Sisterhood Blog

Rabbis Gone Wild — About Modesty and (Gasp!) Zumba

By Frimet Goldberger

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Thinkstock // One Orthodox Rabbi has strongly condemned Zumba classes.

In recent years, a slew of savvy Orthodox rabbis have taken to condemning women for everything they do. Their brilliant speeches can be found on YouTube and other websites, and have made their rounds on social media. The topics of their impassioned speeches run the gamut: from life challenges to laziness to Zumba to healthy dating — most of which include, at some points, women and their inherently provocative nature.

One such famous rabbi — let’s call him the Zumba Rabbi — is Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein, the founder of Ohr Naava, a Torah center for women and girls, ostensibly for those who are at risk. Rabbi Wallerstein, a true tzadik bestowed with unparalleled wisdom by God, uses his pulpit, err stripper’s pole, to preach to women about sexism and racism, condoning both.

That is exactly what he did last summer when he took the Orthodox world by storm, declaring that Zumba, a dance fitness program that has been the latest craze in gyms across the U.S., is for monkeys in the jungle. Zumba, whose kosher version for kosher women was recently reported in the Wall Street Journal, lure modest women into a trap, sometimes leading to divorce, loss of one’s children, or worst yet, prostitution, Rabbi Wallerstein said.

In this video (beginning at around 39 minutes), Wallerstein suggests that women who shake their hips in kosher Zumba and slide up and down the pole in pole dancing classes will inevitably end up in a gentleman’s club in Times Square, giving lap dances to animals.

His pearls of wisdom, which include referring to Latin singers as animals, really resonated with Orthodox women. We are all a bunch of racist and sexist animals who love losing our kids and our souls to Zumba moves.

“I admit it,” Rabbi Wallerstein said. “I should have given the shiur (speech) two years ago. How many women, how many marriages, how many kids I could have saved from starting their road down the path of non-Jewish music, from being provocative and not-tznius from doing Zumba.”

Wallerstein is certainly not an anomaly. There is another, particularly intriguing, rabbi — let’s call him the Ladies Rabbi — Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi. This popular Sephardi rabbi travels from town to town, lecturing about anything that strikes his fancy (mostly women) and debating Christian ministers. His website is called Divine Information, clearly a sign that his is the word of God, and he purports to merge and make sense of the Torah and science and many other things besides.

In one of his most popular and fascinating speeches, Rabbi Mizrachi — in one fell swoop — manages to spew anti-Muslim invective while praising devout Muslim men who “don’t let” their wives dress as provocatively as Jewish men let their wives.

“Even the Muslim murderers,” he cries (around 27 minutes in), “who blow themselves up with suicide vests and kill babies don’t allow their women to go out dressed the way our women do. If she shows one inch of her body (pointing at his wrists) they’ll kill her in the village. We should cry from embarrassment, cry from embarrassment! If Muhammad and Mustafa the murderers from Hezbollah don’t let their wives dress like this — what they’re better than us?”

Much like the Satmar rabbi who studied Causative Holistic Medicine at the Institute of Blame Women the Ladies Rabbi, Yosef Mizrachi, believes that tumors and cancerous cells are direct results of sin.

“Today, the number one cancer by women is breast cancer,” he explains (at around 49). “Second cancer for women, womb cancer. Third, brain cancer. The three parts that women make sins with men — the breast, the womb and the head — cancer goes over there.”

Wow! I mean, wow! I wonder what happens to the hips of Zumba aficionados. Is there a cancer growing in the hips and buttocks?

These rabbis speak the truth, ladies. I know this because when I walked into the aerobics studio at my gym the other week, and attempted to follow the Zumba instructor’s impossibly smooth animal moves, I was immediately and magically transported to the stage at Flashdancers NYC. Within five minutes, my husband filed for divorce and was granted full custody and I’m placing Craigslist ads in another open window. A prophecy fulfilled!


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