Sunday, September 26, 2010

Secular Jews in Mea Shearim


Now I understand why Mea Shearim is closing its gates and why outsiders are not always welcomed.
Friends from the ultra - Orthodox neighbourhood had invited me last Friday night and when I entered the living room, I saw three secular women sitting at the table. They were at least almost sixty years old and from the Tel Aviv area. Not too modestly dressed had they been walking around in Mea Shearim, looking for some Shabbat "action" and eventually ended up at that particular family. They were lucky to end up somewhere at all and this shows how patient Mea Shearim is sometimes.

When I entered, the women were already in the middle of an argument with one of the daughters of our host. Why everyone in the neighbourhood speaks Yiddish and why not Hebrew. Haredi schools are not too educated and any rude further comment you can imagine. Two seminary girls were sitting there as well and we had expected a nice Shabbat atmosphere. Instead we had to listen to all the cliches of the Tel Aviv women. The hosts tried to explain and were very patient but when the women announced that they had just come for a few hours and were now going back to Tel Aviv, our host blew up. She asked them why they had come at all and in the end even offered them to pay for a hotel in Jerusalem. Nothing helped and the three families (the husbands sat with the men in the Sukkah) insisted on going back. Especially the husbands.

The women had only come to argue with Haredim and I don't want to list all the prejudices they were spreading around at the Shabbat table. After they had left, our host took a deep breath and said that this was just disgusting. No wonder she doesn't want any secular or Reform Jews in the house. Let alone Gentiles.
Years ago, she used to have everybody but after all those arguments and fights, the Mea Shearim family just had enough and now only accepts other Haredim, Yeshiva Bochurim and seminary girls.
I have to say that I don't feel comfortable sitting at a table in Mea Shearim, listening to secular arguments or having Gentiles sitting there.

No wonder Mea Shearim shuts down and now we all have to suffer from those stupid visitors who just cannot or don't want to show any respect.

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