'Fashion Show' at Synagogue Slammed

MKs, community members, and religious officials decried what they called a “fashion show” at a Tel Aviv synagogue.

Moshe Cohen ,

Jew walks next to synagogue
Jew walks next to synagogue
Flash 90

MKs, community members, and religious officials decried what they called a “fashion show” at a Tel Aviv synagogue. The synagogue, located in central Tel Aviv, is associated with the Tzohar movement and is known for its liberal Orthodox views on a number of issues.

Photos circulating in social media show images of scantily-clad women dressed in provocative outfits – and those images have set off a firestorm of criticism. In a message on Facebook, columnist and broadcaster Emily Amrousi said that she was “shocked” by the event, which took place in an Orthodox synagogue. “Women were seen signing 'Shalom Aleichem,' the song that is sung in Jewish homes Friday nights,” she wrote. “A clothing designer could not find any better place for her show than in the synagogue. The women are parading around the synagogue half-dressed – and the designer puts it up on Youtube for everyone to see. This is a shameful use of a synagogue,” she wrote.

Members of the Tzohar rabbinical group weighed in as well, saying that the show was “a desecration of a holy place, and against Jewish law. The synagogue's rabbi claims he had no knowledge of what was to take place when he agreed to the show.” Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan said that he would “draw up new regulations that will prevent synagogues from being used in this way.”

Economics Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party also had something to say about the issue. “A fashion show in a synagogue is an erasure of the holiness of Jewish life, and nothing more than a gimmick for headlines. Desecration of synagogues is a line we dare not cross,” he said.

The synagogue, called the Tel Aviv International Synagogue, was desecrated last month by a group opposed to the Jewish State bill, now on hold due to the elections. The rabbi of the synagogue, said that the incident has been referred to the police but he views it as a “clear act of anti-Semitism.” According to the rabbi, the timing of the attack and the explicit graffiti seem to indicate that this was perpetrated by radical left-wing activists.

Rabbi Konstantyn has not commented on Wednesday's fashion show.