Posts Tagged ‘The Forward’

Kosher Dress Certificates And More

December 22, 2011

This news roundup was first published almost a week ago as “Prime Ribs: Israel Edition” on The Sisterhood blog at the Forward. I’m re-posting it here (better late than never), in case some of you might have missed these items.

The "kosher dress" certificate issued in Sderot

Things were starting to look up earlier this week when both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres spoke out against the exclusion of women. It was also announced that the Knesset task force was meeting to discuss sanctions against businesses that discriminate against women.

…But then only one government minister, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, bothered to show up at the meeting.

At the meeting, the IDF’s human resources chief Major-General Orna Barbivai told attending Knesset members that “halachic considerations cannot override the considerations of army commanders,” in reference to recent demands to excuse religious male soldiers from military ceremonies in which women would be singing.

On the “modesty” front, 20 shops and businesses in Sderot, including some national chain stores, have signed a modesty agreement. Businesses making sure that their employees dress according to religious modesty standards get a “kashrut” certificate from the Torah-oriented Mimaamakim organization.

Click here to read more.

© 2011  Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.


AP Covers The Hatzalah Story

November 27, 2011

Regular Truth, Praise and Help readers may recall that I wrote a post for The Sisterhood at the Forward about Hatzalah’s refusal to allow women to join its emergency ambulance corps. The refusal has been put forth on grounds of modesty, even though  the women are asking to assist only in medical emergencies involving women—specifically to safeguard women’s modesty.

Cristian Salazar of the Associated Press’ New York bureau followed up on the story and interviewed and quoted me in his article, “NYC Jewish women want to join all-male EMT group.” What did I have to say?

Renee Ghert-Zand, a contributor to a blog on women’s issues, Sisterhood, published by the Jewish publication the Forward, said the refusal to allow women to volunteer for Hatzolah was an example of discrimination against women.

“Women have been increasingly marginalized from public life and from public view under the pretext of modesty,” she said. “They’re saying it’s not modest for women to give emergency care. I see absolutely no reason why that should not happen. There are women who are trained in the medical profession.”

Update: On November 28, the Forward published an in-depth article by Naomi Zeveloff on the story. Read it here.

Sinner Number One

June 13, 2011

The cover of the premier issue of Ami Magazine

Today is a special day –  a friend alerted me this afternoon to the fact that I was mentioned in a magazine article. Slammed, would be more like it. But hey – any publicity is better than no publicity, right? Well, maybe.

I would post the link to the article, “The Seven Sins of the Charediphobic Media” (apparently “Charediphobic is a word), in Ami Magazine (a Haredi publication out of Brooklyn), but there is none. But I can quote the relevant parts from the pdf of the article my friend sent me.

It seems I am the best example they could find for sin #1 (I’m honored to have been #1): “Different – and unequal – strokes” (as in, I paint all ultra-Orthodox/Haredi Jews with one brushstroke, lumping them all together in one big undifferentiated group). The writer of the article, Rabbi Aryeh HaKohain Katz, took particular umbrage at a story I wrote for the Forward about a ban in Williamsburg on women’s talking on cell phones in public. It’s not too shocking that they went after me and the Forward, rather than the male writer of the Failed Messiah blog, which I cited as my source for the story.

Here’s what Ami had to say about me:

“The sign was put up by member of one particular group of people. Williamsburg is quite a large neighborhood, with numerous voices. Yet, according to Ghert Zand [sic], the implication is that all Charedi groups/and or their leaders joined together in unison and voted unanimously to post this sign…And there we have it, sin number one in all its glory [!]; ‘Will the Charedim try to silence women all together?’ The Charedim. That monolithic, uni-brained colossus where others do the thinking, or rather non-thinking for them. (By the way, I think she meant altogether – but far be it from a Charedi writer to correct the grammar or spelling of a genuine journalist from the Forward).”

I don’t appreciate Katz’s challenging my journalistic credentials – nor his sarcasm – but I do appreciate the grammatical tip. I’ll try not to make that error again in the future.

I don’t think there is really any point in my responding in detail to what Katz said about me or what he read into what I wrote. I know that the Haredim are not monolithic, but that does not excuse any xenophobic, misogynist or other negative, hateful or destructive behavior coming from any Haredi group or individuals (or any Jew or person, for that matter).

And FYI, Rabbi Katz, some of my best friends and closest colleagues wear black suits and black hats, and long skirts and wigs. Really.

© 2011 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.