Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Admas Kodesh Hu (It Is Holy Land)

This past Sunday was Visiting Day at a bunch of camps in the Catskills regions. Eeees and I took another long and tiring (but well worth it) trip up to the mountains to see Wilma. On the way back, a friend of ours, Phoebe* hitched a ride back to Brooklyn with us.

On the way back from the mountains, Phoebe told us about her trip up. She went to see her daughter in the same camp that Wilma is in. However, the people she went with made a stop at another camp to see their son at a learning camp somewhere in the Catskills. Apparently, this learning camp doesn't allow women on the camp grounds at all. They set up an area outside the camp (michutz la-machane... literally) where the women could have refreshments... but they could not step onto the actual grounds. This sounded very odd to me, so I asked Phoebe what the mothers do on visiting day. Do they just go up but not see their sons? Do they not go up at all? She responded that no, the boys go out to the women's area to see their mothers.

I don't understand the logic in this at all. If women are barred from the grounds in toto, and the boys could not see them, I could see the logic (I don't agree with it, but logically, given the values of those running the camps, I can understand the course of action). However, if they're allowing the boys to go to the women's area to see thier mothers, then why not allow them on the grounds already? The boys are going to see other people's mothers when they go to the women's area anyway. So what's the point? Why keep the women confined to one small area?

Can anyone come up with a logical reason for this?

The Wolf

* No, that's not her real name.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

To make the point that the aspirational vision is complete separation of the sexes except for husband and wife.
KT
Joel Rich

Child Ish Behavior said...

They feel women are 2nd class citizens and deserve being separated from the men. Same as the back of the bus mentality that goes on in Israel. They want to treat women just like white people treated black people in the southern US in the 1950's and 60's and in South Africa during the apartheid. Pritzus is only an excuse to rationalize the fact, after the fact.

criticalmass said...

Because the concept of "tznius" has morphed beyond halachic considerations and become a sociological pathology in many segments of orthodoxy. Pathologies are rarely, if ever, logical, because they appeal to a part of the psyche that either strives for acceptance or desires power and control over others.

Whomever is running this camp is in the position of calling the shots, and thereby exercises control over the campers and their parents-especially the mothers. Their warped sense of priorities and pathological adherence to concepts of modesty that don't exist anywhere else on the planet (except for Bnai Brak, perhaps) allow them to basically feel good about themselves, as if they are saving Yiddishkeit from itself.

Little do they realize that it is a chillul hashem that results- more frustration and disgust with the hareidi world, and its continuing assault on normalcy and healthy family relationships under the auspices of Torah Judiasm.

tesyaa said...

This way, there's no need for the boys to clean up the bunkhouses. In the girls' camp, they wake the girls up extra early to do this. Maybe the official reason is tznius and stuff but the real motivation is so that the mothers don't get to see what the living conditions are like at this frummie camp.

SuperRaizy said...

I love the title of this post.
To answer your question: It is because camps and school are now engaged in a cutthroat competition to prove that they are more frum, yeshivish, heilige, whatever, than the next one is. The more frum you are, the better you are. And there is no easier way for a group of males to prove that they are "the frummest" than to find new and innoative ways to denigrate their women.

SuperRaizy said...

Wait a minute- I like tesyaa's answer also.

Larry Lennhoff said...

Perhaps so that the (male) staff members don't have to interact with the mothers? Just let the kids go down alone - their mothers will take care of them.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the law of unintended consequences will motivate parents with any saychel to not send their children to this kind of outlandish camp.

aml said...

because its the Jewish taliban man. who's frumer than who (whom?)

OOC said...

Not that I am agreeing even remotely with this but maybe for those in the camp that don't want to see women and tell their mothers not to come.

Ezzie said...

To be fair... it's *possible* that they simply don't want women walking around the bunkhouses where people might be changing, dressed more casually, etc. I'd ask the camp, actually.

Rationale said...

I think Ezzie is actually right. I went to camp. I hated it when other people's mothers came into the bunk. I felt like it was a violation of my privacy. How would you like it if a whole group of women from your neighborhood just stormed into your house one day and started milling around your bedroom? I applaud this and think all camps should do this. All this tznius stuff you guys are talking about is missing the mark entirely.

G said...

i would imagine this has more to do with the employees of the camps than the actual campers themselves.

The Hedyot said...

The argument about it being privacy for people in the bunkhouses is bogus, because they didn't forbid "family members", only women. If they were concerned about people not coming into the bunks, then fathers and brothers should not be allowed either.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they are not really concerned with the mothers, but what about the teenage girls that come along?

aml said...

so then don't let them in the bunks. But to set up a tent outside the camp is unbelievably insulting.

Ahavah Gayle said...

A reason? yes. Logical? yes, to their way of thinking. Reasonable to any intellectually honest person? No.

-suitepotato- said...

ezzie: "To be fair... it's *possible* that they simply don't want women walking around the bunkhouses where people might be changing, dressed more casually, etc. I'd ask the camp, actually."

To be fair, these are mothers who saw the boys in question wearing nothing at all in the bath not long ago.

It's odd, all the permutations of weird behavior when what is right takes a back seat to who is right.

aaron from L.A. said...

To Critical Mass: You hit the nail right on the head...Brilliant!

Mike S. said...

I am too stunned to offer much comment.

When they were tehorot and had business there (which is the same rule for men) women were permitted in the Azarah in the Beit HaMikdash.

Rationale said...

Hedyot- what the heck are you talking about? Can't you understand the difference between men and women walking into the bunk?

ProfK said...

There is of course a practical answer to the absurdity this camp unleashed--don't send your kids back, and make sure they know why. As a parent I would be very suspicious of a camp that didn't allow parents to "inspect" the bunks on visiting day. They might be spouting tsnius reasons but I would wonder mightily just what it was that they didn't want moms to be seeing. The poor condition of the bunks? Missing laundry? Overcrowding? A bathroom long over due for a cleaning?

Ezzie said...

SP - Come on. There's a huge difference between a 2-year old and his own mom and a 12-year old and someone else's!

Lion of Zion said...

EZZIE:

"it's *possible* that they simply don't want women walking around the bunkhouses where people might be changing, dressed more casually, etc."

no, it's not *possible*. i was a camper for 5 years and a staff member for 2. i can say with certainty that no one ever changed in the bunk on the visiting day when it was clear that guests were walking in and out. and i don't even know what you mean by "more casually," but it's still irrelevant.

PROFK:

"There is of course a practical answer to the absurdity this camp unleashed--don't send your kids back, and make sure they know why."

get real. if the parents can put up with this crap for ten months with the schools, what's another two months with the camps?

Erachet said...

As a parent I would be very suspicious of a camp that didn't allow parents to "inspect" the bunks on visiting day. They might be spouting tsnius reasons but I would wonder mightily just what it was that they didn't want moms to be seeing. The poor condition of the bunks? Missing laundry? Overcrowding? A bathroom long over due for a cleaning?

I'm not a parent, but I agree with this comment. Having had a sibling in a few unacceptable bunk situations, it's important the parents are aware of these things.

ProfK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ProfK said...

Wolf,
Any yeshiva my son would have attended that would have barred my entrance into the school building would have been my son's ex-yeshiva in the blink of an eye.

Camp, unlike schooling, is not mandatory, and a camp survives only if the campers pay--to my knowledge there are no big donators underwriting the cost of camps. They are much more susceptible to economic boycotts. And there are enough of the boys camps to choose from that don't have this nonesense of banning mothers from the grounds.

Lion of Zion said...

PROFK:

not that i care, but this is the 3rd time you are confusing wolf and lion. i know the SI zoo doesn't have wolves or lions, but still . . .

ProfK said...

Lion,
This time the confusion arose over etiquette rather than having a senior moment. It's Wolf's blog and your comment. So, does one address Wolf or you? I'm going to avoid the problem in the future in that time honored way--I won't address either of you. Could we just blame this all on Emily Post or Miss Manners?

Lion of Zion said...

PROFK:

eitquette, shmetiquette.
it's a blog.

NotOnMyDime said...

"Camp, unlike schooling, is not mandatory, and a camp survives only if the campers pay--to my knowledge there are no big donators underwriting the cost of camps."

Except that some camps send out tzedaka letters and have telemarketers call, asking for $ to send the boys out of the city. When a Camp Morris telemarketer called me this year, I said, "Take my name off your list. I'm not supporting anything having to do with Chaim Berlin after the sheitel store ban," and hung up.