I am still learning...
My flight to Israel was my first up-close and personal introduction to Israeli Charedi life... I was sitting in an aisle seat next to a rather large man (he had an interesting name, but I can't remember it now...) Anyhow, as we were all settling in for the flight, a Chassidish looking man came over to me quietly and asked to switch seats with me. His seat was next to a frum lady in one of the two-seater parts of the plane. I am an instinctually polite person so I quickly switched seats.
And that's sort of the theme of my life here... quickly shifting on the sidewalk, paying super close attention to how I am behaving... and acting... and dressing. This may spark some argument, especially given the recent state of the country over the Beit Shemesh controversy, and while I don't condone spitting on a eight-year-old, there is an sense of respect that must be given. Now, I am not the political type... at least, I try not to be. I've read and heard a lot about what's been going on there, I have an up-close look at life in Yerushalayim (Meah Shearim) and everything that goes on, and though I may not lean towards one side or the other, I hear both sides.
While it isn't ok to spit on people, berate them loudly on the street, call names or throw things, as the saying goes "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." For secularists in Israel, this somehow doesn't seem to apply... But if you are entering an area, the least you can do is respect their community. What do you gain by causing controversy?
I read an article in the Jerusalem Post about two girls who came dressed immodestly on to a bus hoping to stir some arguement. Much to their shock, they were spoken to politely, which furthered their fury in an attempt to make the headlines... Is it really so hard to put on a skirt? To cover up? And for the other side, not everyone can or will comply... can't you just close your eyes or look the other way? I read a recent article from another blog that added some new perspective to this, which I may post later... but for now... shouldn't our goal be about love and acceptance? Instead of hatred and rejection? Don't we all long to see the day when we are all dressed and behaving according to the will of Hashem, with Moshiach as our leader? We can't get there if we continue the way we are..
We can't go on like this...
And despite it all, I am still learning.
(Disclaimer: I do not claim to be knowledgable in any area of what has been going on, nor with the different perspectives of society... this post is simply my reflection on the matter.)