Earlier this week, another Jewish blog wrote about this story, which reports on the growing absence of men in the Reform rabbinate. But I can’t link to that blog post, because the editors decided to include a picture a female rabbi, who as my mom might say, is a bisel zaftig (Yiddish for a little chubby). Furthermore, they included the headline “Tilting the Scales.”
All done for a few laughs.
Now this rabbi isn’t named, but the picture is as clear as can be. She’s not connected to the story at all. She just happens to have a picture out there of her in a kippah, holding a Torah. To say that this blog post is a personally hateful to her is an understatement.
But it does raise a larger issue. For whatever reason rabbis, particular females, aren’t known for being overly attractive. A kippah and tallis generally don’t not flatter a woman’s body, fashionably speaking (putting religious issues aside).
Sometimes, we go out of our way to show off those rabbis who do defy the norms. A friend of mine, who is a rabbinical student, is a real beauty. Long blond hair, blue eyes, slim body. And it’s no wonder her rabbinical school frequently uses her picture in marketing materials, as well as has her give tours to prospective students. Of course, she is also incredibly personable, intelligent, driven and committed to Judaism, but her looks surely don’t hurt.
To some degree, isn’t it important that our leaders, our public representatives, carry themselves not only with religious and moral ethics, but also with a concern for appearance? They are the outer face of Judaism to the rest of world.
Or have I just offended a lot of chubby rabbis?
Pronounced: KEE-pah or kee-PAH, Origin: Hebrew, a small hat or head covering that Orthodox Jewish men wear every day, and that other Jews wear when studying, praying or entering a sacred space. Also known as a yarmulke.