Monday, June 20, 2011

Naama Shafir -Leaving The Wrong Legacy.

For the last 2 weeks or so Jewish media has been praising Naama Shafir - The Israeli female basketball player who refused to play wearing only a jersey. Don't misunderstand me, Naama Shafir is worthy of all the praise she is getting, and yet one can't help but scratch his head a little. There seems to be a point that is being  weirdly ignored. The simple fact is that the clothing she does wear on a regular basis - i.e. Basketball shorts, and a tee shirt are not really considered Tzniusdik by most of those people who are so busy praising her. I can't think of a liberal rabbi who would openly praise a girl wearing shorts as being "modest". 

So how did this less then Halachic dresser become a poster child of modesty? the Israeli blog דתי לאומי מודאג
seems to interpret the case as showing that the public really doesn't think that basketball shorts are not modest. As such he praises the story as a victory of common sense over cold halacha. 

I suspect that his answer is only partially right. Like it or not, the issue of Tzniut is being defined in the books and not on the street.The common sense approach of what is tznius is clearly the loosing side. The answer I suspect is simple but disturbing. Calling her out on the matter of clothing would ruin the educational role she is being cast in. Naama Shafir has courageously stood up and fought a battle for her beliefs - as such she will become a role model for tznius i.e covering up. When this story will be retold (as it surely will in many a seminar) they will manage to fudge the issue of her exact clothing. There simply is no place in our current lives for a role model who decides things for herself. 

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