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Apr 28, 2014

Egged misses a day counting Omer because it is too Jewish

Egged made a nice gesture. They often do. All on their own. No obligation, not required by the State or by the details of their contract..

Around holiday time Egged often puts nice messages on their bus displays wishing the public happy Pesach, a good week, a happy Sukkot, etc.

This year they came up with a new one. They were displaying on [some of] their buses the daily count of the Omer.

Very nice. A nice small touch that gives a Jewish atmosphere in the public sphere. It is also a nice reminder for someone who might have forgotten to count, but mostly it is just a nice touch.

After an article appeared on News1 criticizing Egged for the sefirat haomer display, Egged has decided to pull it.

Idan Yosef wrote "Yosef wrote that Egged needed to avoid presenting “irrelevant information” on its digital signs. “Public transportation cannot be allowed to present information that ignores entire populations,” he wrote. “Including a message that says 'Happy Holiday'” is problematic, “but it can be accepted, as long as it appears on Israel Independence Day and is shown on buses in hareidi population centers."
 source: INN

It is a shame that:
a. one stinking article can generate enough noise to make Egged decide to withdraw the program.
b. that some people are so against anything that appears too Jewish in the public sphere.

If a specific community does not want the signs, they can approach egged and have it stopped in their areas. There is no religious coercion involved.

In the meantime, you can write to Egged, if you are so inclined, on their contact page. And, someone started a Facebook page calling on Egged to bring back the Omer count on the buses.

The only question left open, perhaps for rabbinic consideration, is if they decide to restart the Omer display, can they do so with a bracha or only without because they missed a couple of days?

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  1. Comment I saw on Facebook today - How can we expect the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish State, if we don't.

  2. SB, Beit ShemeshApril 28, 2014 4:56 PM

    Hopefully they already missed days for Shabbos and Yom Tov...

  3. Or maybe the flip side of it - don't get so offended when you see Charedim having a barbeccue on Yom Hazikaron: they don't have to care about a day just because you do.


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