Monday, March 09, 2009

Emes Ve-Emunah – Swimsuit Edition

Guest Post by Rebbetzin Ilana M. Sober

Pictured at left are some of the most beautiful models in the world (obviously) modeling the latest in female swim wear for the upscale Israeli woman of Meah Shearim. Pictured also is ace photographer, Billy 'the kid' Nader who did the photo shoot - and also shot our cover (viewable here)… and later shot himself - or was it that he had a shot – I forget which. Anyway - I am pleased as punch either way. (Ya gotta admit - the kid’s got talent!)

Where was I? Oh yes. In the spirit of my great Aunt Millie’s poodle (who was a very Tznius poodle by the way – never sat mixed on a bus) I present a guest post by Rebbetzin Ilana M. Sober.

I am loathe to give up posting duties on this –the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. But Rebbetzin Sober has ...uh ....sobering news of GLAAD tidings and great joy to share with us. Yes my friends - Jewish unity is upon us: A new solution to not only solve an old problem, but advance the cause of Mehadrin buses ...and solve the Shiddach crisis as well. All in one swell foop.

So with great pride and much ado about nothing - here it is. Please hold your applause (or your nose - whichever applies) till the very end - I’m trying to catch up on some sleep.

And now - the NEWS:

Mehadrin Marriage

In a landmark moment for Jewish unity, the Rabbinic Committee for the Sanctity of Public Transit has welcomed the Meretz-sponsored initiative legalizing same sex ("Mehadrin") marriage in Israel.

"Male-female marriage remains the greatest threat to tzniut on public buses," explained a Committee spokesman. "Married couples sitting together violate the strict gender separation on the mehadrin buses. Furthermore, conventional marriage tends to produce children, creating difficult dilemmas. Is it appropriate for a young boy to sit with his mother in the women's section of the bus, or for a young girl to ch"v sit with her father in the front? Once we have abolished the stumbling block of mixed gender families, entire buses can now be designated male-only or female-only."

In fact, Mehadrin Marriage has the potential to completely revolutionize tzniut in Eretz Yisrael. Community leaders are now working to establish entire Mehadrin neighbourhoods and even towns, where young Mehadrin couples can purchase apartments in exclusively male or female jurisdictions.

Opposite gender weddings, as well, have always presented an especially thorny problem in the Torah world, as men and women tend to interact under the chuppah. With Mehadrin Marriage, the strict separation practiced at the se'udah can be extended to the marriage ceremony itself.

Politics makes strange bedfellows. The Rabbinic Committee is now seeking to extend its cooperation with Meretz to adapt the "Two States for Two Peoples" doctrine to create one state for female people and another for male people. Poskim are currently debating whether the existing concrete separation barrier can serve as a halachically valid mechitza between the two states, or whether it will need to be made higher and thicker.

A compromise has also been reached on the formerly explosive topic of the Pride Parade. This year, two separate Mehadrin Marches will be held: a women's parade through a female neighbourhood, and a men's parade through a male neighbourhoods.

I. M. Sober (Yes - that's her real name.)