The Problem We All Live With
Norman Rockwell painting, “The Problem We All Live With”
Norman Rockwell’s iconic painting on bigotry was painted in 1954 and all Americans living today think of those scenes from a time gone past, when people were stupider. We are supposed to be better than that now.
Well, here are disgusting scenes that occurred in Beit Shemesh, Israel last week, reminiscent of the scenes in 1954 when U.S. Marshals had to accompany a little girl on her walk to school:
What are we? What have we become? These people who claim to be the guardians of our holy “Tradition” have no idea what our tradition really is!
40 years ago, there were no such things as separate seating on buses and separate sidewalks for men and women. Yes, men and women were sitting separately at synagogue services and, for some, at weddings and bar mitzvahs. That practice is very ancient. But in the open public street and market? NEVER.
40 years ago, I was a college student studying for a semester at Tel Aviv University. I had received an invitation, arranged by a dati leumi professor, to spend a Sabbath with a Haredi family in Mea Shearim. I took my guitar (I did not even know that guitar playing is not allowed on the Sabbath), boarded the #11 bus at the Takana Merkazit [Central Bus Station] and sat up front, which is where I prefer to sit. No one yelled at me and told me to go and sit in the back. If someone had, I would have probably left the bus in tears. Even though I call myself “The Vicious Babushka” on this blog, I am not really a vicious person at all, I am actually very timid and avoid confrontations whenever I can.
Anyway, no yelling at me from zealots, so I reached my destination and spent a beautiful Shabbat in Mea Shearim. I visited this family again and again, decided to accept a Haredi lifestyle instead of Dati Leumi which I had previously considered. I married a young man from the American branch of a very respected Yerushalmi family. We had 9 children, and our 9 children have had 29 grandchildren: 38 Jewish souls, who would not even exist if there had been some pig on that #11 bus who had ordered me to sit in the back!