Orthodox-bashing is not OK

The battle over non-Orthodox power and rights in Israel is a legitimate one. But the intense debate has produced something no Jew should champion — Orthodox-bashing.

The insults aren't flying in Israel alone. Bay Area Orthodox Jews feel, as one rabbi put it, that they're all being painted with one broad brush.

Orthodox Jews cannot and should not be lumped together as intolerant, violent "black-hats."

The fact is Orthodoxy comprises numerous groups with wide-ranging philosophies. It can even be argued that Orthodoxy encompasses a more diverse group of Jews than either the Reform or Conservative movement.

Some Orthodox Jews consider themselves modern or centrist — and would never wear the label ultra-religious. Others are Ashkenazi-rooted Chassidim, who themselves fall into numerous sects. Still others are Sephardic.

Many Orthodox Jews are supporters of Israel in the same vein as any non-Orthodox Jew. Others, the religious Zionists, go a step further and view the territories as holy, sacred ground. Only a minority of the ultra-religious won't accept the Jewish state's validity because the Messiah has yet to come.

Many of the Orthodox have valid problems with the conduct of the non-Orthodox Jewish movements. A number of Orthodox Jews put the unity of the Jewish people above all else and speak out against extremists on all sides.

And within each Orthodox shul, individual Jews surely argue over every issue as much as they do in any non-Orthodox synagogue. So let's argue, disagree and worry. But let's not lapse into using stereotypes.

Jews often complain that non-Jews lump us all together. Don't make the same mistake with the Orthodox.