Aug 25, 2019

the show must go on,. despite the courts saying no

The court hearing the case in Haifa against the Kumzitz for men by Mordechai Ben David and Motti Steinmetz has decided, based on the recommendation of the Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit to disallow the event.

The court basically said that if they want to have an only men event and not meet the criteria set by Mandelblit, they should fund it themselves and not have it sponsored by the Irya from public monies. Mandelblit had set criteria for gender-segregated events that the Irya must be able to defend sponsoring the event by showing that women have an equal (but separate place) - meaning, if the event is separate and women are treated equally, with a mechitza but not squashed into the back or somewhere they cannot see or hear, that would be fine. if the event is for men only, the women are being left out. If the women don't have a similar event for them, the women are being left out.

When Mandelblit announced his support for gender-segregated events, meeting the criteria he laid out, the Haredi askanim were happy that their needs were being recognized. Now that an event not meeting the requirements is being canceled, they are once again upset that their needs are not being met and the Haredim are being left out of the public sphere. Really all they need to do is make their events to treat men and women equally, but separate, as they supposedly wanted to in the first place, and Mandelblit says it can happen. Now they don't want to do that either and still want it to be able to happen.

(update: the producer of the event says he is insisting the show must go on at any cost and they will forgo the Irya funding and put it on fully private, and people will buy the tickets, and they are even willing to take a financial loss to make sure it happens)

The responses have been sharp from the haredi askanim, but, as always, none as sharp as MK Yisroel Eichler (UTJ). Eichler said if we are weak, the judges from the North will come to us in Jerusalem as well. When you want to make a bris for your son, the court will not allow you to make it separate seating.

It is a cute and funny attack, as per Eichler's normal style, but he, as he often does, is convoluting, probably intentionally, what is going on. The only time the court might not allow you to make your bris separate is if somehow you get the Irya to sponsor your bris. And even then it might get a religious exception, the way prayer services get. Again, the courts are not saying, at least not yet, private events cannot be gender-segregated. They are syaing public events cannot be segregated and even public events can be segregated if care is taken to give equal space to men and women.

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  1. I wonder if any consideration would be made of the fact that Haredim would expect women not to sing along. Is that still equal accommodation?

  2. I havent heard that argument. I think it wouldnt hold water as the counter-argument would then be to either not let women in shul (or at Motti Steinmetz concerts) out of the same concern or else it is obviously not a real argument

    1. Shuls are not publically-funded. And I guess the counter-argument would be that the women are allowed to sing along, and the men would just have to put up with it.

  3. I wish they would desegregate britot. I go to these things where I know no one and am surrounded by all these black-hatted dudes I don't know and have no one to talk to, and my wife is on the other side of a bulletproof mechitza. Tear it down.


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