Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Great Comment on Yeshiva World News

YWN has a story about the upcoming protest in Yerushalayim against Egged regarding the lack of Mehadrin buses.

I don't want to start a debate on whether Mehadrin buses are a good idea or a bad idea. What I do want to focus on is a comment made by someone on YWN. "Lo taasu keyn" writes as follows:

Though I thoroughly disagree with the concept of sending women to the back of the bus, or treating them with less than the utmost respect, I understand and accept that a significant proportion of residents of Yerushalayim want such arrangements. I’d suggest one thing. Remember where you are. You had the opportunity to elect a charedi Mayor who might have been able to create a compromise on this issue that you could live with. But you, as a community, chose to divide yourself with bickering and recrimination. The consequence was that you got a successful businessman, an intelligent and patriotic mayor, who, while not unfriendly to chareidim sees them as only one of a number of his constituencies.

Instead of demonstrating, if you really believe in this cause, educate your fellow citizens about who you are and what you advocate for in positive, constructive ways. Posters on rechov meah shearim in yiddish and burning dumpsters will change NO minds. Will create NO sympathy, and will be INEFFECTIVE.

Raboisai, that’s what change is about. Not taking out your frustrations, justified or not. Not berating those who disagree with you, or who don’t recognize the authority of Daas Torah to the same extent that you do. It’s about being effective, and that means taking the time and making the effort to create a significant enough constituency that it will have to be heard, and dealt fairly with. It may not succeed, but it stands a much better chance than the usual grievance theatre.

So, you have a choice. give a geshrai about gilui araios, disrespect to daas torah, and unfair treatment, blaming of course the evil tziyoni power structure, or actually do what everyone else in every democracy in the world has to do when they want change - convince enough people to support you through education, cooperation, and compromise that either the government has to listen or you have the wherewithal to change the government. Until then, stop whining.

I think it's an excellent point. However, I am very afraid that this will turn into an excersice of doing things "the wrong way." I've posted in the past about the right way and wrong way to effect change in people's behaviors and it seems to me that time after time after time, the chariedim choose the wrong way. They choose the wrong way to communicate the message about shmiras shabbos, the ehrich way of dealing with people and, sadly, the proper way to observe the mitzvah of tznius.

Many a commentator have pointed out on my blog that the true purpose of these behaviors is not to encourage observance of whatever precept is the cause de jure, but rather to simply reinforce the behavior for their own members. However, to me, that always seems to do more harm than good. If they really want to encourage greater observance of tznius, they'd do well to follow what "Lo taasu keyn" recommends.

They might also do well to speak the truth regarding what is halacha and what is merely a chumra. Stating that separate seating in public transportation is *required* by halacha is just simply wrong -- as thousands (if not millions) of Jews around the world ride mixed-gender public transportation throughout the year with no halachic qualms whatsoever. Perhaps part of the reason that no one takes them seriously is because the people they are trying to influence understand that the chariedim are making a mountain out of a molehill.

The Wolf

5 comments:

Ezzie said...

All seriousness, the thing that sticks out is from the original posting on the subject that a friend pointed out:

The venue for the event is Shmuel HaNavi Street and Shiftei Yisrael Street, the location of the number 2 bus suicide bombing attack in Yerushalayim, in which 22 people perished Al Kiddush Hashem R”L on their way back from the Kosel.

The Vaad points an accusing finger at Egged Jerusalem and senior officials in the Transportation Ministry, for their continued adamant refusal to permit mehadrin bus service on the buses traveling to and from the Kosel. The organizers explain the site was chosen to highlight the fact that even mispalalim traveling to the Kosel must be permitted to do so within acceptable parameters of modesty, mehadrin buses.

The Vaad adds that despite the fact the suicide attack occurred about six years ago, Egged Yerushalayim remains adamant in its refusal to accommodate the growing demand for mehadrin bus service to the Kosel, and as a result, frum passengers are compelled to travel daily in crowded and immodest conditions.
If that's not basically saying the suicide bombing happened because of immodesty, I'm missing something. But that's really gross.

Manya Shochet said...

You can ride the bus without shoving and keep your eyes to yourself, or you can go by foot, by cab, or private car. Why is this everybody else's problem?

Mike S. said...

I believe you meant cause du jour, meaning "of the day" in French, rather than de jure meaning "by law" in Latin. In either case, there is no reason for the foreign expression when there is a perfectly good English phrase.

Still Wonderin' said...

The people of the book may be book smart, but they're pretty dumb in every other way.

BrooklynWolf said...

Mike,

Yep, you're right. My mistake... I meant du jour.

Thanks!

The Wolf