My reply to „Belz Great Synagogue“

This is a response to:
„Belz Great Synagogue“ (written by Sarah Spaeth)

I would like to respond to Sarah Spaeth’s blog post „Belz Great Synagogue“.

I was deeply impressed during our visit of the Belz Great Synagogue in Kiryat Belz, which was completed in 2000, the largest synagogue in Israel, built by the Belz Hassidic community. It is a truly awe-inspiring building and I could see the love and diligence that was put into it. Mr. Friedman invited us to come inside and explained to us many aspects of the lifestyle and beliefs of the orthodox community he is part of. Although I personally don’t share most of their views, I genuinely admire the devotion and diligence in their pursuit of faith. I believe what makes them such a strong community is the unwavering upholding of values they believe in. It is truly something I have great respect for.

We had the opportunity to ask questions and Mr. Friedman patiently answered each one of them. Yet, what made me sad, was the strong demarcation from other forms of Jewish religion, like traditional Jews or Jews of the Reform-movement, or even non-believers. I understand that in their understanding of faith they are truly convinced that there is no other way to follow God than what they teach and live, yet, to entirely judge all other forms of belief and even cut family-ties to members who do not follow their particular way, seems very rigid. I understand though that to them it is a deep and real pain when someone of their community starts to live and believe differently. Yet I wonder if it would not be the better way to accept the different view of another person and rather seek the things that connect than those that separate. After all, how can we know, if we are right and the other person is wrong?