Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Lakewood Priorities

"Our town had a horrible crime visited upon us ..."
-Mayor Meir Lichtenstein

I don't think there has to be any more discussion about the actual event. The lack of sensitivity shown by some in the blogvelt is really saddening.

I would, however, like to discuss the reaction.

I think that it's a fait accompli that there will be an asifa for women. I think it's also pretty obvious who the speakers will be. I'm also quite sure that the main topic that will be addressed is Tzniyus.

And that, in my humble opinion, is very sad.

The gemarah tell us that when a tragedy befalls a member of a group, it must serve as a wake-up call to the entire group. As such, our entire community must view this as a message to improve our ways.

In the past, when there were tragic events that faced our community, the message was always tzniyus. My problem with this attitude is that it ignores half of the population. It addresses the women by saying this is YOUR problem. YOU need to improve in what YOU'RE doing. We men will continue in our holy ways and hope that YOU women can get a grip on YOUR issues.

Lakewood is a wonderful town, filled with talmidei chachomim, baalei chessed and anshei maaseh. But as is true of every place on earth, there are problems. And these problems need to be addressed. When wonderful frum, erlicher people are dragged through the mud when trying to get their children into school because of the sin of working for a living, there's a major problem. When any store owner that has been in business for a year has been to multiple dinei torah already, there's a major problem.

Of course tzniyus is a vital, important issue, and I don't mean to minimize it. But why don't we first focus on the more widespread issues? The ones that affect much more people, even men? Does God care about how someone wears a pocketbook or if their skirt has a kickpleat? He may, I don't know. But I DO know that He cares if people are publicly shamed, and if there's no honesty in financial matters.