Monday, March 05, 2012
Davening Dov Kramer
What is fascinating about this story is that the magazine was able to write a positive story about someone who works in a very non-traditional field (sports radio) and still call him Charedi. There is no doubt in my mind that this kind of story would never be written in the Hebrew Mishpacha and that there is no way that someone like Dov Kramer could do what he does in Israel. This illustrates the very big gap that exists between American Charedim and Israeli Charedim.
There is another important point here, religious tolerance. This story and the story of the Beren Academy illustrate the religious tolerance in America. Dov Kramer is the producer for the Mets games even though they play 2 games a week on Shabbos!!! His employers see that he can do the job well even given his religious limitations and are willing to accommodate him. In Israel there is no way that he would even be considered for such a job.
The question we need to answer is why?
YNet published a story about the Tapp league moving the game to Friday afternoon to accommodate Shabbos. Most of the comments made the point that this would never happen in Israel, it would be rejected as religious coercion.
IMHO, this is the big difference between Israel and America on these issues. In Israel, the secular population is worried about religious coercion, which already exists (no public transportation on Shabbos, weddings, divorce, etc.). Therefore, they see any further accommodation for religion as the beginning of a slippery slope which will end with a halachic state. The fact is according to a recent poll only a very small percentage (under %5) of the population is really anti-religious. However, the people do not want to be coerced into observing Judaism. The recent events with Mehadrin buses etc. have only made things worse. Now whatever little room for compromise is gone. In America on the other hand there is no religious coercion and no one is worried that an accommodation for Shabbos will lead to coercion therefore society is open to accommodation.
Religious coercion hasn't worked in Israel so maybe it is time to try a different approach without coercion.