Thursday, April 15, 2021

When Chassidim Fly

Mishpacha magazine is normally reasonably good about honestly admitting problems in the frum community. They even acknowledge the overwhelming and fundamental problem of the insufficient number of people getting professional careers. And so I was both disturbed and surprised to read the feature article in this week's edition, Airlines Unmasked, about discrimination against Orthodox Jews on flights for not wearing masks.

I have no doubt that there are instances where flight crews are unprofessional, unfair, and even antisemitic. But the article places all blame on the flight crews. It never once acknowledges that maybe there is a problem with how Orthodox Jews behave on planes!

I mean, are you kidding me?! Anyone who has flown extensively with chassidic Jews in particular knows exactly what the problem is. They don't sit down when the plane is waiting to take off. They stand up before the plane has arrived at the gate. They ignore requests from the flight crew. And so on, and so on. This isn't some trumped-up antisemitic conspiracy - it's the plain and obvious truth. (Edit - obviously I'm not talking about all chassidim, and I don't have specific numbers, but it's certainly enough to describe it as a general trend.)

And when it comes to Covid regulations, there is even less compliance. A neighbor of mine was one of the "rescue flights" from New York a few months ago. She told me that it was a horrific experience. Several of the chassidim on the flight boasted about forging fake Covid tests. And they refused to wear masks even when people were begging them to do so!

The article quotes Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal as saying that "he partially blames media caricatures of the Orthodox community throughout COVID as uncaring for human life and heedless of regulations." Media caricatures?! It was the plain and blatant truth that there was a disproportionately large and officially-endorsed shirking of Covid regulations by the chassidic communities. It's not a media caricature!!!

I don't hate chassidim. I love having chassidim visit my museum. And there are sociological reasons why chassidim generally have a particular tendency to ignore airline regulations (separate from the reasons why Israelis also have a tendency to non-compliance). But these aren't relevant here. The point is that they undeniably do have a tendency to ignore regulations, in particular with regard to Covid.

Shame on Mishpacha for distorting the facts and refusing to call out the frum community for its shortcomings in this area. It does us no good to issues charges of antisemitism while failing to criticize and correct the behavior that can incite it.

48 comments:

  1. A fluff piece in Mispacha - this subscriber is not the least bit surprised.

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  2. "should families think twice before they fly?"

    If they don't want to wear masks, they should not think. They should nto fly. In fact they should never leave their hones.

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    1. Remember, it's the people who want to breathe normally that are a danger to society. Not people like Charlie who want to keep these people locked in their homes.

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    2. We all want to breathe normally, but we all want to breathe safely. If someone else wants to kill me (or even just to make me and my parents sick), then yes, please, that person should stay home.

      Delete
    3. Anyone who says breathing fresh air is equivalent to wanting to kill people, is an extremist, and far, far more dangerous to society than anyone who decides to walk around without a mask on their face.

      Delete
    4. And this is why words are powerful tools. Wearing a mask is not "not breathing fresh air." And yes, if not wearing a mask indoors where there are other people who could all be transferring infections back and forth is helpful, then yes it should be done.

      Wearing a mask outdoors was always unnecessary, unless one was in a crowd.

      And again, one person not wearing a mask is not a danger to "society." A LOT OF PEOPLE not wearing a mask is a danger to society. One person not wearing a mask is a potential danger only to person next to him (or her - men are unfortunately not the only selfish and stupid creatures on the planet).

      But hey, your nonsense is not going to convince me, and my common sense is not going to convince you, so I'm done with this round.

      Delete
  3. "There are sociological reasons why chassidim have a particular tendency to ignore airline regulations (separate from the reasons why Israelis also have a tendency to non-compliance)"

    Any insight as to the reason?

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    Replies
    1. The whole movement is built on the philosophy that anything that doesn't come from "unzerer" is treif.

      Delete
  4. I am afraid that unvaccinated people will face discrimination and antisemitism for not taking the vaccine or wearing masks and compiling with social distancing.

    This aside, I am aware of chassidim behavior on planes. a friend of mine shared a story about a friend of his. His friend (the rabbi) had passed away and his wife was onboard from America to Tel Aviv where she lived. When a chassidic guy took his seat next to her he insisted that she move. The flight attendant told her to sit on the front row and she sued the airlines. Her husband was a rabbi but this did not matter because she was a woman. And here this bigoted man considered himself religious! to sit next to a woman – G-d forbid! Is this religion? Did this man think this is what religion required?

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    1. Nachum, yes, antisemitism.

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    2. @Nachum lol. Our in-house frum antivaxers have so thoroughly adopted and absorbed the chukas hagoyim commonly known as the Antivax movement that they actually have started to convince themselves into believing it's a "Jewish" movement and therefore might in their minds lead to antisemitism.

      Delete
    3. Yeah, even if their fantasies were true, it wouldn't come near anti-Semitism, and they're pretty much cheapening the real thing.

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    4. Eh, it might get bundled together like other paradoxes of antisemitism: Jews are bad because they are at the edges of society but they are also in charge of all business and media; Jews love money but let's ignore that everyone else does too; soon it will be Those Jewish Doctors are trying to give everyone needles but also those Jews are rejecting the vaccine and therefore spreading the disease.

      Am I wrong?

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    5. The short term effects of the vaccine - instant death, allergic reactions, blood clots and a spike in covid deaths are now well documented. The short term spike was noted in the trials so they did not report on that time period. The longer term side effects including stroke are beginning to be documented. That there is no benefit in terms of lives saved is also emerging from the CDC figures. But please, do carry on with your heads in the ground and label people as anti-vaxxers. Be gezunt!

      Delete
    6. Hey Emu, why do you and your fellow-travelers make proclamations like this that have no basis in reality and can even be demonstrated to be false? What do you expect to be called instead of antivaxer? Liar?

      https://www.fda.gov/media/144245/download

      I'm going to make it easy for you, since you clearly can't do your own research but simply listen to what some blabber mouth on youtube or whatsapp says, and you trust their every word rather than fact check.

      Page 19, Table 3.
      Page 33
      Page 41
      Bottom of page 43- page 44.

      All of this disproves what you just claimed about the clinical trials. This information was not difficult to find. It's all publicly shared.
      There were more deaths in the placebo group (4) than in the vaccine group (2). In both cases the rates of deaths from these causes was similar to the baseline rate in the population. Meaning that neither placebo nor vaccine is likely to have caused these deaths. It's just coincidence. And there was certainly no spike in covid deaths, or deaths of any kind, compared to placebo in the period of time before full immunity was achieved by the vaccine.

      Now will you continue to lie about this? Or accept that someone misled you?

      Delete
  5. I am very put off by this post. I agree with the content, but the style of writing is very biased and inflammatory. Many chassidim follow all the rules, and very often, the ones who don't it's simply because they don't speak English!
    Imagine this blog post, but replace the word "chassidim" with "blacks". It would sound racist. So too, if you want to criticize the Chassidic community there's a way to do it. Painting with a broad brush just sounds antisemitic and raving.

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    1. They speak English well enough to buy a ticket and get to the airport. "Sit down" should be a cinch.

      And yeah, if any group messes up on a large scale, they should be called on it.

      Delete
    2. I am sure I am not the only religious Jew who flinches when he sees Chasidim boarding the same flight. Sadly to say rabbi Slifkin is right and you can expect that Chasidim on a plane just will not behave themselves. It ain't racist, it's the truth.

      Getting up and down at the wrong times

      Making a nuisance about the movies

      On their phones when they shouldn't be

      Making a nuisance about seating next to females

      Maybe a normal flight just isn't conducive to chasidim and they should always charter their own flights??

      Delete
  6. "The chassidim on the flight boasted about forging fake Covid tests"

    More likely, just some chassidim. The writing here is painting with a broad brush and sounds antisemitic, which you surely are not.

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  7. Great article in the Atlantic about a chassid fighting his community on Covid. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2021/04/pandemic-covid-hasidic-jews-yiddish/618539/
    Publicizing this Reuven would be a better choice than the writing in this blog post. (I hope I'm not attacking you too harshly, but the language in this post really disturbed me.)

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  8. Is the article about chassidim? The only family they mention by name is clearly not chassdish. So why are we talking about chassidim?

    I'm curious, did you watch the video of the latest incident- the one Mishpacha referenced? Do you have any thoughts on it? Are you bothered at all by it? Do you find a family of an autistic child getting thrown off the plane (and then getting let back on) newsworthy or because they're religious they kinda deserve it?

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  9. Thank you for editing the post.

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  10. 1. The plural of anecdote is not data

    2. If enough people say you don't look well, perhaps you should consider thinking about why.

    KT

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    Replies
    1. On the other hand, the plural of "anecdote" *is* "Chillul Hashem."

      Delete
  11. The important unaddressed issue here is several Othodox families kicked off flights were not Chassidic

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    1. And Chassidim were not the only Orthodox people violating COVID regulations. (Several posts here on Rationalist Judaism were about Rav Chaim Kanievsky being manipulated to say that they can keep yeshivas and schools open, and that the Torah learning would protect everyone.)

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    2. Manipulated. Right. If a man is subject to manipulation, if he can't be held responsible for his own words, he's not a great leader. Period.

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  12. Being frum is no excuse for bad behavior! To my mind, bad behavior on the part of religiously identified individuals is a "hilul hashem". The sense of entitlement of some of these individuals is offensive. And it seems to many people that they are using their beliefs to avoid complying with rules which everyone else is following.

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  13. The first guy in the photo is wearing Ashkenaz tefillin so he's clearly not a chasid. Overall, this is a biased post that's not up to the standards of this blog. I'm disappointed.

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    Replies
    1. Right, it's not only chassidim.
      Feel free to write an unbiased statement about whether charedim and chassidim are more likely to contravene airline covid regulations.

      Delete
    2. "The standards of this blog"??? That is hilarious. Where have you been?

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    3. My unbiased statement about whether Charedim and Chassidim are more likely to contravene airline COVID regulations is more research is needed.

      Just to explain how rationalism works, your biases never are sufficient proof of their own veracity.

      Delete
  14. There is no actual data as to who is more likely to ignore 'sit down' instructions. When there is a flight of 400 people, and five Chassidim don't sit down, they are lumped together noticeable. When regular tourists from Dayton, Ohio don't sit down, people don't see them as a group, and they understand that they are about to sit down, or that they are pre-occupied with their luggage, or any other Teirutz. Chassidim are just more noticeable.

    If you had any data, that would be something else.

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    Replies
    1. Your basic comment is of course correct. But the regular tourists are not of a group - some are from Dayton and some are from Witchita.

      Anyway, I have flown trans-Atlantically many times. The flights that have more frum Jews on them are noisier, more difficult to maneuver, and are messier when we leave. Now, some of this is obviously due to there being more children, including little ones. And due to flights to Israel being longer than flights to England. But OMG if I and my family can control ourselves - yes, with little children - and not make it look like a cartoonish disaster area, then others should be able to do so.

      And I'm sorry about davening, but maybe skip the minyan, and also say shemonah esrei sitting down??

      (And I have no idea who is a chassid and who is "charedi" and who is "yeshivish" unless there is a visible streimel or kapotoh or high white socks...)

      Delete
  15. I read the Mishpacha article after having read your post. Your assertions are unfounded. The article was specifically discussing cases in which, according to all observers, the people singled out WERE following the rules. The article made sure to say that it is necessary to follow the rules, and it made sure to point out that they were only talking about these specific few situations, some of which were caught on video. Nobody was saying the airline was antisemitic, or that antisemitism is a prevalent problem among flight attendants. The article was about a narrow set of circumstances that, though admittedly the exception rather than the rule, seemed to indicate a concerning trend. In my opinion, it was thoughtful, balanced, and well done. Could they, or should they, have said more about frum/chareidi passengers who blatantly misbehave? It could be argued so. But I don't believe that this article deserves the negative reviews it is getting.

    Kol tuv,
    Esther Gittel Edelson

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    Replies
    1. I had the same sentiment, but unwilling to spend the time typing out the reply. Thank you for doing it!

      Delete
  16. When one day it is shown that the mask mandate was on par with wearing a kippa - symbolic but ultimately useless at reducing viral transmission, will u redact this article I wonder

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    1. And these people can see into the future? Wow.

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    2. And when every day we reinforce that a mask DOES do something, Mr. Anonymous, will you retract this comment? How many days will it take? How many debunking articles? How many examples of countries who did it right (ie New Zealand)?

      Delete
    3. I suggest you simply look into the past, viz, the Danmask large randomised controlled trial (no statistically significant benefit to the wearer from surgical masks) and, less scientifically, to the infection rates over time plotted with mandatory mask wearing marked on (clearly mandatory masks don't necessarily prevent subsequent waves at the most parsimonious interpretation).

      Delete
    4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7680614/
      Nope, they just think it through

      Delete
  17. https://bshch.blogspot.com/2021/04/blog-post_7269.html

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  18. They are rodefs and take pleasure in murdering Jews.

    ReplyDelete

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