Monday, April 2, 2007

Yeshivish Feminism and have I really left Israel?

Location: Monsey, New York
Date: Erev Pesach 5767 יד ניסן ה'תשס"ז
Or should I say 3319, especially considering that it is almost Pesach. 3319 is the number of years that it has been since the exodus from Egypt according to the traditional Rabbinical counting. If you look on the Daf Kesher, the newsletter of Yeshivat Har Etzion (Gush), that number is listed there. Apparently Rav Meidan thinks that it is a good way to fulfill the mitzvah of Zechirat Yetziat Mitzraim (Remembrance of the Exodus from the Egypt). There is no real reason to be recalling creation specifically, unlike the exodus, which we are supposed to remember everyday. This is different than the mitzvah of Sippur Yetziat Mitzraim(retelling the story of the Exodus from Egypt) which can only be done at the Seder once a year(twice a year if you are in the Galut, in Chutz La'aretz, in the Diaspora). I have heard this all second hand while learning at Gush, and I couldn't find any site or dvar torah about it on the web. Rav Meidan also has interesting Egypt much earlier than we usually think.

But that wasn't my point.

I was a salon where my sister was getting a manicure and pedicure. She didn't want to go by her self so I took along something to read, specifically the Hebrew Version of the Haggadah "A night to remember." While waiting I overheard some stories that a girl of about 11 was telling her younger brother of about 5 or 6. The family was definitely right wing, not sure how far. Big black velvet kippah on the kid and the girls were all wearing very long skirts and talking with yeshivish, some of which I didn't even understand easily. She told him two short stories to keep him occupied.

The first was about a woman construction worker who saved the day. All the other male construction workers were sick from a flu and there was a train that was going down the track and it was broken and the signals weren’t working, btu everyone except this women construction worker was sick that day, so she fixed it up and built it all by herself. So everyone was saved because of her, and she was rewarded with lots of medals and everyone thanked her and she was respected from then on. That was just about verbatim.

It was interesting to hear the very short story, but almost as surprising was the next story. The first story was possibly about females striving to fill male roles. I won’t try to write the second story word for word, because it basically matches the first one with a few exceptions. Just replace female construction worker with male beautician and his heroism was helping a kallah at chassnah(chatuna, wedding) when all the female workers were sick, and his reward was the kallah’s family and friends were forever grateful and everyone wanted to hire him. It looks like it is not just a drive for females to take on male roles. Its more of a two way street. Gender equality and fewer limits based on your anatomy. I should bring in an op-ed piece written by Yishai Schwartz in the SAR High School Paper, but I will need to get his permission to reprint. If and when I do, you will see why it is relevant.

Now the second part of the post:Why am I left wondering if I left Israel?
a) There are tons of Jews around. Haredim, Modern Orthodox, Reform Conservative, unaffiliated.
b) Everything, even the regular products have kosher l'pesach on them.
c) At The Young Israel of New Rochelle the congregation recited Tefillah l'shlom hamedina (prayer for the state of Israel) in unison with gusto. Well of course they also said a prayer for America and an interesting prayer for the troops, something that I will hopefully look at in a future post.
d) I have seen bumper stickers in Monsey from "ha'am im gush Katif" and "Hevron shelanu." Not sure if I have seen any left wing Israel bumper stickers. Well the extremists always are more committed, and the more committed are more likely to be extremists.
e) A siren when off when it was the last time you could eat Hametz. Coiencidence? Maybe, but it was too perfectly timed, and sounded like the ones you hear in Israel
f) At 2:30 erev pesach most of the stores at the local strip mall were closed and the parking lot which was impossibly busy just 2 hours earlier was almost empty

Hag Kasher V’Sameach
Or as I learned people say in a strange language : A Zissen Pesach

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