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May 23, 2013

Haredi women continue to demand their equality

It might just be a trickle, but little by little it is happening. One woman here, one woman there, demanding the equality they feel is lacking. Whether it is for more public respect, for more public presence, no more separate seating (outside of some select places like shuls, etc), advertising, whatever.

A haredi woman in Tzfat is now running for a seat on the City Council of the city. She says she has been receiving threatening calls pressuring her to cancel her campaign, but she insists on running.

of course some would say that once she demands change, once she disagrees, at least publicly, with the position of the haredi leaders and the rabbonim, she loses the right to be considered haredi. So now, according to that view, she is not a haredi woman demanding equality, expressing her right to run for city council, rather, it is just a woman, a religious woman, running, nothing to do with haredim...

Shira and her family moved from France to Tzfat less than a year ago. She admits that being new to Tzfat can be seen as a problem, but she prefers to see it as someone bringing a different perspective with a clean slate.

In her interview to Mynet she says some interesting statements, such as "I dont want my kids to think that mother is only there to deal with household chores and raise them. I want to break that stigma. I want to get out of that box." and "there can be 20 men in city council and me, and whether they like it or not my vote will be exactly equal to each of theirs. there voice will not be more influential or stronger. Their strength and my strength will be the same. Let them deal with it.", "I am not naive. I know in the haredi community people vite according to what the rav says. but not everybody does... I do not expect the men to vote for me but I will do everything to reach out to the hearts of the women and plant some hope"...

and the statement she ends the interview with is the one that might get her into the most trouble. She says, "I am following what is happening in the "Country club" in Tzfat recently, and am very angry. As a religious woman, I do not understand what the haredim care about that place being open on Shabbos... I would be happy if everyone would live as they wish to and respect the others. It also does not bother me if a coffee shop would be open on Shabbos, if it does not bother a secular person that I go to the mikva, for example.".

The main attack on her will to deny that she is haredi. If she is calling herself haredi (and maybe she even has lived a haredi lifestyle until now, I have no idea), and based on what she said about haredi women supporting her, she is clearly looking for the haredi vote, or the female haredi vote at least..My guess is their strategy to oppose her will be painting her as non-haredi and pointing to these statements. At the same time, more and more women even within the haredi community are taking such public initiatives...

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