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Zombie Apocalypse on a Synagogue Wall

The giant words seem jarring on the wall of an Orthodox Shul – “Resident Evil: Extinction” – and, indeed, they have stopped pedestrians in their tracks along West 34th Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. The sign on the side of Congregation Beth Israel-West Side Jewish Center advertises the fourth installment of an apocalyptic, zombie-filled movie series based on the “Resident Evil” video game series. And it has apparently offended no one in the Orthodox congregation, said the congregation’s rabbi, Jason Herman. The billboard is a source of helpful income for building maintenance, Rabbi Herman said.

He said the congregation has the right to veto the advertising content but that OTR Media generally tried to be mindful of the synagogue’s sensibilities.

(Source: NY Times)

13 Responses

  1. If I am not mistaken OTR is owned by two frum people…although not so appropriate for a shul. Glad they can get the income…”kosher” advertising in NYC is not that common, so I guess they did not do too bad.

  2. OTR is owned by Ari Noe and (I belive) Levi Eichenstein.

    The synogogue rabbi is ordained by YCT. (as per the shul website)

  3. I think if the shul needs money, it’s ok as long as it is clear that is an advertisement and not a sign put up by the shul and that it is tznius.

  4. Think Straight: Thanks for the info on the Rabbi being a YCT alumnus.
    This lay-person cannot think of a halacha being violated, however both in reality and in theory I think “ess hut a taam fin gehenom”.

  5. YCT Whats that???????? what yeshivah put out such a world class shoteh. The only thing that should be extinct is the name Jewish in the Sinagainstgod shule!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. From my casual observation, OTR billboards tend to have “OTR Media” written on them below the ad. Therefore, anyone close enough to the synagogue to know that it is a synagogue’s wall that the billboard rests, would also realize that it is a billboard belonging to and controlled by a foreign entity and not the shul.

    That being said, if the contents were on the immodest side, I would expect the shul to be more concerned over the “maaris ayin”.

    Rent is quite high in Manhattan and it seems reasonable to me to allow a billboard there if the synagogue made it understood to OTR that they expected only “family-friendly”, etc. content.

  7. This shul is on the same block as B>H> Photo. and NYS Medicaid offices. It is a vvery crowded street and Jews of all stripea pass there. The A Train is on that block,and many tourists pass there There is a real conflict when a so-called Torah institution is involved with any schmutz. It’s a little bit like Times Square.

  8. What was the Shul’s excuse when they had the movie advertisement for the film Hairspray starring and made famous a man dressed as a woman, written by the biggest self claimed degenerate John Waters?
    I wanted to throw up when I drove by that sign.

    Unfortunately, sometimes the traif is inside the Shul too.

    This year I stopped by a Shul on West 23rd for Mincha and there was a feminist exercise class in the downstairs Bais Hamedresh. It was impossible to daven with the disco bass drum coming through the floor. (that Shul did not look like it was suffering financially).

    The is a greater problem of many Shuls being broke with low or deceased members.
    I don’t know the answer myself, but there is a line that should not be crossed for money if they want to call themselves Orthodox according to the Shul’s charter.

  9. I know of a Yeshiva that sits next to a parking lot, and on that lot there were billboards. The content of the ads on them was not always what the Roshei Yeshiva wanted the bochurim to see. They would frequently call the company and asked to have the ads changed. Sometimes they were listened to, and sometimes not.
    Later the Yeshiva had the opportunity to purchase that lot for expansion, and the first thing that they did was to tear down the billboard.

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