The Rabbinical Council for Public Transportation, which is also representing the Haredi community on the issue of gender-segregated mehadrin buses, is now placing advertisements in Haredi newspapers encouraging the community to purchase the traveler mehitzas.
The new mehitzas, made of white nylon, stick onto the fabric of the airplane chair using Velcro and can be arranged to make a protective “shield.” The mehitza goes around the head and is mostly in front of the passenger’s face, protruding only a little to the sides. Its designer, who asked that his name not be published, declined to share pictures and his design details, but said the mehitzas were “airy” and did not bother anybody.
“They’re very nice,” said Rabbi Shimon Stern, spokesman for the Rabbinic Council for Public Transportation. “Very cute. It’s very practical.”
The mehitzas are designed to be portable and fit into a small box, which passengers can bring on the plane.
The airplane mehitzas come in the wake of other recent steps by the haredi community to avoid immodesty, such as the mehadrin bus lines and separate-sex sidewalks in Jerusalem’s Geula neighborhood.
Stern said the main reason for the latest recommendation was to enable haredi passengers to block out in-flight movies. Television sets are banned in haredi communities, and movies are forbidden. In aircraft with large movie screens, it is difficult to avoid watching the films.
Happy Purim to everyone from Jewish Humor Central!