Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Clashing values alter Jerusalem's face

Clashing values alter a city's face - Los Angeles Times:
NOVELIST and playwright Naomi Ragen already has fled two neighborhoods to avoid emerging ultra-Orthodox majorities. Now Ramot Allon's most famous resident is thinking about leaving Jerusalem altogether. ...

A modern Orthodox Jew raised in New York, Ragen shudders at billboards in central Jerusalem admonishing women to wear long skirts, long sleeves and buttoned-up collars in public.

"People here misconstrue Jewish law, radicalize it beyond recognition and call that 'being more religious,' " she said.

The author is building a home in the Galilee and said she might live there full time.

She has thought about the consequences of Jerusalem's Jewish flight and growing Palestinian population. Palestinians and haredim would increasingly dominate the city and might get along just fine, she said with a tone of irony.

"Their women tend to dress alike, all covered up. That could be a recipe for harmony."

"I love Jerusalem," she added, turning serious. "I hate to see the city turned into a fundamentalist backwater…. But it will always be my touchstone, the center of my religion, even if now is not a particularly good time for me to live here."

From a three part series on Jerusalem in the LA Times.

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