Blurry Glasses Reveal Hate Of “Ultra-Orthodox” Jews

Recently, some articles have come out reporting that some Hareidi or “Ultra-Orthodox” Jews in Mea Shearim, the most religious area of Jerusalem, have started selling glasses that blur their owner’s vision. The goal, apparently, is to help men who might be tempted by women dressed immodestly on the street from looking and seeing what they shouldn’t.

Since the report was released, website after website, and blog after blog, has picked up this story. Almost all with a certain mocking tone. Many with angry under and overtones. Many sarcastic.

The super-crazy-frummy-religious-folk are frequently the target of media skepticism and attacks. But what separates this parade of attacks is that usually the hatred and anger is hidden behind a guise of worrying about others’ welfare. For example, the very real issue of sex scandals rocking the United States ultra-orthodox community, and the gangs of Jews policing modesty in that same community of Mea Shearim, are topics frequently discussed and criticized in popular culture. Usually, these stories are capitalized on to attack the wider religious Jewish community.

But now, people who, no matter how ridiculous their methods, have chosen a path that hurts no one (except perhaps themselves), are being attacked. Mocked. Virtually spit on.

Why? Not for any good reason. They’re not hurting anyone. G-d knows, it was probably one dude’s idea in a shop that some journalist heard about. But even if it’s more widespread than that, who cares?

Even more importantly, why do we find it so amusing? Why is the fact that men are so aware of their fallibility that they have gone out of their way to respect women suddenly seen as a bad thing?

Here in New York City, women are constantly subjected to cat calls, whistles, and much much worse, by men who have no such qualms.

And now, in Jerusalem there are a group of men who have chosen to disable themselves so that they would never do that to a woman.

Instead of some thoughtful introspection about our society, the blogosphere has chosen a different path: attacking those who are different. Attacking a group of people who can’t stand up for themselves because they don’t have a PR team, and a bunch of people calling journalists to complain.

But what we all need to focus on here is not what we may be confused by, but what within ourselves is allowing us to allow such unfiltered hate to seep through. Instead of looking at the differences between people with respect and warmth, or at least indifferent tolerance, these people are being pushed around. Sometimes when I read these articles, I have an image of people throughout history pushing Jews around and pointing out their silly side curls and beards, and I wonder if there’s any difference.

So, all you promoters of tolerance, can you answer this? Why is it okay to hate these people because they lead a different life than yours? And what is it that you find quite so objectionable and worthy of hate, mocking, and anger?

Until anyone can answer these questions without resorting to dirty attacks of an entire people, I can only assume that hatred against ultra-orthodox Jews has become mainstream.





47 responses to “Blurry Glasses Reveal Hate Of “Ultra-Orthodox” Jews”

  1. Harrison Salzman Avatar
    Harrison Salzman

    If someone is so bereft of the capacity for self-control that they would rather diminish their vision than risk seeing a woman, then I think a bit of mockery is merited.

    “Virtually spit on.” – Horror of horros. I suppose that is far worse than women being literally spit on for wearing clothes that don’t pass approval.

    1. Elad Nehorai Avatar

      I find it ironic that you have no problem expressing such hate for them, while expecting them to treat you with respect.

      1. Harrison Salzman Avatar
        Harrison Salzman

        “Hate”? You need to check the definition of the word. Anger, certainly; it is a reasonable response to seeing someone act in an evil manner.

        Did I advocate any sort of violence against Charedi? Did I say that they have no right to live their lives as they wish? For that matter, did I at any point say that they shouldn’t be allowed to wear their silly glasses?

        Criticism is not hatred. Pointing out that women are physically attacked by Charedi for not following their principles – and that the larger Charedi community does nothing to condemn those attacks – is not hatred.

        If I meet a someone who is Charedi, I do not attack them. I do not insult them. I doubt that I will be anything but perfectly civil. But the group to which they belong contains many individuals who act in a manner that brings shame to the whole group. And to see someone draw a parallel between physical assault and online mockery does not paint you in a particularly positive light.

        1. Elad Nehorai Avatar

          Your post was hatred. Why? Because you assume that the same people wearing the glasses are the people spitting on women. How do you know that? Because they are Hareidi? Because they live in Mea Shearim? I have news for you, not everyone who is Hareidi, and not everyone who is in Mea Shearim, spits on women.

          That’s what hate is. Assuming that all these people fit into the neat little box you’ve made for them and attacking them as a whole to justify your anger. Yes, it was hateful.

          Acting “civil” to someone’s face and then defaming them as a group in a public space doesn’t count as respect. It’s an assault, and even if it isn’t physical, it hurts the Jewish people as a whole, religious and otherwise.

          1. Janice Amrani Avatar

            Elad, I think you’re reading something into Harrison’s words that just isn’t there. He in no way said that those who have actually spit on women or girls whose clothes weren’t modest enough in their eyes are the same people who wear these glasses.

        2. Pooshetah Yid Avatar
          Pooshetah Yid

          Ummm… “But the group to which they belong contains many individuals who act in a manner that brings shame to the whole group.” that’s the giveaway right there. I challenge you to find the “many individuals” of which you speak. Actually it is a very few individuals who act in a manner that brings shame to the whole group – especially when the few are turned into many by people like you…

          1. Janice Amrani Avatar

            Does it really matter the exact number of individuals that behave badly? Suffice it to day that some few do, but yet their behavior is not roundly condemned by their religious community.

          2. avikraft Avatar

            So why the double standard ?. Every day crimes of violence are reported in the Israeli media .crimes far more extreme then spiting for example gang murders violent fist fights wife killings corruption etc but no one emphasizes the fact that these people are not religious or blames it on their secular life stlye . No one generalizes and says that these crimes prove that all secular Jews are no good. No one demands that the leading proponents of secularism condemn the violent behavior of secular Jews or the rising tide of violence in public Israeli high schools. And there is an additional problem . Orthodox leaders often do denounce the extremists but the Israeli media don’t publish that so you never hear of that

        3. avikraft Avatar

          its too bad that the news media only report a one sided bias towards Jews and Israel but the Israeli media most notably the Jerusalem post have made an art of biased one side reporting when it comes to haredim. when this spitting incident in beit Shemesh occurred I and ten thousand others signed an online petition mostly of those haredim who found the behavior of these jerks anti torah and anti Jewish . Did you see the petition or even hear of it? I have many friends who are what you would call hareidi and don’t have computers or they would have also signed . Rabbis from major Orthodox organizations and hareisi newpapers condemned these extremists. Did the Israeli media report on that? This is just a small sample of how the hareidim get the same treatment from the secular news media that Jews and Israel get from the press in general

      2. Janice Amrani Avatar

        I don’t understand why you are using the inflammatory words “such hate,” Elad. First of all, I don’t know that Harrison expects haredim to “treat him with respect.” Did he say somethng about this in a previous post maybe? What I take away from his post is not hatred at all, but his pointing out ridiculousness in sentence 1 and irony in sentence 2.

  2. White Elk Clearwater Avatar

    1st of all the spitters are a tiny absurd minority, held in disdain even by most hhareidim.
    2nd wearing the blurry glasses or doubled sunglasses, or muddied glasses in order to prevent clear seeing of immodest women is in the vast majority of cases NOT due to the man getting hots over seeing them. It is connected to warnings from our sages that seeing such sights reduces one’s ability to learn & understand fully one’s Torah studies & can even lose level in Olam Haba. it is also considered a lack of self respect for a woman to go about immodestly dressed & the man is in his part guarding her modesty.
    So what is there to mock???!

    1. Miriam Pearlmutter Avatar

      How are you going to lose olama haba over seeing immodest women that you don’t have “the hots” for? Is God that arbitrary and whimsical?

  3. White Elk Clearwater Avatar

    Picking up where I left off. Halakha forbids saying a blessing where you see what is called the improper nudity of a woman (or man). Studying Torah by reading or by oral recall is also problematic in view of such. So since many orthodox especially hhareidi men study or do recall while walking or riding buses etc the presence of such “views” interferes greatly.

    It may be worth noting too that the few men who have managed to refine themselves spiritually sufficiently (to the level that most men were a couple millenia ago) can feel & sometimes see the radiated impurity of a woman who is Nidah. It is like getting hit by a 110V 5Amp electric shock & leaves a burned feeling. It actually does damage the nefesh temporarily. While if not scorched again one’s nefesh can recover in a few days, getting zapped daily means not recovering. The scorching is painful & also interferes with their spiritual level, studies & work. These are usually men of the “36 hidden ssadikim” or their closest students who work with them in praying etc for the welfare of the people & when requested for individuals. You will likely never know who they are but they at times go in public places, buses etc. These are men in our generation.

    While most men do not have the sensitivity to realize that they are scorched the damage is there. Back a couple thousand years even female unmarried teens & women would keep distance when menstruating & go to the mikveh after their periods in order to not zap people.
    Rabi Yaakov Abuhhassira zassa”l (1805–1880) was able to feel that a woman in a room in the floor above him was menstrual!

    1. Pooshetah Yid Avatar
      Pooshetah Yid

      Ummm… just out of curiosity, did anyone actually go upstairs and verify that the woman upstairs was menstrual? I’m not questioning the tzidkus of the Avir Yaakov, just the veracity of the story. Most of these stories are unverified and, of course, many years later unverifiable and so imho need to be taken with a healthy dose of salt – as the tradition of exaggerating Rabbi’s accomplishments seems to cross all sefardi/ashkenazi boundaries. The religion I believe in has no need of supermen with x-ray vision and super-kryptonite-sense-perception. And, Ummm… by the way, if he was THAT powerful why couldn’t he do more for Jews – like use his superpowers to bring moshiach. Ahhh, you’ll say, because it was not meant to be – just as it was not meant to be that he survive his attempt at reaching Israel. May be so – but it gets kind of foggy when any question you can think of asking gets answered by invoking that which we can not understand with our feeble brains… but we KNOW he could sense a nidah upstairs… And, Ummm… how far was his range actually – was it only directly upstairs or would it have extended all the way up if he lived in an apartment building? Did it only extend upwards? Why not sideways? If the range was limited to, say, 20 feet – why? You might try to tell me because past 20 feet the menstrual electricity does not extend. Really? How do you or any one else know that? Was it tested? Why would there be a range to a spiritual impurity? Tumas meis extends straight up for presumably as far as you could go – why not nidah? You see – stories like this necessarily resolve in silly and meaningless puzzles that can not be answered. Help keep supermen out of Judaism and stop spreading spiritual sounding nonsense that anyone who has not yet had the koolaid will recognize for what it truly is. Gobbledygook!

    2. Miriam Pearlmutter Avatar

      this was incredibly offensive

    3. Miriam Pearlmutter Avatar

      Basic biology does “damage” to your neshama? No thanks to that world view.

    4. Miriam Pearlmutter Avatar

      It’s also basic halacha that you’re not permitted to insult people. So if a woman dressed immodestly is before a man studying Torah who feels that his learning is becoming distracted, he should close his book, smile and make friendly conversation with her. That’s pretty much the only option a mentch has, everything else in that situation is a chillul hashem.

  4. Rachel Tova Rott Avatar

    Elad – I truly appreciate and understand your sentiment. Hate and intolerance is unacceptable no matter which direction. I do, however, feel that you may not be addressing or aware of the deeper aspects and implications of this issue, particularly for those living in Eretz Yisrael.

    Having lived in Jerusalem for more then seven years (as a religious woman), I have witnessed an unfortunate mentality of extremism that has caused a great deal of harm across the society in general. I’ve seen women (myself included) accosted for unknowingly sitting in the wrong aisles of mehadrin bus lines; seen religious people throw stones at police cars on Shabbos; and have watched religious people even get spit on for not dressing in the exact ‘style’ of certain groups. (And I’m not even talking about how the non-religious are treated… which is heart-breaking… especially considering it is their children that are physically dying in war after war to protect our homeland).

    This move towards blurred glasses, as you stated correctly, effects no one but the wearer themselves. However, it does potentially feed into a dangerous extremist mentality that eventually seems to propel situations of aggression and violence – creating the exact chillul Hashem one may be trying to avoid.

    I do not judge or hate one for the choice of wearing these glasses. I do, however, see it as another sad and grave warning for the direction we’re moving in as a people – and fear for the direction and implication this takes us in – particularly for those living in Israel. (Which is a very different situation then life in Chutz L’Aretz).

    What a better world we would live in if we could use our vision to see the love, joy, and G-dliness in all of our fellows instead of blotting it out due to fear of our own failings. That is the world I choose to see.

    May we all be blessed… because G-d knows… we need it.

    1. Elad Nehorai Avatar

      Hi Rachel,

      Thanks for your thoughtful, well-written response.

      You may not be aware of this, but I actually lived in Jerusalem for about three years, and for a good amount of time in a Hareidi neighborhood in Jerusalem. I don’t disagree about these issues. In fact, I agree, and think they need to be addressed. And it seems to me like you are addressing them in your own way, and hopefully more Israelis will address them. (On another note, I also think people in Israel tend to overly demonize the Hareidim without seeing the beauty in the culture as well. But that’s a discussion for another time).

      What concerns me is not people like you, who are thoughtful and intelligent and not hateful. What I am talking about here is something entirely separate: the way stories like this are twisted and used for others’ own purposes. Purposes of hate and division.

      I don’t doubt that you don’t hate or judge. That’s why this piece wasn’t written with you in mind. But there is a prevailing attitude in America that if someone is right, they are allowed to be as hateful and angry as they want. This attitude is very damaging for Jews, because it makes people feel like they have a license to tear an entire group apart because they see something wrong. I’ve written about this attitude a few times already in my past posts. It deeply disturbs me, and I think it should deeply disturb everyone else, since it’s much more dangerous than a few Hareidim wearing silly glasses.

    2. Yehoishophot Oliver Avatar

      To Rachel, and anyone else posting or reading this article who identifies as an Orthodox Jew (unlike those heaping scorn our timeless Torah values of modesty here, with whom I see no point in discussing the topic), 1. I don’t condone these glasses, 2; I believe that there is tremendous desensitization to the Torah’s true view of modesty, and tremendous ignorance in our times even among frum Jews of the importance of “guarding one’s eyes” and the sin and personal detriment involved in failure to do so.

      In any case, before a frum Jew considers how to approach any issue, the proper thing to do would be to consult with Torah sources on the topic. One example is the Rambam’s words in Hilchos Teshuvah 4:4–
      ומהן חמישה דברים העושה אותן אין חזקתו לשוב מהן, לפי שהן דברים קלים בעיני רוב האדם, ונמצא חוטא והוא ידמה שאין זה חטא; ואלו הן: … והמסתכל בעריות–מעלה על דעתו שאין בכך כלום, שהוא אומר וכי בעלתי או קרבתי; והוא אינו יודע שראיית העיניים עוון גדול, שהיא גורמת לגופן של עריות, שנאמר “ולא תתורו אחרי לבבכם, ואחרי עיניכם” (במדבר טו,לט).

      There is similar widespread ignorance of the tremendous damage that a girl and woman does to all around her by dressing and behaving immodestly, for which she bears responsibility. See my post on this topic here.

      1. Yehoishophot Oliver Avatar

        It should be made clear that for a Torah-observant Jew, there is nothing remotely extreme about the desire to refrain from seeing immodest sights, even without gazing; on the contrary, this caution is key to being a Jew. See what I quote in my article here:

        Extra appreciation of the need to refrain from viewing impure images unnecessarily can be gleaned from the Rebbe Rashab’s Kuntres HoAvodah pp. 11-12-13). There the Rebbe Rashab explains at length that true fear of sin does consists not only of refraining from looking at forbidden sights, but of not allowing one’s senses to be indiscriminately open:
        His faculty of sight is not open to see everything before him, never mind to see something that it is forbidden to gaze at. For in fact seeing, and certainly gazing, is the cause of every wicked thing. It brings one to total evil, may G–d save us … and lowers one into the depth of hell. Everyone who is concerned for his soul, not to bring it to contamination, G–d forbid, should confine himself in his faculty of sight. If he finds this difficult, he should know that his soul depends upon it, and that if he does not confine himself, all his divine service is as nothing, for he will not accomplish anything through his toil and service. On the contrary, he will fall, may G–d save us, to the lowest depth. Thus one should toughen oneself like a lion to confine himself with all his vigor and might. … With this one will save his soul from evil, and his divine service will be acceptable [before Hashem], and he will accomplish salvation for his soul, and rise ever higher.

        1. Miriam Pearlmutter Avatar

          Yehoishophot. Everything that we do, say, and write affects others. But that doesn’t mean we need to live our lives around that principle. For example, your post about the tremendous damage women’s bodies do had the effect of pushing me further away from Judaism. Are you now going to refrain from such comments from now on? I doubt it. Likewise with everything else. If I wear ugly shoes to shul, people might say loshon hora about me and if I wear nice shoes, people might be jealous. At some point you just have to forget about what possible sin the other person might commit, otherwise you’ll never leave the house.

          1. Yehoishophot Oliver Avatar

            Not interested in debating. But just for the record, the sicha quoted in my post there doesn’t say that women’s bodies inherently do damage; it says that they do IF the woman chooses not to dress tznius. However, if she chooses to dress in a way of tznius, then she has an equally, if not greater (as per the principle of merubah middah tovah) positive effect upon others.

  5. Dashiell Rose Bark-Huss Avatar

    Hey Elad, I wouldn’t say I hate anyone for doing this but I am critical of what goes on in my community. It does disgust me how hypersexualized Judaism is. Everything is ruthlessly censored for the heightened affect of its sexual appeal. In any culture where a body part is commonly covered and stigmatized it becomes sexual, like female breasts in the U.S. or a woman’s face in Islamic nations. In cultures where these are displayed daily these parts are as sexual as an inner elbow. The act of wearing glasses in order to blur a woman’s entire being sends the message that all parts of a woman in any context is sexual regardless of how she views herself and that to me is sexist and that’s why it could cause anger. It doesn’t just stop at the physical; kol isha is another sexualizing halacha that silences woman. It’s a slippery slope to someone telling a woman to stop speaking because intelligent women are attractive. So I guess that’s how it sort of affects more than just the wearer and why it makes me a bit angered. Thanks for reading. Hope all is well!

    1. Pooshetah Yid Avatar
      Pooshetah Yid

      Ummm… I think I speak for all of humanity when I say that I’d prefer breasts to actually be more than an elbow (not that I have anything against elbows mind you). Are you actually saying that Chareidi society in particular is hypersexualized as compared to the rest of civilization? Well I suppose that’s true if your definition of hypersexualized is thinking that breasts are very different than elbows… Ummm… speaking of hypersexualized, have you seen an advertisement say in the last 25 years or so? Using your logic we’d have to say that the Chareidi press is hypersexualized because they do not print pictures of women at all. Whereas our progressive non-hypersexualized society is non-hypersexualized because they run picture ads for brassieres even in papers like the New York Times. Where readers presumably wonder why on earth women need those things to cover their elbows…

    2. bentzy Avatar

      Dashiell, I think that this is what makes Judaism’s view on Sexuality so Wonderful, and Western societies view so sad.

      In Judaism we believe that a women’s body IS sexual, that a women’s voice is sexual. In western Society we have become so desensitized that men must resort to Viagra to become sexually excited. A Jewish man is supposed to be aroused by the female body/voice and yes even elbow. He is supposed to be attracted to every part of the female – BUT he must channel that energy to the one female that he is committed to – his wife.

      The same applies to men. In jewish law, men must also dress modestly.

      We live in a hypersexual world, where everywhere we go we see scantily clad women (and men), but that actually causes us to become desensitized to real sexuality, which is supposed to enhance our marriages and the love in our life.

      That is why religious women dress and act modestly, because they are aware of the power of sexuality. That is why religious men are so careful to not look at women who’s sexuality is revealed and open – because they wish to reserve it for the one women that matters – their wife.

      This is not about silencing women, its about respecting the power that their sexuality has, its about respecting a mans sexuality, and its about making sure that both are channeled in the right place.

      1. Miriam Pearlmutter Avatar

        frum society objectifies women no less than secular society does, just from a different perspective. Although tznius is supposed to be all about the inner you and your personality, in reality, no one could care less what the inner you is all about if your skirt’s not long enough, if your tights don’t reach up, if your collarbone is uncovered. If that’s not objectifying women, I don’t know what is.
        And no, no one finds a woman’s elbow remotely attractive- it’s just not part of our cultural frame of reference. Finally, viagra has nothing to do with modesty, it is for a medical condition. Kind of like the need for anti-depressants is not obviated for everyone if they just learn enough chassidus.
        And frankly, seeing little girls ( who also have to dress modestly) as sexual is just creepy.

    3. Elad Nehorai Avatar

      What Bentzy said, basically. I think that we go around pretending like people aren’t sexual, and then by doing that, they ironically become tools for sexuality. I can’t walk two steps into Manhattan without seeing something demeaning to women and their bodies.
      I’m not saying glasses is the answer. What I’m saying is that we need to acknowledge reality. And that gives people MORE power and esteem, not less.

      And great to hear from you, Dashiell, I always love hearing your thoughts 🙂

  6. mottel Avatar

    Elad, I’m sorry – but i think you’re entirely missing out on the point here.
    These glasses are silly. Period. There is no religious need – chumra, hiddur or otherwise to wear them.
    What is more, frankly, until we see them “in the wild” – out there in actual use in Mea Shearim – and with legitimate rabbinic support . . . I highly doubt that this is anything more than some guys invention that he hopes to sell after creating a media buzz.

    1. Elad Nehorai Avatar

      I agree with everything you said. But I think you may be missing my point. Silliness doesn’t justify hate. Something being “wrong” doesn’t justify the amount of vitriol this story has exposed. What bothers me even more is that this sort of hate inevitably effects all Jews.

      1. Miriam Pearlmutter Avatar

        Covering your eyes so as not to see me- that’s misogyny. Kind of like White Elk’s posts here about how women radiate impurity that zaps everyone around them. So maybe consider what types of hatred is practiced by the groups that are considering these glasses.

  7. […] Pop Chassid wrote an article via his blog about the response to an alleged raging trend in the Charedi world. The trend? A pair of glasses that are purposely blurred and smudged for Orthodox Jewish men to wear outside to protect them from seeing inappropriately dressed women. […]

  8. MochinRechavim Avatar

    These glasses were created for one purpose, which was to test the Jewish people and the world. Will these been on display in all the hip charedi stores? Will they make a Ray-Ban model? Of course not. The Test? Tolerance. Tolerance for something that is the complete antithesis of what we represent. Tolerance of what we view as something that is just wrong. Stereotyping. We failed this as well. Not only are these glasses attached to ALL Charedim, but ALL Charedim are the same; Sexist, Oppressive, Abusive, Aggressive, Cultish Neanderthals. I might have embellished it a bit, but it was to make a point.
    The situation and reaction reminds me a bit about a certain chicken sandwich chain.
    I am supposed to be tolerant and respective of homosexuals who live a life that not only is the opposite of nature, but something I find to be a lifestyle built completely on nourishing pleasure and carnal desire. It is a selfish lifestyle that is about what I want and not about sharing with others and bringing children into the world. When a man or women want to life this lifestyle, the world demands that we respect their choice. Even more, even if you don’t choose to live this lifestyle the world demands that we still support them by making laws for them etc. So why is a Jew, or a religious Jew not deserving of the same right when what they do is viewed as “lacking the capacity of self-control”? So what if they lack self control? At least they acknowledge their deficiency unlike the people so quick to judge them. I am sure that some of your commenters below and the thousands who commented on other blogs are all living the highest level of morality and self control.
    The attraction that this has received from the world is a reminder that a Jew is a Jew and the world does not see the difference between secular, religious, or charedi.
    The fact that Jews are on the forefront of this just proves that Jews are so eager to sell out their fellow Jews to look like acceptable, progressive, enlightened and intellectual in the eyes of the nations of the world.
    Between these glasses and the reaction to them, I think we can come to an agreement that we have all helped participate in a total fail, myself included.

    1. Ernest G. Moronez Avatar

      What’s wonderful about this is that people have the freedom and choice to do it. Sometimes I wish I had glasses like that especially since I reside in an Asian country where young women seemingly go out of their way to be objectified. It does become a problem when a lot of women deliberately show off parts of their bodies that clearly don’t need to be shown, and I’m sure they are well aware of the effect that it has on males. I say this only because I am aware about the subtle intricacies involved regarding male-female attraction in this specific culture. The media is one of the best educational formats in carrying out this agenda. It’s really not too much different than most other industrialized or Western-influenced cultures. Unfortunately, I don’t reside in Israel but I feel the urge to live there more and more. After living a secular life for quite a while and finally understanding the essentials that Torah teaches, I feel drawn to live a holy life. I didn’t swing to the other extreme but I actively seek to live a well-balanced life. So naturally, I struggle with some things like we all do. I admire and respect the fact that some people are going out of their way to minimize lust or distractions (I don’t know the correct word for it). Some are stronger than others in being able to overcome such lust/distractions, but others aren’t. So I really don’t see the problem with these glasses if I realize that it’s beneficial for some people. As a Native American proverbs says, don’t judge a person until you have walked a mile in his/her moccasins.

    2. Janice Amrani Avatar

      I certainly agree with your statement that a Jew is a Jew and the world does not see the difference between secular, religious or haredi. I do think you’re being a bit hard on the Jews “on the forefront,” though. They may be opposed, not because of some cowardly “wish to belong,” but more a desire not to be tarred with the same brush, as it were, since the world doesn’t distinguish between secular, religious and haredi.

  9. Joe Helmreich Avatar

    Elad, you make some very good points and I totally agree that no one should hate or make fun of these people for this. At the same time, I’m not sure on what basis you suggest they’re doing this in order to respect women. Do shmirat eiynayim and respect for women necessarily go hand in hand? Maybe, but I’m not a hundred percent sure (and in this case, one might also argue that women feel more objectified when people avoid looking at them, not less). Also, if avoiding looking at women in the street only makes men more sensitive to them, which is a possibility worth considering, then this will be counterproductive. But yes, no one should hate these people for this (which is not to say that people can’t debate whether the chumra does or doesn’t go too far or is or isn’t

    1. Elad Nehorai Avatar

      Can I be totally honest with you? I don’t think they’re necessarily doing this to respect women. I actually had a line in this piece where I specifically said that, essentially.
      The reason I deleted it is because I felt like… what’s the point? A person shouldn’t hate no matter what. Why does it matter if they did it for a good reason or a bad reason, as you said.
      Also, what bothered me a lot about this was that the people I was specifically referring to (the “haters” who weren’t calmly discussing the points the way you and most of the commenters like Dashiell did) never once stopped to ask, “Hey, maybe there’s a reason these people do it, besides our own assumptions?”
      What bothers me is that those people don’t seem to even ATTEMPT to think about this stuff on a deeper level.
      So, I don’t know if it was right of me to post it so it sounded like I agreed with them, but that was at least what I was trying to convey.

      1. Yehoishophot Oliver Avatar

        Since you are a G-d-fearing Jew who believes in the Torah mandate to guard one’s eyes, perhaps write an article explaining what you think is a more appropriate method of accomplishing this goal.

        1. Elad Nehorai Avatar

          To be honest, I don’t think I’m qualified for such an article. I’m just a guy who is against hate. I think a rabbi would be a better writer of such a piece.

  10. Dvid Silva Avatar
    Dvid Silva

    Well glasses won’t do much if the mind is not changed first.

  11. donteatburritos Avatar

    A woman chooses to dress in revealing clothing; Tehran: “Let’s rape and murder her!”

    A woman chooses to dress in revealing clothing; Jerusalem: “Let’s wear blurry glasses.”

    Even though both religions have trouble dealing with sexuality—to varying degrees, obviously—at least the men within Judaism acknowledge that their libido is not an excuse to dictate public dress codes.

  12. MrsIpstenu Avatar

    I can appreciate the impulses that led to the wearing of such glasses. However, I hope none of the men wearing them are driving or operating heavy machinery. I see this as a safety issue — not something to mock, but something that ought to stop for the sake of protecting the world from those who deliberately avoid seeing it clearly.

    Again, I appreciate and even applaud the self-awareness of those who wear them. They know their hearts better than anyone else can, and if this is what they need in order to prevent themselves from actively disrespecting women, then I’m glad they’re self-policing. I just wish that instead they’d work on impulse control, and pray/meditate/learn towards being able to see women as what we are: ten times as holy as men, closer to G*D, filled with ideas, feelings, values, principles, merits, minds, souls, and not just as walking… body parts to be ogled, taunted, or abused by men. Once the change is made internally, it won’t matter what a man sees, because his soul and heart will be the ones doing the seeing, not his eyes, “after which you stray.”

  13. Janice Amrani Avatar

    I agree that hatred and intolerance are unacceptable. But I think you are not realizing something here: that people will continue to read this kind of story, not because of hatred or intolerance, but because of the *weirdness* of it. The old saying about what sells newspapers (in the old, pre-blog days) is “Man bites dog.” Why? Because it’s odd. Personally, though, I am all for modesty and, regardless of how I or anyone else feels, if a man wants to wear such glasses, fine.

    Besides that, though, I feel that the implication of these glasses may be a haredi slide into extremism – and *that* is worrisome.
    If you are truly wondering why secular-types might display anger towards haredim, I don’t think you have to look any farther than the exemption from army service. The feeling is, and I must admit, as the traditional-but-not-haredi mother of a teenage son, in my opinion, understandable.

  14. […] Jews in Mea Shearim wear blurry glasses to help them avoid eyeing the ladies, they’re […]

  15. lainnj Avatar

    I agree: they are not hurting anyone with this particular practice and certainly should not be harassed or attacked. But your suggestion that men have to almost literally blind themselves or, of course, they’ll just go out and harass women is a bit ridiculous. Religious people of all flavors often have issues with sexuality and a fear of women, which too often spills over into hate. This is what people are reacting to — the strange, often perverse, relationship between religion and sexuality.

  16. Chris Avatar

    Fair minded article, but let’s be honest. These ultra-orthodox Jews are the most ignorant, backward, twisted, intolerant weirdo’s you’ll ever encounter. Stubborn and uncompromising, judgemental and temperamental toward any perceived affront to “their” God…and no, sorry, I don’t see any beauty in their culture.

  17. […] is too hard to ignore. It’s so much easier to get people debating Matisyahu’s struggles or the hatred against the ultra-orthodox than to get people to truly introspect, to truly look inward and change. And to change yourself […]

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