Kelsey Media

Charedi Bus segregation is a chillul Hashem

49 comments

Thw following article is not a joke, it was actually published in all seriousness…

Amidst all the controversy pertaining to mehadrin bus lines at the moment in Israel, sparked in part by a woman who instigated the issue when she intentionally boarded a mehadrin bus in Ashod, YWN Isreal is pleased to present the following Kiddush Hashem that was sent to us today with a video attached:

“I was riding from Ramot to Yerushalayim proper at the front of mehadrin bus number 40 when the bus stopped by the new Ramot Mall. Due to the time of day, the bus was pretty full, so when a non-charedi woman boarded the bus she stood near the driver. I flinched, half expecting someone to tell her to go to the back of the bus. Yet, Baruch Hashem, two gentlemen, as she called them (and yes, one can have a beard and long payos and still be a gentleman), gave up their seats on the front row of the bus. Many on the bus, driver included, were shocked at the kiddush Hashem, which prompted me to video her and ask her to tell the story in her own words.

My response: So someone decides to do the right thing and you view that as a kiddush Hashem. I’m sick of hearing about the Charedim and their attempt to block women out of any public sphere. If they were so frum, they wouldn’t have to keep focusing on these issues of segregation. Israel is heading down a slippery slope the more they listen to these screwed up individuals. I say that the Charedim are going to ruin Israel from the inside out and this segregation thing needs to be stopped before it becomes a Jewish Saudi Arabia. Only a screwed up frummy website would view such a thing as a kiddush Hashem.

Let’s see Haaretz, Ynet, or some other anti-charedi news outlet report this story”

  • A. Nuran

    Got nothing to add to this.

  • Doniel

    This is the tactic that has been used for years. Push things to the extreme, so that when something normal happens, it it now has a significance. Really, really, sad.

  • Neal

    Hmm, YWN posting a video of a woman. Don’t they have a no pictures of women policy on their site?

  • Dan

    Yes, it is very cute how you can make fun of this video, “when they act nicely it is news!”

    But, why don’t you think about it. You run around vilifying us, anyone who read the stuff coming from the left wing and hadn’t had actual exposure to us would think we are total monsters. And it simply isn’t true.

    They are nice people. They give way more charity than any other group on earth- and it isn’t only within our community- we’ll give to a sick chiloni just as fast. In a chareidi neighborhood, you can find a gemach for anything under the sun, from chickpeas for your sholom zochor in case you have a boy right before shabbos, to antibiotics in case your kid gets sick on shabbos.

    What’s is striking about this story, is that you are surprised to see it, and that you think it is news. You are horrified that this story is an aberration. The real horrifying part is that you have blinded yourselves into thinking it is an aberration.

    You know you are on the wrong side, when your people aren’t reporting the full story, and you are ignorant of basic facts. Some Israeli guy on the facebook thread is ranting about how they should start their own line. Well, they tried to a couple of years ago, and the Egged monopoly shut them down. And the brooklyn bus was their own line.

    And as long as you think that there are bad faith ulterior motives for everything they do, you will never even attempt to understand them. You attempt to misunderstand them.

    Why can’t you accept that they are concerned about tznius? Why is that so impossible, that you go about making absolutely ridiculous motives for them (I saw some idiot yesterday saying it is about control- the Williamson-boro park bus was about controlling what?)

    If you had a reasonable argument, you would be able to argue on the substantive issues, without resorting to stupid cute references to segregation and Rosa Parks. You know those aren’t relevant- that was expressly for the purpose of subjugating an “inferior” race.

    Even if you think that is their “real motive,” you should be able to make that argument. Say how you think it is the real motive. Don’t rest your argument on references to segregation which only support your argument if your argument is already accepted. (Like the anti-semites do with Israel’s terror barrier, calling it a “berlin wall.”)

    And face this: If you daven in a shul with a mechitza, you also practice “segregation,” and if Rosa Parks has sat in the front of a segregated church, they’d have the same stupid reference to throw at you. But that you say is different- it is halacha. Oh, do you think Hillary Clinton buys that? She thinks you are just as bad as we are.

    • Izzy (1)

      Dan, you raise good and valid points. However, what makes this story interesting is that it simply highlights that there is great diversity even within the so called close-knit and close-minded Haredi world. Throughout history, halacha has addressed issues on the basis of circumstance and precedent. There have been some significant adaptations over the centuries, including more formal education for women in the early twentieth century, and the application of halacha to modern technology.

      One can fairly ask the question that if the woman was young and attractive, would this have been so well-marketed as a Kiddush Hashem? Chances are is that she would not have been even allowed on the bus. Now, take it a step further, if she were legally blind with cane in hand and attractive, would these men have reacted in the same way as they did to the androgynous old woman? Unlikely.

      In reality, the men on the bus will probably be vilified by their peers and life will go on in its own beautiful and fitfull way. Happy Chanukah!

    • http://www.frumsatire.net Heshy Fried

      I’m sure there were Nazi’s slave owners, gay bashers and racists who all were compassionate to some as well – it doesn’t take away from their wrong doings or make them right.

      • Dan

        And I’m perfectly willing to discuss whether this is as bad as being a nazi or a racist. (I’m also perfectly willing to discuss how I see gays- in a different discussion.)

        But if you really want to think about that, your team needs to be a little bit open minded about it. All I see is cheap shots, inaccurate portrayals, and absolutely absurd conclusions of bad faith.

        • Izzy (1)

          Cheap shots abound on both sides as we all justify our allegiances which range from the secular (me) to those who are Haredi-Yiddim (not me). Ultimately, I had no choice as to whether I was born a male or female. Therefore, G-d must have intended that we all, regardless of gender, start on equal footing and be free of biases.

          The Jewish male’s sole influence in developing Halacha is quite clear. Am I wrong on this? Are there any writings or discourses of the Talmud written by women? So how will the modern vision of Haredi (or even modern Orthodox) reason explain this unfairness for me? I can appreciate the concept of different functions (I cannot give birth) and responsibilities (I can teach my children that all people regardless of background, religion, wealth, or gender, deserve respect)…but I do not think Hashem would accept the bias associated with gender inequality and benefit of genetic privilege. I can appreciate modesty but not inequality.

          • Dan

            I responded like 5 hours ago, but I’m stuck in moderation. And Heshy said on facebook he’s on the way to a party. So it’ll be a while before it goes up.

            • Dan

              Firstly, I will acknowledge your question. It is true that halacha and chumrah has always been decided in Judaism almost exclusively by men. And you are correct that whenever one group makes decisions for another, you need to worry that the decision making group (men) will dominate and subservieate the non-decision making group (women).

          • Dan

            Maybe it was too long. I’ll post in two parts.

            Part I
            Firstly, I will acknowledge your question. It is true that halacha and chumrah has always been decided in Judaism almost exclusively by men. And you are correct that whenever one group makes decisions for another, you need to worry that the decision making group (men) will dominate and subservieate the non-decision making group (women).

            I will also observe that the torah does not treat people “equally.” Men are treated differently than women, with different obligations and roles. The jews are split into different hereditary groups, with different obligations, privileges, and roles (Kohanim, Levites, and Yisroel)- clear genetic privilege. So that, if you accept that the torah is divine, then any inequalities which come from the torah, need to be accepted as just coming from G-d, and un-debatable.

            (I will also observe here, that the rabbis have always been very honest about when they were making new law, and when they were reporting law which already existed- this is not debated, as far as I know.)

            Now, you ask if I think the rabbis have used their interpretive power, and discretion to make new rabbinic law, to mistreat women.

            The answer is, I cannot be sure. But I don’t think anyone can. It is theoretically possible that some rabbi over 3000 years could have had any motivation under the sun. And I suppose as a non-religious jew, that probably makes sense to you. So you probably think they did so to subserviate women as well.

            I cannot prove that they didn’t. However, I think I am justified in trusting them that they didn’t. I think I am justified in trusting that they acted in good faith, to apply the law, make new law, and make policy decisions, as they thought best and fair.

            In trusting them thus, I am supported by the fact that Jewish life is indeed much harder for men that for women, and that the rabbis don’t really seem to ever do things that make it easier for themselves. I’m sure some people on this website have a malicious explanation for every law and decree, but at a certain point you are stretching.

          • Dan

            testing

            • Dan

              I am going to respond in 3 parts. Part I
              Firstly, I will acknowledge your question. It is true that halacha and chumrah has always been decided in Judaism almost exclusively by men. And you are correct that whenever one group makes decisions for another, you need to worry that the decision making group (men) will dominate and subservieate the non-decision making group (women).

              I will also observe that the torah does not treat people “equally.” Men are treated differently than women, with different obligations and roles. The jews are split into different hereditary groups, with different obligations, privileges, and roles (Kohanim, Levites, and Yisroel)- clear genetic privilege. So that, if you accept that the torah is divine, then any inequalities which come from the torah, need to be accepted as just coming from G-d, and un-debatable.

              (I will also observe here, that the rabbis have always been very honest about when they were making new law, and when they were reporting law which already existed- this is not debated, as far as I know.)

              Now, you ask if I think the rabbis have used their interpretive power, and discretion to make new rabbinic law, to mistreat women

            • Dan

              Ok, I’m not sure why, but I can’t get my reply in. Maybe it is too long, but I tried splitting it up.

          • Dan

            Part I of 4

            Firstly, I will acknowledge your question. It is true that halacha and chumrah has always been decided in Judaism almost exclusively by men. And you are correct that whenever one group makes decisions for another, you need to worry that the decision making group (men) will dominate and subservieate the non-decision making group (women).

            I will also observe that the torah does not treat people “equally.” Men are treated differently than women, with different obligations and roles. The jews are split into different hereditary groups, with different obligations, privileges, and roles (Kohanim, Levites, and Yisroel)- clear genetic privilege. So that, if you accept that the torah is divine, then any inequalities which come from the torah, need to be accepted as just coming from G-d, and un-debatable.

            (I will also observe here, that the rabbis have always been very honest about when they were making new law, and when they were reporting law which already existed- this is not debated, as far as I know.)

        • Dan

          Firstly, I will acknowledge your question. It is true that halacha and chumrah has always been decided in Judaism almost exclusively by men. And you are correct that whenever one group makes decisions for another, you need to worry that the decision making group (men) will dominate and subservieate the non-decision making group (women).

          I will also observe that the torah does not treat people “equally.” Men are treated differently than women, with different obligations and roles. The jews are split into different hereditary groups, with different obligations, privileges, and roles (Kohanim, Levites, and Yisroel)- clear genetic privilege. So that, if you accept that the torah is divine, then any inequalities which come from the torah, need to be accepted as just coming from G-d, and un-debatable.

          (I will also observe here, that the rabbis have always been very honest about when they were making new law, and when they were reporting law which already existed- this is not debated, as far as I know.)

          Now, you ask if I think the rabbis have used their interpretive power, and discretion to make new rabbinic law, to mistreat women

  • Anonymous

    if the arabs dont kill you, the russians dont steal from you and the israelis make getting anything done nearly impossible, the charedis will tell you your not a real jew anyway. Never ever ever moving to Israel.

    • Adam

      You’ve just slandered no less than FOUR groups. And all in one sentence.
      Well done!!

      • Anonymous

        Adam, you live there – be happy with that drama. I’d rather be ignored vs. tortured.

  • http://www.frumfemale.blogspot.com frum single female

    i think that this is news because it does not normally occur. it can’t because they think there should be gender segragation. actually, what would be nicer and will NEVER occur is letting a young woman with small children sit in the front of the bus because there are no seats in the back.

    • http://thecrunchyjew.blogspot.com/http://thecrunchyjew.blogspot.com/ Dena

      I think they should be sitting in the front anyway but hey, who cares what I think.

      • A. Nuran

        You’re a woman, so they are required to not give a damn about what you think. Your job, since you have a uterus, is to obey.

  • Robbie

    I find it very odd the second someone offers her a seat, a camera crew is magically on the bus and video taping her seconds after it happened. Sounds like a publicity stunt to me.

    • Izzy (1)

      Camera crew. Since when is a Yid a smart phone a camera crew? Vas is video tape…? You are dating yourself my friend.

      • Balansen

        He’s probably an alter cocker who finished ranting at failedmessiah and decided to browse on over here. Then again, this post would not be out of place on that website.

  • Eli

    I woke up and went to work today – what a Kiddush Hashem! A chareidi going to work!
    The more intersting aspect of this is that the only “excuse” to be mentchlich or normal is in order to do a “Kiddush Hashem”. But I’ll take what I can get.

    • CCMSM

      Unless you have it on video, I don’t believe you.

  • Sergeant J

    Second the Publicity stunt premise..

  • S.H.

    Yeah, Robbie. It’s not like most people are walking around with smartphones that take videos in our pockets.

    Oh, wait.

  • http://hatthief.blogspot.com Meir

    This seems to be out of the Herman Cain playbook: “There are literally thousands of women out there who will tell you they were never sexually harassed by Herman Cain.” I’m sure there are thousands of women who’ve boarded these buses without being attacked/spat on/pepper sprayed as well, but that’s a poor excuse.

  • Balansen

    I agree with Heshy, this is simply the right thing to do and does not merit news coverage. I see strangers in Montreal buses extend similar courtesy all the time. Someone at YWN probably thought that this would be a nice feel good story that makes haredim look flexible on segregation, but if this is newsworthy, it rather serves to illustrate the growing disconnect in haredi and non-haredi outlooks.

    That said, Heshy, you should be encouraging dialogue, not failedmessiah style potshots.

  • http://yeshivaforum.wordpress.com OfftheDwannaB

    The video doesnt make sense. If its a halacha based policy, then going against it is a chillul hashem. Kiddush hashem, sanctifying God’s name, means doing what God wants, not doing the wrong thing so that outsiders will view Jews better. Thats called protecting your image, and is manipulative and false.

    • Dan

      The point is that there is a balance. Anything which is not actual halacha, and is only a chumrah, needs to be balanced against other considerations.
      In this case, an androgynous old woman, is not a very bad to sit near, while she did have a large need.
      However, generally, there is no such large need, and there is a greater danger, so the balance says to separate.

      • http://yeshivaforum.wordpress.com OfftheDwannaB

        Lol! Thats mean.
        And I understand what youre saying in theory, but in reality thats not what people mean when they use the term kiddush hashem for publicity stunts like this. A lady taking a video and posting it online calling it K.H. clearly has no idea what the concept actually means. To her it means keeping up appearances no matter what actually happens. KH seems to be code for PR.

        • Dan

          What happened here, can be easily inferred.

          An old lady came on the bus, and it was full. Two men gave her their seat (they both got up, because neither would sit next to her.)

          Some American yeshiva guy saw it, and thought he should video it. So he did. And emailed it to YWN.

          YWN thought it would drive readers to his site, so he posted it. And he was correct. It even got a link on frumsatire with 70k hits a month.

  • Anonymous
  • Judie Patel

    I was in London this summer and every time I got on the tube or a bus someone got up for me (also an older woman). They were people (men) of every color under the sun. Are you telling me that Charedim are so pleased with themselves when 2 men get up for an older woman. What a boosha! I can’t even watch this video it is embarassing!

  • talking stam

    i want to know what the two gentlemen were doing in that seat before they gave it to her….

  • rumple4skin

    there are no mehadrin buses. one bus company and stupid heradim want to monopolize the local buses in their local route. either move here and find out the facts or shut your pie hole.

  • rumple4skin

    heradim are the erev rav preventing moshiach! get them back to real life and not in chumra hell and maybe we have a shot.

  • anon

    Why are mehadrin busses such a significant issue? Its been out there for a while, at least many of the busses going through charedi Areas. Just because you’re doing the right thing doesn’t mean you can’t make a kiddush hashem.

  • Dan

    In response to Izzy, above.

    Firstly, I will acknowledge your question. It is true that halacha and chumrah has always been decided in Judaism almost exclusively by men. And you are correct that whenever one group makes decisions for another, you need to worry that the decision making group (men) will dominate and subservieate the non-decision making group (women).

    I will also observe that the torah does not treat people “equally.” Men are treated differently than women, with different obligations and roles. The jews are split into different hereditary groups, with different obligations, privileges, and roles (Kohanim, Levites, and Yisroel)- clear genetic privilege. So that, if you accept that the torah is divine, then any inequalities which come from the torah, need to be accepted as just coming from G-d, and un-debatable.

    (I will also observe here, that the rabbis have always been very honest about when they were making new law, and when they were reporting law which already existed- this is not debated, as far as I know.)

    Now, you ask if I think the rabbis have used their interpretive power, and discretion to make new rabbinic law, to mistreat women.

    The answer is, I cannot be sure. But I don’t think anyone can. It is theoretically possible that some rabbi over 3000 years could have had any motivation under the sun. And I suppose as a non-religious jew, that probably makes sense to you. So you probably think they did so to subserviate women as well.

    I cannot prove that they didn’t. However, I think I am justified in trusting them that they didn’t. I think I am justified in trusting that they acted in good faith, to apply the law, make new law, and make policy decisions, as they thought best and fair.

    In trusting them thus, I am supported by the fact that Jewish life is indeed much harder for men that for women, and that the rabbis don’t really seem to ever do things that make it easier for themselves. I’m sure some people on this website have a malicious explanation for every law and decree, but at a certain point you are stretching.

    On the substantive issue- back of the bus. I don’t see any inequality here. I haven’t heard any allegations that the back of the bus is a worse place to sit, or smaller, or anything.

    And there is a perfectly benign explanation- these people have separate seating everywhere- in synagogues, at parties, weddings, and bar mitzvas. If they didn’t want separate seating on buses, I would be surprised.

    The halacha is that a man is not allowed to derive sxual gratification from a woman who is prohibited to him, by looking, thinking, touching, or otherwise. And this is how they help themselves to not transgress that halacha. I understand this- any male will tell you that if an attractive woman is sitting next to them on a bus, they are attracted, and want to look at her.

    Of course, since separate seating on buses is not actual halacha, it needs to be balanced against other concerns. So if for example, it meant women would need to walk, they wouldn’t do it. But since there is zero harm from it, they do it.

    I should note that I am not chareidi anymore. I am a frumsatire reader, which means I don’t really think the same way they do anymore, and my comments on the shidduch resume thread were a little inappropriate by my old standards. But I think I understand them.

    I am not trying to convince you to be chareidi, or to start a separate seating movement in San Fransisco. I just want you to be open to the notion, that they might actually be in good faith, and that there really is no reason to think they aren’t.

  • Dan

    In response to izzy, above. Part I of II

    Firstly, I will acknowledge your question. It is true that halacha and chumrah has always been decided in Judaism almost exclusively by men. And you are correct that whenever one group makes decisions for another, you need to worry that the decision making group (men) will dominate and subservieate the non-decision making group (women).

    I will also observe that the torah does not treat people “equally.” Men are treated differently than women, with different obligations and roles. The jews are split into different hereditary groups, with different obligations, privileges, and roles (Kohanim, Levites, and Yisroel)- clear genetic privilege. So that, if you accept that the torah is divine, then any inequalities which come from the torah, need to be accepted as just coming from G-d, and un-debatable.

    (I will also observe here, that the rabbis have always been very honest about when they were making new law, and when they were reporting law which already existed- this is not debated, as far as I know.)

    Now, you ask if I think the rabbis have used their interpretive power, and discretion to make new rabbinic law, to mistreat women.

    The answer is, I cannot be sure. But I don’t think anyone can. It is theoretically possible that some rabbi over 3000 years could have had any motivation under the sun. And I suppose as a non-religious jew, that probably makes sense to you. So you probably think they did so to subserviate women as well.

    I cannot prove that they didn’t. However, I think I am justified in trusting them that they didn’t. I think I am justified in trusting that they acted in good faith, to apply the law, make new law, and make policy decisions, as they thought best and fair.

    In trusting them thus, I am supported by the fact that Jewish life is indeed much harder for men that for women, and that the rabbis don’t really seem to ever do things that make it easier for themselves. I’m sure some people on this website have a malicious explanation for every law and decree, but at a certain point you are stretching.

  • anon

    Heshy, you’re encouraging sinat chinam. I commented on previous posts about the Hareidi contribution to Israel. In the meantime, you’re sitting in chutzla’aretz not contributing anything.

  • Izzy (1)

    Dan,

    I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your response and it’s quite obvious that if you were Chareidi, you wouldn’t have even wasted your time to respond. I sense the Ultra-Orthodox do not even post here….as it would be considered Chillul Hashem. I chose a different pasth even though I grew up in an Orthodox home and belonged to an Orthodox shul in upstate NY. Based on today’s standard, our Shul would probably have been considered modern othordox. Yet in the 1960s in our small community, we were the Jewish extremists to our Conservative and Reformed brethren. Yet we paled when copared to what is happening in Israel today. See links and assoiated links:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45794260/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/

    It has become quite apparent that the world news media has now taken this over.

    This didn’t happen recently. I blame this entirely on insular, extremist Rabbi’s who have built little fiefdoms of wimpy Halachic-Terrorists who can find a justification to throw rocks and spit at at non-Chareidi women and girls but not fight in the IDF. We all know the same stereotypes….they are 10% of the Israeli population, they won’t defend Israel, they detest Zionism, they collect welfare, throw rocks, curse, and spit upon anyone else less religious who come into their communities, and are the King-makers during Israeli elections (therein lies their power).

    I found that in our cheder, the classmates who took the path to Ultra-Orthodoxy were inevitably the wimpiest (yes, I mean physically) and insecure guys and were ones intimidated and subservient to domineering Rabbis. These are not the fellows who would have fought against Israel’s enemies with King David.

    Dan, you hit the nail on the head when you posted:

    “….Now, you ask if I think the rabbis have used their interpretive power, and discretion to make new rabbinic law, to mistreat women. The answer is, I cannot be sure….”

    Now, go ask Naama Margolese of simply Google her name….then you tell me.

  • http://NA RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

    these charedim should be locked up and the key should be thrown away. They need psychiatric help. Hitler and today’s neo-nazis gain in stature when pictures of these insane idiots are seen througthout the world. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

  • Izzy (1)

    Excerpted this from Haaretz this AM…..

    “However, Haredi journalist Moshe Glasner thinks ultra-Orthodox condemning the exclusion of women won’t change the consciousness of their public. Moreover, he says the media’s preoccupation with these matters has hurt the cause by strengthening the community’s sense of persecution.

    “All this has done is strengthen the extremists, because the attack was on us as a Haredi public, and it was brutal,” Glasner says. “Right now, people feel they are under heavy artillery fire, that the discussion has gone beyond the legitimate. In this state we cannot respond to the issue at hand, and that places the entire public reluctantly on the extremists’ side. Even if there is a sane public that opposes segregated buses, they cannot speak out right now.” Glasner adds, “It would be like proposing a vote of no-confidence during wartime. After the war, as it were, we’ll set up a committee of inquiry. And we’ll do the reckoning ourselves.”

    He says the Orthodox deal with issues such as segregated buses and the Sicarii on a regular basis. Within the Haredi media, there is a fundamental debate regarding who is to blame for all of this, and why the rabbis have not clearly denounced the Sicarii’s extremism. Glasner says we have to wait and see what will happen when the smoke clears, but adds, “Anyone who thinks that the media spotlight will halt the exclusion of women, stop the mehadrin and force the extremists to surrender is mistaken.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/sane-voices-1.404546

  • anon

    Separate seating is not a halacha, but a chumra, but it did it ever occur to any of you that many women prefer to sit separately. The bus seats are quite small and there are many overweight people. Personally I do not want to sit smudged up against a man, or if standing be squashed under his armpit (it happens). If a sizeable community wish to have SEPARATE seating (deliberate use of the word segragated is disengenous) so be it. It should be marked on the outside of the bus, enforcement should be by the driver alone, and there should be mixed buses on the same line. The chillul Hashem is a religious person behaving badly, not separate seating.

    In the meantime the real issues affecting women, such as domestic violence, sexual harassment (especially in the army), forced prostitution etc, etc are ignored. This is because the “exclusion of women” campaign is really just another way to incite against hareidim. Anyone who cares about women’s rights would be dealing with these issues. But as they involve non-religious men it is not of interest.

  • jp

    er….y’all know that the whole mehadrin line was Egged’s idea, right? They wanted the Charedi market, and so catered to them. They had begun taking alternate private transportation due to crowding on the buses and contact between men+woman.

    So if you have a problem with the segregation itself (not talking about the other issues like when this is “enforced”), it’s kind of backhanded to blame them for egged’s idea.