Sunday, February 22, 2009

Separate Seating


Various Haredim were demonstrating and attacking EGGED buses in Mea Shearim last week. The fight for "kosher" buses where male and female sit separately has been going on for years. The American - Israeli author Naomi Ragen regards the whole "separate gender" issue as "racism" towards women. A few days ago, a colleague of mine told me that the Haredim should order buses from Iran and that's it.

I am totally against buses with separate seating. Buses with only haredi population can have separate seating and this doesn't bother me. But why should the entire city of Jerusalem have so - called "kosher" buses ? Why do I have to sit in the back of a bus just because some men cannot behave themselves and get immodest thoughts into their minds ? Is this my fault ? Such men don't need a bus with separate seats but a psychologist.

However, there are haredi women who do prefer such buses and I do understand them as well. Because some male Haredim cannot overcome their Yetzer Harah, they start staring at women on public buses. It doesn't matter if the woman is obviously married or not.
Some time ago, I took bus no. 15 from Ge'ulah to Givat Shaul and the entire bus witnessed a scene where a young married haredi woman had to ask a young haredi guy TWICE to move further away. She shouted it out loud and the guy didn't care, as he moved closer to her again.
With their eyes some male Haredim undress any woman on the bus they can get hold of. Women feel that and are embarrassed. Even more so religious women.

The whole discussion has two sides but I tend more to feeling like second class or even garbage by being seated in the back. It is just like women have a disease and need to be separated and I wonder what our formothers, Beruriah, Devorah, Rashi's daughters or other great women would respond to this.


  1. Or maybe the separate seating CAUSES the men to be sickos...

  2. B"H

    Actually I thought about this point as well and I would even go a step further: The whole separation system causes many men to be sexually depressed.