Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Has The "Cidor" Gone Sour?

Peggy Cidor has written a real tear-jerker about how the Hareidi School System discriminates against Sephardic girls:
But Rahel still hasn't begun the school year because she hasn't been accepted into any educational institution within the haredi system.

She is convinced that she has been rejected from four of the most prestigious schools, despite her high grades and commendable behavior, for one reason only: because she is Sephardi and the schools are Ashkenazi.
Only at the end of the five page article is the truth revealed:
Still at home, Rahel says that is discouraged and fears that her reputation has been ruined. She is ready to "give in," she says, and attend a less-prestigious school.
In other words, she was or could be accepted to a "seminar", but not one of the prestigious ones. [Sniffle]

A Google search on "Peggy Cidor" brought me to the following:
Ms Cidor is a member of Women of the Wall, an organisation launched 14 years ago to challenge centuries of tradition that permits only men to wear shawls and speak prayers from the Torah at the wall. But the organisation's broader aim is to break the grip of men over Orthodox religious practices that, among other things, exclude women from becoming rabbis.
Do you think the lady has an axe to grind?


Avi said...

That's not a very accurate description of WoW. She's absolutely right. And what, a Mizrachi should attend a less prestigious school than an Ashkenazi just because she's Mizrachi? I don't think so. Of course we don't know all the facts but we never do in any article, let alone op/ed.

Cosmic X said...


My girls learn in the Beis Yaakov school system so I'm familiar with the general situation.

Certain seminars are considered more prestigious than others. The leading seminars in Jerusalem are "Chadash", "Yashan", and the "Snif". There are less prestigious seminars such as "Ali Be'er" and "Ma'alot", but both of them are fine schools. The three prestigious ones cannot accept everybody. There are plenty of Ashkenazi qualified girls that are not accepted to the "prestigious" seminars, simply because there is not enough space for everyone. Sometimes "protekzia" can help a girl get into a seminar, but in the end there are only so many chairs that can be crammed into a classroom.

My point was that the article at the beginning claimed that the girl "hasn't been accepted into any educational institution", which truly would have been an scandalous thing. Only at the end we learn the truth: She could be/ has been accepted to a less prestigious seminar, but she thinks that if she doesn't attend a "prestigious" seminar, she won't get a good shidduch. I would tell her that if she wants a husband that will marry her because of her school, she has a problem.

My oldest learns in one of the less prestigious seminar and we are quite satisfied.

yaak said...

Despite the background of the writer and the point you made re: the less-prestigious school, I think that the points discussed in the article are important and accurate. Yes, things are getting better than they were, but the situation is still not as it should be.

BTW, Rav Ovadiah's daughter visited the US a year or so ago, collecting money for her college.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Must be something about people named "Cider". Yossi Cider the movie director has brought us films that bash the religious such as "Hesder" and I forgot what his latest was...

Cosmic X said...


I don't get it, fake but accurate? Tell me exactly what you found accurate. Surely not Tzvia Greenfield's claims:

"Several years ago, she says, she asked a matchmaker if she had a policy of matchmaking between Ashkenazim and Sephardim. "She almost choked. She said it was unthinkable, that it wouldn't come into her mind to propose a Sephardi girl to an Ashkenazi fellow.

"This is pure racism, and there is no explanation for it. Would you ask a white racist why he hates blacks? He hates them because they are black, and that's all." "

Now the truth: The reason that Chareidim have less inter-eidah marriages is their dedication to keeping their customs. Comparing this to white racists in the U.S. is a lie, similar to the lie that the article starts with.

BTW, I'm Ashkenazi. My wife is a Sephardia. Many if not all Ashkenazim, including myself, have Sephardic ancestors in their family tree. For instance, the origin of the famous Horowitz and Charlap families is Sephardic.

I'm not saying that all is well in seminarland.

Yaakov Kirschen said...

Interesting post, and thnks for doing the reseach on Cidor's WOW background.
Dry Bones

yaak said...

Of course, there are those who are not anti-sephardi - as you said, they just like to keep their customs. In Israel, a shidduch between the 2, I've heard, is not a good idea because of totally different mindsets of the 2 communities. That's understandable.

However, there is unfortunately, a percentage of Ashkenazim who are racist against Sepharadim - pure and simple. This is how the Shas party got started in the first place - not enough educational institutions for the Sepharadim, which were necessary due to either intentional or unintentional neglect of the Sephardic customs in Ashkenazic schools. Now, it's coming full-circle, and girls want to get into presitious Ashkenazic schools for shidduch reasons -(which I think is a little silly, if you ask me, but) she should be entitled to go there if she's qualified - no matter what her ethnicity is.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

1. If we're already talking about agenda's like WoW, then Tzvia Greenfield has an even bigger one. The EU gives her hundreds of thousands (!) every year. Thats a heck of a lot more than they give A7!

2. DryBones! Welcome to the blogosphere! Great seeing you...then again, if you've been around for ages, and *I* didn't know you were around, then I apologize.

And to all a goodnight.

Cosmic X said...

Yaakov "Dry Bones" Kirschen,

Thanks for the compliment!


I think we finally see eye to eye. Like I mentioned, all is not well in seminarland. We have some friends (Sephardim) who probably could have been accepted into the "prestigious" Ashkenazic seminars. Instead, they opted to send their girls to a seminar run by Shas. When the Sephardim stop running after the Ashkenazic seminars, perhaps the Ashkenazic seminars will start running after them!


Thanks. I was aware of Geenfield's benefactors: The EU and The New Israel Fund.

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