We wanted to share this story from Midreshet Harova alumna, Talia Kupferman, who shares her experience of confronting a Neturei Karta protest against Israel. We think you'll want to hear about it. Here at JerusalemU, we're mighty proud of her.
Always speak your piece. You'll be glad you did.
I felt I needed to write out an experience I just had and email you about it.
About 20 minutes ago I was leaving Grand Central Station headed back to my dorm. As I left the station I was immediately confronted with lines of Neturei Karta walking down 42nd street with signs, chants and pamphlets degrading Israel and saying disgusting things about the Jews that live there and the people that support the land.
I was in horror and disgust. Of course I have seen Neturei Karta before, for example in the Israeli Day Parade, but there I was alongside hundreds of other people that were supporting and standing with Israel. Here, I was alone. How could my fellow Jews be saying these terrible things about OUR land to these random people on the streets of New York that don't know any better! I honestly turned to HaShem and asked Him to help me make the right decision. I felt that if I spoke back to them and said something it would cause a scene or that it honestly might not be safe. But, on the other hand I would have felt defeated and upset if I didn't do anything.
I took a breath, crossed the street to where there was a another group chanting and handing out pamphlets. I asked a man for a pamphlet, read what it said and ripped it in front of him.
I did not want to cause a big scene so I did not yell. I told him calmly, "How could you be saying these things about Eretz Yisrael?? What would you do if Moshe and Yehoshua saw what you were doing right now speaking so horribly about our holy land?"
The 2 men were not only confused that I had confronted them, but had nothing to say. I continued by saying " Eretz Yisrael is doing wonders for the Jews there - including the Chassidim." One man responded, "What Chassidim? How do you know?" I answered, "How do I know?!? Because I lived there!" Another man came and said "Israel is a secular state and does nothing good".
I answered him by saying "What about the trees and produce they grow there? They do Shmita! ALL of the Jews that are living there are doing Mitzvot that you and I cannot do because we aren't there." His response was "No they aren't."
At this point I realized they were honestly just spreading lies. They had never even been to Israel to see what they were chanting about. I finished by saying, "You are making a chilul HaShem of Eretz Yisrael and all of all the Jews."
I crossed the street shaking and began to cry. I hated that I was just fighting against a fellow Jew in the middle of NYC. However, I also began to appreciate the education I had received in Harova last year. The experiences, classes and conversations I had with teachers and peers had given me the knowledge I needed to educate these 3 or 4 Neturei Karta.
I know that I did not do much in the larger picture of it all, but I know that I stood up for what I believe and know is right. I showed these men that while living in America you can still support and stand up for Israel. Maybe I even made them think a bit more about what they were chanting.
I am glad of what I did, and I wanted to thank you for giving me the education, courage and pride to stand up for Israel- even if it means I stand alone.