Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sikarikim versus Sisalek


Just a few months ago, the first super kosher ice - cream store "SISALEK" opened its gates in Malchei Israel Street; located in the ultra - Orthodox neighbourhood Ge'ulah in Jerusalem. The haredi population seemed to be so happy and I went to Sisalek myself in order to buy an ice - cream. 

However, those days were over last week when at least twenty Sikarikim demonstrated outside the ice - cream store. Saying Tehillim (Psalms) and making a big fuss. 
Someone from the neighbourhood told me last night that the demonstrations took place because Sisalek didn't have a Hechsher (koscher certificate) from the Edah HaCharedit and now they would. I thought they had one from the beginning, as otherwise, people definitely would not have bought there in masses. 

The secular Jerusalem weekly "Yediot Yerushalaim" lists a few different reasons:

1. Sisalek used to open on Mozzaei Shabbat and now they stopped doing so.

2. Sisalek was open until late on weekdays. From now on they close half an hour earlier.

3. Sisalek now also closes earlier on Fridays.

4. Furthermore, the Sikarikim demand a separate gender seating and this "problem" hasn't been solved so far.
It looks like it is getting really weird in the Mea Shearim / Ge'ulah neighbourhoods. The fanatic Sikarikim (a small group of extreme Haredim from the neighbourhood) is everywhere and whatever shop in the hood doesn't follow their orders is being boycotted.

The Sisalek owner said that they try to fulfill all demands because they don't want fights and try to show respect to the local population. Nevertheless, Sisalek is not the only shop on the Sikariki list: A few women's clothing stores in the same street have not fulfilled the demands of the fanatics and still show female dolls in their shop windows. Fashion dolls dressed in modest clothes. 

Shwarma and Falafel places are also disliked by the Sikarikim because they draw all the Shababnikim (Haredim who are only dressed in haredi clothes but stopped being religious) into the neighbourhood. 

So, what is left ? Soon shops have to have separate gender entrances. Local restaurants already offer separate seating. Only people in modest clothes are welcomed. 
Does a woman may have to stay at home and close all windows in the house in order not to be seen ? Separate sidewalks ? What else is there to separate or divide ?

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