The first Orthodox Jewish woman to run for a New York City Council seat from her Brooklyn district has been forced to run campaign ads without her image in local newspapers that won’t print images of women.
Amber Adler, 37, is a candidate in the June 22 primary for a city council seat representing District 48, an area that encompasses heavily Orthodox enclaves of Borough Park and Midwood in southern Brooklyn.
But unlike men in her position who run for office, Adler’s face will not appear in local Orthodox Jewish newspapers in the area because pictures of women have been banned on religious grounds.
Editors fear that readers may turn away from publications that picture women because of rules ordering men to ‘guard their eyes’ against potentially arousing images.
In order to reach prospective voters, Adler has used social media as well as door-to-door canvassing.
Her campaign ads in the local papers instead feature photographs of her two young sons in campaign, which are acceptable to the readers, according to POLITICO.
Amber Adler, 37, is the first Orthodox Jewish woman to run for a New York City Council seat from her Brooklyn district
Unlike men in her position who run for office, Adler is unable to show her face to potential voters who read local Orthodox Jewish newspapers in the area since readers may turn away from publications that picture women. Her campaign ran this ad in the local Orthodox press which features her two young sons
On social media, Adler is able to run campaign ads that feature her likeness
‘It’s forced me to get really creative,’ Adler tells POLITICO when asked about the de facto ban on women’s likenesses in the Orthodox press.
In one ad that ran in the Flatbush Jewish Journal, Adler’s two young boys – ages 7 and 9 – are seen on a sidewalk. One of them is holding a sign that reads ‘Vote 4 Mommy.’
‘They have been endlessly supportive of my campaign,’ Adler tells POLITICO.
‘Part of my platform and pitch to voters is my lived experience as a single working mom.’
Adler adds: ‘If I can’t use my own photo to get that message across, my boys can.’
DailyMail.com has reached out to both Adler and the Flatbush Jewish Journal seeking comment.
The Flatbush Jewish Journal is among several Orthodox publications in the New York City tri-state area whose pages feature men only. The front page of its latest issue shows senior Israeli politicians
In recent years, several newspapers that serve an Orthodox Jewish readership have airbrushed high-profile female leaders from their pages so that men can ‘guard their eyes’ against potentially arousing images.
Orthodox Jewish law bans men from masturbating or emitting semen that is not intended to procreate.
In recent years, a sect of Orthodox Judaism based in Israel that abides by strict adherence to religious law began the practice of removing women from billboards and publications.
A decade ago, an Orthodox Jewish newspaper, Di Tzeitung, sparked anger in the United States by removing the image of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from the famous photograph of the White House Situation Room during the raid which killed Osama bin Laden.
Orthodox Jewish publications in recent years have airbrushed senior women out of photos including the picture above showing German Chancellor Angela Merkel (third from right) marching with other world leaders in Paris after the Charlie Hebdo massacre in 2015
An Israeli newspaper, Hamodia, airbrushed Merkel, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, and then-Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt out of the photograph of world leaders who marched in the French capital after the massacre at the offices of the satirical newspaper
In 2015, an Israeli newspaper, Hamodia, airbrushed German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, and then-Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt out of a photograph of world leaders who marched in the French capital after the massacre at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
The practice which became commonplace in Israel has also been increasingly adopted in recent years in local Orthodox press that serves communities in Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, and parts of New Jersey.
It is rare for an Orthodox Jewish woman to seek a position of leadership in a community where men have long been considered the public faces who must advance its interests.
Adler is running on a platform that includes making it easier for Orthodox Jewish women to obtain a divorce, also known as a ‘get’ in religious law.
A decade ago, an Orthodox Jewish newspaper, Di Tzeitung, sparked anger in the United States by removing the image of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from the famous photograph of the White House Situation Room during the raid which killed Osama bin Laden
The photo that removed Clinton is seen above in the Orthodox publication Di Tzitung
In Orthodox Judaism, a woman may receive a ‘get’ only if it’s approved by the husband.
If the husband refuses, the wife can sue for divorce in a rabbinical court. Until the court settles the matter, the woman is considered an ‘agunah’ – which means ‘chained’ in Hebrew.
Adler, who herself spent two years as an ‘agunah,’ wants the state legislature to make it a felony to prohibit a woman from getting divorced.
She told POLITICO that she’s centering her campaign on the issues that she seeks to advance and is not making herself into a martyr over not having her photograph published in the local Orthodox press.
‘I’ve had to accept that, OK, I can’t be in the papers. I guess I’ll just need to knock on more doors,’ said Adler.
‘At the end of the day, I’m running for city council to represent the issues and policies that affect the everyday lives of girls, women and mothers.
‘I’m willing to put the issue of using my photograph aside for the sake of a seat at the table.’
In 2019, another Orthodox Jewish woman, Adina Miles Sash, ran for a seat on the city council. She is from a neighboring district in Brooklyn.
Sash is the first ever Orthodox Jewish woman to seek public office in Brooklyn.