Friday, April 9, 2010

Mea Shearim is the new Harlem

A few days ago, I went running with a friend in Gan Sacher, a public park in the heart of Jerusalem. Gan Sacher is a great place to run--well maintained, ample running paths, big enough that you can actually get a decent run in and largely (blessedly) flat. Is it the new Central Park? No. But, it does the job.

So, there we were, running along...and all of a sudden we passed a large cluster of Haredi (ultra-orthodox) men. And then another. And another. Apparently, some yeshiva or another picked this day and place for its annual Yom Kef (Fun Day). And we run and run and keep on passing more Haredim, and all I could think was: thank G-d I am not running alone. Thank G-d I am with a man. Someone to protect me.

This fear is not new. I have felt it for a while. It has been building. It has influenced my actions. In the past, I used to shop in Meah Shearim, a large Haredi neighborhood near the center of town and I worked in Bayit Vegan, another Haredi neighborhood. Today, I avoid Meah Shearim and the other Jerusalem Haredi neighborhoods the way that Washingtonians avoid Anacostia and New Yorkers know not to go to Harlem.

How do I decide where I can and cannot go? Rule of thumb: if I feel that I would have to change my clothes first, put on something more concealing (like, say, a burka) I do not go. Suffice it to say that there are large swaths of Jerusalem that are now off limits. However sometimes, by accident or unavoidable circumstance, I find myself in one of the Haredi enclaves. There was the time I had to pick up something in Ramot and started to panic when I realized it was 1) a Haredi neighborhood and 2) I was not wearing Haredi attire. And there was the time last summer when I got lost while driving a friend to the Central Bus Station and found myself driving through Meah Shearim. At night. In a short-sleeved shirt. I am not exaggerating when I say that I was nearly in hysterics by the time we finally got the hell out of there.

Am I the only one who feels this way? And if not, do others feel it to the same extent? Do others feel, as I feel, uncomfortable if they find themselves in an elevator with a Haredi man? Not any man, mind you. Not stam a religious man, a orthodox Jew. Rather, a Haredi man. Do others get nervous, as I do, driving in or near Haredi neighborhoods?

Do others brace themselves, waiting for a rock to come through the window?

I am not just afraid. I am also angry. Do others feel the anger I feel when approached by Haredi panhandlers? Oh—you will attack women on the buses when it suits you, at the Kotel when it suits you and on the street when it suits you. You will tell us how we must dress and how we must act and what we can and cannot do. You will deface pictures of women—any pictures, of any women. You would erase us. You would throw us to the back of the bus, to the other side of the street, to the other days of the week. But our money, a woman’s money? Well, that you like just fine. Yeah, well, fuck you. Go beg money off a man.

I am angry because the government is doing nothing to deal with the increased violence. Now, instead of just being afraid of Arabs, I have to be afraid of both Arabs and Jews, and more afraid of the latter than the former. The government takes violence perpetrated by Arabs seriously. Arabs are subject to punishment and reprisals for any violent actions. Violence by Jews, on the other hand, is no big deal and the Haredim are not held accountable. If the Arab residents of East Jerusalem were to riot as the Haredim do, to burn trash cans as the Haredim do, to attack women on buses as the Haredim do, to throw rocks as the Haredim do...everyone would be out screaming "Intifada!" and “Terrorist!” and the police and/or the army would be out there in force, and quite possibly with live ammunition. * But let it be a Haredi Jew doing the attacking, the screaming, the burning and the stone-throwing and the matter will end with concessions…to the Haredim. “Please please please…do not riot anymore. We will give you whatever you want.”

I can guess what the automatic response will be: nu, spend a Shabbat in a Haredi neighborhood and you will see how nice the Haredim are. And to that, I have only one response: no. I have no doubt that Haredim can be nice when one is in their world, dressed in a way they approve of and acting in a way that they approve of. The question is whether the Haredim can be nice in my world. Can they function in the workforce, on the street and on a bus? Can they handle interactions with women? A female superior at work or a female instructor at school? (And if so, why do they need Frauen-rein divisions in the Army? Why the emphasis on setting up companies where men and women are segregated completely? Why the separate seating on the buses? ) Can they accept the rule of law, even when said law is being enforced against one of their own? Can they respect that other people do things—including Judaism—differently than they do?

Do I have to be afraid if I run past a group of Haredi men in the park?

Because until the answer to all of the above is “yes”, how nice you are to G-d on Shabbat, well, it really does not matter.

* Of course, this all begs the question—if rubber and/or live ammunition is the proper way to deal with a riot, why not use it on Jews as well? And if not, why are we applying it to a group that has, unlike the Haredim who have a say in government, very limited means of public expression? This double standard thing—it is getting old.


Anonymous said...

I love your blog, I read it all the time, but seriously this is ridiculous. You have never ever spoken about any other group so harshly. I believe your hysteria and fear of haredim is real...but I think it's just serious discrimination and well hysteria.

Has anything actually happened personally to YOU to justify this fear?

Are there haredim who riot, act inapropriately and act in all the ways you subscribe to them? Sure, of course there are. Are they the majority? Hardly.

Did anything specific ever happen to you??? Or you are afraid b/c of what you read in the newspapers and see on that logic you should be just as afraid of arabs, blacks in harlem etc...but apparently you aren't.

Given how long you have been in Israel, there really isn't more I can say...but this post has truly made me sad.

Anonymous said...

How insular are you exactly? I live in israel---I am not haredi...and I have worked with plenty of haredim in the 7 years I have been here.I am a woman and have never had a problem...and i do not dress their dress or walk their walk. So, why would you have to go into their neighborhoods to see how "nice" they are. Just maybe get out of Tel Aviv or Katamon.

Katrinayellow said...

well I know what you mean, and I also don't agree with you. I've breastfed on a bus, surrounded by chareidi men, who did not bat an eyelid. and I wasn't being amazingly discreet about it either. I've taken buses through chareidi neighbourhoods in jerusalem day in and day out, wearing normal clothes - tight pants, tank tops in summer etc - without anyone ever reacting negatively. I've interacted with chareidis at the various health clinics I went to, exactly as with anyone else. I've also driven through Meah Shaarim wearing ordinary clothes and not been reacted to in any way. Before we came to Jerusalem I was quite scared because I'd heard all sorts of bad things, but my experience proved otherwise. I also used to refrain from running through chareidi neighbourhoods because I felt that was unnecessary provocation, that being said I ran past many many chareidi people both in Gan Sacher and other neighbourhoods - without any comeback at all.

Gila said...

Anon 4:33--why does something have to happen to me personally to justify this fear? If a Jewish Israeli who had never been the subject of a terrorist attack were to express a similar fear of Arabs...would you have the same response? And would it matter that the vast majority of Arabs are not attacking anyone?

As for being afraid of Arabs...why do you feel that I am not? Apart from trips with a group two years ago, I do not go to Arab neighborhoods. Why? I do not feel safe. I am less afraid around Arabs primarily because I know that the government takes steps to fight violence there.

Anon 4:38--actually, not all that insular. Just a Yerushalmi who is rather unnerved by the ongoing riots, defacing of pictures of women, segregation of the buses, attacking of women at the kollel and the like. Where are you, exactly? Why does this NOT bother you?


I agree with you!
I think that we all have to be afraid.

Once upon a time I read this book, I cant remember the title, that described the coming Shas Theocracy in Israel. I agree with you there are places that I do not feel welcome or safe in my own country.

singlehood to motherhood said...

hmmmm...Ive been waiting for a post for awhile and this is...not to my liking..
Firstly, most nyers are RUNNING to Harlem because its great real estate and the values have escalated thanks in part to Bill Clinton...
Although there certainly are SOME chareidim who might instill fear... its certainly not ALL... are you afraid of Arabs? walking in East Jerusalem?
U shop in the shuk all the time, the site of a bombing where u were seriously injured and that doesnt bother you...??!!

Gila said...

"Although there certainly are SOME chareidim who might instill fear... its certainly not ALL..."

The same can be said of residents in Harlem (pre-Bill Clinton). And yet, many people did not go there. The "few bad apples rule" applies as well here as there. Hell, Iranians at the time Islamic revolution and Afganis at the time of the Taliban takeover. You do not need a huge mass of violent people to create a violent or opressive environment. You need enough...and for the rest of the population to be silent enablers.

" are you afraid of Arabs? walking in East Jerusalem? "

You think I hang out in East Jerusalem? השתגעת????? I go running with another friend in Arnona, near a couple Arab neighborhoods. We NEVER run there. We get close, turn around and run back the other direction. For that matter, on my long runs I end up going through Gilo. I pass Arab villages--you think I go in there? Hell, municipal services don't even go into some of the Arab areas--too dangerous! Of course, Barkat has had to pull municipal services out of Haredi areas at times as well. Same reason.

"U shop in the shuk all the time, the site of a bombing where u were seriously injured and that doesnt bother you...??!!"

Why would it? The shuk did not attack me--a person did. An Arab. And, as noted above, I generally do not spend lots of time in Arab neighborhoods. The shuk is in the Jewish part of the city.

Listen--I realize that what I am saying is not PC. But I also believe that so long as nothing is done within the Haredi community to counter the extremism and associated violence, more and more people are going to feel this way.

e.e. said...

We-ell, I have some bad memories from my Jerusalem days...I left in 1997 and it was with some relief I can tell you.
Luckily I was "only" cussed by a 8-9 year old kid in Kiryat Shmuel, a mixed neighborhood, nicely told (read, nagged) to go to the back of the bus from Bnei Brak to J'lem (it was the only direct bus to the Jerusalem industrial park where I was doing a course) and would-be picked up by a Haredi in a supermarket - although that was actually quite amusing.
I do have friends who were spat at and on and hit with fur-lined hats.
On the other hand, I don't do provocative acts like daring to work in the Ministry of Education which just happens to border on a ultra-religious neighborhood (see car-rocking hooligans from the local newspapers from those times).
Now I feel differently towards Jerusalem.
I go there sometimes as a tourist, and don't hate it as much as I had begun to in those days.
Ahhhh, if I forget thee O Jerusalem.
Thank G-d for sane Ramat Gan.

Anonymous said...

To respond to you, I live in Jerusalem. In 10 years, I spent one summer in the Anglo Haredi neighborhood of Harnof (during a summer in college), and spent my "single" years in Katamon...and actually now that I am married, I live in katamon as well.

I object to your post so strongly, because it spews such discrimination on so many levels. You are inadvertantly going after the black and hispanic communities (harlem...did ya actually live there...I walked through it every day on my way to and from Columbia grad school) and the haredi communities. Of COURSE the riots, defacing of posters on buses disturb me...but I certainly don't attribute the work of minority extremists to apply to an entire community.

It seems to me that you would counter that it is not the work of a few extremists...but my experience has been that those who actually work and know many haredim don't beleive that the general community behaves that way at all...and those who don't have much interation seem to feel closer to they way you feel. Classic racisim/xenophobia. You fear what you don't really know. Media reports do not equal knowledge.

By your own admission, you went running gan sachar on a day packed with yeshivish haredi patrons. You were afraid, but nothing happened to justify your fears. Nobody catcalled to you, made inappropriate comments or noticed you (based on your description).

To go back to your original example...if I were walkign through harlem and saw a gang of teenagers of any color just hanging out, i would become afraid and wary. If I saw the general population hanging out and minding their own business..even they looked, dressed and acted differently than myself...can't say i got concerned. BUt then I would probably feel that way no matter what neighborhood I was in.

And yes, to the many ppl in America who are terrified to come to israel b/c of the terrorist attacks they see on TV---i do tell them that there fear is largely unjustified. In your unfortunately came to fruition, but yet, you are still here---and while that is admirable, you also most likely believe that such a thing wont' happen again to you (and please god, it won't). Yet the media reports rage on.

You have a right to write about your fears no matter how PC or unpopular they might be..but the fact that you beleive them to be 100% justified and logical is what I find disturbing--especially coming from someone as thoughtful as yourself.

Gila said...

"In your unfortunately came to fruition, but yet, you are still here---and while that is admirable, you also most likely believe that such a thing wont' happen again to you (and please god, it won't). "

Wow--where did you get this idea? Certainly not from my blog! Probably you assumed it--another stupid person with a stupid "this cannot happen to me" attitude.

When I made aliyah I was aware that 1) there were terrorist attacks and 2) I might end up in one. In fact, this is on record. I was interviewed by the Jerusalem Report a few weeks after I made aliyah (as part of a larger article on olim arriving during the intifada) and acknowledged as much. As a result, when I was injured, I was neither shocked nor traumatized. Why would I be? I knew it was happening, and had no reason to assume that I was immune. Sometimes you just pull the short straw. Someone has to.

My feelings have not changed. If I feel that I am less likely to be injured now, it is only because the number of terror incidents has decreased. My having been injured in a pigua has absolutely no impact on the probability of being injured in another. To the extent that they still occur, I am equally as likely to get hit as anyone else.

The same goes for my attitude toward the Haredim. People ARE being attacked and they ARE being harassed and the situation IS getting worse. It will continue to get worse until the government and/or the Haredi leadership (because they do have leadership) decides enough is enough. The only question is whether this will happen before or after someone is killed or seriously maimed. Just as in the case of Arab terrorist attacks, I have no reason to assume that I am immune, and that I not going to draw that particular short straw.

e.e said...

Gila, what's up with Kolnoa Smadar these day?

Gila said...

Remind me where that is? I am not a real movie person. :)

e,e, said...

Kolnoa Smadar is (was?) one of the last mainstays of secular urban life in Jerusalem. It was a movie house that showed movies on Saturdays, located in Emek Refaim, where it could bother nobody. However, the place was sold into Haredi hands and closed. I understood that afterwards there was an attempt to reopen it. I think people are trying to raise enough money to buy it back. The last movie I saw there was ages ago. It was about two gay teenagers, gevaldt!!! Methinks it was called, soomoo shamayim "Beautiful Thing".
Anyway, I was wondering what happened after the petition I signed for them...

Anonymous said...

ok...I *think* you just called me a stupid person with a this can't happen to me attitude.....and you know NOTHING about me, where I go and WHY I am in Israel. That being said, i choose to preserve my anonymity and not share in public. Suffice, to say, I am all too aware that this could happen to me formany reasons--and that has dictated many decisions. And it is not just the ills of terrorism I fear---those concerns dicate many decisons as well. But I digress..because I know that on the long list of my fears is NOT being hurt or attacked by a crazed haredi.

That I was wrong about your own views on the matter of being involved in another terrorist attack--I accept. That does not change the fact that I found this blog post hateful. As I said before, you have every right to write up your own views. However, based on what I have read about your views and experience (or lack their of) in the haredi world, i still find them to be highly discriminatory and just plain hateful.

Should I now draw from this experience that all non or semi observant (I say non/semi observant, based on what I have read on this blog) ppl fear/hate/resent the "too" relgious people. Because I could certainly offer up instances of physical violence/some pretty radical speech and hateful novels written by non religious ppl towards haredim.

I would hope that I would not. I would hope that the acrimony which surrounds the religious/secular debate---and yes I consider this blog poast and our debate to be a facet of it...can one day be solved through a meeting of a minds and relationships built one by one.

Do I think that there is a problem in the haredi community today? Yes, I do. Do I think it stems from a lot of other sociological reasons (boredom, poverty, lack of education)? yes i do. SHould it be addressed? absolutely. Does it mean that the entire haredi community deserves to be classified with the utter contempt you have displayed or that the majority of the community thinks and acts in the ways you are afraid of? not even close.

And make no mistake...your hateful views, whether thought silently every time you see a person in black adn white or whether aired on this blog are contributing to the problem---not as loudly, violently or physically destructively as protester, but contributing all the same.

I have enjoyed your wit and sarcastic take on the events of the world for a long time now. But this particular post in which you refuse to even acknowledge the haredi community as anyting but one lump group of scary psychos is a little too much for me.

Anonymous said...

Very quick response; more later. No- idid not say you were stupid. Rather, your original take on my attitude towards violence ( it cannot happen to me) seemed to indicate that you felt I was. Or at least willfully obtuse.

Second-this is not the religious secular debate. This is the Haredi-non-haredi debate. Big difference.

Third, and I repeat, you do not need everyone in a community to be violent in order to create a situation in which the community gains a reputation for violence. You need enough...and for the rest to remain silent. (especially if the rest includes leadership). Come on- Eliashav puts outs rulings on crocs-he cannot denounce violence?

Four, there are two issues here. One is that I do not feel safe going into haredi areas in non-haredi gear. Two is that I feel anger at the treatment of women, and the ongoing attempts by the Haredim to impose thier views on the sexes on the population at large. This also worries me. I refer you to: Iran,Afganistan and The Handmaid's Tale.

tafka pp said...

e.e.- Thank G-d, (hehe) Smadar is not in Haredi hands, it (and the Cinematheque) provide us "regular" Yerushalmim with nice little islands of secular life in this crazy city.

Gila- although I understand why so many people object to the tone of your piece, you're not entirely off-base, IMHO. There is what to "feel" afraid of. The occasional outbursts of the "Gedolim" chastising and condemning various harmless acts as heinous have been spiralling out of control for several years now. And I too have found myself on two occasions stuck in Haredi neighborhoods, inappropriately dressed, and have felt very nervous. (Beyond being shouted at, nothing happened to me. I suffered far worse abuse in Hebron from the local Yishuv residents while touring with a group of people- many of whom were wearing kippot, btw)

I should finally point out that I often take the opportunity to hold long and open discussions with Haredi family members and friends about many of the issues you raise, and while tempers can get fraught, there is definitely room for debate: Their world isn't as inaccessible as you percieve.

In the meantime, you keep running in Gan Sacher, really don't be afraid- keep your stamp on the freedom of this city as yours too.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so let' chalk the stupid thing up to a misunderstanding as I was certainly not implying that you were a stupid person who thought it couldn't happen again. etc.

I do believe the religious/secular debate IS a haredi/non haredi debate..b/c the avowed secularist doesn't really consider his modern orthodox neighbor who more or less looks like him, goes to work every morning with him to be a threat.
It the jew that looks nothing like him..the one that dresses like he is from poland, the one who keeps himself insular and seems to judge the secularists lifestyle by the very fact that he rejects it completely that creates the hostility--at least when we are talking about Israel.

America is another story.
Here is where I am coming from. I am former reporter (for now), who has written a lot about the haredi community. Just like when you examine the middle east conflict--a look at the present hardly tells the whole story.

The haredim in Israel have reached this point today because of a tremendous amount of justifiable fear over what they might lose and what they have already lost....and over some deals made at the beginning of statehood...which were good then, that have come to be neither good for either the haredim or the state of Israel today. They are just now as a society starting to deal with it (going into special army units, taking jobs in the public sector), but it is something that will probably take one or two generations to work with.

Please don't read this as an excuse---many of the rioters are not religious extremists---they are bored out of work, frustrated men trapped in a system that offers no hope. Those teeth pulling corrupt political rabbis---just doing their part to get every penny and every right for their community---no different really from any other nasty corrupt politician in Israel---they are all wrong.

I think my overall point is that within the haredi community, there are many different sects with many different views. Some are certainly the extreme disturbing type you describe..many are not. Sure one sect could give the whole population a bad name….but we could say that about any group out there…including all those banker jews who just caused a worldwide financial crises with those highly unethical deals they have been making over the past 10 years.

To lump them together and report that you were terrified to run in gan sacher b/c of what might happen to you....and no, you have no intention of getting to know anybody haredi b/c you don't really believe they could behave nicely to you in YOUR world..doesn't really serve a purpose. The fact that you ran in gan sachar amongst yeshivish men without a problem is testament to the fact that guess what---they DID just behave nicely in you world.

I am a runner....i run in long baggy pants and a t-shirt. I have received stares and catcalls from men of all backgrounds and types (never haredi actually, despite that i used to run in Harnof dressed like that).

I am not advocating that the haerdi community doesn't have its problems----I just don't believe in promoting xenophobia or needless hate.
Had you written, "some of my best fiends are haredi.." but as a society they have problems that is affecting us as a whole...I could have agreed with the post. I could pretty much take that sentence and apply to every different group in israel....(political and business groups included).

e.e. said...

I have no intention to besmirch every Haredi or every Haredi sect, I'd just like to share my own process with the followers of this blog.
As I was not born in Israel, I had the same love of Yiddishkeit that is instilled in Jewish children who are introduced to Judaism, encouraged to to embrace it, go to Jewish day schools and so on.
I was never very observant, although my mother comes from quite a frum background, but always respected the customs and religious people, amongst them my Shomrei Shabbat maternal grandparents.
I spent several years in Jerusalem and started to hate the religious establishment, the hatred in people's eyes when I lived in Kiryat Moshe - and my visitors noticed that, too. The dress rules as the supermarkets were coopted to Birchat Rachel (in "neutral" places such as the central bus station),the remarks, the looks, the posters...Luckily I wasn't physically harmed, as I already stated. Some weren't that lucky.
Then I left to work and live in the center.
Then I started reconnecting.
Now I study at Bar-Ilan University, and have to take two mandatory classes in Judaism. I am enjoying them more than any other courses.
No more religious coercion = more love of Judaism.
Anyway, that's just the way it is for me.
Each to her own.

Gila said...

Again--popping in for a quick response--then must get back to work.

"I do believe the religious/secular debate IS a haredi/non haredi debate..b/c the avowed secularist doesn't really consider his modern orthodox neighbor who more or less looks like him, goes to work every morning with him to be a threat. "

1) I am not an avowed secularist. In fact, I am arguably not particularly secular. I am shomer kashrut. I am not shomer shabbat, but that is another story. Furthermore, I worked in Bayit Vegan for three years when I first moved here and have worked with quite a few Haredim--some of whom I consider friends. (I really hate the "some of my best friends are XYZ", but since it was requested....) That does not do anything to mitigate the fact that violence in the Haredi sector is rising, any more than you having a lovely Arab co-worker is automatically going to have a lot of impact on your willingness to go visit Ramallah.

2) I have a number of Orthodox friends who live in Beit Shemesh. Not Haredi, but long skirts, shomer this, that and the other, and head coverings. They have the same feelings I do. Of course...they have been attacked, their children have been attacked, their friends kids have been attacked, so that kind of influences things.

(Aformentioned children are also Orthodox and dress Orthodox).

Hagyan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...


I wasn't calling you an avowed know that based on the fact that i already mentioned that I believed you were semi observant..i was simply making the point that that the haredi/non haredi debate IS on the religious/not religiuos spectrum.

I do not object to the points you are now raising about violence in the haredi community.

My objection is and always been that this post was unnecessarily (in my opinion) hateful.

Finally, while I certainly will not invalidate anybody's actual experiences---i have often found that ppl who are afraid of being judged perceive that they actually are being judged--even if they are not. I have had less religious roommates who once told me that I was judging them by giving them "looks" when they walked out in certain clothing. Trust me...their accusations took my by total shock as I had never really given what they were wearing any thought....but they insisted that I "looked" at them with disdain. All my "really, I wasn't" protests could never really undo that perception.

e.e. said...

Well, I suppose there’s always the possibility that the person giving me the nasty looks could just be squint.
One should always give a person the benefit of the doubt, I guess:).

Tzipporah said...

Man, I miss the Cinematheque! That place was awesome.

Gila, I get where you're coming from. I also understand why some "anonymous" commenters here feel like you're doing religious-profiling.

Are her personal fears justified? Who knows.

Are her concerns about the way that government responds to Haredi violence justified?

If I knew that there were some minority groups in town who abused people from other groups, and focused on one gender over another, and they had NO respect for the law, and I happened to fit that victim profile, AND I had seen the government appease these perps over and over instead of arresting them... I would be afraid, and angry and organizing a march on City Hall.

But luckily, I live in America. I don't have to put up with ultra-orthos.

Lady-Light said...

Am so sorry you feel this way about the Chareidim, but you do have a point.

Though I myself am a religious Zionist, and cover my hair (point of info), I am totally incensed about those Chareidim who harass women on buses, whether or not they are marked as "Chareidi" buses, and I am angry when I read stories of rioting Chareidi elements overturning dumpsters and setting them on fire, or vandalizing shops and storefronts because they sold incense which was considered "avodah zarah" (I cannot remember the exact incidents, but there were several.).

That is not what my Judaism is about.

I am a strong believer in live-and-let-live, and I try to live a religious life and show it's beauty and holiness by example, not by coercion.

I am very glad nobody did or said anything to you in Gan Sacher. I opened by saying you do have a point, but I also will end by saying, your worries apply only to a certain element of Ultra-Orthodox; please don't paint all Chareidim with such a broad brush.

Kol tuv.

Anonymous said...

You have some points there, but unfortunatley, I think, they are eclipsed by the general discriminatory and hateful tone. You can't categorically label an entire jewish community in this way because of some lunatics. Granted, there is a problem--but not to the extent, at all, that you depict. I understand your concern about rising violence. Attention and work needs to be done. But you lost me when you compared Arabs and Chareidim. For shame!

Gila said...

Why did I lose you when I compared Haredim to Arabs?

You would not, has v'shalem, be painting the Arab community with a broad brush? Hmmmm? If you take offense at my unwillingness to go to haredi areas due to fear-if that is discrimination and hateful etc, you should be just as offended at my stated fear of visiting Arab areas, no? Especially since the Arabs have far more justification for rioting than do the Haredim.

Anonymous said...

btw---i'm not the anonymous (me the one who was debating with you) who posted the last post...who I suspect fell into the debate, I imagine you hoped ppl would ask you about..."oh my she compared arabs to haredim." YAWN.

But what hasn't been addressed is how badly you implicitly also slammed the ppl of harlem in this post....(dovbear wrote about it)

ANyways, these are/were my final thoughts on this...and I will await future posts that I hope get back to your social life (much more interesting.....and I'm rooting for you all the way!).

I will start signing my name LG as to prevent mix-ups wtih all those other anonymous ppl out there.

-LG (yes my actual initials)

Mongrel said...

Gila, my favourite rascal, you really do stir up things!

E.E., no more Teva?

Anonymous said...

Right. Arabs and charedim, exactly the same thing. Insane! Even if you raised some legit points about haredi community, to compare their shabbos violation resistance methods or modesty dress code issues with suicide bombers blowing themselves up, or arabs shooting at jews-our enemy who wants to see us dead, is so off base, it is almost comical. I enjoy your writing, but this piece makes me question your judgement and credibility.

aliyah06 said...

I have charedi friends--and they're salt of the earth people. I have secualr friends and everything in between. I understand Gila's point, because I become incensed over back-of-the-bus lines, or extremist, judgemental remarks.....but I become incensed over extremism in any guise, whether it's wearing a streimal or a Che Guevara T-shirt.

I am intolerant of intolerance (I'm pretty intolerant of stupidity too, but I need to work on that).

I understand Gila's consternation at jogging through Gan Sacher when the newspapers are rife with accounts of women being accosted by haredim. It doesn't mean Gila is a bigot--it means that the media have hyped up what may be an extremist fringe and presented them as mainstream.

Israel is full of stereotypes: all Russians are gangsters; all Arabs are terrorists; all Americans are rich (hah!); all charedim are misogynistic parasites.

Life is better if we take a deep breath, assume good will, give the other guy the benefit of the doubt and deal with people as individuals instead of stereotypes. It's a real eye-opener.

Liba said...

Come to Beitar. Charedi community with no violence and plenty of tolerance. I have seen quite a few ladies here not dressed according to the dress code, and no violence.

I am sorry you feel that way in the other areas, but it isn't all chareidim. It is a select few nutters who aren't following Jewish law.

Roadie in Vancouver said...

I just came across your blog through a link from Oleh Girl and read this post. Right on.

I grew up Haredi in Canada and I saw firsthand even then the closed-minds of that world. When I lived in Israel, I could see the Kfiya Haredi becoming stronger, and I would have no problem comparing them today to the Taliban.

Anonymous said...

I agree completely. I have felt the same. Thank you for sharing.