August 03, 2004

Back of the Bus?

Rahel from Elms in the Yard (new to my blogroll) commented on a recent opinion piece by
Naomi Regan about being berated on a bus by a Charedi man for not sitting in the back of the bus. Rahel suffered similar abuse at the hands of a Charedi man.

Both of these experiences are contemptible.
This is not Torah being put into practice.

Fortunately, I think, it does not represent most Charedi men. Like people throughout the world, there are Charedi and Orthodox Jews who are bombastic, pompous and egocentric. There are other's (as Rahel points out with a specific example) who emulate Moshe Rabbienu; humble, kind,always seeking the good for the other. I am fortunate that most of my experiences have been with the latter. For the most part, I'm treated with respect by Charedi men; they may be reserved, but they are not unfriendly or unhelpful, and I while I would most likely approach a woman for help first (simply as I am more comfortable to do so,) when I have asked help of Charedi men, they have given it to me, politely and kindly. They have even given me a seat on the bus without my asking for it-- and I don't look all that old!

It is important to speak about this and to ask that the Rabbis speak against such behaviour; but it is also important to point out that it isn't,from my observation, the norm. Most are kind, caring, gentle people, who do their best to act in accordance with Torah law.

UPDATE
a charedi woman gives her views on this issue.
While I disagree with her on her conclusions, she does bring a different perspective to the debate. (she does not, however, condone the actions of the man in question.)


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