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    Manny’s & extremist violence – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. I saw in the media that a small group of religious fanatics has repeatedly trashed Manny’s bookstore in Me’ah She’arim*. Can there be any justification for the group’s actions?

    Image from a security camera showing an extremist breaking the glass at Manny’s bookstore

    A. None whatsoever. The true way to show you disapprove of someone else is through persuasion and not persecution.

    What crime has Manny’s committed after all? They set up a highly popular bookshop in the main street of Me’ah She’arim and attracted thousands of customers. Their Hebrew books are all kosher as far as I can see. Their stock of English Judaica is orthodox – again, at least as far as I can judge. Do a few people patronise the shop in mildly immodest clothing? Possibly, but the books they buy at Manny’s will probably eventually make them more observant.

    I am told that most of the orthodox groups that live in the neighbourhood, whilst not resiling from their strict standards, disapprove of the actions of those who have turned themselves into God’s policemen.

    If it is the rabbis who rule in that district, I hope they will have the courage to preach more Ahavat Hab’ri’ot and Ahavat Yisra’el – more love of fellow human beings and more love of fellow Jews.

    * This article originally appeared in 2011.

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