Eretz Yisrael Time

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007
It’s not nice to use the word assault, but the only alternative that the thesaurus comes up with is mugging. Badger may be more accurate, but it doesn’t strongly enough describe the experience.

Yesterday evening I stopped at the Bnei Brak Paz gas station – you know, the one with the ‘Allo Taiman shuwarmarama.

Maybe it’s just me, but I find it annoying to stop there and fill up as first your car always gets encircled by locals looking for free rides to Jerusalem (occasionally taking the liberty of opening your car door to ask), and then they firmly block the exit from the station in an attempt to slow you down and hop in while you try to avoid hitting them.

We once took a “milluimnik” for a ride from there, but he pocketed our cellphone when he got out.

In New York you used to (and perhaps still do) see “moonies” hanging out on street corners and bus stations selling flowers for a buck. We all know what that business was about.

In Israel, we have Breslevers selling books on street corners – presumably using the same business model.

So late last night, on my way home, I entered the shuwarmarama to get dinner before the fast.

I was doggedly badgered and assaulted by some persistent 15 year old “Breslevers” who wanted money so he and his friends “could eat”. I’ve seen him before. He and his young friends seem to be permanent late-night squatters at the gas station and in ‘Allo Teiman.

I don’t what this is about.

First of all, I think social services needs to be checking out this place.

There is something fundamentally wrong here with 15 year olds begging for food money.

Second, there is something wrong with this whole Breslever begging culture that has developed. I don’t if it is a philosophy, state of mind, or big business (for the guys on top). But it is very wrong and it has to stop.

I gave them some money, but honestly, I don’t feel good about it.


Anonymous said...

Understandable, but it seems that you did the right thing.

Nebach if they have to beg for money.

Batya said...

You could have told them you're calling the police or social services.

Anonymous said...

Hey, not only in Bnei Brak but also at the Kotell. One local guy comes in the Kotel, goes to each table and empties all the Zadaka boxes into his hand and then into his pocket. I ran after him but he past the guard station before I could reach him.

It's always good to give for one does not know who is deserving. If you question your giving it, just hope that you've done the right thing and trust in H'Shem to take care of the rest. Woe to him who asks for Zadaka Falsely.

JoeSettler said...

What bothers me is that these are 14-15 year old children (hanging out at 10pm).

My wife says it begins on Purim (like smoking). The yeshivas send them out to shneur and they integrate the idea that this is acceptable or even admirable behavior.

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