Religious rights don’t justify discrimination

My Canadian Take on the “Can’t sit next to Women on a Plane” Issue.

From the Toronto Star


What has been a recurring problem in the U.S. has now reached Canada.

In the U.S. Orthodox Jewish men have caused numerous delays and turmoil on flights by insisting women switch seats so the men can avoid sitting next to them. On a recent Porter flight from New Jersey to Toronto, a woman was asked by an airline attendant to switch seats to accommodate an Orthodox Jewish man who did not want to sit next to her for religious reasons but did not ask her directly.

The men in these cases present their cause as a simple request (or a demand) for religious accommodation. The women who are asked or pressured by the men and sometimes by airline attendants to move see the situation as discrimination based on sex and feel their rights are violated. Both religious accommodation and freedom from discrimination based on sex are integral values that define our view of ourselves as a nation.

As an observant Jew, I see the importance of accommodation. As a feminist, I cannot abide someone regarding gender as a reason to reject a seatmate on a plane. How can these seemingly conflicting values be resolved?

Read the rest here

This entry was posted in Jewish Feminism & Media, Liberal Judaism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Religious rights don’t justify discrimination

  1. Adam says:

    Let the men move if they’re so eager to get away from a woman, the men should have to change seats.

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