Nov 20, 2018

women cannot celebrate

Recent municipal election results have been the cause of merry celebration for some and dismay for others. Some of the celebrations have been marked by joyous singing and dancing, sometimes even perhaps a bit inappropriately - such as the scenes of yeshiva bochurim in Haifa dancing around Dr Einat Kalish, and scenes of yeshiva bochurim in the headquarters of Moshe Leon in Jerusalem celebrating his victory to celebratory dancing, in a mixed crows with other celebrants. But that is besides the point.

While celebratory dancing for the successful election of a politician is not for me, it does not bother me that other people do celebrate like that, especially after a contentious electoral season.

Interestingly enough, one celebration in particular upset many, specifically within the community that was fine with the celebrations earlier.

Celebrations were also held by high school girls in various Bais Yaakov seminaries, including Bais Yaakov Seminar Hachadash. After Moshe Leon's victory, the next morning in school the girls and the staff danced and sang in celebration, while some members of the staff were upset and opposed the celebration.

Other people were upset too, and there have been a number of editorials written online, critical of these celebrations. The most prominent of the ones I saw was by former Shas MK and current administrator of a women's seminary, Nissim Zeev.

Zeev was critical of the dancing saying that the girls have their place and have always helped with elections. But dancing? Historically such a thing never happened. Seminary girls have no place in or connection to politics. This is in sharp contrast to the ideal of "kol kvoda bas melech pnima".

As an aside, not the point of this post, the women can help with elections but cannot celebrate them? In Hebrew there is a racist saying that used to be commonly used against sefardim, הכושי עשה את שלו הכושי יכול ללכת, meaning, the negro did what he needed to do and now the negro can leave. Meaning, when we need the girls to help out and work for elections that is fine, but when done they have to go back home and not participate in anything else. There's no issue of kol kvoda when we need their work, but there is when they want to do something.   

I do not know why this is in sharp contrast to kol kvoda. They were not dancing in public. They were dancing in their own school courtyard, in private, among themselves. Perhaps one can be critical of the person who committed it to video and then posted it on the Internet, perhaps as a breach of tzniyus, but to criticize a private celebration of people celebrating exactly the same way other people were legitimately celebrating to no criticism at all and saying ti is inappropriate just because they are female?

I just do not get why the men can be happy and celebrate, very publicly, but the women cannot, even in private.

sources: Kikar and Kikar

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  1. Bigger problem is that schools should not be able to endorse a political candidate, so any actions to campaign before an election or celebrate a victory should be forbidden while school is in session. If students want to engage in politics, it should be after school hours, and without official endorsement of the school.

    1. and that would/should be the case equally for both male and female schools and students...


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