The Squirrel Hill Jewish Community Center recently hosted “Party with the Presidents,” a gala Saturday night event. In reviewing a major local newspaper’s Web site photographs of the attendees, I could not help but notice that the beautiful women were clad in finery, dressed for the occasion, while their male escorts were largely devoid of neckties, some not even sporting jackets.
It saddens me that the trend toward relaxed standards and an end to decorum has come to infest the Jewish community, the JCC event being only one of myriad examples. We see it not only within the community, but in our synagogues where many display respect for God through wearing a yarmulke and/or tallit, but less consideration of their fellow worshippers in a holy and sacred space by dressing down.
I recall with dismay an event at a local synagogue in which worshippers were encouraged to cheer on our false idols, The Pittsburgh Steelers, by wearing team uniforms to services. For some events, my synagogue not only makes it clear that casual attire may be worn, but indicates that it should be.
Ornate concert halls and the finest restaurants no longer impose any dress code. Baseball caps, faded, torn blue jeans, and tennis shoes are welcome virtually anywhere, the belief of the entity being that this will not dissuade anyone from patronizing the establishment.
I wonder if we will continue the seemingly inevitable march toward mediocrity, whether I will someday witness members of our faith publicly wearing pajamas and white undershirts with holes in them as outerwear.
Oren M. Spiegler
Upper St. Clair