Are There Other “Normal” Frum People Out There?

Jameel points out that there are some Chardal (Charedi Dati Leumi – which refers to people who are on the border between Israeli modern Orthodox – men serve in the army – and Charedi – who follow most of the stringencies in Jewish law) Rabbis who are now coming out in favor of the separate buses.

This development scares me a lot.  I don’t consider myself to be “left-wing Orthodox” or very modern. We don’t own a television for religious reasons, I am not attracted to women’s minyanim and frankly don’t understand others who are, and I cover most of my hair (just about two inches showing in front). But when I hear about the buses where women must sit in the back, it makes my blood boil. If this happened where I lived, and I needed to take the bus, I would buy myself a can of pepper spray and would sit in the front, come what may!

There is no halachic reason why men and women must avoid each other at all costs.  Men and women interact on a daily basis at work, at stores, etc. Most religious men and women figure out how to do this in a modest way. Part of teaching your children the basics of derech eretz is showing them by example – and interacting with the opposite sex in a correct way is one way of modeling correct behavior. A bus is a means of public transportation – and not someone’s personal private space. If someone wants to impose upon themselves a very stringent code of behavior, then this is his perogative – but he has no right – and the community has no right – to impose this behavior on others.

I always thought that those of us who are Dati Leumi were immune from the craziness of the never-ending search for more chumras (stringincies) (ok, ok, on Pesach we all go nuts, I admit, and I follow chumras here too). This development worries me.

What do others think?


20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jjoe
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 17:34:30

    This probably will not comfort you, but as a secular person I can tell you that I do not suffer from such problems…

  2. tnspr569
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 17:34:48

    Trickle-down effect….oh dear.

  3. Jack
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 17:35:47

    The Jewish Taliban is coming, be careful. I don’t mean that to be tongue-in-cheek.

  4. neshama
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 17:36:22

    Yes, you are correct that we use much too much ‘nuts’ on Pesach 🙂

    I agree with your post here, and really hate labels (but on occasion use them); and this entire movement way far to the right with men in Tel Aviv and women in Yerushalayim is a bit too too much. After all, didn’t someone bill TA as the “g..” capital of the middle east? Why would men want to be so far away unless they really don’t like women, or like them TOO TOO MUCH and need to control THEIR OWN TAIVAS so they issue edicts, post pashkevilis, and hand out free shawls to women!!

    But seriously, I think someone is adding koolaid to Israel’s drinking water

  5. aliyah06
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 18:36:33

    I’m with you on this one. You wish to protect yourself from lustful thoughts? You wish not to be tempted by the sight of women sitting across the aisle? [and what’s wrong with you, anyway, that you can’t relate to women except as sex objects?] You wish to not see a woman in your vicinity as you travel? Fine–take a cab.

  6. ilanadavita
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 20:48:47

    Depressing indeed.

  7. rickismom
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 22:15:20

    The problem is not seeing the women. The problem is when you have a bus PACKED like sardines (because Egged and Dan know that they can get away with that)and a man is expected to push through a whole group of women in order to board or exit. Because I am not (yet) thin, I have gotten on buses, and seen five men standing in the aile, and had the driver yell at me for not going further in.

  8. Ezzie
    Jul 24, 2009 @ 01:12:23


  9. levvs
    Jul 24, 2009 @ 10:35:46

    Individual boundaries is a fascinating subject – I agree with yours in this case!

  10. shoshana
    Jul 24, 2009 @ 11:09:43

    The truly sad thing is that my first reaction to this whole thing was ‘Wait, this is new?’ as I would have thought R. Aviner and chardal would have come out with this already a few years ago.

    Chardalism (for lack of a better name) is a growing phenomenon and quite obsessed with male-female separation as its main goal (or so it seems). Hence why locally, when they tried to start a few hugim for little kids, they actually went and had separate sex groups for 3 and 4 year olds – yes, thats right, 3 yr old boys and girls are not appropriate to be in the same art & torah chug! I’m just waiting for them to annouce that the ganim they’ve taken over/started will be separate sex – for now they don’t have enough kids to do it. And then wait, the maon will also need separation ’cause babies sleeping in cribs next to eachother is scandalous too 🙂

    I’m in total agreement with your post about how people should interact – but thats the point – it feels that even that everyday interaction at the store or post office should be stopped too in the opionion of some of these people.

  11. Prof K
    Jul 24, 2009 @ 13:41:21

    Gee, and I thought the nuts lived in Monsey and New Skver. Apparently you have them too. But wait, if this passes there is more to come. Try separate shopping hours in grocery stores, and sides of the street clearly marked male or female. But why stop there. Chumash tells us that Yaakov had his tent and Rochel had her tent and Leah had her tent–separate residences anyone?

  12. RR
    Jul 25, 2009 @ 20:01:59

    “I’m with you on this one. You wish to protect yourself from lustful thoughts? You wish not to be tempted by the sight of women sitting across the aisle? [and what’s wrong with you, anyway, that you can’t relate to women except as sex objects?] You wish to not see a woman in your vicinity as you travel? Fine–take a cab.”

    Amen to that! I just don’t get it- for many, many years, even the most frum of the frum sat together (men and women) at weddings, sat together on buses, and actually…wait for it…TALKED to eachother! When did everything become so sexualized and verboten? When did people become so crazy?

    And ProfK, I think there are some places in Israel that have separate shopping hours- and isn’t there a street in Bnei Brak with separate sides for males and females? Crazy, crazy, crazy.

  13. neshama
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 18:24:42

    where can i find the gadget for the “automatically generated posts” that appears at the bottom of your posts? Thanks.

  14. rickismom
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 05:27:24

    No, there is no street in Bnai brack that is separeted. Com’on….

  15. westbankmama
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 06:09:45

    What really gets me is the fact that many truly righteous people do not act this way. I remember reading in Simcha Raz’s book on Rabbi Aryeh Levin, ztz’ll, A Tzadik in Our Time, that towards the end of his life, when he had trouble with his legs, he would apologize profusely to a woman on the bus that he could not stand and give her his seat. Nu, there were no separate buses, and no talk of them either, and people survived.

    The idea of a tired old woman having to shlep to the back of the bus, with all of her bags, because of this crazy notion that you cannot look at a woman makes me furious. Why isn’t derech eretz important any more?

  16. westbankmama
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 06:11:16

    Neshama – the automatically generated posts thing is just that – automatic. It is part of WordPress.

  17. ilanadavita
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 06:37:31

    Why isn’t derech eretz important any more?
    Very good question. Ideas anyone?

  18. Trackback: Today’s Question « Ilana-Davita
  19. Michael Makovi
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 08:57:18

    Personally, I follow the more Left-wing Modern Orthodox conceptions, such as Rabbi Yuval Cherlow’s saying that ideally, men and women would have so much interaction in society that they’d be inured to the sexuality of their social interactions.

    But you don’t have to reach that far to justify mixed-sex seating. Rav Moshe Feinstein was asked about mixed seating on the NYC subway, and he said it was prohibited only if one had an “evil nature” (mezeg ra), in which case one should simply never leave his home.

    The Hardalim are simply pathetic Haredi wannabees. They’ve rejected Rav Kook’s justification for secular learning (viz. m’kadesh et ha-hol u’m’hadesh et ha-yashan – “Sanctify the new and renew the old”, which bears striking resemblance to Rav Hirsch’s Torah im Derekh Eretz, who proposes the Toraization of the mundane derekh eretz, like form and matter, body and spirit), and in its lieu, opted for the Hatam Sofer’s (viz. that secular studies are generally worthless and un-Jewish, but in Eretz Yisrael, all secular occupations are valuable, because of yishuv ha-aretz). Of course, the Hatam Sofer’s argument sounds wonderfully Zionistic, but realize that his view is simply parnassah on a national scale! And we know where following the Hatam Sofer leads: Meah Shearim and Benei Brak.

    But perhaps the Haredim are authentic? Perhaps they have a claim to authenticity and legitimacy in their representation of Judaism? Professor Menachem Friedman, a Bar-Ilan sociologist, based on his extensive research of Haredi sociology and history, says bluntly, “In my opinion the Eastern European, Ashkenazi character of haredi Jewry remains questionable to this day.” In other words: the Haredim do not even accurately represent Eastern European Judaism, much less Judaism in general.

  20. Rachamim Dwek
    Jun 12, 2014 @ 16:08:28

    I realise that this post is years old but anyone who thinks Chardalism is a “form” of National Religious should not be commenting on anything having to do with National Religious. Charedi Da’at L’e’umi is synonymous with Da’at L’e’umi. There is zero difference. Just as with any ideology there are people who adhere in different degees. Anglos have an unfortunate habit of trying to label every niche. That is an Ashkenazi affectation established by Post-Haskalah Assimilationists. All religious Zionists ARE Chardali. One does not need to accept Rav Kook’s teaching. One need only support Jewish Ethno-nationalism AND strive to lead a life according to Halacha.

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