Boruch Hashem -- Australian non Jews have no
Whilst the world media reports wars, disease, terrorism,
starving children and earthquakes, which item makes the
headlines in the all-important 6:00 pm news on Melbourne
A defaced poster! Yes, that's it. A poster.
But let me start from the beginning.
The Adass Yisroel Shul in Melbourne, is situated in part of
the East St. Kilda section -- known as Ripponlea. This area
is home to many charedi Jews and has a number of other
shuls including Lubavitch, Ger and the Lakewood
Kollel. Whilst it is by no means a Williamsburg or Stamford
Hill -- it is still outnumbered by non-Jews on all sides --
it is, (admittedly mainly due to the lack of competition)
The tiny shopping strip on Glen Eira Road - right around the
corner from the Shul, has a kosher fish shop, poultry
and take-away, bakery, grocery, shomer Shabbos lawyer,
computer shop, chemist and even the local hatzolo has
its headquarters there.
It's friendly with a village atmosphere and you'll always
find someone to have a chat with.
So imagine the hullaballoo, when on a recent Shabbos during
mincha, someone breathlessly brought the news that a
lewd ad has just been placed high up on the corner of "our"
street and the other main thoroughfare -- Hotham Street --
diagonally across the road from the new premises of the Addas
Yeshiva Ketana -- with 50 talmidim ( a wonderful
mokom Torah of which we are all very proud and really
deserves a separate article).
Plans were immediately made to contact the poster company on
Monday morning and request them to remove the offensive
Others, however, had different ideas. By late motzoei
Shabbos some unknown person(s) had tossed a can of paint
at the sign -- messing it up a bit but not really solving the
By Monday morning both the poster company and the advertising
agency had received calls requesting its removal. They were
indeed understanding and cooperative and agreed to do so as
soon as possible. Meanwhile, between mincha and
maariv hushed discussions were taking place amongst
some young people -- regarding the failure of the paint
attack. This time, it seems, they planned it properly and by
Wednesday morning the sign was "beautifully" almost
professionally -- blacked out.
It seems that a high ladder and paint roller brushes were
utilized most satisfactorily.
By Thursday the advertising agency had finalized their
arrangements to change the poster and sent their staff to do
the job. But not before someone contacted the Channel 7
television news, who promptly dispatched a team to Ripponlea
to film the before (from another similar site) and after --
Then came the interviews.
From the "Jewish" side they could only find a few Yeshiva
bochurim -- who in their best "Adass- ish" English
tried to explain why this poster was not appropriate -- at
least in this location.
Then they interviewed some passing non-Jews who really didn't
understand what the fuss was all about.
From 4 p.m. on, Channel 7 was repeatedly advertising on
several radio stations that their all-important 6:00pm news
presentation will feature: "Jewish community outrage on
And so it came to pass, when 6:00 finally arrived, hundreds
of thousands of Melbournians realized that the important news
of the day was not the floods in Mozambique, the growing
unemployment problem, the fighting in Chechenye or even the
Australian government's failure to control some nursing homes
in Melbourne -- where patients are being treated worse than
animals, but rather that someone in the Jewish community
actually defaced an offensive poster!
They actually even reproduced the letter of complaint sent by
the Rosh Yeshiva! (Admittedly they didn't treat it as a very
serious news item rather as an oddly and a not-everyday
Actually, this parsha ended in a win-win situation for
The poster was removed, with the company promising to do all
in their power to refrain from placing offensive ads in the
neighborhood, whilst the company that advertised received
several minutes of free publicity statewide -- valued at
hundreds of thousands -- if not millions -- of dollars.
So there you are.
Now you all know what is considered an important media even
Isn't Australia a wonderful medina?
Meanwhile on a serious note, the news has just reached us,
that Australian born and in fact an ex-talmid of the
Adass Yeshiva, Rabbi Moshe Radziminski of Ashdod, who heads
the Vaad LeMaan Tohar Machenu in Israel -- which amongst its
other functions, campaigns to remove offensive posters in
Israel, has been given a $25,000 fine as well as a suspended
8 months jail sentence for trying to achieve what we did
And a word of advice to askonim everywhere. When
trying to get companies to remove lewd signs, try to do it
through the womenfolk. Somehow their requests are listened to
more seriously (as even non-Jewish women often object to
indecent and objectionable advertising).