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Ultra-Orthodox Jewish 'Facebook' separates the sexes
FaceGlat is a social networking site for Orthodox Jews.
September 12th, 2011
08:34 PM ET

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish 'Facebook' separates the sexes

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

(CNN) - Showing that modernity might, just might, find its place even in a world predisposed to the most traditional of customs, in walks FaceGlat: an ultra-Orthodox Jewish answer, at least for some, to Facebook.

Among the most conservative of Orthodox Jews, often referred to as Haredi Jews, modesty reigns. Women wear long sleeves and skirts, and they cover their hair after marriage. Men dress as their ancestors did centuries ago. The genders are separated in synagogues, on wedding dance floors and, in certain neighborhoods, on buses.

CNN reported this year on one community newspaper that went so far as to erase women from an iconic news photograph, all in an effort to uphold its values. The paper later apologized, not for its beliefs about modesty and featuring women in photographs but for how the matter was handled.

So social media – which, in the case of Facebook, invite sharing, tagging and gawking at photographs, among other interactions – may not be the most welcoming space for people with this kind of faith.

A 20-something self-taught website builder out of Israel, Yaakov Swisa, seems to be trying to change this.

Ynetnews, an English-language Israeli news site, reported in late July the establishment of FaceGlat, a Swisa-made social network that segregates men and women, blocks immodest advertisements and pictures, and uses a filter to keep language in comments and status updates clean.

“People who are God-fearing and care about their children’s education cannot tolerate the ads and pictures one sees on the regular Facebook,” Ynetnews wrote, quoting Swisa. “I personally know people who have deteriorated spiritually because of all kinds of things they were introduced to there.”

The name FaceGlat is a blending of Facebook with the word glatt, as in “glatt kosher,” the highest level of kosher when it comes to Jewish dietary laws surrounding meat.

FaceGlat, Ynetnews reported Swisa as saying, is “not an alternative for Facebook” but rather “a cleaner option for those who are already there. If it encourages people to open accounts or waste their time instead of studying Torah – it’s a failure. It’s not worth a thing. I promised myself that if that happened I would close it down.”

According to a Le Monde report, posted late last week on Worldcrunch, a still-open FaceGlat has more than 2,000 users and is getting about 100 new accounts per week.

Le Monde said Swisa is administering his fledgling site with “a lot of improvisation.” And even though upon signing up with FaceGlat, members are separated by gender into two distinct networks (click left to join the women, right to join the men), the French newspaper reported that Swisa is looking to purchase software that will automatically find and delete photographs revealing too much skin. Le Monde also said that although his website is available in English and Hebrew, Swisa plans to translate it into Russian and French.

“Orthodox Jews need the Internet, at home and at work alike,” Swisa told Le Monde. “My website allows them to browse freely, while offering maximum security.”

Swisa, who could not be reached Monday for comment, reportedly is a resident of Kfar Chabad in Israel. That village is connected to the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, a Hasidic Jewish branch that represents just one expression of ultra-Orthodox Judaism.

Chabad-Lubavitch is known for its outreach in the secular world and has long used technology “to broadcast Jewish values to a global audience,” said Yaacov Behrman, a spokesman for Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.

“Internet, as all media, has both positive and negative aspects,” Behrman said. “The decision of whether to have Internet in the home or not is an individual one. It is imperative for parents to monitor the level of access made available to their children,” and that’s relevant no matter how religious the family is.

But for many others living in the Haredi or ultra-Orthodox world, use of media – including television, films and secular newspapers - is greatly discouraged. Social media, especially, are “like the Wild West,” said Rabbi Avi Shafran, a spokesman for Agudath Israel of America, an advocacy organization for Haredi Jews.

“Internet is fully accepted for work purposes” and can only be used in the home with “strict control,” Shafran said. “Social media is still where the line is drawn.”

He said, “The very medium itself is something we tend to shun because it’s something that’s not easily contained. Once a person’s involved, it tends to take over one’s life. … We prefer people to meet their friends by turning to them and talking to them.”

So whether FaceGlat can gain much of a following in the social media scramble remains questionable. Even Behrman of Chabad-Lubavitch, who emphasized that the new site has no official connection to his movement, isn’t a member.

“Nope,” Behrman said. “I use Facebook.”

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Culture wars • Judaism • Technology

soundoff (576 Responses)
  1. Sarah

    Michelle- I appreciate ALL of your comments you are the only open minded individual here.

    Its funny and ironic how other posts are so narrow minded and are claiming orthodox Judaism is narrow minded. As an orthodox female who holds a masters degree from a Jesuit University and works full time while supporting 5 children I actually think this GlattFace program is phenomenal! What most of you dont realize is that Orthodox Judaism completely realizes the value and power that a women has, which is why her body is kept covered and out of the view of other men besides her husband. The religion is also very aware of the nature of men to be looking at other women. It is totally normal and natural for a guy to see a beautiful women and be attracted to her. However this website has WOMENS best interests in mind and therefore all of our husbands dont have to look at any other women. They will and can be thinking about us alone and how beautiful we are. If you take a look at the adultery committed in Orthodox (and I mean real Orthodox) communities it virtually doesnt exist, there is a reason for that. Instead of being so "narrow minded" and concerned about "women's rights" attempt to open your mind to people who do things very differently then you do but it is actually working...
    ( Of course I am not naive enough to think my husband never sees another women walking down the street but read between the lines)

    September 13, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • USmellLikePee

      Your husband is probably gay.

      September 13, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • Doug

      It's called Stockholm Syndrome look it up.

      September 13, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • Michelle

      Sarah: thank you. I'm grateful that you were able to comment and provide an Orthodox perspective, which I cannot legitimately claim to have. Sorry you got a little crap for it.

      September 13, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Michelle

      Or quite a lot of crap, actually. Incidentally, women in traditional religions, or who are politically conservative, or members of minorities from both genders, tend to really not appreciate people who presume to be more enlightened throwing around "Stockholm Syndrome!" as a means of dismissing their convictions. Turns out: you can be a deeply intelligent, articulate individual who thinks complexly and still choose to participate in traditional versions of religion, to vote for conservatives, etc. Orthodoxy is not anathema to reason, and it should not be treated as such. (Blu Greenberg. Many of the Women of the Wall. These Orthodox women are among MANY Orthodox women who are forward-thinking, intelligent, considerate individuals who you are choosing to disrespect by treating them as victims without considering their ample agency. Really not cool.)

      September 13, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
    • Michelle

      Or quite a lot of crap, actually.

      DOUG: Incidentally, women in traditional religions, or who are politically conservative, or members of minorities from both genders, tend to really not appreciate people, who usually erroneously presume to be more enlightened, throwing around "Stockholm Syndrome!" as a means of dismissing their convictions.

      Turns out: you can be a deeply intelligent, articulate individual who thinks complexly and still choose to participate in traditional versions of religion, to vote for conservatives, etc. Orthodoxy is not anathema to reason, and it should not be treated as such. You can be conservative willfully, and a women, or a minority, without simultaneously being a "victim." That perspective is really condescending and bigoted.

      September 13, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • *frank*

      Lol, the good old "hair-helmet"...

      September 13, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
    • allison

      That may have been how you were taught and brought up. but that doesnt mean anything. you still should be treated equally. And you should trust your husband a little more. If one truly loves someone you wont have eyes for anyone else.

      September 13, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • DucaDiMantova

      Wow, for someone with a Master's degree you certainly don't seem to have a grasp on English grammar.... as throughout your post you seem unable use woman vs women correctly.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
  2. Michelle

    Nonimus,
    It's certainly debatable. I'll admit that choosing to break from the religion in which one is raised is far from easy, and might, in certain environments, seem impossible. I may have exaggerated ease of movement.

    And, I'll confess: I heard a lot of talk about the buses this summer; my impression was that they were strictly under the control of private companies; now I'm wondering if the Haredi communities also arranged for Haredi buses on public routes. It's possible. I need to look into it. (I'm very confident that Israel would never allow that to be the case on all or most buses, however; I still think it's not much of a public concern. I realize that would carry less weight were the buses part of the public transportation system.)

    If it's Egged: yes, they represent a fair number of the long distance buses. (I've also ridden only on Egged buses, though, which are primarily secular, and which follow secular standards.)

    Yes, Haredi women cover their hair when married. One curiosity with this practice now is that they do it in often very ostentatious manners...buying the equivalent of really lush weaves, so that they end up having "hair" which is potentially nicer than their own. Or they wear scarves, which can also veer into really showy territory. (I'm not trying to judge here, although reactionarily, I'm sometimes tempted to.) However, Haredi men, notoriously, also have pretty strict standards for how they wear their hair, so it seems sort of fair to me. Or, at least: even.

    Anyway. It's definitely all complicated territory. My biggest issues come with those who treat Orthodox Judaism as a mental disease, instead of regarding its practices, even if they are foreign, as practices which should be explored with a basic kind of respectful curiosity. Definitely different; not necessarily wrong. (You haven't been insulting, so I hope I wasn't too rude to you.)

    🙂 Shalom.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  3. Nonimus

    @Michelle,
    I don't know that being raised in such an environment consti.tutes "entirely a voluntary pursuit." The web site itself is entirely voluntary, certainly, but living by the constraints of the religion – that choice is not so clear. Also, my understanding of the bus situation in the article mentioned was that the segregated buses were public transit and the dispute was that the public buses were "in effect forcing religious people to sin," if not segregated, but "outrageous and extremist," if it was segregated, forcing women "to be sent to the back of the bus." Although the situation is complicated by the fact that the bus company, Egged, apparently has "a monopoly on bus services in Jerusalem." But I digress.

    As I said, I don't think people are arguing against the site, per se, but against the ideology/philosophy that requires gender segregation. I say that mainly because, as you pointed out, the site itself is voluntary.

    Madam, regardless of how Haredi men dress or their adherence to said fashion, it is my understanding that married women are required by Jewish law to cover their hair, hence the comparison to Islamic law. In addition, Muslim men encouraged to dress modestly and wear a head cover, Taqiyah, so the comparison is strengthened.

    No worries about the name.

    Sholem

    September 13, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Mis-posted.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  4. fku

    Another example of women being treated as second class citizens

    September 13, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • Ben Fogel

      How so, the women agree to it and the men are just as segregated as the women. Don't always assume the woman is oppressed

      September 13, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
  5. Hooligan

    I stand by these people's right to follow and express their religion... even if it is @$$ backwards and fully retarded.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • SureThing

      I stand by and allow you to post comments here. Even if they are @$!@ retarded.

      September 13, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
  6. Ladervijd

    it can be distracting to focus on various things in a short time period, can't it?

    September 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  7. Reality

    For the "reading challenged":

    SAVING 15.5 MILLION ORTHODOX FOLLOWERS OF JUDAISM:
    ABRAHAM AND MOSES PROBABLY NEVER EXISTED.

    SAVING 1.5 BILLION LOST MUSLIMS:
    THERE NEVER WERE AND NEVER WILL BE ANY ANGELS I.E. NO GABRIEL, NO ISLAM AND THEREFORE NO MORE KORANIC-DRIVEN ACTS OF HORROR AND TERROR

    SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS:
    THERE WERE NEVER ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY

    Added details upon request. See p. 4.
    -----------------------------------------------

    September 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Michelle

      Mr. Reality:
      15.5 million Jews are not all Orthodox. You might want to "save" your ability to organize information factually before you start in on other people. Just sayin'.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • dbm

      I would rather I save my sanity from reading such stupid posts... please feel free to keep your inner ignorance to yourself then next time you feel like ranting... Mr Reality Whatever... are you a product of the public school system? Just checking...

      September 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • thankyou

      thank you for helping me realise reality even more. the statement that you made about angels not existing is entirely true. and even in an event they do exist, there is no practical/reliable way to use them.

      September 13, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • SureThing

      Interesting how you are so concerned about people believing certain things. Meanwhile, you are here trying to convince others to believe what you want.

      September 13, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • Reality

      From p. 4:

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel – not one shard of pottery

      September 14, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • Reality

      From p. 4:

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

      p.4

      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • Reality

      From p. 4:

      The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

      ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

      Are you ready?

      Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

      The First Five of the 77 Branches:

      "1. Belief in Allah"

      aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your cleansing neurons.

      "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

      Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

      "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

      A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

      "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

      Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

      Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

      Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

      "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)
      alone."
      Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

      Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

      Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

      Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..

      September 14, 2011 at 12:06 am |
  8. I ridicule you.

    Interestingly, these Jews and Muslims have much in common as far as their lifestyle, manner of dress, diet and fasting requirements, and segregation. Why is it that Christians think they have more in common with Jews than with Muslims? Think about that one!

    September 13, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Michelle

      Interestingly, that's not really accurate.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • armorlol

      actually it is, lifestyle in orthodox Islam and orthodox Judaism are VERY close

      September 13, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Michelle

      You can't reduce Judaism to how some Orthodox Jews live; attempting to understand the whole religion through Haredi lifestyle is a fool's pursuit.

      I think making comparisons between the religions ends up being insulting to one or both, and shouldn't be undertaken; the statement "Judaism is more like Islam than it is like Christianity" is laughable, and infuriating, to me on a number of levels as a result.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • armorlol

      I specifically mentioned "lifestyle" in my post but if you are talking about religious beliefs then yes even then Judaism is much closer to Islam than it is to modern Christianity. I don't think that fact is disputable after learning about all 3 religions.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Michelle

      Eh. I happen to think similarities are exaggerated, but it all comes down to opinion, I suppose. Both Christianity and Islam deviated from Judaism in deeply significant ways. Observance is not, itself, easy to draw parallels between.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  9. JackDakota

    Ban All 3 Abraham Religions. They are all full of hate, lies, and fear. Wake up knuckle-draggers and use that 10 pound object located between your ears.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Michelle

      The suggestion that religions should be banned arises out of hatred, ignorance and fear.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • USmellLikePee

      Since the majority of atheists and agnostics were once participants of at least one religion, the opposite of your statement is mostly likely true. Nice try though. Keep spreading your "unsolicited" opinions around, lol.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • Michelle

      1) Having a bad experience in a religion does not make one an expert in it, or able to speak intelligently about it (tout double standards much, Mr. "they're Jewish so their opinions don't matter"?), so even if your statement about atheists and agnostics were true (which it really isn't, in my experience), it's not terribly meaningful.
      2) The suggestion that the world views of 3 and a half to four billion people should be banned is ignorant, hateful and offensive.
      3) when I used "unsolicited," I used it correctly: Judaism isn't soliciting the (unwarranted) opinions of people such as yourself. However, when someone puts a comment on a site such as this, expecting it to be publically consumed, they are soliciting AT LEAST and audience, and most probably a response. Your attempt to mock me falls, therefore, really, really flat. So. There's that.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  10. USmellLikePee

    "1) Judaism has never mandated discrimination, in any of its forms.

    Except that women are not allowed to read scripture in the temple.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • Michelle

      You're really, really being reductionistic. In the Orthodox branch of Judaism, there are gender distinctions which are not akin to discrimination. (There are also other branches in which to practice if people are not comfortable with Orthodox practices.) There are many Jewish feminists who are simultaneously Orthodox and who adhere to these restrictions, and who have written extensively on why they believe them NOT to be discriminatory. You're free to read any of those works, though I'm sure you won't, as your aim seems to be tearing the religion down, not understanding it.

      ...you have not, incidentally, been solicited to do either. It's arrogant for you to put your dog in this fight.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • USmellLikePee

      It amuses me that I caused this mass amount of butthurt from you. I mean, you forgot to call me a "meanie" before skulking to your corner.
      Btw, jewish women themselves are not impartial so their opinion in useless. It's like asking a 16 year old FLDS bride if she believes plural marriage is demeaning to women. Once the brainwashing starts even the most backward doctrines are considered normal.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • Michelle

      That's circular. They aren't capable of having an opinion; yet you're fighting for their rights? What, on their behalf? With no respect for their own agency? Doesn't that qualify as discrimination against them?! Why, it does! It really does.

      The feminists to whom I referred are brilliant, educated, articulate women who have done scholarly and respected work on these points. I take offense to your dismissal of them.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • USmellLikePee

      Your an idiot with wildly random and inconsist reading comprehension. Since you completely misread my statement I'm not surprised anything seems "circular" to you. Go back and reread my statement or STFU.
      As for your feminist friends, they can't be all that intelligent if they hang around you AND choose to worship an imaginary being.
      You know on second thought, I think Jews should keep their women silent more often... For the sake of mankind.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • Michelle

      1) I'm not Jewish. Bad presumption on your part.
      2) The scholars to whom I referred are respected scholars, and I am not fortunate enough to count myself among their friends. Bad presumption on your part.
      3) The problem seems not to be me or my intelligence, but your inability to properly construct and argument. Bad presumption on your part.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • Michelle

      P.S. cupcake: your first sentence would have carried a little more weight had it read "you're an idiot" rather than "your an idiot." Might want to correct that little doozy in future uses.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • USmellLikePee

      1. I never said you were Jewish. Again, the reading comprehension. Learn it. Embrace it.
      2. Friends was used in a sarcastic tone. Dare that reading comprehension!
      3. You're right Michelle, I do have a problem debating with someone who is lesser equipped and is emotional. Good luck with that reading comprehension thing and try a little Midol with your red wine.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • USmellLikePee

      Your desperation shows when you resort to correcting my spelling errors...

      September 13, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • Michelle

      The problem, sir, is not my reading comprehension. The problem is that you're really not a very good writer. Your little "on second thought" dig clearly insinuated something about my own religious commitments; your sarcasm was too weak to warrant recognition; and your choice to decry me as "emotional" is a really tired tactic which mean who don't respect women use against women when they've been cornered. (It's akin to "hysterical.)

      Not desperation, dear; I was just pointing out the irony of you charging me with idiocy when you can't even manage to make the charge without grammatically stumbling yourself....

      September 13, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • USmellLikePee

      "“I was just pointing out the irony of you charging me with idiocy when you can't even manage to make the charge without grammatically stumbling yourself....”

      You mean like this, dumb@55?

      “your choice to decry me as "emotional" is a really tired tactic which mean who don't respect women use against women when they've been cornered.”

      Grow up, Michelle.

      September 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • Michelle

      No, not exactly like that. If I added an "a" to "men" that's a typo, and certainly not an ironic one. Yours was ironic.

      September 13, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
  11. USmellLikePee

    Oy vay!

    September 13, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  12. Jess

    PERSONALLY, I think gender segregation in religion is stupid. However, I WILL RESPECT their religion and WILL NOT INSULT them about it. I'm not offended by this, I just believe in a less discriminating approach.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • McJesus

      That is ok. I will insult them for you. I think its hilariously stupid. But whatever floats their boat I guess. Just keep them off my lawn, out of my life, and out of my laws and they can believe in flying pink unicorns for all I care.

      September 13, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Normon

      Jess, I think you are stupid, but I won't insult you...

      September 13, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  13. USmellLikePee

    This is like giving an ipad to an Amish farmer.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  14. mort

    My family is jewish and I think that these rules that these people live by are ridiculous. this story talks about them wanting to be modern but they follow ancient customs. i went to one orthodox wedding and it wasn't bad. all us guys were sitting together behind a divider and we could watch football on a little portable tv someone brought in. the kosher food kinda sucked though.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  15. Michelle

    The spite displayed here, for no discernibly good reason, against the Orthodox people behind FaceGlat is appalling.

    What the Haredi have done is simple, even admirable: they've attempted to find a way to integrate modern practices with their religious ideals, which we ought to, as citizens of a nation which values religious freedom and upholds the right to practice, respect, not bemoan.

    Do I think women and men should be kept separate? No...but I'm not Haredi, and I'm adult enough to be aware that Haredi positions aren't designed to, and don't, hurt or offend me. And they don't hurt, and shouldn't offend, any of you.

    None of you are being forced to observe religious orthodoxy. None of you are being recruited by any Haredi faithful. Your vile rhetoric is, therefore, far more indicative of what is sick about you than what may be bereft among them.

    Grow up. Stop attacking religious people who have never, in their lives, given a thought to attacking you. Your acerbic denunciations of this totally self-sustaining group makes it look wonderful and you look like clowns.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • annagitana1

      If I had never heard of Orthodox Jews in Israel stoning women who walked through their neighborhoods showing "too much" leg, I'd be inclined to agree with you. The fact is, historically, fundamentalists never stop in their own backyards. The ultimate evolution of their ideals is control of us all.

      September 13, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Michelle

      I'm not going to deny that walking through ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods in Jerusalem whilst showing leg is a harrowing prospect. People in such neighborhoods–men and women alike–have been known to react to such choices in really non-friendly manners.

      ...I also don't see how that in any way relates to FaceGlat. We have no control over religious freedom in other nations. We shouldn't tie what happens there in with the way people here, even people who share religious ties, choose to practice. (Haredi men and women here tend to NOT be violent against choices which are not akin to what they'd make.)

      September 13, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Michelle

      ...on top of which: Israel is the Israeli Orthodox community's own backyard. 🙁 There are plenty of people protesting Haredi control over Israeli society, and they're making good headway. Positive movement, there. And, in any case: Haredi life has never threatened to bleed over the border. Jews tend not to be interested in that, cen?

      September 13, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • J

      They should show how modern they are by not requiring women to cover themselves constantly.

      September 13, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Michelle

      Living in the world is necessary; integrating all of its values is not. Technology is a feature of modern life, not one of its values.

      September 13, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • annagitana1

      Walking through Orthodox neighborhoods is a "harrowing prospect" but Faceglat doesn't relate to that? It sure does. It is a symptom of the segregation they desire to impose on women. If it wasn't for secular and moderate Israelis in Israel, these people would have as much control as fundamentalist Muslims who adhere to a similar segregation of women. Her's an article about your Haredi stoning buses that allow women to enter through the front of the bus and sit, "gasp" in the front as well. Remind you of anything?: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/sinful-city-buses-stoned-by-ultraorthodox-jews-1631370.html

      September 13, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Familliarwuf

      "The fact is, historically, fundamentalists never stop in their own backyards. The ultimate evolution of their ideals is control of us all."- annagitana1

      Indeed think about what religions this country had originallay, before christianity came in.

      September 13, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • CYrus

      Michelle. Be a good little woman and keep quite. Make comments on the story not on how ignorant people are – their posts prove that for them.

      September 13, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Michelle

      Anna: they are absolutely not related. When non-Orthodox, or even Orthodox, people are required to sign up for FaceGlat in order to conduct their lives in normal ways, I guess we can talk. As it stands, it's a site which people voluntarily choose to sign up for, and if they do so knowing that they must as either women or men (and that their networks are thus restricted to those groups), they're not being oppressed...they're willingly participating in a social network medium which openly airs those restrictions.

      The so-called "segregated" buses in Israel are a private enterprise which no one is forced to use. You use them if you're Haredi. If you're not, and you use them while flouting their standards, my guess is you're doing to to be inflammatory, and I have limited sympathy for that. (I rode tons of buses whilst in Israel, and no one ever gave me trouble.)

      "Your Haredi" is a little immature, don't you think?

      There's nothing oppressive about something like FaceGlat. I would even argue that there's nothing oppressive about Jewish Orthodoxy. So.

      September 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Michelle

      Cyrus–as a good, medium-sized feminist, I am ethically unable to keep quiet when I see people being unfairly trashed. But I appreciate the sentiment.

      September 13, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • annagitana1

      That's right Familliarwuf. Genocide, slavery, anti-miscegenation laws, burning of "witches", bombing of abortion clinics, live burials of gay people, etc., etc., all result from fundamentalist thinking. I don't give a pass to a "quaint" little group of Jewish fundamentalists just because they currently lack the power to impose their will on the rest of society. A fundamentalist is a fundamentalist is a fundamentalist. Any religion whose tenets mandate discrimination of any person, should be loudly criticized, in my opinion.

      September 13, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • annagitana1

      The article was about city buses. Your argument is the same argument used by fundamentalist Muslims and their apologists in regard to the segregation and covering of women – apartheid – and it's the same argument used by fundamentalist Mormons and their apologists in regard to underage marriages of girls to 50 year old men. Yes, Faceglat is not mandatory. At present. And that's why we must speak out against discrimination always, even when it's "voluntary".

      September 13, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • Michelle

      Anna:
      1) Judaism has never mandated discrimination, in any of its forms.
      2) Judaism, in all of its forms, has never, ever sought to impose its will upon non-Jewish societies.

      I believe your angst comes from a decent place, but in this case, it is dramatically misplaced. (Genocide, American slavery, witch burning, abortion clinic bombings, the discrimination of non-hetero people, etc have never been the business of Jewish communities. You can't charge non-related religions with the sins of people practicing other religions in other eras. That's just silly.)

      September 13, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Michelle

      Anna:
      City buses aren't segregated. Nor is any kind of dress on them mandated. I'm familiar with the problems which occur in Israel when Haredi and non-Haredi groups meet; they do not, in general, bleed into the wider society. (There are exceptions, and they are railed against. That they ARE fought should be celebrated, and for the moment, there's not much else to expect.)

      Well, it's not QUITE the same argument used by fundamentalist Muslims–I could name innumerable features which my argument lacks and which theirs might include, but would rather not, since I don't want to be too much of a jerk. I will say, though, that no "fundamentalist" Mormon would sanction the marriages you're referencing, which stand in direct opposition to the principles of their Church, which absolutely insists upon upholding the law of the land. Those who you're referencing are really, really bad "Mormons."

      I wish to avoid using the word "hysterical," but do think that your insinuation that a FaceGlat, or other social networking medium, COULD ever become mandatory is a little absurd. I hope you're doing that intentionally.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't think people are arguing against the website itself, but the idea it represents, i.e. gender segregation. I've never heard of a case where separate but equal really works, so in effect, one group is discriminated against. In the Israeli bus case, women are discriminated against by being relegated to the back of the bus.

      I don't think anyone would claim that specific groups can't have their own Facebook-like web site, but this particular site is perpetuating a gender segregation philosophy/ideology that many find abhorrent and readily use their free speech rights to argue against.

      As in the case of strict Muslims, if it's not discrimination, then why don't men have to wear the same amount of covering.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Michelle

      Norman: and I think what is being intentionally looked over is that the "segregation" in question is entirely, entirely a voluntary pursuit. For everyone. Including in the practices which go beyond these social networking sites. ("Separate but equal" is not a Haredi distinction. It's a little more complex than that.)

      City buses are not segregated. PUBLIC buses are not segregated. The buses which ARE segregated belong to a private company and exist for Haredi communities which asked for them. They are not problematic, therefore, for non-Haredis. There's no discrimination occurring there. People who want to take buses which do not have separate seating based on gender can easily and freely do so.

      There's no reason to argue against this site; it's a silly way to use one's free speech.

      Sir, Haredi men dress VERY conservatively; if you can find evidence for me of one slacking off in dress, I will consider this comparison valid. Their clothing is VERY traditional, they are heavily covered, they are hugely subject to the ideals of the religion. So. There's that.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • Michelle

      ....sorry I mistakingly called you Norman.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Michelle,
      I don't know that being raised in such an environment consti.tutes "entirely a voluntary pursuit." The web site itself is entirely voluntary, certainly, but living by the constraints of the religion – that choice is not so clear. Also, my understanding of the bus situation in the article mentioned was that the segregated buses were public transit and the dispute was that the public buses were "in effect forcing religious people to sin," if not segregated, but "outrageous and extremist," if it was segregated, forcing women "to be sent to the back of the bus." Although the situation is complicated by the fact that the bus company, Egged, apparently has "a monopoly on bus services in Jerusalem." But I digress.

      As I said, I don't think people are arguing against the site, per se, but against the ideology/philosophy that requires gender segregation. I say that mainly because, as you pointed out, the site itself is voluntary.

      Madam, regardless of how Haredi men dress or their adherence to said fashion, it is my understanding that married women are required by Jewish law to cover their hair, hence the comparison to Islamic law. In addition, Muslim men encouraged to dress modestly and wear a head cover, Taqiyah, so the comparison is strengthened.

      No worries about the name,

      Sholem

      September 13, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Michelle

      Nonimus,
      It's certainly debatable. I'll admit that choosing to break from the religion in which one is raised is far from easy, and might, in certain environments, seem impossible. I may have exaggerated ease of movement.

      And, I'll confess: I heard a lot of talk about the buses this summer; my impression was that they were strictly under the control of private companies; now I'm wondering if the Haredi communities also arranged for Haredi buses on public routes. It's possible. I need to look into it. (I'm very confident that Israel would never allow that to be the case on all or most buses, however; I still think it's not much of a public concern. I realize that would carry less weight were the buses part of the public transportation system.)

      If it's Egged: yes, they represent a fair number of the long distance buses. (I've also ridden only on Egged buses, though, which are primarily secular, and which follow secular standards.)

      Yes, Haredi women cover their hair when married. One curiosity with this practice now is that they do it in often very ostentatious manners...buying the equivalent of really lush weaves, so that they end up having "hair" which is potentially nicer than their own. Or they wear scarves, which can also veer into really showy territory. (I'm not trying to judge here, although reactionarily, I'm sometimes tempted to.) However, Haredi men, notoriously, also have pretty strict standards for how they wear their hair, so it seems sort of fair to me. Or, at least: even.

      Anyway. It's definitely all complicated territory. My biggest issues come with those who treat Orthodox Judaism as a mental disease, instead of regarding its practices, even if they are foreign, as practices which should be explored with a basic kind of respectful curiosity. Definitely different; not necessarily wrong. (You haven't been insulting, so I hope I wasn't too rude to you.)
      🙂 Shalom.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • John

      Whatever! its the same as radical islam. Saudi's and Orthodox Jews have a lot more in common than most Palestinians and Israelis who are mostly secular. Its a pity the first group funds the conflict that impacts the majority of the latter.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • Nonimus

      @Michelle,
      "It's definitely all complicated territory."
      I certainly agree with that. And, I think you are correct that not all buses are segregated, at least according to that one article, Egged said that they only segregate buses where most people in the area are Haredi.

      "My biggest issues come with those who treat Orthodox Judaism as a mental disease, instead of regarding its practices, even if they are foreign, as practices which should be explored with a basic kind of respectful curiosity."
      I agree that different cultures and their practices should be viewed with an open mind and not condemned simply because they are different. However, the situation changes when either rights are infringed upon or practices are actually viewed as divinely mandated behaviors. This gender segregation may blur both of those lines. Hypothetically, women's rights (or men's, but that is less likely) can easily be infringed upon whenever there is gender segregation. For example, why do the women sit in the back and not the men? In addition, whenever customs are viewed as divinely mandated, people who believe feel more obligated and empowered to enforce those customs not only on themselves but, if given the opportunity, on others as well. For example, if gender segregation were just a social custom for the Haredim(?), would anyone have thrown rocks at and damaged the buses? For me anyway, these are the reasons to debate web sites like this, not because of the site itself, but because of the issues it raises.

      It's been good talking with you. Thanks.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:02 am |
  16. Tom

    Funny how some people are quick to say, "Don't cram your religion down my throat. Let me live my life the way I see fit." Then try to cram their opinions down the throats of these people and try to tell them how to live their lives. Leave them alone. Jews don't try to convert people. You have to ask three separate times before they even allow you to convert. Live and let live already.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  17. Jayan Rajan

    And will the site be up on Saturdays?

    September 13, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  18. Chris

    “I personally know people who have deteriorated spiritually because of all kinds of things they were introduced to there.”

    Translation: People saw how much fun they were missing because of religion.

    Seriously, one of the primary goals of religion seems to be making people feel guilty about enjoying themselves.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  19. Reality

    For the "reading challenged":

    SAVING 15.5 MILLION ORTHODOX FOLLOWERS OF JUDAISM:
    ABRAHAM AND MOSES PROBABLY NEVER EXISTED.

    SAVING 1.5 BILLION LOST MUSLIMS:
    THERE NEVER WERE AND NEVER WILL BE ANY ANGELS I.E. NO GABRIEL, NO ISLAM AND THEREFORE NO MORE KORANIC-DRIVEN ACTS OF HORROR AND TERROR

    SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS:
    THERE WERE NEVER ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY

    Added details upon request. See p. 4.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  20. Sheila

    How can people in this country complain about this – it is one of our country's founding beliefs that people should be free to practice their religion! If you follow a faith that restricts the genders, then this type of website is perfect for you. If not, go to another website! Wheeeeeeeee! Free choice!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 13, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • jtmune

      The second a politician uses the phrase 'in god we trust' or 'one nation under god' they are deliberately governing me as a citizen under their idea of god with complete disrespect to my ideals of reason....that is not freedom

      September 13, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • annagitana1

      How? Well you forgot another part of that "founding belief". It's called freedom of speech.

      September 13, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.