מגזין משפחה חולל שערוריה בשבוע שעבר כשעורכיו בחרו לטשטש את פני הנשים בתמונה משחרור מחנה ההשמדה אושוויץ. אנשים ונשים רבים מרחבי העולם הזדעזעו מהיחס המזלזל לנצולות שואה, וממחיית זכרונן מההסטוריה.
אך מחיקה של נשים היא עניין שבשגרה בכלי התקשורת החרדים. למעשה, היא רק חלק קטן ממאבק גדול בהרבה שמתחולל בימים אלו סביב רצונן של נשים רבות להראות, להישמע, ולזכות לייצוג הוגן במרחב הציבורי ובפוליטיקה.Publication removes realtors imageמחיקת פניהן של הנשים מהמרחב הציבורי החלה בקהילות חרדיות בדלניות, אך התפשטה בשני העשורים האחרונים כמעט לכל הפרסומים החרדיים.

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Both the Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America position themselves as rabbinic leadership for (at least) the Orthodox community in the United States. Both maintain that a key component of the Orthodox community is “listening to the rabbis.” Both have condemned in no uncertain terms the concept of Orthodox women clergy, and both have emphasized the vital position and importance of Jewish women in the community.

It baffles me, therefore, that neither the OU nor the RCA has taken a stand against the damaging practice of removing Jewish women and girls from publications that is taking over Orthodox society.

This practice began in the most insular Orthodox communities over the past two decades, and has now become the dominant practice of Orthodox publications, to the great dismay of Orthodox women everywhere.

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Regarding the article thing about woman [sic] and breast cancer, that’s a sobering statistic. Of course it has nothing to do with what I wrote.

In his Mishpacha article, Sruli Besser reflects on his experience on “the other side of the mechitza” during his daughter’s Bais Yaakov graduation. Among the many rebuttals of his piece, which praises Jewish women for being pious and suffering subpar conditions in silence, several people noted that Haredi society’s negligence of women’s needs leads, among other things, to higher rates of breast cancer deaths in the community. According to Israeli studies, Haredi women die 30% more often from breast cancer than women in the general population.

Besser insists this has nothing to do with his jolting experience of what it’s like to be on the women’s side of the mechitza.

But it has everything to do with it.

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If a man cannot look at a woman and say ‘What a healthy and handsome woman the Almighty has created,’ then I do not know what is happening to us. And I fear that if this continues, we will have to veil our faces.

These are not my words (though I’ve said them in these pages before), these are the words of Rabbanit Adina Bar Shalom, daughter of Rav Ovadia Yosef a’h. Speaking at a conference, she said she was “greatly ashamed” that the Shas publication “Day to Day” ran a photograph of the newly elected government with the faces of female ministers blurred out.

The 34th Government of Israel

She recalled her father reacting with shock and anger after seeing a family photo published with the faces of his wife and mother blurred out.  “What nerve — neither of them are alive anymore, what is this supposed to be?…Ultimately, they’ll all be in veils.”
It wasn’t just the Shas publication, but other Charedi papers who also censored the three women in the photo. Some chose to blur, others went so far as to actually remove them and to photoshop men closer together to fill the space, as if the women actually did not exist.

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