A modest advance for Hillary
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A modest advance for Hillary

Chalk up another first for Hillary Clinton. You can’t exactly call it a glass ceiling — maybe a velvet curtain? — but a charedi Orthodox newspaper broke the self-imposed taboo against showing photographs of women on its pages.

Yated Ne’eman, a newspaper based in Monsey, New York, published a picture of the Democratic presidential nominee taken at a Florida campaign rally.

But don’t worry too much about the impact a picture of the first female American presidential candidate will have on the sensitive souls of yeshiva students whose newspapers try to keep them in enforced innocence. Yated didn’t show her face.

Instead, it ran a photograph in which the presidential frontrunner was blocked by her podium.

“History is made as Yated Ne’eman publishes a picture of Hillary Clinton, a woman! Well almost,” wrote OnlySimchas.com, an Orthodox dating website, in an item widely shared on Facebook.

Charedi Orthodox publications often ban images of women, especially their faces, in what editors describe as reasons of tradition and modesty. The ban is applied to all women, including world leaders and major public figures like Clinton.

“It’s not just her politics that worries these publications, although they are far to the right of Clinton on most issues,” Columbia University journalism professor Ari Goldman wrote last year in The Columbia Journalism Review. “More troublesome is her gender.”

One editor told Goldman that a Clinton victory in November might force papers to change the policy.

“I think we’re going to have to rethink it,” Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter, the executive editor of Ami Magazine, told Goldman. Not to do so, he said, “would be disrespectful.”

Of course, the decision to feature Clinton’s uncovered hand is not without some controversy. Some fear this will open the doors to showing pictures of her opponent’s hands. And as Senator Marco Rubio demonstrated earlier this year, it’s a very short road from pictures of hands and discussion of their size to… well, better you shouldn’t know.

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