Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mea Shearim's Gender Separation


Restaurant owners in Jerusalem's ultra - Orthodox areas such as Ge'ulah or Mea Shearim cannot complain about not making enough profits. Especially Ge'ulah's shopping street Malchei Israel is full of shops and small restaurants like falafel, shwarma, pizza, bagel, ice - cream as well as great Ashkenazi food at the "Stissel" restaurant.

Everyone seems to complain about the plans of some extreme haredi (ultra - Orthodox) groups introducing a gender separation on buses. A rather complicated subject and so far, private buses with separate seating started running.

But how about the gender separation in those small restaurants in the area ?

At least ten years ago, small Falafel shops in Mea Shearim Street / corner Kikar Shabbat as well as in Malchei Israel Street started separate seating for their customers. I remember that, once in a bagel store, I had to sit in the back and males were sitting near the entrance.
This particular bagel store closed a long time ago but separate seating does still exit.

Once I walked into "Stissel" restaurant in Malchei Israel Street, ordered shnitzel, rice, vegetables and the best Kishke I have ever even in my life and had to look for a women's table. All tables around were occupied by men and the Sephardi guy serving told some men to move to another table so that I could sit there. I am not a friend of this separation but at "Stissel" I didn't care because the food is unbelievable tasty.

I may go again today and check out if the separations are still going on. Probably YES.

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