Friday, January 28, 2011

mehadrin buses

at the jewish film festival ther was a documentary called the black bus which is about two young women in their twenties who grew up chassidish  and later became secular jews. the documentary itself was lukewarm. it didnt tell  enough about each woman's personal journey away from frumkeit. it was almost as if we should assume that it was an obvious choice. they did however feature the mehadrin buses in israel which i found most captivating.
when i was  in israel last there were not any mehadrin buses.  ive wondered what they were like.
after seeing them all i can say is that i am so happy that they did not exist when i was in israel.
i think there is something horrible about having to board from the back of the bus. i suppose the only good thing is that if i rode one of those buses i would never have to pay . they have a hole puncher at the back of the bus so women can punch their own bus passes. yeah...right....
what i want to know is what happens if a woman is riding a bus and doesnt know the neighborhood one is going to. usually when this happens i like to sit in the front of the bus so i can ask the bus driver where i should get off. even if it would be permissable to go to the front of the bus to ask the bus driver i would be a little embarrassed to have to walk through a crowd of only men to go to the front of the bus to ask the driver directions.
i know from past experience on the now revamped monsey bus ( as in the mechitzah rule has been relaxed. ) that when there weren't enough seats for the women and children the men wouldn't move the mechitzah over so the women could  sit even if there was room.  however at least that bus was split down the middle . i guess that bus company was more concerned about collecting their fares.
i think that segregating buses by gender is demeaning. it also is bad if one is on a date or out with a spouse or ones family. i suppose the women always end up saddled with all of the kids while the husbands sit and relax at the front of these buses.
it is true that having segregated buses help the anti negiah issue because i remember how pushy the israelis were when boarding buses.  instead of making sure people have derech eretz on buses and not pushing other passengers they decided that it would be easier to create a mehadrin bus.
before gender segregation on israeli buses charedi or chassidic men would not sit next to women on buses and if a woman sat next to them they would get up. i guess they now would rather have a seat than get up when occasionally a woman sits next to them. after all there may not be another appropriate seat to switch to if you have to get up.
the other thing that used to happen on israeli buses before gender separation was the unmentionable. young yeshiva bachrim would stand way too close to women and.....well let me say you would have to get up and get away from them. so i guess now they cant do this to women on the buses anymore. the only place id seen this happen was in israel with yeshiva bachrim. i have not seen that on the nyc buses or subways. ive seen other very gross happenings  on nyc buses and subways but just not that one. so yes, i guess it would be better to  ride a mehadrin bus in israel so that  you would not have to encounter that.

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