Thursday, October 16, 2008

Succos - Women banned from celebrations

Bartley Kulp asked :

Can somebody please explain to me the point of all of this? At first I thought that it was just Meah Shearim, but now this.

Jpost: Chabad bans women from Succot event
Responding to haredi pressure, Chabad blocked the participation of women in its Succot celebrations in Jerusalem's Shikun Chabad neighborhood Tuesday night.

Chabad's rabbinical leadership acquiesced to a call by heads of the most important hassidic sects - Ger, Belz, Sanz, Sadigora and Viznitz - to restrict the music and dancing to indoors, effectively preventing women from participating.

Last year Chabad ignored a call by the Lithuanian rabbinic leadership to tone down its festivities.

However, this year for the first time hassidic leaders joined the call.

Chabad, a hassidic sect that is known for its outreach work with assimilated or unaffiliated Jews all over the world, traditionally celebrates outdoor concerts and dancing that targets the wider Jewish population.

Chabad's last rabbinic leader, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson - who passed away in 1994 - vigorously encouraged holding Succot festivities outdoors in the most visible locations possible.

Rabbi Menachem Brod, spokesman for Chabad in Israel, said that Schneerson, known as "the rebbe," directed his followers to "take the Torah from the study halls to streets" on Succot.

"We will continue to follow the rebbe's orders in all locations except Jerusalem, where the local public specifically requested that we respect their sensitivities," he said.

Chabad events at other venues during the holiday will take place outdoors. Both men and women, separated by partitions, will be allowed to participate.

Rabbi Mordechai Bloi, a senior member of the Guardians of Sanctity and Education, an organization based in Bnei Brak that enforces what it sees as normative haredi behavior, praised Chabad.

"The rebbe of Chabad told his hassidim to spread the joy in the streets, but he was not talking about haredi areas," said Bloi. "Let them do what they want in secular areas.

"The Talmud teaches that even in the time of Temple men and women were strictly separated and this was called 'the big tikkun.' I am happy that this year we will have this tikkun in Jerusalem."

Brod said that Chabad respected the call by the rabbis to maintain strict codes of modesty. However, he added that the increasingly stringent demands by haredi rabbis that have effectively brought about a total ban of outdoor concerts might be counterproductive.

"If haredim are not given a kosher option for musical entertainment they might end up turning to non-kosher options," he said. "As a result of the changes we made this year in Jerusalem, women who came to our annual event in the past will be forced to stay home.

"Only time will tell whether or not this is the best policy to adopt," he said. [...]


  1. I have been there it is horrid there is drugs and other such excapades plus it is in a neighboorhood right off Meah Sharim

  2. First I find it unremarkable that Broi of Sanctity in the Camp(aka modesty squad) is against anything where people may have a good time, or Baalei Teshuva may show up. Apparently he has time between ordering beatings to deal with other "serious" issues.

    That bit of bile aside, this is really sad. Its a shame. Here in Israel, in the Hareidi world, no matter the Chassidishe Rebbes say to the contrary, women are at best second class citizens. The evidence is abundant.

    For instance the Mehitzah. According to Halacha the Mehitzah is for the men, not the ladies. So in the US some enterprising individual developed the R'Ay Mehitza, a one way mirror essetially so that women can see through, though to the men it looks like wall paper. Here in Israel, fearing corruption of our most holy principles the majority of the Rabbanim have banned them. Why? Women may be able to see what's going on, any form of transparency is out.

    Look at the women's section at any simcha it resembles a closet. Often times with no access to food or drink, the women have to rely on their husbands to not get overly caught up in the festivities, so as to be mindful of them and their needs.

    Or take the handful(or less) of Rebbeim and Rabbanim that will see women(no look at them ChV"Sh, but schedule appointments or have hours to dole out advice and blessings). While the men get to enter through the front door, the women have to fight through a maze.

    All that to say that while this latest move saddens me, it does not surprise me. What surprises me is that so many women have not gone off the derekh. Oh and by the way to Mr Hareidi in the article that said R' Schneerson wasn't speaking of Hareidi neighborhoods, would you really call Crown Heights anything else?

  3. Look at the women's section at any simcha it resembles a closet. Often times with no access to food or drink, the women have to rely on their husbands to not get overly caught up in the festivities, so as to be mindful of them and their needs.
    IT SEEMS YOU HAVE NOT BEEN FRUM TO LONG, OR AT LEAST NOT SPENT MUCH TIME IN FRUMS SETTINGS, YOU SHOLUD FIND OUT More BEFORE MAKING BLANKET STATEMENTS Especially WHENT THEY HAVE NO GRAIN OF REALITY IN THEM. And a general question shouldn’t a so called Mekubal be Practicing more Prishus and being busy with his Avodas Hashem?

  4. Can't get out of the kitchen this Yom Tov the way the days fall in the Diaspora.

    Maybe if I had time to think about it more, I would be upset.

    Meanwhile I don't have time to go off the derech either since my only trip out of the house this Moed has been to the grocery to shop for Shabbat.

  5. Reality Check,

    I have been frum for over half of my life. I am not commenting on the conditions in the US, which are very much like you describe. Rather I am commenting on the conditions here in Israel, which frankly are nothing at all like what you describe, at least not within the Hareidi sector. In the Da'ati Leumi, and Hardal sectors you are closer to the truth, things are at least equal. However, in the Hareidi sector that simply is not the case.

    Your Ad Hominem is noted. However, where is it written that even a Mekubal can't have a form of harmless entertainment? Especially during Hol HaMoed when the Yeshiva is shut down, there are almost no Kavanot, and my wife doesn't need help cooking because we are eating our meals at the Rosh Yeshiva's house almost everyday.


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