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Essman irks Chabad with TV comments

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NEW YORK (JTA) — Actress Susie Essman has upset the Chabad-Lubavitch community with comments she made on "The View."

In an appearance on the television talk show last week to promote her TV movie “Loving Leah,” in which she plays a Lubavitch woman, Essman commented on the appearance of female members of the Chasidic group.

“I learned that they’re not very good dressers,” Essman said, describing what she discovered in making the film. “The wigs, you know they wear the wig because God forbid a man should see your hair and be driven wild with desire.”

Sara Esther Crispe, the editor of the Chabad Web site TheJewishWoman.org, said her community was buzzing about the segment and that she was hoping to go on "The View" to rebut Essman’s comments, which she said were not only “obviously incorrect” but degrading and insulting to all women.

“To reduce any woman to her mere physicality is insulting, it’s degrading, and it completely denies the overall power that a woman has and her unique abilities,” Crispe told JTA. “And I thought it was very sad that nobody stood up for that.”

“Loving Leah,” which aired Sunday night on CBS, is the story of a secular doctor who marries his widowed sister-in-law. Essman, who plays a foul-mouthed character on the HBO series "Curb Your Enthusiasm," plays the woman’s Lubavitch mother.

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