Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

30 Sivan 5768 - July 3, 2008 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Rabbinical Transportation Committee Urges All Ladies to Follow Bus Guidelines

By Yechiel Sever

The rabbonim of the Transportation Committee issued a notice asking ladies, seminary students and Bais Yaakov girls to closely adhere to halachic guidelines while using all public transportation, even if it is not running as a Mehadrin line.

According to the notice, more and more bus passengers are following Mehadrin arrangements where men board via the front door and sit toward the front of the bus while women use the rear door and sit toward the rear. On routes that do not offer separate boarding, women are urged to choose seats in the rear section of the bus.

In addition to promoting modesty, adhering to this arrangement will encourage bus companies to declare more lines Mehadrin lines.

In another notice the Transportation Committee warns of a spiritual danger deliberately caused by the Transportation Ministry, which is planning to cancel the Mehadrin arrangement on many bus routes in chareidi neighborhoods in Jerusalem once the light-rail system begins operating. "In our meeting with transportation experts we were notified that as part of the plans to operate the light-rail system in Jerusalem, the Transportation Ministry plans to cancel a significant portion of the existing chareidi lines in Jerusalem and to force the chareidi public in certain neighborhoods to use light rail, and in other neighborhoods to use standard bus lines," reads the Transportation Committee notice.

"We have determined that the light-rail system is not suited to meet the needs of the chareidi public, not from a physical perspective and certainly not from a spiritual perspective, and the plans to compel the chareidi public to use light rail constitute a grave spiritual threat."

According to the committee, the Transportation Ministry plans to reroute via Geula a number of lines that serve the general public, which could impact the religious character of the neighborhood.

The plan formulated by the Transportation Ministry and the Jerusalem Municipality calls for central transit stations at Mt. Herzl and Pisgat Ze'ev, which would force the chareidi public to take neighborhood buses to these stations and from there to board the light-rail trains to reach their destination. For instance, Bayit Vegan and Neveh Yaakov residents would have to take buses to the respective stations, board a train for the downtown area and travel with large numbers of secular passengers since many bus routes would no longer be available.

Rabbonim say that the problem should be addressed now before the light-rail system goes into operation, in order to preclude the need for a public campaign to alter the planned arrangements.


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