Volume 53 Number 44
                    Produced: Thu Dec 28  7:02:11 EST 2006


Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Addendum to Bus and Bleach Outrages against Jewish women
         [chi]
Bus Conflict
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
Bus Segregation
         [Tzvi Stein]
Busing
         [Carl Singer]
A reflection on the 40th anniversary of my radicalization
         [Jeanette Friedman]
Responding to extremist views
         [Martin Stern]


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From: chi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Dec 2006 13:27:52 -0600
Subject: Addendum to Bus and Bleach Outrages against Jewish women

Shalom, All:

Since Hillel said, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to others,"
I am forced to conclude that those haredim who bully women into sitting
in the back of the bus and/or throw bleach onto women whose attire
offends their delicate sensibilities are - simply put - sinners who
probably can never get mikhila (forgiveness) on Yom Kippur because they
most probably have no clue to finding their victims in order to ask
forgiveness. They're also clueless to halacha and simple humanity, come
to think of it.

They further violate halacha, IMHO, because:
* They ensnare others into sinning as they do;
* They engender baseless hatred, a terrible sin;
* They create violence in the world;
* They create a Khilul HaShem (desecrate God's name), both among
Jews and goyim who witness or hear of this outrage.

Perhaps worst of all is that anybody who throws bleach at a human being
risks blinding them.

Those of us who say we can't do anything because we're in another
country or another city are greatly mistaken. Pressure CAN be put on
even the wisest rabbi in different ways. Examples include:

* Refusing to donate money to any haredi cause, or any Modern Orthodox
group that won't fight to stop these disgusting and life-threatening
acts;

* Creating a PR campaign that will embarrass the heck out of those
haredim. This PR must be directed at both Jews and goyim;

* Making every haredi and Modern Orthodox aware that no Conservative,
Reform or secular Jew will ever come closer to Orthodox/Traditional
Judaism when such revolting practices occur.

Ironically, if a Christian or Muslim did this to one of us, the JDL
would arise anew and media members would rub their hands in glee - and
splash it on Page 1, internationally.

Kol Tuv,
<halevi@...>

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From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2006 11:01:15 -0500
Subject: Re: Bus Conflict

> From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
> But it seems here that the opposite is true - once civil law ( derech
> eretz?) is ignored, then it isn't too far for Torah law to be ignored as
> well, as was clearly done on the bus.
>
> The truth is that I was concerned that the Religious Zionist community
> was heading in the same direction after the withdrawal from Gush Katif.
> People stopped saying the prayer for the State, said that the laws of a
> country that would do this didn't apply, etc. But I think we saw that
> during the war last summer that the education toward respect of the laws
> of the state over the course of 50 years had paid off - there were very
> few soldiers or those in the reserves who didn't answer their call to
> duty.

I was with you until this last point ... which seems to be a different
issue entirely.  It concerns the conflict between secular law and Torah
law, in which our traditional unanimously supports the latter at the
expense of the former (as far as I know).  Much of the religious zionist
community felt that the expulsion from Gush Katif was forcing them to
kick innocent people out of their homes (mind you, without an alternate
long-term home provided) exclusively because they were Jewish (the r"z
community felt that the"making Israel safer" excuse was entirely
unsupported, as reality has shown thereafter).

This as morally inexcusible as the Russian persecution of Jews, the
Spanish expulsion, etc., and I think it can be fairly argued that Torah
law prohibits participating in such an expulsion, even at the expense of
klal israel ... although I would be eager to hear halachic perspectives
on this (one possible counter-argument that comes to mind is from the
Tower of Babel, where we were punished less severely because we sinned
collectively).

Best,
   -Ari

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From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2006 07:43:42 -0500
Subject: Re: Bus Segregation

I heard an interesting anecdote from about 10 years ago in the haredi
yishuv of Beitar.  A certain "macher" was pushing for bus segregation on
the buses between Beitar and Yerushalayim.  Ironically this macher did
not ever take the bus himself.  Even though almost 100% of Beitar was
haredi, there was quite a lot of opposition among them to this idea.
One morning as a group of people waited for the bus at the gate of the
yishuv, they spotted the "macher" driving toward the gate with his wife
beside him.  They blocked the car and would not let him go by until his
wife got out and moved to the back of the car.

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From: <casinger@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2006 14:31:17 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Busing

There are several "Engineering" solutions to the bus issue: More Hareidi
busses, let the men sit in the back (so they won't have to gawk at women
who walk past them to the back, etc.)

Or perhaps we can dress the women in burkhas and give the men
blindfolds.

Am I trying to be funny.  NO!  We need to address the underlying ROOT
causes

(1) the general lack of midos among portions of the community -- and the
teachers and leadership who do not stress midos as being more important
than chumrahs.

(2) the disdain portions of the "frum" community have for others (of
either gender) who are not unzereh (from their own little circle)

(3) the community at large's tolerance (or conflict avoidance) when
conflronted with people behaving badly.

Carl Singer

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From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2006 21:50:43 EST
Subject: A reflection on the 40th anniversary of my radicalization

Today is the 40th anniversary of the day that I learned that when a woman
steps under the chuppah, she takes her life and the lives of her children
in her hands, and does so without informed consent or any form of real
protection.
Today is the 40th anniversary of the day my life changed dramatically.
Today is the 40th anniversary of the day I married a man who beat me up
and turned me into an agunah.

So today, indulge me, and read on.

> However, as the building companies started selling apts. to other
> groups, they have been trying to FORCE (emphasis mine, jf) the buses
> to be segretated.

Allow me to use some exegetical thinking here. It may be a stretch but -
he says Charedim are FORCING the issues, some of them with the use of
violence against women in public, so let's talk a little bit about the
use of force to create change--war is supposed to create peace--isn't
it?

Anyway, let's give this a shot.

THE USE OF FORCE. let's see what the Torah and Talmud say about using
force.I can give you chapter and verse on this beginning with Devorim
20, Sotah 8, Sotah 42, etc.Rambam, hilchos melachim, peace above
all. PEACE.

Last I heard, whether it's real war, when you are dealing with your
enemies first you must try to make peace, then you must exempt anyone
who ever committed an aveyrah from going to war (r' jose). Then when you
lay a siege, you leave one side of the city open, and you aren't allowed
to chop down trees, rape or pillage, loot or anything else.

SO unless it's self defense, forget it. No violence is allowed to force
your enemies to do what you want.

Now then, based on how you are supposed to treat your ENEMIES with
respect and practically pacifism, explain how you can force a woman, a
fellow Jew, who is minding her own business in a public environment to
go to the back of the bus or you will beat her and you will spit in her
face

Why is it a woman's obligation to be a trained warrior to face these
people?  Why does she have to go thru the basic training of a soldier in
a conventional war to deal with people who don't want to look at her or
have her sit on a public bus? Chihal, why does Shoni Thon get advice to
buy a can of mace, instead of decent Jewish men and Jewish society and
the Jewish community dealing with the violent, coercive behavior that
amounts to a state of war against women? (Chihal says until that happens
she needs to protect herself NOW--ok)

Where is the exegesis on that? Where is the halacha? Other than Russell
Hendel, who tries valiantly, where are you all to stop this violence
halachically and force people to pay the price via derech eretz?  This
behavior is criminal behavior by anyone's standards. (OTOH, Russell's
post on the halachic penalty of kicking/grabbing is enlightening indeed.
So considering the situation on the bus, killing her on the spot for
kicking would have been ok?)

The day the Kolko story broke I spoke to a Charedi friend from Brooklyn
who said to me, "I warned my boys never to go near him 30 years ago."
Everybody knows--and nobody knows. No one does anything, and then
Matisyahu Solomon, at the Agudah Convention, in the name of Halacha,
blames the bloggers, and essentially says sweep it under the rug for the
sake of the respect of the rabbanim.

If the rabbanim want respect, let them earn it. Starting with R'
Eliashiv, who canceled the agunah conference, does not speak out against
the violence against women and children, sexually or otherwise. Not one
word. Ever. Reb David Feinstein doesn't speak about Shalom Bayis from
the pulpit. Why not? His father was a pioneer in these issues and sent
me to civil court to get my get. His father made the Silver Get
Law. What gives here? The get ultimately cost almost half a mil. Where
normal people come from that's the crime of extortion. Criminal
behavior.

Why is this criminal and not civil? If a woman is pious and takes
Judaism seriously, her life is ruined if she can never remarry. She IS
chained to a dead future. Because of the "separation" of church and
state in a state where she DOES have the right to a divorce, a right
guaranteed to every human being on the planet, even in the UN charter,
she does not have that right. If her husband says, "I can get married
again, you never will unless you give me what I want," that's
extortion. "Give me what I want or you will suffer."  That's criminal
behavior.

So again, all of these things, the beating of the woman on the bus or
Blimi Zitrenbaum in Monsey and any other child or woman, Kolko's
behavior, what the NK did, and the threats against Shani Thon, are
CRIMES. CRIMES that in any other society, except some Islamic ones,
would be punished in courts of law where people would pay fines, go to
jail or suffer some consequence, not the least of which is a public
shaming. At least that way everyone knows that these people committed
evil against innocent people and shun them.  In the real world, if you
do the Crime you do the Time (not always, but at least THEY try. WE
don't even bother!)

The silence from R' Eliashiv and others, and only prove my points. Frank
Silberman's post is a clear indication of why we are in the state we are
in. His attitude perfectly reflects why it is that no gives a hoot or a
holler about the status of women. This can be summed up this way: "I
don't read it, I don't see it, I don't know it, I don't want to know it,
therefore the problem doesn't exist and I don't have anything to do with
it--even if it does exist--so leave me alone."

A careful reading of Eeyov (Job) makes it very, very clear that if we
are good people who understand what our place is in the world, then we
must work to make society and humanity better than it is. This is our
obligation to and understanding of Hashem. This is burdensome and can
cause suffering among the righteous, but it brings us closer to Hashem,
unlike the friends and the evil ones, who may be rewarded in this life
with sleekness and easy words that fall from their lips as if they mean
something. But empty words are just that empty and don't bring us closer
to Hashem.

We all have to face the fact that if we aren't working toward stopping
this--and it is 30% across the board, in all societies and in all
religions, and you can go online and gets the stats all over the
place--we aren't really acting the way any Jew of any denomination is
required to act, ethically and halachically, since what is involved here
is clearly pikuach nefesh--literally and figuratively.

And everyone knows the halacha on that.

So why is it not being applied?

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From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2006 12:53:32 +0000
Subject: Responding to extremist views

On 23 Dec 2006 this letter from me was published in the (London) Times:

Sir, As a neighbour of Ahron Cohen, while fully understanding the
feelings of those participating, I strongly deprecate the semi-hooligan
reaction to his attendance at the recent Holocaust denial conference in
Tehran (report, │Police protect rabbi from ^╠Nazi traitor╣ accusations▓,
Dec 21).

He is perfectly entitled to his views, however misguided, but, despite
his protestations to the contrary, he has certainly crossed a red line
by associating with such enemies of the Jewish people as David Duke, a
former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, and President Ahmedinejad of Iran who
has called for the wiping of Israel off the map.

The correct response is a dignified social ostracism, not noisy
demonstrations leading him to call for police protection, which is
likely to generate sympathy for him among those with only a superficial
understanding of the matter involved.

MARTIN D. STERN
Salford

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End of Volume 53 Issue 44