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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Curb your disses on Chabad women

As JTA reported earlier this week, Susie Essman has upset the Chabad-Lubavitch community with comments she made on "The View":

In an appearance on the television talk show last week to promote her TV movie “Loving Leah,” in which she plays a Lubavitch woman, Essman commented on the appearance of female members of the Chasidic group.

“I learned that they're not very good dressers,” Essman said, describing what she discovered in making the film. “The wigs, you know they wear the wig because God forbid a man should see your hair and be driven wild with desire.”

Here's the full interview:
(follow title link)

Brace yourself, Susie, Chabad fans aren't please.

Here's a video response -- posted by user ahandemeidel -- titled "Susie Esman is Ugly!" (wait till the second half, for a beauty contest of sorts between teh Curb Your Enthusiasm co-star and various Lubavitcher beauties):
(follow title link)

In the info field on the video page, is a column by Debbie Schlussel:

The attacks on Jews--especially Orthodox Chassidic Jews--don't just take place in Mumbai, India, or during a late-night anonymous act of vandalism on a synagogue in North Carolina.

The attacks on Jews have spread to ABC daytime talk shows, watched by millions of mindless, easily propagandized women.


Jonathan Mark of the Jewish Week also weighs in, and also plays the Mumbai card:

The idea of Essman comparing right-wing Republicans, whom she despises, to Chabad’s kindness and willingness to socially interact with secular Jews, not one of whom is turned away from a Chabad House, is simply ignorant.

But what makes Essman’s righteous liberalism all the more unfortunate is what she goes on to say about chasidic women. Essman was asked by Joy Behar, “So what did you learn about the chasidic religion?”
Well, said Essman, “they’re not very good dressers... Have you seen what these women look like half the time?”

Behar replied, “Well some of them are pretty and some, you know, like everybody else.”
“Yeah, yeah,” said Essman dismissively.

Now let’s imagine the subject were black women. Imagine someone on “The View” saying of black women, “they’re not very good dressers... Have you seen what these women look like half the time?”
Would not the speaker be branded as a racist, an instant pariah? Why is it OK to speak that way about Orthodox women?

I remember the photo of Rivka Holtzberg, the Chabad woman who was murdered in Mumbai. She wore a wig, like the ones mocked on “The View.” She was attractive, if I could be forgiven for speaking of her that way, all the more attractive for the dignity she exuded precisely because of her wig and modest style of dress. I was reminded of her not only for her style, but also because of her dead child.

There was an item in Reuters the other day from Gaza, quoting psychologists and trauma experts on how the war will make Gaza children into the Hamas terrorists of tomorrow: “Counselors and aid workers fear that Gaza’s children... will grow up hating Israel and become easier prey for extremists.”

Has anyone written, anywhere, that Jewish children, such as little Moshe Holtzberg, might grow up hating anyone, let alone become easy prey for terrorist recruiters? Why is that future only assumed for Islamic children? There have been many thousands of Israeli children whose parents were murdered by Muslims; millions more who were in concentration camps or whose parents were. Where are the psychologists interviewed by Reuters to explain why so few of these Jewish children, in Israel or the United States, have grown into violent adults? Why not, if a murderous second-generation resulting from wartime trauma is so inevitable?

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