|Using sex to sell Judaism?|
With the understanding that much of Jewish outreach uses marketing techniques to get non-orthodox Jews involved in Orthodox Judaism, I have to say that I was still rather surprised to see that Jeff Seidel's ad for Passover Hospitality had a picture of Israeli supermodel Bar Rafaeli, hands clasped as if bound, staring sexily at the camera. This is the part where you, the reader, should glance at the ad and say "Hey, isn't Jeff Seidel the guy that everyone meets in Jerusalem? The guy who sets up hundreds of kids for Shabbos with ultra-orthodox families?" And then, you, the reader, take another look at the ad and say "What does this picture have to do with Passover?"
That's exactly it. As a woman, I'm tired of companies exploiting women's bodies to sell products. But in this case, I have to wonder why Jeff Seidel needs to resort to using sex to sell an orthodox Jewish experience, when this is the antithesis of what Orthodoxy is teaching. This is a new low for kiruv organizations. Jeff Seidel's Jewish Student Information Centers have been around for decades during which Jeff has been setting high school and college-age people up with families who adhere to the stringencies of orthodoxy, such as taharas hamishpacha (family purity laws which demand that married couples refrain from sex at certain times,) and strict rules of gender separation and tzniut (modesty) among others. Not only is Bar Rafaeli's sexuality being used to turn young men on to observance, but blatant sexuality is strongly discouraged in the world into which these young people are entering.
In the spirit of Passover, I have four questions, each which should be asked with a glass of wine:
1.What makes this Passover outreach campaign different from any other Passover outreach campaign?
2. Is Bar Rafaeli aware that her picture is out there, selling orthodox Judaism?
3. Does Jeff Seidel know that Bar Rafaeli dates guys who are not necessarily Jewish?
4. Are Jewish outreach organizations so desperate to attract possible adherents, that they're willing to embark on advertising campaigns that paint them as blatant hypocrites?
*Thanks to Failed Messiah for linking back to this page.