Rabbi Susan Silverman and her daughter were two of the ten women who were arrested by police and taken in for questioning as the hundreds of women who participated were leaving their controversial monthly prayer service. Silverman and her teenaged daughter Hallel were taken into custody after the crowd dispersed, presumably because they were wearing ritual prayer shawls. Shortly afterwards, she received a public shout-out of support from her famous sibling, Sarah Silverman, the successful Los Angeles comedian famous for her good looks, her foul mouth and her campaigning for President Obama targeted at young Jews.
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Arresting the Israeli Silverman may not have been the smartest move during the countdown to President Obama’s upcoming visit to Israel. Like her famous sister, she was active in the President’s re-election campaign, and produced a video showing Israelis who supported Obama in his race against Mitt Romney.
Susan and Sarah are two of four Silverman sisters, born and raised in a colorful Jewish family in New Hampshire. Silverman, a mother of five children, two of whom are adopted Ethiopian Jews, is active in the cause of adoption, and has recently spoken out against Russian president Vladimir Putin’s recent move to stop Russian children from being adopted by Americans.
In a 2010 Haaretz profile, Susan stood up for her sister Sarah’s often controversial humor against critics saying that her dirty jokes had as much of a holy purpose as a rabbi’s sermons:
"The truth is that I really think of Sarah - you might laugh but I'm actually not joking - as like a biblical prophet," the 47-year-old Reform rabbi told Haaretz last week in Jerusalem, where she lives with her husband and their five children. "Sarah's really calling out the ills of society. She's saying: I'm not interested in your rituals, in what you pray and what you say. I'm interested in the fact that we live in this really racist society, that we live in this really violent world. She's interested in the [same] things that God actually is interested in."
The comic's shtick and the rabbi's preaching are "very similar" in spirit, Rabbi Susan explains. Both spread an important message to improve the world; while she interprets Scripture, her sister provokes by breaking taboos.
With Susan and Hallel’s arrest today, it appears that Sarah is not the only Silverman woman who is a taboo-breaker.