Women Told They Must Ride In The Back Of The Bus In Brooklyn

Illustration for article titled Women Told They Must Ride In The Back Of The Bus In Brooklyn

Even today women are being sent to the back of the bus, and we're not talking metaphorically or in some foreign country. Women who ride the B110 bus in Brooklyn can't sit where they want unless they're okay with being berated by Orthodox Jewish men, even though technically the B110 is a public bus.


The B110, which travels between Williamsburg and Borough Park is open to anyone, has a route number, and goes to city bus stops. However, the line is run by a private company under a decades-old agreement with the city, and since the bus is designed to serve the Hasidic community in the area, a board of rabbis sets the rules. They've decreed that women should sit in the back and men should sit in the front to avoid contact betwen members of the opposite sex.

Recently a woman volunteered to see what happens when someone challenges the regulation, so she paid the $2.50 fare and took a seat in the front of the bus. Columbia Journalism School's The New York World reports:

They were Orthodox Jews with full beards, sidecurls and long black coats, who told her that she was riding a "private bus" and a "Jewish bus." When she asked why she had to move, a man scolded her.

"If God makes a rule, you don't ask ‘Why make the rule?'" he told Franchy, who rode the bus at the invitation of a New York World reporter. She then moved to the back where the other women were sitting. The driver did not intervene in the incident.

The Orthodox Jewish community would have the right to make such a rule if it was a private bus, but it actually isn't. The company Private Transportation Corporation pays the city to run the route, but since the bus is providing a public service, discrimination laws still apply. It's possible that a religious group could be granted an exeption from these laws, but there's no evidence that this is the case with the B110. Private Transportation Corporation can work on altering its relationship with the city so that those in the Orthodox Jewish community can set their own rules, but until then it's the same as a man screaming at a woman about her choice of seat on any other form of public transportation.

Women Ride In Back On Sex-Segregated Brooklyn Bus Line [New York World]



WOW. I'm one of the openly Chassidic Jewish commentators here on Jez and I've been reading the comments on this thread and I am absolutely astounded at the raging hatred towards orthodox Jews.

Assuming the vast majority of posters here went to college and took some sort of sociology course as part of their core curriculum; when you look at another "archaic" culture, do you ridicule their practices because you know nothing about them, or do you actually decide to educate yourself about the practices and try to understand the thought process?

Do you ridicule the Amish about their practices as well because you know nothing about it or do you try to find out some more about the what/why before you ridicule them?

But I guess since it's the Jews we're talking about here, and since it's the anonymous internet, it's perfectly okay to just take the easy way out and not educate yourself before passing judgement.

I could spend hours explaining all the things people are passing judgement on, but guess what? It's not my job to educate you about Judaism, orthodox or otherwise. Just like it's not any minority's responsibility to educate the majority about the minority's culture/religion/lives.

* * * *

Within Judaism, as within Christianity, Islam, and many other religions there is a wide range of practice. Just like there are Catholics, Protestants, Baptists, etc. There are multiple streams of Judaism. And just like there are different streams of Catholics (not just Roman Catholics!), there are different types of Orthodox Jews.

Within "Orthodox Judaism" there is Modern Orthodox, Litvish/Yeshivish/Orthodox, Chassidic Orthodox, and others.

Within Chassidic Orthodox there are over 100 different sects of Chassidic practice. Some of the larger ones are: Satmar, Bubov, Ger, Chabad/Lubavitch, Breslov, etc. Within the orthodox enclaves in Brooklyn of Williamsburg, Boro Park, & Crown Heights there are numerous sects of Chassidim. Trying to pin a single problem on "Chassidim" means almost nothing. Each sect operates on their own. Who ever owns this bus company belongs to a *specific* Chassidic sect. (I have no clue which one). Take your issue with that sect, not with Chassidic or Orthodox Jews as a whole.

Ostensibly when you say, "Hassidic Jews are the cause of the bus problem" is like the equivalent of saying, "Protestants are the cause of the bike lane issue". It means almost nothing.