Thursday, December 13, 2012

Turn off the teat סגרו את הברז

After a hiatus, I’m back with three quickie news items, all related to — what else? — religious coercion. We’ll take it in chronological order:
First off is convoluted. Ready? So a court ruled that [the bus company] Egged may not comply with advertising agency Cnaans complying with the ultra-Orthodox demand not to feature humans of any gender on bus ads. There. Did I get that right? Well, I have to correct myself: The ultra-Orthodox didn’t actually demand it, but they demanded that no images of women be used, so Cnaan came up with the solution of no humans of either gender being used.
Now, while I certainly don’t have a problem with humans of either gender being shown in ads (barring the ones that use sex to sell, of course), I do believe that Cnaan’s solution is fine, and fair, and violates no one’s rights. So we’ll be like the Muslims, i.e., no human forms, no one to offend, or as a great prophet of our generation sang, "No woman, no cry".
But no: Enter Yerushalmim [Jerusalemites], an organization that opposes women being excluded from the public sphere, who insist that they’ll fight this thing until ads featuring women are back. But why? I believe they’re barking up the wrong tree, which I’ll get back to later. Meanwhile, let’s move along:
Now, finally, after only six-plus decades of rabbinic tyranny, restaurant owners are opting out of kashrut licenses, while adhering to the laws of kashrut voluntarily. It’s called “kosher by conscience”. Just one little problem: The kashrut inspectors are threatening to haul such establishments into court for false advertising.
Five Jerusalem eateries are fighting back by taking the city’s rabbinate to court after being fined for daring to call themselves kosher without having paid the kashrut inspection fee, which is really nothing but blackmail. So along with Avigayil Aharon in Tiberias, make a point of patronizing these brave businesses: Adón Cohen in Talpiót; Café Carousela in Rehávia; Salón Shabazi in Nachlaót; Ichikidana in Machanè Yehuda, and Topolino in Óhel Moshè.
Now that we have that taken care of, here’s the icing on the cake: Top ultra-Orthodox rabbis urge followers to dodge draft. OK, now I’m mad. These guys are blatantly thumbing their noses at the state while taking the state’s money (i.e., our taxes) in the form of child allowances that allow them to remain in a permanent state of unemployment, otherwise known as Our Lady of the Perpetual Torah "Scholar".

As I told my brave friend, Rabbi Susan Silverman, who while arguing with an ultra-Orthodox woman asked her, "Do your children serve in the IDF? Because mine do", that's just a smokescreen for the real issue. In fact, the IDF should be removed from the equation, as Israel is already way too military-oriented, the army being the yardstick by which we measure everything.

Rather, the question should be: What are your children being trained to do? Because mine and my friends' will be training to heal your loved ones when they're ill, design and build your homes, distribute your consumer goods, extinguish your fires, run your government agencies (the ones that give you your stipends)...and so forth. I don't care how you run your life, but don't do it on my dime. For God's sake, get off the public teat! Can we Jews [and others] who grew up in the US imagine our taxes going to fund some evangelical perpetual prayer ministry?
And it is there, my friends, where Yerushalmim’s energies should be aimed, along with those of The Rest Of Us, as it’s only owing to the fact that the ultra-Orthodox are attached to the state teat that they feel so comfortable vandalizing bus stops bearing advertising featuring women. This situation is beyond warped; it’s deranged. We have got to elect legislators that will TURN OFF THE FAUCET. And you know I don’t go into all caps lightly. A Happy Hanuka to all.


  1. Thank you, Yam, for being back.

  2. I agree with every word. So which politicians / parties are going to turn off the faucet?