The Person Behind The Posts

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Who Thought This Was A Good Idea?

While out doing some errands, we stopped into a grocery store in a neighborhood in Jerusalem that we often pass on the way home.

This grocery is tucked away. The entrance is off the main road and it is, seemingly, always, always packed.  It's known for low prices and they have a selection of American products that are hard to find elsewhere. People with large families shop here often and they buy household staples in truly majestic quantities. So the checkout lines, and the wait, are unusually long. It's not the kind of place a person would pop into for a loaf of bread or a liter of milk.

We've been to this grocery store a few times, but today I saw something there I've never noticed before. We were ready to check out and I noticed a very short line, with just a few men in it.  I assumed it was an express line, perfect for us because we only had a few items.  Pointing, I joked to my husband, "Hey, here's the guy line."  Then I looked up and saw this sign:

The sign says:
CASHIER FOR MEN ONLY. The public is requested to guard this rule.
Since my husband was with me, I went outside and let him check out by himself.  We got out in record time.

And I am nauseous over it.


Anonymous said...

Bat Aliyah, did you know that in public schools in America there used to be separate entrances for boys and girls? It's not such a big deal.

We have more important issues affecting us.

Bat Aliyah said...


Did you know black people in America used to have separate water fountains?

There's something very twisted going on in certain neighborhoods and it's starting to ooze into the larger community. Just because it's not the worst problem we face doesn't mean it's "no big deal".

Anonymous said...

Anonym #2

Actually, I would be very happy to have this take place where I live. To have a man breathing down my neck right behind me gives me the creeps.

sherri said...

Our Torah is being hijacked. It is most definitely a big deal. It's the same kind of no-big-deal as those guys pelting little girls going to school in beit shemesh. I too, am thouroughly nauseated...and I would think that it would be a public service to publicize the name of the store and it's location.

Shayna said...

People are getting crazier and crazier over time. In Beitar, which bills itself as the Charedi city, the lines in the supermarket are not separate... If that line encourages the men in the family to shop leaving one less thing for the women to do, maybe it has its benefits?

Bat Aliyah said...

No. There is no up side to this! It is a sickness. I watched a shiur online where a man was teaching about shomer anayim (guarding one's eyes) and he taught that it was a great excuse for men to get out of doing the shopping because, if they're looking down all the time, they can't select the correct items from the grocery store shelves. This is not normal.

Karen said...

True. But I'm surprised because Beitar doesn't seem to be like that. When I go there nobody stares at the floor. I do dress modestly - always do - but not in their way, I don't wear stockings and you can see some hair. So sometimes kids stare, because that's what Israeli kids do, in every neighborhood. But the men have been fine.

Maybe it's that the extremists always win out and the men are afraid to say that this is unnecessary, so they just go along with it. Most people go along with most things, if there is social pressure to back it up. Peer pressure doesn't end when you turn 18.

Elana said...

have you seen this? excellent sum-up of the situation:

Gitel said...

I think I know that store. Shortly after I moved to Haifa I went grocery shopping and noticed there were two checkout lines, each with a sign designating one for men and one for women. I took pictures and posted them on Facebook. I thought it was cute.

Shortly thereafter I was at that store in Yerushalayim (the one I believe you were in) but they had no such system. It was very crowded, I kept getting jostled in line, frequently by men, and it was very uncomfortable.

Kol Hakavod to the store for trying to make WOMEN MORE COMFORTABLE!

Oh, and in answer to your question, "Who thought this was a good idea?" I do!

Bat Aliyah said...

Nice attempt at dan lechaf zechut, but if the goal had been to make women more comfortable, they would have had a women-only line from which men were restricted. As it stands, men could stand in any line. Women were the only ones barred from a specific line.

Anonymous said...

To Sherri, this is not at all the same as men attacking girls in Beit Shemesh. Can you honestly not see the difference? One is men quietly having their own line for their personal modesty. Another is using violence against the halacha and the law. A little finesse please.

To Bat Aliya, there is no comparison between issues of modesty and racism. If a man needs to stand in line separately for his personal modesty I have no problem with that provided there are cashiers at the other tills. I have no problem with sitting at the back of the bus either, (provided that these holy men also comport themselves "bein adam le'adam accordingly). This is not comparable to black people being forced to sit at the back on account of their supposed inferiority.

I still maintain that the men's line is not a big deal. Not enough to make one nauseous. For me nausea making would be all kinds of violence against women and girls, female genital mutilation, honour killing, the women's room, etc, etc, etc, ad nauseam, literally. I think it just bothered you that men got their own line, and women didn't. Do you know that some countries have separate train carriages for women (optional, they can also ride mixed) but not for men. Are you against that too, as men are excluded from this? Or is that ok?

Separate but equal is NOT INHERENTLY unequal. Nor is separate and unequal inherently unequal. It depends on the situation.

sherri said...

To Anonymous, it's preposterous to imply that I see no difference between men in religious garb throwing feces at little religious girls simply going to their school and segregated lines in stores and trying to segregate public (I have no problem if you want to segregate yourselves on private buses) buses. The point that I think you might have missed is that many "religious" Jews have gone over the line. Yes, those Jews in Beit Shemesh have gone further over the line in the name of religious values than those insisting that women with Agalot and carrying packages or elderly find a seat in the back of the bus. But I can guarantee you that if you inquired of those in Beit Shemesh they would argue that it's a question of tzniut too. I am certain they feel they are doing Hashem's work in the world...just like those trying to legislate completely different worlds for men and women. Trouble with all these guys is that they feel they know better than the One who gave us the Law. They need to keep adding on and adding on, which is fine in your personal life, but not trying to make it public law and worse --saying they are protecting G-d's Laws. When you go down that route it's just a matter of degree, anonymous. You find the degree that the beit shemesh group took offensive---i find the taking on of Muslim attitudes towards women offensive. Sorry if you cannot see that men and women need to learn how to take control over themselves---not others. You don't want to sit next to a woman, fine, have derech eretz and YOU get up and sit or stand somewhere else. If you cannot take control over yourself while buying milk, then I am certain there's a bigger problem here than which line to stand in. Stop pretending all this has anything to do with least not the one I received at Har Sinai.

sherri said...

Elana, I just read the Jpost article that you shared. It could not possibly have been more on target. thank you for posting this.

theisraeladventure said...

Bat Aliyah,
I am ASTOUNDED when I read one of the posters here claim that they would "have no problem sitting at the back of the bus". Don't they see what is wrong with that statement? Why must they sit in THE BACK? Why can't it be fair with the men sitting on one side of the aisle and the women on the other? I take a very dim view of these arrangements but at least this way no on can complain that it's uncomfortable or unfair for the women in any way (I don't think....).

The other thing I would like to say on the subject is that I once heard a Rav say that tzniut has become the avodah zarah of our time. I couldn't agree more. We have lost sight of the forest (Torah m'Sinai) for the trees (the chumrot upon chumrot upon chumrot ad nauseum).


Bat Aliyah said...

The Israel Adventure,

I looked at your blog to see if I could figure out how to write to you personally, but I didn't find an email address on your profile. If you see this, please email me at rivkah30 at gmail dot com.

Anonymous said...

To IsraelAdventure,

Please don't be astounded. Just fyi, I am educated and have a professional job, am very feminist when it comes to issues that really affect women's live and am vegetarian for what it's worth, as I can't bear cruelty to animals. However, sitting separately on the bus for the purposes of tsniut is hardly an issue. These days even many religious women dress halachically yet immodestly. As for non religious women, they're a complete disaster. (I used to work in a government office and would be in shock to see how many women had forgotten to get dressed in the morning). When you take the bus it is very difficult if not impossible to avoid all this tumah. If women were to dress properly it would be a different story but unfortunately that is not the case.

As for your proposal to make things fair (which is also much less practical), that is part of the problem, that you view a tsnius issue as one of equal rights. This is not a feminist issue, like equal pay or opportunities, or domestic violence.

So again, please don't be astounded that someone has a different opinion to yours. There is absolutely nothing wrong with my statement. Not only that I prefer the separate seating buses, as I am sure you will find out that many women do.