Volume 54 Number 01
                    Produced: Thu Feb  8  6:02:59 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Back to the back of the bus (4)
         [SBA, SBA, Mordechai Horowitz, Lawrence Feldman]
Chareidim and Drug Problems
         [Andy Goldfinger]
Drug abuse in the frum community
         [Carl Singer]
Jim Crow and Israeli buses
         [Tzvi Stein]
         [E Sherer]
update to the bus beating story
         [Tzvi Stein]


From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2007 02:43:33 +1100
Subject: RE: Back to the back of the bus

From: Mordechai Horowitz

>> Could it just possibly be that the whole thing was a load of crock -
>I know the woman in question and find your statement to be disgusting.

If that is the case, please ask her why she hasn't used the evidence
gathered by the camera crew and the police who she she reported this to,
and the independent witness mentioned in the article, to press cherges?

>From the outpouring of her outrage, it would seem that she ought to be
concentrating on that, rather than joining anti-religion activists in
petioning the court to ban Mehadrin buses (which she has no hope in
achieving anyway)?


From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2007 02:47:00 +1100
Subject: Back to the back of the bus

From: Orrin Tilevitz
> I am puzzled at Avi's decision to publish SBA's charge that the bus
> beating incident was "orchestrated by a woman with a reputation for
> being a loudmouthed troublemaker".  Aside from the issue of motzi shem
> ra, unless the statement is actually true this 50-year-old grandmother
> would seem to have a claim in U.S. courts for defamation against both
> SBA and Avi.

Unless that reputation can be proven...

In any case, read her own description of what happened and her
subsequent behaviour and language. She sure doesn't come over as a
shrinking violet.

And whilst being concerned about 'motzi shem ra', maybe you could also
take up cudgels on behalf of Charedim?

After all, even assuming that her story is true, she has besmirched an
entire community because of the actions of a few.


From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 11:33:14 -0500
Subject: RE: Back to the back of the bus

Being involved in politics I have been in many situations where I have
been physically assaulted in plain view of the police, who then
proceeded to threaten to arrest me for "causing a disturbance"
Unfortunately whether or not the police take action on a crime is never
proof whether it occurred.

I haven't heard anyone say their was a camera crew on the bus.
Unfortunately unless the hooligans neighbors and friends turn them in
they will never be caught.

As a previous poster noted even Jonathan Rosenblum a noted haredi
apologist admitted the vile attack occurred.  He didn't pretend this
evil behavior didn't occur.  The only reason to deny this evil occurred
is to actually support it.

Here is an idea.  If it is so important to run away from women (an idea
not championed by real gedolim like Rav Moshe Z"L) then let the charedi
men go on the back of the bus and the women in the front.  And if a
women goes into the back of the bus where the men are, the charedi men
get off the bus and walk.

What are these men doing on the bus?  I thought they were supposed to be
in yeshiva all day. They should only need a bus to go to and from
yeshiva.  So the yeshivot can just create their own bus system to go
straight to the yeshiva for shacharit and come home after evening seder.

Actually given the composition of the Israeli Supreme Court it is very
likely they will ban the "Mehadrin" busses as a violation of Israel's
basic laws.  The fact is even under today's law it is illegal to enforce
separation of the sexes on the buses. It is only a suggestion that every
passenger has the legal right to reject.  Certainly hooligans, the
thugs, who attacked a Bas Yisrael have no right to manhandle a woman
because she sits in the "wrong" spot on a bus.  I challenge you to find
any Torah source that allows a man to attack a woman to enforce

From: Lawrence Feldman <lpf1836@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2007 08:09:41 +0200
Subject: re: Back to the back of the bus

SBA notes in his post in digest 95 regarding the back-of-the-bus issue
that Dapha Berman, who reported on the Miriam Shear beating incident,
has not responded to his queries about a follow-up article. Well, his
'prayers have been answered.' The following appears in this morning's
online 'AngloFile' section of Haaretz online:


[Most of the article is being removed, URL confirmed to link to
article. Several paragraphs kept due to their directly addressing, in my
view, some issues presented on the list. Mod.]

Woman beaten on bus joins High Court petition
By Daphna Berman

The bus driver, in response to a media inquiry, denied that violence was
used against Shear, but her account has been substantiated by an
unrelated eyewitness on the bus, Yehoshua Meir, who confirmed that she
sustained an unprovoked "severe beating."


Shear plans to return to Israel in the coming months to identify her
alleged assailants. A police spokesperson said the incident is still
under investigation.


From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Wed, 7 Feb 2007 08:21:38 -0500
Subject: Chareidim and Drug Problems

Frank Reiss writes:

> The drug problem is within those who feel stuck in orthodoxy. The
> person fully indocrinated and who adheres to frumkeit will not
> understand the need for recreational drugs. Thus, it is not delusional
> to say you do not know anyone into drugs and Frum.

Should we also say that someone who cheats on his income tax or speaks
lashon harah is not frum?  Well -- maybe we SHOULD!

On the other hand, I know a person who is seriously addicted to hard
drugs.  I DO regard him as "frum" since he is a believer in Torah and is
trying hard to come to terms with his addiction (unsuccessfully, so
far).  He is not perfect, but he is trying.  This could also be true of
a person who cheats on income tax, cheats on his wife, or speaks lashon
harah.  It all depends upon factors that we cannot perceive -- such as
what is really going on inside him or her.  This does NOT justify the
behavior, but even the "frumest of the frum" have things to do tshuvah
for on Yom Kippur.

Another friend of mine has told me about a JACS Shabbaton he attended
(JACS is an organization dealing with Jewish substance abuse --
http://www.jacsweb.org/ ).  He said that many "Charedim" were present
who had substance abuse problems.  He also said that one session he
found particularly beautiful -- there were "Chareidim," Conservative and
Reform Jews, atheists, men and women -- all respecting and accepting
each other as they opened up quite intimately about their problems.

If the Jews in JACS respect and love each other so much, perhaps it is
they who will bring Moshiach.

Andrew D. Goldfinger


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Wed, 07 Feb 2007 06:30:28 -0500
Subject: Drug abuse in the frum community

> The drug problem is within those who feel stuck in orthodoxy. The person
> fully indocrinated and who adheres to frumkeit will not understand the
> need for recreational drugs.  Thus, it is not delusional to say you do
> not know anyone into drugs and Frum.

I don't see the basis for the above analysis (categorization that the
drug problem is for those who feel stuck.)

Drug abuse is an addiction.

Someone who feels "stuck" in orthodoxy might choose to listen to the
radio on Shabbos or eat lobster. Both conscious decisions.  At some
point a person may make a conscious decision to try drugs or be lured
(by peer pressure?) into trying drugs - perhaps knowing that it is an
avayra, perhaps not thinking it through.  Nothing to do with feeling
"stuck" on orthodoxy, but feeling some other lacking or motivation.
Once addicted then there is no rational thinking behind drug use and
thus feelings towards orthodoxy are irrelevant.

Re: not knowing anyone into drugs and frum

Unfortunately, there are people (often young adults) who fall off the
derech, some as a result of addiction.  Perhaps they are no longer frum.
We know them because they or their parents still live in our community.
Unless we're leveraging a semantic point -- that is if they're on drugs
they are no longer frum --> thus the intersection of frum+drugs is null.
We see these people in our community or in its periphery.



From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 08:53:20 -0500
Subject: Jim Crow and Israeli buses

I think that the Jim Crow laws and the Israeli bus issue have something
in common, namely that the real, underlying issue is "power".  The main
benefit that whites gained from Jim Crow was keeping the white race as a
whole in a position of power over the black race.  This power became
entrenched during the slavery era, but when that ended whites felt a
great fear that blacks would quickly gain equal, or even greater, power
than whites.  The Jim Crow era was an attempt to defend against that

The Israeli bus situation is also about power, but not, as it may at
first seem, power of men vs. women.  Rather, it is an issue of power of
chareidi society vs.  secular society.  This is a very deep struggle,
which explains many of the positions and actions of chareidim as a
society.  For a woman to challenge the separate seating status quo, is
viewed as a threat of secular encroachment on an area where chareidim
have gained control, and that is the main fear that motivated the
incident.  This also explains why the women on the bus did not stand up
for the victim... because they understood that this was not a man vs.
woman confrontation, but a chareidi vs. secular one, and they lined up
on the chareidi side.

Note that it doesn't matter that the challenge to power came from a
religious woman.  Her identity did not matter, only the threat she posed
did.  This is similar to the reaction to whites who came to the south to
support black civil rights... those whites were attacked with just as
much severity as blacks would be.  Again the identity of the
"challenger" was not important, only the threat that they posed.

The secular education issue is another prime example of this struggle...
it is not really about the dangers of education, but a defense against
an increase in secular influence (and thus, power) over chareidim.
Another example... there is a very strong opposition to sports among
chareidi educators to the extent that students are prevented from
engaging in any form of play involving a ball, whether during or outside
school hours.  This has nothing to do with the "morality" or "value" of
sports, per se, but rather a defense against another form of secular
power.  Since professional sports (soccer and basketball) in Israel are
an important part of secular culture, chareidim want to prevent the
youth from becoming involved or influenced by sports, because that would
be a cultural victory for the secular side.


From: <ERSherer@...> (E Sherer)
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 18:47:21 EST
Subject: Re: Spitting

      I am neither a lawyer nor a physician, but since the charge in
      question is *attempted* murder, it seems to me that the act
      involved probably did not actually kill anybody.  It could be that
      the spitter was not up-to-date on the epidemiologic facts and was
      actually attempting to infect the victim with HIV.  The case would
      be analogous

At the least, spitting on or at a person could be classed as an assault.


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Wed, 07 Feb 2007 23:30:44 -0500
Subject: update to the bus beating story

The following story appears in the latest issue of the English edition of
Mishpacha.  I think the most significant aspect of this article is that
it seems to indicate that the facts of the story have been largely
corroborated by a hareidi journalist.

[The full story does not appear to be available as an available link via
the Mishpacha web site, but only as a paid download. See
http://mishpacha.com/indexes/1/145/. As such, I have just included a few
of the paragraphs that I think are most relevant to the discussion at
hand. Mod.]

Knowing our Limits

by Jonathan Rosenblum
February 7, 2007


I was able to confirm from Mrs. Shear's host in Har Nof that she
returned home hysterical from this encounter and with a badly swollen


It is unlikely, however, that those involved in the bus incident will
ever know of their "achievements." But what concerns me more is the fear
that even if they knew of them that they would have no regrets. There
is, unfortunately, a small, but not negligible, segment of our community
for whom the image of Torah Judaism in the larger world is a matter of
utter indifference. All that matters, in any given situation, is what
they perceive as the immediate religious imperative. Concern with the
spiritual state of their fellow Jews is not even on the radar screen.


But to focus only on her actions is to miss the point. There is a
growing tendency in our community to attempt to impose our halachic
standards, even chumrot, whenever we have a momentary majority, such as
on the early morning bus to the Kotel. Even leaving aside the
consequences of such a strategy on the attitude of traditional and
secular Jews towards the chareidi community and Torah itself, I fear it
is a dangerous approach.


But separate seating is not the only Torah value at stake. Yereim
v'shleimim in New York regularly ride the New York City subways, on
which the crowding is far greater than anything experienced on Egged
buses in Jerusalem. And the late posek hador, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein,
zt"l, long-ago ruled that there was not even the hint of an issur
d'rabbanan in riding New York City subways.

As in so many cases, if we don't keep values in perspective, we risk
losing much more, including the command to make Torah beloved through
our actions.  The pending BaGaTz is but one example.


End of Volume 54 Issue 1