Religion Magazine

The Bar Miztvah Picture That Upset the Rabbis

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
This image has raised quite a ruckus..
The bar miztvah picture that upset the rabbis
The image was a promo for the television satire show "Eretz Nehederet". As you can see, they are standing in a shul and wearing tallitot. The image was used as a promo for the show, entering its 13th season, using the theme of it being their bar mitzva year.
The religious and Haredi MKs, who were notably quiet regarding the deal with the Reform about the Kotel division, are extremely upset about this cynical use of a shul. Rabbonim are upset. The Chief Rabbis are upset. The Rabbanut religious council is upset. There are calls to have Eretz Nehederet censured and even to put the producers in jail for denigrating religion.
It seems all they did was take this picture in the shul, not video an entire episode in a shul setting. I am not sure what is so bad. People go to shuls for photographs all the time. Religious singers make music videos inside shuls. Bar Mitzvah boys, people getting married, politicians, rabbis having meetings, etc. Shuls are used for all sorts of things, and I do not see why this taking a picture is so bad, compared to everything else done in our shuls.
The worst thing I can think of being done in a shul, far worse than this photograph, is how some communities use their shuls for political rallies during election seasons. They bring in politicians to talk in front of the aron kodesh. They bring rabbonim to talk about elections in front of the aron kodesh. That seems far more denigrating to the shul, and also really seems assur according to the halachot of appropriate behavior in a shul, and far more inappropriate than this one photograph above..
Now playing armchair psychologist, I think the reaction is likely a result of the Reform deal at the Kotel. They have taken so much criticism for quietly allowing the deal to go through that perhaps they feel they now have to take a strong public stand defending the honor of a synagogue. I can't think of another reason to turn this into such a big deal.
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