Last week we told you about an initiative to add the image of a Torah scroll to the library of tiny images people put in text messages.
Now there’s word of a new initiative. The Conference of European Rabbis has asked the Unicode Consortium for new emojis that show men in kippahs and women in head coverings.
In addition to its main function — developing a universal character encoding scheme allowing people around the world to use computers in any language — the nonprofit consortium also selects the emoji icons used by the world’s smartphones based on submissions from individuals and organizations who present their case with evidence for why each one is essential.
“There are emojis of women in the hijab and Arab clerics, and the Jews have been forgotten,” the Conference of European Rabbis wrote. “The need for equality and non-discrimination begins with the small things, which in this case may seem minor but have enormous significance and long-term effects. The WhatsApp application is used daily by millions of citizens around the world, especially the young.”
Making emojis more inclusive by including some that look like traditional Jews is a way to make the world more inclusive, the letter said.
“If it is legitimate to present a family consisting of two men or two women, and to present the traditional attire of the Islamic religion, we believe that there is room for presenting Jewish symbols as well,” it also said. “The Jewish religion should not be left behind; it should be brought to the center of public discourse and made equal among the other religions.”
Jews constitute about 0.2 percent of the global population.