Less than a week before eleven months of mourning were complete, Ruth Fogel, who was murdered along with her husband and three kids, was blotted out again. Worse yet this blotting out was done in the name of religon.
A week before the memorial service for the eleven months, Ruth’s father took a picture of her and her family to Machon Meir and asked them to include an announcement of the memorial service in the weekly pamphlet they hand out to synagogues, “B’ahava u’vemuna” (In love and faith). The picture showed her beaming at her husband, her eyes full of joy and shared happiness.
The phamphet made its way to synagogues around the country. Her husband was there in the announcement of the memorial service. Her sons were there. But Ruth was gone and in the place of those joyful eyes was a smudge. When Ruth’s father saw the photo he was very upset.
It is typical of extremist halacha logic to focus on one principle above all others.
Machon Meir apologized, but not for smudging out her face. Rather they regretted publishing the picture at all. Their policy is to never publish the face of women. They say this is necessary because some of the synagogues on their pamphlet distribution list have modesty rules that forbid the publication of women’s pictures.
In fact, they viewed the smudging of her face as a sign of respect. What more could a woman want than modesty? Rabbi Schlomo Aviner explained in a video:
Had she been asked when she was alive – this is what she would have wanted,” he said about Ruti Fogel and her blurred people. “Just because a person a dead doesn’t mean their picture can be taken lightly. (Translation: Ynet).
Except we know she didn’t want to be blurred. We don’t need to guess. Continue reading