Sir, – The ridiculous false modesty which prevents the mention of breast cancer
and other cancers that particularly affect women by the health funds is
unbelievable (“Haredi segregation reaches health funds’ special edition
newsletters,” December 27).
The “Song of Songs” (Shir Hashirim) is
recited aloud in many synagogues and by individuals on Friday afternoons at the
onset of the Shabbat and in Ashkenazi synagogues on Shabbat Hol Hamoed of
Passover, and by many at the end of the Passover Seder. It contains the word
“breast” in plain Hebrew no less than eight times.
Rabbi Akiva said that
if the other books of the Bible were holy then the Song of Songs is the “holy of
holies” (Megila 7a).
The concept of Pikuah Nefesh (the saving of life) is
paramount in Judaism.
If this false modesty prevents women who may be at
risk from obtaining treatment – which in many cases can prevent or alleviate
this often malignant disease – it is a tragedy that not only affects them but
their families.ISADORE SOLOMONS
Sir, – Modesty is not only
about clothing; it is also about behavior and the God-fearing attitude that
these haredi Taliban violate with their criminal acts (“Journalists attacked,
man arrested for spitting at woman in Beit Shemesh,” December 26).
is nothing halachic about their behavior. Hashem (God) will judge them, but for
now we need to act to protect society from their criminal actions.
workers and law enforcement officers should be sent to the homes of these
haredim who publicly terrorize females to make sure that their female relatives
are not domestic violence victims.
Barbarians who brutalize girls and
women on city streets, who spit, call names and post gender segregation signs on
municipal property, as well as perpetrate violence against men and private
property, are very likely victimizing the girls and women related to them,
Law enforcement should arrest and bring to trial these haredi
Taliban. Criminals belong behind bars to keep society – the public and the
unfortunate females in their family sphere of influence – safe.
rabbinic leaders of these haredim should speak up about these crimes, and assist
law enforcement to apprehend and bring to justice these criminals.
Shemesh Mayor Abutbol should be removed from office for allowing the haredi
extremists to break the law by posting gender segregation signs on public city
streets. The yeshiva inciting violence should be closed as an institution where
criminal violence is preached and practiced by its leaders and
Sir, – I understand that haredi values
differ from those of other religious sects. However, haredi extremists are
giving a bad name to their community and to Jews as a whole. It is unacceptable
to allow this to go on any longer.
Is this the way these haredi men were
taught to act by their parents? To spit, to harass, to assault and to taunt?
They have disgraced the Jewish nation and the people of Israel. They are
criminals and should be forbidden from walking the streets.SHIRA HAUSER
Sir, – I saw a television interview with a haredi man who said it was
permissible to spit at even a school-age girl if she was not dressed “properly.”
I was disgusted. This supposedly religious and God-fearing Jewish man actually
justified the abuse of innocent little Jewish girls! I have had the misfortune
to personally witness such hideous and un-Jewish behavior by haredim toward
Christians and the police – otherwise, I would not have believed my ears. But
the particularly despicable remark by this haredi individual astonished
What sort of abomination of Judaism are these men being taught by
their rabbis and yeshivot? For any Jewish man, religious or secular, to
countenance this sort of ugly and loathsome behavior toward a child is a
desecration of God’s holy name and an affront to decent and moral human
As a religious Jew, I demand that the haredi leadership
immediately and forcefully condemn these abusive sentiments, as well as the
violent and lawless behavior of their adherents.
This is not Judaism;
this is paganism.KENNETH BESIG
Sir, – I do not claim to
adhere to the strict observance of Judaism as do the haredim, but in all my
Jewish education I have been told that life comes before
Therefore, it is a mystery to me how haredi men can use
violence against their own people, putting their lives at risk. We can only hope
that they use this pent-up aggression to join the army and fight for their
Sir, – When I read the comments by
Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat that “we don’t need to force a different
way of life” on haredim (“Netanyahu: Public sphere will be open – and safe – for
women,” December 26), I was glad that, at last, someone was talking sense about
segregation on public transport.
If haredim want separate seating for men
and women on bus routes specifically set up for their needs, why should they not
be allowed? Unfortunately there are some on the non-haredi side who want to
force their ways on everybody.
If only everyone would take Livnat’s “live
and let live” attitude, and respect other people’s wish to be different, a lot
of the tension tearing Israeli society apart would disappear.DAVID STARR
Sir, – I can’t help agreeing with Martin D. Stern (“Haredim
and women,” Letters, December 26) that Tanya Rosenblit must have been determined
to make a feminist point and had specifically selected a mehadrin bus to do
Although I would describe myself as modern Orthodox and certainly not
haredi, I am quite happy to accommodate other people’s lifestyles, if that keeps
them happy. When in Rome do as the Romans.
The first time I came across
such buses was when I was returning to Jerusalem from Beit Shemesh with my
husband. We sat in the front seats, having no idea that the bus had separate
seating. At the next stop, a gentleman got on and politely asked me to move
because it was a “mehadrin” service.
When we explained that we were
visitors and were not sure exactly where we had to get off and so we were
sitting together, he said there would be no problem if we sat near the rear
We moved and noticed other couples sitting in the same part of the
bus. Everything was done in a pleasant manner, as I am sure is the case in the
vast majority of such situations.
Things only become heated when one side
wants to provoke a confrontation, and it could just as well be the woman as the
Sir, – There is one point nobody seems to have
considered – that some women may actually like the arrangement of separate
I am not particularly Orthodox, just traditional, but I would
prefer to take such buses because I know I would not be subjected to unwanted
advances from male passengers.STEPHENIE JAMES