Just to illustrate how mixed up the self-crowned spokesmen are, the statement was repeated over and over that the announcement of a gay wedding "caused pain and consternation" in their Orthodox communities. What? Note that the actual wedding and the underlying issue it illustrates is not what troubled the "deep sensitivities within the traditional/ Orthodox community." It was the announcement in a local paper. Confused? We sure are and so were Jamie Janoff and Rebecca Boroson at the Jewish Standard. But it was not their fault.
The Orthodox community is profoundly mixed up about sex.
Yehuda Mirsky wrote a column in JPost that demonstrates some of the confusion among Orthodox Jews over public policies that relate to sexuality. He speaks about the two main policies that contribute to Orthodox confusion over sexuality, namely, segregation of the sexes and rules of modesty (called tzniut in Hebrew). He asks, "Where is the ‘tzniut’?" and opines, "True modesty should not attempt to erase women, whether in the recesses of Mea She’arim, or through their objectification in the aggressive world of advertising."
The author decries the segregation of sidewalks in Orthodox areas of Jerusalem (now illegal according to the courts) and he rails against secular society too:
...YET THERE can be no denying that it is tied to a corresponding extremism in secular society. The objectification of women in extreme haredi practices is more than matched by the objectification of women to which we are subjected day and night by the colossal apparatus of marketing and advertising. And that apparatus is taking over the public sphere in its own way, with massive billboards and inescapable ads which forcibly revamp the public sphere no less than do the mehitzot of Mea She’arim....Confused? You should be. Forcing your women to walk on another sidewalk or to sit in the back of the bus is not the analogous in any way to putting up a billboard, no matter how much you deem that act to be tasteless.
Back to the trouble in Teaneck. I'm thinking, maybe the Orthodox are feeling their own confusion when they rant in public about a gay wedding announcement. After all, when you send boys to same-sex yeshivas and when you seat men and boys together and every day have them drape themselves in shawls for prayer; and when you hide women from view and have them neutralize their sexuality with long and loose clothing... maybe you are encouraging same sex attractions. Ya think? And maybe now you are feeling guilty. And maybe, at the very least, that makes you confused.
Giant billboards with pretty women do not offend me. They do not objectify women nor are they expressions of extreme secularism. They are not confusing at all. They are effective ads meant to attract attention to sell products.
Rabbis ought to consider carefully that their policies that too rigorously restrict the mingling of boys and girls, men and women, may lead to confused sexuality, which in turn can produce true "pain and consternation" and not the holiness or sanctity that they seek.