Billboard Doctored to Suit Satmar Sensitivities
From tomorrow's NYT:
THE first time, the boy ended up with a smear of black paint across his face. But after some digital alterations — adding curls on the sides of his face, shortening his haircut and buttoning his shirt higher at the collar — he was ready to try again.Odd that this story would seem interesting enough to the NYT editorial board, though it's quite amusing, actually. Reminds me of those ads in the Charedi papers where what are clearly stock photos of boys or men get little yarmulkas quite obviously drawn in.
The boy was not offended by these changes, because he is not real. Rather, he is an image on a Williamsburg billboard for Oorah, a children’s charity that wants to encourage donations of cars.
The group advertises in Williamsburg, leaders of the organization say, because the Hasidic Jews of the Satmar sect, many of whom live in the neighborhood, are generous donors. But the original billboard was defaced last spring, apparently because it offended the religious sensibilities of some of the Satmars. It stayed that way until the boy’s makeover was revealed on Jan. 3.
“They don’t want to see a clean-cut boy without the traditional peyos that their own children have,” Chana Nestlebaum, the group’s public relations director, said, referring to the young Satmars’ side curls. “It’s of importance that the children portrayed in their community look like their own.”
In something of a pre-emptive strike, spray-painted graffiti was incorporated into the new billboard, which stands over the corner of Lee Avenue and Keap Street. The message reads, “Zeit menadev aer car,” Yiddish for “Donate your car.”
“We thought that injecting humor might also defuse tension,” said Rabbi Eli Mintz, the director of Oorah, “and perhaps even work to our advantage as a marketing tool, and bring in more cars as a result.”
He may be right. The agency said that it had been getting been getting positive responses and that the billboard was being talked about in the streets and in the shuls.