A Williamsburg paper catches global attention in an instant for removing two women from a White House photo.With the death of the world’s most wanted terrorist, a light is shed on the lives of a close-knit people.
Event:With the announcement of the death of terrorist Osama bin Laden, a Williamsburg based paper, Di Tzeitung, ran a section of articles covering the event.The Jerusalem Post, as well as a website published by an apostate Jew, called attention to the fact that the Yiddish paper had used the digital editing program “Photoshop” to remove the images of two women amongst a group of White House staffers who were photographed observing the raid in Pakistan.Within a day, the news of the editing spread across global news outlets.The word “Hasidic” quickly climbed the ranks as one of the most Twittered and searched terms of the day.
The claim:Many news organizations wrote their own stories about Di Tzeitung’s edited photo, pointing out that the White House had run a warning that the photo should not be altered in any way.The Jerusalem Post speculated that the reason for the removal of the images of the women was due to fears of depicting women in roles of power.A non-Orthodox rabbi, speaking for the Jewish Week, accused the paper of engaging in “geneivas da’as,” false pretenses, by altering the photo.Others were more blunt, saying that the photo of President Obama and his staff watching a TV screen together had become “iconic” and pinned the paper’s guilt on an attempt to “change history.”
The explanation: The publisher of Di Tzeitung appeared in an interview with CNN explaining his paper’s position.The reason for the removal of the images was due to no hatred of women.Instead, religious rules regarding modesty have guided the paper to refuse to publish the photos of any women.Further, the company acknowledged that they are given direction by a rabbinical board that informs their decisions about company standards.The international news service Reuters quoted the paper’s statement, “The readership of the Tzeitung believe that women should be appreciated for who they are and what they do, not for what they look like, and the Jewish laws of modesty are an expression of respect for women, not the opposite.”The paper cited its strong support for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, both in her run for New York state senator and in her bid for the presidency.
The analysis.Secular papers were quick to point out that for many Orthodox Jews there is no problem with publishing or viewing images of women.While the question of what is binding as law or custom for Orthodox Jews may be a matter of debate, no one argues that in the United States a religious newspaper should have the discretion to choose to publish or not publish as it sees fit.Anyone who does notagree with the standards or the content of Di Tzeitung is free not to read it.In the meantime, this country’s freedom of the press and freedom of religion should be robust enough to allow the paper to select what they deem appropriate for their readership.
But a number of other important points emerged from this strange event.We will list these points as “news” to the gentile world who appear to have been captivated for a few moments by this story.
1.Hasidic Jews care about the outside world.It probably came as a shock that this insular group that still dresses in the custom of over a hundred years ago, actually pays attention and cares about events that the rest of America is watching.
2.Hasidic Jews know how to use technology.Not like the Amish, a Christian religious sect in Pennsylvania, who drive horses and buggies as they shun modern technology, the Jews of Williamsburg apparently are pretty tech savvy.
3.There is such a thing called “modesty.”This concept is almost completely absent in secular society.There appears to be a rule of American culture that in order to be accepted, a woman must expose herself in public.The existence of a group of people who avoid provocative images might have come as a shock to many ordinary Americans.To not publish pictures of women at all might be at a standard beyond most other men, but it does convey a strong sense of an ideal of what people can look up to.
4.The Jews can change history.Contrary to the slander about geneivas da’as, false pretenses, there is nothing wrong, and in fact, something commendable, to conceal things that could bring harm, with a positive purpose.The paper’s readers were not looking to find the most “accurate” photograph of what the White House looked like.The picture appeared largely for decoration.What stoked the ire of many in the general public, especially other newspapers, was the liberty with which the paper simply plucked two people out of the context of “history.”In the end, it’s the G-d of the Jewish people who decides who lives on in history and who will be cursed and forgotten.
5.There’s a tens of thousands of copies of one Yiddish paper published for Hasidic Jews in New York city.This story directly refuted the image of the city, pumped out by Hollywood televisionand movies, thatNew York is dominated by the flashy, trendy pop stars and hedonistic single people. In fact, it reveals the great divide between two cultures. After two world wars and genocide, with the help of G-d, the Jews of Williamsburg are quietly prospering and raising nice, large families.Which goes to show that even by the definition of success of Charles Darwin himself, that the purpose of life is to survive and leave many offspring, with the help of G-d, the Jews of Williamsburg seem to be doing pretty well.
Conclusion.Just as all the secular papers crowded around howling at the conduct of Di Tzeitung, the G-d of the Jewish people had a different thing in mind.With all the power and venom that was brought to make the Jews of Williamsburg look like woman-hating primitives, a different impression caught on in the public consciousness.As a result , the very same power that was brought to mock the Jews of Williamsburg was used as a vehicle of their praise.Their quiet lives in their own neighborhood brought a message about the power of conviction and the value of modesty to the world.
Prior issues of the Guardian’s Report are available online at www.zehjournal.com.For further information contact Director of CGG, Dovid Z. Schwartz, at CGG@zehjournal.com, (917) 680-6632.