Thursday, January 12, 2012
You don't have to go to Beit Shemesh, Israel to see the lengths some of our brethren go to in order to avoid looking at images of women of any age.
Monsey, New York, a quiet little enclave less than an hour north of the George Washington Bridge, is home to many Chasidim and Haredim. It's also the home of the Rockland Kosher Marketplace - The Shoppers Haven, which claims to be the largest kosher supermarket. We've heard of similar claims from Pomegranate in Brooklyn and Seven Mile Market in Pikesville, Maryland, but we haven't checked them out yet.
The Monsey store is a shopping wonderland for anyone who is looking for an amazing variety of kosher food and household products, but if you're looking for a bottle of Downy Fabric Softener, you'll have to find it by the shape and color of the bottle, not by the product label.
Why? All of the bottles of Downy on the store shelves have a 4 x 2 1/2 inch white label completely covering the product name and the image of a young girl in a dress with bare arms and legs frolicking in a field of flowers.
We first found out about this cover-up in a blog by DovBear last week. Even though the blog included a photo of the store shelf, we wanted to be sure it wasn't a set-up for a joke timed to the cover-ups of women now being protested in Israel. So, since we were shopping in the area on Monday, we visited the store to check out the display. Sure enough, there were the Downy bottles, every one covered with not one, but two thicknesses of white labels.
Our curiosity aroused (but only our curiosity), we checked the aisles wondering what the store did to Aunt Jemima Pancakes and Sun-Maid Raisins boxes, but alas, we couldn't find any. The only brands of these products they sell are Gefen and Mishpacha. We did, however, find boxes of Life Cereal that had a photo of a mother and daughter with some skin showing. (We didn't complain.)
It's quite the scene, with Yiddish songs playing on the speakers placed throughout the store. Check out the video below and consider a field trip to this slice of Haredi life. But be sure you're not barefoot or wearing shorts or sleeveless clothing.