Apparently, All Jews Are Men

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It hasn’t been an awesome few weeks for Jewish women. There has been a lot of brouhaha about the RCA finally coming out and saying they won’t recognize women rabbis. This caused an Orthodox female friend of mine to moan, “Orthodoxy is so stupid. I should just leave it. I mean, why do I want to associate with these people?” And apparently she’s not the only one who thinks so.

Now, there’s a cutesy Israeli music video going around. It’s called Ani Yehudi, I’m a Jew, and it features a variety of Jewish and Israeli musicians singing a nice little song that is essentially a jingle for Jewish unity. The cheese factor is rather high, but it’s borderline amusing and there are some good musicians in the bunch. However, what pissed me off about the video was the lack of women.

I’m sorry, but if you want to convey a message of unity and brotherhood then you need to include the ladies, and not just as members of the backup choir.

Now, sadly I can imagine exactly why the ladies aren’t featured in the video, and it’s for halakhic reasons. Specifically, there are some people who believe that a woman’s singing voice is immodest, and therefore they won’t listen to songs where women sing (unless there is more than one woman singing–as is the case with the backup choir–because multiple female voices are, according to some, permissible). So let’s give the makers of this video a little leniency and assume that they would have liked to include women, but didn’t want to get into a halakhic debate in order to produce a cheesy music video. Still, why not include some women playing the instruments, at least? Or some women doing something in the studio that doesn’t make them seem like old, lame groupies? Seriously, a five second shot of a woman playing guitar would have made this video fine by me. Without that, I can’t stand it.

Posted on May 3, 2010

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4 thoughts on “Apparently, All Jews Are Men

  1. DK

    Why would you want women in this video? If we are in it, then we can’t be blameless. Might I remind you of “We Are the World.” I would love to be able to claim that no sane women took part in that piece of cheese, but I can’t.

  2. Sarahjrslm

    I said the same exact thing when I saw this video, and posted it on my FB page. Given who the artists were in the video, I don’t think that halacha and Kol Isha was the issue here– even though there were orthodox men singing. I think this was an Israeli thing. Given that Israeli society is still stuck on Orthodoxy being authentic Judasim, the automatic go to is that men count and women don’t–even when the message they are trying to get across is that it deosn’t matter how you practice.

  3. Porter

    It is the same across all religions. Things are changing slowly, but G_D works in his own time frame.

  4. Abacaxi Mamao

    Not saying that this was the reason, but there are people who won’t look at women head-on, and I’ve seen bencher with little illustrations in the margins that include only men; no women. Clearly, that’s on purpose. I wouldn’t go so far as to claim halakhic reasoning behind this practice, though.

    And I think who *made* the video is more relevant than who is in it, in terms of who made the decisions.

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