Sunday, August 31, 2008

'Hating' on the Heimish

I was the type of person who always defended chassidim when I heard something negative about them

Until I moved in with them.

I live next to a highly chassidish area and some live in my building. Heck, I even have more than a few relatives among them. All in all they are quiet family people, the women say hello (after looking you up and down and noticing how different you are), the kids ride their bikes and the Mexicans mow their lawns.

My problem is with the men. I get really incensed when I think of the able bodied men who do NOT hold the door open for me when they clearly see me coming toward it with a 17 lb baby and 5 shopping bags. The men who are my neighbors yet have never responded to my 'hello', so I've just given up. The man who didn't warn me my headlights were off at 7 pm on a winter night because when I noticed him trying to talk to me I turned and he saw I was a woman and he made a dismissive gesture and turned away. The hitchiking men who lower their thumbs when they see the driver is a woman (ok, I don't mind that one, I'm not planning on giving them a ride). The men who condemn their women to a life of shlepping a newborn and three toddlers in and out of car-seatless taxicabs.

This is not mentchlichkeit, nor is it yiddishkeit.

I'm sure many of these people are fine husbands, gentle fathers, honest men. But they don't get points from Miss Manners.


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