Women and Sex Have Become the Absolut Vodka Ads of the Frum World

Remember the Absolut Vodka ads that established an iconic brand by creating a cutout of a Vodka bottle. The Absolut Vodka bottle might not have shown up in the ads but it was there in negative space.

Women have become the negative space of the frum world, their very absence highlighting their constant presence.

In the Tznius mindset women have been reduced to sex and sex is the great negative black hole enveloping the frum world and reshaping everything around it. Gender segregated streets, pictures of women photoshopped out of newspapers, new tznius standards, the rise of pornography and new Kol Korehs warning about immodesty. These are the borders around the Absolut ad, the great dark space we try to avoid looking at lest we fall hopelessly into it.

Why do we fear that darkness so much? It isn’t simply a fear of women but of control. The Gedolim need to control us and we wallow in so much guilt over the excessive churmas that the darkness has come to represent our own inadequacies. The extreme has become the holy, forgetting that the other extreme of Kedusha is Kedeisha.

By turning women into sex objects in the name of Tznius, we have fragmented personal relationships and marriages and the fabric of our society. We’ve denied ourselves access to the talents and contributions of half the Jewish people and patted ourselves on the back for it for our self-righteousness, our self-discipline and self-sacrifice, refusing to admit that behind it all is fear. Not fear of women but fear of our ourselves.

Democrats Exploiting Tom Lantos’s Death

Tom Lantos barely got done dying when Democrats who now have to drag the anti-semitic and anti-israel racist Obama to the Jewish community for their Presidential vote, are busy shamelessly exploiting Lantos’ death to bash conservatives.

There’s a great hue and cry over comments Michael Savage made about Lantos exploiting the Holocaust and another over Republicans conducting protests that interfered with a Lantos memorial. These invocations of Tom Lantos, THE ONLY HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR IN THE SENATE, is supposed to make Jews ignore that the Democratic nominee presumptive, Obama, would be happy to make another Holocaust for his Iranian and Nation of Islam friends in Israel.

But anyone who remembers FDR knows that democrats like dead Jews more than they like live ones and so they really love Tom Lantos.

I’m not mad at Lantos and he didn’t exploit being a Holocaust survivor any differently than Kerry, McCain exploited being Vets or Obama exploits being black or Hillary exploits being a woman. But Senator Lantos was more of a Mormon than he was a Jew.

Lantos’ wife was a Mormon. His kids are Mormons. His grandkids are Mormons. Lantos has attended Mormon services. Ethnically Lantos may have been Jewish but in practice he was part of a Mormon family with a Mormon heritage. He was generally pro-Israel except for his Syrian mission, but Democrats who try to play on Jewish sympathies over a Mormon Senator should think twice. Yes, Tom Lantos was THE ONLY HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR IN THE SENATE. But I care more about who’s going to be the Senator who’s going to STAND AGAINST THE NEXT HOLOCAUST.

Lantos is dead, I’m not going to spit on his grave, besides deserting the Jewish people, he was a generally decent politician. I’m sure his Mormon kids will be saying Mormon Kaddish for him. I’d rather not see the Democrats win so I don’t have to be saying Kaddish for a few million Jews in Israel.

Thank you.

Jews for Hitler

I have zero doubt that if Hitler came back from the dead today, came out for abortion and gay rights and ran on the Democratic Party line, that within hours there would be Jews for Hitler springing up all over the place and bogus fact sheets debunking any wacky ideas that Hitler is anti-semitic.

How do I know that? Take a damn look at how many Jews are crowding up to bend their knees for Obama and Hillary. To find two greater enemies of the Jewish people running on the Democratic line, you would have to go back to the 19th century or the Carter election.

I’m not even going to talk about any sense of shame because these people don’t have any. Simcha Felder will rush out to support Obama without caring that he’s a racist who hates Jews. Brooklyn and Lakewood will cut checks for Hillary Clinton without caring how much Jewish blood in Israel that vile couple have on their hands. Bring on Farrakhan, bring on Hitler, bring on Stalin, bring on anybody as long as the Machers and the Activists can get their foot one more step of the ladder already slick with their brothers’ blood. These Cains’ with dollars and rolodex’s clutched in their filthy little hands have been strangling the Jewish people for too long.

I hate liberal Jews. Liberal Jews are the bastard children of the Enlightment, a plague of self-hating rats scurrying away from their Jewishness and doing their best to be good Universalists or Christian Scientists. Unlike most plagues Liberal Jews are breeding themselves out of the Jewish people and doing as much damage as they can until they go home to their Chinese and Methodist grandchildren.

I hate slimy frum machers who are honored at dinners and everyone talks about what they do for the Community and by Community they mean other machers. They lie, cheat and steal. They’re our politicians and we can’t get rid of them, no more than anyone else has figured out how to get rid of their politicians. Their talleisim are trimmed with silver and their souls with festering rot.

Give me a junkie, a whore, an adulterer and a thief over a macher and a liberal Jew, because any of them have more integrity. Lift this curse from us O Lord and return us to our land as in the days of old.

Brenda Hogg and Hassidic Handshaking

For anyone who has been following the story of Brenda Hogg, the deputy mayor of Richmond Hill, who attended a ceremony with some Chabad Rabbis who refused to shake her hand and then promptly denounced them. The National Post has been weighing in with regular tirades by Barbara Kay about it.

Now I’m not going to defend the merits of not shaking hands with the opposite sex. I think it’s stupid myself but Chassidim don’t and they do care about that sort of thing. So what? Sow buttons. Forget the multiculturalism boogeyman, in even the most single race single religion society, you’re going to regularly encounter people with their own wacky peculiriaties. It’s just part of life and if you’re going to be Deputy Mayor, a position that doesn’t call for a whole lot except doing stuff the Mayor doesn’t want to do, you had better get used to it.

This is not a “It’s their culture” PC tirade. It’s their culture is a stupid line but Brenda Hogg wasn’t offended on behalf of women, she was offended on behalf of herself. But so what? Sow buttons. I don’t like shaking hands with anyone myself, men or women. It spreads colds and it’s just disgusting. There are plenty of others who feel the same way, including Donald Trump. There are people who get offended because I won’t shake hands with them. That’s their right, just as it’s my right not to shake hands with them.

What’s my point? My point is that in a free society people are allowed to have their own peculiarities as long as they don’t impose them on others. The moment the Chassidim would have not only refused to shake hands with Brenda Hogg but tried to pass regulations preventing women from shaking hands with men, period, for all Canadians, they would be on the wrong side of the Muslim barrier and then I’d be out there throwing the rocks. But until they do that, they’re just following their own beliefs and in a free society, we all have the right to our own moderate amounts of weirdness.

Rabbanit Bruria Keren, Anorexia, Alternative Therapy and Women’s Religion

People in power like to believe that power means control. In the Haredi world the absolute supremacy of male leadership and the contempt for women has created the illusion that men are in charge. But when you oppress people, they just find alternate ways of expressing themselves.

Alternative Therapy has become the focal point for “women’s religion” in Haredi Judaism. Women can’t become Rabbis or Sofers or hold any position of religious authority but Alternative Therapy has been a back door to that and allowed women in the Haredi world to function as a cross between spiritual healers and therapists, incorporating Kabbalah, different energy healing programs and alternative therapies.

It’s absolutely no surprise then that one Alternative Therapist in Israel has created her own cult, Rabbanit Bruria Keren of the so-called Women of the Veil

Rabbanit Bruria Keren is functioning as a sort of early female Chassidic Rabbi with ascetic rather than joyful leanings, combining her alternative therapy and organic foods with the one legitimate outlet for Haredi Women and what’s been repeatedly described as a woman’s most important Mitzvah, Tznius. Her followers seem to cover converts and Baal Tesuvahs, many connected to Breslov. (A claim in the comments section says that Bruria Keren is herself a BT but the article states that she is from a Haredi family) Breslov’s splintered factions are spinning off a lot of crazy behavior and converts and BT’s often lack the ability to tell right from wrong in Judaism and embrace extremism as right.

All the bloggers who talk about being rendered speechless by Rabbanit Bruria Keren and her followers are missing the point. The obsessive focus on Tznius in the Haredi world has created a culture of insecurity for women. The followers of Rabbanit Bruria Keren have taken control of Tznius from men by imposing extreme versions of it on themselves. Their security in the righteousness of the Burka comes from the relief that they don’t have to worry that their Tznius is inadequate anymore and the Tznius paranoia was instilled in them by Haredi men in the first place. Converts and BT’s who would have the most boundary issues when adapting to Haredi ideas of Tznius in the first place were the most vulnerable.

Think of what’s going on with the Women of the Veil and Rabbanit Bruria Keren as “Clothing Anorexia”. Anorexics try to attain a perfect standard of thinness that they begin to engage in self-destructive eating behavior. These women are aiming for an impossibly perfect standard of Tznius and are engaging in self-destructive dressing behavior. Only when dressed in a tent can they feel secure in their holiness because they’ve been made to feel that their femininity is something shameful and dirty.

“At first I wore only three skirts and a cape. Then I read that Rabbanit Kanievsky, a well-known figure in the haredi community, covered the upper part of her hand (shoresh kaf hayad) with cloth. I looked at the place my fingers began, and saw that it was indeed very feminine. So I cut off the ends of some socks and wore them on my hand, to cover the part up to my fingers. At first I wore them only outside, because they bothered me at home. Gradually I also began to wear them at home, and now I sleep in them as well as in a high neckline. When one receives light, one receives holiness.”

It’s not too hard to see what’s going on here. The irrational pursuit of Chumras Ad Infinitum, the Tznius obsession and the embrace of mysticism and superstition along with dubious alternative therapies and the subjugation of women has created a tinderbox. Rabbanit Bruria Keren, who is undoubtedly completely sincere, is a symptom rather than the problem.

When you teach women to hate themselves, whether you do it with impossibly thin stick figure models or by obsessively telling women that their body is a vehicle for sin and it’s their fault if they don’t adopt the latest chumra, you are opening the door to the same problem. If you teach people to hate themselves, they will. Promiscuity and the Burka are two sides of the same ugly coin and two extremes meet in the middle for a poisonous kiss.

Women are particularly sensitive to body image. Haredi Judaism has spent too long driving out the female body as if they were exorcising some evil demon. Women’s bodies are wrapped up and women’s faces are banished from magazine covers and ads. So what is the logic in not covering women’s faces outright?

Haredi Judaism has spent so much time trying to force its followers into models of virtue, that like Victorian England, they’ve forgotten the inherent imperfections of people and instead taught them to hate each other and themselves. The Torah accepted human frailty far more than the Haredi world does today. The Torah is full of flawed people, the Gedolim biographies are full of saints.

Now Haredi Judaism has spawned or respawned a Catholic mania of self-mortification through clothing. And calling Rabbanit Bruria Keren names won’t help. Accepting women will. Tznius has its place but modesty and virtue have to exist within a human framework rather than an inhuman one because the Women of the Veil are the end result of the inhuman framework.

Right now Rabbanit Bruira Keren is catering to the fringe, Breslov, converts, BT’s. But this isn’t going away and things on the fringe can become mainstream. There are two kinds of rebellion, one is against the rules and one is an extreme adoption of the rules. Both are destructive and unhealthy but the Haredi world has cherished the latter while smearing the former as Godless. It’s time to return to the good and pleasant ways of the Torah and the ways of Hashem, to love each other rather than hate each other and to go neither to the right nor to the left, not to one extreme and not to another.

Give women a place in religious life beyond lecturing on Tznius, because Rabbanit Bruria Keren is the end result of that.