BREAKING: New Tznius Regulations Released for Parkville Heights

Dear Parkvillians (Parkvillites?)

I know we’re all enjoying the warm weather this spring, the new line of TZNIUS spring fashions at Tzippi’s LaRouchey BOUTIQUE that leave you feeling just like you’re in FRANCE and our wonderful darling CHILDREN (for those who have them).

Yet as a Parkvillite myself, I can’t help but notice the TRAGEDIES s going on around us this spring and wonder what we can do to prevent them.

There’s old man Niereberger’s phlebitis acting up and his son’s gonorrhea, which is also acting up. There are the many BEE STINGS from which our wonderful darling children are suffering day after day, with no RELIEF in sight.

Then there’s little Yitzi Weinberg who got drunk on raisin wine and slammed his tatti’s PORSCHE SUV right through the front window of Parkville Delicious Pizza Parlor on Motzi Shabbos. The insurance rates are HORRIBLE.

And there’s the sad case of little Shuey Goldstein who learned to curse from YouTube and now swears like a foul mouthed sailor ALL DAY. And it isn’t funny!!!

Also there’s stuff going on in Eretz Yisrael all the time, but we don’t pay attention to it, unless we’re going to VACATION there for Pesach. (In which case we cancel the flight.)

When we see tragedies like this all around us, our first reaction has to be, what can we, as ignorant but well off LADIES, do about it?

On Yom Kippur we focus on Tefillah, Teshuvah and Tzedakah.  But every day for us it’s more important to focus on another T word, TZNIUS. After the last Parkville neighborhood tragedy, when Chezki Zibblestein turned on a fire hydrant which smashed through our front window and soaked our European imported designer sofa cover fabrics, to help me understand how to cope with this tragedy I turned for answers to Rav David Eigenstein.

First I caught his wife who told me to call back later, during dinner. But Rav David was never home, so I kept calling and calling, until he finally picked up at 3 AM, heard me out and told me to SHUT THE HELL UP AND NEVER CALL HIM AGAIN. At first I was insulted and decided to cut down his Purim basket next year from 200 dollars to only 150. But then on sober reflection I decided that I needed to take away an IMPORTANT LIFE LESSON.

What Rav David was really telling me in his TYPICALLY ABRASIVE way was that I needed to incorporate more Tznius into my life.

Now in consultation with the Ladies Board of Parkville Communal Institutions Authority, (Chanie Mittrager, Yintzie Blinstein, Kizzie Baranover, Mintzy Blaumlach and Dalli Glintzlacher) and with Rav David Eigenstein, in an advisory capacity… we have decided to take upon ourselves the deep well of moral responsibility to issue NEW TZINUS REGULATIONS FOR ALL OF PARKVILLE AND THE SURROUNDING NEIGHBORHOODS AND COMMUNITIES.

For the sake of our WONDERFUL DARLING CHILDREN, from now on please observe the following Tznius regulations on a day to day basis to avoid being shunned as a DISGUSTING DISEASED PARIAH by your loving friends and neighbors… and help us avoid the manifold tragedies that can come from TZNIUS VIOLATIONS.

1. Ladies are to avoid walking within 12 feet of an uncovered open window in their own homes. Within 8 feet of an uncovered closed window and within 4 feet of a closed window covered over with heavy dark wool.

2. Photos should only be taken by a close male relative, unless they are extremely unflattering photos.

3. Our own unscientific study shows that most pritzus and lashon hara occurs in phone conversation between the hours of 2 and 3 PM. That is why no phone conversations should take place between those hours unless something very important needs to be ordered over the phone.

4. Bathroom windows should be removed and tastefully mortared over.

5. When encountering a surveillance camera, please walk in a circular path to avoid having your image imprinted on its lens.

6. Driving is non-tznius. Chauffeurs are tznius.

7. Sex in the City DVD viewing parties should in the future not include any men.

8. Ninjas are tznius, as they are all covered up and sneak around. Pirates are not tznius, as they wear little and make a lot of noise when they walk.

9. Tzippy’s LaRouchey Boutique (run by my dear friend Tzippy Boimelstein) has the most stylish and fashionable Tznius spring fashions around. Not shopping there is a definite Tznius violation.

That is all for now. If we think of anything else, we’ll put it in next week’s bulletin.

By the way I notice many Parkvillians are tossing these bulletins straight into the trash or using them to scoop up dog doo doo. I just want to reach out to my neighbors and say that this is very wrong and if you keep doing this YOU AND YOUR LITTLE DOG WILL BOTH BURN FOREVER IN HELL. Yes I mean you Mrs. Schneiderman. I know you think you’re so important because you went to college and read the newspaper. Well let me tell you something, Charles Manson went to college too and look where he ended up!

Bizchus of us doing these things, may we merit a trouble free summer with no sunburns or bee stings anymore for our WONDERFUL DARLING CHILDREN

With much love and regrets.

P.S. Let’s meet on a Yeedle Cruise

Malkie Chazzerstein

Parkville Ladies Association of Communities Authority

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The Invisible Woman

“I am an invisible man. No, I am not a trace or a special effect. I have at least a physical referent. I have bone and flesh and sinew and gristle. I have angers and passions… I am invisible, then, not because of some accident of biology, some genetic mishap, but because of a peculiar disposition of the eyes of the people who look at me.

I would often bump up against people who, surprised at being bumped and jostled by an invisible man, would cry out and shove me. I cannot blame them, when you think you know where someone stands, of course you get angry when they turn out

to be somewhere else and you trip over them as you go about your business.”

The Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

“EDITORIAL CLARIFICATION: From our first day of publication, Mispacha following the ruling of Gedolei Yisrael, has implemented a policy of not publishing the pictures of women even if there are no breaches of tznius associated with the picture. We are sensitive to the feelings of readers who wish to avoid looking at pictures of women in all circumstances. We feel it is appropriate to honor their wish so that they too can enjoy Mispacha magazine without lowering their level of observance.”

Mispacha Magazine

Sensitive. Feelings. Gedolim. What a great mix of modern SensitivtySpeak (TM) and FrumFallback (TM). Of course there’s no need to be sensitive to half the Jewish people who may not want to be turned into invisible people just because some readers don’t want to look at them or remember that they exist. They don’t matter. As usual only the InsaneChumra (TM) crowd does. Everyone else must accommodate their insanity.

It’s not about Tznius. It’s about the existence of women, period. It doesn’t matter how she’s dressed. Her crime is being a woman. And woman = sin. There’s nothing a woman can do to escape that, her very presence apparently causes sin, in those oversensitive souls. Once upon a time people like that would have gained a reputation for holiness by never leaving the house. Today they want to leave the house, and expect everyone else to stay home or stay out of their way.

This same warped thinking brings us separate sidewalks and shopping hours. Because if you can cut a woman out of a photo, why not cut her out of real life too?

And so we get the Invisible Woman, you’re not supposed to see her, but she’s there anyway. After all someone has to go out and work while the sensitive souls learn in Kollel and someone’s family has to pay for the house and buy the watch and the Tallit with the silver atarah. Someone has to raise the kids until the boys are old enough to spend all their time in Yeshiva and the girls can be put on the fast track to being married off to underwrite another Kollel family. She has to do all this and be invisible too.

“I am invisible, then, not because of some accident of biology, some genetic mishap, but because of a peculiar disposition of the eyes of the people who look at me.”

It’s a truly sad state of affairs when the Charedi world not only has to treat half  its population like crap but demands that they be invisible too. Because just their walking down the street or standing in a kitchen inspires sin.

These pretzels are making me thirsty. This woman is making me sinful. I’m not the one doing it. This photo of Laura Bush is. Funny that the Aseret HaDibrot only mentions married women, but coveting goes on anyone’s property. If we followed that reasoning, a picture of someone else’s house should be assur in a magazine, not that of an unmarried woman or a 10 year old girl. But we don’t follow the Aseret HaDibrot, we follow the rulings of Gedolei Yisrael, whichever of them rule something or supposedly rule it, or are intimidated by Kanoyim into ruling it.

So bring on the Lifestyles of the Machers and Rebbes, but don’t you dare show a woman in your paper.

Anyone who really can’t look at a picture of a woman should be consistent enough never to leave the house or go anywhere where he might encounter women. He either has a massive Yetzer Hara or is a Chassid Soteh. Or both. But if you’re going to drive into Manhattan, and then claim that your frumkeit prevents you from being able to tolerate women in a magazine, you’re full of crap.

“I would often bump up against people who, surprised at being bumped and jostled by an invisible man, would cry out and shove me. I cannot blame them, when you think you know where someone stands, of course you get angry when they turn out

to be somewhere else and you trip over them as you go about your business.”

It really is a sad state of affairs when women are reduced to reading something like The Moon’s Lost Light which makes the controversial claim that yes, G-d made women stupid, but since Moshiach is coming soon, they might just be getting smart enough to open a Gemara if they really want to.

Fantastic. You know that Ve’Ahavta Le’Reacha thing, it doesn’t apply to women. How about Hillel’s rule? Nope, doesn’t either.

But for a moment imagine if a non-Jewish magazine published that Mispacha photo, but instead of cutting out Laura Bush, they cut out the two Rabbis, and explained that some of their readers prefer not to look at pictures of Jews, and they want everyone to be able to enjoy their magazine.

What would that be? Right. Anti-Semitism. How does that apply to the current situation? Look up Hillel, maybe he can explain it to you.

Women are not sin incarnate. Men are not animals. If we can all agree on that, maybe we can start treating each other like human beings for a change, instead of photoshopping the First Lady out of the White House’s Kosher Kitchen while dressing in black and heading to certain private apartments in Manhattan to satisfy your yetzer hara. It’s just a thought, but who knows what could come from it.

Peace, out.

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.

A Painful Tznius

In Saudi Arabia, a view from behind the veil

I always delayed until the last minute. When I felt the plane dip low over Riyadh, I’d reach furtively into my computer bag to fish out the black robe and scarf crumpled inside. I’d slip my arms into the sleeves without standing up. If I caught the eyes of any male passengers as my fingers fumbled with the snaps, I’d glare. Was I imagining the smug looks on their faces?

The sleeves, the length of it, always felt foreign, at first. But it never took long to work its alchemy, to plant the insecurity. After a day or two, the notion of appearing without the robe felt shocking. Stripped of the layers of curve-smothering cloth, my ordinary clothes suddenly felt revealing, even garish. To me, the abaya implied that a woman’s body is a distraction and an interruption, a thing that must be hidden from view lest it haul the society into vice and disarray. The simple act of wearing the robe implanted that self-consciousness by osmosis.

In the depths of the robe, my posture suffered. I’d draw myself in and bumble along like those adolescent girls who seem to think they can roll their breasts back into their bodies if they curve their spines far enough. That was why, it hit me one day, I always seemed to come back from Saudi Arabia with a backache.

The kingdom made me slouch.

ONE glaring spring day, when the hot winds raced in off the plains and the sun blotted everything to white, I stood outside a Riyadh bank, sweating in my black cloak while I waited for a friend. The sidewalk was simmering, but I had nowhere else to go. As a woman, I was forbidden to enter the men’s half of the bank to fetch him. Traffic screamed past on a nearby highway. The winds tugged at the layers of black polyester. My sunglasses began to slip down my glistening nose.

The door clattered open, and I looked up hopefully. But no, it was a security guard. And he was stomping straight at me, yelling in Arabic. I knew enough vocabulary to glean his message: He didn’t want me standing there. I took off my shades, fixed my blue eyes on him blankly and finally turned away as if puzzled. I think of this as playing possum.

He disappeared again, only to reemerge with another security guard. This man was of indistinct South Asian origin and had an English vocabulary. He looked like a pit bull — short, stocky and teeth flashing as he barked: “Go! Go! You can’t stand here! The men can SEE! The men can SEE!”

I looked down at him and sighed. I was tired. “Where do you want me to go? I have to wait for my friend. He’s inside.” But he was still snarling and flashing those teeth, arms akimbo. He wasn’t interested in discussions.

“Not here. NOT HERE! The men can SEE you!” He flailed one arm toward the bank.

I lost my temper.

“I’m just standing here!” I snapped. “Leave me alone!” This was a slip. I had already learned that if you’re a woman in a sexist country, yelling at a man only makes a crisis worse.

The pit bull advanced toward me, making little shooing motions with his hands, lips curled back. Involuntarily, I stepped back a few paces and found myself in the shrubbery. I guess that, from the bushes, I was hidden from the view of the window, thereby protecting the virtue of all those innocent male bankers. At any rate, it satisfied the pit bull, who climbed back onto the sidewalk and stood guard over me. I glared at him. He showed his teeth.

Covering Up Women Doesn’t Make Society Holier Because Male Desire Isn’t Dependent on Women

What’s the purpose of the constant focus on Tznius for women. You actually hear less about the women’s Mitzvos that were historically emphasized than you do about Tznius these days. Tznius shiurim and tapes have taken over.

From this you might imagine that there’s some sort of epidemic of frum women walking around dressed in immodest ways but there isn’t one! Frum women today dress far more ‘modestly’ than their mothers did back in the 70’s. Women’s clothing in the frum world is more standardized and bland than ever. But the Tznius obsession is now actually greater than ever.

How do you explain that?

Easy, take a look at the Muslim world where women are covered from head to toe and yet there’s entire industries dedicated to pursuing immodesty in women. You see the more you cover up, the worse it gets.

Covering up women doesn’t make a society holier. It doesn’t reduce immorality. Only teaching genuine character and values does.  Obsessively pushing new Tznius chumras and pushing the sexes further and further apart stops being a Geder Le’Arayot and becomes a cause for Arayot itself.

In Saudi Arabia, pornography use and homosexuality has exploded. The more the country has repressed and segregated women, the more men have found other outlets because MALE DESIRE IS NOT DEPENDENT ON WOMEN. Male desire exists regardless of women. Catholic Priests who segregate themselves from women will molest boys. Men isolated in the military and prison turn to Homosexuality. Covering up women doesn’t prevent perverted male behavior.

Men find it convenient to blame women for their own desire. But whether or not women walk around dressed or undressed, in bikinis or covered from head to toe, male desire doesn’t go anywhere. The sight of a woman can help bring out male desire in a particular moment but from day to day, men will nevertheless deal with the challenge of their desires. If you take women too far out of the equation, that desire won’t go away.

Religious conservatives treat desire as something that radiates from the female to the male. It isn’t. Desire radiates within us. The sight of an attractive person of the opposite sex can make it flare up but it isn’t creating anything that isn’t there and the other person isn’t responsible for it or to blame for it. Going too far in either direction perverts both men and women. Too much exposure and too much concealment and segregation both pervert the natures of men and women. The ideal is the balance of a golden mean. One that cannot be reached with escalating Tznius Chumras that hold women responsible for male desire.

Was Miriam HaNeviah Tzanuah?

The Gemara in Sotah yud beit: daf alef tells us that when Miriam HaNeviah was rejuvenated she became so beautiful that men would become aroused by her and rush home to their wives for the *ahem* obvious reason.

Now was Miriam HaNeviah not Tznius? Was she responsible for bitul zerah or aroyos? Surely we can assume she wasn’t dressed immodestly but she was nevertheless arousing men. The whole Tznius argument rests on women arousing men. The effect was therefore the same. Yet we don’t seem to view Miriam that way. Nor do we blame her for her effect on men.

Now I’m sure that there’s a dozen ways to wiggle out of this but the point is simply that Miriam was not held responsible for the reactions to her beauty. She wasn’t told to cover up her face because it was having an effect on men or hide out in her tent. Miriam was beautiful and that was something to be appreciated. She was not held responsible for how men saw her or how they reacted to her. She was a Tzanua through her own behavior. Why can’t we use that as a model?

The Tznius Obsession Reduces Women to their Bodies

Religious conservatives often go on about how modern society reduces women to their bodies and there’s certainly tons of sexually explicit advertising everywhere and women being treated as nothing but pieces of meat. But the frum world is better right?

Certainly girls going into their shidduch parsha aren’t set insane standards for dress sizes no normal adult female should be expected to wear. Nor do girls diet like crazy just for the shidduch. Nor do they make themselves anorexic for it. That’s Chukat HaGoyim. Doesn’t happen among us.

But let’s skip past the small stuff. Let’s go straight to Tznius. Tznius which all the Haredi Rabbis now tell us is a woman’s central mitzvah. It’s the one they dedicate endless lectures for women on.

Congratulations. The woman has now been reduced to her body. Dress it up all you like in Kevodah Bat Melech but that’s what we’re doing, no different than the crazy Yishmaelim with their hair rays and burkas and acid throwing. Oh no we’d never throw acid at a woman who isn’t wearing proper modest clothing. We use bleach.

The Tznius Obsession reduces women to their bodies worse than the modern sex obsessed society does. They leave room for women to be something more than their bodies. We tell women that their most important mitzvah is to cover themselves up, to neurotically study the endless guidelines of how much they need to cover up the evil flesh that is their bodies, which otherwise will corrupt klal yisroel and cause endless tragedies and wars.

Yes we’re so much better than the shkutzim who put half-naked women up on billboards and devalue them. We value our women. We value them so much that about the only torah we teach them involves the length of their skirts. We value them so much we send them off to work and tell them that we’ve invented a new mitzvah that has the woman working while the man sits and learns.

The Gemara tells us that Pharaoh sent the women to do men’s work while the men did woman’s work and kept the men apart at their labors in order to prevent Am Yisroel from reproducing. So the women went to their husbands who were toiling and made themselves attractive for them and slept with them there. Now the Haredi world has duplicated the work of Pharaoh. They’ve sent the women off to do men’s work and they’re not too crazy about the making themselves attractive part either. With Pharaoh gone, we’ve made our own Pharaohs.

Here’s an idea. Let’s get past the euphemisms for what we do and let’s give women a real role in the frum world. I don’t mean female Rabbis. I don’t mean tearing down the mechitzas. I don’t mean jettisoning halacha. But how about some real respect. And a function that’s more than being a housewife and a pile of ervah body parts meant to tempt men.

And if we’re going to reduce women to their bodies, let’s at least be honest about it and stop looking down at all those shkutzim.

The career woman in the secular world more than meets her match in the frum woman who has to raise a family and work at 2 jobs to make ends meet. The teenage girl dieting to fit into her scandalous clothing is little worse off than the frum girl dieting to fit into her perfectly modest dress which can only fit a store mannequin.

And the abused wife. The molested daughter. The forgotten women are all around us. Unlike the secular world, we lack a mechanism for even hearing their cries, when it would embarrass someone we go to shul with or do business with. Do you really think those women are worse off in the secular world?

We reduce women to their bodies, we blame them for their bodies and for being their bodies and then we congratulate ourselves for our superior values in comparison to the secular world which treats women as nothing more than pieces of meat. And then it’s time for another Tznius lecture. Because there’s nothing like telling a woman who works 2 jobs and raises 3 kids that she’s not acting like a princess. Her kavod had better be on the inside because we’ve certainly made sure there won’t be any outside.