Thursday, February 22, 2007

What is this Klal Yisrael of Which You Speak?*

If you follow the Jewish or Israeli news or read Jewish blogs, you've probably heard about the woman in Jerusalem who was beaten for refusing to sit at the back of a public bus. Stories like this make me wonder why I get upset over things like what rabbis eat when we have such serious problems. But then, they also make me question the reality of that "we."

I was raised with the concept of klal yisrael, corporate Israel, the greater Jewish people for whom I am supposed to have unconditional love. And I do feel a sort of kinship with other Jews most of the time, no matter how much I may disagree with them. But practically everything I see or hear having to do with the charedi community in Israel leads me to wonder whether I share anything significant with them at all, other than being human.

Yes, I know, they're like family. I'm supposed to love them no matter what they do. But no one in my family has beaten a woman for sitting on the back of a bus, so it's hard to know how to react.

I might feel differently if I learned that charedi rabbis were denouncing these men's actions without in the process somehow suggesting that the woman got what she deserved. So far, though, it seems like they're too busy building up legions of modesty police to make sure that little girls cover their ankles.

If you have any information that contradicts this impression, please let me know. It would be a kiddush hashem.

* Not my line.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Unconditional love is bullshit.

Anonymous said...

I'm still waiting for one of the supporting Rabbis to explain how her refusal to abide by this self-imposed minhag somehow trumps the men's issur d'Oraisa of beating her. (The bus in question was not one of the so-called "mehadrin" buses that has mandatory separate seating.)

Also, according to the news reports, the men uncovered her hair during the beating. I'd lay down money that according to the beaters take on Jewish law, uncovering a married woman's hair in public another issur d'Oraisa.

I'm just waiting for the day that they try pulling this on the MTA buses in Boro Park...

-- Mer

Andrea said...

I didn't hear about it.

I don't have words for how horrified and disgusted I am.

David said...

Elf:
I share you're disgust but I'm not surprised. I think, also, that your expectation of the Haredi rabbis is too high.

I'm disappointed in the more progressive orthodox rabbis for their faiure to engage robustly with the Haredim.

I think modern orthodox rabbis are too respectful of secterian division between practicing Jews. Debate on critical issues like the rights of women in Jewish law should be forced on Haredim just as debate on Zionism should be forced onn Satmar.
David

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Anonymous said...

While we're chareidi bashing, what are YOU ("royal you") doing to get along? Everyone hears about how the Netura Karta throws stones in Meah Shearim. There is no question, that this is asur. However, if you take a walk in Meah Shearim, about every 3 feet or so, you can't help but notice large signs, in English and Hebrew or Yiddish, politely asking visitors to their private area to PLEASE respect the community, and dress in accordance with Jewish law. If one would go to another (non-Jewish) place, and they asked you to please remove your shoes first, chances are you wouldn't have any problem with that. We respect Quakers, Mormons, Japanese, everyone else...... but chas v'sholom to respect our fellow Jews! So let's ALL stop "throwing stones," recognize that 99% of "chareidi" don't throw stones or beat women on buses, and let's try to connect, and do something positive to get along.

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