Jewish Journal


October 10, 2002

Political Prophylactics


It was an ominous warning affixed to the plastic-covered condom, which was glued on a rust-colored postcard with pictures of dirty mattresses: "Practice Safe Politics."

Below, a glaring surgeon general-like admonition: "Warning: This condom will not protect you from the real intentions of the Christian right wing. Abstinence from strange bedfellows is advised."

The guerrilla campaign is sponsored by www.jewishwomenwatching.com, an organization that "aims to rouse the public to challenge and change the sexist and other discriminatory practices in the American Jewish community," according to their Web site. "We use biting satire and real-life facts to criticize our community's narrow-minded priorities. Jewish Women Watching remains anonymous to focus attention on the issues -- not ourselves."

Under the headline "Strange Bedfellows," the flip side of the postcard asks, "Why is the Jewish community in bed with Pat Roberston ... Jerry Falwell ... Ralph Reed?" At the same time it outs the Zionist Organization of America, the Israeli Embassy and the Anti-Defamation League for "sleeping" with them.

The clandestine group has enacted other campaigns, primarily on Purim and during the High Holidays. In September 2001, they placed a deceptively familiar ad in The New York Times meant to mimic Chabad Lubavitch's ads regarding lighting candles. "Jewish Women and Girls," began the ad, using the same Chabad words, "Hold your community accountable. Sexism is a Sin. Jewish Women Watching," read the rest of the ad.

"We will continue to protest the patronizing, sexist attitudes we encounter in the Jewish community every day," the anonymous Jewish Women Watching leader wrote to The Jewish Week in an interview last year.

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