Where are the … waitresses? Not at one popular Jerusalem eatery, at least not on Thursday evenings. That’s apparently when yeshiva boys descend on Heimische Essen to get their fill of kugel and kishka. In an effort to secure the über-strict Badatz kosher certification, Heimische Essen has agreed to employ an all-male wait staff on that night.
In related news, a teenager from Dimona, deep in Israel’s Negev desert, was expelled from her religious school for working at a fast food restaurant. The franchise was kosher, but the job required her to work alongside men, an apparent violation of her high school’s modesty code.
Nose jobs, and tired, old “shiksa goddess” stereotypes get the punk-rock treatment, courtesy of the Miami plastic surgeon Michael Salzhauer. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is investigating the self-billed “Dr. Schnoz” for his new music video about a yarmulke-clad “beak like Jewcan Sam” keeps him from winning over the girl of his dreams. The music is courtesy of the Jewish punk band The Groggers.
Forget the Aspirin: Three years after winning FDA approval, the second-generation female condom has arrived in the Jewish state.
Women’s images continue to be at the forefront of the religious cultural wars in Israel. On a recent Shabbat, posters of famous art works featuring nude females were put up in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood in Jerusalem to provoke Haredi residents there. And as Purim approaches, the Uncensored movement is calling for a boycott of the Kfar Hasha’ashuim toy and costume chain because of its print ads that blur out the faces of little girls, and its bus ads that do not include girls at all.
One humorous response to this very serious matter is the Kosher Camera. The gag website states that this special camera has built-in facial recognition software that covers female images with either the Mehadrin Mask (a brown paper bag), the Glatt Blot (pixilated face), or Modern Modesty (black bar obscuring the eyes).
Natan Eshel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bureau chief, resigned from the civil service, amid accusations of sexual harassment.
With Zahava Gal-On’s recent election to the leadership of the left-wing Meretz party, women are now heading three major political parties in Israel (There’s also Shelly Yachimovich of Labor, and Tzipi Livni of the opposition party, Kadima.)
Female engineers at Google in Israel recently held one of their “Mind the Gap” conferences encouraging girls to pursue math, science and technology education.
A 27-year-old woman was attacked last week while she was hanging posters on behalf of her employer. Natali Mashiah was in the Ramat Beit Shemesh neighborhood when she alleges that a group of Haredi men called her a “slut,” a “shiksa,” and smashed her car’s windshield and windows while she was inside of it. They also threw a rock at her head, punctured the tires and poured bleach inside the vehicle, she said. Police arrested three suspects at the scene.
The financial newspaper Globes is asking why social justice protest leader Stav Shaffir, recently profiled in the Forward, reportedly accepted VIP perks, such as accommodations at a 5-star hotel and an chauffeured Audi, while recently in Munich for a conference.
Knesset State Control Committee chairman Ronnie Bar-On is calling for broader implementation by rabbinical courts of a law that allows rabbinical judges to impose punitive sanctions on men who refuse to give their wife a Jewish divorce document, or a get.
Keira Knightly talks about playing psychoanalysis pioneer, Jung patient and Holocaust victim Sabina Speilrein in the new film “A Dangerous Method.”
Skeptical of JDate’s algorithm for picking Mr. or Mrs. right? Try “J sites,” the online Jewish dating service that has good old-fashioned matchmakers do the pairing.
There is a new biography of original “occupier” Emma Goldman, the anarchist and political activist who was once called “the most dangerous woman in America” by FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover.
In Jerusalem and Ramat Gan Sunday, women and men boarded buses to protest gender segregation on public transportation, and the exclusion of women from public spaces throughout Israel.
Settler “It Girl” and Israel Hayom columnist Emily Amrusi appeared on Israeli TV playing down the exclusion of women, saying that it is merely “separation” between men and women, and that the secular media has no right to tell religious women how to live.
Satirist Itamar Rose released a video showing how easily some Israeli women agreed to be hidden from view while singing Hanukkah songs for a (fake) filmed greeting to soldiers.
Some not-so-endearing news from our favorite Jewish fashion designers: Marc Jacobs tells Vogue that he hasn’t spoken to his mother in over 20 years (my mom launches a re-unification campaign if we don’t speak for two days), and Donna Karan gets in trouble for her new ad campaign set in Haiti. Hat tip to Jezebel.
Jewish mother Jill Zarin may have dealt with her share of divas on the “Real Housewives of New York,” but she still wasn’t prepared for Queen Bee Barbra Streisand. Radar reports that shortly after Zarin posted a video online of Streisand performing at a recent benefit for the Israeli Defense Forces, she was contacted by Streisand’s lawyers to take down immediately. “Someone from Barbra Streisand’s company just called my store to tell me to take down my YouTube video or they will sue me. Is that nuts? Sorry guys. I took it down!” Zarin wrote.
The Jewish Women’s Repertory Company, which produces work with all-female casts for the Los Angeles Orthodox community, is out with a new show, “Me and My Girl.” As The Los Angeles Times notes, this is one play where the actresses get the good parts.
Things were starting to look up earlier this week when both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres spoke out against the exclusion of women. It was also announced that the Knesset task force was meeting to discuss sanctions against businesses that discriminate against women.
…But then only one government minister, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, bothered to show up at the meeting.
At the meeting, the IDF’s human resources chief Major-General Orna Barbivai told attending Knesset members that “halachic considerations cannot override the considerations of army commanders,” in reference to recent demands to excuse religious male soldiers from military ceremonies in which women would be singing.
On the “modesty” front, 20 shops and businesses in Sderot, including some national chain stores, have signed a modesty agreement. Businesses making sure that their employees dress according to religious modesty standards get a “kashrut” certificate from the Torah-oriented Mimaamakim organization.
On Slate, Deborah Copaken Kogan tells a moving Jewish mother story for the digital age, about how sharing her son’s strange symptoms on Facebook saved his life.
Among those in favor of beatifying WWII-era Pope Pius XII is a nun now making the case that the pontiff ordered her convent to shelter 114 Jewish women from the Nazis, the AP reports.
Deborah Hirsch writes for JTA about how the increasingly popular “Zumba” exercise classes have spawned de-facto Sisterhood groups. Some instructors even incorporate “Hava Nagila” into their routines, Hirsch writes.