Can Short Hemlines Shorten Your Life?
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Can Short Hemlines Shorten Your Life?

Bus-side modesty campaign draws criticism.

Does the length of a woman’s skirt affect the length of her life?

A new modesty campaign that is appearing on the sides of buses in Jerusalem indicates this, and it is upsetting some members of the secular community.

The Hebrew message “short clothing shortens life" appeared last week on about 20 Egged buses.

Though the ad does not specifically mention women, that gender is usually the focus of modesty campaigns conducted by haredi Jews in Israel. The sponsor of the ad, in memory of victims of terror in the haredi Har Nof neighborhood two months ago, is not identified, according to the Ynet website.

Critics of the campaign are urging people to phone the Canaan Ad Company, which designed the ads, to complain. Knesset member Michal Rosen, of the secular Meretz party, asked Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz to pull the posters.

Ynet reported that the campaign's initiator appeared unimpressed. "It's causing a mess?" he said. "Good, let it cause a mess, before we find ourselves in an even bigger mess." He added that the killings at the Har Nof synagogue forced every religious Jew to engage in self-examination, and that he believed the ultra-Orthodox public should be encouraged to be strict about issues like modesty and unity.

He stressed that the message was directed at the haredi public, which believes in these values, adding that “modesty will protect all of us – even those who are now complaining.”

Egged bus spokesman Ron Ratner told Ynet that the bus was part of the public domain, like "a street on wheels," and therefore the company did not see it fit to intervene.

editor@jewishweek.org

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