The World of Female Haredi Singers and Artists

To many Orthodox Jews, it is forbidden for men to listen to women sing, and in the most rigid circles any sort of public performance by a woman is frowned upon. In the past few years, however, it has been common for female haredi actors and musicians to put on plays, concerts, and the like for audiences made up of women alone. The anthropologist Jessica Roda explores this phenomenon in a recent book. Lauren Hakimi writes in her review:

Roda, who grew up in a secular environment in French Guiana in South America, became personally interested in haredi life in 2015 when the deaths of two loved ones pushed her to explore her religiosity. Living in Montreal at the time, she joined a group that was dedicated to supporting people who’d left the community. She also taught anthropology to haredi women. She started interviewing artists who’d left the community, and from there, met people who were still part of it, in both Montreal and New York City.

Roda’s book chronicles a recent historical development. It used to be that haredi female singing and dancing was mostly relegated to the world of girls’ schools and summer camps. Now, it’s become a viable career option. Roda attributes this cultural development to several factors: the advent of a haredi content and entertainment industry, social media, and an increasing cultural emphasis on self-care and government programs that fund it. . . . The book also shines a light on the blurry boundaries between people who are part of the community and those who have left.

Read more at Shtetl

More about: Haredim, Jewish music


Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security