A show's coming to town. Not quite to our part of town but targeted for our womenfolk though the performances will actually be held in the Camden Town Hall.
Prince or Pauper, it's called with the subtitle 'Judge not what thou sees'. That should be 'seest' but let's not get too pernickety over some archaic usage. No cultural event round here can do without its share of controversy though it has been relatively mild in this instance. The rabbis have so far steered clear but with a week to go there is still ample time to pull a rabbit in the last minute so keep your fingers crossed, if that's the right phrase. The Prince will be played by a princess which come to think of it is no worse than Lady Macbeth being played by a man. Yet despite this overstepping of modesty some schools have played safe and banned their charges from attending while others have left it to parental discretion.
Since there've so far been no rabbinical interdictions the opinion-free ad sheets are free to carry ads for the event. They never lose. Either it's ads for the event or it's ads for the bans and if they're lucky it's one followed by the other. The ads however are not without problems of their own: how do you advertise a female only production without a photo of the actors?
Actors should hold up a mirror to nature, we're told, but since there are as yet no kosher mirrors that pixelate the fairer sex mirroring actresses' faces is no mean feat. You can advertise ‘ladies’ and ‘girls’ since even the kosher dictionary has not excised them, yet. But publishing a photo of them, well that’s an altogether different dimension.
Trust however a yiddisher kop to come up with a solution and what you see above is the result. An androgynous looking boy standing in for a girl. Yentl in reverse if you like but it does the trick. Boys ogling the ad see only a boy which is permitted by even the most stringent of authorities while the girls get a heimisher version of Justin Bieber to develop a crush on. The rabbis too are happy since it is written that transgendering is no transgression and as the subtitle says, 'judge not what thou sees[t].
There is still however one slight problem. What of the boy who thinks it's a girl? Or to borrow that famous hypothesis proffered by our famed thinker, Ben Yitzchok, apropos Shloime Gertner's malkele song, what of the boy struggling on a difficult passage in the Talmud humming to himself a girl's name, Go- forbid? And what of the zealots who might call for the public burning of the ad unless concrete proof is provided that the 'girl' is actually a boy? Far more serious than some driving licence ingenuity, this really called for the thinking shtreimel so as to come up with a talmudic wheeze.
You won't be surprised that after much throwing around of brains our optimum minds did it again. It was decreed that every advert should carry a health warning in the shape of 'Thanks to Yisroel for posing for the photos.
Now that's what you call seichel. Girl acting as boy, named boy posing as girl, boys get a boy to fill their minds during the drearier bits of 'Two grabbing a garment' and 'The heifer that gored a cow' and the girls will pay anything to see their latest kosher heartthrob. And as for homoerotic thoughts and worse that could be engendered by photos of a she-boy in drag, only a filthy mind could suggest that images of young kids could do that to our pure neshomelech.
And so we get our own kosher culture in the shape of thespians who will ‘show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.’