Bet Shemes


These is this noble truth about putting out good energy and greater energy will come right back.
Same goes for fear. Likewise animals, humans can smell fear and yesterday I felt I had fear written all over my face when at 9:36am I jumped on the 417 bus to the Haredi town of Bet Shemesh just 30 minutes outside of Jerusalem: Men were sitting in front and women in the back. I had heard of such buses, but I had never been in one before. And, although I am supposed to be impartial and balanced in my story and in my own “new orthodox skin,” I was utterly uncomfortable as a Jewish woman to have to sit in the back. I have nothing against separation in therms of modesty, but I do NOT accept separation for importance and that is the way this bus felt like despite my long black shirt and my long sleeves black sweater, I was clearly an intruder in that bus of all orthodox and I remained that way all day long.
I tried like I often do, to start conversation with some women and even children, I had other native speakers help me translate in Ivrit, but the barrier was not the language at all this time, the barrier was exactly what I was expecting from a long time: “The beauty of a Bat Melech it’s something precious,” many say. “And as a precious stone, like a diamond or a rubies, it must be kept secret and hidden in a safe, not to be shown to anyone, but themselves because otherwise it could go lost forever.”
So photos are a no go for some of these women who seem reluctant and shy.
I have nothing to oppose to this, except that it will make my job and my intention of showing this spiritual beauty through interviews and images a living hell, but I will not desist even if I have to go back to Bet Shemesh and be followed by a heard of little girls asking me to take their photos and then having their bigger sisters calling their mothers on me so that I would get a lecture on privacy and respect, when all I feel I trying to do is to show these women and tell their stories so they would be respected by others who do not know the whole truth about them.
Thank G-d the bus ride back home was not divided and I proudly took a front sit opposite to a man who looked up at me for less than one second before diving his head back down on his book. I know they are not supposed to look at other women and they are not allowed by the Torah to smile at us because they could infer an interest, but we are all humans and not every smile or every gazing at a man or a woman has a bad and sinful intention behind. Sometimes it can just lift up the spirit of another Jewish or non-Jewish soul and isn’t that a Mitzva` as well?
Oy Gevalt!

One thought on “Bet Shemes

  1. Jill says:

    Very interesting, Fedi. What a journey of discovery you are on! It seems to be human nature to fear and resist what we do not understand. It happens in all cultures and is apparent with your story and these people as well. You would think people would want to live less fearful lives….. and if they just could realize that “learning” and “knowledge” leads to “understanding” which, in turn, can ease their fears and give more peace in their lives and hearts. I see this here in the USA, too. People voting against things that are ultimately in their own best interests. They are too afraid to think for themselves and question……I commend you on your openness and willingness to think, observe, face your fears and discover life and it’s messages! Thanks for sharing them with us. Keep up the good work! xo

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