Litzman mixed up in gender separation scandal

Ploy to use soprano-singing yeshiva student to replace women at ceremonies has surprise ending for deputy health minister.

March 7, 2012 21:39
1 minute read.
YAAKOV LITZMAN and Baruch Steisman.

YAAKOV LITZMAN and Baruch Steisman 390. (photo credit: Courtesy


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman has finally found a solution to his problem of appearing at public ceremonies featuring female-singing voices.

He’s imported a Brooklyn, Boro Park-born kollel student named Baruch Steisman, blessed with a soprano voice that would make Beverly Sills blush, to move to Israel and perform at every ceremony connected to his ministerial duties.

Until now, Litzman has left auditoriums when choirs of women aged three to 93 years old sang at ceremonies he must attend, because haredim regard it as “immodest” and forbidden for men to hear. He denied widespread reports that his constant seat-hopping is due to frequent trips to the bathroom, because of a prostate problem.

“This is absolutely untrue,” Litzman said.

Instead, explained Raisin Shomron-Viyehuda, the fiercely secular spokeswoman of the Gur hassid, the reason Litzman leaves the ceremonies is due to fear of losing his job.

“It’s not that he really cares if humans with XX chromosomes sing. The problem is that the Rebbe of Gur has spies who report back to him if Litzman remains in his seat when females sing, or if he shakes their hands. If he is caught, the rebbe will surely choose somebody else to replace him as a United Torah Judaism MK and deputy minister,” explained Shomron-Viyehuda.

The ministry hired Steisman, who will now appear at all medical ceremonies and conventions as a soloist, allowing XX-chromosomed people to take a rest. “He’s a one-man choir!” enthused Litzman. “He saves the talented and wise officials at the Treasury a great deal of money. And in the proper light, he’s not bad looking either.”

When asked about his new position, the chirpy Steisman unloaded a bombshell that explained his allure.

“You got my name wrong!” said the Brooklyn kollel student, in a somehow familiar voice. “I haven’t had many gigs in recent years, so I am trying my luck in Eretz Yisrael. My name is Barbra Streisand, and I like to cross dress, especially in hassidic garb.”

“Farshteist? I’m farblondzhet!” cried Litzman.

“That’s a frassk in pisk. Baruch is a she! Gornisht helfin. Barbra is a Yentl!”

Click here for more Purim stories

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Supreme Court President Asher Grunis
August 28, 2014
Grapevine: September significance