Tuesday, November 01, 2011

"Even An Eight Year Old Draws My Eyes..."

As many of you are probably aware, there has been a battle going on surrounding the Orot school for girls in Beit Shemesh.  The short version of the story is as follows:

The town of Beit Shemesh had been planning a new girls' religious-Zionist school for several years.  Eventually, they were given a parcel of land and began building.  Before the building could be completed, a new chareidi neighborhood opened up in Beit Shemesh adjacent to the parcel of land where the school was being built.  By the time the school was ready to open this past September, the chareidi neighborhood was flourishing.

Various elements within the chareidi community did not want the school located adjacent to their community.  They decided that the girls' manner of dress, while in strict accordance with halacha, did not meet their standards.  After trying to bring political pressure to bear, they attempted to occupy the building before the school year started.  When that failed, they began daily protests outside the school, shouting insults such as "whore" at the girls, who are aged 6-12.

I hadn't heard anything about this after the Yomim Tovim and (perhaps naively) assumed that the battle had ended.  Apparently, I was wrong.  An article appeared yesterday in The Guardian, indicating that this is still going on.  The extreme elements within the chareidi community are still protesting and yelling at the girls, as well as otherwise making trouble in Beit Shemesh.

I detect a certain amount of hypocrisy in the position of the extremist chareidi mindset.  They demand that others be sensitive to their customs and mores.  For example, they ask that if women come through their neighborhoods, they do so dressed modestly.  Personally, I don't have too much of  a problem with such a request.  "When in Rome..." the saying goes, "... do as the Romans do."  A visitor should be sensitive to the cultural norms of the places where s/he visits.

But yet, the chareidim can't or won't respect the cultural norms of others.  They move into an established community and then begin protesting if the established residents don't meet their standards of behavior.  It doesn't matter to them that the school was planned for that spot long before they arrived.... they're there now and that's all that matters to them.  In short, their attitude it "when we're here first, live by our rules.  When you're here first, live by our rules."   Interestingly enough, in Judaism, we have a name for that sort of attitude.  The Mishna in Avos puts it very succinctly:  [One who says] what's yours is mine and what's mine is mine [indicates the] type of behavior of S'dom.

Interestingly enough, there may well be another S'dom connection here.  One of the reasons brought down for the punishment of S'dom was sexual abnormality.  It seems we have that here too.  When Rabbi Dov Lipman, a community activist, asked one of the protesters why he was protesting the manner in which a little girl dresses, he responded that "even an eight-year old draws my eyes."

There is a word for people who think about eight year-olds in a sexual manner.  Deviant and pervert are two of the milder ones that come to mind.  I think that it is obvious that there are deviant and perverted people among the protesters, and that perhaps the chareidi community should look within itself to weed these people out.

The Wolf

13 comments:

Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

Some Chareidim are incapable of respecting the standards of others because they define their standards as the only acceptable level which means any deviation is not a different custom but an outright violation of Jewish law.
That and they like looking at little Jewish girls in sandals.

tesyaa said...

Some Chareidim are incapable of respecting the standards of others because they define their standards as the only acceptable level which means any deviation is not a different custom but an outright violation of Jewish law.

Garnel, some non-chareidi Orthodox Jews do the same thing.

Menachem Lipkin said...

Wolf, that comment is not surprising at all. Many psychologists I've spoken to say that the behavior of these extremists - obsession with "modesty" and violent behavior - are very strong indicators for repressed sexual aggression. It this thus highly likely that their children and/or wives are at a much greater risk for abuse.

ksil said...

"They decided that the girls' manner of dress, while in strict accordance with halacha, did not meet their standards."

not too their standards...everyone has their lines...these are across theirs....i am sure you have your lines too (with tsniut, or other things)

ultimately, live and let live is something you value, but they do not.

G*3 said...

> But yet, the chareidim can't or won't respect the cultural norms of others.

Can’t at least as a society. As Garnel said, they see Chareidi standards as correct, and obviously so. Different cultural norms cannot be tolerated, because anyone who doesn’t keep to their standards is WRONG. To use an extreme example, we don’t respect the cultural norms of cultures that condone ritual murder or ritual suicide.

> There is a word for people who think about eight year-olds in a sexual manner. Deviant and pervert are two of the milder ones that come to mind.

I’ve often thought that halachos related to sex were written by people with a stronger-than-average sex drive who assumed (as most people do) that everyone was like themselves.

Freud would say they’re projecting. I’m more of a cognitive-behavioralist. I think that this is a society that, in the name of modesty, sexualizes women starting from the age of three, when girls are not allowed to touch even their own brothers. So of when a protester says, "even an eight-year old draws my eyes" it’s probably not that he’s a pedophile, but that he’s been conditioned to find a woman not dressed in the Chareidi manner alluring, no matter her age. Worse, he’s been conditioned to think that noticing women in even a slightly sexual context – noting that she’s attractive, or seeing skin usually covered in the Chareidi dress code – is an evil he must guard against, and that women who provoke the slightest whiff of a sexual thought are succubae tempting him to sin.

Sadly, I know guys, good, sincere people who would never dream of shouting insults at little girls, who struggle because they were taught that if they so much as notice that a woman is attractive they’ve committed a terrible sin.

Menachem Lipkin said...

"Different cultural norms cannot be tolerated, because anyone who doesn’t keep to their standards is WRONG."

Hence the reason it was insane for them to move into a diverse city. If your standards are so restrictive it is incumbent on you to isolate yourself and not to impose those standards are those around you.

"Sadly, I know guys, good, sincere people who would never dream of shouting insults at little girls, who struggle because they were taught that if they so much as notice that a woman is attractive they’ve committed a terrible sin."

If they are truly sincere, they would find a place to live where they would not be so tempted.

G*3 said...

> If they are truly sincere, they would find a place to live where they would not be so tempted.

That’s unfair. I’m not talking about Israeli Chareidim, but about guys my age who went through the yeshiva system. For the most part, they work and live normal lives, but yeshivish indoctrination has left them with this issue.

FunnyAndJewish.com said...

A key point to this sad story that has not yet been addressed, is that it simply reeks of a massive chilul HaShem...good intentions be damned!

Travis said...

"They decided that the girls' manner of dress, while in strict accordance with halacha, did not meet their standards."

That is not correct. Agree or disagree, their position is that the girls do NOT dress in accordance with halacha.

Travis said...

It doesn't matter to them that the school was planned for that spot long before they arrived

This is also not correct.

The previous Mayor purposefully planned the school there to stick it to the Chareidim. He knew this would be the result.

AnDat said...

In Avos, it says that "sheli sheli v'shelcha sheli" [what's yours is mine and what's mine is mine] is the midah of a rasha, not of Sodom. (The midah of Sodom mentioned in this mishna is a "yesh omrim" [secondary opinion] on "sheli sheli v'shelcha shelcha" [What's mine is mine and what's yours is yours] - originally described as beinoni [intermediate level].)

Anonymous said...

I know the area very well. To get to the school (entrance) you do not have to pass by the extremists. The school yard can be seen by the extremists (maybe yeshiva courtyard). that is what bothers them. just remember, these are not regular chareidim, these are pple that Look for issues all the time. thats their goal in life. "TO change our wicked ways and save us from burning in ...."

Anonymous said...

nice post

walla