Where is the video of the bus incident?
When I first read about the lady on the #2 bus, I was inclined to cheer her on. From the sound of it, the behavior of the men was appalling, and she got some good licks in. Certainly the idea of separate seating on buses is most unappealing to me, but in her place, I would have meekly moved back anyway. Secretly I’m glad there are other, sterner women who aren’t so meek. Well, to be honest, it’s not the separate seating but the sitting in back that bothers me. If the men sat in back and the ladies up front, I really would not mind. My charedi brother in fact says that if looking at women is the real problem, the men should sit at the rear of the bus–facing backwards! :- )
My charedi relatives mostly are opposed to the whole idea of mehadrin buses, although one female relative tells me that many women prefer the separate seating because they are not crushed by pushy men who elbow their way through crowded buses. And they can nurse their babies discreetly under loose blankets without being noticed. But I still find the idea of segregated buses distasteful.
Having said all that, I really wonder about some of the details in the bus story. There is an email going around the internet, purportedly written by the victim, which has in it one absolutely astounding detail. It claims that there were TWO SECULAR CAMERAMEN ON THE BUS WHO VIDEOTAPED THE INCIDENT. Is this plausible? How often do secular cameramen take the #2 bus to the kosel at 6 AM? What are the odds that they would do so just on the day when this bizarre incident unfolded? Was the confrontation planned? Did someone tip the cameramen off? Were they really on the bus? Where are these two men? Where is the footage they shot? Why hasn’t it been aired?
Below, the email in full (I have put a couple of sentences in bold). I don’t know for sure that this is the form in which she originally wrote the letter; others may have edited or added some elements, or perhaps someone else wrote this letter altogether:
For the past 5 weeks, I have been waking up at 3:50 a.m. to catch the # 2 bus out of Har Nof to the Kotel. I enjoy davening by the neitz at the Kotel HaKatan in the Moslem quarter. It is peaceful, quiet, and yes, even though I am totally alone – it IS safe. I have never been bothered by the Arabs there in that area.
On several occasions, both men and women have stopped by my seat and asked me to move to the back of the bus. I have politely – and firmly – refused this “invitation”. This is not a Mehadrin bus and there are no signs indicating that it is. It is, rather, the arbitrary decision reached without due process by a group that claims it is “the majority” to render the # 2 bus a Mehadrin bus. I checked with Egged – it is not.
After a few weeks, other women decided that they, too, do not enjoy sitting in the back and sat down next to me or behind me. These women were verbally bullied by the other passengers to move to the back. All of them caved. However, 1 woman who had been literally picked up by 2 other women and moved to the back of the bus, came back a few days later, took a seat behind me and adamantly refused to move when beckoned to move to the back. Another woman later sat next to her but moved when other women loudly demanded that she moved. In the meantime, they were leaving me alone and I became somewhat confident that they would continue to leave me alone.
But . . . .Last Friday morning, November 24th, I took my makom kavua on the bus and did my usual thing of just looking out the window. A few stops later, a man who is regularly on this bus, stopped at my seat and said, “I want to sit here. Please move to the back of the bus”. I smiled and said, “I’m sorry, I’m not moving but there are 2 seats in front of me, 1 across the aisle – you can sit there”. He refused and demanded MY seat.
I was somewhat amused at this childish and arrogant behavior but told him again, politely and quietly, that I am not moving and that if he really, really wants to sit here, he could even sit in the empty seat next to me. But – I’m not moving. This man stared at me for about 10 straight seconds and then spat in my face. Without missing a beat, I jumped up, called him a son-of-a-bitch, and spat back at him. This brought screams from the women calling me a crazy woman. He responded to my response with a push in the face and a punch to the breasts that sent me flying on to the floor. I jumped up and punched him back. At this point, no fewer than 4 other men jumped up – not to defend ME – but to ATTACK me by punching, hitting, slapping, and kicking me to the floor. I was fighting back the whole time but was no match for 4 men in such cramped quarters. I finally got enough aim to kick one man in the privates and he went limping back to his seat in unmistakable agony. (Yes, I DO smile every time I think about it in the aftermath).
But, in the meantime, the “holy” man sat in my seat and had discarded my bag onto the middle of the aisle. I went after him again, demanding my seat back. He spat at me which evoked the same response from me. My snood had come off my head during this scuffle so I knelt down to the floor to find it and the “holy” man kicked me in the face. The kick was so strong that the dirty outline of his shoe could be seen on my right cheek. Within a short amount of time my cheek began to swell and it took no less that 4 Ibuprofens over Shabbos to keep the swelling and the pain down. At the time of the kick, however, I felt no pain – only rage, equally distributed between the Chillul Hashem and the perversion of what some of these Chareidim call “kedusha”.
I kicked him back, grabbed his black hat and threw it down the aisle. It was handed back up to him but I grabbed it again, turned it upside down and spat into it. It was grabbed from me and I yelled that he would not get his hat back until I got my snood back. Someone passed up a knitted beret, I said “Todah”, and put it on my head. I went back to demanding my seat back but he stared straight ahead, refusing to move. He was being protected by one particular man who held both poles between the seats to block my access.By this time you are most likely asking:
What was the bus driver doing during all this? What about the other passengers? Answer: NOTHING!!!! Other than 4 men protecting him by beating, kicking, punching, slapping me – not one person on the bus came to my assistance. In fact, the women were screaming at me that this was MY fault because “you don’t know your place, you stupid American”. The wheels on the bus kept rolling along as the bus driver never once stopped the bus or got on his PA to demand order. HOWEVER – almost immediately after the initial spitting, kicking, and punching, 2 men – both secular and whom I’ve never seen on that bus before – got on the bus with 2 large video cameras and filmed the “activities”.While catching my breath and regaining my strength, I looked around at me and saw men sitting there with their noses in their siddurim as if a woman being beaten and kicked was normal. I began yelling at them: “Is this the Chareidi way of life??? How can you sit there with your noses in your siddurim while a Jewish woman is being beaten and kicked and spat in the face??? Do you think your tefillahs are being answered while you sit there and DO NOTHING????!!! Your tefillahs are being flushed bittul – how can you stand before the Ribbono Shel Olam at the Kotel this morning and expect that Hashem will hear you???? What is wrong with you people???”
And then, I turned to the women: “And – you women! – you let a Jewish woman be treated this way and you say and do NOTHING – ABSOLUTLEY NOTHING! – to help her? Last week it was your trash cans they burned, soon it will be your homes and then it will be you. These men will treat you worse than the Arabs treat their wives and daughters – You are MAKING A HUGE MISTAKE!!! What are you worried about – that if you speak up your daughter won’t get a shidduch??? Well – you’ve perverted the whole thing. If you are wiling to condone this then you will get everything you deserve. You are just as bad as this rasha is!” I then told all of them – men and women – that they could take their Torah learning and their tefillahs and flush them down the toilet because they have learned NOTHING – ABSOLUTLEY NOTHING – and they are a perversion to everything that is kadosh.
Note: During the entire time I was being blocked in the human cage of 4 men, these holy men were pressed against every part of my body. I taunted them asking – “Ah – so this is more tzniut than me sitting there? Or is this really what you all wanted?” One of them actually replied: “Yes, this is more tzniut”. As we approached the Old City, I whispered to one of the camera men to get me the police. As one of them attempted to get off, he was blocked by the men and several of the men yelled at him in Hebrew to not get the police. He backed away.
However, when we got off the bus, I attempted to stay with the “holy man” who was cowardly trying to avoid me. I began yelling at the top of my lungs for the police, ran through security and a soldier and police man came and detained him. At this point a bunch of women came up to the police and the soldier and loudly started telling them that this was all my fault, that I had started it by refusing to move to the back of the bus. (Yes, I know, the Kafkaesque nature of it does not elude me either). However, the police and the soldier weren’t buying it and demanded that this man wait while they went to get a supervisor.
While waiting, an American woman came up to me and calmly asked me, “Why is it so important to you to sit there? We are the majority – we have decided that we want a separate seating bus.” I calmly responded: “Why is it so important to you that I NOT sit there? And who says you are the majority? If you are, then why not use the 2 choices available to you: 1) Petition Egged to make this a Mehadrin bus, or 2) Get your own private hasa’a. But until you succeed in doing either, this is a public bus and anybody can sit wherever they want. Now, let me ask you, is there really more kedusha in men beating, kicking, and spitting at a woman because she won’t give up her seat?” She never responded, she just looked down, shrugged, and walked away.
While waiting for the supervisor, several of the “holy” man’s friends surrounded him and quickly ran with him escorting him to the tunnel in the men’s section of the Kotel. I would not go into the men’s section of the Kotel so I waited there mistakenly thinking he had to go out from where he went in. I later learned that one can escape into the Moslem quarter via an exit. This was apparently what he did as the police came back and could not find him. In the meantime, the men with the video cameras showed the film to the police.And then, one brave soul . . . . .One of the men on the bus came up to me while I was standing with the police and said he would like to help me. He was thoroughly disgusted by what happened and he had witnessed the entire series of events. This man gave the police his name and phone number and offered to be a witness. He said he could not get up to help me because he was blocked by the men beating me and he was sure they would have all ganged up on him, too. Perhaps this is why the bus driver did not stop. I don’t know. But, the bus driver did not summon the police at the Kotel, either. Yes – he was wearing a kippa, the black velvet kind.The witness offered to get me a doctor as my face was red and starting to swell but I declined his kind offer and wished him a good Shabbos. The police advised me to make a report at the Old City Police Station (Kishlei) inside Sha’ar Yaffo which I did at 9 a.m. with the commander, Yoram.
And, Sunday morning, November 26 I was back on the # 2 bus in my makom kavua. Curiously missing was the “holy” man and his defenders. And nobody asked me to go to the back of the bus.
Miriam Shear [ed.note: unverified signature]
P.S. I have sent an email to Egged filing a formal complaint. I am asking that the # 2 bus not be granted Mehadrin status as I feel that this privilege has been nullified by the actions and inactions of the # 2 passengers. And YES – you may print this, post it on your web site, forward it, do with it as you please. Covering up what we are afraid will be a Chillul Hashem will not rein in such evil – only exposure. Violence against one’s fellow Jews should have a very, very heavy cost until it is no longer “acceptable”.
The above letter has appeared all over the internet. As I said, I have not verified its authorship.
There are some very rough and despicable men in the charedi community, no doubt about it, yet I still wonder whether the incident on the #2 bus unfolded exactly as it was reported in the media.
Although I cant say that I am against the mehadrin bus idea as a whole – I think its a good idea, especially since there are laws about touching women, walking behind women, walking between 2 women etc – this incident, if true is shocking – which has been the general call of all bloggers here and on the many other blogs out there
Regarding your comment how you never read anything written like this by a frum lady – this can be explained that it just happened and she was fuming…
That said, thank you Mrs Katz for putting these important questions in writing. I think that these questions – both about the alleged cameramen, and the lack of a real news story on any major site (save Haaretz interviewing her a few days later – but nothing like a real news story) call this whole episode into question – atleast the way she says it over.
[My remark that I’ve never read anything like this was in the first version of this post. I’ve edited Shimon’s comment slightly because that version was subsequently changed. But the point made by Shimon is valid — that she may have written an angry email when the episode was fresh and she was still very upset. –TK]
I believe every community has those in their midst who belong to that group by default and not by choice. These types are likely going to engage in any number of activities not considered acceptable to the group, and often will use their identity in the group as justification to cause trouble.
This element in our community has a significant number who are getting out of hand. I believe it was on this very blog where very strong words from the Chazon Ish zt’l were cited about such behavior, even for a desired outcome, being antithetical to Torah. If we don’t clean up our own mess Hashem will clean it up for us r’l.
No, not all victims are the same. Someone who starts slinging insults in a bar isn’t going to get much sympathy when he gets beat down. Someone who is an antagonist intent on offending others is not the innocent victim of a random act of violence, but that shouldn’t damper our outrage at the offense or slow or resolve to fix the problem.
I’m skeptical about the account too, but can we be certain that the claim of videotape was part of the story when it originally circulated? And is it more important that it didn’t happen, or that we don’t consider the story inherently implausible?
We have a major disconnect here. Blaming the victim for refusing to move to the back of the bus. Blaming her for being upset and loosing her cool while being pummeled with not one person coming to her aid. She was spat upon! She was kicked in the face! So, she lost her temper, that is normal. What the chareidi women did was to avert their eyes and let a woman be humiliated while sticking their faces into their Tehilim. She is absolutely like Rosa Parks and the Yerushalmi people who accosted her are witout merit. It isn’t their bus, it isn’t their country and it isn’t their Kosel. I am appalled that people who are sphisticated enought to have the internet are willing to accept discrimination against women through violence and intimidation.
If you think the women brought it on and that she was expecting it, which I don’t think is the case, then you fail to know that Rosa Parks was working for the NAACP and she was waiting to make a test case on racial segregation. In her case, it was a set up and it worked. Just because we are othodox and they are orthodox doesn’t mean we are on the same side. Do some of you really value separation of men and women in a way that is blatantly insulting and want to have this be the orthodox norm in the 21st century? Oy Vey!
Toby, Have you seen this – on your own blog?
You might also find this one interesting, and the comments there as well:
Nothing you have written fairly suggests that the incident did not occur, occurred differently than as has already been generally acknowledged or that the men’s behavior was not reprehensible.
It would be hard to justify the publication of this piece by a secular newspaper, let alone a Torah oriented blog.
Please consider withdrawing this post.
[This comment has been edited to remove references to the original version of this post, which was changed in response to some of the letter-writers’ valid points. — TK]
Anyone interested in seeing a picture of the man and the woman right after the incident please inform me of a way to post it on this blog. As for the cameramen, I hope they have destroyed this video and the public never sees it, I’d be even more ashamed then I already am.
Why not ask Jonathan Rosenblum, I guess you missed his entry on the episode. And with regards to the violence, if someone was beating me up and I was able to get some kicks in, you better believe it I would enjoy it.
This is the problem with Charedim in Yerushalayim. They are ruining it for everyone else.
[This comment has been edited to remove references to the earlier version of the post, later changed.–TK]
I would have thought that the moderators of this forum would not allow this to published by one of their writers. I believe that Mrs. Katz has “crossed” over the line of basic decency in her little manifesto of innuendo.
One has to wonder if Mrs. Katz even attempted to contact Mrs. Shear before attacking the woman’s psychological health and motivation. Rabbi Rosenblum had no problem contacting Mrs. Shear after the incident (as he wrote in a previous article.)
Did Mrs. Katz verify that the e-mail which she reprinted here was in fact the e-mail that Mrs. Shear authored? As all semi-aware internet denizens know it’s quite easy to modify and/or fabricate forwarded e-mails.
Before impugning Mrs. Shear’s integrity (and by extension Rabbi Roselblum’s as well), did Mrs. Katz make the slightest effort to contact the Jerusalem police department to verify the existence of the tapes in question?
I call on the moderators of Cross Currents to suspend Mrs. Katz’s privileges as a contributor and for that matter as even a commenter. Cross Currents has some fairly high standards for allowing posts from its commenters we must expect at least such standards from the contributors.
Also, I personally invite Mrs. Katz to leave her Flofidian oasis and come to Beit Shemesh where I will show her why, living here, it’s so easy to believe Mrs. Shear’s account of things.
[It was in response to several valid points raised by this writer that I changed the original version of my post in order to remove some unwarranted negative remarks. I thank him for writing and forcing me to consider a different perspective. –TK]
If you truly believe that this is a lie aimed at making trouble you should come right out and say so. Otherwise, so what? You don’t judge a story on the evidence there MIGHT be if only something else had happened. You judge it on the evidence there is.
Recent studies show that women subjected to violent crime, especially with a sexual component (as this would have for an orthodox woman) do not react in ways which men might expect. The shock and distress can do strange things to recollection and attitude. So I don’t think that suggesting that this lady [reacted inappropriately] is either accurate or helpful. You simply don’t know how she “should” react (at least, I hope you don’t!) so you cannot judge how she did react.
[Comment has been slightly edited –TK]
Comments like this one above give me pain:
“This is the problem with Charedim in Yerushalayim. They are ruining it for everyone else.”
Instilling hatred and anger at a group of Jews that includes the greatest Rabbis alive today…how sad…
In general, there are two aspects to charedi hasbarah, or to the way any group or individual reacts to criticism. First, verify the facts. Then, if there is any truth to the criticism, formulate a way of improving the individual or the group’s behavior.
In this particular case, the facts need to be verified, especially in light of the video aspect. However, I think that we all agree that whether the incident happened as described or not, this would not detract at all from the larger picture, which is the need to do something about charedi zealotry.
As of now, I am aware of no comprehensive suggestions put forth by our community to improve matters. A kol koreh from Badatz is a start, but it is nowhere near in importance as a public kinnus(gathering), or a broad-based cherem(ban) agaist zealots. People will incorrectly conclude that the community’s image is less important to itself than tzniyus, chilul shabbos, or forbidding a particular item or behavior.
Zealotry existed in the past, and will continue to get worse, untill it reaches the crisis stage when the majority will finally rise up against it’s own fringe elements, as was done regarding Neturie Karta when they reached an intolerable point. Instead of waiting untill the precipice is reached, I think that there needs to be a game-plan communicated to the media and to the public for, gradual, long-term educational change, where kiddush Hashem will be seen as no less important than any other value embraced by the charedi community.
BP: Email it to me, I’ll see that it posted. [email protected]
>When I first read about the lady on the #2 bus, I was inclined to cheer her on. From the sound of it, the behavior of the men was appalling, and she got some good licks in.
I’m surprised you didn’t find HER behaviour appalling. She was repeatedly asked to move to the back. She was only concerned about her **rights**, and didn’t give a hoot about the feelings and sensitivities of the majority of the passengers. Why, even the women asked her to move. It was WOMEN who shlepped another woman to the back. Why are you willing to cheer on such an insensitive and uncaring woman?
>Certainly the idea of separate seating on buses is most unappealing to me,
Once again, I’m surprised at your lack of sensitivity for the feelings of the Anshei Yerushalayim who wish to live on a higher level of Kedusha.
>Well, to be honest, it’s not the separate seating but the sitting in back that bothers me. If the men sat in back and the ladies up front, I really would not mind.
In most frum shuls, the men sit in front. Why should men sitting in front on a bus strike you any different?
>But I still find the idea of segregated buses distasteful.
Whats next Toby? Mixed seating by weddings? Mixed seating in shuls?
A post above reads: “I believe that Mrs. Katz has “crossed” over the line of basic decency in her little manifesto of innuendo.”
The post ends with: “Also, I personally invite Mrs. Katz to leave her Flofidian oasis and come to Beit Shemesh where I will show her why, living here, it’s so easy to believe Mrs. Shear’s account of things.”
May we suggest to the author of the post to practice what he preaches?
Yitz, in comment #4 above (if the numbering doesn’t change), linked to R’ Yonasan Rosenblum’s original post on this thread. I particularly liked a letter written by “dovid” on that thread, a comment which appeared so far down — #44 or so — that it may have been overlooked by some readers. Therefore, I am quoting part of dovid’s letter here:
It appears to me that segregating men from women in public transportation is not halacha but a fence for tzinut. It is truly praiseworthy that men want to institute it and that women agree to co-operate. While the segregation is beneficial to all of us, it really addresses a problem that men have it. Hence, ladies do us a favor by agreeing to sit in the back. Therefore, we have to employ lashon bakashah, to ask them nicely to comply, because we are asking them to do us a favor. Will they comply? The frum sector understands the stakes and will comply. Even a large portion of the non-frum public will, if asked nicely. Let’s not be stingy using pleasant language with those who do not yet share our values because the way of the Torah is darchei noam.
>We have a major disconnect here. Blaming the victim for refusing to move to the back of the bus.
A Baalas Midos would have not stubbornly insisted on refusing to acknowledge the feelings and sensitivities of the majority of the passengers who opted to seat themselves on a higher level of Kedusha. Such a defiant stubborness could have only resulted from someone who cared only about her *rights*, aka a selfish person.
>Blaming her for being upset and loosing her cool while being pummeled with not one person coming to her aid.
Frum women who are Yirei Shamayim would have not spat back. They would have wiped the spit off and moved to the back. We are dealing here with a woman who in her own words [behaved inappropriately]
To summarize, we are dealing here with a woman who [says and does things most frum women would not do] Even the women on the bus thought she was nuts – “This brought screams from the women calling me a crazy woman.” and “In fact, the women were screaming at me that this was MY fault because “you don’t know your place, you stupid American”.
>She was spat upon!
Don’t forget, she spat back!
>She was kicked in the face!
Don’t forget, she punched and kicked back!
>So, she lost her temper, that is normal.
Fine. I have no problem with her fighting back. But the minute she spat back, she was begging for a fight. Had she got up instead and walked to the back, nothing more would have happened. And when you ask for a fight, don’t come crying that you got hurt.
>What the chareidi women did was to avert their eyes and let a woman be humiliated while sticking their faces into their Tehilim.
Wrong! See the above quotes! They were convinced she’s crazy!!
>She is absolutely like Rosa Parks
More like a Chatzufa. An insensitive and uncaring woman.
>and the Yerushalmi people who accosted her are witout merit.
>It isn’t their bus, it isn’t their country and it isn’t their Kosel. I am appalled that people who are sphisticated enought to have the internet are willing to accept discrimination against women through violence and intimidation.
It would a shame and a Busha that if in Yerushalayin Ihr Hakodesh, if men and women have the ability to act in a manner which brings Kedusha into their lives, they should be distrupted by arrogant selfish American/Canadian women.
>Do some of you really value separation of men and women in a way that is blatantly insulting and want to have this be the orthodox norm in the 21st century? Oy Vey!
Do some of you really not understand that the people of Jerusalem wish to live on a higher spiritual level than their Gashmius’dig American counterparts? Oy Vey!
>Let’s not be stingy using pleasant language with those who do not yet share our values because the way of the Torah is darchei noam.
From what I understand, Mrs Schear is considered one who “shares our values”. Nevertheless, she stubbornly resisted all the pleas that were requested with “pleasant language”. Perhaps this incident was from Shamayim for her to learn the hard way.
When jews wish to act B’kedusha, don’t be a selfish smarty concerned about your rights. Bend a little for the majority of the passengers.
#7. “This is the problem with Charedim in Yerushalayim. They are ruining it for everyone else.”
I’m shocked that Mrs. Katz has allowed this absolute Motzi Shem Ra. Taking the actions of Four men and denigrating thousands of others?!?!?
I look forward to seeing the quoted statement deleted. It is an absolute insult and disgrace to thousands of Yereim and Shleimim of the Charedim of Yerushalayim.
Instilling hatred and anger at a group of Jews that includes the greatest Rabbis alive today…how sad…
Comment by Joe Fisher — February 11, 2007 @ 4:41 pm
This post helps show the problem. People confuse hooligans with Rabbi Elyashiv because both wear the same style of clothes. Heaven forbid. Our Litvishe Gedolim were very careful in how they treated other people. None of the great gaonim of Lithuania would have spit at a woman and kiched her in the face because she wouldn’t move to the back of the bus. Please recognize that these “chareidim” do not exemplify Torah observant Judaism. They are a sick aberation and no godol approves of their violence.
To address your points. 1. A shul and a bus are very different, in the wonderful shuls of yesteryear(poland, etc) the women sat above the men. Equal to them. Obviously the men would be on the floor near the ahron kodesh, because only men lead the tefillot. Putting a woman in the back of the bus is shameful and for the women to agree to that just shows how far distanced from the torah we have become. Women are on a much higher spiritual level then men and should be treated as such not some seccond class citizen. 2. Hitting and violence is assur mdorayta, fighting back(who knows how far they would have gone if she didn’t fight back,so let’s call it pikuach nefesh) is a mitzva dorayta! 3. Do u really think Gedolim would act this way? If Rav Elyashiv was there do u think he would have cheered the man on? I highly doubt it. He would have politley handled the situation. This man thinks his frumer then the gedolim? Disgusting
Ed wrote “From what I understand, Mrs Schear is considered one who “shares our values”. Nevertheless, she stubbornly resisted all the pleas that were requested with “pleasant language”. ”
The problem is that by all accounts the pleas were NOT requested with “pleasant language” — quite the contrary.
Ed also wrote “Do some of you really not understand that the people of Jerusalem wish to live on a higher spiritual level than their Gashmius’dig American counterparts?”
Spitting on women who don’t comply with your request is not reflective of a “higher spiritual level.”
I have been in Israel many times but have never seen separate seating on buses. The last time I was there was four years ago, so this mehadrin seating is a new innovation, certainly less than four years old. As a Canadian visitor who likewise had been in Israel before and had never seen mehadrin buses in her previous visits, Mrs. Shear undoubtedly found the new development surprising, disorienting and distasteful.
I am no wiser now than I ever was as to the exact sequence of events on the #2 bus but it seems as if everyone involved on all sides behaved badly and no one can take pride in his or her actions that day.
A few idea
First I encourage Toby to contact anyone from the Young Israel of Boca Raton a little north of NMB who knew Mrs Shear when she lived here to find she is a fine and honest woman.
2nd to the poster who justified the violence because she “spat back” please explain to me the source in halacha that allows the attack in the first place. Where is it allowed to yell, scream, punch and strip a woman for modesty reasons.
Lets assume instead of a MO woman it was a secular woman on the bus, wearing shorts and a tanktop. Would it be OK to assault her then. What if it was a Meretz activist hoping to provoke an incident by going on in a bikini. Does that give observant Jews the right to attack her.
Then I will ask the Rabbonim who post to these blogs to comment on this report
Since the beis din is required to oversee public places to prevent people from socializing improperly it has been decided to set up Agudas Hashomrim, which will dispatch hundreds of avreichim to stand watch on these matters.
Who are these avreichim, why aren’t they in yeshiva learning that they have the time to stand around looking for immodesty. Furtheremore I read this as an implied statement that these avreichim will use violence to enforce these modesty edicts. Yes I know it is not explicitly stated but with all the reports of violence we see beyond this case I am very concerned even if this isn’t the Rabbi’s intention.
This is one of those events where the involved parties should have first counted to 10 and asked “will the overall results of my actions really please HaShem?” Gut responses don’t cut it any more than they ever did.
“This is the problem with Charedim in Yerushalayim. They are ruining it for everyone else.”
“I’m shocked that Mrs. Katz has allowed this absolute Motzi Shem Ra. Taking the actions of Four men and denigrating thousands of others?”
Ed has no concept of what is going on here in Israel if he thinks this is about just four thugs. Of course not all chareidim are involved and it is better not to paint with such a broad brush, but there are hundreds if not thousands who have partaken in violent, anti-social, anti-Torah, activities. And there are many times that number who continue to remain silent in the face of this behavior.
It’s that huge number of, what is hopefully, a silent majority who Rabbi Rosenblum and the comment quoted above are targeting. They are the everyone else that it’s being ruined for. And to the extent that they, their lay and rabbinic leaders remain silent they are a part of the problem and in fact are “ruining it” for themselves.
How difficult would it have been for you to make contact with Miriam Shear and verify the facts for yourself? Miriam’s email address is easy enough to find with a simple Google search, but I guess it’s so much easier to cast aspersions on Miriam’s honesty than undertake such a laborious task. For shame!
As you can see from my previous post, it is quite simple to make up any story you like and post it on the internet as fact.
p.s. You wrote: “If the men sat in back and the ladies up front, I really would not mind.”
If you accept the idea that men shouldn’t be staring at women on buses, you will immediately realize that if men were seated in the back of the bus as you propose, they would be facing forward towards the women, thus defeating the purpose of the “Mehadrin” bus.
On the private “Mehadrin” bus running between NewSquare and New York City daily, the men sit on one side of the aile and the women on the other, with a Mechitza curtain in between. This, obviously, won’t work on Eged buses.
Mrs. Katz: The email that you printed is exactly as I distributed it to 50 people. Everything that I wrote in there is 100% true and has been confirmed by 1 courageous witness who agreed to come forward and accompanied me to the police. He has cooperated with the media. I have forwarded his name and phone # to R. Rosenblum.
Ed, you still don’t get it which truly makes me question a) your intelligence and/or b) your willingness to deal with the truth.
FACT: The man got on a bus that he knows is a PUBLIC bus
FACT: The man KNOWS that this bus is NOT a mehadrin bus
FACT: The man passed at least 3 empty seats before arriving at my seat
FACT: The man broke his own rules of tzniut by talking to me unnecessarily
FACT: This man refused my polite assistance in pointing out the other empty seats
FACT: This man responded by spitting
FACT: Separate sitting on public transportation is NOT halacha but SPITTING AT SOMEONE IN THE FACE IS A DEFINITE AND CLEAR SERIOUS VIOLATION OF HALACHA.
Now do you get it?
>She was spat upon!
Don’t forget, she spat back!
>She was kicked in the face!
Don’t forget, she punched and kicked back!
Because we all know that we should never defend ourselves.
“May we suggest to the author of the post to practice what he preaches?”
What do you mean?
You wrote: “Who are these avreichim, why aren’t they in yeshiva learning that they have the time to stand around looking for immodesty. Furtheremore I read this as an implied statement that these avreichim will use violence to enforce these modesty edicts. Yes I know it is not explicitly stated but with all the reports of violence we see beyond this case I am very concerned even if this isn’t the Rabbi’s intention.”
Since this initiative is spearheaded by Rav Shteinmen, SHLIT”A, a recognized Gadol Hador http://chareidi.shemayisrael.com/abeitarvrh67.htm,
Your comment implies that you consider yourself his superior, or even his peer, giving you the right to challenge his judgement and wisdom.
Do you see a problem here?
“Litvishe Gedolim were very careful in how they treated other people.”
A gadol b’Torah is by necessity also a gadol in his dealings bein odom l’chaveroh. So spare us of unnecessary qualifiers in this context such as Lithuanian, Chasidish, or Sephardi g’dolim. Incidents such as this one in the bus can take place when one entertains the thought that his blood is redder than that of his fellow Jew.
“If you accept the idea that men shouldn’t be staring at women on buses, you will immediately realize that if men were seated in the back of the bus as you propose, they would be facing forward towards the women, thus defeating the purpose of the “Mehadrin” bus.”
Just about 100% wrong. What issur is there in looking at the back of a woman’s head? Actually, they wouldn’t even be looking at her head, but some sort of cloth (mitpachat) or someone else’s hair (sheitel). But let’s say that Hillel uncovered mitzvah number 614; “Thou shalt not look at the back of a women’s covered head.” A simple solution would be to hang a curtain on these so-called mehadrin buses just aft of the women’s section.
If, as others have asserted, it is the onus of the men to be separated then it is the man’s obligation to sit in the rear. Here are a handful of reasons why the rear of the bus is less desirable and thus Torah-true men would insist on the women sitting up front:
– The rear of the bus causes more motion sickness.
– The rear door is narrower.
– The rear steps are steeper.
– Many buses “kneel” in front to allow easier access to the first step.
– Women, much more often than man, travel with young children making all the above even that much more critical.
The idea of forcing the women to the back under the above circumstances highlights Ramban’s interpretation of the need for the mitzvah of Kedoshim Tihiyu, i.e. that even when fulfilling mitzvos one can be a Navel B’Reshut HaTorah. (A degenerate even while observing Torah laws.)
Certainly the men in Mrs. Shear’s case were Menuvalim and more since they violated numerous Torah laws, but in general the whole mehadrin bus enterprise smacks of Nivelous.
The truth is, as I mentioned in a comment to Rabbi Rosenblum’s article, none of this is necessary. There are non-mehadrin buses where people voluntarily sit separately and are polite and tolerant. The very, frum men, who somehow have no problem sitting in the same section of the bus as women do what frum men do. They put their head in a sefer.
Of course you can challenge gedolim. This isn’t the catholic church. As long as its done respectfully and with textual basis, who says you can’t? Gedolim are not infallible.
>Ed, you still dont get it which truly makes me question a) your intelligence and/or b) your willingness to deal with the truth.
Mrs Schear, you still dont get it which truly makes me question a) your intelligence and/or b) your willingness to deal with the truth.
>FACT: The man got on a bus that he knows is a PUBLIC bus
FACT: You got on a bus knowing that the majority of the passengers wished to have seperate seating.
>FACT: The man KNOWS that this bus is NOT a mehadrin bus
FACT: You knew that the interest of the passengers was to act accordingly as if it was a Mehadrin bus. But you didn’t care about them, only about your “rights”.
>FACT: The man passed at least 3 empty seats before arriving at my seat
>FACT: This man refused my polite assistance in pointing out the other empty seats
>FACT: This man responded by spitting
FACT: This man was a crazy lunatic. He was out to start a fight with you. Anyone with the tiniest amount of Sechel would have realized that. But you, Mrs Righteous Schear lowered yourself to his lowlife level and took him on. That was a most stupid thing to do. You should hang your head in shame. No sane person spits at women over a seat. NO ONE!!! This man was clearly a wacko. Why did you take him on???? Did you really think that by spitting back, he would just walk away??? Are you really that crazy???
>FACT: The man broke his own rules of tzniut by talking to me unnecessarily
Aahh, now you’re being a Tznius police.
>FACT: Separate sitting on public transportation is NOT halacha but SPITTING AT SOMEONE IN THE FACE IS A DEFINITE AND CLEAR SERIOUS VIOLATION OF HALACHA.
And making a fool out of yourself over your dumb pride and then slandering Charedim is what???
>Now do you get it?
Now do YOU get it?
In comment #13, Ed wrote: “Whats next Toby? Mixed seating by weddings? Mixed seating in shuls?”
Well, Ed, a bus is not a shul.
I agree with Bitzy about that.
As a general rule, neither misnagdim nor chassidim, Ashkenazim nor Sefardim, charedim nor Modern Orthodox, will pray in a temple with mixed seating, but I have seen every possible type of Orthodox Jew traveling on buses and subways in New York and in Israel, even though there were plenty of women all around them. I have even seen Orthodox men DAVENING on mixed buses!
As recently as four years ago, when I was last in Israel, the halacha about buses having the same kedusha as synagogues had not yet been promulgated. I would like to see that psak in writing. Please send me the URL.
Oh wait! There can’t be an URL! Rabbanim and poskim would not post to the internet! The internet is assur! After all, there is mixed seating on the comments section right here. How about if I segregate the comments and put all the comments by women behind some kind of screen, where men won’t be able to read them?
Hillel wrote (comment #26): “If you accept the idea that men shouldn’t be staring at women on buses, you will immediately realize that if men were seated in the back of the bus as you propose, they would be facing forward towards the women, thus defeating the purpose of the “Mehadrin” bus.”
As I wrote — did you read my post? — the men should be FACING THE REAR.
But even if they sat in the back facing forwards, they would see only the backs of the chairs and the backs of women’s heads.
As things are now, women sometimes get on the bus in front and walk down the aisle to the back, with the men able to see them the whole time.
Worse, many women get on in the back and then WALK FORWARD to pay the driver and then WALK BACK AGAIN so the men see them coming AND going! Plus, when the men get on in front, they walk down the aisle, and until they get to their seats, they can see the women at the back of the bus!
Separate seating with men on one side and women on the other would be fine with me. A curtain down the middle would not be fine because it would allow men and women to accidentally jostle each other as they go, without seeing whether someone is standing on the other side of the curtain. And it would block the aisle. And it would make it hard to look out for landmarks and know when to get off the bus.
As for men not seeing women, if they really do not want to see women at all they should not go outside. Ever.
As it happens, the Torah was made for normal people. Whew!
Mrs. Shear: Thank you for writing. Please, if you are able to, let us know what happened to the video. I hope things go well for you and that all your future experiences in Yerushalayim will be pleasant and positive.
You win. What we really need to do is have separate buses for men and women!–PROBLEM SOLVED!
Mixed seating by weddings?
Mixed seating at a wedding is not forbidden by Jewish law.
According to Din Torah, Dina d’Malchusa, and Egged company’s rules, Ms. Shear may sit on any unoccupied seat in the bus that she wishes. Since passengers in lines #1 and #2 voluntarily segregate by gender, it would have been nice if she followed suit, especially since she was a visitor. I read people in Texas put their feet up on the table. I trust Ms. Shear would be outraged if I did this in her living room. Based on her e-mail, she knowingly “put her feet on someone’s dining room table”. But I vehemently reject the suggestion of a previous post that “she stubbornly resisted all the pleas that were requested with ‘pleasant language’.” The writer of the post must show evidence to this effect, name witnesses, or else he is a slanderer. In absence of such evidence, I don’t believe for a moment that she was addressed courteously, and upon her refusal to move to the back of the bus, that character switched from “darchei noam” to spitting, kicking, and punching. It just doesn’t work like that. The emes is that we have no concept as to what this character did. Paraphrasing Rabbi Avigdor Miller, z”tzl, spitting on a Jew’s face, kicking a Jew in his face is kaviyachol spitting on and kicking the Shchinah. I would not drink from this person’s wine, I wouldn’t eat his from his food.
Ms. Shear was physically and verbally attacked and she fought back. The fight was ugly. Her hair cover got removed in the scuffle, she was humiliated. It is easy for us to pontificate and give unsolicited, “sagacious” advice from the safety of our living rooms. Would you have done better? I would have done worse. One of the reasons HaShem gives us g’dolim is to emulate their conduct. A previous post mentioned Rabbi Shlomo Zalman, zchuso yagen aleinu, getting off the bus rather than hurt the feelings of a non-observant Jewish woman who inadvertently sat down next to him. I remember reading that Rabbi Arieh Levin, zchuso yagen aleinu, was once slapped over the face. He did not respond.
There is no question, the four characters that assaulted her deserve to be handed over to the police. How about the people in the bus who witnessed the avlah and stayed quiet? Yithro protested the avlah that was about to take place, ran away, and the parsha containing the 10 Commandments is named after him. Bil’am encouraged the avlah. Yiov ….. We cannot claim ignorance. It happened before. We are our worst enemies.
Ms. Shear deserves our empathy and justice certainly must be served. It is possible that as a new visitor to Eretz Yisroel, Ms. Shear is not familiar with the anti-Jewish orientation of the various Israeli publications, Ha’aretz in particular, and she may have fallen into their trap? If that’s the case, we owe her our sincere apologies for not giving her the benefit of the doubt which we expect and demand when clouds of suspicion hover over us. She went through more than enough trouble without our ill-considered comments.
From Menachem Lipkin: What do you mean?
The closing statement in one of your posts includes the same type of innuendo that you accused others of.
This kind of chareidi thuggery is being reported more frequently. Most people are aware that such occurrances are not at all uncommon anymore. All a secular cameraman has to do it bide his or her time for a juicy story. Set up? I doubt it. Caught in the act? Very likely.
Nausiating. Absolutely nausiating.
No Jew should think that this crazed man in the name of tzniut is representative of Torah-true Judaism, and no Jew should think that this provocative woman is representative of Torah-true Judaism.
If your version of events is accurate, I can certainly understand your shock and trauma at what transpired on that morning.
To a Westernized woman like yourself, a demand that you “go to the back of the bus” smacks of Rosa Parks and Civil Rights abuse.
However, as a person cognizant of Orthodox Jewish values, perhaps you should have shown more empathy with the desire of some Hareidi people to maintain some level of Kedusha in their immediate environment, even if it would have somewhat inconvenienced you.
The real culprits here are the secular managers of the Eged Bus Company who were criminally negligent in setting up a “Mehadrin” bus service in which the buses were not marked in any distinctive manner, and in which the “Mehadrin” seating rules were to be enforced by the passengers themselves.
This irresponsible arrangement virtually guaranteed confrontation and conflict, like that which you evidently experienced.
However, notwithstanding the trauma that you experienced, I find it difficult to understand how you, as a nominally religious woman, find it possible to openly attack the hareidi community on the pages of the secular newspaper Haaretz; and how you feel comfortable joining Shulamit Aloni and the Reform/Jewish sect in bringing a case against “Mehadrin” buses before the anti-religious Israeli Supreme Court!
This ongoing brouhaha is indicative of many things. First of all, it shows how evil can be justified by those who think they know what G-d really wants. Ed, you are very holier than thou but you just don’t understand the level of “bain adam l’chaveiro” that our gedolim practiced and still do in this generation. Please don’t sully the tzadikeim by including them among these poshim dressed up as chareidim. All Litvishe Gedolim were machmir in bain odon l’chaveiro more than in such issues as separate seating. There was mixed seating at weddings in former years in the most choshuv yeshivishe families. The current move to segregation, which even includes not using women’s pictures in some chareidi magazines is a chumra of certain chassidic groups imposed on those who never had this practice in Europe. Hungary had a different derech than Lita. Jerusalem doesn’t belong to one group, it belongs to all of us equally and the fanatics cannot impose their chumros on us,just because they fight and spit. Mrs Shear is standing up for the Torah by not submiting to thugs inthe guise of religious Jews. You and your similarly minded people are defending indefensible behavior cloked in the mantel of religion. It isn’t the Jewish religion of my teachers nor of their teachers. It is their perversion.
Hillel, you wrote that we should have separate buses. I actually think a modified version of that would be a good idea. I think we should have pink buses where the women sit in front and the men in back, and blue buses where the men sit in front and the women in back. That way if you don’t like the seating arrangements you just wait for the next bus. I also think that the last two rows of seats before the back door — the seats between the men’s and women’s sections — should be purple, with “family seating.”
Hillel, you also wrote:
“However, as a person cognizant of Orthodox Jewish values, perhaps you should have shown more empathy with the desire of some Hareidi people to maintain some level of Kedusha in their immediate environment, even if it would have somewhat inconvenienced you.”
It is becoming more and more clear that the men involved had absolutely no desire to “maintain some level of Kedusha in their immediate environment” since their behavior showed exactly the opposite of kedusha. We are talking about thugs here.
To Hillel who wrote
Since this initiative is spearheaded by Rav Shteinmen, SHLIT”A, a recognized Gadol Hador http://chareidi.shemayisrael.com/abeitarvrh67.htm,
Your comment implies that you consider yourself his superior, or even his peer, giving you the right to challenge his judgement and wisdom.
Recognize by who? The type of violent thug who attacked Miriam Shear.
There is no official gadol appointment in Judaism. The same arguement is used by Neturai Karta thugs who state their support of Israel’s enemies is endorsed by “gedolim”
I’ve never found Shemayisrael.com to be a very accurate site. I hope that others more factually based like Rabbi Rosenblum will comment on this assertion by this site. I guess I should judge Rav Steinman favorably and assume shemayisrael.com is spreading motzei sheim ra on him.
“The closing statement in one of your posts includes the same type of innuendo that you accused others of.”
Not inuendo at all. I literally live on the “front lines” her between Beit Shemesh and RBS B. I see things on a regular basis that many of you only have second-hand knowledge. I was offering to give Mrs. Katz a first-hand tour of what goes on here. Nothing “implied” about that.
>Ed, you are very holier than thou but you just dont understand the level of bain adam lchaveiro that our gedolim practiced and still do in this generation.
Neither does Mrs Schear, who defiantly ignored the repeated requests from her fellow passengers. Is that what you call Bein Adam L’chavero? To ignore the request of the majority of the passengers?!?!? To remain sitting there because “No-holier-than-me-Charedi-is-gonna-boss-me-around”?????
>Please dont sully the tzadikeim by including them among these poshim dressed up as chareidim.
Please stop being Motzi Shem Ra on Yereim U’shlemim.
>All Litvishe Gedolim were machmir in bain odon lchaveiro more than in such issues as separate seating.
And none of them would have approved of Mrs Schear’s despicable actions.
I have removed this post because it was rude beyond the limits of polite discourse that I would like to maintain here. –TK
My impression is that R’ Shteinman and other rabbanim are trying to gain control of the many young thugs who at present are not under their control, by outflanking them. I suspect that the avreichim — that means married men — who will consitute the Modesty Patrol have as part of their real purpose the supervision and reining in of teenaged boys and young men in their twenties, too many of whom are juvenile delinquents running wild in charedi neighborhoods, dressed in charedi clothes and being fed and housed by charedi parents.
Just as you sometimes have to overcorrect when the car skids — steer into the skid to get control of the car — I suspect some of the rabbanim are trying to outfrum the “frum Taliban” to gain control of them.
Mrs. Shear does not deserve the ugly comments coming her way. Nothing she did was so reprehensible as to “deserve” the criminal attack perpetrated on her. The men who assaulted her should be in jail. Sadly they never will be, but the Ribono Shel Olam will take care of it.
“And none of them would have approved of Mrs Schear’s despicable actions.”
Would they have approved of your actions? Absolutely not. You are off. Your self-righteousness is repulsive. Those thugs lynched Mrs. Schear in the bus. You lynch her verbally on line.
Why should they be in jail? Is that the Torah answer to this crime? Is that the halachci answer? Or is that the answer of this israeli government? Were you as backing of this government when they threw our brothers and sisters out of their homes in gaza? Were you so supportive of this givernments ideas when they bashed our brothers and sisters heads in amona? This government only means something if you “hold” of it – otherwise its like the any foreign goverment. And, like it or not, many chareidim – especially those on “znius police” squads hold nothing of this government. It doesnt have the power of dina dimalchusa dina. It doesnt have the power of the jewish people. It certainly doesnt have the power of the torah or halacha. Its just a police state 🙂
To Mordechai and Toby:
With all due respect, here we see one of the problems with the Internet.
It is a leveling medium. Like Communism and Socialism, it pretends that all people and all ideas have equal currency. That is not true in the real world.
In the real world, there are great Torah sages who are many orders of magnitude superior in wisdom then we are. The fact that we can write whatever we please about whomever we please does not change the reality.
From Cross Currents “Comments and Tips” page:
“In order to be considered for publication, comments must be on-topic, polite, and address ideas rather than personalities.”
[I removed the offending comment — TK]
Shimmon, al pi halacha dina d’malchusa dina. They are as bound by the law as everyone else and if they don’t agree they are absolute reshoim. This law does not violate any other laws in torah so there is nothing to nulify it or say that we should object. Killing us is one thing, simple civil matters are something else entirely. We are required to obay the laws of the land (at least when they are not murderous laws, or laws specificaly calculated to otherwise destory us, which these clearly are not). This means that in the absense of our own authoritative criminal courts we are to rely on the courts of the nation we are in. The objection to taking a jew to a non-jewish court only applied to the religiously based courts, which these are not. (and if you don’t beleive me rashi clearly implies it in the first aliya of this weeks portion.)
[Dovid wrote to object to the offensive language used in an earlier comment. That earlier comment has since been removed. –TK]
To Menachem Lipkin:
Menachem, there is an exception to every rule, and this is definitely an exception.
Gabe Klein is just expressing what many of us–perhaps the majority–think about this situation.
A reasonable person knows when to insist on her rights and when to yield to avoid unnecessary unpleasantness. By her spiteful response to the request of the majority of people on the bus that she join the women in the back, Mrs. Shear demonstrated that she is not a reasonable person–that she prefers confrontation to accomodation.
Every morning, we pray that we will not run into unreasonable and difficult people– a PeGa Ra!
Yoni – i dont have the source in front of me but its a well known idea of none other than the chazon ish that dia dimalchusa dina does not apply to a nontorah approach in EY. There are many bigger talmidei chachomim that i that frequent this list and i am sure they can give you the exact source (and everyone who disagrees). The CI is not a rasha, obviously. These yerushalmim have poskim on their side. You can disagree, but dont call their following a psak of their gedolei haposkim “reshaim”. Actually, since you called them reshaim in a public forum, I would like a source for that – someone who doesnt follow the laws of the land of israel is a rasha bc of dina dimalchusa dina. without a source your simply being megana many indivuduals and whole communities. thats not so nice, is it?
“Why should they be in jail? Is that the Torah answer to this crime? Is that the halachic answer?”
You are right. They should not be in jail. They should receive 39 lashes and pay damages.
“They should receive 39 lashes and pay damages.”
Only if there were eidim (witnesses), which so far have not come forth. As things stand, there is nothing to go on but Mrs. Shear’s own account.
“al pi halacha dina d’malchusa dina. They are as bound by the law as everyone else and if they don’t agree they are absolute reshoim.”
“And, like it or not, many chareidim – especially those on “znius police” squads hold nothing of this government. It doesnt have the power of dina dimalchusa dina.”
Shimon also wrote:
“It’s a well known idea of none other than the Chazon Ish that dina dimalchusa dina does not apply to a non-Torah approach in EY. …The CI is not a rasha, obviously. These Yerushalmim have poskim on their side. You can disagree, but dont call their following a psak of their gedolei haposkim “reshaim”.
I think dina demalchusas dina is a distraction here. Beating people up or destroying property by pouring bleach on women’s clothes — these things are forbidden by Torah law. If you “hold nothing of the government” you are permitted to steal and beat people up? I don’t think so.
Shimon is right in one detail — you can’t call a person a rasha just because he holds that dina demalchusa dina doesn’t apply in E’Y.
But people who hold that since they don’t recognize the Israeli government, therefore assault and battery are permitted — of course such people are reshaim!
The source for this is Rashi on Shmos 2;13, where two Jews were fighting and Moshe called one of them a rasha. Rashi says the man was a rasha because he LIFTED HIS FIST TO STRIKE HIS FELLOW. He was ABOUT to hit him — he had not done so yet — and that already made him a rasha.
So I don’t think you can say that the men on the bus who committed several acts of violence were just innocent “Yerushalmim who follow the Chazon Ish.” They were reshaim, at least according to Moshe Rabeinu and Rashi.
“Moshe called one of them a rasha.”
Actually, the Torah refers to him as a rasha – it’s not Moshe, although presumably he would have agreed with the characterisation.