This post was written by Queen.
I have always been a fan of video production. Since I got my first video-capable camera, I was obsessed with getting digital footage of myself and my friends cavorting. Bais Yaakov, it turns out, was a perfect breeding ground for my creativity. It actually makes sense, if you think about it: we’re all girls, all dressed pretty much the same – most guards and self-consciousness melt away in that sort of environment.
So, at the end of my high school career, I set out to commemorate graduation by making a video. I, as a pretty easygoing and well-liked member of the student body, was able to walk the halls and get just about anyone to react to my camera – either waving or saying hi or saying, cantankerously, “why are you videoing me!”
The summer after graduation, I unveiled the finished work. We were all feeling pretty nostalgic, even only a few months after we’d parted ways. 95% of the graduating class was about to leave for seminary in Israel, and we didn’t really know when we’d be all together again.
My video was a work of brilliance (in my own mind). It was set to Uprising by Muse – a popular song at the time. The video was titled: Bais Yaakov: The Resistance, and was basically just a music video, containing clips of myself and my classmates (mostly the “modern” crew, but not exclusively) doing some Bais Yaakov-style, and some very un-Bais Yaakov-style things.
Here are some highlights:
- One girl spending ten minutes fixing her hair while sitting outside on a windy day
- A bunch of girls holding an impromptu simcha-dance in celebration of a girl’s 100th absent day from school
- Me singing into a microphone in the empty auditorium, wearing sunglasses and a hat
- A bunch of strangely-dressed girls running wild at a Purim chaggigah
- Scenes from the latest Bais Yaakov Production (including an entire choir consisting of girls dressed as chassidish men – shtreimels and all)
Needless to say, it was a hit among my small group of friends – I put it on YouTube, it probably got about 50 hits in total (mostly, I suppose, just myself and my friends watching it over and over again). My plan was to put it up for a few weeks, let everyone who was going to see it see it, and then take it down before I left for seminary. However, after its initial shock value wore off, I forgot about it, and the idea of taking it down seemed just too tedious a chore, so I left it up.
[cue sense of foreboding]
Fast forward to half a year later. I, already a matured mid-seminary girl, in the throes of religious awakenings heretofore unseen, have lost all memory of previous excursions into the world of video production. Then, out of the blue, I receive an international phone call from Mrs. X: teacher, seminary advisor, and vice principal of my Bais Yaakov.
“I have a very serious matter to discuss with you,” she said gravely, and I felt chills crawl down my spine at the sound of her Yiddish-tinged accent. “I just received a phone call from a concerned parent at our school. She says that her husband was on YouTube, and found a video about our school – with our students in it! And she said that the person who posted the video was you! And that it’s called “The Resistance”? Is this any way to portray our school? Not only is it a breach of tznius, with girls dancing and not acting in a bekovodik manner, but resistance? Set to goyishe music? Do you really feel like you have to lead a resistance against Bais Yaakov?”
The upbraiding went on in this manner for another few minutes. I just sat at the other end of the line, listening and feeling red hot embarrassment rush through me. The next time I got to a computer, I took the video down, with just a small twinge of regret.
Sometimes, when I’m hanging out with an old Bais Yaakov friend, I’ll pull up the video on my computer and have a laugh about how Mrs. X tracked down my Israeli cell number and called me from across the world because of that video.