Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Whipped Religious Jewish Man

I'm still a bit tipsy from the Purim party I just got back from, but I wanted to post this ASAP. It's an article in Ami Magazine, a kind of Time or Newsweek for the frum (observant Jewish) world. The article appears on page 36 of the February 29th issue, and is entitled "Outfit Outrage: Hundreds Unite Against Purim Costumes". Here we go, quoting from beginning to end, because I doubt Ami Magazine publishes online, and I'm too lazy to look, being half fershnukered on mashka (alcohol) and all:
In a united effort, hundreds of emotional avreichim [scholars], balebatim [laypeople], and lay leaders came together for what they deemed as a historic event. At the event, held in the grand Atlantis Regency Ballroom, hundreds of people signed the historic petition forming the Vaad Neged Tachposes Purim, the group against wearing costumes on Purim. 
"We are not against Purim costumes in general," explains lay leader Shmaryahu Shain. "We are against the new practice of married men, talmidei chachamim [Torah scholars], having to degrade themselves by dressing up in silly costumes and going along with the immature 'themes' concept that has pervaded the holy Yom Tov [good/holy day] of Purim these days. This is the problem in a nutshell. You have hundreds of bochurim [young guys] who work hard their whole lives to become ehrlich [pious] and serious bnei Torah [children of Torah]. Suddenly, they get married and all that gets thrown out the window come Purim time. Young women who are otherwise respectful of their husbands suddenly expect them to belittle themselves by dressing up in childish costumes that degrade who they are as talmidei chachamim and Yidden [Jews]. How can someone go to learn the next day in kollel [institution of Jewish learning] after dressing up like a clown, a cowboy, a mime, a pirate, or any other childish character? It ruins his self-esteem and degrades him in front of his wife and children and, more importantly, his friends."
The evening began with a short inspiring speech from Rav Chaim Leiter, rav [Rabbi] of East Milford, New Jersey, who spoke about how the Bais Yaakovs [religious schools for girls, literally mean "House of Jacob"] have to do a better job of educating the girls to respect their husbands and not to subjugate them to the childish act of dressing up. "The costumes cause significant rifts in shalom bayis [peace in the home]," explained Rav Neemus. "The men are embarrassed and belittled and cannot face their friends after Purim due to sheer humiliation. Can a man really go to learn [Torah] the next day after he davened Mincha [prayed afternoon prayers] in clown makeup?" 
"It affects our pnimiyus [the inner/inward/essence], who we are as human beings," said one attendee, Yitzchok Fromowitz. "Last year on Purim, after dressing up like a character from a children's story, I got drunk on cherry Heering and chocolate liquor, a vaiberish mashkeh [umm... heh, "feminine" alcohol, it's like a secular man getting drunk on hard lemonade, kind of a joke between guys]! How embarrassing! Every year I am mikayem 'ad d'lo yada' [until he "cannot distinguish" between Haman and Mordechai, the villain and hero of Purim, which is the religious obligation] on wine and beer and this year I was drinking pina colada! In addition, this year my wife wants to dress up as Mordechai and Esther; can you imagine? Only little kids do that. I just hope she wants me to dress up like Mordechai; if not, I'm in real trouble."
I promised to quote the entire article, but I can no longer handle the ridiculousness. This article is apparently not one big Purim joke; it's totally serious. It's about a bunch of grown men meeting together without their wives knowing - one might call it an anonymous support group - trying to gather the mutual courage to beg their wives to stop dressing them up in stupid children's costumes for Purim. They end the meeting resolved to distribute their petition in religious schools and on the walls in religious neighborhoods (that way they don't have to face their wives directly!). The picture attached with this article is of a frum Jew looking at a pink full body bunny costume. Presumably, his wife gave him the choice of either the pink bunny suit, or Supergirl. Whoever still claims that observant Jewish men oppress Jewish women have NO IDEA, NOOOO IDEEEAAA what actually goes on in the observant Jewish community. "Ami" is a serious magazine of the frum world, and this isn't a Purim spoof. No idea. None.
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