Friday, September 17, 2010

Modern Orthodox TV Contestant Bares Bra, Publically Renounces Shabbat [UPDATED]
First off This Video IS NOT tzniut and not necessary to watch - you can obviously just close your eyes and listen or skip to the conversation about what she says in the links below;

Further coverage and discussion on Bang it Out, on Tablet and a rebuttal here on the blog of the Pacific Jewish Center rabbi. This post will be repetitive, since I can't think of how else to express this utterly bizarre scenario.
I should really say she first publicly identifies as Modern Orthodox - then publicly renounces Shabbat observance. My two cents is that, as a result of this public binding of selective-observance and "Modern Orthodoxy" - and after about a decade of affiliation with "observant" Jews of all affiliations, I'm going to have to say "Uncle", and no longer put quotations marks around Modern Orthodox when suggesting that someone who identifies as MO is not observant isn't actually Modern Orthodox. I simply can't any longer. OF COURSE I would have to do the same regarding people who affiliate Charedi - who have no fewer closet Orthoprax/'Charedi-in-name-onlys', as Judaism of all forms in the modern era is so thoroughly - and now even publicly regarding Modern Orthodoxy - a matter of personal identification not practice or belief, first and foremost - if not "period".

Her interview is edited thoroughly of course, and I'm sure she attempts to clarify what her religious identity means to her, perhaps what it means to the community she is from (and seems to want to represent by publicly affiliating with it and discussing it as part of her identity), perhaps even why she thinks it would still be wrong to be m'halel Shabbat b'farhesia (I'm not sure what else it would be, if video coverage accessed by millions of people is acceptable evidence of transgression - I don't know)- all of which of course would be just so much incoherent religious BS left on the cutting-room floor as far as the media is concerned. What people who identify as Modern/Charedi/Conservadox do or do not do in their own homes is their business - and anyones guess; what matters for me is that she publicly connects selective observance, violation of Shabbat and "Modern Orthodoxy" to the world. Charedim and a certain number of Modern Orthodox affiliates have said this for years among themselves - but as far as this footage indicates, she has articulated these associations publicly, to millions of people, as a participant in both the transgressive behavior and identity.

Obviously, to Orthodox Jews, that she associates Modern Orthodox and attended Maimonides means nothing to whether she actually is or not; we all know too many exceptions; on top of which her family is not American and could very well identify as Masorti or "dati lite" - but they're in America, where Masortim generally associate with the Modern Orthodox institutions. The point is she could have publically said she's African American, for example - and people would have balked- as African Americans are a very public portion of the American and their identity is one people fathom the clarities and complexities of; it's all very...well, public knowledge. And Orthodoxy, let alone Modern Orthodox, simply is not.

By opening her gorgeous, late-teen Jewish mouth (let alone flashing the world) - she has become a real contestant for the role of representative of Modern longer is Leiberman necessarily "the face of Modern Orthodoxy", if people even now remember him for that role; she is now such a contestant who publicly connects Modern Orthodoxy with selective observance for the American television-viewing public, and says she will violate Shabbat.

Charedim will wallow in this, most all Modern Orthodox who even notice will despair, a handful will blog/write in the Jewish online press - where no one but a handful of committed Jewish Gen-Xers and Boomers will read perhaps the only 'public' conversation about this.

[Since I'd written this piece, a lots changed in my thinking as well as the news; her mother has stated that the Esther's seeming willingness to violate Shabbat was the result of editing by the TV people to make for controversy - I'm glad! And I apologize and emphasise the first few sentences of my comment to my post as a possible way of excusing myself...uh...yeah. But this piece includes an interview with Esther, looks like even more bad editing; it gives no statement of her keeping shabbat in response to the impression made by ANTM that she would violate it! To me, it leaves the impression that she's avoiding discussing the matter of Shabbat itself - and is edited to emphasize that she was "still" all kinds of good Jewish girl, as if it's despite unstated transgressions...You can read it and still ask - "Did she or didn't she?!" I'm dropping it, as I'm less inclined to judge as I was then - oh so 'long' ago]


At 9/17/2010 12:37 PM, Blogger Pierre Sogol said...

Who *knows* knows? Maybe she won't be paid over the time, maybe people will be able to do things of her - God knows. I can't imagine how this could be any way other than what and how she articulates it - which is vague and beyond boundaries she claims to abide by name.


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