people commit crimes at many times the rate of white ones, and it’s impossible that you don’t know this. In a community that is 2/3 white, most crimes will be committed by black people. In a community that’s 95% white, sure, most crimes will be committed by white people, but there will be far fewer crimes. Again, it’s impossible to live in the USA and not know this, so your claim otherwise can only be a sign of the deep dishonesty that is known as “political correctness”.

  • 24. We are not racist wrote:

    While you might be, most of us aren’t.
    If we react negatively to the crimes committed against us and antisemitism we experience all the time, it doesn’t require a so called “expose” article to defame us for not wanting to befriend these people.

    Reply
  • 25. just sayin wrote:

    Well written. Too bad that some will not be able to take criticism. Even if you don’t like your black neighbor, feel that crime in the neighborhood is committed by black people, or feel victimized in any way, that is not an excuse to exhibit racism or teach your children that racism is okay. I don’t get how there can be any defense of this type of behavior for any reason — there is none. Just sayin’

    Reply
  • 27. agreed no 15 wrote:

    im not an outright racist but i have lived through much pain from some of our dark skinned neighbors….I was mugged/ attacked by one… two of them broke into my preganant daughters house wielding a hammer at her…. my home was broken into… my brother had eggs thrown on his hat and called ‘filthy jew’…..i once thought a woman holding the door was holding for me i said ‘thank you’ her response: i wasnt holding it for you … I’d never hold the door for one of u’ Dear writer is that enough for you? and i didnt even tell u all of it….my fil thrown down and needed cane rest of his life…and theres more….so Im not racist but…….

    Reply
  • 28. busy bubby wrote:

    Regardless of what a race of people stands for and does, certain types of discrimination are illegal and if a group of people grow up unaware of that, they stand a chance that they could face charges for breaking these laws.

    It is also not helpful to children who may need to deal with black police officers, hospital employees, airline personnel, and other situations, to have learned only to deal with blacks in a hostile or condescending way. There could be a price to pay for not behaving respectfully.

    I think that a balance must be found between allowing children to blindly trust those who wish to harm them and viewing another group of people as inherently less human. We have also learned the hard way that some forms of extreme harm are not inflicted on them by the blacks but by fellow Jews.

    And it is embarrassing when many Jewish names appear on the list of worst landlords and politicians campaign on the basis of driving out the Jewish landlords. If we are to complain about Antisemitism, then we have to expect other minority groups to want their rights as well.

    Reply
  • 29. The kangeroo wrote:

    Take care of little things and the big matters will take care of themselves. People can do what they want as long as long as they do not do it on the street and scare the horses

    Reply
  • 30. in NY wrote:

    Written like a true self hating Jew. You dont see anything wrong. What was the problem with the ball of achashveiros? Did we not suffer enough from the goyim? Who attacks whom in CH or in any other jewish community?
    How dare you say that our children should accept the Torah etc in the same sentence that we accept the goy?
    Yes we are different and like the person who was married to a goy, this is the result of accepting them.
    shame on Crownheights resident for writing this article and shame on Crownheights.info for posting it

    Reply
  • 31. Chaim Hershkop wrote:

    One Question:
    You write that you’ve see this behavior for over 30 years, so please tell, why did you only write this article now (Mon. Aug. 14, 2017 | Av 22, 5777)? Why davka this week?

    Why are you all of a sudden concerned (enough) about this, that you decided now is the time?
    What specifically promoted you to do this now?

    Reply
  • 33. Milhouse wrote:

    A few points.

    1. While there is certainly a great value in כבוד הבריות, one must never ever forget the huge distinction בין ישראל לעמים. Simply put, the Torah absolutely rejects the notion that “all men are created equal”, and the mitzvah is אהבת ישראל, not אהבת הבריות.

    2. Racism, however foolish and distasteful we may find it, is not an avera, and we have no right to turn it into one. A person who keeps all the mitzvos but regards some kinds of nochrim as superior to others is a tzadik gomur whom we must respect, while one who is completely race-blind but neglects even one of the mitzvos is a rosho.

    3. Recognising that people are not all the same, and that certain traits are more common in some subsets of the population than in others is not racism, it is intelligence. Discrimination is not an vice, it is a virtue for which we thank Hashem every morning, הנותן לשכוי בינה, and it is wrong to suppress it and try to ignore what it tells us.

    You engage in discrimination when you observe that the trait of open racism is more common in our community than in the one you seem to have come from; a true opponent of discrimination would pretend not to have noticed, and would insist against all evidence that open racism, like every other midah, is equally distributed across all populations and communities.

    Just as you recognize that this is not so, you must also recognize and acknowledge that the same is true of many other traits, including a tendency to crime. Your insistence that “the acts of a few members of the black community are not a reason to condemn the whole”, but it is not a few members but a significant proportion of young black men who have engaged in crime, and would do so again given the opportunity.

    Young black men are only about 3% of the population, and yet they commit more than half the murders and about 40% of other violent crimes. Think about it; 3% of the population has as many murderers as the other 97%. How can any rational person not be wary of someone about whom he knows nothing but that he looks like the 3%?

    Tell me, would you advise people not to be more wary of Arabs than of Jews, because everyone is equally likely to be a terrorist?! Of course not. So why is this different?

    The statistics on IQ distribution are also very well known, as is the fact that IQ, especially in adults, is highly heritable. The persecution of those who dare speak this truth will never make it untrue, it merely shows that the persecutors are enemies of truth and reason, and should be shunned by every decent person.

    Of course once one knows a person statistics become irrelevant. It makes no difference if only one person in a million has a particular trait (whether good or bad), if you know someone has it then you will obviously treat them accordingly. For instance, very few people are allergic to potatoes, so you would never think twice about offering someone chips; but if you happen to know the one person in many thousands who is allergic you wouldn’t offer him any. The same is true with every trait; if you know someone is a decent person, or a smart person, or whatever, it no longer matters what other people who look like him are like. But if you don’t know him then it is completely valid to play the odds based on the limited information you have.

    Reply
    • 34. busy bubby wrote:

      Does that mean that kids can yell racial slurs out of classroom windows? It is one thing to introduce the kids to a “them verses us” mentality but it is another to be heard making nasty remarks about a person’s race. Although many blacks have attacked whites, robbed their stores, and damaged their property, does that justify yelling the N word at blacks who are merely passing by?
      Is there a way to teach children that we are a nation unto ourselves without teaching them to instigate an attack?

    • 35. Ezra wrote:

      Your point #2 is off base. Part of being a tzaddik gamur – indeed, part of being a Jew at all – is שיהא שם שמים מתאהב על ידך. No, that doesn’t mean going along with every fad out there in order to win some fleeting respect, and certainly it doesn’t mean compromising so much as a קוצו של יוד of Torah because of “what the goyim will say.” But kavod haberiyos is not a fad, and the use of terms such as those decried in the article is not a part of Torah and doesn’t indicate that one’s character has been molded by Torah, but rather the reverse. As such, and since it prevents that מתאהב על ידך, then yes, it is passul and treif.

      See also Devarim Rabbah, Ki Seitzei 6, referring to Tehillim 50:20: אמר ר’ יוחנן: אם הרגלת לשונך לדבר באחיך שאינו בן אומתך, סוף בבן אומתך תתן דופי – “R. Yochanan says that if you accustom your tongue to speak against your brother who is not a member of your people, eventually you will come to be derogatory towards members of your people.” So the use of such terms is, if nothing else, a “gateway” to lashon hara against Jews, making your putative “tzaddik gamur” something rather different.

    • 36. Milhouse wrote:

      Yelling insulting names at people is never appropriate, no matter who they are. Racial names are no better or worse than any other. Making it about race just muddies what should be a straightforward lesson.

      In fact yelling at people from the window is rarely good behavior even if you’re not insulting them, unless you have some urgent message for them.

    • 37. Milhouse wrote:

      Ezra, as you admit מתאהב על ידך doesn’t mean going along with every fad. Racism does not prevent מתאהב על ידך except by those who have adopted the avoda zara of anti-racism, and they will never be satisfied until one accepts intermarriage r”l. מתאהב על ידך means simply treat people like mentchen, don’t cheat them or hurt them, help them when you can, speak politely to them. It doesn’t mean that you may not hold opinions of them that they might not like, or that you may not reveal those opinions to others, who have no rational reason to get upset over it; if they do then that’s their avoda zara, and not your problem.

      The real reason not to be racist is simply that it makes no sense. It’s a narishkeit to imagine that one nochri is better than another, not because of what he does but because of where his remote ancestors lived. There are real differences between the various human races, and Chazal openly spoke of them, but no reason to suppose one is better than another. The only distinction that matters, that makes a person better and superior, is the one בין ישראל לעמים, and it makes no difference what either the ישראל or the עם look like.

      The medrash you cite is about אחיך, and a nochri is not אחיך, so it isn’t relevant to this topic. אחיך שאינו בן אומתך means a Bavli yid (since R Yochonon was a “Palestinian”).

    • 38. Ezra wrote:

      First of all, if you use such terms within your own circle, they will inevitably leak out, and thus lead to the opposite of מתאהב על ידך. Nothing to do with making an avodah zarah of it, just the common sense to realize that nowadays things get around much more quickly. (Think of the number of times that R. Ovadiah Yosef z”l said something in his shiurim which then leaked out and caused damage.)

      Second, if you think and speak of a certain group of people in a derogatory way, then you’re going to have a harder time – if even possible at all – “treat[ing] people like mentchen, don’t cheat them or hurt them, help them when you can, speak politely to them.” If the machshavah and dibbur are derogatory, the maaseh isn’t likely to be any better.

      Your last point doesn’t ring true. Where do you ever find that Jews from Eretz Yisrael vs. Bavel are considered members of different אומות? No, the first part of that statement is referring to non-Jews. (Specifically, according to Matnos Kehunah and Etz Yosef there, it means descendants of Eisav (כי אחיך הוא), but after all, as you put it, there’s no difference between us and one group of goyim vs. us and another group of goyim, and thus by extension the same would apply to all of them.)

    • 39. Worried in Wisconsin wrote:

      So, what do you say to all the black Jews in the world? Are they automatically less worthy than those who were born white?

      As far as I can see, every living being on this earth is from Hashem. That in and of itself is reason enough for me to consider every human worthy of being treated with respect and dignity. To do anything else would be an affront to Hashem.

    • 40. Milhouse wrote:

      “Worried”, you have clearly not bothered to read anything I wrote and are only interested in spouting your deeply dishonest rhetoric. Go away and don’t come back.

      Ezra, once again it doesn’t matter what leaks out, since you admitted from the beginning that מתאהב על ידך doesn’t mean not upsetting those who have adopted the leftist view of the world as their religion.

      Rav Ovadia’s PR stumbles were unfortunate, but did not detract from his character. He should simply have barred reporters and recording devices from his shiur.

      I don’t agree that having a low opinion of someone prevents one from treating him like a mentch. Indeed that is the essence of mentchlichkeit; it doesn’t take any effort to treat well those whom one genuinely respects.

      A nochri simply isn’t אחיך any more than he is רעך. There are many halochos where the Torah specifies אחיך, and in all those cases it excludes nochrim. We do find evidence in the gemoro of “racism” between yidden from different countries, noting and poking fun at collective traits they saw in each other. הני בבלי טפשאי.

  • 41. The kangeroo wrote:

    I nominate MILHOUSE for Meshiach.He is familiar with any subject and has the only correct opinion in the world.

    Reply
  • 42. i completely agree wrote:

    I 100 percent agree with you. and it isnt only the attitude to blacks. its to non jews in general. Do you know how many remarks my teachers have said against non jews? in sixth grade my teacher was saying how she saw someone slip on the ice but BH it was a goy. no…. maybe BH he wasnt hurt but why is it better a non jew fell than a jew???!! i get so mad every time i hear these remarks, I am supposed to be learning from my teachers!!!! And yes everyone makes mistakes but these arent one time isolated incidents.

    Reply
    • 43. Milhouse wrote:

      This is exactly what I warned about above. How does someone come out of Beis Rivkah believing that there is ch”v no difference between a id and lehavdil nit kein id?

      Yes, it is better that a misfortune happen to someone else rather than to our own brother or sister. If you don’t feel that then the fault is in you, because it shows that you don’t consider every yid as your own flesh. Ve’ohavto lere’acho komocho is the whole Torah, and re’acho means every id and not anyone else.

      The Tanya explains that the way to love every yid is to focus on the fact that his true self is not what he does but the nefesh elokis that is within him, and it deserves to be loved. Someone who is not a yid has no nefesh elokis, so his true self is his body and its actions and words and thoughts, which often are not lovable, and certainly needn’t be loved.

      So yes, while it’s a shame that anyone slipped, and if we could prevent it we should do so, if someone did slip but it was not our own family we should be thankful for that.

  • 44. The President wrote:

    Now that we have a white President whose being (falsely) accused of being a racist, its all of a sudden politically correct to talk about racism.
    Where was this ridiculous op-ed these past eight years of Obama?

    Reply
  • 45. Please Use Common Sense wrote:

    We as Frum Yidden know that all people are created BTzelem Elokim so we should educate our children with that Possuk ,and our adults should model that when referring to other groups of people. That is all that is needed to be said in this article
    When we negatively highlight criticism of our frum community it only leads to a Chilul Hashem as others will either attack the author sometimes in a crude manner , or it encourages others to justify their animosity to Yidishkeit.

    Reply
  • 46. Berel wrote:

    This is a very brave article! Nothing takes more bravery in 2017 like a public excoriation about racism!

    And helpful too. This article will create a wave of careful reflective consideration among us.

    We’ve all sorts of halachas governing our behavior towards non-jews. We may not damage them or their property. We may think them ugly or stupid if we think they are ugly and stupid. No halacha whatever against that.

    It is very poor behavior to insult goyim from on board the bus. It is forbidden to cause pain even to an animal how much more so a human being being.

    I reject your religion. Modern man leaves about as much up to the inquiring mind as old time xianity.

    Tell me not to use the N word. Don’t tell me what to think.

    Reply
  • 47. Terrible wrote:

    B”H
    You are racist for writing an article against your fellow Jews. One that can cause further hate by non-Jews or even other Jews who read it.
    Instead of writing in a negative way, take a lesson from the Rebbe who was always positive.

    Reply
  • 48. Progressive Jew and Proud Lubavitcher wrote:

    Thank you for this article! For years, I’ve been wondering if I’m all alone in CH, so it’s nice to see other members of the community who are passionate about civil rights and want a world free of hate.

    Reply
  • 49. Lie detector wrote:

    I am ready to bet $1000 on the following assertions:

    Bracha B is a fake name atogether.

    (S)he does not live in CH for 30 years.
    – Who in CH calls their cleaning help “my shvartze”? Most cleaning helpers in CH are Latina. So this sounds like a great accusation to the outsider who has no clue but exposes the author as a fake.

    She is not a Chabad chossid as she tries to imply.

    Unfortunately, our self-hating Jewish author cannot make a fact-based article to put down our community and thus resorted to a bunch of “anecdotal evidence”. Then in order to gain some credibility tried to create a fake “inside” perspective with the first name (Bracha) and the Torah values etc. etc.

    This is very typical.

    A shandeh for CH.info to give this liar such a platform.

    Reply
  • 50. Have you? wrote:

    B”H
    Have you noticed from the Rebbe’s talks how positive the Rebbe was in talking to others ?
    Why instead of this article, don’t you and crownheights.info do something positive – spread the sheva mitzvos like the Rebbe wanted and the adherence to it would lead to further respect in the community on both parts?
    There has to be a major drive in Crown Heights to spread the sheva mitzvos. Classes. Brochures. Announcements on signs.

    Reply
  • 51. To "Bracha B" wrote:

    You are an enabler.

    You enable Blacks to continue committing crimes and get away with them under the pretext of civil rights.

    I am sick and tired of Left-minded culture infesting our community. The 1991 pogrom was not a “handful” of Blacks. It was thousands upon thousands. Pesha Lapine was murdered by a Black, as was Yankel Rosenbaum, rabbi Okunov and Avraham Goldman. The recent stabbing murder in Mill Basin was also committed by a Black.

    Hundreds if not thousands of our community members were at some point or another either mugged, beaten or verbally abused by a Black.

    I don’t need you lecturing me about civil rights. Our community doesn’t beat, rob or kill Black people. We have all the respect for them as required for kavod habriyos.

    If anything, it is THEY who need to learn how not to be racist, hateful anti-semitic bigots.

    Go take your Leftist civil rights grievances and shove them where the sun don’t shine.

    Reply
  • 53. Great Dane - a response to Milhous wrote:

    Milhous,

    I would respectfully disagree with your understanding of “all men are created equal”. The Founding Fathers of the USA were G-d fearing men, who took great strength and inspiration from the Old Testament. While building a country from the nation, a nation of primarily non-Jews, they recognized that natural unalienable rights are “endowed by a Creator,” in other words not granted by government. They understood that “man is created in the image of G-d” and that includes all men, regardless of skin pigmentation and melanin levels. They founded a government which would eradicate slavery and ensure “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” for all. In fact, they recognized that all men possess natural rights whether they were born and live in a land with a government that protects unalienable rights of its citizens or tramples on them.

    Obviously, the Founding Fathers understood that being equal does not mean that people are, look, think, feel, or act in the same way. Men and women are fundamentally and biologically different, some people are smarter, stronger, taller, shorter, skinnier, fatter, and of different ethnicity than others. As a matter of fact, they understood that individual rights are paramount. The notion of looking at groups of people as a collective is a socialist idea; the exact opposite of the moral view that the country was founded on.

    In this sense, namely all of humanity being made in the image of G-d and all having unalienable natural rights endowed by their Creator, viewing someone else as inferior due to skin color demonstrates a pettiness, a shallowness of thinking, and a lack of respect to all people G-d has made.

    To say that a certain group of people, such as people of color in the USA, have a certain group of inborn “traits” is preposterous and noxious on so many levels. People of color in the USA come from diverse backgrounds and countries.

    There are, and have been, some truly great black thinkers and leaders: Frederick Douglass, MLK Jr., Thomas Sowell, Allen West, Larry Elder, and many others.

    What is true is that the Democratic party has led a pernicious racist campaign against “ethnic minorities” since the Civil War. As well documented, and to this point unrefuted, by Dinesh D’Souza in “Hillary’s America,” the Democratic party has created urban plantations in an attempt to keep people of color economically and educationally poor. As has been documented amongst Irish and Jewish immigrants of the late 19th and earliest 20th centuries, who came from areas of poor quality education scored poorly on IQ and SAT style tests. When their education improved, so did their IQ and financial status.

    Much of the crime committed by blacks in this country can be traced to a lack of fathers in their communities. It hasn’t always been this way. Black families were more intact prior to the Civil War and into the 20th century than they are now. When Daniel Moynihan introduced Welfare to help indigent single mothers in the inner city, there was a 25% rate of single parenthood in the black community. Now it’s close to 80%. There are documented campaigns of government officials telling black mothers that they need to be single to get benefits, thus urging on today’s culture.

    There are racist reasons why the blacks are where they are today. We can thank the Democrats. And hopefully vote them out of office.

    While a terrible crime has been, and continues to be perpetrated against blacks in this country, this does not excuse the behavior of criminals. Criminals should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    Additionally, we should recognize that many benefits that would benefit the religious Jewish community, such as school vouchers, would also greatly benefit the inner city black community. It would allow them to break free of the public school system and allow them to step up in the world.

    I look forward to your feedback.

    Reply
    • 54. Milhouse wrote:

      You are certainly correct about what the founders of America believed. But that is not what the Torah teaches. Xianity is a universal religion, and that is why they believed there is no moral distinction between people, that all people are equal in their Creator’s eyes. Torah teaches that this is not so; that there are significant distinctions between people, not just physically significant but morally significant, and that the Creator does not regard all his creations equally.

      The most significant such distinction is that between the descendants of Avrohom Yitzchok and Yaacov and everyone else. Hashem lifted us up from being merely human, and put in each of us a neshomo which is literally part of Himself, which therefore makes us, from a true perspective, divine; it’s easy to forget this, especially when we don’t behave like divine beings or even like mere humans r”l, but the Torah tells us it’s true.

      You are mistaken about intelligence and tendency to criminality. These are highly heritable; environmental factors can exaggerate them, but are not the primary cause. You seem not to understand statistics. There are certainly some truly great black thinkers and leaders, but they are far fewer and farther between among black people than among non-black ones, simply because the middle of the bell curve of intelligence distribution in the black population is 15 points lower than it is among white people, and 25 points lower than it is among orientals and Jews. Nobel-level geniuses are rare even among Jews; they are rarer among white non-Jews, and far rarer among black people, and this was probably always so, and is likely to always be so. That does not diminish the accomplishments of those who are the rare exceptions, the high tail of the curve.

  • 55. Ch mother wrote:

    I agree 100% with every word. Something must be done. Is there a way to contact Bracha?

    Reply
  • 56. Nobody wrote:

    “does not want to see their fellow citizens persecuted or disenfranchised”

    Nothing in the article justifies the assertion that anyone in Crown Heights disagrees with that.

    A shameful article all around. At most it could be read Charitably as Loshon HaRa, if not Motzei Shem Ra. It is assur Al Pi Halacha to believe the claims in the article, and it was an Issur DiOraisa to publish it.

    Reply
  • 57. hopeful wrote:

    How about introducing sheva mitzvos to the public schools, and teach them not to be hateful, and respect ALL mankind, like you extpect of yidden. When I walk down the street and see a group of yidden i don’t have to look over my shoulder or get scared. To me they are all the same at that time,They love living amongst us yidden because they feel safe. Never have to think that we might attack them, carry guns or knives. Can’t help the hate, with all the crime going on, burning buses, shoving people to the ground, stealing phones,shoplifting, and the list goes on and on. I agree with millhouse,

    Reply
  • 58. Lubab wrote:

    My experience is Religious Jews especially Lubavitchers are very suspicious of the black community as a whole but very much give them initial respect as individuals and maintain that respect if nothing happens to indicate that it’s undeserved.

    So your judgementalism of a community that has endured so much hate is wrong. Just yesterday a Jewish guy in Brooklyn was stabbed to death by a black man. You don’t think anti Semitism by that black man played a part?

    Reply
  • 59. The kangeroo wrote:

    More crimes were commited in the name of justice and religion than by all the common criminals.He who wants to advance civil rights etc.can just do without blowing his own horn or insulting others.Take care of your own deeds and the world will improve by itself.

    Reply
  • 61. CR wrote:

    Read the last few lines of the first Perek of Tanya and get back to us. The AR writes off all the Nations of the world as accomplishing no good whatsoever and cites numerous Ma’amarei ChaZaL supporting the assertion. That is a cornerstone of Chassidus ChaBaD and part of Torah in general.

    The entire thesis of this essay is Shtus Dele’umas Zeh Mamosh!

    Reply
  • 62. 2372 wrote:

    and the intensely rising rents and property prices are not helping either, since some very nice people are looking to live here and can’t deal with those prices. Also a very absurd issue, which I would like to see someone post what the Rebbe has said about real estate

    Reply
  • 63. Burying your head in the sand wrote:

    My friends who live in fully Jewish occupied apartment buildings get their mail and packages delivered to their buildings.
    I who live in a mixed building where 50% of the occupants are our “dark skinned” neighbors cannot get any packages delivered their because said neighbors steal them. What do you think i tell my kids when they ask me why i have to schlep all our packages from my work instead of having them shipped to our apartment?

    Reply
  • 64. CH Resident wrote:

    Were there any Crown Heights Lubavitchers in Charlottesville this past weekend?
    If not, why this disgusting op-ed?

    Reply
  • 65. Thankfully don't live in ch wrote:

    I went to a chabad school and we definitely learned about civil rights. In fact the schools principal was a frum Jew who fought for civil rights and he would show us the scars on his legs from the beatings and dog bites he endured from the police when they would march in the south. I’m sure the problem exists in ch, I don’t doubt it but I’m not sure why there seems to be so much resistance to making a positive change. Our job is to spread light in the world, using deragotory language is the opposite of a true chossid.

    Reply
  • 66. shlomo wrote:

    oh wey! just cut this liberal BS
    as#58 write no one Lubavitch involve, so why discuss
    but I have some question to “chasidishe” Bracha
    1. can you name the low forbade to white people work in NYS DMV? social security? housing department, city hall? post office? why in CH no one, white postman, if not Jewish?
    2.as advertise some day before the man in NYC get paid17% less for the same job than woman? can you explain why? same situation in 6 biggest cities in the US?
    why is a white man after 50 most discriminated group for employment?
    3 why in biggest Jewish city in the world -NYC Brooklyn museum near as have free admission only on Saturday? obviously, they do not want YOU and your KIDS in? and what you do with this for last 30 years?
    if you want I have more questions

    Reply
  • 68. KKK & White Supremacists wrote:

    The kkk, all white supremists & Neo Nazis Y”S (Yimach Shmom) hate Jews way more than blacks actually Jews are their worst enemies, & the reason for that is 1) for the very fact that we are Jews 2) bec of our success & our wealth, all these Big Loser, Morons, Trash, Scum Bags, Sleaseballs, Garbage live in trailer parks in the south, they don’t have a lot of $$$ & most of them are very very poor, I wana see these white supremists & kkk trash come to Wb (Williamsburg) Bklyn wave their Nazi flags & have their Hate rallies or get togethers on Bedford Ave in the heart of Wb, watch & see what will happen to these low life trash, they are such a bunch of scardy cats to show up, what what will happen, they will get their behinds whipped

    Reply
    • 69. Milhouse wrote:

      You are showing your own bigotry against poor people, southerners, and those who live in trailers. Back when the Klan was strong it included rich and powerful people. Now it basically doesn’t exist any more, but the few thousand crazy people who play at it include educated and well-off people, who have the leisure for such a frivolous hobby.

  • 71. To #59 wrote:

    What does if any Lubavitcher were in Charlottesville, have to do with anything ? & if there weren’t any than its OK what happened ? What are u saying ? You are a real Moron, why are u calling this op-ed disgusting ? Do u not agree with this ? Are u saying that it’s OK to be a racist & a bigot ? So only if Lubavitchers were there, then it’s not OK but if there were no Lubavitchers there then yes it’s totally fine & OK, what’s wrong with u, do u realize that these white supremists hate Jews even more than they hate blacks ? So no, your nasty, rude & disgusting, you have no compassion towards other ppl shame on u !!

    Reply
  • 74. Great Dane - a response to Milhous wrote:

    You are certainly correct that according to Torah there are significant distinctions between people. However, these differences are soul differences and thus mission differences; not physical or intellectual differences.

    Regarding intelligence and a tendency towards criminality, please remember that there are numerous factors to be taken into account, including environment, outside influences, culture, and more. I agree that genetics do play a role in human development, but often less than one would like to attribute.

    Jews are outliers in intelligence because by and large, we have been the People of the Book for millennia. Nevertheless, as I mentioned in my previous post, uneducated Jews scored poorly on IQ and SAT style tests in the early 1900s.

    Reply
  • 75. Worried in Wisconsin wrote:

    Milhouse…you are entitled to your opinion on this. You are entitled to disagree with my statements. You, however, are not entitled to decide who should stay or go on this or any other such site.

    You can shroud your statements in whatever quotes from Torah or Talmud that you choose. None of that will change the facts.

    Judging someone based on the color of their skin and not on their actions is the textbook definition of racism. Plain and simple. There is just no way around this.

    Want to judge someone based on their beliefs? Fine. Want to judge someone based on their actions? Also fine. But if the one thing that is used to judge someone is the color of his or her skin there is simply no justification.

    Accusing me or anyone else of practicing avodah zarah for refusing to judge someone based on the color of skin Hashem gave them won’t change the facts either.

    Reply
  • 76. @ Milhouse wrote:

    First, laws are man made institutions. Without these laws as statute, then the act is not criminal and therefore no criminality.
    Period. So, had some act or behavior not been codified as Criminal, the supporting argument that “criminality is inherited” immediately falls apart.

    Mental illness can be hereditary, and mental illness can lead to criminal behavior – but we classify their behavior as assignable to mental illness, not inherit criminality!

    “The middle of the bell curve of intelligence distribution is 15 pts lower?” I need a good source. I will wait for forever!

    Intelligence is a latent attribute that is ENHANCED and HONED with education, not the other way around.

    You do amuse me though.

    Reply
  • 77. Great Dane - a response to #76 wrote:

    Laws aren’t entirely man made. There is natural law, and the laws based on right reason. One way to put it simply is that your rights end where my rights begin. I have the unalienable rights endowed by my Creator (not man) to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The God given rights are to worship or not as I please, own property that I purchase as I please, and lead the life I want without fear of personal or property damage by others, all provided that I have not tread on the unalienable rights of others.

    So any physical harm to another and any theft of another are violations of God’s laws.

    Reply
  • 78. Joe wrote:

    I live outside of CH in a frum community that has very few black people and still hear racist comments.

    חביב אדם שנברא בצלם is a mishna and applies to all humans.

    Unfortunately over years of anti-Semitism which created a real fear of “be afraid of a goy as he might kill you”, combined with ונפלינו, makes people think that it’s ok to belittle and say racisit comments.

    Group think and protect the group at all cost, is key to human survival. Thus, groups look outside for blame and seldom change internally. This is the same reason that for 250 years we’re still mocking litvish Jews and vice-a-versa.

    Reply
  • 80. sd wrote:

    It is blatantly obvious that you did not experience the Crown Heights riots of August 1991. Had you have been here, you would be singing a different tune, and would have disposed of your liberal feelings from that time on.

    Reply

Leave Comment

Comment moderation is in use. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear shortly.