Volume 53 Number 59
                    Produced: Fri Jan  5  5:41:07 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bus Attacks
News Article on Bus Incident
         [Janice Gelb]
Segregated Buses (3)
         [Perets Mett, Perets Mett, Akiva Miller]
Women, Men on Buses
         [Russell J Hendel]


From: Carl <casinger@...>
Date: Thu, 04 Jan 2007 06:33:34 -0500
Subject: Bus Attacks

The cogent posting in issue #54 re: the bus attacks point to several
critical issues.

Key to me is the insular viewpoint and culture that seems to be
reflective of the so-called chareidi community.

1 - towards each other -- turn up the microscope a bit and you find
factions upon factions -- sometimes resorting to violence against each

2 - and this is quite troubling (to me) .... against other Torah
observant Jews.  The following extract is an example of this.

      - Most of the trouble is being caused by "modern Orthodox" women
      who are being "dafka" (deliberately provocative).  They are trying
      to flaunt their disagreement with the takanos.  They use the
      excuse that "their rav does not agree" with the takanos, even
      though that would put their "rav" on the opposite side of all the
      gedolei haDor.

Essentially, there are now two types of frum Jews US (Chareidi) and
those who aren't US -- today we'll call them "modern Orthodox" tomorrow
we'll find some other label.

3 - also in the above -- they (chareidi) want to impose their "Torah" on
all.  The mythical "ALL the Gedolei haDor" -- to me this besmirches the
Gedolei HaDor -- First: lumping them together as if they were a monolith
and second: time and again misquoting (or quoting out of context) one or
another leading Rabbi (a Gadol?) to somehow "prove" their point.  We
have transitioned from the "my Rav says" or "my Rav paskens" (which
therefore applies to ME) to the "ALL the Gedolei haDor" which somehow
implies that (in lieu of a Sanhedran) this applies to EVERYONE.  This is
so NOT in keeping with the Gadolei HaDor that it has been my good
fortune to know.

4 - the disrespect for women -- even modestly dressed frum women (or is
it an abnormal fear of interaction with) is palpable (no pun intended.)
This is manifest in many ways beyond the simple lack of acknowledgment
or interaction with women -- ways that include: spousal abuse, the
agunah issue and the roles men and women carry out within their
household and community.

5 - Busing is a touch point (pun intended) as it is a one of the few
situations where the chereidi community must interact with those outside
their own enclave.  Any "engineering" solution (front / back / side /
top / bottom) will fail, because of the underlying problem.

6 - I don't stay tuned to Israeli politics -- but as long as the
chareidi community has political pull -- this situation will continue
and grow.

I'll go back to my previous statements re: Respect and Midos.



From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 02:41:48 -0800 (PST)
Subject: News Article on Bus Incident

I don't usually send links to web articles but for those of us who were
previously unfamiliar with the story of the woman who was attacked on
the bus, I thought this Ha'aretz story provided a good description of
the event and its aftermath:


-- Janice


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 11:25:28 +0000
Subject: Re: Segregated Buses

Leah Gordon wrote:

> By the way, even if a woman is walking to her designated second-class
> seat in the back as ordered, how does that reduce the chance of her
> being seen/touched as she goes through the all-male section, possibly
> with a stroller or possibly still having to keep walking while the bus
> starts moving and she loses balance (hm, have we all ridden Egged :) )
> ....  It seems to me that there are *more* chances to be
> ogled/brushed.

Perhaps Leah would like to see how a mehadrin bus operates? The women
enter the bus from the doors at the middle and pay there.

They don't need to pass through the men's section


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 11:22:38 +0000
Subject: Re: Segregated Buses

Someone wrote:

> But if it's just individual men who don't want to look at or
> accidentally brush by women, then they can/should move themselves to
> less obtrusive seating or choose another mode of transport.

The situation is a great deal more complicated than this. Those
correspondents who live in Israel undoubtedly appreciate this, but I get
the impression that contributors from North America are not aware of the
realities of Israeli life.

Asking people to choose another mode of transport presumes that such is

However, the majority of chareidim in Israel do not possess cars, so
that precludes them driving themselves. (I addition traffic congestion
and parking difficulties in Jerusalem make private transport a less than
optimum mode of travel for many hours during the day.) There is no
subway in Jerusalem or Bnei Brak, so that alternative is
unavailable. The only alternative is to take a taxi which, for one
person travelling, is considerably more expensive. So perhaps it is
understandable that many men who would rather not travel on Egged buses
feel that they have no choice.

Nevertheless, you should know that **many** men do avoid travelling by
bus for this very reason, preferring to walk or take taxis (at extra

Since chareidim are proportionately more dependent on buses than the
rest of the populace (having a lower density of car ownership) it is not
clear that they should be told to 'choose another mode of transport'. Is
it nort reasonable for a public transport monopoly to make provision for
a sizeable section of its customers?

Perets Mett

From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 13:21:35 GMT
Subject: Re: Segregated Buses

Leah Sarah Reingold Gordon wrote:
> Where I come from, it is the highest human-to-human insult to ignore
> someone's humanity/existence when they speak to you pleasantly in a
> reasonable context like asking for directions, or offering assistance
> on public transport.  That's what's called an "aversion to women"
> and/or "think of them as second class citizens".

Please note the very critical words "where I come from". Yes, where you
come from it is indeed very insulting. But *they* come from somewhere
else, which has different standards.

> Why in the world would anyone even conceive of a males-at-front model
> unless there is an expectation that women will sit in the inferior
> seats with less-convenient accommodation?

Excellent question. The answer is that there are other advantages which
didn't occur to you. I'll explain in a moment...

> By the way, even if a woman is walking to her designated second- class
> seat in the back as ordered, how does that reduce the chance of her
> being seen/touched as she goes through the all-male section, possibly
> with a stroller or possibly still having to keep walking while the bus
> starts moving and she loses balance

It seems to me that you are making a very valid point. Going to the back
will *not* reduce those odds. These problems will exist with roughly
equal probabilities regardless of whether the women are walking though
the men's section, or whether the men are walking through the women's
section. Thus, the question of who walks through whose section is not a
good criteria for deciding who is in front and who is in back.

But if we look at the situation while the riders are already in their
seats, then we *can* see a difference between the two. If the women are
in front, then any time a man looks up from his sefer, he will see the
women who are in the front of the bus, and they consider this to be a
very bad thing. But if the men are in front, it is much less likely that
they'll happen to gaze upon any of the women. Thus the decision for men
to be in front.

I must point out that I do not have any inside info on this. I do not
know if my logic *is* the reason why the men are in the front. I am only
suggesting that it *might* be.

I also point out that my considerations could also be met by a curtain,
either separating the front from the back, or running down the
aisle. Perhaps there are financial or other difficulties in setting up
such a curtain.

I also point out that I do not necessarily agree with those who support
these segregted buses. But I do feel that their perspective has a
certain amount of validity and should not be ignored or mocked.


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2007 23:04:36 -0500
Subject: Re: Women, Men on Buses

I thank Tzvi, for responding to my initial legal opinion that placing
scarfs over exposed women's parts was not a tort. According to Tzvi a
battery is "any harmful or degrading contact on the person of another."

Tzvi's comments allow me to focus on the lack of understanding of the
charedi position. They are not trying to harm or degrade anyone. Based
on my analysis below I would respectfully submit that no battery has
been committed.

Before presenting my arguments I would urge all readers to take both
mine and Tzvi's comments seriously since there are very serious legal
issues here.

Let us start with Chapters 10,11 of the Rambam, Laws of Neighbors: "If
person A plants a tree on his own yard then the branches which protrude
to B's yard are considered like A's arrows [That is the only difference
between A shooting an arrow into B's yard and planting a tree whose
branches "travel" to B's yard is a difference in time. In boh caess A
has invaded B's air space.]  Consequently B may cut down those branches
of A's protruding into his yard"

Note in the above case, B is not "damaging" A's property....he is
protecting his own.  Throughout the talmud the analogy/phrase "his
arrows" is used to describe "assaults" of all types. It probably come as
a surprise that someone planting a tree has shot arrows.

Let us return to the bus and the scarf incident. Let us consider 3
cases: Case A: I am hot. I take off my coat and place it on a
passenger. Analysis: Under American law I have not "harmed" this person
but I have "degraded them" by treating them like a coat rack. Under
Jewish Law I have "embarassed" them but have not caused them damage,
sickness, inability to work, or pain. Consequently under both American
and Jewish law I have committed a battery/tort and am liable for

Case B: I am on a bus and someone strips naked. I take my coat off and
cover the person. Analysis: In this case althought the act is identical
with that of case A it is not clear that I have degraded the person. The
person striped and I covered them. Maybe they are drunk and not aware of
what they look like and I am doing them a favor. OR, Alternatively, they
have hurt me by stripping and I cover them NOT TO DEGRADE THEM but to
PROTECT MYSELF. Their nakedness violates my "air space" and I have a
right to protect myself.

In this latter case,B, I dont believe we have a tort or battery. It is
not a battery of harm since no harm has been done. It is not a
"degrading contact" since covering a naked person is not
degrading. Jewish law is more explicit. Rambam Torts, Chapter 3
explicitly states that the tort category of embarassment does not apply
to naked people. Covering them is certainly not degrading.

Now let us consider the Charedi person who sees a woman with a low-hem
dress. If they spit and kick this person they have performed a
tort. However if they cover them with a scarf I could argue that perhaps
they are not performing a tort. To THEM this ordinary woman with a low
hem dress is no different than a naked person.....they are simply
protecting themselves from the "arrows" of the woman.

I could argue that a) no harm has been done by placing a scarf. I could
also argue that no degrading contact has been done since he has covered

Now Tzvi will argue that this woman is normally dressed and therefore
the Charedi has no business imposing his standards on her. In fact Tzvi
is supported by those later authorities (Acharonim)who permit saying the
Shma in the presence of a woman with a low hem dress since this is
normal attire these days. That is Jewish law supports Tzvi's possible
counter argument based on normal attire.

But the above argument shows the crux of the matter. Certainly if **I**
placed a scarf on someone it would be embarassing, degrading and a
battery. I see such people all the time. Why did I mistreat this person.
I think Tzvi would have to agree that if the Charedi did this to one of
his own woman who had a low hem dress he wouldnt have committed a
battery since this is their norm.

What we have therefore are two cultures with different norms who are
forced to live together. We seem to argue that people who wear low hem
dresses should continue to do so. But we could also argue that Charedis
should have their feelings respected. Who is right?

Isnt this the same problem that happens when an appliance created in
California is bought by a new Yorker and the appliance
malfunctions...which law governs. Or, if I go to Israel for Passover do
I observe 1 or 2 days Yom Tov? It is the same legal question: What law
governs if people from 2 jurisdictions have a business transaction.

I have written at length here to emphasize that there are strong
arguments on both sides. I think people fail to understand that the
Charedi people have certain norms and these are being violated AND they
have a right to defend themselves.

Finally I reemphasize that when I came up with my scarf solution: a) I
was proposing it as an alternative to spitting and kicking b) I also had
the above arguments in mind that intention to degrade was not present
and c) I left open the possibility of a "gift" approach (giving the
scarf rather than placing it on people) I still strongly feel that
someone who wishes to spit and kick would be better off placing scarfs
on the person.  The "tort" is less. I believe Tzvi might agree with

I hope the above analysis gives people a more holistic perspective on
this matter I tend to hear criticisms of Charedi in terms of "why are
they behaving this way" vs "How do two different jurisdictions learn to
live with each other."

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd.; A.S.A., http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


End of Volume 53 Issue 59