Volume 53 Number 36
                    Produced: Mon Dec 25  8:40:34 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Abusive treatment of women and chldren
         [Frank Silbermann]
Bus and street survival
Bussing Women
         [Orrin Tilevitz]
One question Left Unanswered -- Appropriate retaliation to violations
         [Russell Jay Hendel]
Segregated Buses (2)
         [Menashe Elyashiv, Daniel Wells]


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 11:20:23 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Abusive treatment of women and chldren

Shani Thon <shanit716@...>
> There have been posts about spousal and child abuse in the Jewish
> community, but what is the likelihood that any male member of this list
> has said "enough" of this in my community/the Jewish community as a
> whole and done something positive about it?

I haven't heard about it in my (RCA) community (but I rarely know what's
going on).  I have a couple of gentile friends who also disapprove of
this sort of thing; what sort of concrete positive thing do you think
they should do about it?  (And I could also do it!)

>    ...what about this woman who was attacked on the #2 bus?  How many
> people are standing up with her and saying "enough"?  NOT many!  How
> many of M-J have written to Egged and insisted that this
> velvet-kipah-wearing driver be fired and the entire ability of Charedi
> men to determine who sits where, be abolished.

When I was a child, if one boy issued a command to another, the other
boy would typically respond "Make me!"  (I.e., "Force me to do it, if
you think you can.")

If make demands to Egged and their response is along those lines, I
don't see how I can make them.  Egged doesn't serve Memphis, Tennessee,
so I can't threaten to boycott them.  Mere complaining seems so
undignified to me.

> And where on earth do these Charedi hooligans get the idea that it is
> their decision to determine where my place is on a public bus?
> INDEED!  If a woman does not bow to them, they beat her up?  I thought
> they couldn't look at, let alone touch, a woman!  These are pious men?
> The absence of outrage from the men on this list is telling.

I don't read Israeli newspapers and hadn't heard about it.  To tell you
the truth, I really don't like this maximal segregation of women in
general; it's one of the reasons I'm just not interested in living in a
haredi community.  But I don't think my disapproval means much to them.

>     I could very well be this woman. I am a senior now and I ride
> these buses on a regular basis. I will sit where I want on any
> bus/taxi/public seat---that is everyone's right in this world, male or
> female, Israel or elsewhere.  I am not a slave because I am a woman
> and I will not be treated as such by a man, whether he be Charedi,
> "rabbi" or Chiloni.

Obviously you don't _wish_ to be treated that way.  Whether you _shall_
be treated that way depends upon what you and others are willing and
_capable_ of doing about it.

>    I do not carry a gun or a big stick, so any man who comes close
> enough to me with a snarl on his face, a raised voice demanding
> something he has NO right to demand and/or a fist raised is a threat
> to my survival and therefore will pay the price for coming within
> range of my knee.  It is called self-defense!  Has NOTHING to do with
> halacha.

His freedom of speech gives him the right to express even contemptible
opinions.  But you have a right to defend yourself against physical
violence.  I believe this _is_ the halacha.

> ... And I do not consider myself a feminist! Shani Thon

Instead of organizing women's minyans and such, perhaps Orthodox
feminists ought to sponsor Akido classes.  I'd love to be able to offer
my teenage daughters this kind of training.

I can teach my daughters about handguns so that when they're old enough
to carry a gun they'll be able to shoot down rapists, carjackers, and
the like.  But for the kinds of assaults you're talking about, Akido is
a much more appropriate response.

As for carrying a big stick, I do believe that older folks should learn
how to use a cane as a weapon (even if they don't need one to walk).
Unfortunately, classes in stick-fighting are also somewhat difficult to
come by.

Frank Silbermann	<fs@...>


From: chi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 06:04:50 -0600
Subject: Bus and street survival

Shalom, All:

Shani Thon wote 

> I do not carry a gun or a big stick, so any man who comes close enough
> to me with a snarl on his face, a raised voice demanding something he
> has NO right to demand and/or a fist raised is a threat to my survival
> and therefore will pay the price for coming within range of my knee.

According to police seminars I've attended, anybody at risk - not just
women - should invest a few dollars in a can of Mace or capsicum pepper
spray. It may save their lives..

Kol Tuv,
Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 09:22:52 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Bussing Women

Shani Thon writes, in a post on Charedi vigilantism against women
sitting on the wrong end of buses:

> NO Charedi man has EVER stood to give me, a pregnant woman or Any other
> woman a seat on a bus.

I gather Shani is writing from Israel.  My recollection of Israeli buses
from many years ago was that people always got up for pregnant women,
but that was before there were many charedim around.

The problem is not limited to Israel.  My subway line skirts (sorry) the
edge of Boro Park, and so many passengers are charedim.  My wife
complained when she was pregnant that none of them ever offered her a
seat.  (She doesn't dress like them; I do not know if that makes it
better or worse.)  The people who did offer her a seat were all young
Hispanic males.

And then there is our charedi LOR, into whom my then-pregnant wife
bumped on the subway platform.  (Yes, he gets around by subway).  He
said to her "your shoelace is untied", and promptly knelt down in his
long black coat and tied it.


From: Russell Jay Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Dec 2006 01:14:53 GMT
Subject: One question Left Unanswered -- Appropriate retaliation to violations

I believe many interesting points were made about the bus incident. Of
course we all abhor such behavior. But one question has not been raised:
Why havent the gedolim like Rav Elyashiv come out with a clear statement
that kicking women in the face for sitting in the men's section of a bus
is not acceptable halachically and is a violation of the Biblical law
prohibiting torts."

First: People like Rav Elyashiv **are** gedolim. Rav Elyashiv is not
simply a person familiar with Charedi customs. He frequently writes
responsum on a variety of modern topics. He is also cited frequently.
Although his style differs from other gedolim (like Rav Moshe) he is
considered both knowledgeable of current practices and also capable of
formulating new approaches.

Quite simply kicking a woman in the face is a violation of the BIblical
prohibition of injuring someone (Rambam Laws of Torts, Chapter 5 Law 1).
The Rambam EXPLICITLY states that the law applies to everyone (including
sinners...so it also applies to people who sit in the wrong section of
the bus).

It bewilders me that people like Rav Elyashiv have not made public
statements condemning such activity.It also bothers me that people who I
have talked to (on this group or outside of it) think it is do to
politics ("How would it look if Rav Elyashiv condemned his own for
kicking a woman in the face for violating Charedi standards of modesty")
My own reaction is that if a Biblical prohibition is involved Rav
Elyashiv SHOULD be making a statement.

Note: I in no way am commenting on Charedi standards of modesty. I am
commenting on enforcing them thru violations of Biblical prohibitions.

I never like to simply criticize. I tried to think what I would do if I
was in Rav Elyashiv's showes and had followers asking me what to do with
women who violate their needs for modesty.

I was reminded of a story of the Rav's grandfather (Rav Yosef Baer
Soloveitchick). It seems that non Jews in his town were putting bread
crumbs in the wells during passover. It was fascinating to me that they
didnt kick or fight but came to a Gadol and asked advice. The response
was "Pour an ink-bottle in every well in which you find a bread crumb."
The happy ending was that that was the last year in which bread crumbs
were placed in wells. An equally happy ending was that there was no

Perhaps a similar approach to lack of modesty would be for Charedi people
to carry around packages of long black scarfs. They could then place the
scarfs over the exposed parts of any woman provoking them OR they could
use the scarfs to veil the faces of people sitting in the wrong sections
of busses. There is no prohibition of giving people gifts (The recipient
has the right to reject the gift). By doing this they would be
"responding in kind" to provocations of their beliefs. While my proposal
might sound "amusing" to some, at the very least, there would be no
descecration of Gods name. (My point in bringing in the bread crumb story
was to show the efficacy of "responding in kind")

Perhaps a broader approach would be to discuss (on MlJewish) appropriate
responses to violations of ones convictions--responses that border on
harassment but bring a point home without violating the letter of the

Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d.;http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2006 09:54:30 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Segregated Buses

Shani Thon wrote about the her unpleasant rides on the superbus Kiryat
Sefer buses. This was not true until last year. Up till then, the
population of Kiryat Sefer had natural seating on the buses. However, as
the building companies started selling apts. to other groups, they have
been trying to force the buses to be segretated. Posters, letters, ads,
signing Rabbis etc. Why? It is not nice to say, but, take a look at the
men sitting on the bus. See the type that open their Gemara, Tihilim,
Perek shira,etc, and study all the trip. And see the ones that have to
sit up front, look at everything and everybody, and have no derech
eretz. I have seen a crippled man, not haredi, waiting for the first

From: Daniel Wells <wells@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 02:41:06 +0200
Subject: Re: Segregated Buses

From: Shani Thon <shanit716@...>

> I will sit where I want on any bus/taxi/public seat---that is
> everyone's right in this world

'public seat' means a seat available for a person who abides by the
rules of the carrier. It does not mean that carrier has to transport a
person who say is drunk. And if the carrier, or the community, makes a
particular rule such as separate seating on a particular route, then you
don't have a right to sit where you want.

Simply put, in an halachik environment (an for that matter in any
judicial system), no person has an absolute right to freedom of action
or speech.

The case of Mary Parks as a black, being forced to sit at the back of
the bus was racially motivated unlike todays modern religious women who
are requested to sit at the back out of concerns for modesty


End of Volume 53 Issue 36