The Lakewood Vaad condemns blackface costume

A picture circulating on social media has drawn condemnation from the Lakewood Vaad.

Though it is unclear when this picture is from, the Vaad released a statement exclusively to TLS condemning the costume.

“The holiday of Purim is celebrated to commemorate the miracles that happened to us more than 2,000 years ago. A wicked Haman wanted to annihilate the Jews but his decree was overturned. For millennia we have celebrated this great miracle by dressing in costume, gifting, merry-making, holding a festive meal, and helping the poor.

It is important to remind ourselves that Jews throughout history have always had an extra sense of sensitivity towards the distressed, persecuted and poor. This applies to us today even more so.

As part of reminding ourselves that Haman tried to hang Mordechai and commit a Holocaust against the Jews, some respond with merrymaking of hanging Haman in effigy. In today’s culture such is perceived by others as reminiscent of their own tragic history and thus this is not appropriate for a Jew to do.

Dressing as a member of another culture was once part of Purim and pictures of old show Jews innocently costumed on Purim as Romans, Greeks, Cossacks, Arabs, and as members of other groups.
Today this is seen as offensive, and we are sensitive to the feelings of other groups. Dressing in blackface is particularly inappropriate and offensive, and should never be done.

We have respect for the feelings of others and do not appropriate their slogans and such should not be done on Purim.

May we always live our fullest as Jews and always be kind and compassionate in our ways and always sanctify of the name of Hashem.

May we all merit to see the redemption speedily in our days.”


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  1. While I agree with the idea that we have to be sensitive to those around us I find it hard to believe that sensible people are offended by someone wearing “blackface”, we must be careful not to srep over the line of care and concern for others, to going along with the “woke” madness of progressive fringes.

  2. My children wanted to dress up as butterflies this year but I told them that we won’t want to offend butterflies so I didn’t let them. They then wanted to dress up as clowns but once again I told them that we need to be sensitive and not offend clowns. They then decided to dress up like President Trump. I did some research and found that the “sensitive to offending group” will have no opposition if Mr. Trump gets offended. On the contrary, they are more than happy to offend him!

    • Clearly miss the point of what the vaad said. Mr . Trump is the most vengeful person ever to hold public office. Justice is coming for him, it has to wit his criminal activity, Law order president, Everything the man has touched.

  3. in all costume stores they sell jewish hasidik costumes, and theres nothing wrong with dressing like different types when you want to dress up for fun reason. I encouraged my kids to dress like Jamaicans on purim, i think its a lot of fun , to put on some reggae music and dance like a Jamaican .If you want to be a bunch of sensitive liberal wimps, then that your issue not mine! ever since we were little kids in Brooklyn people always dressed up black, and no one was insulted, the blacks actually found it amusing so stop this racial baloney already please!

  4. It’s sad that people get insulted by how people dress up on a holiday meant for dressing up. We dress up like biblical figures and all types of worldly cultures and personalities, different factions of Judaism dress up like the others, such as non-Hasidic dressing up like hassidic and vice versa. I believe the reason we do this is because there is a lot of good in each culture and personality and on a happy day we get to quote “try it out for a day” I believe that the people that dress up with a black or brown faced costumes are doing so because there is something about that culture that appeals to them. I believe it’s a compliment. However, we must respect the feelings of others and if people are hurt from a way of dressing up, we should definitely stay away from that type of costume.

    • You ave know idea about black history, or what happened to people like emmet till. Or the Jewish boys killed when they went down south it wasn’t sol afo we want people to be sensitive to what we went through but because of the color, is it so hard to have empathy. There were many goyim that stood-up for Jews during the holocaust.. smarminess is unbecoming

  5. If you think blackface is okay, YOU ARE A RACIST. Blackface originated in 19th century minstrel shows and was generally used to mock enslaved Africans. Shame on the first three commenters. It isn’t about being “liberal
    wimps”, it is about being a decent human being and NOT A RACIST. I’m sure your black neighbors would agree that it is the black version of anti-semitism.

  6. Perplexed… the fact that your think that this is okay, is exactly why we are upset. Look at the history of this country showing African Americans as something to mock. Blackface is not okay ever. Until that is realized how can we move to true acceptance of others?

  7. Oh nuts !!
    I guess I have to apologize. I was in Dubai and bought Arab garb and I wore it on Purim.
    I’m sorry if I offended any Sheiks or Sheiksas.
    I hope we can still chip in for an oil well sometime soon, Ahmed.

  8. What I think most of you fail to understand is the history of blackface. The act of dressing up as a black person itself isn’t the offensive part, it’s the history of blackface that is reminded when African Americans see it. Im not going to post a history lesson and anyone can use Google, but Blackface was used in the 1800s during slavery and through the Jim Crow years to mock and mimick black slaves. There would be special white performers who would dress up in black face and shuck and jive and basically mock the suffering of black people. This is what’s most offensive about black face, the history of what it represents. Not the fact that someone is using it as a costume. It would be the equivalent of a regular American dressing up in a SS nazi outfit on hollaween. Im sure jews would not find that funny or entertaining. Same with black face. This isn’t about being woke.

  9. I’ll clarify and everyone will agree.

    1) there’s a difference between dressing up how a culture dresses VS how they naturally look.

    2) Blacks overall are not treated the same as Whites. That’s a fact. Speak with any black earning 100K+ They’ll explain how uphill the battle was. So there is definitely reason for extra sensitivity.

    3) We must not insult or poke fun at people – even if they’re a little sensitive…

    4) Precluding the above, historically blackface was used To make fun of blacks – hence it may be a ‘racist symbol’.

    To recap: Don’t compare this to dressing up as another sect Jew, rather to making stretchy eyes and ‘copying’ Asians.

  10. I have a question for if for MLK days blacks dressed like STORM TROOPERS and walked with there hands in the upright position thats okay? I mean everybody is so sensitive right? Im just asking? No malice intended!!!!

  11. Oh one other things im sure no one was offended by the stage at the CPAC where your president 45 visit was shapped like the SS stage! Right ?

  12. I honestly don’t know if dressing up like black face is ok, or not.

    All I can say is.

    I have a neighbor of mine that if I may say he’s is black, and he is the nicest person that I have ever met.

    I am sure he won’t mind if I dress up like black face, or not.

    I will ask him.

    The bottom line is, there are great people of all different ethnic groups on around, and we just have to get along.

  13. You see the thing is that nobody actually cares. There are some things that are offensive but for the most part people are just complaining to complain. no one actually cares how you dress up or how you paint your face but there are some people that will always find something to complain about or to get offended about.

  14. Also wanted to add that dressing up in Native American regalia is wrong too. It’s sacred and holy to them. It’s the equivalent of dressing up in a tallis and tefillin for a halloween costume.

  15. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I would never have given much thought into my costume previously, a costume is a costume. However, if others find it offensive then I will be more careful regarding my costume selection.

  16. It is highly likely that these children (and their parents) had no idea that this type of costume can be considered offensive.

    I personally can understand why some people would find it offensive and am aware that people find it offensive – and I would not allow my children to do it because I do have this awareness. But I am positive that there are people that are NOT aware.

    There is a very big difference between dressing up on purpose in a way that one is aware is offensive and very innocently dressing up for fun in a way that one is completely unaware is considered offensive.

    I hope people out there are intelligent enough and open minded enough to understand and accept that this was a costume chosen in innocence and out of lack of awareness with no intention to offend, insult or degrade.

    • If people don’t know why blackface is completely unacceptable, then there is something missing in their education. And that is very concerning.

  17. I think people are missing the real point here. Whether it’s meant to be derogatory or not, it’s just plain STUPID! Welcome to galus, welcome to America, welcome to social media. Please plan your costumes, and everything else you do, with a little awareness and seichel.

  18. It does not really matter if it right or wrong, or what your intentions are, or the historical source.
    The point is there are many who find it racist and offensive, and with today’s political environment, you can’t do it or you’ll find yourself in trouble.

  19. I think you are all missing the point. It makes no difference whether you think someone should be offended by this or not. The only thing that matters is that people are telling you THEY find it offensive. Just be respectful to how other people feel! It’s called Derech Eretz, Darkai Shalom, Eivah … take your pick.

  20. very sad… when i was growing up it was simple, the girls dress up as Esther the boys dressed as mordechai or a fireman or policeman and that was more or less it, there were no stupid themes either, just something homemade or maybe reismans hamentashen and a small bottle of grape juice…. today that’s not accepted, you need to be original otherwise it won’t be Instagram worthy. nebech…

  21. I don’t know if this is racist or not, I certainly don’t think anyone intended any racism here. The world has gone mad today and will jump on anything they can.

    Next year anyone dressing as MR. Potato Head will be racist too. And The Vaad will of course condemn it!

  22. I don’t think these kids, or their parents, know what blackface is. I didn’t, until just now.(And that’s totally fine) They were simply dressing with the times. Why would BLM be insulted if others dress up like them? If anything, they should feel complimented.

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