The Wall Street Journal Induces Me To Think About Orthodoxy and Islam

by Sig6. November 2012 20:50

This blog was posted shortly before the breakdown of the server. Here it is again.

I have not been blogging much lately. I am re-writing a book, giving lectures and that keeps me focused on these projects. However, occasionally one must stray from the well-trodden road, which becomes boring after a while and indulge in flights of critique. On Thursday, January 5, 2012 an article by Joshua Mitnick caught my attention. (No, I am not critiquing Mr. Mitnick, I am lauding him.)  The article was entitled Israeli Women Fight Bus Segregation by Ultra-Orthodox. My eyes popped! Am I reading this right? Women in Israel fighting segregation? I have been to Israel—twice—and have enjoyed myself enormously. Nowhere did I notice segregation!

So imagine my horror and surprise when, upon reading Mr. Mitnick’s article, I find that the Ultra-Orthodox Jews, those with the large, black hats, the beards and the payess, the curled side burns, have, for years been given the privilege of special public busses catering to the needs of the Hasidic Jews. On those designated buses, women must retreat to the back of the bus like American black slaves of yore.

Ye Gods! Is this real? Yes it is, and no one would know about this indignity in our country if Mr. Mitnick, a blessing on his head, had not brought this outrage to our attention. Women in Israel are incensed with this treatment, which has become more frequent as more of the very fertile Orthodox community is branching out ever more into the secular community. Women have been spat on and were subjugated to outrageous critiques and attacks. An eight-year-old girl was harassed by ultra-Orthodox men in Jerusalem. She was spat at and called a prostitute for wearing immodest apparel. This act, shown on TV, brought thousand into the streets in protest, and women have defied the Haredi rabbis, sitting on the buses wherever they please.

Once again this drama illuminates Orthodoxy in all religions for us. One in all, whether Muslim, Judaic, Christian, Hindu or Buddhist they are united in their wish and belief that women are inferior and can be treated as second—or third-class—citizens or slaves. In all of the Orthodox belief-systems women are often the only means of support for a family and most of their rights to freely choose education, dress, behavior and place in the family order are curtailed. I have been restrained in Buddhist countries from visiting places deemed male appropriate only. For the simple reason—the reason given me—that women menstruate and therefore are unclean. To which I always replied, without your mother’s menstruation you would not be on this earth. I have been treated like a wanton in Pakistan because I did not cover my hair or face. Imagine, a woman’s hair is the most erotic thing and must be covered in Islamic countries. Islam still keeps most of its women in an inferior, slave-like position. So, why is Orthodoxy in all forms so toxic to women? Because the antecedents for the entire belief-system of all orthodox religions, is rooted in cultures dating back 2000 years and more. Orthodox religion has never been reformed to fit the strides and discoveries man-kind has made in science, social science, psychology and a new understanding of religion. And for that reformation to occur, women will have to fight for their rights wherever they encounter this discrimination.



Comments (1) -

Connie Gevedon
Connie GevedonUnited States
12/16/2012 10:50:11 PM #

Thank you for creating this website so easy to find info. good stuff. Saving this one for later.


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About the author

Born in Germany in 1941, Sigrid Weidenweber remembers the horrific aftermath of Fascism. At the end of the war, she found herself living under Communism. Both of these totalitarian regimes left indelible marks on her psyche and a healthy distrust of government’s, usurping too many powers to control people, supposedly for their own good. After the Berlin Wall was built, she managed to escape the repressive environment with the help of friends and a French passport. To this day she does not speak French.

She holds degrees in medical technology, psychology and an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Concordia University of Portland, Oregon for her trilogy "The Volga Flows Forever."

 Her first published book, “Escaping the Twilight,” deals with aspects of medical anthropology in an Islamic culture. In her trilogy the Volga Flows Forever, she brings to life Catherine the Great in her multiple roles as monarch, woman--lover, mother, grandmother and head of the general staff of the army, in volume one. The following two historical volumes deal with the Volga Germans brought to Russia by Catherine's edict.  The last book, “From Gulag to Freedom,” describes the lives of Russian-Germans and minority populations under Stalin’s regime and the systematic eradication of these minorities. The last part of the book is a comparison of communism, Russia, versus free enterprise in the USA. The heroin of the book settles in Fresno, California.

Three years ago she moved to Santa Rosa Valley, California from Portland Oregon. She has passionately embraced California together with her family that also resides here.

Always active, lecturing on historical and anthropological subjects and being a part of arts and culture in Portland, Oregon, she bestrode the same path when she came to California and is active on the Northwest Symphony League Board.

At present she is writing a memoir of her early childhood during WW I and later young adulthood under Communism.


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