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Jerusalem - Top Israeli Orthodox Rabbi: Clinton Should Get Her Facts Right Segregated Buses Not Jewish Law

Published on: December 5, 2011 09:33 AM
Last updated on: December 5, 2011 11:31 AM
By: AP
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A billboard sign stating that woman must enter the public bus from the "second" door, while men enter from the main front door. Dec 4 2011. Photo by Uri Lenz/FLASH90 A billboard sign stating that woman must enter the public bus from the "second" door, while men enter from the main front door. Dec 4 2011. Photo by Uri Lenz/FLASH90

Jerusalem - Israel’s chief rabbi has ventured into the divisive question of gender segregation, saying such practices, adopted by some devout Jews, are not required by Jewish law.

Rabbi Shlomo Amar spoke on Monday after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was quoted by Israeli media as expressing shock over segregated buses and other practices adopted by ultra-Orthodox religious activists.

In a radio interview, Amar criticized these relatively new and controversial practices. He says people do these things for their own sake, but “it’s not Jewish law.”

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In recent months, radical activists have also cowed advertisers into removing images of women from billboards, shunted women onto separate sidewalks and walked out of military events were women were singing.

Amar is the spiritual leader of Jews of Sephardic — or Middle Eastern and North African — descent. Israel has a second chief rabbi who serves the Ashkenazi, or European-descended Jewish population.

With his comments, he became the most senior religious leader to step into an contentious debate over the nature of Israeli society, where ultra-Orthodox extremists have increasingly tried to impose their values on mainstream society. Ultra-Orthodox make up some 9 percent of Israel’s 5.9 million-strong Jewish population, which is overwhelmingly secular.

Clinton caused a furor in some circles over remarks she reportedly made in a closed-door session over the weekend expressing concerns over Israel’s democracy. According to Israeli media, Clinton was also appalled by the segregation of women by some elements in the ultra-Orthodox community.

Israel’s Supreme Court has outlawed gender segregation on buses and sidewalks, but some transit routes and public spaces remain segregated in practice.

Amar said Clinton’s knowledge of the situation was incomplete.

“If she were to learn from the right people ... she would know that the people of Israel respect women and turn them into veritable queens and princesses,” he said.

 


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1

 Dec 05, 2011 at 09:45 AM Anonymous Says:

This rabbi is serving Israel and knows our Laws and Hashems intent. Good for him. Some in Israel would wrap cellophane around their heads if thats what they thought that Torah was about.

2

 Dec 05, 2011 at 09:54 AM rebbe123 Says:

Just 2questions to this rabbi 1)why did the real chief rabbi R' yosef Chaim sonnenfeld make a taanis tzibur on the day of the creation of the rabanut that this rabbi is today the head of it? 2) was his predecessor Goren's PSsak regarding the 2 mamzeirim according to Jewish law?

3

 Dec 05, 2011 at 09:57 AM Briskerrav Says:

Why are u posting such news ? everyday that passes I feel more disgusted with the state if Israel.

If they would only hate the radical Arabs as much as they hate radical jews we would have a safer Israel...

4

 Dec 05, 2011 at 10:13 AM The leap to Talibanism Says:

The situation with the soldiers falls into a different category because it does involve halacha and a ruling must be obtained. The military should accommodate them, to excuse them, even if they wish to have such performances. It can be done without song and dance.
However, the meshugas with the buses and lines in supermarkets etc. is at the instigation of individuals, however well-intentioned they may be, who may be intimidating rabbinic leaders - It's tznius so what can be wrong. WELL, WHERE DO YOU THINK THE IMPETUS FOR THE "TALIBAN" WOMEN CAME FROM? MAKE THE WOMEN CRAZY AND PUSH THEM BEYOND THE PALE BY BLAMING THEM FOR EVERY CATASTROPHE THAT HAS HAPPENED TO KLAL YISRAEL!!!!

5

 Dec 05, 2011 at 10:29 AM inNY Says:

A sane Rabbi who says the the truth.. I won't be surprised that the radicals will form a protest in front of Rabbi Amar's house..

Rav Amar for those who know him, is a Gaon, and and 'Ish Emes' and Yeraih Shamyim.

6

 Dec 05, 2011 at 10:54 AM Yossi Says:

Im Bechikoysy Talychi....Just keep on ignoring the Torah and the Torah has spelled it all out ....With so many enemies aiming their weapons against eretz Yisroel we need more Racmy Shumayim then ever...The situation in eretz hakdoshe is very grave and we need more mitzvehs and shmires eyenyim then ever before and all the govt. wants is break the yiddishkeit as much they can..

7

 Dec 05, 2011 at 10:53 AM maxedout Says:

Sadly, we can all yell and scream, we will never change these crazy fanatics. the best we can do is ignore them. get on a bus and sit wherever you want. Bus drivers should be told that anyone that tries to intimidate any riders should be immediately thrown off the bus. period. sick mamzeirim.

8

 Dec 05, 2011 at 11:33 AM Segregation should be voluntary Says:

While segregation per-se may not be the actual law, it is recommended that men and women be separate and many frum people are more comfortable doing so. It should be done voluntarily without everyone making such a big fuss about the Mehadrin buses etc. If you want to travel on a Mehadrin bus, do so if not, don't.

9

 Dec 05, 2011 at 12:05 PM Anonymous Says:

There is a Rashi on this weeks parsha. Yaakov was punished for hiding Dina from Esav.
Halocho must be followed. Dont
make up eigener chumros.

10

 Dec 05, 2011 at 11:51 AM BaruchBendit Says:

Reply to #2  
rebbe123 Says:

Just 2questions to this rabbi 1)why did the real chief rabbi R' yosef Chaim sonnenfeld make a taanis tzibur on the day of the creation of the rabanut that this rabbi is today the head of it? 2) was his predecessor Goren's PSsak regarding the 2 mamzeirim according to Jewish law?

For your information, the "real chief rabbi" was Avraham Yitzchok HaKohen Kook, zt"l.

In addition, your nasty slight of HaRav Goren, zt"l. is totally sickening. Without HaRav Goren, there would be absolutely no Torah values in the IDF today.

Then, again, this is not a problem to the Cheredi world, as they don't serve in the IDF anyway. They prefer other people's sons to put themselves into harms way to protect Eretz Yisrael and Klal Yisrael.

11

 Dec 05, 2011 at 12:44 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Yossi Says:

Im Bechikoysy Talychi....Just keep on ignoring the Torah and the Torah has spelled it all out ....With so many enemies aiming their weapons against eretz Yisroel we need more Racmy Shumayim then ever...The situation in eretz hakdoshe is very grave and we need more mitzvehs and shmires eyenyim then ever before and all the govt. wants is break the yiddishkeit as much they can..

you are an am oretz!

12

 Dec 05, 2011 at 12:43 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
rebbe123 Says:

Just 2questions to this rabbi 1)why did the real chief rabbi R' yosef Chaim sonnenfeld make a taanis tzibur on the day of the creation of the rabanut that this rabbi is today the head of it? 2) was his predecessor Goren's PSsak regarding the 2 mamzeirim according to Jewish law?

why does he have to answer to you?

You believe you are already a rebbe, don't you?

13

 Dec 05, 2011 at 12:41 PM ish emmes Says:

Reply to #10  
BaruchBendit Says:

For your information, the "real chief rabbi" was Avraham Yitzchok HaKohen Kook, zt"l.

In addition, your nasty slight of HaRav Goren, zt"l. is totally sickening. Without HaRav Goren, there would be absolutely no Torah values in the IDF today.

Then, again, this is not a problem to the Cheredi world, as they don't serve in the IDF anyway. They prefer other people's sons to put themselves into harms way to protect Eretz Yisrael and Klal Yisrael.

your comments about Chareidi not serning is totally a complete sheker. Firstly, IDF
reported yesterday the highest enlistmett of Charedies in the army. Next year the
IDF will be Mehadrin Kosher. Lubavitch has also just signed an enlistment program
with the army. Hundreds upon hundreds of women are also in the idf.So stop bashing the Chareidim and get the honest facts.

14

 Dec 05, 2011 at 12:40 PM shredready Says:

Reply to #6  
Yossi Says:

Im Bechikoysy Talychi....Just keep on ignoring the Torah and the Torah has spelled it all out ....With so many enemies aiming their weapons against eretz Yisroel we need more Racmy Shumayim then ever...The situation in eretz hakdoshe is very grave and we need more mitzvehs and shmires eyenyim then ever before and all the govt. wants is break the yiddishkeit as much they can..

maybe
but does has nothing to do with the craziness of separate setting in buses and separate lines and so on

15

 Dec 05, 2011 at 12:40 PM Reb Yid Says:

Reply to #2  
rebbe123 Says:

Just 2questions to this rabbi 1)why did the real chief rabbi R' yosef Chaim sonnenfeld make a taanis tzibur on the day of the creation of the rabanut that this rabbi is today the head of it? 2) was his predecessor Goren's PSsak regarding the 2 mamzeirim according to Jewish law?

But Rav Sonnenfeld never instituted separate sidewalks.

16

 Dec 05, 2011 at 12:38 PM CommonSense Says:

Reply to #3  
Briskerrav Says:

Why are u posting such news ? everyday that passes I feel more disgusted with the state if Israel.

If they would only hate the radical Arabs as much as they hate radical jews we would have a safer Israel...

We cannot control radical arabs..but we could control ourselves..

17

 Dec 05, 2011 at 01:24 PM Monseyboy Says:

Wow! Lots of pent up feelings flowing here.

18

 Dec 05, 2011 at 12:46 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Segregation should be voluntary Says:

While segregation per-se may not be the actual law, it is recommended that men and women be separate and many frum people are more comfortable doing so. It should be done voluntarily without everyone making such a big fuss about the Mehadrin buses etc. If you want to travel on a Mehadrin bus, do so if not, don't.

nope, sorry! if YOU want to sit separately, do, and if you don't, don't.

take care of your own observance, don't worry so much about everyone else's.

o you not fly on planes if they are not s4egregated? shop in stores?

get over it!

19

 Dec 05, 2011 at 12:49 PM Ich sheym zich nisht Says:

Reply to #3  
Briskerrav Says:

Why are u posting such news ? everyday that passes I feel more disgusted with the state if Israel.

If they would only hate the radical Arabs as much as they hate radical jews we would have a safer Israel...

The modis operandi of Labor has been to picture the religious Jews as "parasites and not serving in the army."They won the elections for decades using this scare tactic. What are the facts? many studies have shown the most disctriminated group for employment in Israel has been religious Jews. All that is changing .
You are correct about this sinas chinom!!!!

20

 Dec 05, 2011 at 01:32 PM Phineas Says:

Reply to #2  
rebbe123 Says:

Just 2questions to this rabbi 1)why did the real chief rabbi R' yosef Chaim sonnenfeld make a taanis tzibur on the day of the creation of the rabanut that this rabbi is today the head of it? 2) was his predecessor Goren's PSsak regarding the 2 mamzeirim according to Jewish law?

Why don't you deal with the sugya in front of you instead of trying to divert attention from the fact that a respected Rav has echoed the view of many that segregated buses are not halachically required.

21

 Dec 05, 2011 at 01:47 PM Sheindy Says:

To all my American Brothers and Sisters,
I love sitting on a Mehadrin bus. I can daven or say tehillim, I can look out of the window or talk to my neighbor. I feel much more comfortable surrounded by ladies and girls. The men in the front learn, read, talk with each other and don't need to worry about who is going to sit next to them. It's a mechaiah to be on a Mehadrin bus. What is all the fuss about?

22

 Dec 05, 2011 at 01:57 PM Anonymous Says:

There would be no segregated buses in Israel if it was not for America.

23

 Dec 05, 2011 at 02:10 PM Anonymous Says:

Segregated buses is not new-they have had them for years. It may not be against halacha but in matters of tznius, there is a matter of going beyond the letter of the law to safeguard kedushas Yisroel.

24

 Dec 05, 2011 at 02:13 PM rebbe123 Says:

Reply to #10  
BaruchBendit Says:

For your information, the "real chief rabbi" was Avraham Yitzchok HaKohen Kook, zt"l.

In addition, your nasty slight of HaRav Goren, zt"l. is totally sickening. Without HaRav Goren, there would be absolutely no Torah values in the IDF today.

Then, again, this is not a problem to the Cheredi world, as they don't serve in the IDF anyway. They prefer other people's sons to put themselves into harms way to protect Eretz Yisrael and Klal Yisrael.

Go get ur info straight first R' sonnenfeld was chief rabbi from the late 1800 n kook only came in Jerusalem in the 1920's against the will of the majority of the community 2) maybe u should take a pig to a shochet in YOUR eyes it might b kosher the same is with the idf and I won't retreat from my statement that goren was a matir mamzerim

25

 Dec 05, 2011 at 03:34 PM bk Says:

Reply to #21  
Sheindy Says:

To all my American Brothers and Sisters,
I love sitting on a Mehadrin bus. I can daven or say tehillim, I can look out of the window or talk to my neighbor. I feel much more comfortable surrounded by ladies and girls. The men in the front learn, read, talk with each other and don't need to worry about who is going to sit next to them. It's a mechaiah to be on a Mehadrin bus. What is all the fuss about?

Sheindy, I am honestly confused about what prevents you from "davening, saying Tehillim, looking out the window or talking to your neighbor" on a non-Mehadrin bus. Could you please answer? Thanks.

26

 Dec 05, 2011 at 03:38 PM Anonymous Says:

This is why I am against the rabbanut being government - there should be freedom of religion - if meah shearim want to be extra frum what business does the rabbanut have to say its wrong? Nobody is planning to turn all of israel to meah shearim

27

 Dec 05, 2011 at 03:41 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
BaruchBendit Says:

For your information, the "real chief rabbi" was Avraham Yitzchok HaKohen Kook, zt"l.

In addition, your nasty slight of HaRav Goren, zt"l. is totally sickening. Without HaRav Goren, there would be absolutely no Torah values in the IDF today.

Then, again, this is not a problem to the Cheredi world, as they don't serve in the IDF anyway. They prefer other people's sons to put themselves into harms way to protect Eretz Yisrael and Klal Yisrael.

You may have forgotten (or may be too young to recall) that Rav Weis - the then-Raavad of the Eidah Haredis, and a world-famous posek, declared at a protest meeting against that 'ruling' of Goren that 'it is not Torah; it may be read in the toilet'. Several senior Rabbonim resigned from the Rabbanut over that 'ruling' including Rav Eliyashiv.

The Rabbinate was created as part of Weitzman's plan to gain control over the Old Yishuv. Rav Kook was installed as 'Chief Rabbi' by Rav Tokotzinski, without any reference to the haredi community in order to preserve his own personal stautus quo in the community as a descendent of the deceased Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Rav Shmuel Salant (by subjugating the remnant of Rav Salant's Beys Din to the Rabbinate). Neither the appointment not the Rabbinate itself was ever recognised by the Old Yishuv, and it led directly to the creation of the Eidah Haredis, of which Rav Zonnenfeld was Chief Rabbi.

28

 Dec 05, 2011 at 03:45 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
BaruchBendit Says:

For your information, the "real chief rabbi" was Avraham Yitzchok HaKohen Kook, zt"l.

In addition, your nasty slight of HaRav Goren, zt"l. is totally sickening. Without HaRav Goren, there would be absolutely no Torah values in the IDF today.

Then, again, this is not a problem to the Cheredi world, as they don't serve in the IDF anyway. They prefer other people's sons to put themselves into harms way to protect Eretz Yisrael and Klal Yisrael.

I am surprised that Rav Amar should say such a thing. For indeed, whilst there is no ruling that seating must be separate on buses, because there were no buses in those days, there are plenty of detailed rulings about sitting next to women whilst travelling in the Laws of Niddah (family purity), and it does not take a very great scholar to realise that sitting next to another woman is much worse than sitting next to one's own wife. Moreover, there is a ruling in the Laws of Hol HaMoed that the Beys Din of the city is obliged to engage wardens to separate men and women in parks and other public places where people gather.

29

 Dec 05, 2011 at 05:21 PM Ben Torah123 Says:

Reply to #2  
rebbe123 Says:

Just 2questions to this rabbi 1)why did the real chief rabbi R' yosef Chaim sonnenfeld make a taanis tzibur on the day of the creation of the rabanut that this rabbi is today the head of it? 2) was his predecessor Goren's PSsak regarding the 2 mamzeirim according to Jewish law?

Answer to question #1 It seems that you are the one lacking info. Just to enlighten you R. YC Sonnenfeld was not even born when the Chief Rabbinate or Rishon LeTzion was established in the year 1665 and has been going on ever since with the greatest gedolim heading and leading the Kehal. In summary he didn't fast in 1665 for the position R Amar is leading.
Answer to question #2 his predecessor was not R Goren.
You are mixing 2 parts of Judaism the Sephardim who held positions and lived there for many centuries that follow THE BEIS YOSEF. And the ashkenazim who came centuries later that felt a need to copy the Sephardim and have their own Chief Rabbis with R Goren as one of them which R sonnenfeld probably fasted for and who do not follow the law of Eretz Yisroel which should be the Beis Yosef but rather follow their own European approach. For that reason the bigger ashkenazic rabbis do not become chief rabbis while the sephardim do and have been doing although they too should follow shulchan aruch as the sephardim do that is the minhag of eretz yisroel.

30

 Dec 05, 2011 at 08:06 PM cool masmid Says:

Reply to #10  
BaruchBendit Says:

For your information, the "real chief rabbi" was Avraham Yitzchok HaKohen Kook, zt"l.

In addition, your nasty slight of HaRav Goren, zt"l. is totally sickening. Without HaRav Goren, there would be absolutely no Torah values in the IDF today.

Then, again, this is not a problem to the Cheredi world, as they don't serve in the IDF anyway. They prefer other people's sons to put themselves into harms way to protect Eretz Yisrael and Klal Yisrael.

And your nasty slight about chareidi jews is totally sickening too. Just so you know you were just 'malshin' spoke ill on all charedi Jews in Israel. How you can do Teshuvah is beyond me.

31

 Dec 05, 2011 at 11:21 PM harryw Says:

Reply to #10  
BaruchBendit Says:

For your information, the "real chief rabbi" was Avraham Yitzchok HaKohen Kook, zt"l.

In addition, your nasty slight of HaRav Goren, zt"l. is totally sickening. Without HaRav Goren, there would be absolutely no Torah values in the IDF today.

Then, again, this is not a problem to the Cheredi world, as they don't serve in the IDF anyway. They prefer other people's sons to put themselves into harms way to protect Eretz Yisrael and Klal Yisrael.

I haven't read such silly comments in a very long time.

1) torah and mitzvos in the IDF ranks. Wow, when was the last time u saw your eye doctor?

2) IDF is protecting the jews and israel. Is that the type of security you want your wife and kids to live in? How dumb are you. The wise will not send their kids on the battle front to die in a lost war. Only fanatics like you would send a child for sucide.

32

 Dec 06, 2011 at 02:00 AM rebbe123 Says:

Reply to #20  
Phineas Says:

Why don't you deal with the sugya in front of you instead of trying to divert attention from the fact that a respected Rav has echoed the view of many that segregated buses are not halachically required.

Respected by who?

33

 Dec 06, 2011 at 02:13 AM rebbe123 Says:

Reply to #29  
Ben Torah123 Says:

Answer to question #1 It seems that you are the one lacking info. Just to enlighten you R. YC Sonnenfeld was not even born when the Chief Rabbinate or Rishon LeTzion was established in the year 1665 and has been going on ever since with the greatest gedolim heading and leading the Kehal. In summary he didn't fast in 1665 for the position R Amar is leading.
Answer to question #2 his predecessor was not R Goren.
You are mixing 2 parts of Judaism the Sephardim who held positions and lived there for many centuries that follow THE BEIS YOSEF. And the ashkenazim who came centuries later that felt a need to copy the Sephardim and have their own Chief Rabbis with R Goren as one of them which R sonnenfeld probably fasted for and who do not follow the law of Eretz Yisroel which should be the Beis Yosef but rather follow their own European approach. For that reason the bigger ashkenazic rabbis do not become chief rabbis while the sephardim do and have been doing although they too should follow shulchan aruch as the sephardim do that is the minhag of eretz yisroel.

Ur totaly wrong- when rhe yishuv started it was only sfardim n they had their chief rabbis then when the ashkenazim came they had their own rabbonim but an official ashkenazi bais din was only founded in the time of R' Y.L. Of brisk and he appointed R' sonnenfeld 2 his position when R' shmuel salant was still rav. 2) the sfardim joined the rabbanut which was founded by kook 1 for sfardim 1 for ashkenazim

34

 Dec 06, 2011 at 05:02 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #29  
Ben Torah123 Says:

Answer to question #1 It seems that you are the one lacking info. Just to enlighten you R. YC Sonnenfeld was not even born when the Chief Rabbinate or Rishon LeTzion was established in the year 1665 and has been going on ever since with the greatest gedolim heading and leading the Kehal. In summary he didn't fast in 1665 for the position R Amar is leading.
Answer to question #2 his predecessor was not R Goren.
You are mixing 2 parts of Judaism the Sephardim who held positions and lived there for many centuries that follow THE BEIS YOSEF. And the ashkenazim who came centuries later that felt a need to copy the Sephardim and have their own Chief Rabbis with R Goren as one of them which R sonnenfeld probably fasted for and who do not follow the law of Eretz Yisroel which should be the Beis Yosef but rather follow their own European approach. For that reason the bigger ashkenazic rabbis do not become chief rabbis while the sephardim do and have been doing although they too should follow shulchan aruch as the sephardim do that is the minhag of eretz yisroel.

The position of Rishon LeTziyon was usurped by Weitzman and his cronies as part of an attempt to control the Old Yishuv by creating the Jerusalem Rabbinate. The Ashkenazim did not create the Rabbinate; it was created by Weitzman. The Old Yishuv had their own Beis Din, headed for decades by R Shemuel Salant, and towards the end of his life, by younger Rabbonim (who pre-deceased him). By the time he died, the Beis Din functioned without an official 'head' although the most seniour rabbi stood in as such. The Beis Din was controlled by family members of R Shemuel Salant who were determined to keep their status in the community - something that had financial implications as well - and they saw in Weitzman's plan an opportunity to do that, so they collaborated with him in founding the Chief Rabbinate in 1921, hoping to use their own institution as a bridge between it and the Old Yishuv. The attempt failed and the Old Yishuv created the Eida Hareidis in response.

35

 Dec 06, 2011 at 09:20 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #21  
Sheindy Says:

To all my American Brothers and Sisters,
I love sitting on a Mehadrin bus. I can daven or say tehillim, I can look out of the window or talk to my neighbor. I feel much more comfortable surrounded by ladies and girls. The men in the front learn, read, talk with each other and don't need to worry about who is going to sit next to them. It's a mechaiah to be on a Mehadrin bus. What is all the fuss about?

because YOU find it relaxing doesn't mean everyone else does. The world does NOT revolve around you!

36

 Dec 06, 2011 at 09:22 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #23  
Anonymous Says:

Segregated buses is not new-they have had them for years. It may not be against halacha but in matters of tznius, there is a matter of going beyond the letter of the law to safeguard kedushas Yisroel.

no, there is no such matter.

You can choose to do it for yourself if you like, but you do not have the right to inflict YOUR chumra on everyone else. YOU are not the arbiter of what is "Kedusha".

37

 Dec 06, 2011 at 09:24 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #26  
Anonymous Says:

This is why I am against the rabbanut being government - there should be freedom of religion - if meah shearim want to be extra frum what business does the rabbanut have to say its wrong? Nobody is planning to turn all of israel to meah shearim

because "meah shearim is a village, not a person. Meah Shearim does want to do or not do anything. the people there want to or don't want to, and since they don't own the neighborhood, they don't have the right to se cede from Israel and inflict their own rules on everyone else. I have as much right to walk in Meah Shearim as any of them do, and I can walk how and when I like.

38

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