Friday, January 04, 2008

Oorah's Chinese Auction Questionnaire

See it here (knowledge of the yeshivish dialect of English helpful)

As a man of the 21st century, I respect Oorah for asking its supporters for their opinions on matters of policy, but as a Torah True Jew I am deeply offended. Can't they just find a Rabbi, preferably one with an extra long beard, and just do as he says?

Here's an example of the sort of questions they are asking:
Should Oorah use photographs of ladies in its promotional materials?
Oorah is proud of the wide range of people who support kiruv through our organization. They reflect the entire range of Jewish communities from Chassidish to Modern Orthodox. Since our rabbonim have decided that, as long as the people in a photograph are dressed according to the halachic parameters of tznius, there is no reason a photo of a woman cannot be published. But the question remains as to how Oorah should balance the various sensitivities of its diverse base of supporters. Unfortunately, each option holds the possibility of diminishing our contributions, which in turn deprives Jewish children of the opportunity for a Torah chinuch.

Option One: Do not publish photographs of ladies, so that those who are offended by such photos will be able to welcome Oorah’s printed materials into their homes. In this case, Oorah would be likely to lose support from the “middle-to-left” segment of our supporters, who are offended by the deliberate omission of half the people Oorah serves.
Option Two:Include photos of ladies so that we can depict the reality of what we do – for instance, showing families at our Shabbat With Oorah or staff and campers at GirlZone. This option would be within the guidelines set by our rabbonim and would not offend the “middle-to-left” supporters. However, it would offend a portion of those in the right-wing sector, who might then cease to support Oorah and cease to accept its printed materials into their homes.
Option Three: Use photos of ladies, but only those that are reasonably small and inconspicuous. This would address the sensitivities of both sides while still allowing Oorah to show a realistic view of the kiruv we do.

Because my own choice ("Your use of the word 'ladies' offends me.") is not represented, I'm struggling to choose between options ONE and THREE. On the one hand, I think picturing women might lead to dancing. In fact, it sort of disturbs me that Oorah even allows women to attend their events. I'd much prefer that they stay in the house where they belong. However, the idea of using small and inconspicuous pictures of women appeals to me, too, because it suggests that women are inferior and worthy of disrespect, and I think that in addition to kiruv, Oorah should be making it known, both far and wide, that God likes men best. So here is my compromise idea: Follow the conventions of the Elizabethan theatre and have men dressed as women pose for the pictures that are used in the promotional materials, but make the photos extra small and caption them as follows: STOP LOOKING AT THESE PICTURES OF FAKE WOMEN YOU PERVERT.

The words should, of course, be larger than the pictures. And if it helps you can also use a photo of me, wearing a fake beard, and tell everyone that I was the Rav who approved this idea.

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