Get to the Back of the Bus!

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Women must sit in the back of the bus due to Jewish superstitions. (Sasha Chavikin/The New York World

by Bob Johnson

 

Sasha Chavkin and her friend Melissa Franchy were working on a story for The New York World, a publication of the Columbia Journalism School. They wanted to see what would happen if they sat at the front of the bus which takes people from Williamsburg to Boro Park, two heavily Jewish areas.

After a little while a Hasidic Jewish man told Franchy that she should sit at the back of the bus. When she asked why, he said, “Well, that’s the rule because

Women must sit in the back of the bus due to Jewish superstitions. (Sasha Chavikin/The New York World)

this is a private Jewish bus.” He also told her, “When the Lord makes a rule, you don’t question it.” A woman sitting in the back of the bus told her, “Just move, I mean, that’s the way it is. You don’t ask.”

The bus company who operates this bus is Private Transportation Corp, which is owned by Zev and Jacob Marmurstein. It is a private company. However, the route is publicly subsidized. Therefore, they cannot discriminate against women.

Another anti-women action taken in these Hasidic Jewish neighborhoods is the placing of signs on sidewalks telling women they must step aside for men. This is a disgusting and superstition based act of misogyny.

The message of the woman sitting in the back of the bus, “just move, . . . that’s the way it is. You don’t ask.” is a message of defeat and a surrender to ignorance.

The Hasidic Jewish man’s statement that “the Lord” made the rule was probably never even asked to prove that this anti-women rule was from “the Lord.” We have to ask and question authority figures whether they are political or religious. If they can’t give a reasonable answer backed up by facts, we should ignore them and their rules.





I know the Jewish man probably is familiar with the anti-women teaching in the Torah and Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. Teachings such as women and girls being worth less than men and boys. (The Old Testament god is so materialistic he actually put monetary value on people!) Leviticus 27:3-7 has the Bible god saying, “And thy estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old, even thy estimation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary. And if it be a female, then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels. And if it be from five years old even unto twenty years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male twenty shekels, and for the female ten shekels. And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver.And if it be from sixty years old and above; if it be a male, then thy estimation shall be fifteen shekels, and for the female ten shekels.”

Believing God is this materialistic and misogynistic can only make those who believe act in kind. As the American founder and Deist Thomas Paine wrote in The Age of Reason, The Complete Edition, (for the Kindle version click here) “Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.”

 

Author Details
Bob Johnson is a freelance writer in the Tampa area of Florida. He was raised Roman Catholic, but after a stint in Marine Corps Infantry and reading Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason he became a Deist. In 1993 he founded the World Union of Deists, and in 1996 he launched the first website devoted to Deism. He is the author of God Gave Us Reason, Not Religion, Deism: A Revolution in Religion, A Revolution in You and An Answer to C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. He has also written the introduction to Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason, The Complete Edition and Principles of Nature by Elihu Palmer.
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