Haredim refusing to sit mixed on airplanes

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  • #613992
    lesschumras
    Participant

    I understand haredim making the request, and if it was a short flight I could see a woman moving to accommodate them. But on a long flight, why should they expect a woman to sit apart from her husband for a 10 hour flight ? Not every religious requirement must be accommodated, especially when doing so inconveniences others.

    I seem to recall years ago haredi travel agents booking blocs of seats and marketing them to haredi men, just for this reason

    #1036984
    charliehall
    Participant

    If it really is a religious requirement not to sit by a woman, buy yourself an extra ticket.

    #1036985

    If the husband would switch seats with the wife there would be no issues at all. If anything a long flight would have a better reason for extra care not to mix with the opposite gender.

    #1036987
    Little Froggie
    Participant

    You wrote it – Haaretz at its best. Go believe them.

    FYI NO ONE coerces women to move. Not a one!

    One airline may be more accommodating than another to the sensitivities of the religious and merely request a passenger relocate, whether male or female. (As much as the media would like to portray us – and have some of us believe, this is nothing against WOMEN, just an attempt to keep male apart from female)

    A request – that’s all. I’ve seen it dozens of times. In a non El Al flight. Everyone has a right to refuse. But Baruch HaShem there aren’t so many Anti-Orthodox (bedavkaniks), so some (most) will accede.

    Some airlines such as that will refuse to accommodate at all (sit where you’re seated attitude), or maybe it was because they were overwhelmed by too many relocation requests.

    #1036988
    Joseph
    Participant

    1. The starting assumption is any Ha’aretz report is inaccurate.

    2. The “Hareidim” requesting a seat change invariably do so politely and request it voluntarily from a willing party. They don’t (and in fact can’t) coerce.

    3. The request is typically made to someone travelling alone not to someone sitting next to a family member. There are more than enough single travelers that it isn’t necessary to ask someone sitting next to their spouse.

    4. These reports are always hyped and greatly exaggerated by reporters who have a chip on their shoulder with their disdain for “Hareidim”.

    #1036989
    takahmamash
    Participant

    These reports are always hyped and greatly exaggerated by reporters who have a chip on their shoulder with their disdain for “Hareidim”.

    How is this exaggerated? Are you denying that the flight was delayed 45 minutes? Did the Chareidim exit the flight?

    charliehall gave the correct answer.

    #1036990
    Sam2
    Participant

    Painting many people with the same brush is foolish. However, every group of people has their Shtuyot and every group has individuals within their groups that take those Shtuyot too far. I have twice witnessed someone in Chareidi dress make ridiculous claims in the name of not sitting next to a woman (once he was clearly just attempting to use it as an excuse to get an aisle seat). So while stories like this don’t surprise me, they really don’t matter. They’re not indicative of anything Chareidim are doing wrong. They just show that one or two (or 15) Chareidim sometimes took something too far, like everyone does sometimes.

    #1036991
    lamud vov tzadik
    Participant

    I think they should make him sit next to her just to coch him up.

    #1036992
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    There is a well known frum website Jew in the City, Its run by a MO Baal Teshuva with quite a following

    Before Erev Rosh Hashanah there was a story about this occuring on an El Al flight, Allison Josephs who runs the sight assumed the story was a hit job on religious jews and asked her readers if any of them had been on that flight. One reader who was not on that flight but was on one 2 days before said he had seen a similar incident and the Pilot had to go on the PA system and tell people if they did not sit down they would lose their takeoff spot at JFK and could not leave.

    I also heard a Rabbi giving a shiur and he recalled a simialr incident on his flight

    #1036993
    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    If it really is a religious requirement not to sit by a woman, buy yourself an extra ticket.

    Second this. Alternatively, charter a male only flight.

    #1036994
    sem613
    Participant

    I wouldn’t say that this is restricted to Charedi only necessarily, and it is quite logical. When I (as a single female) get on a long flight, I don’t want to have to spend 12 hours smushed between 2 yeshiva bochurim trying not to touch them (yes, I have gotten that assigned seat and traded with someone). Or even if I’m in the aisle. I want to be able to fall asleep without worrying about either I or my male seatmate shifting in close quarters, ending up in a very uncomfortable situation.

    #1036995
    oomis
    Participant

    I sympathize with the Chareidim because I would feel similarly to sitting with a Muslim. But if they want to ensure that they will sit only next to another man and/or have a pleasant flight, they need to a) buy the whole row of seats (my personal preference in this case) b)book their actual seats WITH the other man/men if that is still possible to do that anymore or c) do nothing and understand it is beyond their control. I understand they asked politely to switch seats, so I am not sure what the brouhaha that ensued was about.

    I have not been on a plane in a VERY long time (and I mean decades), but I have sat next to annoying ill-behaved children, people who snored, and women who talked non-stop as I tried to read or sleep. Sometimes we just have to suck it up and recognize we cannot always get what we want. Or, we have to make arrangements in advance that work for us in a more appropriate way.

    I wonder if the media would have made the same issue had it been Muslims making the same request and delaying a plane.

    #1036996
    rkefrat
    Participant

    here is a solution – would only apply to ELAL however as no other airline would put up with this. Why not when making reservations simply ask if there is a preference of sitting next to the same gender. The wizzes who program seat assignments can easily deal with this. This needs only to be asked where a person is flying alone for if he is flying with his wife they could always switch seats to accommodate their requirement – one exception though – 2 middle seats in the middle of a 747 where the aisle seats are both of the same gender. this business of holding up a flight or an hour is costly to the airline and its passengers – especially those missing out on a connecting flight.

    #1036997
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    As oomis and sem613 point out, the seating could be pretty problematic, especially on the yeshiva/seminary flights.

    The solutions “charter a flight” are not really feasible, while asking politely is someone would switch does not seem very onerous.

    In this case, it is being reported on kikar hashabas that the 2 hour delay was actually caused by overbooking, and that there was also some seat changing and that is being used as a scapegoat.

    As to the el-al incident, I read a blog posting by a self styled feminist activist who says she davka refused to switch just to make a point and davka got in their face about wanting to switch. One might imagine how the incident proceeded from there. (Agav, she asked how they would feel if a goy didn’t want to sit next to them. I would have answered that I’d switch quite quickly is the goy explained that otherwise he would spend much of the flight wondering if I was more attractive than his wife.)

    #1036998
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Since none of us where there , we dont know how it was asked. Even the Tone of voice can even matter where the words are the same.

    Charedim are generally told not to speak to women, so I can see as charedi man ask a woman in a certain tone of voice like monotone without even looking at her and she taking it as rude even if he did not mean it that way

    #1036999
    DaMoshe
    Participant

    sem613: There’s a big difference between a preference and a demand. In your case, you wouldn’t want it. You may even ask to switch. But what if the response was “No”? Would you then refuse to sit in your seat? That is the issue here. I have no problem with someone requesting a seat change. But you can’t demand it, then refuse to sit in the sit you were assigned if you don’t get your way.

    Let them learn the Igros Moshe a bit, where R’ Moshe zt”l paskens that it’s muttar l’chatchilah to sit next to a woman on a bus or train. I see no reason the same shouldn’t apply here.

    #1037000

    DaMoshe,

    Did R’ Moshe pasken one MUST sit next to a woman?

    Did he pasken one is allowed no matter how she is dressed, and no matter how he feels he will be affected by it?

    Does nobody disagree with R’ Moshe, and is someone not entitled to follow his own posek?

    #1037001
    adams
    Participant

    It’s not a reasonable request because, as we all know, there is a basic unfairness in the seating. the Middle seat. is least desirable by just about all. I am not a real big person, but big enough so that i will never sit in the Middle seat. Yet that person pays the same as the aisle or window. So don’t give them any ideas. But, the female is usually smaller and has not the same issues to sit in the aisle. but bec. of the person not wanting to sit next to a female, then she can’t get the middle seat. Now I also happen to prefer the aisle.

    This happened to me once when I was travelling with my sister.

    she took the middle but the man on the aisle complained. I was forced to take the middle, that is, my sister said to do so etc.

    But why do i have to suffer, I made the arrangements for the window seat.

    and you can refuse but what if they don’t find a willing changer then what

    #1037002
    DaMoshe
    Participant

    DaasYochid, I’m not aware of any teshuvos arguing on R’ Moshe. If you know of one, please let me know.

    Here is a translation of the teshuva:

    #1037003
    #1037004
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Rav moshe wasn’t talking about a 12 hour flight. I don’t know that it doesn’t apply, but its at least worth asking the shaila.

    #1037005

    It should be noted that DaMoshe’s translation is not 100% faithful to the original, and the differences would make a nafka mina both l’chumra and l’kula.

    And popa’s point would definitely impact the last part of the teshuvah.

    I don’t know any specific poskim who argue, but R’ Moshe is admittedly going against the simple reading of the Beis Shmuel (DaMoshe didn’t quote that part).

    There is definitely a case in which R’ Moshe assers (DaMoshe quoted it, albeit inaccurately) so how can anyone judge that another individual should stay??!!

    #1037006
    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Did R’ Moshe pasken one MUST sit next to a woman?

    Did he pasken one is allowed no matter how she is dressed, and no matter how he feels he will be affected by it?

    Does nobody disagree with R’ Moshe, and is someone not entitled to follow his own posek?

    DY: Alecha L’Havei Rayah that there is some legitimate Psak (not by Rabbi Saul Lieberman or other reform Rabbi) that there is some sort of issue. Then we can discuss parameters of such a P’sak, whether it applies to men as well as women (B’shittas Gur), and if one does hold as such, would they be Mechuyav L’chatchila to purchase two seats instead of relying on the B’dieved of moving others around and possibly being Over if no one is willing to move.

    P.S. If the issue is that of dress (and they hold it is therefore Assur to sit next to such a woman), I don’t see how one can remain on the plane (since they will still see her) even if they don’t sit next to the woman, as it is B’geder Ikah Darcha Achrina (they can take another flight or pay for the front seat in first class).

    That all being said, we are (in general) Machmir on Arayos. If it is a legitimate issue, I fully expect people to start coming from EY collecting so that those who come collecting from EY should be able to purchase an additional seat.

    #1037007

    I once spent a very uncomfortable flight sitting between a husband and wife. None of them wanted to change seats with me as they both wanted aisle seats. The flight was full. The whole flight they were talking over my head and passing their baby back and forth. On a bus it would be over in a short amount of time, but a flight is very different.

    #1037008

    Alecha L’Havei Rayah that there is some legitimate Psak

    In learning, maybe, in negatively judging those on the plane, the opposite.

    P.S. If the issue is that of dress

    It’s the overall situation, not one ???.

    (Also, http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=1414&pgnum=165)

    #1037009
    charliehall
    Participant

    “not by Rabbi Saul Lieberman or other reform Rabbi”

    Rabbi Saul Lieberman was not a reform rabbi. He was an orthodox rabbi who taught at a conservative seminary and produced important works of scholarship. Rav Soloveitchik z’tz’l was willing to sit with him on a beit din. Had that conservative seminary followed in Lieberman’s path and not on the path of the other faculty we would consider them orthodox today; unfortunately that did not happen.

    #1037010
    #1037011
    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    In learning, maybe, in negatively judging those on the plane, the opposite.

    Agreed to some extent, only because there may be a Mah Nafshach regarding either not flying or buying a second seat. Without an actual P’sak, it seems to be Soser itself Minei Ubei.

    To clarify, I agree that they should not be judged negatively that they don’t want to sit next to a woman, but rather that they did not realize this may come up and buy a second seat for this purpose (similar to someone overweight buying a second seat on a plane due to their considerations. Eizehu Chacham HaRoeh Es Hanolad). This is even more so if there was a P’sak (as as such, this was thought through beforehand).

    And Takah, I also have a non-clarity on the P’sak Rav Vosner as well. Why would the Yarei Shomayim in question not be Mechuyav to take a cab, as then there would be no Shailah of Histaklus or Negiyah? The Shailah presumes that there are forced to travel the bus (second line), but why is that true?

    #1037012

    I’m not sure what he would say in this case:

    http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=1876&pgnum=300

    #1037013
    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=888&pgnum=193

    See end of teshuvah.

    I’m not sure what you are getting at, but it would seem that B’dieved (the Eitzah of the Chazon Ish) the “Charaidi” should sit next to the woman but insist that the armrest stay down at all times, so that there is a separation and he doesn’t touch her. He also B’davkah points out that sitting with a man would only be when it is not difficult.

    Besides, in reality this should all be besides the point. A “Charad L’Dvar Miztva” would make sure they don’t get into such a situation (as opposed to a bus) by buying a first class seat or two coach seats.

    #1037014
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Please charlie. Is avi weiss also then an orthodox rabbi who just happens to teach at a reform school?

    Being a meisis u’mediach is not compatible with orthodoxy.

    #1037015

    http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=908&pgnum=167

    Last paragraph.

    Gavra, you are welcome to sponsor. You don’t seem to have a hard time spending others’ money.

    I think most of the time it’s a non issue, because it’s worked out amicably.

    #1037016

    I’m not sure what you are getting at

    ??”? ?? ??? ???…

    #1037017

    Gavra, you are welcome to sponsor.

    Really? If it’s important enough to make a scene on an airplane, inconvenience another passenger who has NO obligation to comply to your religious accommodations, to make an airplane full of people LATE, it should be imperative that you get that money, or figure something else out.

    (There are times, we even roll the sefer Torah in front of the tzibbur instead of making the tzibbur wait (if I recall correctly))

    If you believe that it is your religious obligation to have a free seat next to you or a male, then pay for it. Just as you do with kosher food, tznius clothes, Yom Tov needs and everything else. Chutzpah and Chillul Hashem are not economic choices.

    #1037018

    Were you on the plane? Popa says he read that the delay was unrelated.

    And I don’t believe Haaretz for a second.

    #1037019

    Popa says he read

    nuff said

    #1037021

    Also, put yourself in the following scenario: you are flying to E.Y. for about $1200. Your rav paskens that it is assur to sit next to a mam (I don’t know why you use the terms “believe” and “religious obligation” instead of “psak halacha”). You have a choice: rely in working it out amicably if you are placed next to a man as can be done 99% of the time, or pay an extra $1200 (every time you fly). What would you do?

    #1037022
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Syag: that makes sense, but, as I understand, in most cases it is worked out with no scene at all. Now sometimes, a self-proclaimed activist refuses so that she’ll have a blog post to write, and deliberately makes a scene.

    So now who is making the scene?

    #1037023
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    There is no Chiyuv to Fly, If your Rebbe tells you that you cannot sit next to a woman and the airline cannot gurantee it, then dont fly. Lots of people rarely if ever fly and they are fine human beings

    #1037024

    but, as I understand, in most cases it is worked out with no scene at all.

    I don’t buy it. And I don’t think it’s always self-proclaimed activists. And it doesn’t change the point that you can’t get on a plane and expect that your religious beliefs should be accommodated through possibly inconveniencing others. It’s a ridiculous premise. If your religion REQUIRES you to sit in a seat that is not next to a woman, than you need to worry about making that happen, not getting on a plane before take off expecting people to make changes for you. Pay for preferential seating, pay for an extra seat, pay for first class, pay for really bad after shave that will make the passenger move on her own. If you believe it is required by your religion, than it is YOUR job to take care of it BEFORE it involves others.

    #1037025
    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Popa says he read

    nuff said

    LOL and so true.

    DY – that brings up an interesting Halachic Shailah if one is Mechuyav to pay for someone else’s mitzva, let alone their hiddur mitzva or Chumrah. We can discuss on a new thread. But if that is your shittah, I expect that you to pay for me to quit and join a Kollel first.

    Besides, perhaps they (who have extra money for an airline ticket) should be paying for my two tickets? Is their blood more red that they deserve two seats and I get none?

    #1037026

    gavra – a riot, but so well put.

    #1037027
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Syag, you just inspired a new thread for me. Stay tuned.

    #1037028
    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Also, put yourself in the following scenario: you are flying to E.Y. for about $1200. Your rav paskens that it is assur to sit next to a mam (I don’t know why you use the terms “believe” and “religious obligation” instead of “psak halacha”). You have a choice: rely in working it out amicably if you are placed next to a man as can be done 99% of the time, or pay an extra $1200 (every time you fly). What would you do?

    DaasYochid – because you have not proven that it is an absolute requirement. So far, I have only seen maybes, Lechatchilas, and try-tos.

    But let’s make your argument real.

    You are going to take Lulav. 99.99% of the time it will be OK and you will remember not to carry your lulav in the Reshus HaRabim on Shabbos. 0.01% of the time you may forget. What would you do?

    In the case of Lulav, the upside (a mitzva vs. stam Kesef) is much greater, and the downside (Toeh B’dvar Mitzva on Shabbos vs. an Issur Arayos, which is Yehareg V’Al Yaavor) is much less severe. What would you do?

    #1037029

    ZD – Absolutely correct!

    popa – Uh oh!

    #1037030
    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    I’m not sure what you are getting at

    ??”? ?? ??? ???…

    And that translates in the case of an airplane into buying a larger or two seats (which is my point).

    #1037031

    (which is my point).

    And seemingly against what the poskim say (despite your “lack of clarity”).

    #1037032
    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    And seemingly against what the poskim say (despite your “lack of clarity”).

    Where and which one and what? Please be specific, you’ve thrown around too many Marr’e Mekomos at this point.

    The point I was trying to make with the post you quoted is that the Be’er Moshe brings from the Chazon Ish that a man should make sure that he gets a seat so that there are no Negiah issues. If that is what one holds, the way to do so on an airplane is by buying a larger seat or two seats.

    The lack of clarity was regarding the Teshuva of Rav Vosner, where the question is Histaklus vs. Negias Begadim. Rav Vosner says stand and look away. On that I have the question of Ikah Darka Achrina of a cab, so looking away is still B’geder “Rasha” to put oneself in such a Matzav (as per the Gemorah in Bava Basra).

    #1037033
    notasheep
    Member

    I was once on a flight back from Israel. My husband and I were in the middle two seats in the central section with two secular Israeli men in the aisle seats. We asked both if either was willing to switch but they refused. So we sat in our assigned seats. I spent a very uncomfortable flight with the guy sitting next to me purposely taking as much room as possible whilst he dozed, going so far as to position his arm on the armrest between us so his elbow was digging into my arm. The secular world in general seems to have this idea that it’s a meshugaas, however it was extremely awkward to be sitting next to a male in such a confined space. It’s a sensitivity issue, and if those of you who seem to come from the MO camp don’t understand the awkwardness, you have no right to sneer at us. It’s not a religious obligation, it’s tznius.

    #1037034
    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    notasheep – Would you have been willing to pay? I bet you had you told one of the men that you will give him $500 to switch, he would have done so.

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