The Conspiracy

Chasids do the Dougie; wigless photo controversy; and more. [Required Reading]

Video mashes up Chasidic celebration with “Teach Me How to Dougie” [Youtube]

A hilarious YouTube video featuring a clip from what appears to be a Chasidic wedding dance paired up with Cali Swag District’s meme-tastic song has hit the web. Hey, they’re better than the Black Eyed Peas. Curlier too.

Wigless photo of former chief rabbi’s wife sparks debate on Orthodox modesty [Forward]

Prepare yourselves; this one is a doozy. An old photo of Rav Ovadia Yosef’s family is making the rounds on the web. Rav Yosef, the former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, is both a beloved and controversial figure in the Jewish world. Yosef has been known for his hell-raising threats about women who wear “modesty wigs” instead of full-on head coverings. But the photo, which includes Yosef’s wife (Missus former Sephardic Chief Rabbi?), is particularly steamy because it features– wait for it– her hair and collarbone. Not a wig, scarf, censor bar, or bag-with-eye-holes in sight. We’ve seen a lot here at New Voices, but there’s nothing that throws us into a hormonal rage more than a little collarbone-hair action (although ankles are a close second). If your hearts are strong enough, check the link above for all the “saucy” details.

Reform world mourns death of beloved scholar [Forward]

W. Gunter Plaut, author of the celebrated “Torah: A Modern Commentary” recently passed away at the age of 99. Plaut, whose commentary on the Torah is one of the most widely-circulated texts in Judaism, is being remembered as a man of principle, as rooted in tradition as much as modernity, and one of the best-loved teachers in the history of Reform Judaism. Eric Yoffie, until very recently the president for the Union for Reform Judaism, had this to say:

“Plaut was a man of great courage in many realms. In the Reform movement, his was a generally traditional orientation. Proudly Reform and liberal in a classical sense, he nonetheless advocated for those elements of tradition that he saw as central, even when it was unpopular to do so. He spoke out against rabbinic officiation at interfaith marriages when many in the Reform movement were adopting a more flexible view; he called for more emphasis on Saturday morning worship at a time when Friday evening, Erev Shabbat, worship was central in Reform synagogues, and he urged greater Sabbath observance at time when the subject was hardly discussed.”

Women who chant Torah are being progressive and traditional at the same time [Tablet]

As more and more women are participating in the act of making aliyah (going up) to read from the Torah, it becomes apparent that a fascinating marriage of ancient and modern ways is being joined. Blazing new trails by taking the old paths, what do women have to offer to their communities by this ritual undertaking? Siân Gibby shares her own journey, both to Judaism, and to this act:

“But as Leora Tannenbaum, an Orthodox woman writing for Tikkun, has argued, there’s no reason to believe that women would take this any less seriously than men—and indeed much to suggest the opposite. ‘When I am learning and practicing my leyning, I feel as though the Torah is inside my head, heart, and body. It is an organic part of me,’ she wrote. ‘Why would anyone want to deny this experience to girls and women?'”

Death of Palestinian children sparks racist reactions [+972]

After a crash between a bus and a truck near one of the Jerusalem-West Bank borders, taking the lives of nine children and an adult, web comments took the time to “thank god” that the lives were “merely” Palestinian. +972 Magazine shares just a few of the comments cropping up online, then offers some thoughts on why this sort of racism continues.

“I decided to bring these comments to the fore for one reason. Israelis tend to accuse Palestinians of being immoral because once and again the Israeli media shows Palestinians gloating and celebrating over the death of innocent Israelis. The reaction of these ordinary Israelis to the death of Palestinian children shows that the ‘moral’ party in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not so moral after all.”




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