Dear Daat Emet,
In response to the issue of a disabled person I hinted at the Charedi treatment of the disabled. This is a summary of the matter; you have my permission to change the style as you find appropriate…
Many Charedi, in an attempt to defend their faith and in an attempt to draw others to religion, arrogantly brag about the many charitable organizations this sector has, citing this as proof of the Jewish religion's righteous path.
Indeed, we appreciate them for this -- but in this short article we will only say that this does not approach the level of charity shown by the soldiers who sacrifice themselves to defend the nation. We will discuss this at length in a separate article.
To clarify the conscious and unconscious deception practiced by the Charedi we will bring an example of the Charedi treatment of disabled children:
Though some of these organizations do holy work with disabled children, we must know "what to answer" the outreach professionals. This situation was not always the case. Quite the contrary: up to 30 years ago (more or less) most of the Charedi public not only did not treat the disabled, they neglected them.
This was for several reasons. It should be emphasized that there is no intent here to charge them, Heaven forefend, with wickedness, but with ignorance.
The primary reason -- which stemmed from ignorance of everything connected to hereditary diseases and mental disability -- was the fear that a disabled child would harm his family's chances in matchmaking, for the value of a family with a disabled child approached zero. Therefore they hid the child, as much as possible, from neighbors' eyes. One can imagine the kind of treatment given a child jailed in his own home. In general, they would send such a child to a mental ward, even if he was not mentally ill.
The secondary reason is, of course, the superstitions planted firmly in their brains (and, of course, I speak of earlier periods) that this kind of child is a dybbuk or has been invaded by a demon. The primitive treatments only made his situation worse.
For example, a child who suffered from polio was placed inside a cow's intestines and left in the slaughterhouse for an entire night!!!
I am aware that there are those who would argue that they know of other stories, and some would say that at that point ignorance ruled the world.
I would answer the first group that their stories may be true, but most of the community acted as I have described. There are still honest older people who would testify so.
To the second group I would say that they are right, but why did the generation's leaders, who see into the distance and are linked directly to the Creator of the world, not know the truth and change the habits of their followers? Did they cover their eyes not to see?
Another thing: the change which began in the current Charedi approach to the disabled stems from the influence of advances in science and psychiatry. Despite the attempts of the Charedi leadership to separate from the modern world, reality has dictated otherwise. Advances in various fields penetrate Charedi society through three channels:
A. Those who return to religion and bring their knowledge from the outside world.
B. American Modern Orthodoxy.
C. Israeli governmental agencies which both enforce and explain the truth.
And, saving the best for last, I wonder if there is not also some reward for those who work in this area…
Don't let them throw sand in your eyes or sweeten their teachings and society for you, because that's not the way it is.