web analytics
November 29, 2014 / 7 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Attacked By Haredim On A Bus To The Kotel


When I publicly disclosed the beating I received on the #2 bus going to the Kotel last November, it was after consulting with daas Torah and lots of soul searching. I did not relish the black eye this would inevitably give haredi Jews, and I was uncomfortable associating my name with such a grievous event.

There was no shortage of criticism leveled at me for publicizing the horrendous incident. While the majority of the more than 3,000 e-mails I received were supportive and even congratulatory for my refusal to be bullied by a group of mutineers on a public bus, there nevertheless were a significant enough minority who felt I had erred for various reasons.

The most common was that I should have behaved as a “bas melech Yisrael” and could have avoided all of the ugliness if I would have just been a little more compliant. A few even went so far as to condemn my response to the initial spitting (“you should have simply moved to the back”).

When Jonathan Rosenblum interviewed me for his article in Mishpacha magazine (“Knowing Our Limits”), he was sincere, without condemnation, in his curiosity as to why I stood my ground in refusing to give up my seat. I explained that the incident had to be understood in the context of what was going on while I was in Yerushalayim for five weeks – during the “gay parade” brouhaha.

Every night, yeshivas were letting their students out to riot in the streets. Garbage cans were dumped and strewn in the streets and their contents set on fire. Many people, particularly the elderly and small children, had been rushed to hospitals suffering from respiratory difficulties due to the toxicity of the smoke that was belching throughout residential neighborhoods. Public health officials were warning that the carcinogens in the air were at dangerous levels.

I myself was in bed for three days with a severe respiratory infection caused by being forced to inhale these fumes every day. Almost every morning, our bus would have to stop and carefully navigate around burning piles of rubbish

I stood at Kikar Shabbat one evening and watched boys as young as 8 and 9 running through the streets setting anything within their reach on fire. A white van made the big mistake of traveling through Kikar Shabbat. The van was pelted with objects. When the driver stopped and got out of his van, it was overturned and torched. Nobody even knew if this driver was “for” or “against” the very thing the rioters were rioting about!

I asked one of the boys, “Do you know why you’re doing this?” His answer: “Because it’s fun!” The following Shabbos, an acquaintance of mine told me her sons were “not going to shul today, they need to sleep in and catch up on their rest because their rebbe had let them out to go rioting almost every night this week.”

I couldn’t resist responding that I wouldn’t send my son to a yeshiva that employed such “rebbeim.”

I also explained to Mr. Rosenblum that it sickened me to stand and watch a store in Geula burned to the ground by the area’s “Tznius Patrol.” The store, “One of a Kind,” is owned by an American rosh yeshiva’s wife and sells nice and affordable tzniusdik clothing. However, sequins on some of the items did not meet the tznius standards of this “Patrol” and they demanded its removal from the store. The proprietor refused and they responded with arson, destroying her merchandise, her store, and her livelihood – and probably jacking up the insurance rates for everyone else in the neighborhood. (Kol hakavod to this woman for rebuilding her store since then.)

During my five-week stay in Yerushalayim, I also heard many accounts of women being surreptitiously bleached by “Tznius Patrol” squads. If their clothing did not measure up to their standards, a baby bottle of bleach delivered its contents, thus rendering the garment useless. I know people who refuse to shop in Geula and Meah Shearim as a consequence of such actions.

It is against this backdrop and in this context that I decided “Enough Is Enough.” I will not capitulate to anyone – even over a seat – who wants to impose his chumras on me. It wasn’t a matter of being an American who is socially conditioned to protect her “rights” – it was about pushing back against bullies who have yet to learn they do not own the streets or the buses and that basic derech eretz dictates that a young man half my age should not even suggest I sit elsewhere.

It never crossed my mind that I would be inviting a beating by refusing to move to the back of the bus. The most I expected were some heated verbal exchanges. I honestly did not believe frum men would beat up a woman on a public non-Mehadrin bus over the seating arrangement.

The beating was bad enough. The fact that nobody came to my assistance was just as shameful. Equally disdainful were those who voiced support for those engaged in the assault.

It’s almost a year since the incident took place. There’s been much time to reflect, to weigh the opinions and comments of others, to explore solutions to this type of “holy” perversion in our community. Many websites have discussed this phenomenon.

Some have spoken out at great risk to their personal and professional reputations within their own communities. These brave voices need to be given our support. They need us to stick our necks out as well and say “Enough!” Most important, we need to educate ourselves and our children and become more secure in our Torah values.

It has been brought to my attention that the arbitrary decision by the #2 bus riders to make the line Mehadrin – to strengthen the level of tznius by implementing a separate seating arrangement – came about as a response to a horrific bombing on that line several years earlier.

Increasing our shmira in mitzvah observance in the wake of tragedy is commendable to the highest degree. But I would like to ask the men who go about beating up women on buses: Do the bruises and humiliation you inflict on others, and the dishonor you bring to our Torah and our people, increase your ruchnius and the ruchnius of those around you or does it diminish it?

If you are convinced your cause has merit, why didn’t you follow the course of due process available to you – namely, petition Egged to designate the #2 bus as Mehadrin? This is not a futile endeavor, as Egged has reviewed every such request and granted almost all of them.

Let me tell you what you have accomplished with your total disregard of halacha, Torah, and dina malchusa dina: Because of your actions, five women have petitioned the High Court to have all Mehadrin buses suspended. The hearing is scheduled for next month. Most likely, because of your actions Egged will not be legally permitted to offer Mehadrin lines. This means the private bus lines will return, catering to your request for separate seating arrangements. That’s fine for everyone – except Egged, of course, whose revenues will certainly be dented by these entrepreneurs. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

To those who beat up the woman in Beit Shemesh two weeks ago and the ones who assaulted me last November, or who engage in any kind of violence: The chumras you take upon yourself should not be used to dominate and control others. It would be better for you to forgo your chumras and correct that which is within.

As for haredi Jews, it is high time for us to collectively say in a loud and clear voice, “Enough Is Enough!” That means standing up to the bullies who shame Hashem’s name by committing violence – and, equally as important, assisting those who are injured by their criminal actions.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Attacked By Haredim On A Bus To The Kotel”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry .
NYT Ignores US Condemnation of PA Incitement, Prints Info on Ferguson Cop
Latest Indepth Stories
Kessim (religious leaders) mark the opening of a synagogue in the village of Gomenge, Ethopia, one of five built in Gondar with JDC aid, 1988
Courtesy of American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, New York.

In a world where people question whether they should be engaged, we are a reminder that all Jews are responsible for one another.

Greiff-112814-Levaya

My son is seventeen; he didn’t want to talk about what happened, or give any details of the Rosh Yeshiva’s words of chizuk.

Protesters in Ferguson, Missouri

All involved in the Ferguson debate should learn the laws pertinent to non-Jews: the Noahide Laws.

Charley Levine

Prominent Jewish leaders acknowledged that their predecessors had mistreated the Bergson Group.

Abbas has been adding new layers of rhetoric to his tactical campaign to de-Judaize Jerusalem

The Jew’s crime is his presence.

Hamas’s love for death tried to have as many Palestinian civilians killed as possible

Israel recognizes the fabrication called a Palestinian nation; So what do we want from the Swedes?

Arab attacking Jews in the land date back a century, long before Israel was created or in control.

Creativity without clarity is not sufficient for writing. I am eternally thankful to Hashem for his gift to me.

Golden presents a compelling saga of poor but determined immigrants who fled pogroms and harsh conditions in their homelands for a better life in a land of opportunity.

It seems to us that while the Jewish entitlement to the land of Israel transcends the Holocaust, the Jewish experience during that tragic time is the most solid of foundations for these “national rights.”

Too many self-styled civil rights activists seemed determined to force, by their relentless pressure, an indictment regardless of what an investigation might turn up.

Unfortunately, at present, the rabbinate does not play a positive role in preventing abuse.

More Articles from Miriam Shear

When I publicly disclosed the beating I received on the #2 bus going to the Kotel last November, it was after consulting with daas Torah and lots of soul searching. I did not relish the black eye this would inevitably give haredi Jews, and I was uncomfortable associating my name with such a grievous event.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/attacked-by-haredim-on-a-bus-to-the-kotel/2007/11/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: