Separate Swimming at Harvard – and Us

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13 Responses

  1. mycroft says:

    “Orthodox Jews likely outnumber devout Muslims at Harvard”

    probably true for the Law School-but probably not true for Harvard in general. It is probable that devout Moslems far outnumber devoutJ3ews in the US. My anecdotal experience tells me that more Moslems fast on Ramadan than Jews fast on Ypm Kippur in the US. If one substitutes the other fast days for Yom Kippur it is certainly true.

    “Agudath Israel of America has been at the forefront of efforts to require reasonable governmental accommodation to religious practices, most notably in leading the fight for the Workplace Religious Freedom Act in Congress. And it has championed religious accommodations in the employment context. But in so doing, Agudath Israel has always worked through the legislative processes, and usually in coordination with many other religious groups.”

    Since Hardison vs TWA it is questionnable about the impact of those laws-given the minimal requirement for “undue hardship” .

  2. BobF says:

    In the Harvard separate swimming that started your essay, you seem to have not considered that there may be very few if any Orthodox Women at Harvard who A-Want to go swimming B-Consider separate swimming a halachic necessity. I

  3. Garnel Ironheart says:

    The problem, however, is not a matter of Muslim aggressiveness vs Jewish passivity but rather one of demography.
    Within 25-30 years, much of Western Europe will have either a sizable Muslim minority or a small majority. How will that affect us and Israel when they demand total boycotts and renewed anti-Semitic laws under threat of rioting?
    Even in America, when the political and financial influence of Muslims begins to outstrip that of the Jewish community, we will see the same trait. Already in Canada there are severla ridings that are controlled by the Muslim vote and the parties that seek to win those ridings put on their best anti-Israel face possible at election time. This is a trend that will only continue.

  4. Marli says:

    Rabbi Rosenblum, I don’t think you give Orthodox students enough credit. There is a fundamental difference between young, frum people living in universities, and young, frum people living at home, and that is that living in the home community, we may be very aware of being in galut, but in the university, we live in a place where everyone is a guest, and that by its own principles values diversity and equality of opportunity more than it values preservation of the dominant culture.

    I don’t believe that Orthodox students did not ask for separate swimming because they didn’t believe it was their right. I think it didn’t happen because the students didn’t want to swim badly enough, or never had the opportunity to use single-sex pools and so simply did not miss swimming. I also believe that if the students were to have made the request, the university would probably have granted it, and covered the costs itself. Of course, it’s all speculation — if it were untrue, it would only serve to prove that Princeton and its Jewish students are that much better than those other universities you mentioned.

    – An Orthodox student at Princeton who asked for and was granted women’s pool hours.

  5. Nachum Lamm says:

    “(There were some in the Orthodox world who were critical of the Yale Five for seemingly forgetting this fact.)”

    Actually, the Agudah came out strongly in favor of the Yale Five. The OU took no position, and the general attitude in the MO world was “let them go to YU if it bothers them so much.”

    One may wonder if the irony of a Charedi organization defending the “right” to an Ivy League education (actually a cheap one, as money was a major factor, with parents employed by Yale and the low cost of living at home) resulted from the Charedi world’s desire to increase separation in all areas. (As opposed to the irony of MO promoting integration in word and separation in deed.) One may also note another example of the irony of Charedi glorification (and concurrent condemnation) of secular success, a phenomenon Dr. David Berger has commented on.

  6. Yossi Ginzberg says:

    Although it would make me appear more religious, I opt to reject the standard manic-depressive Orthodox approach to “Goyishe” innovations, seeking to find ways that they might be bad for the Jews, and instead embrace the Talmudic approach that applauded the creation of Roman bath-houses, despite the idolatrous statues therein.

    I am thrilled that the many Orthodox students at Harvard will have the opportunity for separate swimming. Let’s encourage them to make the fullest use of this totally unexpected opportunity. And let’s encourage the various Arab oil barons to spend their money on things that benefit people, instead of on arms.

  7. cvmay says:

    The popularity and global invasion of the Muslim world has previously been predicted by the peshukim in parshas Lech Lechi, told by Malech Hashem to Hagar. “His name will be Yishmael, he will be a wild man, his hand in everything, and his brethren will live everywhere”.

    The request for seperate swimming by Muslim female students at Harvard is one of many examples of ‘having a presence’ and taking over society piece by piece. This is an easy feat to accomplish with the GOLDEN VISA card of Arab sheiks.
    World leaders are in mortal fear of terror erupting when Islamic demands are not met. The coming months and years will bring these problems to an apex with the Jewish kehilla caught in the storm. Hashem yishmar.

  8. Shlomo says:

    “Yet I doubt it ever occurred to Orthodox Jewish students to request separate hours for use of the swimming pool or gym.”

    The Orthodox students at the University of Pennsylvania requested separate swimming hours, and got them.
    http://www.hillel.upenn.edu/~ocp/graduate/4105_000005.html
    (The same may have occurred at other universities; I can only comment on the one I attended.)

    “As a result, Moslem Americans express a degree of identification with the United States no less than that of the average American.”

    Daniel Pipes disagrees with you on this.

  9. Ezra says:

    I am not at all certain that there are more Orhtodox Jews than Moslems in Harvard. I would certainly check this fact before publishing.

  10. dovid says:

    “FOR TORAH JEWS IT IS AXIOMATIC that we are living in galus.”

    Edmund Safra, zichrono livracha, (a leading banker and philantropist who passed away about eight years ago) examplified the constant awareness a Jew, especially prominant Jews must have of the fact that we live in galus. At one point in his banking career, the value of Chase Manhattan Bank’s shares declined so much that he could have acquired the entire bank. He chose not to. He said it’s not wise for a Jew in galus to own Chase Manhattan.

  11. Charlie Hall says:

    Harvard had had separate pools, gyms, and libraries (!) up to the 1970s. The first shomer Shabat Jew I ever met lived across the hall from my dorm room.

    No country in Western Europe will have a Muslim majority any time in the next century unless there is a massive conversion to that religion; the largest Muslim minority population there is France, about 12%. I agree with the statement about Muslims in America and see it where I live in the Bronx; Europe is treating its Muslim minority rather badly and could learn from us.

  12. one of the yale 5 says:

    “(There were some in the Orthodox world who were critical of the Yale Five for seemingly forgetting this fact.)”

    As far as I recall, the criticism from the Orthodox community came in two forms – from those who disapproved of an ivy league education for halachic Jews under any circumstances, and on the other hand from the more modern elements of Orthodoxy who thought that the narrow world view we represented (like not sharing a bathroom with members of the opposite genger) had no place in the Ivy League (and who feared reductions in future Orthodox admissions).

    Far from forgetting the fact that we live in galus, our actions evidenced an acute understanding that we are guests in a strange land who are rightfully wary of assimilation and foreign influences.

    Just to clarify comment #5, only one student had parents employed by the University, only that student and another lived at home in New Haven. We all had to pay for university housing which went unoccupied AND for suitable alternative housing.

  13. Ori says:

    I think that Europe’s problem is based on not having their values explicit enough to:

    1. Internalize that a foreigner can become as naturalized as a native-born citizen.

    2. Require adherence to those values, and know how to deal with people who don’t.

    This was explained by an Chesterson in the 1920s or 1930s.

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