At the end of September, the High Court declared that separation between men and women on the sidewalks of Mea She'arim in Jerusalem will not be allowed, nor will the placement of "supervisors" that will make sure that the passerby dress modestly. The court came to this conclusion after several radical cases of separation took place illegally in the neighborhood during Sukkot.
This week, city resident Shira Friedman came to Modiin News reporting that she had tried to protest the separation of men and women at last week's municipal Hakafot Shniyot. Friedman attended the event with her six-year-old daughter, who is part of the Religious Scouts youth movement. She shared with the newspaper how she was shocked to discover that all women were cleared off the dance floor, and that a partition guided them to an area where they could not see the stage. "My daughter and her friends didn't see the speeches or the Torah or the players. The assumption is that girls can make due with music to the side [of the dance floor]."
The event has been held in this manner for years, but according to Friedman this is a custom that should be changed. "It doesn't bother me that there isn't mixed dancing, that is totally acceptable. What seems grave to me is the partition and its location. It also isn't clear to me if it is even legal that the municipality allow separation at one of its events."
The municipality replied that "According to Halacha, women and men must be separated while dancing -- a fortiori when doing so next to the Torah. Since this is an activity aimed at the general public, including the religious public, it was decided that they must be respected by making the dancing separated. That being said, there is an area designated to mixed dancing for men and women for those who are interested. The municipality works to balance the needs of the different populations in the city, and suit the activities to fit the crowds that they wish to attract."
Wednesday, October 06, 2010