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Getting (Nearly) Naked for God:

Prof. Howard Friedman's Religion Clause -- the best news source I've seen for religion-and-the-law matters (both American and foreign) writes:

Passover begins tonight, and in Israel the dispute continues over how to interpret its Festival of Matzot (Prohibition of Leaven) Law, 5746-1986, (also known as the "Hametz Law"). Last year, a court held that its ban on the public display any leavened product for sale or consumption during Passover did not prevent the sale in a closed place of business of leavened products. (See prior posting.) The Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community is still distressed over the ruling. This week, according to Arutz Sheva, to protest the interpretation, yeshiva student Aryeh Yerushalmi entered a Tel Aviv grocery store, went to the bread section, and stripped naked (except for a sock over his private parts). He says Israeli law bans performing an indecent act in a public place, but if a grocery store is not "public" for purposes of the Hametz Law, its should not be for the indecent exposure law either. When police arrived at the scene, the student put his clothes back on. A Tel Aviv district court judge put Yerushalmi under house arrest for a week.

For more links -- and more interesting posts on other topics -- go to the post linked to above, or to the blog generally.

anomdebus (mail):
If it is a private place, then the owners are not obligated to let him stay. A question would be whether they are obligated to give him time to redress or can they immediately eject him into a public place in which the student would definitively cross the public place indecency act.
4.8.2009 12:39pm
FantasiaWHT:
A sock? What a pansy, in America we protest full nude!
4.8.2009 12:44pm
Benjamin Wolf (mail) (www):
I wrote about this yesterday, and looked at whether any similar arugment for judicially inconsistent interpretations of the term "public place" could be found under New York law here: http://schlissellaw.wordpress.com
4.8.2009 12:49pm
gasman (mail):
He is clearly a fool to believe that the Law must be internally consistent. It is perfectly possible for the store to have more than a single definition of whether it is public space or not. Not a proposition that I would be willing to be my bare ass on.

I do remember a discussion thread some time back here where a person speaking as an observant jew noted a significant difference between them and the radical muslims was that muslims wished to force everyone to conform to islamic law, while observant jews wished only to themselves follow their own law. In this case, the naked protester wished to enforce his views on others. Further, he had to do so in the private space of the shop. Seems mostly like a rude a-hole who needs some of the personal betterment of religion over religious fervor.
4.8.2009 12:51pm
the_pathogen (mail) (www):

"America we protest full nude!"


...and get arrested naked. In Portland, OR, we ride bikes naked, thanks to a judge ruling it was a protected form of political protest. Now I see a naked bike rider at least once a month, and it's always a good laugh.
4.8.2009 12:58pm
Benjamin Wolf (mail) (www):
For my comment a few minutes ago, here's a direct and shorter link: http://tinyurl.com/crcysp
4.8.2009 1:04pm
Putting Two and Two...:
Oh! It's "put a sock on it"!

That makes a lot more sense.
4.8.2009 1:16pm
Hannibal Lector:
Oh! It's "put a sock on it"!
Nah... He was girding up his loins.
4.8.2009 1:19pm
DiverDan (mail):
A perfectly consistent interpretation of the law: The aisles of the Grocery Store are public, because that is where the public is invited to walk while shopping, but the shelves of the Grocery Store are private places, for which shoppers are granted a limited license only for the purpose of removing goods for purchase. If the protestor had cleared off a shelf and curled up on the shelf before getting naked, he'd be off the hook for public indecency, but the grocery store could have prosecuted him for tresspass. On the other hand, if the Grocer had wandered the aisles hawking his leavened bread and rolls, rather than leaving them inconspicuously and discreetly on his private shelves, then he could have been found guilty of violating the Hametz law.
4.8.2009 1:21pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Quakers (at least in the early days, before George Fox made them respectable), used to disrupt church services with which they disagreed by walking in naked except for ash. (That's with an H at the end.)
4.8.2009 1:32pm
Tucker (mail):
The fellow in Portland wasn't entirely nude, he was wearing a helmet.
4.8.2009 1:36pm
CamarilloBrillo (mail):
The fellow in Portland wasn't entirely nude, he was wearing a helmet.


Must. Not. Point. Out. Double. Entendre.



oops.

:)
4.8.2009 1:55pm
Goobermunch:
Ballsy move.

--G
4.8.2009 2:18pm
josh bornstein (mail) (www):
I'm just glad the judge didn't give him a stiff sentence. [heh]
4.8.2009 2:56pm
josh bornstein (mail) (www):
I'm just glad the judge didn't give him a stiff sentence hard time.

There, fixed my own error.
4.8.2009 2:58pm
Oren:

A sock? What a pansy, in America we protest full nude!

That would be huge violation of the very Jewish law he is protesting to have enforced on the (generally secular) population. Jewish notions of modesty are fairly well-settled.
4.8.2009 2:58pm
NaG (mail):
Is anything in Judaism "well-settled?"
4.8.2009 3:12pm
Lior:
Many things are "well-settled" in Orthodox Judaism, but the issue here is of Israeli law not religious law.

The enactment prohibits the "display" of Chametz, tracking the biblical injunction that it "will be not seen in your places of settlement". The law does not prohibit the sale of the products.

In the past, bread products would sometimes be put on the shelves in opaque plastic bags, labelled on the outside, so no actual bread could be seen, but the customers could buy it anyway. If stores are not "public places" then they don't even need to do that.

Regarding the analogy with "public nudity", I do consider stores "private property" (thus my disagreement with smoking bans) but I'm fairly certain that nudity in private places is also a crime if done against the wishes of the owner. If you break into someone's bedroom and disrobe, surely you'll be charged with more than breaking and entering.
4.8.2009 3:21pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

In Portland, OR, we ride bikes naked, thanks to a judge ruling it was a protected form of political protest.
So why isn't public defecation a protected form of political protest?
4.8.2009 3:25pm
ASlyJD (mail):
Probably because defecation pollutes the environment. Public nudity only pollutes when one vomits at the sight of an ugly body.
4.8.2009 3:38pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Probably because defecation pollutes the environment.
So he cleans up the mess afterwards. Why isn't that constitutionally protected speech, too?
4.8.2009 4:34pm
Ahcuah (mail):
Um, nobody seems to be noticing what I think is a critical point: "Last year, a court held that its ban on the public display any leavened product for sale or consumption during Passover did not prevent the sale in a closed place of business of leavened products."

A closed place of business is pretty clearly no longer public. Yerushalmi went into an open store, so it was in public.

Duh.
4.8.2009 4:43pm
Oren:
"Duh" seems to ignore that closed and open are terms that might mean different things in different contexts.
4.8.2009 5:01pm
ASlyJD (mail):
Clayton,

Do you really want to give the ACLU ideas? :-)
4.8.2009 5:06pm
Troll (mail):
I love feel-good stories like these from other nations. Makes me realize our own fundies are so batshit crazy, comparatively speaking.
4.8.2009 5:25pm
wfjag:

Getting (Nearly) Naked for God

Telling sweet young things in college "It's a religious experience" didn't work then, either. He should have bought beer.
4.8.2009 5:35pm
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :

In the past, bread products would sometimes be put on the shelves in opaque plastic bags, labelled on the outside, so no actual bread could be seen, but the customers could buy it anyway.

The inanity of many religious beliefs never ceases to amaze me.
4.8.2009 7:44pm
Oren:

The inanity of many religious beliefs never ceases to amaze me.

Perhaps because you don't understand the deeper symbolism. No Jew will seriously tell you that they forgo bread on passover qua forgoing bread -- that's inane. The whole point is that a mundane object because a reminder of something sacred by association, not on its own literal terms.

I'm not the largest proponent of most religious beliefs on this blog but sheesh, at least try to address religious topics at the level they are intended.
4.8.2009 8:18pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
the_pathogen:

...and get arrested naked. In Portland, OR, we ride bikes naked, thanks to a judge ruling it was a protected form of political protest. Now I see a naked bike rider at least once a month, and it's always a good laugh.


In Seattle, there was an attempt by the city to ban public nudity in parks for a while. There was a controversy about it and the city backed down.
4.8.2009 8:59pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Does anyone know if this is a criminal or a civil/religious law?

If it is a civil law, a Muslim, Christian, or Druze store owner wouldn't be affected, correct?
4.8.2009 9:05pm
the_pathogen (mail) (www):
Are you really comparing defecation to nudism? It seems to me that the last streaker I saw was a beautiful 20-something brunette who was also one of Portland's many exotic dancers. Nobody seemed to mind, not even the school children she rode by. It made me smile though.

Now, the last public defecation I saw - well I'm not bring that up.

Mr. Cramer, if you really think there's a parallel between the two, and you're willing to fund my defense counsel and legal fees, we can take it to the supreme court and let them decide.
4.8.2009 9:26pm
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :

The whole point is that a mundane object because a reminder of something sacred by association, not on its own literal terms.

Believe it or not, I get that. But it's still inane.

Look, I'm sure you also believe some religious rituals are totally silly. How about Kaparot? Seriously, you have to see this stuff to believe it.

But what's the difference, really, between Kaparot and hiding bread in an opaque bag?

And I don't mean to pick on Judaism alone. So far as I can tell, every religion involves absolutely mind-bendingly ridiculous practices. Or worse.

This is perhaps to be expected when people venerate imaginary deities.
4.8.2009 9:41pm
Daryl Herbert (www):
Don't knock it, a cock in a sock is my stock response to the hocking of yeasty schlock.
4.9.2009 12:40am
Oren:

If it is a civil law, a Muslim, Christian, or Druze store owner wouldn't be affected, correct?

These are, in fact, civil laws -- which reminds me of an amusing tactic.

A Jewish store owner that wished to remain open on Saturday (no doubt in a secular neighborhood) would sell his store to an Israeli Arab on Friday night and buy it back from him Saturday night and thus evade laws forbidding Jews from running a shop on Shabbat. This is in exact analogy with the religious practice of 'selling' ones chametz to a non-jew for the duration of passover and then 'buying' it back.
4.9.2009 8:07am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Oren: Ok. That answers my question. I also find it interesting that Israel has, for all intents and purposes, three different civil law codes.....
4.9.2009 6:46pm
Joel Katz (mail) (www):
Last year, there were a series of articles and opinion columns on the issues addressed in the comments section.

For those interested in reading articles on the Chametz law from April 2008 - 2009, please click here [insert the word "chametz" in your 'Find in Page' tool].

For an official English translation of the law, click here.

The Hebrew version of the law can be found at the Wikipedia site.

For more on this issue and all issues of religion and state in Israel, visit: Religion and State in Israel

Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
4.10.2009 9:38am

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