Kinneret Brashi is an attorney. She’s not religious but was deeply shocked when she read news reports in Israel that the city of Herzliya fined a Chabad ‘Shaliach’ (mitzvah promoter) for having a booth for men to put Tefillin on near a Herzliya restaurant. It is indeed shameful and Kinneret wrote a post about the feelings it aroused in her.
“I’m Kinneret Brashi, someone not religious. I don’t observe Shabbat or kashrut. I do believe in G-d. I don’t work on Shabbat because I’m not a slave. No I don’t have millions in the bank nor a spare 10 shekel. I don’t recall the time I actually had a positive balance at the bank since age 16 and now I’m 43.”
“I can’t calm down nor stay silent about what happened with Chabad and Tefillin, the hatred for Judaism and the dangerous racism. This reminds me more of a history class on Nazi Germany than Herzliya (don’t discuss with me if there’s room for comparison).”
“I’m not done yet, I haven’t written about Chabad. Allow me to tell you something about Chabad something you may not know. Chabad Hasidim are busy bridging between the religious and non-religious. Unlike us they don’t judge by external appearances. Giving charity quietly is a way of life. By us every donation becomes a Facebook post.”
The activities Chabad organizes for the orphans who lost fathers who were soldiers that died in battles is one of their biggest charitable endeavors. They make Bar and Bat- Mitzvahs and they give ‘Mishloach Manot’ packs of food on Purim. On every holiday Chabad is there. We have ‘Remembrance Day’ once a year, for them it’s their daily ongoing mission.”
As an IDF orphan I recall Chabad coming to our home dressed in costumes on Purim with happiness and singing. The Mishloach Manot packages were full of (kosher!) sweets. They organized me and my brother’s celebration of our Bat and Bar Mitzvah! We were guests of honor at Kfar Chabad together with all the IDF orphans then and until this day. They make sure to come with Mishloach Manot and other gestures which tell us we remember and thank you. Kfar Chabad opens its doors to every man and woman wherever they may be.”
“I once volunteered in a Chabad house in my neighborhood cooking and distributing food to the needy. They didn’t differentiate between religion race and gender. They also actually seek out those who are needy and make sure they’re taken care of. Chabad establishes Chabad houses everywhere a Jew could be found. Why, to bring people back to religion? That’s a foolish thing to say! They simply give Jews a home for Friday night and Shabbat or holidays or even on a routine weekday. (Do you remember the family slaughtered in Mumbai?)”
“So if a Chabad Shaliach asks you if you want to put Tefillin on, remember to say yes. Putting on Tefillin is not religious coercion. It’s a merit and in my eyes a giant one. You can choose yes or no. When you put a coin in the Chabad charity box you’re helping thousands and thousands of people. When you dance to the tune of secular non-religious Israel you’re contributing to dividing the nation, to exclusion. There’s no religionizing going on in Judaism or racism to segments of Israeli society. You are not truly free; you are captive in a group that chose to divide the nation. Just another group like that.”