Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Silence Implies Consent

As a Chareidi (strictly Orthodox) Jewish woman, I feel that I can no longer be quiet about the tumultuous events occurring in recent days in Israel. Let me preface my remarks with the observation that the blame for a lot of the anger seen on the part of the non-religious, often against ALL chareidim (ie, the strictly orthodox) can be placed squarely at the feet of the press, who have been very anti-religious in the reporting over the last several years. However, in spite of the previous observation, the behavior of the extremist group in Beit Shemesh is inexcusable. People who choose to live in the city, even in an Orthodox neighborhood, realized that it was part of a bigger, non-religious town, and any fool would realize that in such a case, sometimes people are going to walk through their streets in a less-than-modest attire. I HAVE YET TO HEAR OF A CASE WHERE SOMEONE BECAME MORE RELIGIOUS OR MORE MODEST DUE TO BEING SPIT ON/ YELLED AT/ CALLED “NAZI”. For example, my married daughter currently lives in an orthodox neighborhood, but dresses rather atrociously considering. However, when she attends her (orthodox) brothers’ smachot (celebrations), she takes care to dress better. Not because they demanded it. Because they DIDN’T, they let her choose how to come. She reciprocates their respect with respect for them. However, I DO feel that some people are now looking with eyes to erase ANY gender separation. Is the day going to arrive when I will no longer be able to go swimming, because separate hours for men and women at the local pool will be prohibited by law? There are a lot of ways that compromises can be reached. Stores in chareidi areas could have one check-out counter manned by a male cashier for those men wanting this. Companies desiring chareidi business should be allowed to make pamphlets/advertisements geared for this population (ie without pictures of women). I would like to see a lot more of “live and let live” from both sides. And, by the way, I would say this to the extremists: If someone is REALLY sure of his beliefs, he doesn’t need to force them on others. Let him be the good person his beliefs should lead to, and then others will see on their own the value of that way of life.

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