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Did you hear the one about…?

Why are you mocking those of us who do not wish to be erased? Who want to return to our tradition, to the ways of our grandparents?

Sad. Seething. Depressed. Angry. Despair.

These were the words flying around my facebook PMs all day yesterday.

I think it was The Laughter that really got to people. The laughter from the all-male crowd as Mr. Sruli Besser of Mishpacha Magazine asked a question  that references the issue of women and pictures, a subject that many women – many Orthodox women – care deeply care about.

The laughter was followed by a post that showed The Mocking. Editor Rechy Frankfurter’s recent editorial piece for Ami Magazine touched on the issue of women’s photos as well, and described it as “fake news”.  It was  mocked as misguided. No alu v’alu was visibleRather, the issue of women’s photos was dismissed, and given no weight or consideration.

Well, there’s nothing like being laughed at to get people to take action. As the Jedi sage said, “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” I’m confident that responses to those giggles and disrespect are coming soon—actually, I know for a fact that they have already begun.

Here’s my response. A question for the gigglers, the mockers. The people who have implemented this policy to sell their wares. And to those that continue the policy because, well, that’s just what’s done.


What are you doing?

Usually, a dramatic turn of events, a new geder,is taken when there is an emergency. Tell me: what emergency occurred that called for this dramatic change? For the wholesale deletion women’s photos? Were men overcome with intense feeling when they picked up a copy of the Agudah’s Jewish Observer,which proudly featured women’s photos both within and on the cover? Were frum boys everywhere distracted from their Torah studies when they had a glimpse of the shul dinner honorees? Did this flagrant inclusion of women’s photos causing dire problems?

No. There was no emergency. There is no emergency.

What are you doing?

We know the consequences of what happens when women are removed. Other societies have tried this.  It doesn’t end well. Corporate Boards without women are less successful. Societies that hide their women are even less successful. The negative consequences of erasure from the spiritual (loss of role models) to the tangible (loss of parnassah) has been well documented in article after article so I won’t cover it now, but suffice to say: It is not good for women. It is not good for men.

What are you doing?

You are making a lot of people—both men and women—worried about our mesorah and Torah. Sad. Seething. Depressed. Angry. Despair. You are dividing klal yisroel. You are objectifying women, as you turn their images from “kosher” into “forbidden fruit”.

And then you laugh at those of us who want to return to our mesorah, our tradition, and the ways of our grandparents.

That’s what you are doing.

Please. Stop.

Please put the women back, where we have always been. Where we belong.

About the Author
Ann D. Koffsky is an editor, author and artist. She has worked in Jewish media for over 25 years, and has published more than 30 of her own books, including: Judah Maccabee Goes to the Doctor, Sarah Builds a School, and Creation Colors. She is an editor and the art director of Behrman House publishers. Ann also serves as the webmaster for www.frumwomenhavefaces.com.