The school I went to in my youth is featured in our local paper. And no, the news isn’t flattering, as usual. This school is an orthodox Jewish school. They demanded of the parents to adhere to the basic minimum of modesty rules as put down in the Torah. It is within their rights to do this. There are plenty more schools to choose from if it doesn’t fit your ideologies. This school was always an ultra orthodox school. When I was little, we also had to adhere to the same rules. And since the mothers usually dressed modestly this was not applicable. These days the school has attracted a more modern clientèle which prompted my decision to send my daughter to the more ultra religious girls school. I saw that the atmosphere in that school is not what I want for my daughter. Instead of sending my daughter there and complaining all day about the lack of modesty in other mothers, I just sent her to a more appropiate school. But it saddened me because I wanted her to go to the same school I went to. The standard of education is high and it was a great school. But what could I do?
But now the school wants to go back to what it once was because they keep on losing girls to the other, more religious school so they started to enforce the minimum of modesty rules which is to cover the hair fully and to not expose some parts of the body. This is nothing extreme (for an ultra orthodox school). The parents most offended by these rules are the ones calling themselves Modern Orthodox. And you know what? We have a school here for the modern Orthodox where mothers go hair uncovered, wear short skirts or sleeves and go with pants. I don’t judge anyone who walks around like this but why get angry if a school enforces their rules? You have the option of sending your kid to the school that better fits you. Especially if there IS a school for parents like you.
But my rant is about the media. Someone influential in our community keeps sharing all our dirty laundry on Facebook. One of his FB friends is a reporter for the local non Jewish newspaper. He is having a field day with this. Of course, the next day he published the article. I do understand that it’s extremely hard for an outsider to understand our culture. You might not appreciate why we have the rules of modesty. I can bring you all the points about why we think modesty is beautiful and beauty is on the inside and all that but that here is not the point. The point is, why write about us? What do you accomplish (besides getting views and readers) besides disseminating more hate and antisemitism? I don’t read the comments anymore because they just cause me to cry. These are internal matters and don’t concern anyone on the outside. We don’t ask any non Jew to conform to our laws (unless you work in our school) so why should it matter to you?
I do not understand some Muslim laws for example but I believe in live and let live and not mixing into their business. If this issue impacts world peace or any other such important thing, report away. But what this school demands of the parents sending their kids there is not newsworthy. I feel violated. I feel personally attacked. Let’s see this newspaper report on everyone’s dirty laundry (including muslims who everyone is scared to offend) and not only on us orthodox Jews. I don’t usually rant like this but this really got me riled up. The media are like hungry wolves waiting for us to trip up so they can gleefully report and making us look and sound horrible, all in the name of
sensationalism / Journalism.