Wednesday, May 23, 2012

In The News: Tale of Two Chests: One Infiltrates Haredi Rally; One Gets Fired For Being "Too Hot"

Photo: Matthew McDermott
What a news day! On the day that Jewish Humor Central got a record number of page views by posting the funniest tweets from the anti-internet asifa at Citi Field, two articles appeared in very different publications, both relating to women taping their chests. 

In one case a female reporter did it voluntarily so she could escape detection as a woman when she infiltrated the Haredi rally to file an on-location report. In the other, an amply endowed woman was fired from her job at a lingerie store owned by Orthodox Jews.

As Rebecca Rosenberg and Dan Mangan wrote in yesterday's New York Post,
They sell sexy undies — but for the ultra-religious owners of a Manhattan lingerie company, one curvaceous clerk was too hot to handle.
Busty blond Lauren Odes says the Orthodox Jewish owners of Fifth Avenue lingerie company Native Intimates canned her because she was “just too hot” for their Midtown showroom filled with skimpy satin and lace underthings.
“I was working in a business that is not a synagogue but is instead selling thongs with hearts that are placed in the female genitalia area and boy shorts for women that say ‘Hot’ in the buttocks area,” fumed Odes yesterday in announcing her explosive Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against the wholesaler.
“Given their business product, I don’t understand why I would be told I was just ‘too hot,’ ” said Odes, 29, who alleges she was sacked by Native Intimates after just a few days of working there last month.
The buxom beauty said she was “appalled” when she was given a red bathrobe to hide her ample figure — and when a female supervisor “suggested that I tape down my breasts.”
“It was very shocking, very humiliating,” she told reporters.

(A tip of the kippah to Phil Fink for bringing this story to our attention.)

Meanwhile, over at Citi Field, where 40,000 Haredi men attended the anti-internet rally, Adrienne Jeffries, an intrepid female reporter for the New York Observer infiltrated the stadium by taping her breasts with white duct tape and wearing her brother's dress clothes and a donated kippah.

Yes, the stadium was full of men, and the women’s bathrooms were reportedly locked. Yet there were at least three females present: a ticket-taker, an usher, and me, in a pair of $15 Payless loafers, my brother’s dress clothes, and a donated kippah. Oh, and the white duct tape around my chest, G.I. Jane style.
I tested my disguise at Duane Reade and the 6 train and was relieved to see I wasn’t getting any longer-than-usual stares; but it wasn’t until the first Hasid asked me for directions that I breathed a sigh of relief. Or would have, if the duct tape weren’t so tight.
The rabbis did not seem to present a totally united front, but most took a hard line: No Internet in the Jewish home. The Internet is only to be used for business with a filter when it is necessary to earn a living. Children who have Internet in the home should not be allowed to attend school.
Some of the lines provoked applause, but the audience was seeded with subversives. This reporter was live-tweeting from the asifa, and we weren’t the only ones. We also glimpsed an iPhone, an Android phone, and saw one attendee clearly emailing from his BlackBerry—blatantly disregarding the tinny, disembodied voice of Rav Shmuel Halevi Wosner, who was speaking over the telephone from Israel. There were at least two sites broadcasting a live stream of the event. The blog JewishHumorCentral rounded up the best asifa jokes on Twitter. Someone put a video on YouTube.
Around 9:30 p.m., when the parade of rabbis showed no signs of flagging, the audience started getting restless. Attendees started shuffling up and down the stairs, and the perhaps-18-year-old sitting next to me had started rocking back and forth, though he was not in prayer. He ate the pretzels provided in the asifa goodie bag. He pulled a watch out of his pocket and looked at it. His friend started eating pretzels. Apparently, they had no phones. Outside the stadium, a Hasidic man in his mid-20s was trying to find a way into Citi Field. He’d been at the Arthur Ashe Stadium overflow venue, which reportedly had a paltry turnout and no English translation. “I didn’t really understand what they were saying,” he said.
Some were affected; a fellow live-tweeter said he planned to cut back, inspired by Rabbi Wachsman. Another tweeter mentioned he’d “lost” at least one person on BBM, BlackBerry’s private text messaging, during the rally.
Not my contact, who texted his closing thoughts: “This event really isn’t my cup of tea and won’t affect my internet usage in any way shape or form. I think this forum was a huge waste of money and time and that there are real issues of importance affecting the orthodox Jews that should be addressed instead of regulating the Internet.” The rally reportedly cost $1.5 million.

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