Our last edition carried a number of letters to the editor questioning Rabbi Schonfeld’s public letter in which he asked that the issue of women’s photos in Orthodox publications not be discussed in the Queens Jewish Link – or be discussed with greater discretion. One of those letters was written with uncalled for disrespect for Rabbi Schonfeld. Truthfully, we did not want to publish that letter, out of a sign of respect for Rabbi Schonfeld, who serves selflessly as our Rabbinic Adviser. It was only at Rabbi Schonfeld’s insistence that we published the letter as written. We were supposed to insert an Editor’s Note to explain that to our readers, but we neglected to do so.
In addition, Rabbi Schonfeld wrote a response to Anne Koffsky’s letter on the topic, which we also neglected to publish. We present his response here.
Thank you, Ms. Koffsky, for your letter on this important topic. You are right in saying that you and I mostly agree on this topic.
My problem with the article to which you refer is that it is too much “in your face” about being in your face. There was no need to double down and have two pictures of the author just to emphasize the point of the need to display photos of women. Although I, among other responsible rabbanim, see the need to have a healthy attitude regarding showing photos of women in frum publications, a modicum of modesty must be maintained. To be spiteful and show duplicate photos of the same face is not within that spirit, despite the modest attire of the particular woman. It is apparent that she comes with an agenda that is not within the purview of the QJL. We are simply trying to establish proper protocol for the paper without supporting any broader campaign.
I do agree that the position of other publications to ban all pictures of women, especially in women’s magazines, is patently absurd. It also shows a total lack of trust of the readership to be able to handle a woman’s face. Also, as stated, it only heightens the “forbidden fruit” syndrome, which does not contribute to a healthy outlook on these matters. Nonetheless, I don’t think it’s worth spending too much ink arguing with them. Indeed, sometimes our publication slips and brings one to wonder if perhaps the other publications have a point of view to which they are entitled, much as I disagree with them.
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld
We regret these unfortunate omissions. Rabbi Schonfeld serves our paper with great personal sacrifice and has taken a lead role in the fight to have women’s photos featured appropriately in our publication. He deserved better.
Naftali, Yaakov, and QJL Staff