The ‘plane’ truth about the ultra-Orthodox (COMMENTARY)

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Ultra-orthodox Jews cross the street in Brooklyn.

Photo courtesy of Anna i Adria via Wikimedia Commons

Ultra-orthodox Jews cross the street in Brooklyn.

(RNS) Let me make this clear: I love the Jewish people, wholeheartedly and with gusto. The Jews are my family and my primary source of identity. Full stop.

But, having said that, I do not like everything that certain Jews do — any more than I would automatically find the actions of every member of my family to be admirable. When Jews on the left become hypercritical of Israel, going so far as to deny her survival as a Jewish state, I bristle. When Jews on the right take jingoistic positions that will ultimately threaten Israel’s soul and security, I object.

Ultra-orthodox Jews cross the street in Brooklyn.

Photo courtesy of Anna i Adria via Wikimedia Commons

Ultra-orthodox Jews cross the street in Brooklyn.

And when some ultra-Orthodox Jews refuse to sit next to women on international flights, it is time to speak up. It has happened on numerous occasions, sometimes resulting in flight delays of up to 11 hours, the latest incident just two weeks ago.

I am not a biblical prophet like Isaiah or Amos or Jeremiah, but as Isaiah himself put it: “For the sake of Zion, I shall not be silent.” And by Zion I mean the perceived excellence of the Jewish people.

I have great respect for the ultra-Orthodox. I regularly learn from their teachings. I admire their deep, overarching commitment to study, to sacred deeds, to maintaining community.

But their growing refusal to sit next to women on airplanes is disruptive, inexcusably rude, and damaging to Judaism itself.

First, I invite someone to show me the passages in the Torah, Talmud, or the rest of the 2,000-year-old rabbinic tradition where it says: “Thou shalt not sit next to women on public conveyances.” Because I have been looking for it, or something like it, and I have been unsuccessful.

I know what many ultra-Orthodox Jews would say. All men have a “yetzer ha-ra,” an evil inclination, libidinal thoughts. To sit next to a woman would be too much temptation.

But why is that the problem of the woman who is innocently sitting on an airplane, just trying to get to her final destination, and the airplane flight crew? It simply cannot be that some ultra-Orthodox men are so immature, helpless, and insecure that they cannot control their inclinations for five, 10, or 12 hours. Here’s an antidote: read books, especially holy books. Listen to music. Take a nap.

Judaism has a “foreign policy.” There is a whole category of things that Jews are forbidden to do, because they constitute “hillul ha-shem,” a desecration of God’s name and reputation.

An ultra-Orthodox Jew misbehaves on an airplane. He refuses to take his assigned seat. This causes big delays. It might cause someone to miss a connecting flight. It shows a profound lack of “kavod,” or respect — in this case, for people’s time. The ultra-Orthodox Jew who causes such a delay is breaking the commandment against stealing — because he is stealing time that belongs to other people.

What kind of impression of ultra-Orthodox Judaism — or just plain Judaism itself — does this create in the casual observer? The Talmudic Encyclopedia defines a desecration of God’s name, as doing anything that would cause people to say that the Jews have no Torah. Does such public behavior serve as a wholesome advertisement for Torah Judaism?

Let’s broaden the conversation. Yes, religious people have the right to proclaim their truths — to all those who choose to listen. But in a civil society that doesn’t give you the right to use your faith as a cudgel, inconveniencing and even harming people, as a public demonstration of your faith.

Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin is the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Am in Bayonne, N.J., and the author of numerous books on Jewish spirituality. Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Salkin

Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin is the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Am in Bayonne, N.J., and the author of numerous books on Jewish spirituality. Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Salkin

My solution? It is hardly original. If people refuse to take their assigned seats, they should be escorted off the plane. As we say in Yiddish: “fahrtig” — finished and done.

When pious people behave badly in public, their behaviors implicate all of their co-religionists. People of faith need to view themselves as God’s PR agents in the world.

And if you look bad, then God looks bad as well.

 (Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin is the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Am of Bayonne, N.J., and the author of “Righteous Gentiles In The Hebrew Bible,” published by Jewish Lights.) 


  • Fran


    I totally agree with you on the “plane” situation. If a person cannot or refuses sit next to a woman on a plane, that person should be escorted off the plane.

    It is a case of not showing proper respect and manners to our fellow-women from our fellowman!!

  • Yet another brilliant column by my friend and one of the best teachers out there.

    My one small qvetch: “When pious people behave badly in public…” Well, “an ignoramus cannot be pious,” and those who harm others due to their mis-understanding of our tradition are ignoramouses. And therefore, not pious in my book.

  • Jack

    Of course such behavior is inexcusable and the writer should point it out. But I’d like to see articles from the same author on how “hillul Ha-shem” takes place on the left as well. The author alludes to this, but tellingly, he offers hypercriticism of Israel as his sole example. It’s a good example, but far from the only one. He’s avoiding some very obvious things.

    This is true, of course, of Christianity as well. There are sins on the right and left alike, where God’s name is desecrated by the actions of people speaking in His name.

    I would like the right in both faith traditions to tackle sins of greed and arrogance, and the left in both faith traditions to tackle sins of libertinism and failure to take care of the very young and the very old in our society.

  • Gary Aminoff

    It isn’t about temptation. First, let me say that I am a Jew, who follows traditional Jewish practice. I completely disagree with the position of Jews who won’t sit next to a woman on a plane or bus. Having said that, the explanation is the same as those Jews who won’t shake hands with a woman (with which I also disagree). It has to do with the family purity laws. A man who touches a woman who is menstruating, and therefore, according to some tradition, “unclean,” becomes unclean himself. So rather than become “unclean” by inadvertently “touching” a menstruating woman, they won’t sit next to a woman. That, in my view is carrying Jewish tradition to an unrealistic extreme.

  • Poster

    Deuteronomy 25
    When people have a dispute, they are to take it to court and the judges will decide the case, acquitting the innocent and condemning the guilty. …

    Matthew 23:2
    “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.

    Leviticus 15:19
    And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.

    Leviticus 15:25
    And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean.

  • Larry

    Well this is just one of many examples of how people use religious belief as an excuse to act in an arrogant uncivil and obnoxious fashion to others.

    Of course if these ultra orthodox actually gave half a crap about anyone but themselves, they would just book a block of seats on a flight so they would not have to sit next to womenfolk.

    Its actually very typical of those sects. No consideration to anyone, always making demands on others in furtherance of their faith.

  • Pastora

    These type of rules, belief and behavior comes from man not from God. This is why a man without the wisdom of a woman is incomplete. I just pray for them in the name of Jesus to open their hearts, ears and their eyes. In Christ

  • Pastora

    Matthew 23 New International Version (NIV)
    A Warning Against Hypocrisy Jesus the Christ speaking

    23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

    5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

    8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

  • ronald

    They were just practicing their religious beliefs and that is their right! It doesn’t matter that they delayed the flight because they are holy men and holy men are on GOD’S TIME, not MAN’S TIME!

    If they were doing something wrong then they would have been removed from the plane like the athiest who wouldn’t say Merry Chrismas back to the stuardess. Now that was something to write a column about! Leave these men of faith alone and write about the wicked athiests!

  • Jack

    I don’t want to single out the ultra-orthodox or put them all in a box, because I would guess that not all are this way…..I understand that there is a difference between the Lubavich and the Satmar, with the former a lot better than the latter. In addition, ultra-fundamentalists in Christianity can be equally nasty in other ways, although not all of them fit the stereotype, either.

    However, bad behavior is bad behavior. No matter who engages in it should be called out on it.

  • When a person gets on a plane
    He has already agreed to leave the childish, primitive caves of the desert behind.

    If they have a problem with that, they might consider this:

    God apparently meant for people to fly on planes
    He must have also meant for men to sit next to the women
    who are already seated there.

    If that doesn’t work, and a person insists on his primitive male-chauvenistic nonsense from the stone age – that is his right.
    But that person shall be removed from the plane and they can walk to their destination, take a bus or ride a magic carpet instead.

    The modern world owes absolutely nothing to the ignorant theories concocted in primitive caves a hundred centuries ago.

  • “I just pray for them in the name of Jesus to open their hearts…”

    Good grief.
    The absence of God isn’t loud enough?

  • “bad behavior is bad behavior.”

    And religion causes or apologizes for all of it.
    Despicable, primitive nonsense.

  • Elizabeth McDonald

    Which is why I, back in the days when I was still menstruating, went out of my way to walk between or beside Haredi men. To make them unclean on purpose. Hey, their rules, not mine. I was just walking down the street. And if they think me a “contamination” because I am a woman, then I think them even more so. Come join us in the 21st century, Haredim.

  • Thank you for this article. I lived in Riverdale, NY for a few years, and when I first moved there, I was stunned by the rudeness I encountered as I walked in my new neighborhood. I was occasionally pushed into the street by groups of Orthodox men who acted as if they did not see me and refused to make room for me on the sidewalk even if traffic was moving quickly in the street. It was frightening, and I did not understand.
    Now I do.

  • Re: “Yes, religious people have the right to proclaim their truths — to all those who choose to listen. But in a civil society that doesn’t give you the right to use your faith as a cudgel, inconveniencing and even harming people, as a public demonstration of your faith.”

    But religious folk don’t see it that way. For them, their metaphysics is “the Truth” — for them, for you, and for everyone … everywhere, all the time, every time, period. It’s not up to others to “choose to listen”; rather, everyone MUST listen, and ALL are expected to comply, without regard to whether or not they wish to do so. Anyone around them who doesn’t automatically give in to their metaphysics, is infringing on their rights. And they won’t stand for that, not for one moment.

  • Laurence Charles Ringo

    Hey, Atheist Max, good to have you back,dude!! Where’d you go? I actually missed your rants, believe it or not! Oh, and by the way, thanks for clearing something up for me : I didn’t realize that you had been a catholic; that explains a lot…

  • Laurence Charles Ringo

    Careful,”Pastora”.I shouldn’t have to remind you that the so-called “Mosaic Law”was given to Moses BY GOD, not the other way around; don’t find yourself calling Almighty God a liar. Learn in love, always. (Waiting for you, Max-Lol!)

  • Laurence Charles Ringo

    Read the Rabbi’s column again, Ronald, but slowly this time, and mull and reflect. You will get it.

  • Laurence Charles Ringo

    What”religious folk”are you talking about, “PsiCop”?? Are you being held captive by a fanatical cult somewhere? I’ve been a Christian for almost 40 years now, and I have NEVER encountered anyone like you just described. Just where do you live, dude? Seriously?

  • Danny Saunders

    Except you’re actually wrong–this has nothing to do with being “unclean.” The extreme separation of the sexes among the ultra-Orthodox is entirely about temptation, and it doesn’t matter if the woman is menstruating or not.

    Also, a man does not become “unclean” by touching an “unclean” woman. That simply does not exist. While some forms of “uncleanliness” can be passed through touch, a) it never applies to a menstruating woman, only things like dead animals or corpses, b) it only ever applied during the temple period, when there were laws about stepping onto the temple mount or eating the meat of sacrifices. In today’s times, we are all presumed “unclean,” as we do not avoid cemeteries or funerals, and we have no ashes from a burnt re heifer with which to become purified.

    So no. It’s all about the Haredi man’s fear of temptation, and his inability to act like a decent human being in the modern world. There is no excuse whatsoever for this kind of behavior.

  • David Eliezie

    There is far from the “plane truth”.

    Tens of thousands of so called “ultra orthodox” ( strange why orthodox are the only ultra, are their any “ultra liberals”) fly with making no issue. Clearly it’s the actions of a some individuals- and maybe some small group in the tradionally observant community. To insinuate its a common practice of the vast majority of the so called “ultras” is false.

    One has to wonder how the editors of the RNS can permit such an article that misrepresents the beliefs of so many. Would they dare do something like this with blacks or gays.

  • CSS

    Really? Religion causes *all* bad behavior? So what’s your excuse for your ignorance and intolerance? Are you secretly religious, and just call yourself Atheist Max by way of camouflage?

    Or maybe, just maybe, there are thoughtless jerks in all walks of life. Maybe some religious people jerks, and maybe some atheists and even agnostics are, too.

  • Guest

    If a man doesn’t want to sit next to a woman, let him buy tickets for the row of seats. When he has purchased a seat, he may say who sits in it.

  • Garson Abuita

    If even one passenger refuses to sit, the plane cannot take off. Consider a 747-400, which El Al flies with 405 seats, taking off from somewhere in the US to TLV. Even if 100 passengers are Haredi, another 200 are observant in some other way, and another 100 are secular or not Jewish, if even the remaining 5 refuse to sit, it’s a problem. So to say it’s not a widespread practice among the Haredi community doesn’t really change the situation. If those 5 are misrepresenting your beliefs – the exact Hillul Hashem the author is talking about – then next time you see it happening (and it happens all the time), do something about it.

  • Jack

    Max, more people were killed by atheistic, totalitarian regimes in the last century than were killed by any other kind of government, including even theocratic governments, in any previous century.

    As I said, bad behavior is bad behavior. Time for some intellectual honesty, Max.

  • Jack

    Obviously, this is a problem, and the rabbi was right to write about it, but I would like to see RNS be consistent and run a piece that criticizes the misbehavior of members of other groups, including Muslim fundamentalists who hold a far lower view of women.

    The ultra-Orthodox are safe, easy targets… would take far more courage to run a piece criticizing more problematic ones.

  • DT

    To call a Reform Rabbi a “Rabbi” is a bit of a joke. They by and large don’t believe in the primacy or divinity of Torah or do believe in it, and STILL choose to ignore the 613 mitzvot, including keeping Shabbos and keeping kosher! And the author has the gall to mention Hillul Hashem.

    Please remove the honor of Rabbi from consideration in the author’s title. He’s just another non-observant Jew (not everyone does this) who takes out his/her guilt of non-observance on the people who do choose to observe it.

    Trash article.

  • Garson Abuita

    Oh no, someone’s practicing Judaism to the left of Young Israel! /sarcasm.
    Do you have anything substantive to say? You know, defending a man’s right to kick a woman out of her seat on public transportation? A halachic explanation of why men don’t want to sit next to women? Please leave your hateful attacks against the Reform community out of it.

  • Moriarty

    Sometimes it is just embarrassing to be a Jew. Although I belong to an Orthodox congregation, most of the members accept the fact that they are part of a mixed society and accommodate certain social norms. I am the first one to yell when other cultures and religions do not help to control their own members and it would have pleased me so much to see El Al and the other Jewish passengers boot these fools off the aircraft.

  • Larry

    I have no problem doing so because this is typical behavior both for individuals of the sects and in organizational activities by them. Bad behavior is bad behavior and I am calling them out for it.

    Again if there was any notion of consideration to others, they would book the seats in a block and avoid such issues. Instead, 100+ people are delayed a ridiculously long period of time for a very long flight because a group of ultra-orthodox men could not find it in themselves be civil to a woman.

  • Larry

    Ronald is a “Poe” troll. His function is to make ultra-religious types/conservatives look silly by adopting their most extreme positions.

  • Shlomo

    Maybe to avoid the problem of yetzer ha-ra, these men should just request to sit next to unattractive women only.

  • tsig

    Now we know what they’re hiding under those robes.

  • George Gauthier

    Is there a square root law that governs how close a man may sit from a woman? If sitting next to a woman is bad, then what about sitting in front or behind (especially behind). Or is there some critical distance, say ten or twenty centimeters and farther than that is OK.
    Those who would venture an answer should cite the Torah, the Talmud or other writings in the rabinnic tradition. I await instruction.

  • Larry

    Jack, if you were honest (or knowledgeable) you would not be trotting out that little chestnut in support of religious belief. More people in history in all eras have been killed in the name of religion than any other ideology. The most destructive war in all humanity was began by people who believed their actions were guided by God(s).

    Lying for the lord is still lying. There are far better criticisms of Max’s tirade than having to lie about history and using phony guilt by association. (Like the fact that the author, a member of the clergy, is calling the haredis out on their actions).

  • Larry

    Because Reconstructionists Ultra-liberal Jews) generally don’t get in the news very much for being anti-social uncivil jerks about their religious belief.

    Acting uncivil towards women, especially those outside their sect is fairly common among haredis. This is the 2nd time such an incident has happened, it is more than just an individual thing.

  • Fran


    Yes it certainly does explain things!! I can appreciate how he feels as my parents were former Catholics as well!! His rants are understandable, when it comes to “that” religion!!

  • Fran

    Wowwwww, Elizabeth!!! The Mosaic law is no longer in effect, since Jesus, the Messiah and the son of God (no, Jesus is no part of the Trinity doctrine… ugh!) fulfilled the Law. It is so sad that they are continuing something that is no longer necessary, but only futile, even today!!! 🙁

  • Fran


    Please see Matthew 5:17, where it is pointed out that Jesus did not come to destroy the prophets or the Law, but to fulfill.”

    The Mosaic law led to the Messiah or Jesus, the son of God (no part of a trinity), who fulfilled the Law. The ransom sacrifice of Jesus, who died as a perfect man for imperfect mankind, made the Mosaic law obsolete, no longer required.

    Today, we can receive forgiveness of our sins through that ransom sacrifice of God’s son, Jesus, and the sacrifice of animals is no longer required.

  • Fran


    Are you referring to Jesus as God? Jesus is the son of God and no part of the false doctrine of men called the “trinity”… Ugh!!! I was just wondering.

  • Fran


    I wouldn’t have said “merry Christmas” to the stewardess either since I am a Christian who does not celebrate the pagan holiday of Christmas, which neither Jesus nor the early 1st century Christians celebrated! (Google origins of Christmas for details!)

    Jesus himself spoke to a Samaritan woman at a well (they were despised by the Jews in those days), and she became a believer that he was the Messiah. She went back to her family and told them her experience. Many of her family became believers as well!! 😀

    So there is no basis for the actions of these “so-called holy men” who do not show love and respect to their fellowman (including us women!!), as Jesus, the son of God, did!!

  • Fran


  • Fran

    Uh-huhhhhh! lol

  • Fran

    Yes, there are those groups of people who consider “women” as being lesser than dirt… And they have done so for many centuries.. 🙁

    Maybe that is why it is not mentioned in today’s news.

  • @CSS,

    “Really? Religion causes *all* bad behavior?…”

    Just about!

    Here’s my top 40 EVILS caused by religion. (I’ve got many more).

    Harm to the wider community:

    1. The discouragement of rational, critical thought.
    2. Vilification of homosexuality, resulting in discrimination, parents disowning their children, murder, and suicide.
    3. Women made to be second-class citizens based on religious teachings.
    4. Children growing up to hate and fear science and scientists, because science disproves their parents’ religion – leading to appalling scientific illiteracy.
    5. Tens of thousands tortured and killed as witches (a practice which still continues today).
    6. People aren’t making the most of this life because of belief in an afterlife.
    7. People dying because they believe their faith makes them immune to snake venom, or other lethal aspects of reality.
    8. People dying – and letting their children die – because their religion forbids accepting medical help.
    9. People choked, starved, poisoned, or beaten to death during exorcisms.
    10. Genital mutilation of babies demanded by religious texts.
    11. Psychological and physiological conditions blamed on demons, preventing believers from seeking medical care for themselves and their children.
    12. Shunning. People disowning family members for leaving their religion.
    13. Friendships and romances severed or never started over religious differences.
    14. “Abstinence-only” sex education, resulting in five times the amount sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancies – often leading to ill-fated “emergency” marriages.
    15. Women having septic abortions—or being forced to have unwanted children they resent—because religious organizations have gotten laws passed making abortion illegal or inaccessible.
    16. Censorship (often destructive) of speech, art, books, music, films, poetry, songs, ideas.
    17. The demonization of other religions, e.g. Christianity demonizing Pagans (“They’re devil-worshipers!”)
    18. Children using up the period of their lives when the brain is most receptive to learning new information reading, rereading, and even memorizing religious texts.
    19. People who believe the world is about to end neglect their education, are not financially responsible, and in extreme cases take part in mass suicides.
    20. Long-term environmental issues ignored because of beliefs that the rapture/apocalypse or something will happen soon, so they don’t matter.
    21. Wives told they will be tortured forever if they leave their abusive husbands (and vice versa).
    22. Holy wars – followers of different faiths (or even the same faith) killing each other in the name of their (benevolent, loving and merciful) gods.
    23. The destruction of great works of art considered to be pornographic/blasphemous, and the persecution of the artists.
    24. Slavery condoned by religious texts.
    25. Children traumatized by vivid stories of eternal burning and torture to ensure that they’ll be too frightened to even question religion.
    26. Terminal patients in constant agony who would end their lives if they didn’t believe it would result in eternal torture.
    27. School boards having to spend time and money and resources on the fight to have evolution taught in the schools.
    28. Persecution of “heretics”/scientists, like Giordano Bruno (burned at the stake) and Galileo Galilei.
    29. Blue laws forcing other businesses to stay closed or limit sales, while churches can generate more revenue.
    30. Mayors, senators, and presidents voted into office not because they’re right for the job, but because of their religious beliefs.
    31. Abuse of power, authority and trust by religious leaders (for financial gain or sexual abuse of followers and even children).
    32. People accepting visual and auditory hallucinations unquestioningly as divine, sometimes with fatal results.
    33. Discrimination against atheists, such as laws stating they may not hold public office or testify in court, or in half a dozen countries around the world, laws requiring their execution
    34. Missionaries destroying/converting smaller, “heathen” religions and cultures.
    35. Hardship compounded by the guilt required to reconcile the idea of a fair god with reality (“why is God punishing me? What have I done wrong? Don’t I have enough faith?”).
    36. Human achievements—from skillful surgery to to emergency landings—attributed to gods instead of to the people actually responsible.
    37. Mother Teresa, prolonging the agony of terminal patients and denying them pain relief, so she can offer their suffering as a gift to her god.
    38. Tens of billions annually in the US alone spent to build, maintain, and staff houses of worship.
    39. Grief and horror caused by the belief that dead friends and family members are tortured as punishment for disbelief.
    40. Natural disasters and other tragedies used to claim God is displeased and present demands to avoid similar events (it’s like terrorism, but without having to plan or do anything).

    “A friend of the world, is an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)

    So…if you are an environmentalist, God hates you.
    God loves climate change, over fishing and polluters.

    How much evil is caused by that one line?

    For Peace, Deliverance from Religion and The Separation of Church and State

  • @Fran,

    “The Mosaic law is no longer in effect, since Jesus…”

    Please read your Bible.

    “For truly I Say…not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law.” JESUS (Matthew 5:18-19)

  • Fran,

    “Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (John 20:28)
    “Jesus answered them, ‘I and My Father are one.’” (John 10:30-33)
    “The Lord our God is one”. – (Deuteronomy 6:4)

    The claims of your Bible are yours, not mine.

  • @Moriarty,

    You are an excellent example of humanism over religion.

    The more one disposes of religious laws and dogma, the more humanitarian and civilized one behaves.

    It never fails.

  • Yesspam

    It’s pretty pathetic that you have to drag ‘left wing’Jews into this display of religious immorality. I suppose it is obligatory for the religious to try and be even handed but it ruins your article. Go back to the realm of the supernatural where you are probably taken seriously.

  • Yesspam

    No one takes Leviticus seriously today if they want tone taken seriously

  • Jack

    Not so, Larry. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If we are going to blame mass murder by self-consciously theistic regimes on theism, we might as well blame 20th century genocide by self-consciously atheistic tyrannies on atheism.

  • Jack

    Wrong, Max. Moriarty is an example of one who understands the essence of true religion — as voiced by Jesus (Christianity) and Hillel (Judaism). It’s about loving God and neighbor, including an inclusive view of what “neighbor” means….and the rest is, as Hillel said, commentary.

  • Fran


    You omitted the last part of Mathhew 5:19, that, according to the King James Version, says:

    “… shall in no way pass from the law, TILL ALL BE FULFILLED.”

    So what needed to be fulfilled?

    Jesus himself answered that question at Matthew 20:28:

    “Even as the Son of man came, not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to GIVE HIS LIFE A RANSOM for many.” (King James Version)

    The Mosaic law pointed to the Christ or the Messiah, Jesus. Jesus’ death as a perfect ransom for all imperfect mankind fulfilled the Mosaic Law and made it obsolete. It was Jesus’ sacrifice that took the place of animal sacrifices as required by the Mosaic law.

    It is that ransom sacrifice that allows our sins to be forgiven now, and also provides the “legal basis” for mankind to have the opportunity to live forever on earth (John 3:16; 17:3).

  • “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs….” – JESUS (Matthew 7:6)

    Only an ignorant child would think is not ‘judging others’ or damning one’s neighbors.

    We must grow up – realize that Jesus taught HARSH JUDGEMENT OF OTHERS, not love.

    Under the circumstances, “Love thy neighbor” is an aberration and an incoherent adjunct!

    Jesus is a character in a book. Perhaps based on some figure(s) who lived but these are contradictory, fictional stories.

    Christianity is not a good thing. Like Islam and Judaism, it is a philosophy from the iron age and is worthless and dangerous.

  • “50% of Protestants feel under threat and see themselves as persecuted”

    According to Pew Research

    Many Christians feel that their faith is being challenged by too much information.

    We need to fear people who refuse to face reality. They often do bad things.

    There probably is no God.
    So enjoy your life and be nice to others.

  • Fran


    1. John 20:28: Thomas was referring to both the Lord, Jesus, and his Father, God, two separate persons. He was not calling Jesus God.

    The Father, God, called Jesus what he truly was, his son, at Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:17), when Jesus (and not God) became the Messiah.

    2. John 10:30-33: Yes, God and his son are two separate persons, but are one in unity and purpose, just as a husband and wife are in marriage (Genesis 2:24).

    3. Deuteronomy 6:4: Yes, God is one God, not 3 gods in one. The Old Teatament certainly confirms this fact and that Jehovah is the Most High over all the earth (Psalm 83:18, KJV)

    Other scriptures found in the Old Testament concerning this: Isaiah 42:8, 45;5; Exodus 20:2,3; Psalm 90:2)

    3. Jesus was a separate creation. In his prehuman existence, he was referred to as “the IMAGE of the invisible God, the FIRSTBORN of EVERY CREATURE” (Colossians 1:15, KJV)

    Revelation 3:14,15 also refers to Jesus as the “beginning of the Creation of God” (KJV)

    Having been CREATED by God, Jesus is in secondary position to God, his Father, in time, power and knowledge.

    4. The New Testament confirms there is only one God. The apostle Paul wrote at Galatians 3:20; “Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one” (see also 1 Corinthians 8:4-6, KJV)

    John 1:18 says: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten son, which is the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (KJV)

    No man has seen God but many men on earth did see the son of God, Jesus, which son (and not God) died for all mankind (John 3:16, KJV)

    The apostle Paul tells us about proper subjection at 1 Corinthians 11:3 and advises:

    “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ: and the head of the woman is the man; and the HEAD of CHRIST is GOD.”

    The Apostke Paul was also aware that Jesus is in subjection to his Father, thus confirming they are not equal.

    Further, Jesus acknowledged his own position with his Father:

    John 14:32; “…If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, “I go into the Father, for my Father is GREATER than I.” (KJV)

    Jesus further said at John 8:28:

    “…When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know I am he, and that I DO NOTHING OF MYSELF; but as my Father has taught me, I speak these things.” (KJV)

    Jesus never did things in his own initiative; his sole purpose was to do his Father’s (God) will.

    John 4:34 reads: “Jesus saith unto them, ‘My meat is to DO THE WILL of HIM that SENT ME, and to FINISH HIS WORK.” (KJV)

    Jesus further testified, when praying to God, his Father:

    “And this is life eternal, that they may know THEE, THE ONLY TRUE GOD, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (KJV)

    Jesus is not superior in knowledge as his Father is. As Mark 13:32 brings out:

    “But of that day (the end of an era) and that hour, no man, no, not the Angels which are in heaven, NEITHER THE SON, but the Father.” (KJV)

    There are numerous other verses, along with these, that indicate:

    A. Yahweh/Jehovah is the ONLY TRUE GOD (and the only one deserving of our worship.

    B. Jesus, God’s first creation, is his son, in a secondary position.

    C. It was the son of God, and not God himself, that gave his life as a ransom sacrifice for all imperfect mankind. This was because of both God’s and Jesus’ intense love for us.

  • @Fran,

    “Yes, God and his son are two separate persons, but are one in unity and purpose, just as a husband and wife are in marriage..”

    You are cheating!

    What’s next? Mount Olympus was only one God, also? Zeus and Diana and Hercules were all just one God also?

    The Bible is clearly man made. And the men who made it cannot even agree on what they made.

    The world will improve dramatically as this hogwash vanishes into history.

  • Re: “I’ve been a Christian for almost 40 years now, and I have NEVER encountered anyone like you just described. Just where do you live, dude? Seriously?”

    Did you read the article? About a bunch of Haredim who delayed an entire plane while they pitched fits over sitting next to women? They did, in fact, impose their metaphysics on an entire plane full of people, most of whom did not share their beliefs and were not morally or legally required to do their bidding.

    What part of this story did you miss? I really would like to know.

  • @Fran,

    “Til all is fulfilled”

    That is ridiculous. You are not thinking at all.
    Jesus was preaching “KEEP THE LAW” – he was not saying “Keep the law until next year when I’m crucified” !!!!!

    He was saying keep the law until the END OF TIME!

    Jesus claimed that the laws of Moses were God’s Perfect Laws – perfect means DON’T CHANGE THEM, DON’T ALTER THEM, DON’T STOP FOLLOWING THEM.

    2000 YEARS of evidence proves I am correct about this.
    Even today capital punishment for sins is still advocated by many in the church!

  • Larry

    Except Max can actually attribute bad acts to religious faith, you only have canned lies, bad history and guilt by association.

  • Larry

    Evidently a couple of hundred people were held hostage by a fanatical religious cult for about 11 hours at an airport.

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  • Dr Beagleman

    I’m in complete agreement with Atheist Max on this. Great list, by the way.

  • Chaya

    The airlines can already remove people from the plane that are disruptive. They can deny boarding to drunks. I have been on a plane where a guy refused to put his seat back up before takeoff, and the cabin crew told him they would go back to the gate to remove him from the plane if he didn’t follow the rules.

    You won’t sit in your assigned seat? Off you go! You won’t stay in your seat? Air marshals and the flight engineer can fix that too.

    If these guys think they’re so hot they can’t control themselves, they shouldn’t be allowed out without a chastity belt. Yes, they have them for men too.

  • Garson Abuita

    One of the issues with the crew not wanting to do this, on El Al at least, is the mainly secular Israeli crew’s deference to Haredi dictates. It happens in Israeli society in general and happens on El Al too. The other thing is that these routes are very competitive. Both El Al and the US carriers add flights all the time — most recently El Al added a Boston-Tel Aviv flight. No one wants to lose business by alienating a core constituency.

  • Jacob

    This is the first time I see this blog someone shared it on Facebook
    As it seems the writer doesn’t have any knowledge in Jewish religion and faith to be writing about this subject so I don’t want to go into detail. Its like talking medicine with a farmer instead of a doctor if you would tell me that you studied all the laws in Jewish text pertaining to this matter then it can be discussed but jut to critizise and ridicule well its just stupid
    P.s why when someone is vegetarian they can ask for a meal and get it but if someone asks for a seat not next to a woman its his right he’s paying for it and second I was wondering if it would have been a homosexual man or woman with the same request if you would get up and be so excited about this whole thing

  • Jacob

    Eleal would lose a lot of business if they boot these “fools” of the aircraft these “fools” fly more in a year to Israel than most of the “normal” people like you fly in 50 years

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  • Craig(imalwaysright)

    Hi Aminoff,
    I hope you’ve had a great day. It seems from this article and your response that that ancient texts on which Judaism is based can be taken a bit out of context in today’s world. It would seem men who lived back then could go around raping any women they wanted no questions asked. It also seems like it would have been pretty tough for a woman to clean her hands during her menstruation period as no men could touch them.
    In today’s world there is soap and running water to clean their hands AFTER they use a sanitary napkin or tampon to assist them with their monthly visitor. Also in today’s world men can’t have their way with any woman they see. Nobody stands for it, regardless of religious belief.
    My two cents is that religion needs to grow with the people and the times. Some ignoramus’ will use religion as a crutch to act less than civil. Some will be the opposite, acting uncivil towards religious persons.
    Follow this before any religion – ELE (Everybody Love…

  • Pr Chris

    One solution ought to be a public fare (male only, or some other clear criteria) that requires the individual purchasing a seat to pay for all seats in the row at current fare. A second person wishing to book under the same rules, shares the total cost equally w/ the first passenger. A third passenger brings the total cost for each seat down to a standard fare. A fourth person starts it all over in another row (with the first 3 being a separate transaction.)

    What this does is allow the people to obtain the seating they want…and prevents the airline from being hurt. (It may be that under this pricing, fewer ultra orthodox might feel the need to be so seated…a good thing for everyone…). It also prevents the flight being disrupted.

    People who want specific privilege sometimes have to pay extra for it. In order to accommodate my mlitary disability, I must fly business; I simply cannot tolerate coach seats for hours. It’s my problem, not the airlines. I pay for what…

  • Pr Chris

    Seriously. What he describes is what you see when a “Christian” baker won’t make a cake for a gay couple. Where counties are dry (yes, there still are some) because “good Christians” don’t consume alcohol. There are all sorts of this attitude. When we live in a religiously diverse nation, we are free to live according to our beliefs, but we are not free to require others to live by them. Take the case of alcohol. There are many Christians who do not drink. But other Christians believe that responsible use of alcohol is permitted. In a society like ours, the result ought to be that those who do not drink are free not to drink. Those who do, however, ought to be allowed to obtain alcohol according to state laws, and be allowed to consume in peace.

    MY faith obligates me…not you. And vice versa. THAT’s the part that some don’t get, and is what he is referring to. (The most extreme example, is probably Utah, if you are not Mormon. You still live under Mormon…

  • Pr Chris

    Please remove the honor of Rabbi from consideration in the author’s title. He’s just another non-observant Jew (not everyone does this) who takes out his/her guilt of non-observance on the people who do choose to observe it.

    Trash article.

    DT: I assume you are Orthodox. But in this country, Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative Jews are legitimately Jews, according to their self-identification. Why should you have the right to determine how a different religious group defines its own identity, structure, etc. That’s like Southern Baptists determining that Roman Catholics or Lutherans are not really Christians, and so remove clerical titles from their posts. Rabbi Salkin is a legitimately ordained Rabbi according to his community. You have no right to demand that his ordination be taken away.

    Pr Chris