Are women in Chassidic communities nothing more than oppressed victims? Is the Haredi threat to civil liberties in Israel, which is represented by segregated busses, real?
I am going to Israel, at the very least, to find out about the second question.
As a rabidly liberal Jewess (I am president of the unaffiliated Congregation Etz Chayim in Palo Alto), I am interested in the Israel Religious Action Center’s (IRAC’s) assertion that Haredi Jews are marginalizing women with segregated bussing.
I am a lifelong Zionist. My parents raised me that way. My father blessed me at the Wall in 1968-on the boys’ side. I went to Habonim Camps, and by the time I was 10, I had been to Israel twice. I spent a lovely summer there when I was 20, working on Kibbutz Gezer and visiting relatives.
Then life happened, and I did not visit again for over 30 years. When I visited Israel in 2009, I stayed with a lesbian friend who lives in Tel Aviv. She gave me an education. First, she made me take off an orange headband because orange is the colors of the settlements. She would not buy mushrooms grown in Tekoa, and when I said she was crazy for doing it, a couple of people in the farmer’s market spoke up in her defense, passing on the mushrooms also.
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