Saturday, October 15, 2005

Hasidic Village Keeps Women Out of the Driver's Seat

Steven I. Weiss
The Forward

Even as the White House presses Saudi Arabia to permit women to drive, an ultra-Orthodox community in New York has launched a campaign to reassert its ban on female motorists.

During her trip last month to Saudi Arabia, Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes delivered a speech in which she stressed the Bush administration's determination to see Saudi women obtain more rights — including the right to drive.

Meanwhile, in the Hasidic village of New Square, N.Y., religious leaders recently issued a document reminding residents that "women should not sit in the front of a car." Released in July by the community's top rabbinical court, the document was aimed at shoring up several communal standards — especially those regarding women's conduct.

"It's considered not tzniusdik [modest] for a woman to be a driver, not in keeping with the out-of-public-view [attitude]," village spokesman Rabbi Mayer Schiller said. "If you can imagine in Europe, would a woman have been a coach driver, a wagon driver? It would've been completely inappropriate."

The village's religious leaders have made an exemption for an 80-year-old woman who was one of the community's original residents and hadn't known about the driving prohibition before she moved there.

New Square, a 7,000-person enclave located 40 miles north of New York City, was founded by the late Skverer rebbe Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Twersky, a Holocaust survivor, and his followers. The village was established in 1954 and officially incorporated seven years later. It relies heavily on private charitable donations and on government-assistance programs.

In the recent document, New Square religious leaders reiterated the prohibition against girls riding bicycles; also, women are forbidden from going outside in their long housecoats, a common fashion staple in many Orthodox communities.

The rules "are nothing new," Schiller said, but "there's just a sense that for some of the young people they need to reinforce them." He added that in the village's entire history, similar comprehensive lists of communal standards have been posted "maybe five or 10 times, but probably no more than that."

"If you would poll the community... 97.5% would say, 'Yes, this is what we want,'" Schiller said.

While the rules are meant to apply to residents, clearly they're not part of the criteria for endorsing candidates for elective office. New Square's top rabbis endorsed Hillary Clinton in her successful run for the senate in 2000, and delivered all but a few votes for the former first lady.
Clinton spokeswoman Me-ah Zonah did not return repeated requests for comment.

The recent document in New Square addressed a wide range of prohibitions. One rule requires that a fence be constructed around houses that have a trampoline.

Another states that exercise groups can be formed only with the permission of a rabbinical court and that they require a mashgiach (religious inspector) to oversee them.

Some of the regulations are targeted at men, including a clause instructing male worshippers to keep their cell phones off and to refrain from talking during prayer times. But it is the rules pertaining to women — in particular, those related to driving — that bear a striking resemblance to the Saudi practices criticized by the Bush administration.

In some ways, Saudi Arabia's laws regarding women are more permissive than the religious edicts in New Square. For example, a Saudi woman is allowed to ride in the front seat of a car if the driver is her husband. While husbands and wives in Saudi Arabia are allowed to walk with each other, New Square men and women always must walk on different sides of the street. In strong contrast to Saudi Arabia, the government does not enforce the religious rules in New Square; violations do not result in any form of corporal punishment. But those who frequently violate the rules in New Square are blackballed from the community.

"I can think of just a handful of cases over the years" in which someone was expelled from New Square's religious community, Schiller said.

"I don't think any of these transgressions would get you to be expelled from the community," Schiller said. But, he added, "If a young woman was driving, that would be fairly serious."

Schiller warned against drawing any negative conclusions about New Square based on the Saudi situation. "It is a mistake to view a religious practice negatively just because another culture, aspects of which we may find troubling, also practices it," he said. At the same time, the New Square spokesman was critical of the Bush administration's efforts in the Middle East.

"American foreign policy has moved towards a messianic, crusading secularism which judges all other peoples by the standards of our own 'fashionable' elites," he said. "This monolithic utopianism inevitably yields spiritual, moral and practical disasters."

UOJ Comments
Schiller did not comment about the fire that destroyed all the financial records at New Square as the Government was investigating millions of dollars of theft.
Schiller also did not make mention of the convicted felons from New Square, close associates of the Rebbe, that were pardoned by Bill Clinton on his last day in office.
New Square has become a sewer of corruption led by a smiling Howdy Doody buffoon.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Saturday, October 15, 2005 8:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Saturday, October 15, 2005 8:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Noone is forced to live in new square, on the contrary, the people who live there are people who believe that these religious standards should be upheld. Now what's the problem, a village of people who don't agree with you religiously? Doesn't that make you INTOLERANT? Just asking. JERUSALEM JEW.

Saturday, October 15, 2005 8:28:00 PM  
Blogger Y.Y. said...

you are the lowest piece of shit jew i ever saw
would the cohen godel permit girls on trampolines in the beis hamikdash????
if not then he is like the extreme muslims

Saturday, October 15, 2005 8:44:00 PM  
Anonymous The Hedyot said...

UOJ: You really should make it clearer that your last few sentences weren't part of the original article, which is here: http://www.forward.com/articles/4805.

Anonymous: If all the people there believed that these standards should be upheld, why would anyone there ever want to be violating them!? Obviously, not everyone does! The fact is that many people live there because they agree with a lot of that lifestyle, but not all of it. Additionally, the truth is that people are forced to live there to some extent. In most of the chareidi community (and especially chassidish), people live at home until they get married, even if they are already adults (maybe not guys, but women definitely). I have a chareidi cousin who's 29 and single, but she wouldn't ever consider living anywhere but with her family. It would be scandalous.

Saturday, October 15, 2005 8:51:00 PM  
Anonymous one disgusted Jew said...


You are unbelievable. You are exactly the type of hippocrat that UOJ talks about. Clean up your language or don't call your self frum. You disgrace yiddishkeit!

Saturday, October 15, 2005 8:57:00 PM  
Anonymous One disgusted Jew said...

Jerusalem Jew

You too - you remind me of the people that hear the truth and get so uncomfortable that instead of exploring why they react so harshly they just negate negate negate the truth.

I am so bored with you and your typoe. Thank G-d there is someone like UOJ who is finally telling the truth about what really goes on in Orthodoxy that makes it bad for all Jews!!!!

Keep it up UOJ! Keep telling it like it is. Hashem knows all and sees all!!!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2005 9:01:00 PM  
Blogger kjef1 said...

to yy, Its just a few days after yom kippur, and you have a sewer for a mouth. ITs called "nival Peh",its a serious matter. What your doing is a chillul Hashem.If you can not argue, then use nival peh. Thats how you make your point.
Nobodys talking about girls on Tramboulines here, its the front seat of a car. A car is not the old time Horse and carriage! What the squares are saying is not based on halacha ,its more haskafa.
To me if they want to impose thses restrictions on themselves, it really doesn't matter as long as they do'nt throw stones on cars of frum jews who don't abide by these
so called "chumras".Perhapes they should come up with guidelines against fraund and govt embezzalments. This is really where the chillul Hashem come into play. Lets clean up the genava ---
theft before dealing with chumras.
Where are the chumras when it comes to theft.Theft is a torah commandment, girls driving in the front seat is for esthetic purposes only. It makes them look like real frummies.

Saturday, October 15, 2005 9:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

u.o.j., two days after Yom Kippur, and you are nobly promoting ahavas Yisroel.

y.y., aren't you afraid?

Would your rebbe call any jew a four letter word other than kofer?

Saturday, October 15, 2005 9:39:00 PM  
Blogger Y.Y. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Saturday, October 15, 2005 9:49:00 PM  
Blogger Y.Y. said...

your post warrants a knife in your heart

Saturday, October 15, 2005 9:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to yy, wheres the hadred coming from? you need some help

Saturday, October 15, 2005 9:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yy, perhapes thr squarer rebbe can fit you in for some counselling.But remember you mother can't drive you, unless shes in the back seat.

Saturday, October 15, 2005 9:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Saturday, October 15, 2005 10:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Saturday, October 15, 2005 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

You can NOT find one group of chassidim that are NOT corrupt from top to toe.
They are NOT AUTHENTIC JEWS, they are charlatans in the worst order.
They create all kinds of B.S. fake stringencies, but the basic Torah they spit on over and over again.
The Vilna Gaon was
right, "Chassidism is NOT Judaism."

Saturday, October 15, 2005 11:13:00 PM  
Blogger AussieEcho said...

un-orthodox jew is showing his ignorance, stupidity and racism. Why am I not surprised.

That doesn't mean that the frum community doesn't have to do some serious soul searching. Why do we believe that we are above the law - and I am not just talking about secular law but Torah law as well!

BTW, I don't believe the Vina Gaon said any such thing. Maybe his followers did....

Saturday, October 15, 2005 11:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

New Square is totally corrupt. This is beyond dispute.

y.y. should go to y.u.

Saturday, October 15, 2005 11:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Lubabs are dumb said...

Welcome Aussie Echo!!!
Please spread your silly Lubab ignorance, from 'Down Under'here.Actually for some reason UOJ had Some kind things to say about the Rebbe a while back.
Whatever the case, Aussie, this is one site were your Lubab craziness will be met by uncensored truth.
Yechi Hamelech

Sunday, October 16, 2005 12:24:00 AM  
Blogger David Kelsey said...

Aussie echo is so right in his statement, "BTW, I don't believe the Vina Gaon said any such thing. Maybe his followers did...."

Of course not! The Vilna Goan put the Chassidim in Cherem because he had nothing else to do, and certainly loved nothing more than a parade of a litany of complaints replete with Shofar blowing.

It's not like he left Vilna to avoid the future possibility of even an appearance of a meeting with the Alter-Rebbe.

Why would the Goan suspect anyone of a Messianic problem? Not the Chassidim, and certainly not Lubavitch.

It was just a mild misunderstanding.

Sunday, October 16, 2005 12:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Eli said...

After a visit to Crown Heights a short while ago and witnessing the literally thousands of deranged followers mostly from Israel many with oversize skullcaps proclaiming the late Rebbe to be alive and the Messiah, I no longer believe the contention that the 'meshichisten' are not a very large percentage of the Lubavitcher.In fact when I went to 770, the main synagogue it was obvious that this central institution waS firmly under the control of the kooks.They even made 'space' for the imaginary ,live Rebbe to come in and out of shul, like in the dayS of old when the Rebbe actually entered and exited.
To me this is the way Christianity started.

Sunday, October 16, 2005 12:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but some of them are nice and normal.

do you advocate writing them off from the jewish people?

Sunday, October 16, 2005 12:51:00 AM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

All Chassidim have gone nuts.
There is a common thread to all of them which has no root in Judaism, that is the role of the rebbe as intemediary between the common folk and G-d.
The present group of rebbe's are gangsters who prey on their flock and are getting away with it.
To boot, most of them are total ignoramuses and downright evil people.
Lubavitch has lost their right to be called Jews.

Sunday, October 16, 2005 12:55:00 AM  
Anonymous eli said...

Look, I don't think Rebbes are gangsters(though they probably need to get a day job)and that we need to right off 'nice, normal lubabs'What we do need to realize is:Lubavitch in its current state is a dangerous cult both spiritually and physically, for example this supposedly apolitical group was at the forefront of the most violent demonstrations against the disengagement, whether or not one was for or against, the behaved in the most scary and violent way

Sunday, October 16, 2005 1:19:00 AM  
Blogger David Kelsey said...

In some circles, the Goan is considered to have overreacted, perhaps for the sake of drama.

One thing I have learned from UOJ and the give and take of this blog is that perhaps he didn't go far enough.

Perhaps Yaakov Emden was the greatest hero in this fight against Messianism, mysticism, and bizarre chumra.

Sunday, October 16, 2005 1:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Sunday, October 16, 2005 4:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you're a gangsta too, uo.


Sunday, October 16, 2005 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

There are some "nice guys" that are Buddhists, Scientologists.....,
Noone claims that ALL chassidim are evil.
The Chassidic movements are all evil for they misrepresent and distort Judaism.
Weak and vulnerable people always look to "LEADERS" to make decisions for them while bleeding them emotionally and monetarily.
The rebbes all know what their underlings are doing and encourage them.
R' Aron Kotler could have stunted their growth and acceptance, but turned his back from this important fight.
Yitzchok Hutner embraced the cultish idea for himself, donned a spudik and created his own cult.

Sunday, October 16, 2005 12:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Sunday, October 16, 2005 1:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

uoj would look nice in a spudik.

In pre-War Poland, Hasidim and Misnagedim mixed. In Chaim Berlin, in the good old days they would sing, "v'nisgav Hashem levado" when Rav Hutner made his grand entrance.

What about the concept of "tsaddik yesod Olam?" What about the Yerushalmi on shirayim? UOJ knows all these things and so much more.


Sunday, October 16, 2005 2:56:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

All these quotes are Vertlach and singular ideas that were tossed around in the Bais Medrash.The "tzaddik Yesod Olam" theory was based om Avrom Aveinu's plea to Hashem to save Sdom.
Sure we can extrapolate theories and Bubba Maases from any KooKoo concept of yesteryear.
We need to look for the roots of these stories, and will find out they were created mostly by street philosophers with too much time on their hands.
BTW, the Shrayim theory is of CHRISTIAN/CATHOLIC origins, for anyone who cares.

Sunday, October 16, 2005 3:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

uoj, our host?

I'm not defending tall tales, but to denigrate the teachings of the Ari popularized by Ramcha'l is to tread in shallow waters.

This Yom Tov, thanks to the internet we have kefitsas ha-derech to our UOJ, our rebbe.

Sunday, October 16, 2005 8:12:00 PM  
Blogger bigbear777 said...

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Sunday, October 16, 2005 8:43:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

They were both great storytellers.
So is Paysach Krohn.(Atleat half or more of HIS stories are made up nonsense)Good bed time reading along with the three little pigs.

Sunday, October 16, 2005 11:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so where is all the sense found, o uj?

who is your rebbe?

Monday, October 17, 2005 12:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can answer that....

OUJ's rebbe is Hershel Billet!!

Monday, October 17, 2005 3:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today's Lesson.

hippocrat-is this a new breed of animal? A mix betweeen a hippo and a feline? I believe the word you're searching for is HYPOCRITE

Trambouline-a French word meaning small street car, perhaps? Or did you mean TRAMPOLINE?

do'nt--Sigh. How about DON'T, as in DO NOT.

fraund--Mein liebe fraund. The word is FRAUD

embezzalments--EMBEZZLEMENT--Used in a sentence. While most Rabbis can't spell the word, they are proficient in embezzlement.

The present group of rebbe's--REBBES here means more than one rebbe, not something belonging to a rebbe, therefore it should be rebbes, or rebbies, not rebbe's which is belonging to the rebbe.


"yy, perhapes thr squarer rebbe can fit you in for some counselling"--Perhaps he can fit you in for some spelling and typing lessons. The words are PERHAPS, THE, Squarer, (should be capitalized) and counseling has one L


nobly --NOBLEY

Noone--TWO WORDS. NO ONE. Used in a sentence...Almost NO ONE who graduated from a frummie yeshiva with the word Torah V'Crappola in its title can spell BASIC ENGLISH.

Monday, October 17, 2005 7:00:00 PM  
Anonymous critic buster said...

To Anonymous

Today's lesson for you!

Those who can't...... teach! I 've always despised critics....especially the spelling bee winners!

So you are a proficient speller..whoo whooo.....

Monday, October 17, 2005 10:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry to barge in the middle of yomtov but "frum" does infer a religious commitment- it is a lifestyle

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 8:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005 6:04:00 PM  

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