Grown men should not be spitting or yelling verbal abuse at 8 year old girls*. I don’t care what your religion says, don’t take it out on a child. Protest to her parents, protest to her religious leader – if you must. But leave the child alone.
Please note: this is not an anti-religion thread, this is about how to have a respectful conversation about religious needs.
*The TV broadcast talked about spitting, the on-line version says only verbal assault.
SotBO: yes I am aware that worse things happen to 8 year olds every day.
Categories: Culture, culture wars, ethics & philosophy, parties and factions, religion, violence
It’s not just spitting. They’ve thrown rotten eggs, excrement, nappies, and rotten fruit and veg. They’ve also screamed abuse at the girls, calling them ‘whore’, ‘shikse’ (non jew), ‘prutza’ (slut) and have accused the girls of deliberately attempting to sexually entrap men with their (incredibly modest) attire. It’s terrifying.
Failedmessiah.com has commentary about the ongoing (for years) situation. It’s a jewish site, from a jewish perspective, and that can be very helpful in cutting through the “But! Religion!” thoughts that can nag at some of us.
Worse things might happen to 8 year olds every day, but to argue that somehow makes less what has happened here is absurd.
Thanks for the alert, Mindy. You post has inspired me to write my own post about this.
The thing is, according to my admittedly incomplete understanding of ultra-Orthodox Judaism, that modesty is about behaviour as well as dress (something that applies to men, too), that not humiliating people in public or slandering them are very important religious requirements, and that parents are responsible for their children’s adherence to the law until they reach maturity. So there’s really no excuse for treating a girl like this – a respectful discussion about religious needs would have been facilitated by following the precepts of the religion in question…!
Sadly Chally, while your understanding of the modesty rules is right, these Haredi men believe that women (any female over three) are inherently lascivious, and responsible for the downfall of men.
The main sect in question causing strife in Beit Shemesh (the Gur hassidim) have an extreme view of male/female interaction that insists that women are only to be touched physically once a month (immediately after immersion in a ritual bath, the mikveh) in order to procreate and to bear boys. Girls are considered to be pointless and dirty. Gur don’t even allow any sexual contact outside of PIV (no kissing, no touching, and all interaction has to be cleared by a ‘komandant’ in advance) as it would sully the man, and prevent him from learning torah effectively. The gedolim, the Chief Rabbis, endorse this view that female immodesty causes all bad things in the world. So if men have grown up hearing that daily, then that produces this kind of mindset where little girls are evil temptresses!
If you google “taliban women” or “rabbanit keren” you’ll see that there are some women who’ve decided that they should never be seen, heard or interacted with, lest they delay the redemption with their ‘filthy’ bodies. It’s like going down a rabbit hole of stringencies upon stringencies.
I would like to ride in on my white feminist high horse and ‘save’ all these women by taking them out of this community all together. Then the men that study the Torah all day and rely on their wives to keep the house, work to pay all the bills and bear all their sons (+ the sons that actually turn out to be daughters that, when they are of age, might marry ofther men of the community) might just actually twig that women are just a little bit important to their way of life. Since I can’t do that, I will be content with shaking my head and saying “I don’t even…”
Aaand now they’re stoning children in wheelchairs…
Chair using kids who dare leave their houses over the Sabbath are being pelted with rocks, eggs and shit. One kid even displayed the heter (permission from her rabbi) she has to use her chair ON her chair, and it made no difference.
poor little buggers. Bad enough being born disabled into haredism, without this.
I think it’s important to note that some of the most significant resistence to this phenomenon in Israel is coming from Orthodox Jewish women, as noted in this article:
Unfortunately, the article I quoted here doesn’t actually go and interview modern Orthodox feminist women, and let them speak for themselves. It does, however, take a look at some criticisms of this sort of misogyny from a Haredi perspective, so I recommend reading the whole thing.
Although I’m sure that there are probably cultural sublteties that I’m missing here, and I don’t want to say that these two situations are cultural equivalents, I’m also struck by resonances with this recent case regarding the 15 year old girl subjected to sexual harrassment on redditt for daring to post a picture of her face. While there may be different cultural connotations in both cases, they both start with “You let us see you, therefore you deserve the abuse.”
Great article by Leslie Cannold – although there may be some disagreement over the lines she draws between racism and sexism.
The first comment I read was of the ‘feminism has failed because FGM’ variety, so be warned reading comments may be bad for your health.
Especially since a quick Google, which I just performed, would have told her that the people of Beta Israel consider the term Falasha derogatory, and it is a term specific to them from an Ethiopian tongue, not to mention that black Jews, believe it or not, don’t all come from the same ethnic group.
Not to mention that, hey, Jews of Ethiopian extraction – a set of groups which includes women and girls – face a lot of discrimination in Israel, too. A seriously bad analogy.
Thanks Chally, not a derail at all. The comparison between the sexism and racism didn’t sit well with me but I couldn’t explain why. Seems that Leslie and I both need to work on our white privilege a bit (assuming that Leslie is white of course as I don’t know her background).
And now, they’re adding new punch to “Feminazi”:
from Al Jazeera