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Ultra-Orthodox Rabbis Urge Followers to Fly US Airways (Because They Don’t Show Movies)

A group of ultra-orthodox rabbis in Israel has a serious beef (Hebrew National?) with El Al because the airline has dared to – gasp – show movies on its flights.  The Rabbinical Transportation Committee (?) has compiled a list of airlines that they recommend because they do not show movies, which may be considered too racy for the needs of Ultra-Orthodox Jews.  The list reads like a bizarro world Skytrax survey, with US Airways and Ukraine’s AeroSvit leading the way.

In case you were wondering if these people are for real, religious Jews make up about 25% of El Al’s passengers, which explains why the airline has made it a point not to fly on the Sabbath, despite the fact that that is an absolutely insane way to run an airline.

This same group of rabbis has convinced 35 bus companies in Israel to segregate buses, with men sitting in the front and women in the back.

Oh, you find that offensive?  Then you’ll be happy to know that the group did not succeed in convincing El Al to offer flights where flight attendants and passengers were segregated so that only male flight attendants interacted with male passengers.

For some reason this insanity is for excused because it falls under the rubric of religious beliefs.  I’d like to think that a group of rabbis has something better to worry about than perpetuating misogynist nonsense and the fear of catching a glimpse of Cheaper by the Dozen 3.  I guess not.

(Thanks IAH-PHX for the heads up)

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  1. Didn’t US Aiways just remove movies on US-domestic flights? (and didn’t they start testing a new IFE system just last week or so?) I guess some of those little details don’t matter to the creators of that alternatives list.

    Re El Al not flying on Sabbath, I visited CES on Saturday this year and was surprised to find several booths in the exhibit hall closed for Sabbath. Given what the companies have to pay for exhibit hall space, you’d think they could have found some non-Jewish booth babes to cover the Saturday!? (I can fully understand and accept that religious employees may not want to work that day, but is the entire company staffed by orthodox Jews?)

  2. Oliver,

    No, those companies are not entirely staffed by Orthodox Jews. Observant Jews do not “work” on the Sabbath, and the religious definition of “work” includes letting others do work on their behalf. (This leads to interesting problems for web-based businesses.) I think its impressive that the CES vendors booths go dark Friday afternoon and Saturday, despite the costs involved.

    -avi

  3. Avi,

    You bring up an interesting point: I interviewed with a Hasidic-run online business a little while back. His company continued taking orders online during the Sabbath (though they were not fulfilled then). I mentioned that B&H closes its website during the Sabbath – this was a contentious issue. It sounds like this hasn’t yet been figured out…

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