The daughter of a Russian diamond billionaire has paid tens of thousands of shekels to secular Israeli social media stars to tout Jewish ritual purity laws related to menstruation, celebrity journalist Guy Pines reported Tuesday.
The Channel 12 reporter said he began his investigation after seeing a video clip on social media in which former secular reality TV star Shay Mika explains to famed presenter Yael Bar-Zohar how she does to respect the Jewish laws of niddahwhich determine when a woman is considered ritually unclean due to menstruation and therefore not supposed to have carnal intercourse with her husband.
“For the first time, this month, I was niddah. It was really difficult for [mon mari] Maor, so yesterday he said to me on the sofa, ‘This is the last time you keep [les lois de] niddah’,” says Mika in the video.
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After seeing this most intimate video about the sex life of Mika and her husband, the journalist discovered that it was in fact part of a campaign sponsored by Ruthy Leviev, the daughter of diamond magnate and investor Lev Leviev.
This is part of an even more ambitious program by the young Leviev, known as “Sheasani Isha”, which means ” [Dieu] made me a woman,” a reference to a blessing from the Orthodox prayer book, recited by Jewish women every morning.
This campaign posits that traditional Jewish values and practices strengthen romantic bonds. However, studies, some conducted by orthodox Jewish institutions, have shown that these methods do not necessarily improve love life. One of these surveys, published by the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals, even reveals that Orthodox women “report being much less satisfied, physically and emotionally” than their secular counterparts.
According to Pines, Mika, who won the reality show “Big Brother” in 2015, received between 15,000 and 20,000 shekels for his performance in the clip and for posting about it on his Instagram account.
Bar-Zohar, who interviewed several women for the campaign, reportedly received between 40,000 and 50,000 shekels, as did another witness, food writer and media personality Michal Ansky, who also posted about it on Instagram.
Channel 12 claims Leviev spent about NIS 150,000 on his campaign.
Shay Mika, whose interview sparked the Channel 12 report, explained what made her agree to be paid to speak about Jewish ritual purity laws.
“No one told me what to say. After all, if I believe in it and it’s my duty, why would I deprive myself of it? We all have to make a living. Let’s just say that [l’argent] was not my driving force to take part in this campaign,” Mika said, adding that she considered following ritual purity laws even before she was approached for the campaign.
The Channel 12 report drew a lot of backlash on social media, with some criticizing the practice of niddah as degrading for women because it equates menstruation with impurity.
“A quick reminder: we are not impure,” Channel 13 reporter Neria Kraus wrote in a tweet.
But the criticism did not come from secular circles alone. Many religious commentators have harshly criticized Leviev for turning a matter of spirituality and intimacy into something commercial and superficial.
“Ruthy Leviev has made preserving family purity something silly, ‘capitalist’, perfect for Millennials,” wrote Nitzan Caspi Shilony, an attorney at the Center for Justice for Women Rights Group.
“Ruthy Leviev’s niddah campaign is driving me crazy. It’s easy to take something sublime, for which Jewish women have sacrificed themselves for generations, and turn it into Instagram stupidity and a way to make money,” said another Orthodox journalist, Efrat Finkel. .
On a more sarcastic tone, the famous theologian Tomer Persico paraphrased the prayer said by women before entering the ritual bath in order to purify themselves, a week after the end of the period. “Blessed are you, Lev Leviev, who pays us for his commandments and commands us to immerse ourselves,” Persico wrote in a tweet.