I was riveted by the recent story of an Orthodox Israeli young woman, Ophir Ben-Shetreet, who sang beautifully on the Israeli talent-search program, “The Voice,” and as a result was suspended from her Orthodox school for two weeks because of the prohibition against women singing in public if men are present. Ophir’s performance and evident charm inspired people around the country. The judges praised her as “modest” and “pure,” and she could serve as a role model for young Orthodox women who feel the desire to express themselves and develop their talents. Instead, she was condemned.
Founder of Tel Aviv's secular yeshiva, also a Knesset member, leads Israel's parliament in study and prayer.
Editor’s Note: Ruth Calderon, founder of a secular yeshiva in Tel Aviv, spent several years living in New York recently, teaching at the JCC in Manhattan and other venues. This was her inaugural speech in the Knesset this week as a member of Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party.
“A yarmulke is an indoor garment.” Ask any male Ramaz graduate from the 1940’s through the mid-‘60’s and he will recognize that declaration as one with which we – and others of our age – grew up. We didn’t wear kipot outside. We wore hats or no head covering. Essentially, we didn’t identify as Jews in the street, a street that was not entirely welcoming to us. It was a time of overt or covert anti-Semitism and we were acculturated to be aware of it and respond accordingly.
The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights rightly condemns “beastilization,” the likening of Jews to barnyard animals, as a form of anti-Semitism (“From BDS To Beastilization,” Aug. 29). For the same reason, we should avoid likening Muslims and Christians to grass, or killing them to “mowing the lawn.”