Wednesday, December 21, 2005

israeli categories

When I came to Israel, I was told I had to define myself in a sociopolitical category.
My choices, as a religious ashkenazi, were either:
  • dati leumi (national religious), which apparantly means that I believe that the State and the Messiah are one. We were already redeemed, just the guy who was supposed to tell us never showed up.
  • Chareidi (ultra orthodox), which apparantly means that I believe the state has no right to exist, I don't work, don't go into the army, leech off of society, and am generally despised by everyone.
There is a sub-category of national religious called "mustard" which are people who are as religious as an ultra-orthodoxer, but even so believe that the state is the religion. But we won't get into that.

It seems to me that there are a lot of religious Jews out there (maybe mostly from midwest America, though one of my readers will claim that in the south there are normal Jews as well, but we just look at them funny and say, "inbred") who do not fit into any of these categories. This leaves us as ill-represented. I moved to Israel because of religious reasons, secular zionistic reasons played a part in it, but religious zionism was not part of the decision process.

I would guess that makes me chareidi. Except when people ask me what kind of Jew I am and I tell them chareidi, they laugh. Apparantly, I don't much look like a chareidi. And I work. I didn't go to the army, but they didn't ask me nicely to go. Also I use a suf when I daven and layn. And I don't know the rambam by heart. I tried going through two of rav kook's sefarim and didn't understand a word.

My children are going to be dati leumi because we moved to a dati leumi community and send them to dati leumi schools. But I'll probably be able to give them a little perspective, which they'll happily ignore.


2R said...

people laugh when I say i'm chareidi as well...
in english there is no mustard so if you're not chareidi your choices are...
are you MODERN orthodox or mondern ORTHODOX

Veev said...

I have to say that we have put ourselves into a category too, for the purpose of deciding where to live. (Funny, in Detroit, it only matters if you're going to live in the ghetto) We are:

Dati Leumi Torani

PinkDevora said...

Yeah, I don't know where my husband fit in either. I've lived in Israel and know that we don't fit in anywhere, except *maybe* for Ramat Bait Shemesh. Sigh.

In the States, we're kinda modern yeshivish? Maybe? Argh.

I like 2r's comment. I'm modern ORTHODOX.

rockofgalilee said...


i think that's mustard.

Veev said...

I think Charedi Leumi is mustard. Chardal - get it? The word Charedi connotes some things we are not, so I don't we'd put ourselves in there just because I wear a Shaitel.

rockofgalilee said...

mustard is chareidi dati leumi, which means you are dati leumi, but still care about halacha.

rockofgalilee said...

or in other words, the skirt over your pants covers your knees.