Friday, January 15, 2010

Modest Bus Ride


Bus no. 405 from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem got stuck yesterday afternoon. In front of Moshav Shoresh, only a few kilometers aways from Jerusalem, the motor stopped working. The bus driver tried and tried but this was it. The engine refused moving and we passengers had to get off. The driver stopped other busses passing us in order to organize a new ride for us. The first one stopping was filled up after a few minutes.

A second bus came along and picked up the rest. We were a mixture of secular and religious Jews. Many soldiers among us.
It was a funny situation because the second bus stopping was no. 400 from Bnei Brak to Jerusalem. The bus driver was a Sephardi Haredi and the passenger's range was chassidic with long Peyot (side curls) to national religious. Many women with Sheitels (wigs) further in the back and the really frum guys in the front.

No. 400 is not an officially gender separated bus; however, coming and going to Bnei Brak, Haredim like to sit in a modest way. Only married couples sit together, women in the back and men in the front.

We just walked in. People coming from Tel Aviv and not always, what you would call "modest - Be'Zniut". None of the Haredim said a word. No bad looks, no stones or rotten tomatoes were thrown at us. Most of us stranded stood in the alleyway in the middle of the bus and it was quiet.

I am just mentioning this incident because there have been quite a few negative press reports in the past. People claimed having being attacked by Haredim. Especially women and one or two claimed to have been beaten up. I do not believe that all those negative incidents were true. Sometimes certain Haredim may make a bad remark but these reactions are quite rare. What we were experiencing yesterday was just the complete opposite but, unfortunately, no one ever reports about positive behaviour.

About a year ago, I witnessed almost the same situation. It was an hour before Shabbat was supposed to come in and I was on no. 405 to Jerusalem. This time, our bus stopped to pick up passengers from a broken bus. It was no. 417 coming from Ramat Beit Shemesh and most passengers were Haredim. Also then, none of the people complained but everyone was just happy to get to Jerusalem on time to celebrate Shabbat.


  1. I have a question about orthodox men dressing like the man in the picture. Many times in the orthodox neighborhoods in israel you can see the Hasidim dressed in satmar like uniform. But among them there's also men who dress in normal costume and a fedora hat.

    Whats the difference between those dressing up in traditional hasidic manner, with the flat hats, coats and socks, and dressing up with normal suit and a fedora hat? They don't seem to have the long peyos that the uniformed hasidim have also.

  2. B"H

    The guy on the picture is not chassidic but litvish. The typical black suit and hat.
    One could argue that he may be Chabad because the unmarried Chabadnikkim also dress the same way. With the black hat. The only difference is that they nostly have this little Kneitsh in their hat, as the last Lubavitcher Rebbe used to have.

    Usually real born Chassidim dress the whole week over in their kong Kaftans. Sometimes they are of different colour or fabric than on Shabbat. Also the colour of the sox may be different.

    Look at the Toldot Aharon where the married men wear white sox on Shabbat and the singles still wear black sox. During the week, all of them wear black sox.

    It is a chassidic custom and it depends on the group's dressing code. Also the length of the Peyot is a custom. If you look into Toldot Aharon or Gur, you will notice the extreme long Peyes.

  3. Well, wasn´t it cases of saving/helping people in need? And therefore, no protest when "rules" are broken.

  4. B"H

    When we got on the bus, the majority of passengers didn't realize that our bus broke down.

    In a way you are right. We were in need but, on the other hand, none of us even got a bad look.