Sunday, December 21, 2008

They're At It Again! This Time It's Separate...

... checkout lines at the grocery store.

You know, for the crowd who likes to scream "HaChadash assur min HaTorah" (that which is new is forbidden by the Torah) at every technical innovation, they never seem to frown at new ways of keeping men and women separate. Separate sides of the sidewalk? Separate seating on buses? Separate checkout lines at a grocery store? Yeesh, where are we headed?

One wonders where this is ultimately going to lead. Anyone want to take bets on how long it'll be before any of the following happens?

-- Separate weddings -- the kallah will send a shliach (messenger) to accept the kiddushin from the chosson. Separate receptions (in separate buildings) will be held for men and for women. The only time that a man might see a woman at all during the night is when the chosson and kallah arrive at their new home after the simcha.

-- Separate seating at the Shabbos table -- families will now have to eat the Shabbos meal separately. This is especially true if there are non-family guests who are invited over. A system will have to be devised so that men and women do not meet accidently in the kitchen while retrieving food for their separate dining rooms.

-- Single gender Parent-Teacher meetings -- only parents of the same gender as the teacher/rebbi will be allowed to meet with the teacher/rebbi. IOW, only fathers should go to meet their son's rebbeim, while only mothers should meet their daughter's teachers or son's pre-school moros (the issue of female pre-school teachers for boys will be addressed in the future).

-- Separate seating at restaraunts -- I'm sure it must be extremely unmodest to have women sitting out in the open while eating out with their families. After all, men from other families can ogle them from their seats. The only solution to this is to institute separate seating at restaurants.

All kidding aside, I think the best remark I've seen on this (and chumors in generals) came from a YWN commentator named gamzultova. He (she?) said:

When you make the derech 1 mm wide, don’t be surprised when more and more people fall off it.

How true.

The Wolf

22 comments:

ProfK said...

Wolf,
Don't know whether to laugh or to cry, because the things you mentioned are already in existence in some places already. New Skver--choson and kallah under the chupah together and then separate halls a few blocks apart for the wedding dinner. A "suggestion" from a boys yeshiva ketana in this region that mothers are not the "best" people to be coming to meet the rebbis, nor should fathers be meeting with moros. In Israel a few restaurants that have a mechitza for separate dining. Shabbos Sheva Brochos given in someone's house with separate tables for men and women--usually one or two tables in the dining room and the others in the living room--we refused an invitation to such a sheva brochos.

Heck, if we're going to be so makpid, then why not separate houses for the males and females of a family? And to really carry this to its extreme end, let's adopt artificial insemination--the males and females would never have to see each other ever. Halevi that those who deal in chumra mongering would leave the derech even 1mm wide; they're heading towards obliterating the derech altogether.

Ahavah Gayle said...

"Separate seating at the Shabbos table -- families will now have to eat the Shabbos meal separately. This is especially true if there are non-family guests who are invited over. A system will have to be devised so that men and women do not meet accidently in the kitchen while retrieving food for their separate dining rooms."

Don't laugh on this one - both my grandmother and her sister did this very thing - carried down from their mother, Sarah Cline. The men and older boys all sat at the nice dining room table and got the nice china and silver, and the women, girls and young kids sat at a large folding table laid out in another room specifically for that purpose during family gatherings for holidays and sabbaths. And of course us girls got paper plates and plasticware. So don't give anyone any ideas - I have made a conscious effort to defy this custom of my family and don't intend to go back to it. I enjoy eating meals with the family all together. I have no intention of going back to the old way.

Jersey said...

gamzultova's comment is amazing.

And, to echo ProfK, I've seen separate restaurants already, in Monsey. How long until that becomes mainstream?

Ahavah Gayle said...

My husband says the separate housing idea wouldn't work - since the women make all the money, the guys would get cold and hungry after a while and give it up. He suggests something more like Shaker buildings, where everything is split down the middle in duplicate, mirror images, one side for women and the other for men.

ProfK said...

Wouldn't work Ahavah Gayle unless those Shaker houses were divided by iron bars topped with razor barbed wire and with specially encrypted keycards that would only work for authorized personnel during certain authorized times during a month. I suppose we could have a meal tray slot like they do in other prisons, so the "condemned" could still eat occasionally.

G6 said...

I guess all the previous posters beat me to the punch in telling you that these sad situations are very much a reality already in some cirles.
I myself have garnered stares in a pizza shop in Williamsburg when my husband sat with me on the "wrong" side.
I too have heard from some chassidishe women that they don't like to invite Shabbos guests because that would mean that they would have to eat in the kitchen...
It's a sad, sad world......
My husband keeps reminding me not to judge the religion by those who practice it.

Anonymous said...

But weren't the Shakers celibate? Or did I just miss the joke?

Mikeinmidwood said...

Before you know it the Equator will become one big mechitza. Animals will also be forbidden to be with the other gender. In fact the food you eat will have to have a mechitza, so as not to have female steak next to male. Someone should write a book 2084 where the whole world is charedi.

Ezzie said...

Oy...

Ezzie said...

BTW - my previous word verification was "peledic". I thought that was pretty funny. (This one is diareo, which is also kinda funny, but in a more juvenile way.)

Larry Lennhoff said...

I already know one Israeli Chareidi woman who thinks women eating in a public restaurant is untzniut.

G said...

Someone should write a book 2084 where the whole world is charedi.

::walks down the hall and knocks on boss' office door::

-Just wanted to let you know that today will be my last day.

--What?!?! Why?

::looking off into the distance::
-I...I have received my calling...I finally know my reason for being here...

Lawyer-Wearing-Yarmulka said...

"Separate seating at the Shabbos table -- families will now have to eat the Shabbos meal separately."

Years ago, on his way up the Catskills one Shabbos, my father ran out of time and ended up in Kiryas Yoel. By the Friday night meal, he said that the men ate in the dining room and the women were in a room to the side. The women would come to the door to hear kiddush and hamotzei. During the meal, a woman would approach the door with the food, and a younger boy would carry it into the dining room.

My father later asked if this was done because he was there, and was told no.

BrooklynWolf said...

Yeeesh. Clearly I'm behind in my chumros. I had no idea that all four things that I had written about in jest are, in some places, reality. The only one, it seems that hasn't come true yet, is mandating that the kallah not be at the wedding. Anyone want to place bets for how long until that one happens?

The Wolf

BlackEyedP said...

An outsiders view of this? Horrible, horrible, horrible. I hope that one day your women wake up and rebel. I hope they all fall off. Wow. I don't understand at all. Reform Judaism has the right idea. Enough of this slavery and abuse.

Ezzie said...

At charedi weddings the chosson/kallah don't really see each other after yichud/pics.

ZachM said...

BlackEyedP.

While I understand your sentiment--that this type of Judaism seems horrible, and enslaving, and disgusting (which is completely true by the way)-- your conclusion is incorrect. This isn't reflective in any way of the more broad Modern Orthodox community. I, as a Modern Orthodox Zionist Jew find this abhorrent as well. I hope you will rethink your statement that you hope Jewish women "all fall off."

Moreover, i think that if you investigate into the more *sane* forms of Judaism you may find something that truly inspires.

And also, to the Wolf--I think you should put a disclaimer on these articles that they do not reflect the views of all, or even most, religious Jews.

BlackEyedP said...

ZachM:

Actually, I have been studying the more "sane" forms of Judaism for some time now, which is what brought me to this circle of Ortho (and non-Ortho) sites. I wanted to see where the beautiful modern versions of Judaism came from and I have to tell you - what I have seen has scared me away quite a bit. At one point I was even questioning if I should convert but I have discovered that I think I should remain separate and practice those traditions that feel right to me on my own (like lighting candles on Shabbat or giving to charity) It's a shame. I have reached out to several Jewish communities recently and have not received a very warm welcome...for an outsider, non-jew like me.

Anonymous said...

Many of these things have been reality for years. At all of the Chassidish weddings I've been to, the choson and kallah are in separate rooms after the chupah. The women just get a speaker from the band's soud system, and the kallah can hover next to the door to at the end of the wedding to hear sheva brochos. When I was in high school (about 12 years ago) I went to a chassidish family for a shabbos lunch, and I was surprised that the lady of the hopuse ate in the kitchen while her husband and guests ate at the dining room table. At the time I didn't really get what was going on.
It is scary. Last Shabbos I was talking with my brother, a really yeshivish guy, and he actually claimed that in an ideal world women would never have to be seen by men, and that, in fact, by their nature they would prefer it that way. It is only because we don't live in an ideal world that we have to 'allow' women to be out in the world. And he was sincere! And his wife was sitting right next to him!

G*3

ZachM said...

Please, everyone, we know that these aren't rational approaches, do not make sense, and are completely abhorrent, but only some of us know that it is not the norm. Living in a modern orthodox community, i have been privileged to live with common sense, a strong sense of values, and equality and I truly believe that these are the sentiments of most Jews--not the crazy separatist views portrayed by those ultra-orthodox (though i do not like this designation, as it makes them seem more right, when all they are is ridiculously extreme and wrong); however, many especially *outsiders* looking in do not know this! Imagine how we Jews look to others who see posts like this! If i did not know that this was a small minority, i myself would be turned off of Judaism! Please, everyone, in your posts we could avoid a huge Chillul Hashem by pointing out that these outlandish customs are just that--outlandish--to the rest of the Orthodox community!

BrooklynWolf said...

Zach,

Thanks for your comment. You make some valid points, although, in the end, I have to disagree with you. I felt your point was important enough to address as a post on it's own.

The post where I address your point is here.

The Wolf

mrsrbs said...

I am late to the comment board, but thought you might find this interesting.

We attented my cousin's wedding about a month ago (in Israel). this particular cousin became very chassidish and naturally there was a mitzvah tantz at the end of the wedding.

Here is what my husband noticed and commented on:

1.the grandfather came up first to dance with the kallah. Noting that the kallah was looking down (for tznius reasons), the (Swiss, not chassidish) grandfather lifted up her chin and demanded that she look at him. He also did not use a gartel and actually held her hand.
2. next came her father. He did not make her look at him, but held onto the other side of the gartel and danced with her while looking at her.
3. finally came her brothers. guess what they did? they held the gartel, did not look at her, AND !!!!!!!! turned to the side so that just in case they would look up, they wouldn't look AT her.

My husband was completely flabbergasted and naturally disgusted. Mind you, this is his side of the family (the chosson).

Care to take at guess at the next level of mitzvah tantz chumrahs?

He almost got up and left when they started to put down the 'medinah'...