Ben Chaim's essay,which Kivelevitz deems a screed,displays great insensitivity and recycles standard condescending racist attitudes. Ideas,both Rabbis insist,that need to be stamped out and denied a public forum.
Rabbi Bechhofer describes the racist attitudes that still prevail in his home town of Monsey in the populace and in the police as part of the larger ugly prejudice in our country.
"Urban riots", King said, “may be deplored, but . . . they are not insurrections. The rioters are not seeking to seize territory or to attain control of institutions. They are mainly intended to shock the white community. They are a distorted form of social protest.” Even looting, he insisted, is an act of catharsis, a form of “shocking” the white community “by abusing property rights.”
King quoted Victor Hugo to deepen his point: “If a soul is left in the darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.”
Kivelevitz goes further in calling for education beginning at the youngest age in Yeshivos to breed tolerance acceptance and love for all mankind,including teaching the role slavery played in entrenching the odious attitudes that still filter in to our interactions today with persons of color.The Charedi schools remain neglectful in planting positive attitudes towards the African American wider community in their students.
began in the 1950's when he rejected Rav Kook's inclusive agenda in favor of the Torah-only position of the Chazon Ish.
Hutner's Chaim Berlin produced many of the most important Jewish educators of the second half of the 20th century.
These administrators worked with blinders on,Bechhofer implies,and ignored the human compassion for others the Torah emphasizes.
Kivelevitz is quite skeptical in assuming that the roots for such endemic distrust and enmity lie in such a subtle source.
He does however describe how his Yeshiva high school education was laced with vile anti African American attitudes,and he often heard degrading racial epithets in Ner Israel bandied about by the Rabbeim.
He describes his childhood in Memphis,living in a neighborhood that due to white flight had become predominantly African American.The lessons of friendship and commonality he gained from his pleasurable innocent interactions with neighbors was cemented and enhanced by his Eastern European refugee father's displays of benevolence towards the Kivelevitz's African American tenants.
The elder Kivelevitz instructed his son that they were victims who were caught in a grip of poverty and frustration.
Sadly,that harmonious attitude was drummed out of him by his immersion in the Baltimore Yeshiva.